Forum Indonesia Membaca celebrated World Book Day by holding a book fair from March 2nd to 5th in Depdiknas Building, Jakarta. They invited book-based organizations to participate and my Tolkien club, Eorlingas: The Indonesian Tolkien Society, always ready to seize the opportunity to promote ourselves, participated in this event. We were given this (quoting Lady Galadriel) small but fair cubicle where we exhibited our Tolkien-related collections, works of art and photos of our activities. We also sold some t-shirts, the infamous yet amusing F09 Middle-earth Angkot and the newly launched White Tree of Gondor t-shirt, a really cool, Gondor-looking one, I would say. Oh, and one more thing: yours truly (that is: me, Niphredil aka Kania aka Sherni aka Agent K) gave a presentation on behalf of Eorlingas on how to read the Tengwar, the Elvish alphabet created by the genius Mr. Tolkien.
It was an awesomely amazing experience, having the opportunity to promote our club. So, here’s how the whole thing went:
It was our Professor Illyria (so we call her, due to her extensive expertise on the tales of Middle-earth) who first gave us the information about World Book Day. Then, Lúthien, who is always ready to jump at any chances to promote Eorlingas (and probably herself, but that is beside the pointJ) called the committee to register Eorlingas as one of the participants and they said they would let us know if we were eligible. After that, for quite some time, we didn’t get any news from the committee and we thought that maybe we weren’t accepted. Then, less than two weeks before the D-day, Lúthien received some tidings (as Tolkien would say) that we were actually accepted as a participant! So, on a fairly short notice and in somewhat dazed state of mind, we started the preparation.
Well, the preparation was mostly done online (ah, the magic of modern technology!), except for the technical meeting attended by Lúthien, Haleth, Raellyra Took and myself on January 27. On that day, Lúthien and Haleth started gathering their collection to be exhibited in the fair and brought it to Lúthien’s office, which was close to the venue. We talked about how we would decorate our booth. Using Lúthien’s computer, we designed banners with which we would mark our booth. Rae came up with a magical way to create a borderline for our banner from a downloadable wedding invitation (which we found online). She called it “Cara Bego” or “The Idiot’s Way” – it was actually an really smart idea! J I, being theTengwar “expert” typed the words “Mae Govannen” in Tengwar letters for the banner.
What happened within the next days was stuff like sending files (like the photo profiles which I put together) and arranging schedules on who would wait on our booth when, all on-line.
Then, on Wednesday, March 1st, Bombur, Haleth, Rae, and Lúthien worked very hard at the venue preparing and decorating our booth. It’s a pity that I couldn’t join them, because I had to teach L, since I actually love doing these decorating things. Oh well. However, Lúthien had told me that the decoration of our booth was the envy of other participants. I couldn’t wait to see how it turned out to be.
Day 1, March 2nd 2006
I came to the venue at around 5 pm, since I had to go to the office at Pengadegan in the morning. Haleth was the Guard of the Citadel….er….Booth that day as she took the day off work. She was accompanied by her brother Angga. When I came, I saw the “Mae Govannen” banner for the first time. It was somewhat smaller that I thought but it was amazing! Even better than I thought it would be. And the display was just GREAT!!! Apparently, our booth was the most “festive” one, with pictures of LOTR characters in “Middle-earth Weekly” (which I designed as a joke, but turned out to be great decorative ornaments), colorful photo profile, action figures and Tolkien-related art work, not to mention the bamboo poles with the faux ivy at the entrance of our booth which added a Mirkwood-ish feeling to it. Basically, the whole Lord of The Rings theme made it look different from other participants’ booth. It really was a small but fair booth. Btw, I brought my leather-bound collector’s edition of “The Hobbit”, my Legolas and Gimli action figures and my magnetic postcard book of Tolkien Art by the brothers Hildebrandt to be displayed. I saw the booth of Bunga Matahari, a community of poetry enthusiasts, and also some of the others’. I think I can safely say that our booth is the best looking one. I noticed too, though, to my amusement, that while most of the other participants were somewhat “altruistic” and serious organization (helping children in remote areas to get books to read, and stuff like that, which is a good thing) Eorlingas was one of the few clubs which were...well, self indulging in nature, if you could call it that. We were one of the “happy-go-lucky” and not-so-serious ones. I don’t know, maybe we really are a bunch of Wood-elves and Hobbits at heart.
When I came, Haleth was stuck in a discussion about the reading interest among Indonesians but soon left the somewhat boring discussion to join me in the booth. As I would be the Guard the next day, Haleth showed me where to put the displayed things later when the fair ended for that day. Then Lúthien, Haleth’s sister, came and Angga went home. Lúthien and I bought some food for the three of us.
As we ate, Lúthien and Haleth recounted the tidings of what happened during the day, including one particular tale about a very annoying lady who visited our booth. They told me that some visitors –some of the committee and participants, too- had their pictures taken at our booth, wearing our Elven cloaks. I told them that it would’ve been profitable if we had charged these peopleJ. Lúthien and Haleth also told me that Elwen and Bombur had come during lunch time and Bombur had brought lunch (he had pledged to bring lunch for the Guards of The Booth on Thursday and Friday). Then Rae came and she brought some more pictures to display. She also brought her camera, and she took some pictures.
Then Rae and I were left to guard the booth, while they went to Plaza Semanggi. And so the fair came to an end for that day, and Rae and I packed the displayed items into their respective boxes and I brought some of the things home to be displayed the next day, as they couldn’t be left behind. My Legolas and Gimli had to spend the night at the Depdiknas building, though.
Day 2, March 3rd 2006
It was my turn to be the Guard of the Booth and Mitzie would join me. Lena had said that she would join us after lunch time.
So, I came at 9.00 am to find the building filled with children who were going to compete in a writing competition. Naturally, some of the parents were there too. I found that one of the mothers was sitting on one of our two plastic chairs. Not the ones provided by the committee, Ours. Our own (well, actually Lúthien bought it so it was more hers than ours). Ones that we put within our booth with other properties of ours. And the other plastic chair was missing. As soon as the lady got off the chair, I pulled it back to our booth. Still couldn’t find the other chair. I tried to keep calm and started displaying our collectibles while keeping an eye on the parents and children. Chair was still out of sight.
Mitzie came at around 9.30 and I told her to watch the booth while I went in search of the missing chair. I found it. A woman, very likely mother of one of the competing children, was getting off the chair. Again, as soon as she stood up, I grabbed the chair and put it back in our booth where it belonged. The woman looked at me with this rather annoyed look on her face, I looked back at her. OK, so she probably wasn’t the guilty party who took the chair from our booth, and maybe the chair was just there when she wanted to sit, but I still didn’t like the fact that it was taken from our booth. Oh, and Mitzie brought her Lord of The Rings Monopoly game to be displayed.
Now, from my experiences teaching children, I know that some children can be more Orc-like than the others. Don’t get me wrong, I love teaching children but some of them are burarum, little Orcs – and these ones usually have Orcish parents, but that is not the point now. One particular little Orc just had to mess around with Lúthien’s miniature of Minas Tirith and nearly broke the Tower. I fixed it, though.
At lunch time, Bombur came with the lunch. Then came Lena (without lunch) and Lúthien (bringing her own lunch). Lúthien and Bombur went back to their offices after lunch but Lena stayed with us. Oh, and my brother Rayi’s girlfriend, Ade, also came to our booth, It turned out that she was a friend of Mitzie’s.
During the day, Mitzie and I took turns looking at books sold in the fair. Bombur had bought a plastic bag full of books the day before, and when he came to bring lunch later that day, he bought yet more books. Believe me, Bombur was in book paradise. I ended up buying 4 vintage books myself, three of which are Enyd Blyton’s Famous Five, my childhood heros and they were the edition in which the cover featured the TV series version of The Famous Five. I was reminded of how cute Marcus Harris (who played the character Julian) was.
A bunch of people came to our booth and again, some of them took pictures. Some took pictures of the action figures; some took pictures of themselves wearing the elven cloak. Really, our booth had become a recreational booth. Many people wanted to know about the Tengwar Lesson which I would teach on Sunday. I was getting nervous thinking about the possibility of having to present in front of many people on Sunday – and it’s not work related, nor it is as “serious” as the other presentations. One of the presentations today, in the same place where I would present on Sunday, was titled “Menari di Republik Bencana” (Dancing in the Republic of Disaster? That, my friend, is a really serious and somewhat scary topic) and it was about disasters in Indonesia, tsunami in particular, and how unprepared our government was. And what was I going to present? How to read Tengwar letters! Not quite as urgent but definitely more fun, I hope.
Eorlingas who attended that day: Me, Mitzie, Lena (who brought some snack), Bombur (the lunch provider), Lúthien, Haleth, who came after working hours; and Rae who took pictures again. Mitzie and I managed to figure out how to turn on the CD player, which somehow couldn’t be used the previous day. So, we could now listen to our favorite LOTR soundtracks like Into The West and Anirôn. But... we couldn’t really listen to them when there were discussions on the main stage and the gazebo, which was not a gazebo, really, just a corner for events not held on the main stage. And one more thing, the room was HOT!!! Literally. Not as in sexy. It was HOT. I don’t know how many bottles of cold miruvor (that is our Middle-earth name for Teh Botol Sosro, the refreshingly addictive tea-in-a-bottle beverage) I had that day.
All in all, it was a pretty great day for Eorlingas.
Day 3, March 4th 2006
Well, I didn’t come to the World Book Day fair this day, as I had to teach L, but I did get some tidings from Haleth. She said that today there were fairly many people coming to the booth and there were Arwen, Heri and Ijul. It was a pity that I wasn’t there for I haven’t seen Ijul for quite some time. Well, anyway, I had a presentation to prepare. I would teach how to read Tengwar letters the next day. To get details on what had come to pass on this 3rd day, you’ll have to read the accounts of other people.
Day 4, March 5th 2006 (The Last Day)
This is the day I gave a presentation on how to read Tengwar letters. I went to the venue with my brother Rayi. He was going to meet with his fellow Mini Cooper enthusiasts in Senayan, so I ended up having to walk through the parking lot of Plaza Senayan and Ratu Plaza to get to Depdiknas. I was going to take ojek, a motorcycle “taxi”, but I couldn’t tell difference between ojek drives and plain motorcyclist so, I thought I’d just walk.
When I got to the Depdiknas building, I was the first one there. There was very few people around, although there was a hint that there would be many, many children today, as there would be a “Book Hunting Competition” for children. The booths of participants on either side of ours (Bunga Matahari and Mapala UI) were still empty, too. I guess everyone was all exhausted after last night. But not long after I came, there were Haleth and Lúthien, with their mother and sister and their nephew Haidar (or Haldir, as I prefer).
Then after them came Heri, who helped guarding the booth while I was presenting.
We soon started displaying the collectibles and I prepared for my Tengwar Lessons with Lúthien, who would be my assistant.
Well, the Tengwar Lessons was supposed to take place at 10.00 am, but it was postponed to 11.30 am (!) due to the children’s program. No one would be able to hear me if we had the lessons along with the children’s program, as we were using the same room. My friends Firdi, Molly and Mona also attended my Tengwar class to give me support. I had invited them to come, because I needed friendly faces among the audience J. So, thanks for being there, girls! Haleth dan Lúthien were my loyal assistants while Rae took some pictures.
The Tengwar Lesson was surprisingly successful. There were more people attending that I expected. The other presentations, including the one filled with disaster stories, had very few participants, I copied 25 copies of Tengwar charts and instructions on how to read the letters, and there was none of them left. It also surprised how quick everyone was to learn Tengwar – the tehta mode. It only took me a few minutes to explain then I went on with the exercise: first the reading exercise and second the writing exercise, By the end of the lesson (it starts to read like a real lesson plan, now) pretty much everyone got the idea and by then they had become Tengwar literate. So, either Tengwar-the tehta mode is very easy to grasp, or I’m a really good teacher…Hmmm? There was this gentleman, though, who didn’t realize until the end of the presentation that I was teaching a fictional letters, He thought the letters were real ancient runes. But that’s the genious of Tolkien, isn’t it? After the fairly successful Tengwar class, I was rewarded a bottle of cool Teh Botol Sosro by my fellow Eorlingas. I was really, really happy with the way the whole Tengwar thing turned out.
Then came Elwen, who took some more pictures; Lena, who brought some donuts; Bombur, who didn’t bring lunch this time –but it’s OK. I wasn’t hungry at first, because it was so damn HOT in the room – I kept on drinking miruvor. Then, when Lúthien, and I decided to buy some lunch, it was raining. Just when we were out in the open. And I was wearing white pants! Come to think of it, the last time I took a walk with Lúthien, we were nearly drowned. Maybe we were jinxed together J? My pants were all dirty, at first I decided to smooth out the dirt, but I gave up after a while. Well, at least I could now sit on the floor without worrying about my pants getting dirty. It was already dirty.
Just like the previous day, our booth was still the recreational booth where people had their pictures taken, with or without cloaks, Mostly with, It was nice to know that our booth drew some attention, We were all attention seekers. Later on, came Samwise and Arwen with her little son Joji aka Eldarion, who was really, really cute. Arwen came wearing her lime green tunic which has the White Tree of Gondor embroidered on it. It looked really cool. I was quietly thinking of having my own PINK tunic embroidered with the same pattern.
Well, all good things must come to an end. So must this World Book Day fair, After a somewhat boring closing ceremony (the MC clearly looked exhausted) and Elwen taking one last shot of us and our booth, we started unpacking the whole thing. That was the end of our small but fair realm. We were all exhausted, but very happy with the way things turned out for Eorlingas.