A child psychologist, a lecturer, an ambassador, a wife, a grandmother, and an extraordinary woman. H.E. Mrs Diennaryati Tjokrosuprihatono has found happiness in everything that she does.
You must have had someone who inspired you in your life. Who was it and why?
The one person who inspired me the most is my grandfather, Mohammad Husni Thamrin. I never had the opportunity to know him personally, as he passed away when my mother was 14 years old. However, my father always spoke highly of him and my mom had victorious and interesting stories to share on how he had thoughts on how to fight for Indonesia from a different viewpoint.
He worked in the Volksraad, (current day DPR) and he fought for independence through his speeches. He was interested in many things, and also collaborated with Ki Hajar Dewantara for education and worked for the Betawi folks to provide electricity and clean water and also donated money. He was also a good friend to Soekarno and struggled to release him when he was captivated by the Dutch. He never ignored his responsibilities towards his family and ensured that he spent time with my mother while teaching her about human values. He used to take my mother on his bike and tells that many people are less fortunate, and we have to help them, to help them provide electricity and must have flood canals so it doesn’t flood.
What is the biggest risk that you have taken during your tenure as an ambassador in The Republic of Ecuador?
I made a lot of risky decisions, which led my staff to say that this couldn't be done, because we didn't have the funding. For me, it’s always about saying yes first and grabbing the opportunity. The funding will always happen. For example, within my first year in the office, we had the opportunity to be a part of CIDAP – Centro Interamericano De Artesanías y Artes Populares – the craftsmen festival for America. Indonesia was invited as a guest country and we had a month to fill two floors of a museum with Indonesian handicrafts. The festival runs for five days and they gave us five big booths, and I said yes as this will be a great exposure for Indonesia to all the American countries. I negotiated, met people, returned to Indonesia and finally they believed in me and were ready to help. I was sponsored by Ridwan Kamil, who was the mayor of Bandung at that time, and the two floors in the museum were finally filled with Indonesian handicrafts. I also got help from the DPR, they are also looking for sponsors from companies, but I said I don’t need funding, but I need MSMEs, batik makers, dancers, carvers and I will hype up CIDAP. I said yes, yes, yes to many opportunities and was able to do it. My team asked how this is possible, and the answer is to take the first step and be confident about it. Have a resolution, work hard, pray, and be sincere and rise again. If you keep limiting yourself, you won't go anywhere.
What are some of your fondest memories as an ambassador?
Of the many activities we were a part of; the International food festival is one of my all-time favourites. I attended the festival at a later time and found it very crowded. I was elated when I realised that the crowd was for the Indonesian stall, where we served fried noodles with Ecuadorian style pickles, ayam geprek, pletok beer, and a traditional Indonesian herbal drink. Our Indonesian chef rose to fame and opened two Indonesian restaurants once our terms was done.
How has Ibu Kartini inspired you?
She is a tough woman who fought for the emancipation of women, their education equality of women and men within her limitations. We know how difficult it was at that time, she had to marry young, she couldn't continue her education, and was "secluded" in her house and had to work as a housewife. Yet, she was always reading, taking things seriously and with passion. So even though we don't have the resources, it doesn't mean we can't do something. Look at the whole COVID situation, it would have destroyed my life if I let it. But, I found a way to be find happiness in the situation and be productive. I can sunbathe, walk in the garden, garden, play with my grandchildren; there’s a lot to be grateful and happy for.