Meet Gorda Surjadi The Unofficial Ambassador of Indonesia in Sweden

There will be no Indonesian who live in Sweden that does not know (or at least heard of) Gorda Surjadi. Currently, he holds the title of unofficial ambassador of Indonesia in Sweden – well, at least I would think he suits the title. He left his family in Bali and friends in Yogyakarta to study in Sweden in 1957, he arrived in Bromma Airport right on his birthday. Life did not go according to his plan but it does not mean that it was not great. Right now, he enjoys a pensioner life with Miti, his lovely wife in Stockholm. I had the honor to visit this father of two, and morfar* of four at his place för en lunch. We made urap, Balinese salad with the dressing of grated spicy coconut. I shouldn’t write about this in the middle of the night because visualizing urap makes me hungry.

Image by Miti Surjadi

As someone who barely knew about the living in the north and being a student in Sweden, I took this chance to have an interview with him. He seemed to be in his element when I shoot the interview video. Of course, after all, he has been a model for years! This was one of the latest advertisement of him, I bet many of you who have lived in Sweden last year saw this a lot on the street.

Image by Tomas Henriks (a photo of a printed ads)
His Majesty The King’s Medal (H.M. Konungens medalj) as an award for his dedication at KTH for 30 years

It is always a lively conversation to have with him. His positive and cheerful personality brings sparks on every talk, though his stories are already interesting. The video below is a glimpse of his life story and advise. When I thought that I was brave enough to went across ten thousand kilometres to study, imagine the spirit he has when he decided to study in Sweden in the 50s!

Note: Featured image is taken from his book cover designed by Farid Miftah.

*Morfar means grandfather from the mother side, while from the father side is farfar.


Written by Sania

28 Feb 2017