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Ririn Haryani and Kelly Dombroski
Arisan is a rotating credit system that has been present in Indonesia for over one hundred years. In contemporary times, arisan involves a regular meeting of a consistent group whereby each member contributes an equal amount of money or goods each meeting, and whereby a draw is held allowing one member to receive the combined sum of contributions. This rotates around the group until everyone has won. It is customary that the winner from the last round will provide the venue and snacks for the coming arisan round.
The practice is believed to have originally come from China through trade activities with the Orang Asli (indigenous Indonesians), even before the era of Western colonialism. The practice went through an acculturation process with local traditions and customs of helping each other, known as gotong royong. This means that arisan is more than economic exchange…
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