Asep tells us what happens when 5,000 people bearing the name Asep come together.

Adelia Anjani Putri   02 May 2017 11:10

Asep Kambali is a historian, lecturer and the founder of Indonesian Historia Community (KHI). He spends most of his days on the road as he becomes a ‘traveling history-teller’ and holds events or talks about Indonesian heritage and history.

But the past is not Asep’s only passion. He’s also passionate about his name that he co-founded Paguyuban Asep Dunia (World Asep Community). No, we’re not kidding. There are so many people bearing the name Asep they can make a club out of it. We talk to this Asep to see what the community is all about.

So how and when did it all start?

In late 2008 or early 2009, a friend of mine, Asep Iwan Gunawan, made a Facebook group named “How Many Aseps There Are In Facebook?” and I joined the group. Then I thought, why stop at a virtual group? Why don’t we make something real out of it?

So, we held a gathering in Aug. 1, 2010 in collaboration with my organization, KHI. It was a tour around Old Town Area and Bank Mandiri Museum, but there were only 5 Aseps coming with their families, so around 15 of us. But we decided to use the date as our anniversary date.

Then, in 2011, we held another meeting. Around 15 Aseps came and we made a committee for the community. I was chosen to be the deputy head until 2015 with Asep Iwan Gunawan as the head. In 2015, I was elected as the head.

Then, what happened from there?

I changed the name. It was Paguyuban Asep (Asep Community) and I turned it to Paguyuban Asep Dunia (World Asep Community) with the hope that it can be more famous and go worldwide. I also changed my title, from head to president. So, now I’m a president now hahaha.

What kind of activities do you and the other Asep do?

We have our own annual gathering named KAA, like Konferensi Asia Afrika (Asia-Africa Conference), but ours means Konferensi Asep-Asep (The Conference of Aseps). We had it first in 2015 with 350 Aseps in attendance from cities in Indonesia and even Malaysia.

Last year, we held another KAA and we turned the community into a legal organization. We worked together with a bank to make member cards and we also conducted many programs, like Asep Melawan Asap (Asep Against Smoke), Arjuna — Asep Rescue Terjun Bencana (Asep For Disaster Rescue) and Kurawa — Kurban Asep Untuk Warga (Asep Donation For The People).

This year we’ll have another conference and maybe a tour to Pangandaran. We'll see.

How many Aseps are now in your community?

Almost 6000 of them. Most of them registered online on our website.

What’s the most interesting part of being in the community?

There are many unique experiences. I found out that Aseps are not only of Sundanese descent. There are also Aseps from Padang, Java, and others who are not and cannot speak Sundanese.

I’ve also met a Chinese-Palembang Asep. The name Asep means kasep, or good-looking, but this one’s name is an abbreviation from awal September (early September) because that’s when he was born. There are also a lot of female Aseps! There was even once a wedding of Asep and Asep who met each other in the community. It’s fascinating!

We also have a honoris causa program. We’ve given the honorary Asep title to Bandung Mayor Ridwan Kamil. So now he’s one of us! We’ll give another one to President Jokowi, I guess.

With thousands of Aseps, how do you greet each other?

With our full name, usually we use our last name. Introducing ourselves as Asep would be useless, we all know that we’re all Aseps. But even that, there are still many with the same full names. Asep Saifuddin and Asep Wahyudi are the ones with most users. But there’s only Asep Kambali, thank God.


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