Thursday, November 29, 2007

Angry Indonesians Protest Outside Our Embassy In Jakarta, Call Us 'Thieves'

It looks like some Indonesians are not in a particularly friendly mood vis a vis Malaysia these days. About a thousand of them held a protest today in front of our Embassy in Jakarta accusing us of promoting an Indonesian dance form as our own. So apart from the bad press we've been getting all over the world for being a fake democracy practicing a tempatan type of apartheid, now we've been condemned as cultural plagiarists as well.

The point of contention apparently was a Javanese mask dance, known as Reog Ponorogo which our Culture and Arts and Heritage Ministry has been claiming in tourism advertisements and brochures is a traditional Malay dance called Barongan. The similarities were obviously too great for the Indonesians to ignore, especially the dancers - men wearing enormous tiger heads and peacock feather masks, accompanied by acrobats.

Our ambassador in Jakarta, Zainal Abidin Zain told the protesters that we have never claimed that Barongan originated from Malaysia. But the demonstrators were in no mood to listen to explanations and instead have launched an anti-Malaysia campaign, carrying posters describing us as 'thieves' and sporting T-shirts emblazoned with the word Malingsia (Thief of Asia) in a parody of Malaysia's tourism campaign logo, "Malaysia Truly Asia."

This latest hoo haa comes in the wake of an earlier Indonesian outburst that the song 'Rasa Sayang' which we have been singing for as long as I can remember has also been pinched from them.

There is no denying that over the years there has been deep resentment there regarding Malaysia, and the Indonesians have been pissed-off time and again by adverse reports of maltreatment and abuse of their nationals here. The incident recently where the wife of an Indonesian diplomat was arrested on suspicion of being a pendatang tanpa izin has not helped matters either.

Interesting link: Malaysian Tourism Board's cock-up earlier this year.
Image - Source

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3 Comments:

Blogger Wazeen said...

thanks for calling us in the apropriate way: Indonesia, I wish more Malaysian calls us in a proper way.

in friendship.
Wazeen

1:05 AM GMT+8  
Blogger kittykat46 said...

Both sides need to work on the issues. Malaysia needs to treat its legally employed foreign workers with respect, work on reducing its depedence on imported labour, and stop the Gestapo-like tactics used against suspected illegal immigrants.
Indonesia needs to stop exporting its unemployment problems to Malaysia.

The cultural theft argument is a bit like a kindergaten playground fight. The fact is there was never a real cultural boundary between the Malays in Peninsular Malaysia and the Indonesian islands, even less in Borneo. The political boundary came about because the Anglo-Dutch treaty 1814 gave the British the Malay peninsular, and the East Indies to the Dutch. The rest is history.

Many Javanese settled in the southern Peninsular, many Bugis and Moluccans settled in the central Peninsular, and many Sumatrans settled in the nothern Peninsular. A lot of "Bumiputras" are no more than 2nd generation in the Malay peninsular.

11:18 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey nazri where are you. why dont you tell them not to butt into this country's affairs? whats the reason for your silence?

1:45 PM GMT+8  

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