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