Monday, 20 May 2013 | 08:33
To keep with the oil-to-gas fuel conversion program, the government is planning to
build 73 CNG stations, working with PGN and Pertamina.
Monday, 20 May 2013 | 07:30
Employers suspect that sugar import process had been compromised, allowing
industry-allotted imported sugar to leak into the general market.
Thursday, 21 June, 2012 | 16:32 WIB
Thinking Positively on Tortor
TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:The public has spent too much energy on protesting and expressing anger toward Malaysia. The neighboring country has been attracting criticism due to its claims about Indonesian traditions such as the reog dance, batik, and the most recent claim: the tortor dance. Maybe it is time for us to set prejudice aside and start looking at the issue with sound judgment.
The public reaction was triggered after Malaysia included the tortor dance and gondang sambilan (nine drums) into the country’s cultural heritage list. Both cultures were on the list because the two have been periodically performed by the Mandailing community living in Malaysia. In addition to public concern, the government also reacted. Communication and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring, for instance, has expressed his intention to send a letter to Malaysia’s Information Minister asking about the list.
Such actions only show how easily the country is provoked by petty issues. We can also find condescending remarks against our neighboring country on social media networks in regard to cultural ‘annexing’. The public seems to be traumatized by past events such as the shift in ownership of the Sipadan and Ligitan Islands from Indonesia to Malaysia through an international court ruling. On the other hand, the cultural claim is very different from the islands dispute, which was recklessly handled.
In the case of tortor and gondang sambilan, the Malaysian government only put the two traditions on the list. There was no claim that the two were indigenous and originated from Malaysia. The listing was made as a sort of acknowledgement that the culture develops among the Mandailing community in Malaysia. It is important to know that the Mandailing tribe does not only inhabit North Sumatra. The tribe can also be found in some of Malaysia’s states such as Selangor, Perak, Negeri Sembilan, and Pahang.
If we are to look at the issue from a positive point of view, Indonesia should feel fortunate that our neighboring country has promoted the same culture. In the case of the pendet dance that was once disputed, the dance gained more popularity after it was featured in Malaysia’s tourism campaign entitled “Enigmatic Malaysia” last year. The tortor dance will also gain popularity because Malaysia has put it on the country’s cultural heritage list.
The steps taken by our neighboring country in terms of culture, form batik painting to pendet dance, will not cost Indonesia its cultural heritage. Our cultural heritage could only perish if the country and its people do not preserve, maintain or at least list it. Malaysia clearly cannot deny the history that tortor dance was brought by the Mandailing community indigenous to North Sumatra—that, along with other cultural traditions such as the batik painting and the kris sword.
However, the House of Representatives (DPR) and the government need to come up with a strategy to nurture our national cultural heritage. The Mandailing community in Malaysia would be happy because the preservation of the community’s culture is supported by the government or state budget. Indonesia’s arts and culture will also be preserved and developed with the government’s support.