TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - ASEAN has launched the first phase of their ASEAN Cultural Heritage Digital Archive (ACHDA) website in the ASEAN Secretariat Building, South Jakarta, on Thursday, February 27, 2020.
With support from the Indonesian, Malaysian and Thai governments, the ACHDA have managed to digitize 160 cultural heritage artefacts through their collaboration with many museums and libraries, including the Indonesian National Museum, the Malaysia Department of Museums and the National Library of Thailand.
“I hope ASEAN citizens using the website will better appreciate the shared cultural heritage and instill in them a greater regional sense of belonging as we work towards fostering the ASEAN identity,” remarked Deputy Secretary General for the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Kung Phoak, in the launch of the ACHDA.
The ACHDA affords easy accessibility for all ASEAN and global citizens in accessing cultural artefacts found within the ASEAN region, with its prerequisite only being an internet connection. With the vision of ‘One Vision, One Identity, One Community,’ the project primarily aims to increase and integrate the appreciation of an ASEAN identity amongst citizens of its member states.
With recent cases of cultural heritage artefacts being damaged, such as the fire in Notre Dame, Paris, in April 2019 and the fire in Shuri Castle, Okinawa, in late October 2019, the need to utilize modern day technology to digitize and record cultural heritage artefacts is apparent.
As a result, the ACHDA website also fulfills the necessity to digitize cultural heritage collection amongst ASEAN member states. On top of that, the website further provides a consolidated platform for member states to share digital archives.
“I hope this ACHDA website will enhance interest in ASEAN culture by the people in ASEAN and the world,” stated Japan Ambassador to ASEAN, Akira Chiba, also in attendance.
Work for the project initially began in 2018 with assistance from the Japanese Government through the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF). Furthermore, the project has been developed by Japanese company, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) Data, based in Tokyo.
The ACHDA website is powered by NTT Data’s ‘AMLAD’ software, geared to facilitate the digitization of archives through the use of images, video, audio, and other digital content. With prior work in the Vatican Apostolic Library and the Koyasan Temple, NTT Data has managed to digitize the cultural artefacts in 3D format with great detail.
On top of that, the cultural artefacts, which include the Indonesian La Galigo script, the Malaysian Mak Yong performance, and a number of Thai manuscripts, have been presented on the ACHDA website as digital images, audio and video data.
“I am truly honored that NTT Data’s information technologies can contribute to the preservation and sharing of ASEAN’s precious cultural heritage through the ACHDA Project,” stated NTT Data Senior Vice President, Katsuichi Sonoda.
The second phase of the ACHDA project will continue to digitize cultural artifacts from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Viet Nam; with other ASEAN member states to follow soon in the future.
DIO SUHENDA (INTERN CONTRIBUTOR/TRANSLATOR)