Protests over presence of Pendet dance in Malaysia’s tourism ad continue

Niken Prathivi and Irawaty Wardany ,  The Jakarta Post ,  DENPASAR /JAKARTA   |  Sun, 08/23/2009 11:45 AM  |  Headlines

The presence of Balinese dancing and a leather shadow puppet in a Malaysian tourism ad has once again upset Indonesians, who are saying it is an attempt to claim the art forms as their own.

A member of the Regional Representatives Council (DPD) and Balinese dance experts staged a
protest Saturday against the Malaysian government at the Denpasar Arts Center.

“We have all heard of some aspect of the Indonesian culture that has been claimed by Malaysia as theirs, such as the wayang [Javanese puppet], batik and reog Ponorogo [masked dance from East Java],” said counselor Ida Ayu Agung Mas, referring to similar controversial reports.

“This time, they are trying to claim the Pendet, which is a sacred and original dance from Bali, as
their own.

“As a representative for the DPD, the Group of Indonesian Youth Concerned with Culture and Arts, and experts on Balinese dances, I will send a letter of protest to the Malaysian government through their embassy in Indonesia,” Ida Ayu said at the protest, attended by some 10 people.

The Malaysian Embassy in Indonesia earlier denied the country had made claims on batik and other forms of Indonesian culture in its tourism campaigns. Malaysia’s Ambassador Dato Zainal Abidin Zain was quoted as saying in late 2007 that the Javanese brought the  reog dance to Malaka.

The Pendet dance featuring in the latest controversial commercial has become a welcome dance. Each dancer carries a customary bowl filled with flowers, to be strewn to the audience.

Gde Pitana I, the Cultural and Tourism Ministry’s director general of foreign promotion, said it was fine to show the Pendet dance in the ads, as long as they did not mention the dance was from Malaysia.

“We often display the Barongsai in our tourism ads, but we never claim it as ours,” Pitana wrote
on the ministry’s website on Saturday.

The Barongsai is the dragon dance whose popularity was revived after the government ended the decades-old ban on display of Chinese-influenced culture and language.

Pitana said the Cultural and Tourism Ministry had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Justice and Human Rights Ministry for the intellectual rights protection of cultural and art products.

“I expect all regions and provinces to register their local as well as individual cultural and art pieces to the ministry of justice,” he said.

A facebooker’s status as of Saturday read in English: “Indonesia’s tourism ministry is grossly incompetent. They can’t even come up with a decent tourism promotion campaign. No wonder Malaysia and tiny Singapore attract more tourists.”

From tweetfeed: “Malaysia claimed Bali’s pendet dance as their culture, and Malaysia has given [us]Noordin M. [Top],” in reference to the region’s most wanted terrorist suspect, a Malaysian national.

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Gee...why so much Indonesia I don't think much of Malaysian why bother. Don't like Malaysia, then just 1. Not buy any Malaysian products; 2. Don't do banking with any Malaysian Banks or Banks with shares majority owned by Malaysian; 3. Don't go to Malaysia for Business or Holidays; 4. Don't work with Malaysian; 5. and lastly Don't go to work in Malaysia..It's much more efective and continueing furror like this. We're big nation, and acted like one by not having anything to do with Malaysia. Lets see who's can cope better. us, or Malaysia.
Firstly, the ad was not issued by Tourism Malaysia, it was promotional ad by Discovery Channel for their documentary on Malaysia. As a Malaysian, it is safe for me to say that neither the government or the people ever had intended to lay claim on any cultural performances as being a Malaysian roots. The Muslims in Malaysia is very much aware of and acknowledges their roots (i.e javanese, bugis, boyanese, sumatran, indian). It is not a case of 'stealing' and then claiming it as Malaysian heritage. We embrace our history and background. As Malay Malaysian, whose ancestors are bugis/javanese, am i not entitled to practice some of the cultures and tradition that they have left behind, simply because i;m a Malaysian? We have never disputed the origins of our cultural heritage, be it javanese, indian, portugese, chinese/baba-nyonya. However, this all forms part of who we are, our identity. Which is why we resort to building monumental structures for visual identity. i.e. Malaysia = Petronas Twin Towers NOT Malaysia = Pendet, Angklung. The protest of such magnitude by Indonesia to me is unwarranted especially in light that the ad is not in any way at all related to Tourism Malaysia.
Do you know why we all outcry concerning the ad? Let me explain: Advetisement/campaign was created and used to promote somethin and in this issue, to promote your country. By putting our traditional dance in your tourist campaign, like it or not you have claimed that this traditional dance is coming from your country, cause a tourist campaign should use the product of their country, c'oz you want to attract people to come to your country, not other country. And your government has said that the ad was made by third party? I can only say: IT'S A BULLSHIT. I am working, and I know that in order to advertise even only a company, you need to understand, to know EVERY details you want to put in that advetisement and not just that, that advertisement need to get an approval from any (or you can say, each) department connected; especially the one that they funded. So??? They, your government, them selfs indirectly has confirmed that either they are careless or liar. Now, if we Indonesian dont cried out loud about that, would you guarantee that in the next few years your government wont claim that "Tari Pendet" was coming from Malaysia?
Indonesia yes... Malaysia oh no...
Time has made changes to regulation,rules and else, so I am quite sure that there will be a problem too if bagpipes is claimed for example by scottish from chinese in this modern time. The presence of pendet in the commercial that Malaysian dont have is so like lying to everyone in the world.
BillyBob Try searching rather than picking a fight with your eyes closed! Melbournian Yes, I am educated, thank you. However, your comments invoke "Freud" in that only an uneducated person would claim the Pendet is Copyrighted!! Please provide the Copyright number!
Malaysians or monkeysians are truly thieves by just having this article. Needless to say, indonesians should do something to stop this malaysian claim. How pathetic you malaysians!!
There is an intriguing element in all the diatribes against Malaysia. They mostly if not all originate from Java/Bali. Any theory? Is Malaysia a threat to Javanese dominated Indonesia? I have always told my Indonesian friend here that we would take him seriously if he was serious with himself. There seem to be a rising jingoism over in Jakarta probably fanned by groups or individuals whose motives aren't clear at all. Surely responsible people like the Minister of Tourism shouldn't give in to the mobs. But then Indonesia is the only democratic country in Southeast Asia. Vanu is hopelessly unimaginative.. He does not need to come to Malaysia to have his wife arrested for a wine or two. All he needs to do is just fly to BandaAceh to sample the exquisite treatment of public flogging. In fact I last heard the authorities there are unusually charitable. They will include him for the price of one.
we indonesians are being screwed every day and our pants ain't even down. i mean was there an invitation? our land, our culture and our people are being pimped by the government. sold and trafficked as far as the middle east we are exploited by the very hand that claim to feed us.
@Helmi: honestly, i haven't seen the campaign ads yet, i love to have a chance to watch it! But, i also believe that if (for example) we promote a company, we need to showcase what our company have, not what the other company have, in my opinion, so does promoting a tourism. Secondly, i am not a culture expert nor an antropholog, but i doubt there is a similar dance like pendet dance in Malaysia (yes, there is plenty welcoming dance all over the world, but again i believe everything has its own uniqueness), my reason for this is because if you claim a similar dance with Kalimantan (Dayak ppl) dance, we would understand it since you are on Kalimantan island or known as Borneo. But please note that since hundred of years ago, there is history of tense relationship between the kalimantan ppl and bali ppl (i forgot which kingdom this happened), so i doubt there is a similar 'pendet' dance in Malaysia. @indonesiankeris: do you really know the meaning of the keris it self? Do you know the meaning of each 'lekukan' and 'ujung pangkal' keris? I don't know how you compare it (still wondering about it) but again Indonesia has lots of different types of traditional weapon from each area/ethnicity all over Indonesia, so i doubt when you are talking about keris, are we talking the same thing?

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