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Malaysia: Is it "Truly Asia"?

I am not sure this piece of insignificant news reach “western world” (whatever it mean nowdays) and beyond, since I almost sure the things that interest CNN or Fox is either news about the break of avian flu in Indonesia or volcano eruption. I doubt they would pay attention to this tense situation which doesn’t involve Britney Spears custody battle with ex-hubbie. The hot news, ladies and gentlemen, is about Malaysia, “Truly Asia” thieving Indonesian culture piece by piece.

Indonesia and Malaysia relationship in present day can be describe as ‘warm’ as relationship between George W. and Ahmadinejad. One might wonder why. Shouldn’t two countries with similar culture, heritage and even shares the same island should live in harmony? We should but we don’t. Like two blonde cheerleaders in high school with the same ambition of becoming home coming queen, we throw to each other apprehensive glance over thick blanket of smoke in Borneo. Of course we conceal it very well beneath the doctrine of decent manner, one trait we share in common.

When Malaysia air their famous tourism promotion on TV all over this earth and boldly illustrate a strong statement as the “Truly Asia”, I just stood in awe and even half-admiring the beautiful beach of Langkawi while thinking, “How I wish Indonesia’s Tourism Board has enough money to create such a inviting ad”. However I was a bit displease with “Truly Asia” tagline. So the other country is not really Asia? It seemed Malaysia challenge the rest of South East Asia to stand up.

Indonesia just sit idly and don’t do anything to answer that challenge. Sending cultural missionary to Europe to lured more tourist to come is not working (Tourism Board should have apprehended it by now) and raising people spirit by writing a fake-positive headline (“Tourism Started to Grow in Bali”) on newspaper is gibberish. Indonesia must make a move.

They don’t protect our workers and give them their rights (more about the tragic life of exploited female workers in here).They dishonored our sport referee. We still sit down in silence. Malaysia claimed our batik right, our food (tempe, kind of soy product), Jepara carving and God knows what. Still, the government did nothing. Then, one news materialized. Malaysia shows their recent tourism ad, using jingle taken from Indonesian folk song! Boom. And the hell break loose.

I went mad after I saw it for the first time on TV (click here to see the infamous ad). I sang it for hundred of times in elementary school, it was my piece de resistance song during vocal lesson, for God’s sake! This is not just about abused worker anymore but a pride of a nation. This time it means war, cous. I can’t believe their nerves! The folk song called “Rasa Sayange” and came from Maluku or so I thought. Malaysian Tourism Minister, Adnan Tengku Mansor claimed the song belongs to Malay archipelago while Maluku Governor insists it is Indonesian folk song. Later a record of that song made in Lokananta, Solo, unquestionably Indonesia, from the year 1958 was found.

However this problem only confirm my belief that Indonesia is one of the culturally richest country in this universe. Our main problem is that we are too widely spread to realize that. Oh and we should just exterminate Tourism Board since obviously all they do was create a make-belief field study to Paris where their wives bought Hermes bag and tons of perfume in Champs de Elysee. What we should do is create an independent board consist of diversely creative people in all field of profession (design, economy, public relation, hotelier, etc) and together create a new image of Indonesia. Definitely not the lame and ambiguous “Ultimate in Diversity” tagline. Eww.

We can do better than just become “Truly Asia”. We are Asia and we don’t have to steal another country’s culture to ascertain our richly unique identity. We can leave that job to Malaysia.

2 komentar:

Unknown said...

Not all Americans care about Brittany Spears or the other stuff. Those of us who have had the chance to visit Indonesia and meet its people fall in love with it--it is not (just) a country of volcanos, earthquakes, and tsunami--but of wonderful people, beautiful forests, and the most magnificent birds on the planet. And there are thousands of other great things to find in Indonesia.
Yes, I believe that Indonesia should advertise all its wonders--and work much harder to attract people--who will thereafter always be Friends of Indonesia. And the U.S. should try especially hard to be the best of friends with Indonesia because we share much and can learn from each other. Indonesia has every reason to be PROUD-PROUD-PROUD! It IS Asia as far as I am concerned. And interesting that the song should be from Maluku--perhaps the greatest place on Earth!
S. Metz, M.D.

SapiMalas said...

It is wonderful to hear someone in States not thinking about volcanoes and terrorism where Indonesia is mentioned. It is also wonderful that you think Indonesia is Asia :-) Hope many other American also think that way, Stewart.And no, I know not all American are obsessed with "Brittany Spears". Definitely not you, at least!