Every once in a while, Unspun comes across a comment that is so well written, argued or enlightening that it seems a shame to leave it as part of the many other comments in a thread. Especially the Rasa not so Sayang thread, which has generated 117 comments so far!
Unspun finds this comment from winterinoz full of insights into why Malaysia’s use of Rasa Sayang(e) became such a controversy and why viewpoints differ so much. winterinox gets Unspun’s just-made-up Award for Contributing to Serumpun Understanding:
Well, my malaysian fried said he never realized that indonesians appreciate product of culture so highly. For him this song is just another folk song from the archipelago.
I explained to him that in Indonesia, ppl really put emphasize on the locality and originality of products of culture. Most indonesia will probably know that the song Bunga Jempa is from Aceh and Angin Mamiri from Makassar. We’ve been introduced this concept of locality since elementary school. Indonesia has so much products of culture/art from different ethnicity/tribe and to preserve them is by recognizing its origin. This also meant to to increase cultural sensitivity and lessen the possibility of the ethic/tribe conflict.
We have this concept local culture enrich national culture. Still, we distinguish which one is local and which one has become national. Batik, Kebaya and Kopiah somehow has become national, yet we still recognize its origin.
This emphasize on originality and localty can be seen in naming the food. We have Soto Banjar, Soto Madura, Soto (Coto) Makassar, Soto Betawi, Soto Bandung, etc. Of course anyone can cook this food and commercial it anywhere in indonesia but still they have to recognize where it comes from. It is not written law but is what we believe to be ethical. You just can’t make Soto Banjar, sell it in Ambon and then name it Soto Ambon. Indonesian in Banjarmasin will be furious. The same rule goes to Batik, wayang, and so on.
Songs like Rayuan Pulau Kelapa, Tanah Airku, etc as we know has been regarded as national indonesian songs. While, Angin Mamiri, Rasa Sayange, Bunga Jeumpa as local indonesian (folk) songs.
My malaysian friend said that malay Malaysian are used to mixing Nusantare culture and just regarded them as Malay which is from the archipelago. Our understanding of Malay/Melayu is different. To him most of the people in archipelago is Malay. To him Malay/Melayu is a race. While for us Malay/Melayu is a minority tribe in Sumatra which mostly in Riau. Its culture is just small part of the archipelago and to our common knowledge rasa sayange, batik and wayang is not originated from Melayu culture.
For me, knowing that, Malay Malaysian are mostly come from indonesia, they have the same right as much as indonesians do in practising those products of culture. But, of course they must acknowledge where it comes from and its originality. if Malaysians reluctant to admit this shared heritage as Indonesian’s why dont just admit its local origin, like Maluku’s song for this rasa sayange.
Chinese everywhere, for example, surely acknowledge barongsai as their motherland heritage. Why Malay Malaysian can’t do the same. We wonder that that it might due to the hardship that indonesians facing now that malay malaysian may feel reluctant to acknowledge itself as Indonesian descendant and now trying to detach and disassociate itself to Indonesia.
Or is it perhaps because now Malaysia economically more advance than indonesia? or maybe because there are too many indonesian hard labour in malaysia ? I dont know, im just wondering. Not acknowleging the originality of songs or any kind product of culture for that matter, particulary personalizing it by commercial use relatively considered ignorance. ignorance equals arrogant. That’s the way indonesian see it, i suppose.
Anyway, malaysian tourist/visitor in indonesia are hardly shown hostility or resentment towards them because they are malaysian. We may say Ganyang malaysia but i don’t think any malaysian will be hurt by the police or by anyone in indonesia. Some stupid indonesian may burn jalur gemilang in front malaysian embassy but i dont think any indonesian will think to actually hurt a malaysian in indonesia.
I love malaysia when i visited it, but i prefer going to bangkok or singapore instead. Perhaps im too sensitive, but when i was in malaysia, i can feel resentment or changing of facial expression if i said that im indonesian to malaysian officials.
I hope this mentality towards indonesians would change someday.