Whose Malay Archipelago is it anyway?

This remark by Malaysia’s Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister raises interesting questions such as:1. Who’s a Malay? (There is the Malaysian Constitution definition, popular usage in Indoneia and a fascinating account and discussion initiated by Michael Chick here)
2. What then of the concept of the Malay Archipelago? Is it political, ethnographic, cultural, what?

clipped from web7.bernama.com
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 2 (Bernama) — The call by Indonesian lawmakers for action against Malaysia for using the “Rasa Sayang” folk song in its “Truly Asia” tourism campaign which Indonesia has claimed to be its traditional song, has been described as unrealistic.Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said the issue should not have arisen as the song like other folk songs such as “Jauh Di Mata”, “Burung Pungguk” and “Terang Bulan” were songs of the Malay archipelago inherited by the people from their ancestors.

“I think Indonesia or other parties will not be able to prove who was the composer of the song (the Indonesian version being Rasa Sayange),” he told reporters at the breaking of fast organised by his ministry at the Federal Territory Mosque here tonight.

  blog it

3 thoughts on “Whose Malay Archipelago is it anyway?

  1. I think the 14 red-white strips in Malaysia Flag were similar with the Majapahit naval flag which has 9 strips.

    Strategically, Malaysia may look forward to seeing Indonesia subdivided into smaller independent countries, so that she can propose alliance with such countries to locate Indonesia in the middle. One of the country could be Maluku or Papua.

    Indonesia has been the strongest neighbour. It will need some strategy to beat it. I reckon in the future South East Asia may become a considerable dangerous region in the world. If people/govt in both countries never resolve this kind of issue or always create new issues.

    If the world sees the SEA as a dangerous region, no tourism campaign will be successful.


  2. Malaysia has around 24 millions population while Indonesia has over 200 millions.

    Indonesia is undergoing changes to the better since post Soeharto era, though quite slowly at the moment. Later, She might pick up “speed & momentum” just like China & India. With the rich natural & human resources, more democratic but less religious fanatic like Malaysia, I’m sure Indonesia will progress & overtake Malaysia in a very near future.

    While here in Malaysia (my own country), we are regressing. There are less foreign investment, less freedom of speech, main media controlled by government, no free public forum, more religious fanatics, more racial polarization, more corruption, tainted judiciary etc… How sad that we have come to this stage. It is totally rotten.

    Malaysia talk about Malay Archipelago? If it is political, then Malaysia is too ambitious & is dreaming.


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