Update: Now it turns out that the controversial snippet wasn’t a television ad after all, but a promotional clip from Discovery Channel used in the promotion of the series Enigmatic Malaysia. In saying this the Jakarta Globe contradicts the Antara article it carried earlier (bottom of this posting):

Indonesia Internet Furor Fizzles as Discovery Channel Admits Pendet Mistake

A firestorm of Internet outrage over the alleged Malaysian theft of a Balinese dance turned out to be mostly smoke on Monday, after the Discovery Channel admitted responsibility for the TV ad featuring the dance.

“Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific regrets that the image of a Balinese dancer, sourced from an independent third party, was used in the promotion of the series Enigmatic Malaysia,” the network said in a statement. “The promotional clip has been removed from all feeds.”

News stories had reported that the image of a traditional Balinese pendet dancer was used in an official Malaysia tourism ad. The stories revived longstanding antagonism between the two countries over the heritage of traditional songs and dances, and provoked a furor on Twitter and Facebook.

“The Balinese dancer was not featured in any way in the programme,” the statement continues. “Discovery has the deepest respect for the traditions, cultures, and practices of all races and nations, and it is not our intention to cause any misunderstanding or distress to any party.” (more).

Unspun’s curious how these series work. Does the Malaysian Touism Ministry pay them to do these series, a bit like the indirectly pid for supplements you see in the newspapers? Or does Discovery do this on their own steam? If it is the former, does someone at the Ministry need to sign off on it? If the latter what does this say of Discovery, that’s supposed to be an expert on things cultural all over?

The post earlier:

“How in the world,” asked a colleague of Unspun over lunch, “can the Malaysians be so ignorant or brazen as to pass off the Balinese pendet dance as something Malaysian?”

She was referring to the latest broughaha surrounding Malaysia’s appropriation of things traditionally and culturally Indonesian to be its own. And advertisement shot for the “Visit Malaysia Year” advertisement which not only contained a shot of the pendet dance but also two well known Indonesian artistes dancing it.

“I can understand if they take something Sumatran or Javanese and pass them off as Malaysian. Culturally, at least they are closer. But the pendet dance from a Hindu culture? How can that happen?” she asked.

Unspun, who’s chronicled Malaysia’s used of Rasa Sayang and Reog Pornorogo could only explain that Malaysians have a very warped world of what’s Malay and what’s not. Unlike in Indonesia where ethnic groups are taken for what they are and people are educated about the differences, Malaysians have been brainwashed into thinking that they have three main cultures: Chinese, Indian and, if you’re not one of them and is not an aboriginal, Malay.  Their world view is so warped that until this day most Malaysians think that most Indonesians, apart from the minority Chinese,  are Malays.

This is, of course, ridiculous to the extreme to Indonesians but there you have it. It’s a Matrix like reality, or unreality in Malaysia. How ridiculous is this notion? Perhaps a video of the Pendet Dance, posted by Niddu will make it clear:

via The Jakarta Globe.

Balinese Artists Protest Malaysian Tourism Ad

Denpasar. Dozens of Balinese artists staged a demonstration on Saturday to protest against a Malaysian tourism advertisement suggesting the Balinese pendet dance was part of indigenous Malaysian culture.

The artists gathered in front of Denpasar’s Cultural Park, with Wayan Dibia of the Indonesian Institute of Arts leading the rally.

During the demonstration, he presented a written statement expressing the artists’ frustrations to Ida Ayu Agung Mas, a member of the Regional Representatives Council (DPD).

The dance is part of a welcome ritual performed by women in Balinese traditional costumes, but appeared in a “Visit Malaysia Year” advertisement. Dibia said the dance was a part of the cultural heritage of the Balinese.

“Based upon our observations, the dancers shown in the Malaysian ad were in fact two graduates from the Indonesian Institute of Arts in Denpasar, named Lusia and Wiwik. The footage was taken two or three years ago,” he said.

Dibia called on the government to make an inventory of artistic products and patent them so that they would not be easily claimed by other countries.

“The pendet dance is part of our cultural heritage that shows artistic values and cultural symbols exclusively part of Hindu-Bali cultural traditions,” he said.

Ida Ayu Agung Mas, meanwhile, expressed deep concern over the Malaysian advertisement. “As a people’s representative I support the protest and will immediately notify the Malaysian government about the case,” he said.