Establishing Ketuanan Melayu with an Indonesian heritage?

When Unspun was growing up in Malaysia he was told that the kris was an intrinsic part of the Malay identity.The kris was such a big deal that some years ago when the son of a former Malaysian prime minister and UMNO big shot wanted to establish Malay supremacy over the other Malaysian races he waved it around more vigorously than a koteka would be rattled in a tribal dance.

Stop waving an Indonesian heritage around Hishamuddin. It’s embarrassing.

Unspun was awed. But now Unspun feels cheated.

According to UNESCO the kris isn’t even Malaysian, let alone Malay. And not only that. Even the batik and the wayang is Indonesian. So what’ Malaysia got left to wave with? Malaysia, Truly Indonesia.

Batik, kris and wayang get UNESCO world heritage status

The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Sat, 02/06/2010 1:02 PM | Headlines

UNESCO on Friday awarded Indonesia four certificates, three stating that it recognized three intangible cultural heritages and one stating its recognition of the country’s efforts to preserve its culture.

The three intangible cultural heritages were batik, a method of decorating fabric with a special dyeing techniques producing specific patterns, wayang, a traditional shadow puppet play, and kris, a traditional ceremonial dagger.

The certificates were symbolically handed by Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, to Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik and Coordinating Public Welfare Minister Agung Laksono.

After the awards were given, Agung said, the country should preserve the heritage to prevent the recognition from being withdrawn.

“Batik can be preserved by always wearing it. What will be hard is preserving wayang and kris,” he said.

Agung added he had issued a letter requesting that offices and hotels display the three objects.

Tresna Dermawan Kunaefi, Indonesia’s Ambassador to UNESCO, said the recognition as intangible cultural heritage was not based on the objects’ physical aspects, but the stories and ideas behind them.

via Batik, kris and wayang get UNESCO world heritage status | The Jakarta Post.

17 thoughts on “Establishing Ketuanan Melayu with an Indonesian heritage?

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  1. Bro, do you think that there will be even one red face among the ketuanan crowd in UMNO? Those shameless plagiarizers will go on as if nothing had happened until some group from Indonesia chides them for cultural theft. Then they’ll slow down for a while and start the same nonsense again. That is all those buggers have got to show as defenders of the Malay people. Not that everyone is buying their silly propaganda.


  2. These instigators of hatred should be part of the breed of politicians Malaysians should eradicate if Malaysia were to move forward. No one race is originally from Malaysia except the natives so it’s idiotic to say the least when these fearmongers say that other races do not belong in Malaysia except the Malays. The public generally are fed-up with their tactics of pitting races against each other so that they can continue to divide and rule. The recent church burning could have more insidious hands behind the scene. I would think that it is a diversion from the lost jet engines, Teo Beng Hock’s and Altantuya’s death, Perak’s fiasco and the internal UMNO and MCA problem. If I’m the spin doctor I would advise them to do so. Look at Bush and Enron and WMDs in Iraq.


  3. Same here Pak Ong, I was made to believe the keris, wayang kulit, angklung and the likes are Malay until I moved to Jakarta.

    Since the media and the education syllabus are controlled by these “ketuanan mentality” people, they have successfully managed to do a disservice to all Malaysians. They have even changed the history subjects in Malaysia compared to what you and I used to read in school, those days.



  4. Dear Unspun

    In reference to Ketuanan Melayu, we should look in the bigger view that when someone mention Melayu, thats not necessarily refered to Malaysia. Malay or Melayu (or Malay archipelago) spreads over a few countries from Kemboja, Philipines and some part of island of Australia.

    Hence they shared many things in common; lifestyle, culture etc

    In this regard I thanks and appreciate very much of Indonesian effort to obtained recognition from UNESCO on their effort to preserves their (Malay) heritage and culture.

    The Malaysian seem busy with other things. Busy for nothing. Nothing of concrete to brings forward the country which now facing 3 consequtive years of low GDP since recent crisis even compared Indonesia!!!

    We are diaspora Malaysian observes all what happening very closely as we were alwyas asked by our fellow collegue and friend on happenings in the country



  5. Keris is from Javanese people originally, but Malay and Minangkabau people (and perhaps other ethnic groups also) has worn it since a long time ago.

    I guess it is like Mahabharata or Ramayana stories. They come from India, but they have become so integrated with Javanese culture.

    About Hishamuddin … er, it is Malaysians problem. Carry on πŸ˜€


    1. I don’t know about Malay. But they say the first king of Minangkabau (the founder of Pagaruyung), Adityawarman, was Javanese. Hence the keris?


      1. Adityawarman was half-Javanese, his mother was from Malayu. But I think his descent doesn’t really matter. He was Javanese-educated, so, yes, he might have brought the keris to Minangkabau region with him (along with other culture elements, such as Tantrayana Buddhism).

        The use of keris by Malays actually can be traced to Malacca sultanate time (read Hang Tuah stories). Of course, the Javanese have used it even earlier. For example, Ken Arok famously employed it to found the Kingdom of Singhasari.


    1. Dear Pak Ong,
      Please do not use your blog to promote a one sided emosional version without reflecting to a bigger picture of any posted issue, this includes highlighting political events which have their own agenda that everyone is free to interprete according to their own level of interest, maturity and educational background.

      FYI, the Malays originated from Muara Jambi and was defeated by Sriwijaya hence the flight of a prince who then opened up Malaccca. Melayu is also the big Marga for other subclan families in Minangkabau. The name of Indonesia just cropped up in the early 21st Century previously just Dutch East Indies while Tanah Melayu (Peninsular) was there when the British starts colonization. Generally, the distinction is just between the Javanese and the Malays in this part of the world. The Sumaterans (even the Bataks), do alligned themselves as satu rumpun with Melayu.

      It is the same in China, where regionally is was always segregated just between the North and the South. It is because only the Southern Coastal Chinese who have migrated to this part of SEA hence, the Hokkiens, Cantonese, Hakkas etc. Real unification was only cemented by the Communist.

      To my Malaysian Chinese citizens, please be balance in promoting your views. Point by point, in reality, Malaysia is still a better place to live in.

      I do not want to start any academic argument here as this is your blog and turf, but I do expect some maturity in making reference on picking-up issues and relating it to matters inclining to your taste.

      We are lucky of being here today and abled making comparison with the land where we came from but at this age where information is readily available, please do not formulate and make simple conclusion unless a thorough study is made if not, ‘the more you talk, the more you expose on yourself’.

      Kong Si Fatt Choi.


  6. FYI, malay kingdom’s defeat by srivijaya kingdom was around 600 AD meanwhile the founding of malacca was around 1400 AD.. there is no malay marga in minang the big marga in minang are bodi, chaniago, koto and piliang.. before the europeans came the peninsula was called svarnabhumi/golden peninsula, malay peninsula is a name given by the british.. and like my friend who born and live in bukittinggi said “minang is minang, malay is malay”..


    1. No Malay marga in Minangkabau? I guess you must mean “suku Malayu”, like “suku Piliang”, “suku Caniago” and so on. I have to correct you then: there is one “suku Malayu” in Minangkabau. I can confirm it because I am from “suku Malayu” myself.

      I am still uncertain the relationship between “suku Malayu” of Minangkabau and the Malays though. Some speculate we must have come from Malayu Kingdom with Adityawarman.

      For non-Minangkabaus, I should explain that “suku” for the Minangkabaus means “clan”, equivalent to “marga” for the Bataks.


  7. I Love Indonesia even more, I don’t care what other people say. Indonesia is biggest part of Nusantara archipelago, while Malaysia is only smaller part.

    Indonesia is the center gravity of Malay Culture, that’s why our culture is more diverse than in Malaysia, like rendang, keris, wayang kulit, rasa sayange, gamelan and even angklung, (or you name it) are come from Indonesia.

    Indonesia is home for Indo-Dutch, Jews (in Surabaya,East Java and Manado, North Celebes, Malay, Chinese, Indian, Arab, Persian, and Melanesian (Eastern Indonesian provinces : Nusa Tenggara Timur, Mollucas, North Mollucas, West Papua and Papua.

    More diverse than any other countries in the world. face it Malaysians πŸ™‚


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