Welcome back from the Idul Fitri holidays.
Unspun was quite thrilled when the Rasa Sayang(e) postings (here, here, here, here, here and here) generated long and often heated threads of discussions, not only in Unspun‘s blogs but also in the blog of one of Malaysia’s most popular bloggers (see Rocky’s Bru‘s posting here).
After all that’s been said so far in these threads are there and insigts to be gleaned from them? Or were they just so much entertainment as Malaysians and Indonesians flamed each other and vented their frustrations.
Ever the optimist and the skeptic, here are some of Unspun‘s thoughts arising from the Rasa Sayang(e) threads are (many of these are generalizations so nitpickers hold your horses):
- Malaysians and Indonesians are frustrated with their respective governments – Indonesians are frustrated with a government that does not seem to have its act together to protect their heritage and provide a focal point for their national pride. Malaysians are frustrated with their government. Period.
- Culturally Indonesia is a treasure house, Malaysia has only ersatz jewels – Indonesia is so rich in history and culture while Malaysia is so bankrupt. Malaysia’s bankruptcy arises from its insistence of making “Malay culture” the predominant cultural overlay while paying lip service to their other cultures. Yadda Yadda about melting pot, confluence of three main cultures etc. The problem is that “Malay” culture is rather thin on the ground because of Point 3.
- Malay is a big deal and is a political construct in Malaysia; it refers to a small ethnic group in Indonesia – This, Unspun feels, was at the root of the heated discussions surrounding the Rasa Sayang(e) controversy. Outside of Malaysia the concept of Malay has very little cache. Unfortunately, most of the decision makers in Malaysia are so cocooned in the Malaysian milieu as to realize this.
- There is actually still a lot of goodwill and affinity among many Indonesians and Malaysians – The comments on Now to Rasa Some Sayang (and a mirror posting in Rocky’s Bru) attest to the potential amount of goodwill and affinity between the serumpun neighbors. If politicians on both sides were smart they would build on this rather than to emphasize the differences and make stupid statements that are hurtful to each other. Just a parting thought: could the feelings of goodwill and the beginnings of a closer relationship as expressed in this and Rocky’s blog (here and here) could have been achieved by the governments themselves and their Tourism/propaganda arms? If not perhaps it is time for the governments to turn to blogs/bloggers to bridge the divide.