Sudddenly I was thinking wildly to a book I read sometimes twenty years ago on our first president, Soekarno, on how he screamed at the UN General Assembly summit in New York. He declared that Indonesia is dropping-out as member of civilized country in an organization called United Nations correspond to his great hatred to colonialism and it’s baby doll country called Malingsia—excuse me, Malaysia. I wonder how he would react to current and annoying new traits of our beloved neighbor today claiming any thing that landed on their land as their genuine and most privileged culture. I betting you if they have discovered a Mayan-Inca cultural artifact—as of a small cloth from that civilization—in Perlak sometimes next week, they will claim it a “truly Malaysian cultural heritage”. On the other hand, our country’s most respective government has written a protest note to the monarchy country—another protest notes.
People say you will really miss something you had when you no longer had them on you. But today, we will not only miss Batik, tari Pendet, Reog Ponorogo (and I don’t know what else they got) as our truly Indonesia art, but we will also have to pay the property and intellectual rights only to watch them in some years tomorrow. If you have something in your hand today, you have to claim them earlier than other people do. You might miss the chance when they call your name but gave the prize to someone else. Malaysia is a country with lesser cultural and natural richness, and in this case Indonesia is absolutely lose in preempting this happening over and over. Our children and children’s children will only see Reog and Pendet in films if we cease to stop this.
The essence of culture is to preserve its practice to a current and immanent to its people to the extend that people willing to identify themselves with the very cultural rites voluntarily. If we screamed to the government to protect our culture, so that they could re-claim and scold Malaysia, it is good, but not right. The Malaysian evidently had shown great appreciation and willing to be scorned by most Indonesians by claiming Pendet their heritage. The claim is absolutely preposterous, but to see them claiming this indeed weighty for our concern; a serious concern.
Would you claim your brother’s house unless you know your brother is no longer showing respect to his ownership to that very matter?. You are what you are capable of. I you are able to lift a 200 kilograms or wight single-handedly, people will say you are powerful. If you own millions of miles of sea-lines and could not even swim, people will throw questions and doubting that you really deserve that vast blessings from God. If you call yourselves Bhinekka Tunggal Ika but many times quarrel in ethnic, religion based brawl, you might as well re-thinking the catchphrase. Maybe we are not as what we think we are, and this is a chance for anybody to steal anything from us. Logically, what they are doing is simply showing that.
Morally, the act of claiming other’s songs and dances as one’s belongings are simply rude and disgraceful. If you are saying to my ears that you are my brother, you will not steal your brother’s clothing. My culture is my identity, my appearance, self-identity I claimed before human and given by God. By stealing them, you are stealing our clothing. You are claiming to be democratic, but your traits are simply hurting, betrayal, and I am sorry: criminal. Stop stealing our identities, stop forcing yourself to be like us, stealing everything that is ours is simply stealing our identities. Better change your tagline, since you are already “Truly Indonesia”.