Saturday, June 23, 2012

Indonesian Cultural Night

So last night, I had an amazing night! Mom's a teacher at the Indonesian School of Kuala Lumpur (to those who don't know this, I'm an Indonesian), and they had this amazing Indonesian Cultural Night last night. and it was breath taking!!!! Well, at least for me, because I LOVE culture and art. I think I love it so much that I want to make a t-shirt of it. You know, like the ones that say "I *heart* NY", but instead of NY, I'd put "I *heart* art and culture"(as if I don't come off as a nerd enough as it is already).

So anyway, the whole night was magical, from the dance performance, to angklung, to gamelan, to the food, everything was absolutely perfect! The moment that the music started playing, my heart started beating really quick, pumping all the Indonesian blood inside me. I even got goosebumps from singing the Indonesian national anthem (which I still can sing flawlessly btw!) Amidst the aggressive beats of kecak dance, slow and beautiful gamelan music, and the majestic Javanese dance, there I was sitting down surrounded by all those beauties, engulfed in the darkness of the night only lit by pelita, soft warm breeze blowing on my skin, feeling so proud of my roots, of my culture. So proud of being Indonesian. 

I took some pictures to share with you, but please, please excuse the poor quality of it. I took it only using my Blackberry from a distance, so everything is rather blurry. Please enjoy!

Awesome modern/traditional interpretation of
Asmaradana Dance

Traditional Indonesian songs.

Modern interpretation of Balinese dance 

Awesome display of food

Right: Gudeg, Left: Krecek. Javanese (Jogja) food

This is how you eat it!

Seriously breathtaking performance of Traditional Indian
dance that left me menganga by ASWARA

Like I said, menganga.

Out of that, one of my favorite, and the thing that I want to talk about was YB Senator Datuk Maglin Dennis D'cruz's speech during the opening, about the relationship between Indonesia and Malaysia. It was something that I have said before, and in complete agreement with. 

I'm aware that a number of Indonesians are unhappy with Malaysia for "supposedly" stealing their art and culture. Well, I found myself nodding enthusiastically to YB's take about it. I think I've said it before, but, It is impossible for one country located so close to each other to not share some cultural similarities. People migrate all the time. Even during our forefather's era, even before the concept of "country" even exists. And when people migrate, they don't just take what's physical with them, they also take their ideologies, way of life, religion, and culture along with them. I mean, that is how Islam traveled too isn't it? We don't see the country where Islam originated claiming the religion to be exclusively theirs now, do we? 

So, back to the topic. Our forefathers traveled to foreign land to trade, and so isn't it natural, that the land that is now, by geographical boundaries named Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore share similar cultures? These cultural similarities, or integration if you will, had been happening even before our existence. Why in the world would we jealously, possessively, and obsessively insist that it belongs to us? Like the art of batik for example, how can you be upset that other countries have similar form of art? I mean think about it, people from Land A migrate to Land B for various purposes. In Land B they feel like they need to make some beautiful clothes. a group of people just happen to know how to create intricate print on cloth using only melted wax and fabric dye. So they do it, and maybe to a point, traded it. It got popular, and the people from Land B(which also consisted of Land A migrates, mind you) started practicing the technique, and passed it down from generation to generation, with some adjustments of course. 

So it just doesn't make sense to me that people would argue about which art belonged to whom. The traditional art, folklore, dance, and music belonged to Nusantara (which by the way includes countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Philipines, East Timor and South Thailand) which means that it belongs to ALL of the people in southern asia region. 

I'm an Indonesian through and through. I need my fellow Indonesians to open their minds and try to see it from this perspectives. Because the behavior and hatred that a tiny number of you portray towards Malaysia, is embarrassing us Indonesians as a whole. Indonesians that I grew up with are very  polite, soft spoken, generous with smile, friendly and very helpful. Can't we portray that instead? Because as far as I'm concerned, THAT is what true Indonesians are like. Not these short tempered barbaric hooligans acting like uncivilized human being, causing chaos, and tarnishing the name of their own country in the eyes of the world. Seriously guys, burning things and hurling eggs at people will not get you what you want. 

I hope that they stop it soon, because my face is starting to hurt from all these facepalm I do whenever I hear about it.


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