Saturday, October 3, 2009

Batik: A Case of Defending Cultural Heritage

Yesterday, Batik (traditional hand-made painted cloth of Indonesia) had been legally and internationally established as Indonesian cultural heritage. The government of Indonesia had also issued a decree obliging every Indonesian worker to wear batik outfit to work every Monday and Friday. Thus yesterday we saw batik dresses and suits everywhere around the place: in the streets as well as offices.
It is sort of funny yet relieving to find this new regulation established - eventually. But it's rather pathetic to think that the international recognition of Batik as Indonesian cultural heritage came into reality from other nation's prior false-claim of Batik. Yes. If the Malaysian did not falsely claim Batik as their national heritage, I bet our government won't bother to go through such long way into international dispute to win the actual claim of the matter.
Why would other people try to seize what belongs to ours?
First, probably because of the richness and value of the so-disputed heritage.
And second, which is quite ironic, is the fact that our people don't really appreciate the invaluable cultural heritage that is legally ours...!
As long as we don't uphold our dignity, it is unlikely that other nations will respect us as a nation. Batik is simply a case in which we legally win due to indisputable facts of origin.
In other words: what sheer dumb luck we didn't lose the prized material...!

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