Indonesia, Malaysia, Pendet Dance, and Noordin M. Top

Here in Indonesia, we are familiar with the saying “tetangga adalah keluarga terdekat” (“our neighbors are our closest family”). When we run out of salt or pepper, sugar or spice, the first people we seek help from are our neighbors.

We were taught to help our neighbors when they get in trouble or undergo some sorts of difficulty and crisis (of course without crossing the line between being helpful and being a complete busybody :mrgreen:)

I guess I am glad that we still have such proverb to teach to our children. Thanks to our ancestors’ wisdom and our country’s highly rich culture; not only don’t we feel the necessity to claim other’s belonging to declare our national identity, we also still have enough shame not to do such despicable thing.

Which THANK GOD did not happen again recently =)

A firestorm of Internet outrage over the supposed theft of the Balinese pendet dance for a Malaysian tourism ad turned out to be just hot air on Monday, when the Discovery TV network owned up and said that the dancers had appeared in one of its own TV promotions, and it was all a mistake anyway.

Pendet is ours! Noordin M. Top is yours!” said one popular Twitter message, referring to the Malaysia-born terrorist suspect wanted in connection with the July 17 bombings in Jakarta.

Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific regrets that the image of a Balinese dancer, sourced from an independent third party, was used in the promotion of the series ‘Enigmatic Malaysia.’ The promotional clip has been removed from all feeds.


Because even though we were taught to always help our neighbors and share with them, I don’t think sharingnational treasures and a country’s territory is one of them. Innit that correct guvnah?


UPDATED 23 September 2009:

Noordin is dead, Alhamdulillah. Pendet is still Balinese, and I agree with some comments here saying all this can only be nonsense created to break us apart (Southeast Asian countries, particularly the ones with Muslim majority).

The truth is, Malaysia is the only country (other than Indonesia and Saudi Arabia) that provides washing up at the toilets. Shouldn’t that be telling a lot about who we are, how we live and respect ourselves? (sounds silly I know, but I mean this, people!) At least we clean ourselves up, so we must also remember to clear our hearts and minds, all the time.

It’s true that Indonesian media is open and very transparent-sometimes-provoking (especially after Soeharto era), which brings good and also bad. And yes it is our responsibility to be more careful in processing the informations given.

But referring to what is written above… we’re neighbors. We should love and respect and support each other. Neighbors shouldn’t steal from each other or call each other names. When some stranger from a faraway land visits your home and try to ruin your neighborhood, shouldn’t you unite with your neighbors and kick their sorry ass altogether?

And despite all these conflict, issue, name calling, and everything, most Indonesian girls still love VINCCI and Charles & Keith products anyway *wink*

So, peace please?

27 thoughts on “Indonesia, Malaysia, Pendet Dance, and Noordin M. Top

  1. Clearly I wasn’t using my wisdom nor deep insight when writing this. I guess I am through with being all “cool” & “rational” back in 2007 when Malaysia claimed so many Indonesian traditional cultures as theirs. Peaceful propaganda have been done (the I love ID movement – the link on top right of my blog), blogs written trying to help introduce our cultures to the world so nobody will claim them anymore, etc. But apparently all of that attempts are useless when we have a starving neighbour dying for some cultural identity.

    I also understand that other countries may see this conflict as ridiculous, considering Indonesia & Malaysia are very closely related (ancestor wise). But when people really pay attention to what is going on: how Malaysia(n government) has been acting like the worst neighbor ever, how some of them treat most Indonesian workers there; the last thing we expect them to do is thoughtlessly claiming our traditional cultures as theirs to grab tourists’ attention.

    Here I don’t write as the “wise” and “neutral” party. I am Indonesian, and I feel the disappointment of my Indonesian family. This is me reminding ourselves to be the bigger person, despite whatever the governments (from both countries) are really up to out there.

    By the way, what is your nationality and how far is your knowledge about this case?

  2. Good joke. Noordin is yours and pendet is ours. As Indonesian people i just want to call all indonesian people to Proud of our culture and Heritage before some nation claim it, Or we will regret forever. Once again not only Pendet, but also Batik, Wayang (Javanesse name), Keris, Raflesia, and Reog is belong to Indonesia. They not for sale or for share. We can share our cake tart if you want…

  3. We here in Malaysia don’t know really, why are our brothers and sisters in Indonesia have sour feeling towards us, why suddenly? Jangan kerana nila setitik, rosak susu sebelanga or jangan marahkan nyamuk, kelambu dibakar. We are serumpun and being that we are of course share a lot of things, Saya faham apa kamu cakap … itu bahasa Indonesia kah? bahasa Malaysia kah? no problem bacause we are BROTHERS and SISTERS and don’t get carried away with small matters. As siblings we eat, sleep, solat, quarrel, laugh together … air dicincang tidak akan putus, don’t you think so? If I’m wrong, just give slap on my wrist, I’d say I’m sorry, let just forget it and get along.

  4. Pendet dance? I have never ever heard of that dance before. I don’t know, I don’t want to know and I don’t care.

    But you can have it back and I don’t even want it. Take it back along with the ayam penyet or whatever that you feel we took from you last week, last month, last year or even from the last century.

    Me? I am going to ask my two indonesian maids this evening to demonstrate to me this dance. If I am not satisfied, they will be deported.

    I might even ask them to sing Terang Bulan after that.

  5. Hi Reza, perhaps it looks funny all this spat about is only because of one traditional dance ?’s not the root cause, it goes much2x deep than that. Perhaps the comment from Pak Ngah Uluh Beranang can readily sums things up.

    The snob way of thinking of some (hopefully only minority) Malaysian Individual toward its neighbours. How they treat our Migrant workers in degrading meaning (as you can see from the way Pak Ngah boasting about his 2 Indonesian maids).

    I’ve been to Malaysia and I experience it myself, most of Malaysia are nice but perilaku of some of Malaysian especially its public servant such as Police and Imigration Officer are very hostile towards Indonesian, as you said Karena Nila Setitik Rusak Susu Sebelanga, because perilaku macam orang2x seperti Pak Ngah, the Malaysian image are very bad in the eyes of Indonesian.

    Police like to mengincar orang2x pekerja Indonesia, because they are easily to be manipulated and in the law their position is not strong. Teman saya yg nyata2x adalah pekerja professional (bukan illegal) yg kebetulan sedang bertugas kerja di KL pernah di-hentikan polisi karena dia lupa bawa passport dan diputar2xkan oleh mreka sampai at the end mreka berhenti setelah dia mengeluarkan wang 50 ringgit (kejadian macam begini tidak sekali duakali saya dengar)

  6. i’m a malaysian; i have indonesian friends and colleagues; and i have indonesian or even philipines people marrying into our family; but we see no difference but similarities between us. probably due to our location in borneo that i never heard of pendet before; but to me that’s less, or not important at all.

    so what’s important? to me what’s important is to help each other as neighbors. love them. a brother can be annoying sometimes but does that mean you should hate him enough to wipe him off this world map?

    one thing i can’t understand is that, why is indonesia seems to very quick to forget the good deeds malaysia do to help her? when aceh for example was hit by tsunami, earthquake etc; malaysians never failed to come over to offer aid, be it of materials monetary, service, and even prayers. that’s just one example i can think of but nevertheless there are many more.

    and do you think we are happy towards the murder, damage and evil that nordin mat top has caused to your beloved country? he’s never seen as a hero here. there are more of us here who would kill him the moment we see him! do you think we’re sitting tight feeling very proud as a nation whenever we see on the news and read on the papers about the poor treatment and abuse towards many indonesian housemaids by their malaysian bosses? if you like to think that we are, you’re so wrong.

    especially to Miss Tika Wahyuni, the originity of stuff like sarong or keris or wayang could trace back many thousand years from your region (or anywhere here in south east asia, pardon for my ignorance on this) but maybe you should know that we too have raflesias here in our mountains of borneo. they have them too in brazil plus in many other parts over the world. not just indonesia. no heart feeling.

    oh by the way, i will drive a friend, an indonesian, using my car to tebedu tomorrow coz he’s going back to his desa at kalimantan for Eid. my purpose of telling u this is not to show you that i’m a malaysian angel; i’m merely telling you that there are a lot more like me here in malysia who doesnt see nationalities and passports in a friend. salam muhibah.

  7. Thinking further about this – in the subject of history taught in school, it says in the book that the Malay archipelago includes Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines,Singapore, Brunei and Southern Thailand. Thus, definitely the shared Malay cultures of these countries are not owned by any of the countries. Go discuss this with your anthropologists and cultural experts and they will confirm this.

  8. What next? The Indonesian Gov will accused us Malaysian of stealing their language? I ‘m Malaysian with Jawa (Javanese) background..offcourse they will be cultural similarity..Same like the Malaysian Chinese here with the Mainland Chinese or Malaysian Indian with their Indian relatives..

    To make things worst, the AD was not done by M’sian was done by Discovery Channel and the Indonesian Gov asks Malaysian Gov to apologizes?

  9. the real biggest question is, does malaysia ever claim pendet ?… NOT, discovery channel do it not malaysia govt..

    why some indonesia still accuse that malaysia claim it…
    only stupid believe on this shit…

  10. batik, keris, barongan, pendet, terang bulan and whatever…
    sooner or later we cant have bakso or ayam penyet here in malaysia coz they belong to indonesia

    and malaysian muslim ladies shouldnt wear that mukena with embroidery as they came from jakarta
    maybe they should take back JCo donut as well ( or if some of us do not have moderate level of tolerance, we could even boycott their products… but we have better things to do lah, and the donuts are nice too)

    italians should protest on the street coz americans has kidnapped their pizza and turn it into a big international franchise

    and China will demand public apology from malaysian govt for promoting chinese temples and kungfu in malaysian tourism brochure

    and the arabic countries and some part of india will get court injunction to prevent baryani from being served in Malaysia

    its rather silly dont you think

    what maid abuse by malaysian employer?
    how about murder, robbery and rape by indonesian illegal immigrants?

    enough is enough.

    we are all civilised people. please stop this nonsense.

    i am having italian pasta carbonara for supper, cooked by my indonesian helper whom has has been us for the past 10 years. oh yes she can cook bakso and ayam penyet too.

  11. saya pikir saatnya kita sama-sama berpikir jernih dan lebih mendalam dalam menyikapi konflik ini..jangan saling terbawa emosi dengan artikel dan komentar-komentar yang ada..satu hal yang pasti : ADA YANG DIUNTUNGKAN DARI PERTIKAIAN INDONESIA-MALAYSIA..jadi menjadi tanggung jawab kita bersama untuk lebih memahami kasus ini lebih jernih!!!

    Pihak Ketiga dalam Konflik Indonesia Malaysia

  12. Hey good stuff…keep up the good work! 🙂 I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks,)

    A definite great read..

  13. NOW… I don’t rally want to debate about this problem… because its will never end…


    (i’m sorry for my bad english…)

  14. Right now put an end to our squabbles about tarian pendet.Jawab menjawab and kutuk mengutuk dan maki hamun tak ada guna dan buang masa. Let us all pray for all the people in Padang who are suffering. It hurts to see them suffering. Use the internet to foster peace between us. Salam. Grace, Perak

  15. Salam again, the earthquake as said in the news paper ‘they should blame the region’s volatile geology’ Yeap, “Magma doesn’t move because SBY has become president. I know that there are people who believes in the mystic theory. However, I think SBY care and loves and his people.

    By the way, I read in the news that someone names her child tsunami. If the child one day becomes a president, would he be the cause of tsunami?.

    Stop blaming. Ini ujian Allah swt. Let us all pray for the women, children and all people who died and those were made homeless, those in the remote areas still not getting any help, no food, no roof above their heads. Ya Allah swt, bantu lah saudara, jiran kami di Indonesia


    Grace, Perak. Malaysia

  16. keturunan aku dua2 berasal dari tanah indonesia. tapi aku xsangka duduk dan lahir di malaysia lebih beruntung dan lebih selamat dan lebih segala2galanya jika dibandingkan dengan nenek moyang aku back in indonesia. maybe that’s why orang2 indon sendiri lebih prefer untuk berhijrah ke malaysia tapi apa penghargaan yang diorang bagi? ada diorang berterima kasih kerana malaysia ni la sumber diorang cari rezeki? malaysia ni lah tempat yang bagi perlindungan kat diorang? ada? takde. yang lebih menyakitkan mereka menuduh, mengganyang, mengancam orang2 malaysia yang tujuan datang ke indonesia dengan niat yang suci bersih iaitu pergi menuntut ilmu!!! mengenai isu ‘mencuri’ tarian-tarian, lagu dan budaya indonesia: hello fellow indonesians, did’t u read the history ar at least been taught in schools about the history of the MALAYS? tak pernah tahu ke bahawa orang melayu yang berketurunan jawa seperti AKU datang ke malaysia dan membuka tanah2 untuk dijadikan tempat tinggal??? untuk berhibur mereka bawa tarian2 dan budaya mereka yang asalnya dari indonesia ke tempat tinggal mereka yang baru iaitu tanah melayu atau sekarang lebih dikenali sebagai MALAYSIA?? bodohnya kamu2 ini yang hanya tahu menuduh dan mengancam tanpa ambil tahu perkara2 seperti penghijrahan dan pembawaan budaya seni indonesia ke malaysia itu adalah orang indonesia sendiri!!! BUTAKAH MATA, PEKAKKAH TELINGA, BUSUKKAH HATI KAMU SEMUA ORANG INDONESIA?????????

  17. saya orang Indonesiaa..
    dan saya yakin.. kita (Indonesia dan Malaysia) adalah bersaudara..
    jadi, jangan ada pertengkaran..
    kita sama-sama negara yang islam..
    jadi, kita harus ingat,, kita adalah saudara muslim..
    kita tdk boleh saling berburuk sangka. melainkan kita harus saling menyayangi..

  18. ariopermana…….. I have to pause you there. My husband is Yemeni. He travels alot (common thing for Arabs… maybe its in their nomadic blood? hehehe…). He has travelled to Indonesia, Cambodia, America, Emirates, etc……… and in his experience (as so many of his Arab friends from whatever nationalities), ALL the immigration treat people ESPECIALLY foreigners like…… crap. I dare say, this include USA, even.

    Myself, went to Australia and was treated unfairly (although if you go there you wont notice, since whites has this funny way of belittling you with a smile, even with words of admiration and respect-but with enough experience, I can tell the difference) because I happen to be the only one who wears headscarf on the plane.

    That’s what immigration and government offices are. It’s the same anywhere in the world. Unless you are a rich local, or has European passport, you will be treated like…. crap.

    And of course, tops of that list is Indonesian immigration. The officer there treated hubby badly, while trying to use his logics against allowing hubby to enter the country. (In actual fact he just want hubby to pay him some bribe money). But hubby being a true blue Arab- he outsmart the Indonesian immigration officer and got his right without having to pay anything. That officer was very upset, of course (I’m sure he was thinking somewhere along the line, “You bloody Arab!” Ha!). He faced the same experience in Cambodia, too. Go figure. Any wonder why this region is known as the third world country?

    Point is- Immigration and government officers are the same everywhere-ESPECIALLY in this region. Slow, full of excuses, disrespectful, etc etc but the situation can IMMEDIATELY be taken care of once some shiny dollar notes is shoved under the table.

    SO no need to get all hot up about the immigration and government officers treatment in Malaysia. Its the same in Indonesia too. We asians hate almost everyone; foreigners and our ownselves UNLESS if that person is RICH/European- no hatred on you, all the nice manners will be given to you. Just go to Jakarta and see what I mean. Do you think you’ll be treated nicely if you are “ereng” (Don’t know how’s the correct spelling but basically means “very dark” in Javanese).

    Sometimes we get too caught up in our own cocoon and think we are 100% flawless and God forbid, original. But step out of the cocoon a little and you’ll realise you are not really as better or civilised as you think. Nor is the person you judging is really worse than you, as you think. Could be, you guys are just the same- both in bad or good ways. That’s what makes us humans anyway.

  19. Salam Muhibah dan salam satu malaysia…

    First of all… i would like to thanks and congratulation to all of you for giving your opinion on our relationship nowadays… At least… the opinions seems to be like high level of educated people had participated it compared to other blogs.

    Yeah im really agree… we should unite… we are serumpun… indonesian and malaysian…. let us be togather… and u see their faces… we are the same…. why should we fight just because of some sort of cultural stuff? Doesnt it sound nonsense? Besides, it is not totally our fault… and if im not mistaken… this issue had been corrected already… it is totally because of media which want to provoke both of the countries to get our attention(benefit them in some sort of profits).

    i have nothing to say… but yeah… jangan kerana nila setitik rosak susu sebelanga… yet… when indonesian hav problem… we are the first who help… because we are BROTHERS AND SISTERS… prayers… material… etc….
    not to say that malaysia are superb angel… but it is not fair… from the past until now… seems like indonesian always kinda criticize towards Malaysia. Im sure all of you had ever heard about ganyang malaysia… does ganyang malaysia still exist???

    Think about it…
    rather than we have a war…. which will hurt both side… which is not necessary… it is better we concentrate on our own problems…

    Well, good luck…
    Hope The best for both of our side…
    Owh… by the way… i have a good friend from indonesia… he is very nice… hehehe^^ we jst done our dance performance togather last month… but not pandet dance… it was hiphop and break dance… oh by the way… i like indonesian SONGS!! really love it… i dont know why… serious no joke here… malaysian should learn from indonesian… =)
    Salam Serumpun….

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