Indon to M’sia: "Rasa Sayang" is ours

M’sia urges Indonesia to drop plans to sue over folk song

A GOVERNMENT minister on Friday urged Indonesia to drop its claim of ownership over a Malay folk song used in Malaysia’s tourism campaign and focus instead on boosting bilateral ties.

The Indonesians have accused Malaysia of stealing the song Rasa Sayang, or Feeling of Love, from them and are considering suing.

Kuala Lumpur has rejected the allegations, which could spark a diplomatic row between the two neighbors.

Malaysian Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Rais Yatim warned that Jakarta’s plan to sue for copyright was immature and would setback bilateral ties.

The song has its roots in the Malay archipelago which includes Indonesia, Malaysia, southern Thailand and Brunei, and is also sung by people in southern Africa and Sri Lanka, Mr Rais told reporters.

‘It is a backward move (to sue). Indonesia should have instead encouraged Rasa Sayang to be made the song of harmony for the Malay archipelago,’ he said.

[Read more]

We also sing that song in Singapore, especially during National Day season. I tend to agree with the Malaysians. That would be a perfect song for ASEAN unity.

Author: Gerald Giam

Gerald Giam is the Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC. He is a member of the Workers' Party of Singapore. The opinions expressed on this page are his alone.

15 thoughts on “Indon to M’sia: "Rasa Sayang" is ours”

  1. Seems like the Feeling of Love has turned Sour as a result of the stupid and illogical reaction of the country which claimed the song’s originality.

    What if all the other countries start to sue the rest of the world for singing their folk songs without a license? I suppose one thing would result: a world with less cheer and love.

    And we know who are the people who can’t wait to see this happen, don’t we?

  2. It is different between singing a song, and claiming a song’s ownership. Malaysians can sing the song, but at least pay some respect to the rest of archipelago, and don’t claim it to be your song!

  3. It’s been interesting to read such free-flowing comments on the subject of the Origins of the Malay Culture. While we are on the subject, how many of you have read the book entitled “Contesting Malayness – Malay Identity Across Boundaries” Edited by Timothy P. Barnard published by Singapore University Press?

    Written by a Professor of National University of Singapore. It reflects the Anthropologists views that there is no such race as the “Malays” to begin with. If we follow the original migration of the Southern Chinese of 6,000yrs ago, they moved into Taiwan, (now the Alisan), then into the Phillipines (now the Aeta) and moved into Borneo (4,500yrs ago) (Dayak). They also split into Sulawesi and progressed into Jawa, and Sumatera. The final migration was to the Malayan Peninsular 3,000yrs ago. A sub-group from Borneo also moved to Champa in Vietnam at 4,500yrs ago.

    Interestingly, the Champa deviant group moved back to present day Kelantan. There are also traces of the Dong Song and HoaBinh migration from Vietnam and Cambodia. To confuse the issue, there was also the Southern Thai migration, from what we know as Pattani today. (see also “Early Kingdoms of the Indonesian Archipelago and the Malay Peninsular”)

    Of course, we also have the Minangkabau’s which come from the descendants of Alexander the Great and a West Indian Princess. (Sejarah Melayu page 1-3)

    So the million Dollar Question… Is there really a race called the “Malays”? All anthropologists DO NOT SEEM TO THINK SO. (strangely, this includes all Malay Malaysian Anthropologists who are of the same opinion.)

    Neither do the “Malays” who live on the West Coast of Johor. They’d rather be called Javanese. What about the west coast Kedah inhabitants who prefer to be known as “Achenese”? or the Ibans who simply want to be known as IBANS. Try calling a Kelabit a “Malay” and see what response you get… you’ll be so glad that their Head-Hunting days are over.

    In an article in the Star, dated: Dec 3rd 2006

    available for on-line viewing at:

    An excerp is reproduced here below:

    “The Malays – taken as an aggregation of people of different ethnic backgrounds but who speak the same language or family of languages and share common cultural and traditional ties – are essentially a new race, compared to the Chinese, Indians and the Arabs with their long histories of quests and conquests.

    The Malay nation, therefore, covers people of various ethnic stock, including Javanese, Bugis, Bawean, Achehnese, Thai, Orang Asli, the indigenous people of Sabah and Sarawak and descendants of Indian Muslims who had married local women.

    Beneath these variations, however, there is a common steely core that is bent on changing the Malay persona from its perceived lethargic character to one that is brave, bold and ready to take on the world. “

    The definition of “Malay” is therefore simply a collection of people’s who speak a similar type language. With what is meant by a similar type language does not mean that the words are similar. (A native Kelantanese native speaker has no clue whatsoever what his Iban native brother is talking about; if both speak their own dialect) Linguists however, call this the “Lego-Type” language, where words are added on to the root word to make meaning and give tenses and such. Somehow, the Indonesians disagree with this “Malay” classification and insist instead on being called “Indonesians” even though the majority of “Malays” have their roots in parts of Indonesia. They refuse to be called “Malay”…. Anyhow you may define it.

    The writer failed to identify (probably didn’t know), that the “Malay” definition also includes, the Champa, Dong Song, HoabinHian, The Taiwanese Alisan and the Philippino Aetas. He also did not identify that the “Orang Asli” are (for lack of a better term) ex-Africans. If you try to call any one of our East Malaysian brothers an “Orang Asli”, they WILL BEAT YOU UP! I had to repeat this because almost all West Malaysians make the same mistake when we cross the South China Sea. Worse, somehow, they feel even more insulted when you call them “Malay”. Somehow, “kurang ajar” is uttered below their breath as if “Malay” was a really bad word for them. I’m still trying to figure this one out.

    Watch “Malays in Africa”; a Museum Negara produced DVD. Also, the “Champa Malays” by the same.

    With this classification, they MUST also include the Phillipinos, the Papua New Guineans, the Australian Aboroginies, as well as the Polynesian Aboroginies. These are of the Australo Melanesians who migrated out of Africa 60,000yrs ago.

    Getting interesting? Read on…

    “Malay” should also include the Taiwanese singer “Ah Mei” who is Alisan as her tribe are the anscestors of the “Malays”. And finally, you will need to define the Southern Chinese (Southern Province) as Malay also, since they are from the same stock 6,000yrs ago.

    Try calling the Bugis a “Malay”. Interestingly, the Bugis, who predominantly live on Sulawesi are not even Indonesians. Neither do they fall into the same group as the migrating Southern Chinese of 6,000yrs ago nor the Australo Melanesian group from Africa.

    Ready for this?

    The Bugis are the cross-breed between the Mongolian Chinese and the marauding Arab Pirates. (FYI, a runaway Ming Dynasty official whom Cheng Ho was sent to hunt down) Interestingly, the Bugis, (just like their Arabic ancestors) were career Pirates in the Johor-Riau Island areas. Now the nephew of Daeng Kemboja was appointed as the First Sultan of Selangor. That makes the entire Selangor Sultanate part Arab, part Chinese! Try talking to the Bugis Museum curator near Kukup in Johor. Kukup is located near the most south-western tip of Johor. (Due south of Pontian Kechil) He is more than willing to expound on the Bugis heritage. Buy him lunch and he can talk for days on end.

    Let’s not even get into the Hang Tuah, Hang Jebat, Hang Kasturi, Hang Lekiu, and Hang Lekir, who shared the same family last name as the other super famous “Hang” family member… Hang Li Poh. And who was she? Legend tells us that she is the Princess of a Ming Dynasty Emperor who was sent to marry the Sultan of Malacca. Won’t that make the entire Malacca Sultanate downline “Baba” ? Since the older son of the collapsed Malaccan Sultanate got killed in Johor, (the current Sultanate is the downline of the then, Bendahara) the only other son became the Sultan of Perak. Do we see any Chinese-ness in Raja Azlan? Is he the descendant of Hang Li Poh? But wait a minute….

    That’s what legend says. Let’s look at the proof. The solid evidence. There is a well next to the Zheng He Temple in Malacca which is supposed to be the well built by the Sultan of Malacca for Hang Li Poh. According to legend, anyone who drinks of it shall re-visit Malacca before they die. Hmmm smells like a romantic fairy tale already. But let’s look at who Hang Li Poh actually is. Which Ming Emperor was she a daughter to? So I got into researching the entire list of Ming Emperors. Guess what? Not a single Ming Emperor’s last name begins with Hang. In fact, all their last names begin with Tzu (pronounced Choo). So who is Hang Li Poh? An Extra Concubine? A Spare Handmaiden? Who knows? But one thing for certain, is that she was no daughter of any of the Ming Emperors. Gone is the romantic notion of the Sultan of Malacca marrying an exotic Chinese Princess. Sorry guys, the Sultan married an unidentified Chinese commoner.

    Next question. If the Baba’s are part Malay, why have they been marginalized by NOT BEING BUMIPUTERA? Which part of “Malay” are they not? Whatever the answer, why then are the Portugese of Malacca BUMIPUTERA? Did they not come 100yrs AFTER the arrival of the first Baba’s? Parameswara founded Malacca in 1411. The Portugese came in 1511, and the Dutch in the 1600’s. Strangely, th
    e Baba’s were in fact once classified a Bumiputera, but some Prime Minister decreed that they were to be strangely “declassified” in the 1960’s. WHY? How can a “native son of the soil” degenerate into an “un-son”? The new classification is “pendatang” meaning a migrant to describe the Baba’s and Nyonyas. Wait a minute, isn’t EVERYONE on the Peninsular a migrant to begin with? How can the government discriminate? Does the Malaysian Government have amnesia?

    The Sultan of Kelantan had similar roots to the Pattani Kingdom making him of Thai origin. And what is this “coffee table book” by the Sultan of Perlis claiming to be the direct descendant of the prophet Muhammed? Somehow we see Prof Khoo Khay Khim’s signature name on the book. I’ll pay good money to own a copy of it myself. Anyone has a spare?

    In persuing this thread, and having looked at the history of Prophet Muhammed (BTW, real name Ahmad) we couldn’t figure out which descendant line The Sultan of Perlis was. Perhaps it was by the name Syed, which transcended. Then we tried to locate which downline did the Sultan descend from of the 13 Official Wives of Prophet Muhammad named in the Holy Koran? Or was the Sultan of Perlis a descendant from the other 23 non-wives? Of the 13 Official Wives were (at least known) 3 Israeli women. Then you should come to this instant revelation, isn’t Prophet Muhammad an Israeli himself? Yes, the answer is clear. All descendants of Moses are Israeli. In fact, the Holy Koran teaches that Moses was the First Muslim. Thus confirming all the descendants of Moses to be Israeli, including Jesus and Prophet Muhammad. It is also found in Sura 2:58&59 which specifically mentions that the Torah/ Talmud (Jewish) and the Kitab (Bible) are Holy Words of Allah. But since this is not a Religious or a Theological discussion, let’s move on to a more anthropological approach.

    So, how many of you have met with the Orang Asli’s (Malaysian Natives)? The more northern you go, the more African they look. Why are they called Negrito’s? It is a Spanish word, from which directly transalates “mini Negros”. The more southern you go, the more “Indonesian” they look. And the ones who live at Cameron Highlands kinda look 50-50. You can see the Batek at Taman Negara, who really look like Eddie Murphy to a certain degree. Or the Negritos who live at the Thai border near Temenggor Lake (north Perak). The Mah Meri in Carrie Island look almost like the Jakuns in Endau Rompin. Half African, half Indonesian.

    Stangely the natives in Borneo all look rather Chinese in terms of features and facial characteristics especially the Kelabits in Bario.

    By definition, (this is super eye-opening) there was a Hindu-Malay Empire in Kedah. Yes, I said right… The Malays were Hindu (just like the gentle Balinese of today). It was known by it’s old name, Langkasuka. Today known as Lembah Bujang. This Hindu-Malay Empire was 2,000yrs old. Pre-dating Borrobudor AND Angkor Watt. Who came about around 500-600yrs later. Lembah Bujang was THE mighty trading Empire, and its biggest influence was by the Indians who were here to help start it. By definition, this should make the Indians BUMIPUTERAS too since they were here 2,000yrs ago! Why are they marginalized?

    The Malaysian Government now has a serious case of Alzheimer’s. Why? Simply because, they would accord the next Indonesian who tomorrow swims accross the Straits of Malacca and bestow upon him with the apparently “prestigious title” of the Bumiputra status alongside others who imply have inhabited this land for hundreds of centuries. (prestigious, at least perceived by Malays) They also have a strange saying called “Ketuanan Melayu” which literally transalates into “The Lordship of Malays” The Malays still cannot identify till this day “who” or “what” the Malays have “Lordship” over. And they celebrate it galantly and triumphantly by waving the Keris (wavy knife which has Hindu origins in Borrobudor. Ganesan is seen brandishing the Keris in a bass-relief sculpture.) during public meetings over National TV much like a Pagan Wicca Ceremony on Steroids. Let’s all wait for that official press release to see who the “Malays” have Lorship over, shall we?

    Of the 3 books listed, “Contesting Malayness” (about S$32 for soft cover) is “banned” in Malaysia; you will need to “smuggle” it into Malaysia; for very obvious reasons…. :( or read it in Singapore if you don’t feel like breaking the law. Incidentally, the Professor (Author) was invited to speak on this very subject circa 2 yrs ago, in KL, invited by the MBRAS. You can imagine the “chaos” this seminar created…… :( Fortunately the FRU was not called in.

    The other, “Kingdoms of the Indonesian Archipelago, and the Malay Peninsular” (about RM84) are openly sold at all leading bookshops; Kinokuniya, MPH, Borders, Popular, Times, etc. You should be able to find a fair bit of what I’ve been quoting in this book too, but mind you, it is extremely heavy reading material, and you will find yourself struggling through the initial 200+ pages. It is extremely technical in nature. Maybe that’s why it hasn’t been banned (yet)…coz our authorities couldn’t make head or tail of it? (FYI, if I wasn’t doing research for my film, I wouldn’t have read it in its entirety)

    The “Sejarah Melayu” (about RM 50) however, is freely available at the University Malaya bookshop. I have both the English and Royal Malay version published by MBRAS. Alternatively, you could try reading the Jawi (Arabic Script) version if you are truly a sucker for unimaginable pain…… (may feel like circumcision)

    There are actually many sources for these Origins of Malays findings. Any older Philippino Museum Journal also carries these migration stories. This migration is also on display at the Philippines National Museum in Luzon. However, they end with the Aeta, and only briefly mention that the migration continued to Indonesia and Malaysia, but fully acknowledge that all Philippinos came from Taiwan. And before Taiwan, China. There is another book (part of a series) called the “Archipelago Series” endorsed by Tun Mahatir and Marina Mohammad, which states the very same thing right at the introduction on page one. “… that the Malays migrated out of Southern China some 6,000yrs ago…”. I believe it is called the “Pre-History of Malaysia” Hard Cover, about RM99 found in (mostly) MPH. They also carry “Pre-History of Indonesia” by the same authors for the same price.

    It is most interesting to note that the Malaysian Museum officials gallantly invented brand new unheard-of terms such as “Proto-Malay” and “Deutero-Malay”, to replace the accepted Scientific Term, Australo-Melanesians (African descent) and Austronesians (Chinese Descent, or Mongoloid to be precise) in keeping in line with creating this new “Malay” term.. They also created the new term called the Melayu-Polynesian. (Which Melayu exists in the Polynesian Islands?) Maybe they were just trying to be “Patriotic” and “Nationalistic”… who knows…? After all, we also invented the term, “Malaysian Time”. While the rest of the world calls it “Tardy” and “Late”. It’s quite an embarrassment actually…. Singaporeans crossing the border are asked to set their watches back by about a 100yrs, to adjust to “Malaysian Time”…

    In a nutshell, the British Colonial Masters, who, for lack of a better description, needed a “blanket” category for ease of classification, used the term “Malay”.

    The only other logical explanation, which I have heard, was that “Malaya” came as a derivative of “Himalaya”, where at Langkasuka, or Lembah Bujang today was where the Indians were describing the locals as “Malai” which means “Hill People” in Tamil. This made perfect sense as the focal point at that time was at Gunung Jerai, and the entire Peninsular had a “Mountain Range” “Banjaran Titiwangsa”, as we call it.

    The Mandarin and Cantonese accurately mai
    ntain the accurate pronunciation of “Malai Ren” and “Malai Yun” respectively till this very day. Where “ren” and “yun” both mean “peoples”.

    Interestingly, “Kadar” and “Kidara”, Hindi and Sanskrit words accurately describe “Kedah” of today. They both mean “fertile Land for Rice cultivation. Again, a name given by the Indians 2,000yrs ago during the “Golden Hindu Era” for a duration of 1,500yrs.

    It was during this “Golden Hindu Era” that the new term which the Hindu Malay leaders also adopted the titles, “Sultan” and “Raja”. The Malay Royalty were Hindu at that time, as all of Southeast Asia was under strong Indian influence, including Borrobudor, and Angkor Watt. Bali today still practices devout Hindu Beliefs. The snake amulet worn by the Sultans of today, The Royal Dias, and even the “Pelamin” for weddings are tell-tale signs of these strong Indian influences. So, it was NOT Parameswara who was the first Sultan in Malaya. Sultanage existed approximately 1,500yrs in Kedah before he set foot on the Peninsular during the “Golden Hindu Era” of Malaysia. And they were all Hindu.

    “PreHistory of Malaysia” also talks about the “Lost Kingdom” of the “Chi-Tu” where the local Malay Kingdom were Buddhists. The rest of the “Malays” were Animistic Pagans.

    But you may say, “Sejarah Melayu” calls it “Melayu”? Yes, it does. Read it again; is it trying to describe the 200-odd population hamlet near Palembang by the name “Melayu”?(Google Earth will show this village).

    By that same definition, then, the Achehnese should be considered a “race”. So should the Bugis and the Bataks, to be fair. Orang Acheh, Orang Bugis, Orang Laut, Orang Melayu now mean the same… descriptions of ethnic tribes, at best. So some apparently Patriotic peron decided to upgrade the Malays from Orang Melayu (Malay People) to Bangsa Melayu (Malay Race) Good job in helping perpetuate the confusion. And since the “Malays” of today are not all descendants of the “Melayu” kampung in Jambi (if I remember correctly), the term Melayu has been wrongly termed. From Day One. Maybe this is why the Johoreans still insist on calling themselves either Bugis, or Javanese til today (except when it comes to receiving Government Handouts). So do the Achehnese on the West coast of Kedah & Perlis and the Kelantanese insist that they came from Champa, Vietnam.

    Morover, the fact that the first 3 pages of “Sejarah Melayu” claim that “Melayu” comes from Alexander the Great and the West Indian Princess doesn’t help. More importantly, it was written in 1623. By then, the Indians had been calling the locals “Malai” for 1,500 yrs already. So the name stuck….

    And with the Sejarah Melayu (The Malay Annals in page 1-3) naming the grandson of Iskandar Zulkarnain, and the West Indian Princess forming the Minangkabau. Whenever a Malay is asked about it, he usually says it is “Karut” (bullshit), but all Malayan based historians insist on using Sejarah Melayu as THE main reference book for which “Malay” history is based upon. The only other books are “Misa Melayu”, “Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa”, “Hikayat Pasai”, “Hikayat Raja-Raja Siak” and “Hikayat Hang Tuah” among others; which sometimes brings up long and “heated” discussions.

    Interesting to note is one of the great “Malay” writers is called Munsyi Abdullah; who penned “Hikayat Abdullah” He was an Indian Muslim. Let’s re-read that little bit. He was an Indian Muslim. How can an Indian change his race to be a Malay? He can change his shirt, his car, his religion and even his underwear, but how can anyone change his race? This must be The New Trick of the Century, which even David Copperfield will pay lots of money to watch (and perhaps learn).

    “Mysterious Race Changing Trick”- created by The Malaysian Government.

    Still, Malaysians are still only second to the Jews (who by the way, are the only other people in the world who are defined by a religion) So perhaps David Copperfield has yet to learn a few tricks on the mass deception skills of the Malaysian Government?

    Malaysia Boleh…

    I find this strange.

    I also find, that it is strange that the “Chitti’s” (Indian+Malay) of Malacca are categorized as Bumiputera, while their Baba brothers are not. Why? Both existed during the Parameswara days. Which part of the “Malay” side of the Baba’s is not good enough for Bumiputera classification? Re-instate them. They used to be Bumiputera pre 1960’s anyway.

    Instead of “Malay”, I believe that “Maphilindo” (circa 1963) would have been the closest in accurately trying to describe the Malays. However, going by that definition, it should most accurately be “MaphilindoThaiChinDiaVietWanGreekCamfrica”. And it is because of this; even our University Malaya Anthropology professors cannot look at you in the eye and truthfully say that the word “Malay” technically and accurately defines a race.

    This is most unfortunate.

    So, in a nutshell, the “Malays” (anthropologists will disagree with this “race” definition) are TRULY ASIA !!! For once the Tourism Ministry got it right….

    We should stop calling this country “Tanah Melayu” instead call it, “Tanah Truly Asia”

    You must understand now, why I was “tickled pink” when I found out that the Visit Malaysia slogan for 2007 was “Truly Asia”. They are so correct… (even though they missed out Greece, and Africa)

    BTW, the name UMNO should be changed to UTANO the new official acronym for “United Truly Asia National Organization” . After all, they started out as a Bugis club in Johor anyway….

    I told you all that I hate race classifications…. This is so depressing. Even more depressing is that the “malays” are not even a race; not since day one.

    “Truly Asia Boleh”

  4. Thanks Michael for your very comprehensive lesson in anthropology.

    Just to add, I have met people from Madagascar and South Africa who also have some “Malay” blood (if there’s such a thing).

    I think Indon suing Malaysia is more political than anything else. It seems the Malaysians are able to piss the Indons off much more than S’pore, because of their treatment of Indon workers.

  5. I can not tolerance Malaysia’s anymore. There are so many Indonesians culture that have been stolen by Malaysia. and Now The latest issued is Rasa Sayang song. As I know, and most Indonesian people, that song come from Maluku,one of Province In Indonesia. and that song have sing for a long time ago, and becomes folks song.

    I’m so surprised, again and again, Malaysia shows their arogancy. As neighbourhood country, we must have a good relationship and respect for each others, and what Malaysia do now?

    So Malaysia, please stop claimed that Rasa sayang is yours.Rasa Sayang is Indonesian Song.


  7. whatever, to say that we’re too dirty, we were just from a drop of sperm and the gens differ us absolutely.. so, we’re spermian.

  8. In response to michael’s long lecture.

    Indeed, i have to say that i’m agree with you in many facts about the origin of malays, and i am really impressed with the depth of your research about such a topic.
    I am a malaysian malay, originating from banjar race in jambi, indonesia. My great grandfather had moved from his homeland to settle in malaysia.
    I also think that long long time ago there is no such a word like ‘melayu’ or ‘malay’. Some old folks say that the word ‘malay’ was just used by the British colony to simplify race classification in Tanah Melayu.

    Malay, indeed, is a combination of various races, including chinese, indian, african, european and so on. However, i think it is easier now to call us as ‘malay’ since, you know, when there are a lot of blood identities in our body, we also do not know what to call ourselves. So we are more comfortable to be named as malay, or in my case, ‘melayu banjar’.

    About the ‘Hang’ name owned by Hang Tuah and his companions and Hang Li Po, i have to say that i’m disagree to the claim that it is a family name. ‘Hang’ is in fact a title given by Sultan of Malacca to the state’s warriors or people who are well-known for their courage, just like the title ‘Tun’ for the bendahara (prime minister) and temenggung (head of internal security) and the royal family. As for Li Po, legend says that she was bestowed with ‘Hang’ title because of the Sultan’s admiration to her for her willingness to leave her country to an alien, faraway country to marry the Sultan. You would also notice that instead of those six people, there are several other figures in malay history with the title ‘Hang’ like Hang Nadim etc.

    I also do not agree if you say that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is an Israeli. Yes, he has the same original bloodline with the Israelis. Yet from what i know, the definition of Israeli is that ‘the descendants of Jacob’. We starts with Abraham, who has two sons, Ishmael and Isaac. Isaac got a son named Jacob and from Jacob arises the Israeli race. On the other hand, Muhammad (pbuh) is an Arab, the descendant of Ishmael. That only puts him as the brethren of the Israelis as stated in the Genesis, but not an Israeli.

    As for the origins of the kings and sultans in Malay Archipelago, i also think that the claim that they are the descendants of Iskandar Zulkarnain (i refuse to use the name Alexander The Great since in my opinion, they are not the same person) is misleading. Looking back at the time when i learnt history in secondary school, i was taught that one of the effects brought by the spread of Islam in Tanah Melayu is that the kings started to link their origin to Iskandar Zulkarnain instead of the deities from the Hindu belief. In my opinion, such a claim is only for the sake to strengthen their sovereignity in the states they rule. Have you ever heard that before Islam came to Tanah Melayu, the kings are reputed to be originated from the drops of something (i forget what it is) from the heaven? That’s the Hindu belief. In the end, i think these kings are merely a group of people who do not have a clear family tree.

    Can Sejarah Melayu be considered as the absolute reference for Malay’s history? My answer is no. Do you know that Tun Sri Lanang, the author of the book had not been born yet when Malacca sultanate still existed? He was in fact the bendahara in Johore sultanate! And Johore sultanate was founded after the fall of Malacca sultanate by the last sultan of Malacca. What he did was just rewrote the copy of manuscript written in the Malacca era by an anonymous writer. And i found a lot of contents of the old manuscripts like Sejarah Melayu and Hikayat Hang Tuah praising and glorifying the kings and the royal family. Even some of the stories are illogical. I am not saying that we cannot use these manuscripts as a reference at all, but considering the bias towards the rulers and the nobles in there, we should consider which story is relevent and which is not.

    Now back to the ‘Rasa Sayang’ stuff. I think the word ‘steal’ used by the Indonesians to Malaysians is too harsh. In another blog there are also claims that Malaysians are thief, stealing culture belongs to Indonesians. Come on, the song belongs to so-called Malays, and Malays are not only in Indonesia. We share the same culture and heritage throughout the ages. So why, when we promote those culture and arts to the international level to attract tourists, we are blamed as thief? If i, as a malay banjar, promote the culture of banjar to the outsiders and speak in banjar language, will i also considered as a thief and be sued? There are javanese, minangkabau and other races of malay who are predominant in Indonesia living in Malaysia, therefore it is unavoidable when there are coincidences in the culture.

    In another blog, when the accusation of stealing is directed against Malaysia, i answered to them, ‘then why don’t you do the same advertisement?’ True, it is just an advertisement, and it is just a song. Even Singapore makes such ads. I used to watch the ads made by Singapore government promoting the culture of Malays living in Singapore to attract visitors. Of course i cannot blame Singapore since there are Malays there too, and they have the RIGHT to practise and promote their heritage.

    In the end, the issue of wanting to sue Malaysia government and these Rasa Sayang stuffs, in my opinion, is just an issue created by somebody who has their own interest, in order to distract our attention from more important issues, such as economy and corruption.

  9. Rif,

    I agree with the fact that indonesians and malaysians all come from the same roots, and therefore have the right to promote their culture anyway they want to. The problem is when Malaysia uses the batik, the kebaya, wayang kulit, or the angklung as advertisements to promote their country, they always fail to mention the fact that all of these are in fact indonesian as well.
    it’s similar to having discovered a new invention. Thomas Alva Ediosn was NOT the first person to invent the light bulb, all he did was modify light bulbs that previous scientists had made, to produce one that was most satisfactory, leaving the founder of the ‘original’ light bulb overshadowed and unheard of. I guess Indonesia’s problem is similar to that of the original inventor of the light bulb, we do not want to be forgotten or left unknown. We want to be able to identify ourselves in the international community with the batik, kebaya, etc as well, without having been seen as thieves of another country’s culture. Therefore, i agree to the fact that indonesia’s threat is merely political, i guess we’re just bitter and jealous that we didn’t think of using those songs or displaying other items of our heritage for our own tourism campaign.

    Visit Indonesia 2008!:)


  10. I read michael’s post with absolute trust in his display of facts. But when he made a mistake about prophet Muhammad being an Israeli (which was corrected by rif), i started doubting everything he said. So, i think michael needs to cite his sources.

    Secondly, i REALLY don’t think Rasa Sayang belong to any specific country. Besides, a lot of (most? many? all?) have their roots traced back to Indonesia anyway, so it belongs to both people in Indonesia and Malaysia, right?

    The accusation is like saying that the English language belongs to the people in England when it is actually a GLOBAL language and it belongs to everyone. English belongs to America, english belongs to indonesia, english belongs to malaysia, english belongs to india, english belongs to china, english belongs to australia and so on. The same thing applies to the song Rasa Sayang. It belongs to both Indonesia and Malaysia. So, Indonesia has no right to claim that the song belongs to Indonesia ONLY!

    I’m a kelantanese malaysian malay btw. :D

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