People often ask me what I think about the Tor-Tor dance controversy. Before I delve in further on the matter, let’s discuss what actually happened.
Recently, Indonesia went through another emotional roller-coaster ride when we “thought” that Malaysia attempted to steal another of our traditional dances by giving a license to this particular dance. What Malaysia claims to be doing, however, is only documenting the real origin of the Tor-Tor dance, because apparently this dance is also performed in Malaysia.
Indonesians, on the other hand, see this act as Malaysians listing the dance as a Malaysian national heritage. There seems to be a huge misunderstanding, and the Indonesians, particularly Bataknese, don’t seem to be in the mood to listen to any kind of explanation given by Malaysia.
Of course this is quite annoying, especially if you help conserve the dance, watch the dance, and love the dance. Even more so, since the Pendet dance controversy, this kind of problem between the two countries seems ongoing. It is a never ending feud, because centuries ago, Indonesia and Malaysia were a part of Nusantara, and the culture is similar from one corner of Malaysia to another corner of Indonesia. We even look the same.
I’d like for us Indonesians to look at this problem from a different angle. Let me ask you these questions: How many of you, before this controversy began, knew from which province Tor-Tor dance originated from or have spared your time to watch the Tor-Tor dance?
A month ago, if I asked those questions, many of you would scratch your head and say, “I don’t know.” How many of you really pay attention to our culture and heritage? We are so busy protesting about Malaysia “stealing” our culture, yet we don’t even know much about it.
It’s alright when you just sit there in your house making negative remarks about this controversy, but when you start insulting Malaysia on the Internet, when you start burning photographs of the prime minister of Malaysia, that only brings our self respect down as a country. It’s incredibly un-classy and stupid.
Indonesia is supposed to show other countries how respectful we are. We’re not supposed to flex our muscles and look aggressive, because we don’t want to go down to that level, we are so much better than that.
Before you start protesting and insulting, make sure you appreciate and pay a lot more attention to our culture. It’s incredibly stupid to abandon our traditions, and when someone comes along and claims it, you get upset.
Learn more about our diverse culture, grab it with both hands and don’t let go before someone else claims that it’s theirs.