22 October 2007 (Jakarta Post) – The move by the Indonesian ministry of Culture and Tourism may seem more sparked by the episode in which Malaysia appropriated a traditional Indonesian song for its tourism campaign (another amusing story in its own right), but I was more interested by the comment about the searching the Negara Kergatama documents in identifying more aspects of Indonesian Heritage.
The Negara Kertagama (or Negaraketagama, or Desawarnana) was an epic poem written in the 14th century to commemorate Hayam Wuruk, who reigned during the height of the Majapahit Kingdom centred in Java. Besides being an extended eulogy to the founder, the Negarka Kertagama provided numerous descriptions about the kingdom’s territory, rulers and rituals which gave a new and detailed insight into the role of Hinduism and Buddhist in the kingdom. Much of the groundbreaking translations were made by Dutch scholars in the 20th century after the manuscript was rediscovered in 1896.
Ministries to cooperate on local heritage
The Culture and Tourism Ministry will soon sign an agreement with the Justice and Human Rights Ministry in an attempt to protect the nation’s cultural heritage.
“In order to avoid other countries claiming aspects of Indonesia’s heritage, we approached the justice ministry about listing our heritage with them,” Mukhlis Paeni, director general for culture, art and traditional movies at the Culture and Tourism Ministry, told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.