Monday, August 31, 2009

My response to appearance of Pendet dance in a Malaysian tourism ad

Source of picture: Malay Mail Online

Having been studying overseas for over than two years and experiencing a taste of great cultural diversity in Kuala Lumpur, metropolitan city of the Petronas Twin Towers, always make me think that Indonesia is indeed my country, but Kuala Lumpur is my hometown. Oh, scratch what I've just said or I would have trouble - ha ha ha.

Well, this is what I heard last time from my friends in Indonesia that has recently been over my head - "Malaysia just stole our Pendet dance. Ganyang Malaysia! (English: Crush Malaysia!)" And I was like, "What??!!", rolling my eyes. Firstly, I thought it was not more than just a rumour, but I couldn't stand to pretend to keep my head, so this is my personal view.

Quoted from the Jakarta Post published on 23 August 2009 - "The presence of Balinese dancing and a leather shadow puppet in a Malaysian tourism ad has once again upset Indonesians, who are saying it is an attempt to claim the art forms as their own." Commenting on this issue, I would say that the leather shadow puppet, also known as Wayang Kulit, has been popular in the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, where it took root more than 250 years ago (thanks once again to Google for this info). Actually, its origin remains a mystery, as the puppet show today is spread out across Asia in various forms and guises. So in this regard, we can't claim that Wayang Kulit was completely originated in Indonesia and therefore accuse Malaysia of stealing Indonesia's cultural heritage. Also, I don't even think that Malaysian people know what the Pendet dance is. They don't even know what the word 'Pendet' is.

However, protests over the image of two Balinese dancers performing the Pendet dance appearing in Malaysia's tourism ad titled 'Enigmatic Malaysia' still continue in Bumi Pertiwi, Indonesia. Understanding the reason why the dance appeared in the Malaysian tourism advertising must not be a breeze, as we know that the Pendet dance has its origin in Bali, Indonesia. But, according to the Malay Mail Online (25 August 2009), "Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific stated the image of Balinese dancers were used in a clip, aired on Discovery Channel, to promote the documentary series Enigmatic Malaysia and the image of the dancers, performing the pendet, were sourced from an independent third party." Therefore, Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific felt sorry for using the Pendet dance in the promotion of the series Enigmatic Malaysia aired on the Discovery Channel.

Well, at least, we all know now that it was the fault of the third party for using the Pendet dance in the promotion of the series Enigmatic Malaysia. To my mind, the Indonesian government should have verified again with the government of Malaysia before they alleged that Malaysia had stolen Indonesia's traditional dance, so that this issue wouldn't have provoked anger among Indonesians.

In a nutshell, let's hope both of the governments will be able to deal with this issue as soon as possible. Please note, Indonesia and Malaysia shared the same culture and language many years ago, as most Malays in Malaysia originated from Indonesia. So, it is little wonder that today we can find some similarities in their culture and language. In my view, this issue can be a challenge and wake-up call to all Indonesians, particularly the younger generation (including me, of course), to stop blindly aping western culture and start preserving our own culture. Last, let peace reign in both of the countries.

P.S. Click here to watch a clip of the promotion of the series Enigmatic Malaysia on YouTube.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Through My Lens

Well, this post is actually a shot at blogging about photography, as I take a personal interest in the progress of my skills in capturing a great moment and writing about it - kidding, lolz.

I'd thought of creating a photography blog before I bought my Canon EOS 40D digital SLR. But after getting my photography gear (lolz), I didn't start making it. Yeah, call me 'hopeless' or 'sluggish'. Actually, I went outing a couple of times and captured some of the sweet moments I spent together with my friends, but I was just quite lazy to upload the pictures and blog about them, until one of my friends suggested that I start blogging about my pictures I captured. I was like, "Ok, I'll give it my best shot. And let's see how long it will survive. Ha ha ha."

Bien, let me start by blogging about some of the mish mash of my photos I posted on Flickr - this is my special photo sharing application. Click here if you wanna check it.

A Row of Assorted Creamy Cupcakes

I went to this place named 'Cuppacakes' - somewhere in Damansara Uptown PJ (unless I'm mistaken). They sell homemade cupcakes in beautiful colours and designs - and they, of course, offer yummy flavours that make you want to have more than a bite. The place is quite nice, designed in a good vintage style - a lovely setting for hanging out, or just having teatime with your family or friends.

I took the pictures of some of the cupcakes my friends and I bought and arranged them in a row - finding a nice angle to shoot and adjusting the lighting. Well, it was my first experience with food photography. That's why it took me a long time to find a nice angle and it was pretty much annoying to my friends who were waiting to eat their cupcakes until I finished taking the pictures (so sorry).


This is one of my favourites. In nine ball game, whatever balls you have entered, the nine ball always appears salient and is expected to enter in the end of the game, then you can win. This is how the idea came up. The nine ball depicts an anomaly for me. Btw, I took this picture in a poolroom at college while playing together with my friends, Mas and Jo.

C'est La Vie!

Ah, you must be familiar with this picture. Correct! It's currently my banner. Actually, it's a pendant I bought last year from Forever 21. I bought the necklace just because of the Eiffel Tower pendant, lolz. Mais, c'est magnifique! J'aime beaucoup la Tour Eiffel et Paris.

One in A Million Malaysia 09

Despite using Canon EF-S 18-55mm, the original lens still managed to reach the stage as I had to get towards the front first so that I could capture the great event. Going to the finale and watching the contestants performing live that night were such good experiences.

Emo Chic

The girl in this picture is my friend, Pash. She was posing randomly as I was taking her pictures until I realised how nice the pose was. So I asked her to do the same pose. I changed the colour into monochrome so that the picture would portray emotional punk rock. This is my first portrait photography experiment and I experimented a lot with new effects while editing this picture. Well-done!

One of the Supers

One of the Petronas Towers, hence the title. I took the picture of the tower from a different angle, showing as if these weren't twin towers. In my view, architecture photography is not easy, especially when it comes to twin buildings. However, I think of not only balance or symmetry when looking at this picture, but also singleness which still looks super to me.

Ring of Love

Oh...this picture is just wow for me. I love the visual composition, lighting, colour, and of course the shadow. It's the most romantic picture I've taken, lolz. Actually, I found the idea from Flickr and had experimented the light effect to make this shadow with my roommate's boyfriend - he's also a photography enthusiast. Shortly thereafter, I experimented with a different angle and colour. And it took me a long time to adjust the position of the ring on the book and lighting itself. For the lighting, I used my roommate's desk lamp. Then, I switched off the lights in my bedroom so that I could create the shadow.

Well, I love this picture. The ring belongs to my friend, by the way. But I always wish the ring would be from someone I love, and I would show him the real shadow of my heart through this ring. Oh my gawd, so emo like wth!!!