UNESCO Designated Indonesian, Malaysian ‘Pantun’ as Intangible Cultural Heritage

By Office of Assistant to Deputy Cabinet Secretary for State Documents & Translation
Date 18 Desember 2020
Category: News
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Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto (Photo: Documentation of Cabinet Secretariat)

The Pantun tradition has been designated as an Intangible Cultural Heritage at the 15th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France (17/12).

The Pantun nomination, which was jointly proposed by Indonesia and Malaysia, is the 11th Indonesian cultural tradition recognized by the UNESCO, after previously pencak silat (Indonesian traditional martial art) was inscribed as an Intangible Cultural Heritage on 12 December 2019.

The UNESCO considers Pantun to have an important meaning for the Malay community as it  not only serves as a social communication, but also shows the rich of culture and religious values that serve as moral guidelines. The message conveyed through the Pantun generally emphasizes the balance and harmony of human relations.

For Indonesia, the success of establishing Pantun as an Intangible Cultural Heritage cannot be separated from the active involvement of various stakeholders, both the Central and local governments, as well as various communities related to Pantun such as the Oral Tradition Association (ATL), Malay Customary Institution, Dangdut Morro Joget Community, Dangdut Sungai Enam Joget Community, Penyengat Island Gazal Community, Mak Yong Heritage Theater Studio of Kijang Keke Village, as well as a number of Indonesian individuals and pantun chanters.

The representative of the Permanent Delegationof the Republic of Indonesia to UNESCO Surya Rosa Putra said that as the first Indonesian nomination to be submitted together with other countries, the Pantun inscription has an important meaning for Indonesia and Malaysia, which reflects the closeness of two countries that share similar identity, culture and traditions.

Pantun is an oral tradition of the Malay community that has lived for more than 500 years. Pantun is used to express feelings and thoughts through verses that rhyme. Generally rhymes are used in singing and writing at traditional ceremonies and weddings. At present, not only as a Malay identity, Pantun has also become a supporting medium in empowering the creative economy.

In the future, Indonesia and Malaysia are committed to continuing to make various efforts to ensure the protection of Pantun as an Intangible Cultural Heritage through active involvement of local communities in both countries. Pantun is also preserved by being taught formally in schools and through artistic activities. (Indonesian Embassy in France / UN) (EST/LW)

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