- "Mine, Yours or Ours?": The Indonesia-Malaysia Disputes over Shared Cultural Heritage
- Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia
- ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute
- Volume 27, Number 1, April 2012
- p. pp. 1-53
- View Citation
As regional neighbours, Indonesia and Malaysia share common historical roots and cultural heritage. Disputes over cultural icons have lamentably been a frequent affair between the two countries. One of these recurring clashes was recently brought to the fore when a third party erroneously represented an Indonesian traditional dance as Malaysian. Based on this episode, this article analyses the multifaceted complexities embedded in disputes involving contested cultural heritage. It underscores the point that quarrels over ostensibly petty issues are often symptomatic of protracted undercurrents of political conflict between states. Drawing from the illustrations of the pendet example, it further demonstrates how failure to address these latent tensions could potentially result in destructive manifestations, even over seemingly trivial spats. By way of conclusion, the article proposes that examining these disputes within the broader context of the history and dynamics of the relationships of the various parties of the dispute becomes necessary and critical in engendering a sustainable resolution of disputes over shared cultural heritage.