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Malay Culture in Eastern Indonesia

HISTORY OF CULTUREMalay Culture in Eastern Indonesia | Two questions are key questions that lodged in my mind when a moderator allied Cultural Dialogue in the Citadel of Fort Rotterdam, Makassar, May 28, 2009. Four speakers who attended the dialogue that is Prof Richard Chauvel (Victoria University, Australia), Dr Wan Syaifuddin (University of North Sumatra), Dr Nuraini (UIN Alauddin, Makassar), Jeng and Han Gon (Korea). By becoming a moderator, I can observe this with an intense dialogue and write this note as my subjective testimony of the dialogue. 

Richard Chauvel start a dialogue with the presentation that makes me amazed. He berated the various definitions which during the reigns over whether the so-called Malay. He picked up an unusual theme is about the limitations of Malay culture in Papua and Maluku. This theme is not uncommon. So far, we think that is very far from the aspect of Papuan Malay. Papua as synonymous with human culture and life as berkoteka in the stone age, a culture far from the Malay tradition. However, Chauvel precisely describe something else. He said something really interesting. According to him, the culture of Papua has long been in touch with the Malay culture, because Papua was part of an international trade route. 
Chauvel said, in the past, Malays and Islam are identical with the trade. Since the 15th century, Islam had also entered into Papua through Tidore and spread in the coastal areas, khsusunya in the area of Raja Ampat and Fakfak. In addition to this route, citing Chauvel Anthony Reid who called "super Malayness as urban culture." Since the beginning of the 19th century appeared different major cities in the Netherlands Indies Malay speaking with various ethnic background. Malay is identical to the education mission and zending. If in western Indonesia, Malay identical with Islam, then in eastern Indonesia is not always the case. A Christian could be a Malay. 

Chauvel showed various photographs and the evidence shows traces of Malay in Papua. Unfortunately, since the entry of the Dutch colonial government, Malay identity as inhibited. Although still a lingua franca, but the colonial government would still cause human identity berkoteka on Papuans. That is, the identity of Papua is a colonial construction that could be interpreted as a result of the pull of the political economy. Chauvel seemed to reinforce the view that identity is not always a conscious choice adherents of a particular cultural community, but it is a colonial construction that draws the colonial interests in a particular place. 

Chauvel opinion is somewhat different from the opinions of academics from North Sumatra University (USU) in Medan, Dr Wan Syaifuddin. Academics have long resided in Malaysia is still convinced that there is called the spirit or the essence of Malay culture. Hence, he denied Chauvel who called that there are similarities between Malay culture with the culture of Papua. "No there are similarities, but they do the same. Hence, we must critically on various western theories about the Malays, "he said. There is great spirit in the narrative Wan Syaifuddin. He wants to break down the various theories that interpret the Malays, and offers his own views which he called "view of the Malays." He also said that the essence of Malay culture lies in the tradition of literacy or poem as a form of argumentation. 

After Wan Syaifuddin, the next speaker is Dr. Nuraini. He describes an encounter many Malay culture and the culture Bugis-Makassar. The Malays are many who come to Makassar to erdagang, then settle and reproduce. While the Bugis-Makassar much to the Malay land to wander and settle there. What is interesting is the explanation of the motivation wander Nuraini already whispered in children from a young age. "Since childhood, the Bugis have played a variety of advice about migrated and returned with the glories," he said. 
At the discussion session, there were many questions about the re-construction question Malay and how to see it when dealing with the Bugis-Makassar. Inevitably, this view is widely criticized Wan Syaifuddin in discussion sessions. As if his view, position the Bugis-Makassar as a subordinate or conquered from Malay. When express as a core Malay culture, Malay Syaifuddin positioned as a center and other areas as the periphery. A loud protest responders statement. Responders to this question re these claims. "Bugis and Makassar have their own world. Instead of Malay conquests, "he said. 

The position of Bugis-Makassar 

As I write on the question at the beginning, in this discussion there are two major themes that always dipertayakan. First, Questioning what the limits Malay. Second, how to position Malay when meeting with other cultures. Apparently, these two major themes that would not go into it thoroughly discussed in this brief discussion. 

The diversity of the Malay limits suggest that there must always endeavor to enrich the meaning of each definition. What we refer to as Malay is nothing more than a concept that was born from our struggle with social reality, including sejarak and contexts which gave birth to this view. The so-called Malay is the construction of something.Hence, the definition should be ................... 

In some cultural discussion that I follow, always raises the question is there something called cultural core. In the realm of social science, this argument is an argument that essensialis, who always sees one core or main force that drives one culture.

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