Tuesday, July 23, 2024 | 17:21 WIB

International recognition for intangible Indonesian heritage

Jakarta, IO – Taking a moment to think about the international achievements of the ancestors of the Indonesian people in the progress of human civilization is a valuable lesson, one that needs to be guarded together. Much is still a mystery and many things have also become the basis for the development of ideas in the socio-cultural and technical fields of the present and future.

Let’s just say that one of the many forms of this product is the Phinisi Ship, a traditional Indonesian vessel that evolved around the 14th Century as a creative expression of the son of the King of the Luwu Kingdom of Makassar-South Sulawesi, during the ancient Nusantara Kingdom. This legacy is a very deep source of pride for the Indonesian nation, as we are known as a Maritime people. How could it not be that in that era when technology had not yet spread in the world of sea travel, the people of the archipelago proved that those of the archipelago (the Indonesian people) were capable of making an efficient wind-powered sailing ship with a cruising capacity extending beyond various waters of the archipelago to the world. This indicates that the Indonesian nation is indeed a maritime nation, one that has been able to create a mode of sea transportation as well as control and utilize these ships as a bridge for the development of human civilization through the world’s ocean routes.

Armed with this message of civilization, and in order to continue to ground the Indonesian nation’s national commitment to local wisdom, a force clearly provided a positive image for Indonesia with the recognition of the Phinisi Ship by world body UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage on December 7, 2017 at the 12th Session of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Committee on Jeju Island, South Korea.

On the one hand, the above recognition is very encouraging, but on the other hand it also contains a mandate for the Indonesian people to faithfully explore, sustain and manage their cultural assets at that time, especially to help achieve sustainable development and maintain cultural preservation and hopefully contribute to developing the world. Techniques and perspective/orientation of our nation’s people respect local heritage and wisdom are environmentally-friendly and prosperous for all.

Of course, there is much that can be learned from the construction of the Phinisi Ship, one aspect of which is navigation technology. When you briefly read about this and observe the traditional technology in the construction of the Phinisi, it turns out to be very interesting to disseminate to the current generation. This aspect requires us to try to observe how ancient people in the world of shipping used the wind to build the Phinisi ships themselves.

In simple terms, it is possible that people’s thoughts in the past developed based on their experience of natural conditions, but it is possible, if one further examines the sociological and technical conditions of society, especially the civilization of the Bugis, Konjo and Mandar tribes in Sulawesi, that there are special things that have not been explored that can later become material for future learning.

Moehammad Amar Ma’ruf
Moehammad Amar Ma’ruf, Career Diplomat, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

It cannot be denied that this heritage continues to be a source of pride for the world, not only as an appreciation for the people of the archipelago but also as a bridge to create opportunities for communication in various aspects of life, including aspects of weather and climate control, aspects of shipping engineering development, aspects of ship operators and others. No less important is the aspect of appreciation for the marine environment and the culture of the community itself.

As one of the foreign ministry staff who visited the Bulukumba area when accompanying the leadership of the relevant ministry to also hand over a copy of the UNESCO Certification to the regional leadership around 2018, the author had the opportunity to see a Phinisi shipbuilding workshop which is currently still operated by the local community. This activity gives a sense of pride to those of the local community who continue to maintain this cultural heritage, so that it continues and has a positive effect on the circular economy. In this regard, the author really hopes that international recognition and the attitudes and concerns of the local community will be maintained as a form of appreciation for this intangible cultural heritage and that it can continue to develop in a more sustainable direction and have a more prosperous impact on society.

We should be proud of this process, the knowledge and expertise that has been used from generation to generation, as if it were the answer to the opening of society’s perspective on the environment and also the development of shipping techniques, using sailing systems. This heritage is also in line with efforts to control the marine environment in a sustainable manner, without ignoring the need to also study developments in the field of modern shipping technology and the field of weather and climate control, as well as the field of resource development for ship operators themselves and other related technical fields.

In this context, perhaps not many people know how to manage/control the wind on this type of Phinisi sailing ship. For this reason, the idea of ​​strengthening understanding of an aspect related to the Phinisi Ship, including weather or climate (including wind pressure), is an interesting aspect to be used as a separate study and in turn can strengthen discussion material and exchange information for developers or stakeholders in the national or global sailing ship sector.

In line with efforts to increase the Indonesian people’s understanding of this intangible cultural heritage, one way to strengthen this literacy is to provide more space for the public to utilize the cross-sectoral world of Indonesian literature through a study of technical literature, ancient manuscripts and writings. Western and other observers from around the world keen on maritime and archipelagic shipping will appreciate the implementation of increasing marine literacy, enriching understanding of a technical and even general public. This is also in line with the principle of developing library literacy in ministries/institutions at the center and in the regions, that is inclusive and empowering.

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In this way, the functions of various institutions that have libraries and also institutions related to national libraries can be more interactive. Moreover, with the rapid development of the world of technology, communication about local community conditions can be conveyed quickly and open up opportunities for the creation of technical community development oriented towards respecting local wisdom values, in line with sustainable development goals.

Along with this, the author expresses appreciation for all the efforts of various parties who have helped fight to achieve this international recognition, both at regional and central levels as well as RI representatives abroad.

Hopefully our efforts in paying attention to what the Indonesian nation has achieved in the international world can be integrated so that we can increase the public’s literacy understanding of the nation’s achievements globally, with an approach that respects local wisdom and contributes to the welfare of society and to the Indonesian nation.