Indonesia hopeful UNESCO would recognize pencak silat as cultural heritage

Indonesia hopeful UNESCO would recognize pencak silat as cultural heritage

Indonesian martial arts athlete Wewey Wita (right) kicks in at the Vietnamese fighter Thi Them Tran (left) in the final round of the 2018 Asian Games Class B women at Padepokan Pencak Silat Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII) , Jakarta. (ANTARA PHOTO/INASGOC/Melvinas Priananda)

Padang, W Java (ANTARA News)- Indonesia is hopeful that pencak silat, its traditional martial art, would be recognized as an intangible cultural heritage by the United Nation Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

"Pencak silat has been registered to Unesco since 2017 for inclusion in the list of world intangible cultural heritage. The selection process is going on," Hilmar Farid, director general of cultural affairs of the Education and Culture Ministry, said here, Friday evening on the sidelines of the opening of Silek Art Festival.

Pencak silat and other proposals from several countries will be treated for the 2019 cycle that are to be examined by the Committee at its 14th session in November-December 2019.

Unesco will study the origin and preservation efforts of pencak silat in Indonesia, he added.

"Preservation efforts are very much taken into consideration to answer how far pencak silat remains alive, which is one of Unesco`s questions," he remarked.

The budget allocation for pencak silat preservation by the government, the participation of pencak silat in the Asian Games 2018, and Silek Art Festival being held until Nov 30, 2018, will contribute to judgment, according to him.

He revealed that there is another country that also proposes pencak silat to Unesco. He, however, refused to comment further about the claim by that country, and said his office will focus on the proposal submitted by Indonesia.

"Pencak silat that we have proposed does not only concern sport but also traditions having whole cultural values in it," he revealed.

He explained that pencak silat is not only physical exercise but also has character building values.

Therefore, he urged the regional governments to include pencak silat in the extracurricular in every school.

Silek Art Festival is being organized from Sept 7 to Nov 30, 2018, and involves eight districts and municipalities, namely Padang, Bukittinggi, Padang Panjang, Sawahlunto, Payakumbuh, Tanah Datar, South Pesisir, and Padangpariaman.

In the Asian Games 2018, co-hosted by Jakarta and Palembang, from Aug 18 to Sept 2, Indonesia won 31 gold medals, including 14 from pencak silat.

Reporting by Syahrul Rahmat
Editing by Fardah Assegaf