“Unity in Diversity”, a national motto ofIndonesia that describes the life of its people in terms of culture.

Whyculture? Why not politic, economic, or military? There are many vital aspects liedwithin the life of the people of Indonesia, but why is the description of our culturalbackground chosen to be the motto of the nation? This question has been runningin my head since the first time I learn about various aspects in the life ofthe people as a citizen in civic class when I was in junior high school.I began to understand the clue as I read news abouthow Indonesia loose its local languages and ethnics as they became extinct oneby one, how it seems like a great deal for many people, and how I unconsciouslyfeel the lose feelings too whenever the same sort of news come out. Theessentiality of this nation’s diversified culture is crystal clear to me, and Ireally hope everybody realize it too, especially youth as the prospectivefuture leaders of this nation.Plural SocietyIn the context of the understanding of plural society,in addition to the culture of ethnic groups, Indonesian society also consists ofvarious indigenous culture spread out over scattered islands in Indonesia.Indonesia has two face of society.

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The one that people generally see as ‘modernand developed’ can be found in big cities which are usually located in one of thefive large islands. Jakarta the capital city, Bandung, Surabaya, Kuta, Medan,Makassar to name a few. These big cities perform major economic roles as thecentral of business market in this country, no wonder why these cities are morefacilitated than the others. In contrast, there are numerous small towns wherethe natural landscapes such as hills, mountains, and canyons remain untouched.These towns are cultural hubs as they nurture and preserve their originaltraditions and customs.  Cultural heritage affirms our identity as a people becauseit creates a comprehensive framework for the preservation of cultural heritageincluding cultural sites, old buildings, monuments, shrines, and landmarks thathave cultural significance and historical value.

Culture and its heritagereflect and shape values, beliefs, and aspirations, thereby defining a people’snational identity. It is important to preserve our cultural heritage, becauseit keeps our integrity as a people.Cultural heritage is an important factor in maintaining culturaldiversity in the face of growing globalization. An understanding of theintangible cultural heritage of different communities helps with interculturaldialogue, and encourages mutual respect for other ways of life. There is a risk that certainelements of intangible cultural heritage could die out or disappear withouthelp, but how can we safeguard and manage a heritage that is constantlychanging and part of ‘living culture’ without freezing or trivializing it?Safeguarding them is about the transferring of knowledge, skills and meaning.In other words, safeguarding focuses on the processes involved in transmitting,or communicating intangible cultural heritage from generation to generation,rather than on the production of its concrete manifestations, such as a danceperformance, a song, a music instrument or a craft.

There is a risk that certain elements of intangible culturalheritage could die out or disappear without help, but how can we safeguard andmanage a heritage that is constantly changing and part of ‘living culture’without freezing or trivialising it? Safeguarding them is about thetransferring of knowledge, skills and meaning. In other words, safeguardingfocuses on the processes involved in transmitting, or communicating intangiblecultural heritage from generation to generation, rather than on the productionof its concrete manifestations, such as a dance performance, a song, a musicinstrument or a craft.


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