Thursday, April 24, 2008

Indonesia to host international 'pantun' competition

An Indonesian foundation, Yayasan Panggung Melayu, has invited Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam to participate in a pantun competition to be held in Jakarta over the weekend.

The competition was initiated in an effort to revive the spirit of brotherhood among Malay-speaking countries following a series of controversies -- regarding cultural theft and migrant worker abuses -- that have caused tension between Indonesia and Malaysia.

Pantun, a type of recited poetry or rhyme, is an oral tradition rooted and preserved in many communities of Malay-speaking countries. Most pantun consist of two to three couplets, which employ an a-b-a-b rhyme scheme.

Pantun are often recited in contests between two parties; be it between a man and his lover, a groom and his bride, a king and his people or a fighter and his foes.

"This is part of our effort to preserve and develop the Malay culture," the foundation's chairman, Asrizal Nur, told The Jakarta Post.

"It is not aimed at pointing out who the real Malay is," he added.

The competition is to be part of the Pantun Serumpun Festival, which will be held by the foundation from April 25 to 29 at Taman Ismail Marzuki cultural center, on the sponsorship of the Tanjung Pinang administration of Riau Islands province.

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