Fine moves: Dancers and singers performing a number during the opening of Nusantara Arts Showcase at the old Sarawak Legislative Assembly Complex in Kuching last Friday.
KUCHING: Greater economic ties within South-East Asian nations would lead to a re-emergence of nusantara cultures and traditions, said Chief Minsiter Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.
He said regional economic cooperation would spur the exchange of less tangible assets like culture and tradition.
“Old cultures that were once waning will make a comeback. That much is clear. Once the Asean Economic Community becomes reality, people will rediscover the region’s cultures all share the same root,” he said at the Nusantara Arts Showcase here on Friday.
“We all come from similar backgrounds, with rulers that date back hundreds of years. Stronger groups dominated smaller groups, but by the time we were colonised, much of the nusantara culture and tradition began to slip away.”
Taib said he expected some 80% of all exports to be freely traded among South-East Asian nations after the regional economic master plan, which is scheduled to begin in 2015.
He described the economic cooperation plan as “important” and one that would bring “unity” to the region. Countries that shared economic and cultural activities stayed together, he said.
“Our cultures, our people were split when we were invaded and colonised. Of course, the coming return of nusantara cultures and traditions would not exactly be the same. The re-emergence of shared heritage would be modernised. “
Nusantara means “archipelago” in Malay. The word commonly denotes the Malay archipelago, stretching from southern Thailand to Indonesia, from Borneo to East Timor.
The Nusantara Arts Showcase was held at the old Sarawak Legislative Assembly Complex and was attended by consul generals of neighbouring countries.
It marked the end of the six-month Sarawak Cultural Symposium, which included seminars, debates and academic researches conducted with community leaders representing various races.