Malaysia submits a multi-country joint nomination for kebaya to UNESCO

Malaysia submits a multi-country joint nomination for kebaya to UNESCO

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia along with Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand have submitted a joint nomination for the Kebaya traditional dress to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) under the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of Humanity category. for the year 2023.

Kebaya is a garment that represents cultural heritage and an important identity for Malay, Peranakan (Chinese, Baba Nyonya, Chetti, Siamese) women and other communities in Malaysia and other countries in Southeast Asia.

“Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand jointly agreed to submit a multi-country nomination for Kebaya to UNESCO because it represents and celebrates the richness of our shared history, fosters cross-cultural understanding, remains in existence and is actively practiced by many communities throughout Southeast Asia ,” said the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) in a statement today.

According to him following the consensus for the multi-country nomination, all participating countries have engaged in a series of working meetings since early 2022, with Malaysia hosting the first physical workshop in Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan in Nov 2022, followed by the second workshop in Jakarta, Indonesia in last February.

“With the involvement of government officials, experts, and Kebaya community representatives from all participating countries, the Kebaya nomination document was updated and streamlined according to the new format by UNESCO.

“The last workshop led by Singapore will be conducted online to finalize the nomination dossier in March 2023,” he said.

According to MOTAC, Kebaya meets the definition of an element of intangible cultural heritage (ICH) because it involves traditional craftsmanship skills such as embroidery and sewing techniques to make this traditional women’s clothing.

“Kebaya is also linked to other forms of cultural heritage, such as festivals and weddings. There is an active community of Kebaya makers and wearers who share and pass on the knowledge and socio-cultural values ​​of Kebaya from one generation to the next,” he said.

MOTAC said the joint nomination of various countries will ensure that the Kebaya are protected through the implementation of formal courses and workshops, promotion efforts, as well as documentation or research efforts with the support of the nomination countries and their communities.

“Kebaya gives us an opportunity to promote and celebrate the common cultural heritage found in the Southeast Asian region,” according to the statement.

MOTAC said the nominations will be decided during the 19th Session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2024.

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