Photo : Departmant of National Heritage, Malaysia
Photo : Departmant of National Heritage, Malaysia

Malaysia's Dondang Sayang listed as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by Unesco

ASEAN+ December 01, 2018 12:47

By Sin Chew Daily
Asia News Network

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Traditional Malay art Dondang Sayang still practiced in Malacca is one of the 15 elements on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) during its meeting in Mauritius.



 

The list seeks to enhance visibility for the traditions and know-how of communities without recognising standards of excellence or exclusivity. 

Malacca Museum Corporation made an announcement on its Facebook.

 

Heritage Department Commissioner Dr Zainah Ibrahim, Malacca Tourism, Heritage and Culture state executive councillor Muhammad Jailani Khamis and Malacca Museum Corporation general manager Kamis Abas were in the delegation to Mauritius. 

The Malacca Museum Corporation said the application to UNESCO to list Dondang Sayang as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity was made on 31 March last year. 

The corporation said more than 10 Dondang Sayang performances had been held in the state this year for tourists. 

Dondang Sayang is a traditional Malay art still practised in Melaka by four communities: the Malay, Baba Nyonya, Chitty and Portuguese communities. 

The practice combines elements of music (violins, gongs and tambourines or the tambour), songs and chants, and features beautiful melodious strains of poetry. 

Also known as love ballads, the songs are used by communities to convey feelings of love and give advice on special topics such as love and kindness. 

During the Melaka Sultanate era in the fifteenth century, Dondang Sayang was performed at Royal Palace ceremonies and events; subsequently, the performance became widespread among the communities concerned. 

Based on tradition, Dondang Sayang performances are accompanied by music and sung by two singers of the opposite sex, who sing in quatrains. 

Typically, Dondang Sayang singers are individuals who are highly competent and skilled in poetry recitation. 

Dongdang Sayang performances are open to all, irrespective of age, occupation, status or religion, and the art is considered as a means of conveying positive messages and sharing feelings of love, joy and sorrow that strengthen community bonding. 

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