Tue, 30 May 2000

Cooperation needed to promote pencak silat

JAKARTA (JP): The Indonesian traditional martial art and sport pencak silat has been recognized internationally but it has never received any special attention from the government here.

It is important that the government work together with the Indonesian Pencak Silat Association (IPSI) to increase the sport's popularity both nationally and internationally, said director-general of informal school education, youth and sports at the national education ministry Endro Sumarjo on Monday. He was speaking at a seminar to commemorate the association's 52 anniversary at a pencak silat center in East Jakarta.

Endro urged IPSI officials to submit a proposal to include the sport in the junior and senior high school curriculums, adding that it had already been incorporated in the elementary school curriculum along with nine other sports.

"I'm talking on behalf of the minister of national education. We all have to be proactive. Don't blame the government (for doing nothing to develop the sport), but let's take a look at ourselves. If pencak silat is not so popular, ask IPSI to be responsible."

"If you asked for a ministerial decree to promote the sport, we'll support you. I also agree to give physical education teachers special training pencak silat training," he said.

The association's chairman Eddie Marzuki Nalapraya complained he had never been invited by ministries to discuss ways to popularize the martial art.

"I have chaired IPSI for 20 years and during that period no government officials have invited me to discuss how to promote the sport to other countries. I have staged world pencak silat championships many times, and they were attended by our president and vice president. So what's wrong with me?" he said.

IPSI officials have their own reasons for shifting the blame on the government. None of the four ministers -- education minister, defense minister, home affairs minister and the state minister of tourism and arts -- invited to the seminar showed up.

Their representatives instead spoke at the seminar.

"I don't want to grumble about the ministers' absence. I understand that they are busy with state affairs. The most important thing is that we'll inform them of the outcome of the seminar. All of us want this sport to be featured in the 2006 Asian Games, but if our effort fails, don't blame me," Eddie said.

OCA Officials

The Olympic Committee of Asia (OCA) will send representatives to observe pencak silat at the 15th National Games (PON) in Surabaya before deciding whether it should be exhibited at the 2002 Asian Games in Pusan, South Korea.

The association's executive director Oyong Karmayudha recalled the difficulty he once had explaining the sport to a government official. "The official thought that a pesilat (martial artist) was a villager with a black suit and a big moustache."

He said in 1994 the association suggested the sport feature at Army schools.

"We talked to the director general of Army communication department at that time and he was enthusiastic. But after the officer retired, his successors never followed up with the plan," he said.

He also said his officials had asked the home affairs ministry to urge governors to help promote pencak silat in their provinces should the law on regional autonomy be executed.

"The governors can help promote the sport by featuring it in ceremonies or even trying to develop it to boost provincial prestige through achievements in sporting events. The governors can financially support it through the provincial budget," he said. (ivy)