One of our country’s many cultural heritage is the “pantun”, a form of verse in Bahasa Melayu used to express intricate ideas and emotions.
Recognised as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, the pantun is the most widespread oral form in maritime Southeast Asia and has been used in many parts of the region for at least 500 years!
Fast forward to present day, the pantun and usage of Bahasa Melayu in general continues to be promoted by Malaysian leaders, even at the international scene.
Most notably, former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob made history by becoming the first Malaysian Prime Minister to deliver a speech at the National Statement at the United Nations (UN) general Assembly in Bahasa Melayu.
While Ismail’s suggestion for our national delegates to use Bahasa Melayu at international events and conferences are not continued by the Unity Government, many government leaders are continuing to elevate the usage of our national language in different ways.
For example, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is known for his advanced Bahasa Melayu usage in his speeches and the Deputy Finance Ministers love for pantun.
Most recently, Local Government Development (KPKT) Minister Nga Kor Ming also showcased our pantun heritage to the international audience at a global conference.
Taking the floor at the China-ASEAN Ministerial Roundtable on Construction in Nanning, China, Nga can be seen in a video ending his English speech with a Malay pantun.
Dubbing it as ending a speech ‘the Malaysia way’, the KPKT Minister recited this simple pantun during the conference,
“Buah cempedak enak rasanya,
Buat santapan di waktu senja,
Sekian sahaja ucapan saya,
Diharap dapat manfaat semua.”
You can watch the whole video here:
Awesome! So, what do you guys think of Malaysian leaders promoting our national language and heritage at the global scene? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.