The Jakarta Post
A visitor reads a Panji comic at the Panji Visual Exhibition at Taman Krida Budaya, Malang, East Java, on July 11. (JP/Nedi Putra AW)
Indonesian folklore, especially the tales of Panji, need to be reinterpreted in modern contexts, lecturer Joko Susanto of the Social and Political Sciences Faculty at Airlangga University in Surabaya, East Java, has said.
At the Panji Cultural Discussion held at Ma Chung University in Malang, East Java, on July 11, Joko said the tales of Panji were essentially stories of and for the youth.
"That's why there's a need to make the tales more straightforward for the millennials," he said.
The Panji tales are a collection of classic Javanese folklore originating in East Java in the 14th century. They narrate the life of Raden Inu Kertapati aka Panji Asmarabangun, who faces trials and tribulations in his quest to reunite with his true love, Candra Kirana aka Dewi Sekartaji. The tales are told throughout Indonesia as well as Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos.
The discussion was held at the 2019 Archipelago Panji Festival, which aims to popularize the collection.
Joko said the stories could be developed through books, movies or animation, mediums that could further introduce Indonesian culture to the world.
Citing the animated version of Disney's Mulan as an example, he said traditional folklore would do well internationally.
“One day they will see the potentials of Southeast Asia, with Panji being one of the strongest story collections,” he said, while acknowledging the challenges, including the lack of Panji tales in modern texts.
The Archipelago Panji Festival was held simultaneously in four cities across East Java from July 9 to 12.
Along with Joko, humanist Wardiman Djojonegoro and historian Adrian Perkasa took part as speakers during the event. (dpk/wng)
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