Dean of FAH: A List of Notes for the Cultural Bill Draft

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Main Auditorium, UIN News Online—The Bill Draft (Rancangan Undang-undang/RUU) on Culture has an inherent notes that need to be fixed. This notes are the definition of culture that is narrow, the inclarity of managing institution, and its cultural components. The existence of the Draft also implied the potential of reliving past mistakes about State’s hegemony on culture.

This is what is uttered by the Dean of Faculty of Adab and Humanity (FAH) Prof Dr Sukron Kamil in Public Discussion on the Cultural Bill Draft (Diskusi Publik RUU Kebudayaan) taking place in Main Auditorium, Tuesday (27/10). In the event which is part of the bigger Festival of Culture and Archipelagic Islam Civilization (Fesbadin) FAH, the Dean present his paper entitled Considering the Cultural Bill Draft (Menimbang RUU Kebudayaan).

According to Sukrom, the Draft failed to categorize the definition of culture, both to wide and narrow understanding. Definitions used in it tend to be blurred because of the mixing which cause inclarity in understanding. This is contrary to the essence of culture itself that, by definition, needs to be understood in a wide and narrow manner. “Narrow definition is what refered to by the majority of experts, and wide definition is what refered to by the Draft,” he said.

The narrow definition, he explained, is like what is delivered by Clyde Kluckhom as a system of value that involves a sense of thinking, feeling, believing, and considering. Meanwhile, the wide definition of culture is anything belong into three: idea, action, and thing.  

In the managerial aspect, this Draft does not specifically mention which institution that is in-charge of managing the culture. The Draft only mention government, both ministry in the Central Govrnment, as well as the local government. But at the same section, it was stated that the management has to be multisectoral.

From the cultural aspects, said Sukron, the Draft included some too-wide aspects, like social organization, communication, health, and technology. This is contrast to opinion of expert Oswald Spengler’s, the inclusion of culture are among the aspects of language and literature, philosophy, arts, religious and moral values, and history.

Furthermore, Sukron viewed the critiques coming from public, most of them, are rooted from the worrisome that the Draft will bring back State’s hegemony over culture as what was the case in the past, like Lekra of the Old Order regime and Manifesto Kebudayaan of the New Order regime.

Lekra sees culture is for the people, and is backed by the State. Meanwhile, Manifesto Kebudayaan sees culture is for itself,” he said.

To be noted, the House of Representatives initiate the formation of legal umbrella on cultural affairs which takes the form of the Cultural Bill Draft. Though not legalized yet, the Draft sparked much debate. One of the counterarguments circulating is about kretek cigarette that will be definitively considered as nation’s cultural heritage.

Reported by Syarifaeni Fahda

Translated by: Muhammad Ichsan Fadillah