This editorial is a simple contemplation for me. The second paragraph that said:
"Indonesia has failed to reap much benefit from these treasures because of ignorance and an unwillingness to preserve the sites. We can blame no one but ourselves for this failure to preserve and promote the country's heritage for the betterment of the people"...just like admitting not worthy of our Borobudur to receive the World Seven Wonder title.
Please feel free to read the editorial as I posted below and comment on how we could reduce another failure on preserving and promoting our beloved country's heritage for the betterment of - not only the people today - but for future generations as well. I made some highlights on - I feel - very important paragraph that actually punched us very hard as Indonesian. One post made by a friend also quite interesting to read.
Borobudur, no wonder
This newspaper ran interesting articles about two of the country's priceless but neglected heritage sites in its Sunday and Monday editions: Lake Toba and Borobudur Temple.
Indonesia has failed to reap much benefit from these treasures because of ignorance and an unwillingness to preserve the sites. We can blame no one but ourselves for this failure to preserve and promote the country's heritage for the betterment of the people.
The first report, on the Sunday Post's Travel page, described the vast volcanic Lake Toba in North Sumatra. The lake is believed to be the result of largest volcanic eruption more than 840.000 years ago. Few Indonesians, even among the Batak tribes living around the lake, know about the violent birth of Toba.
Local residents and tourist industry people only complain about the declining number of foreign visitors to the area because of its geographical handicaps, poor infrastructure and the lack of tourist attractions. With better knowledge of the lake's history, it would be easier to attract tourists by packaging the history of the lake.
The National Geographic television station has in the past aired a wonderful program about the eruption. After watching this program most people would find it ridiculous that more people visit Singapore's Night Safari -- which offers only animals from other countries -- than Lake Toba.
The story that appeared Monday is even more concerning for Indonesia, because in it we learn that Borobudur Temple, the pride of the nation, does not appear on the new list of the Seven Wonders of the World.
When asked about Borobudur, most -- if not all -- Indonesians will repeat the old, but incorrect, conviction that the temple belongs to the Seven Wonders of the World.
Since childhood Indonesians have been taught that the world's largest Buddhist temple is included among the world's seven wonders, although the claim is not supported by documented evidence.
Indonesian officials quickly played down the new list of the world's wonders, arguing that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) was not involved in drawing up the list. They probably forget that 100 million people across the globe voluntarily participated in the voting, just like the American Idol process.
A private Swiss foundation on Sunday announced the results of the poll, where 100 million Internet and phone voters chose seven out of 21 short-listed sites, from an original list of 77. Borobudur did not even make the top 21.
According to Unesco's list of 851 world heritage sites, just seven are in Indonesia, including Borobudur Temple in Central Java and the Sangiran's early man site in East Java.
Other countries, like Brazil and Peru, have been much more active in promoting their historic sites and natural assets, realizing this is one of the most effective ways to attract visitors, and their money, to the country.
Many jealous Indonesians may say Borobudur is more deserving of the honor than India's Taj Mahal or the statue of Christ overlooking Rio de Janeiro. Whether or not this is true, Indonesia has not done enough to draw the world's attention to its attractions.
As in North Sumatra, the local government in Central Java has complained that visitor numbers to Borobudur have continued to decline despite efforts to provide more commercial facilities around the Borobudur compound.
Tourists are reluctant to visit Lake Toba because of its distance from Medan, and also because, unlike culturally rich Bali, tourists can only enjoy the beauty of nature. There are no attractive cultural programs on offer for visitors.
Visitors to Borobudur Temple are often annoyed by the presence of overzealous vendors. The government apparently believes the temple alone is more than enough to bring in tourists, so no extra effort is needed.
Borobudur is our cultural pride and Lake Toba is the crown of our natural riches. But pride alone is not enough when the nation fails to compete with other countries in attracting tourists.