Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore are proposing the kebaya as a candidate for the UNESCO Intangible Heritage List for 2023. Since UNESCO's list was first revealed in a press release on November 23, 2022, Singapore has been promoting the kebaya on Facebook.
Although Malaysia proposed and coordinated the plan, Singapore, a city-state in Southeast Asia, distributed the news release.
Singapore's National Heritage Board clarified that the nations would submit their nomination to UNESCO by this month in a Q&A that was published on February 16. Each of them would need to "demonstrate their efforts in promoting and safeguarding the kebaya" as part of the submission process, as well as "community support and consent for the candidacy."
Indonesia was ultimately included on the list by Singapore's National Heritage Board, despite not appearing in the initial official draft of the press release for the submission in November 2022.
"The five countries agreed to work together on this multinational nomination as the kebaya represents and celebrates the region’s rich shared history, promotes cross-cultural understanding, and continues to be actively produced and worn by many communities across Southeast Asia," the National Heritage Board wrote.
It's possible that the kebaya, which Indonesia has acknowledged as its national attire since 1945, has roots in the Middle East. The attire was worn by Javanese royals and society ladies when Portuguese explorers landed in Java in 1512.
When Javanese women in a Japanese internment camp during World War II refused to wear anything other than the national costume, it became a sign of defiance and of the unity of the country.
Source: Yahoo Lifestyle