1st ASEAN Puppetry Festival Jakarta Indonesia

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1st ASEAN Puppetry Festival Jakarta Indonesia



It is a great pleasure to welcome your excellencies the Ambassadors of the ASEAN Member States and of friendly neighbor States, dignitaries, cultural experts and puppetry artists to this 1st ASEAN Puppetry Festival 2006.

The art and culture of puppetry or wayang exists in various forms in the countries of ASEAN, and forms a part of the Cultural heritage of ASEAN as defined in the ASEAN Declaration on Cultural Heritage signed in Bangkok on 25th July 2000, namely, significant cultural values and concepts, oral and folk heritage… traditional arts and crafts… performing arts, the written heritage and popular cultural heritage.

We recall that quite some time ago there had been an official recommendation to establish an association to develop and promote ASEAN puppetry in order to promote linkages and networks, as contained in the report of workshops of the role of puppetry as a traditional Media held on the 8th – 11th of September 1998 under the auspices of the ASEAN Committee on Culture and Information (ASEAN COCI)

The puppetry of ASEAN is a unique cultural heritage and is indeed an important part of the cultural identities of the ASEAN Member States. The puppetry of two ASEAN Member States have been declared Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, namely,the Sbek Thom Khmer Shadow Puppetry of Cambodia (2003) and the Wayang Puppet Theatre of Indonesia (2003). Puppetry may well serve as an attractive draw card for “Cultural Tourism” among our ASEAN countries.

This 1st ASEAN Puppetry Festival presents a unique opportunity for all the participants and audiences to witness performances of varieties of traditional and contemporary puppetry found in the ASEAN Member States. The ASEAN Puppetry Symposium should also present a valuable opportunity to evaluate the present condition of puppetry in each of our states, and at the same time encourage us to work together on an ongoing basis to preserve and develop this valuable cultural heritage, which is in some areas regretably  threatened with extinction due to the pressure of various modern entertainments.

I believe this Festival will serve to inspire us all to preserve the noble values contained within puppetry and other items of our traditional cultural heritage, for the pleasure and guidance of present and future generations of our peoples. Furthermore I hope the festival will be successful and beneficial to strengthen cooperation in the social and cultural field.

Jakarta, 23rd November 2006

Minister of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia

Ir. Jero Wacik, SE


As our ASEAN Leaders declared during their Ninth Summit in Bali in 2003, one of the three pillars of the envisioned ASEAN Community is the ASEAN Socioeconomic Community, the other two being the ASEAN Security Community and the ASEAN Economic. All the pillars are equally important, mutually supportive and mutually reinforcing.

Through the ASEAN Sociocultural Community we hope to raise the quality of life of the people of our region by building an ASEAN identity and promoting the ASEAN cultural heritage.

It is in this spirit that I congratulate and commend the Indonesian National Wayang Secretariat (SENA WANGI) for organizing the First ASEAN Puppetry Festival, which will be held in Jakarta from 29 November to 3 December 2006.

Puppetry is a part and parcel of the ASEAN cultural identity. Since ancient times puppet plays have been a major form of entertainment in our region. It has also been a medium of social education. The Indonesian population planning programme succeeded because, among others, it made excellent use of the form of puppetry called Wayang Kulit.

The ASEAN Puppetry Festival is therefore an initiative in the framework of the ASEAN Sociocultural Community, which focuses on the virtues and attractions of our region, and promotes the growth of an ASEAN cultural identity. I hope that it will lead to the birth and growth of an ASEAN Puppetry Association so that three will be more endeavours like this Festival.

To the delegations from ASEAN countries that have enthusiastically joined the Puppetry Festival, I bid you all a hearty welcome. And I wish you every success in this and all your future undertakings.

Jakarta, 23rd November 2006

Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia

Dr. N. Hassan Wirajuda


It is with thanks to Allah SWT that we welcome this 1st ASEAN Puppetry Festival which is being held from 29th of November until 3rd of December 2006 in Jakarta Indonesia, attended by representatives of the 10 ASEAN Member States. This ASEAN Puppetry Festival is being organized for the first time. We hope that such cultural activities of an international scale can continue to be organized periodically in subsequent puppetry festivals.

As an expression of mankind’s artistic feelings, almost all nations possess wayang or puppetry. Such is also the case among the ASEAN Members States, wherein the art and culture of wayang or puppetry has grown and developed since ancient times in a wide variety of forms, scenarios and styles of performance. All these varieties of puppetry are beautiful and contain a wealth of moral messages regarding the noble things in life. For this reason, this cultural potential in the ASEAN sub-region needs to be developed on an ongoing basis, so that it may become a cultural force towards enhancement of cooperation between the ASEAN countries. Both now and in the future, puppetry may be utilized to cultivate friendship and collaboration betweennations through a cultural approach or friendship through culture.

As the organizer of the 1st ASEAN puppetry festival, SENA WANGI is happy and proud that the ASEAN Member States have so enthusiastically stated their readiness to participate in this puppetry festival. This readiness and active participation of all the ASEAN countries constitutes a strong basis to build increasingly closer and more beneficial collaboration for the welfare of the peoples of ASEAN. We express our thanks and deepest appreciation to all participants in the festival. We have worked hard together in the hope that this 1st ASEAN Puppetry Festival may go on safely and successfully, free from impediment. May the One Supreme God bless our joint efforts. Thank you.

Jakarta, 29th of November 2006

Drs. H. Solichin


We hope that the efforts of SENA WANGI to preserve and develop wayang or puppetry will not merely position the art and culture of puppetry as a pillar of national culture, but that puppetry will furthermore also play a role as a cultural vehicle and mouthpiece to uplift the quality and standard of humanity.

It is our intetion that these efforts will be increased, not only on a national scale, but also on subregional, regional and international levels.

The organizing of this 1st ASEAN Puppetry Festival 2006 in Jakarta from 29th of November till the 3rd of December 2006 comprising puppetry performances, a symposium and proposed declaration of an ASEAN Puppetry Festival are efforts on a sub-regional level with the intention of linking up the puppetry of indonesia and of ASEAN, with the ASEAN committee on Culture and Information. (COCI). By these efforts, the vision, mission and general goals of SENA WANGI may achieve more optimal success.

We hope that social and cultural collaboration between the ASEAN Members States will motivate success of the programs of ASEAN, both in the social and cultural fields as well as in other fields.

This festival has been organized in collaboration between our Festival Organizing Committee here in Indonesia and our fellow puppetry artists and experts in neighboring countries, who have kindly come from a far to participate in the festival. We have also been supported by officials from the governments and embassies of the participating ASEAN Member States. Upon this occasion, I wish to express our deepest thanks to all of you who have collaborated so nicely to make this Festival a success. May all of you enjoy the Festival.

Jakarta, 23rd of November 2006

1st ASEAN Puppetry Festival 2006 Organizing Committee

Ambassador Tupuk Sutrisno, SH



Brunei Darussalam

Negeri Brunei Darussalam does not presently possess the culture of puppetry or wayang. However, Brunei Darussalam does have varieties of beautiful culture and arts. Brunei Darussalam has graciously consented to send its observer to attend the 1st ASEAN Puppetry Festival, for which the Organizing Committee expresses its deepest thanks.



Sbek Thom puppetry from Cambodia

The Sbek Thom is a Khmer shadow theater featuring two-metre high, nonarticulated puppets made of leather openwork. The Sbek Thom, along with the royal ballet and mask theatre, is considered sacred. Performances dedicated to the divinities, could only take place on specific occasions, three or four times a year, such as the Khmer new year, the King’s birthday or the veneration of famous people. The shadow theatre was weakened after the fall of Angkor in the last century. However, it has evolved beyond a ceremonial activity to become an artistic from, while retaining its ritualistic dimension.

The puppets are made from a single piece of leather in a special ceremony for each character. Shiva and Vishnu, for example, are cut from the hide of the cow, which died accidentally or naturally and are finished in a single day following a special ritual. The hides are dyed with a solution made from the bark of the Kandaol. The artisan draws the desired figure on the tanned hide, then cuts it out and paints it before attaching it to two bamboo sticks which enable the dancer to control the puppet.

The performances traditionally take place at night in the open air beside a rice-field or pagoda. A large white backdrop is held between two tall bamboo screens in front of a large fire or, nowadays, projectors. The shadow of the puppets silhouette is projected onto this white screen. The animator brings the puppet to life wit precise and specific dance steps that produce a range of movements. The performance iss accompanied by an orchestra and two narrators. Performances from the reamker, the Khmer version of Ramayana, might last several nights and require up to 160 puppeteers for a single session.



wayang sandosa from indonesia

Wayang is a cultural creation of the genius of the Indonesian people. Wayang has been known since at least the 10th Century, and has developed throughout the history of Indonesia down to the present day. From ancient times until now, wayang has been an oral and intangible culture of very high artistic merit. The resilience and development of wayang has been tried and almost all areas of Indonesia are familiar with wayang. No less that 100 wayang have grown and developed. Most of the varieties of wayang too appearing. Examples of varieties of wayang which continue to develop and be enjoyed by large audiences include Wayang Kulit Purwa Wayang, Purba Bali and Wayang Golek Sunda. Wayang Banjar an example of a style of wayang which is fading, while Wayang Palembang is threatened with extinction.

Wayang performances are a beautiful combination of five elements; namely, Performing Arts, Musical Arts, Literary Arts, Creative Arts and Philosophical and Education Arts. Wayang is present in this complete form which includes its aesthetics, ethics and philosophy. Ethical values in wayang are not limited in their usefulness only to personal life, but also encompass broader aims for the life of community, nation and state.

Philosophical values constitute the content and main strength of wayang performances. Wayang is not merely an entertainment, but also contains moral guidance and advice. Wayang performances are referred to aswewayanane ngaurip, because they reflect or symbolize human life from birth to death. Wayang is not merely a shadow play; but rather, some things fare more broad and deep. This is because wayang illustrates human life along with all varieties of problems which it must face.



Myanmar marionettes

The earliest evidence of myanmar traditional marionette in Inwa Period dated A.D. 1444. It might have come into being since time in emoral. Myanmar Marionettes are suspended with strings. The number of the strings sttached to a Marionette ranges from at least 12 to the number of the most 60. Marionette is higher in the status and the creation of this art is also considered to be sacred accomplishment. The 28 puppets were formed to depict the 28 Ru-Pas (physical forms) which consists of 4 bu-ta-ru-pas (elements) and 24 u-pa-da-ya-ru-pas (attachment) mentioned in the ah-bi dhamma, the Buddhist teaching embodies in the third basket of ti-pi-ta-ka-ti means three and pi-ta-ka means basket in Pali language. The 4 ministers marionettes that represent the 4 elements and the other 24 puppets are two nat votaresses, one horse, two elephants, one tiger, one monkey, one parrot, two ogres, one zawgyi (alchemist), one dragon, one garuda (mythical bird) one diva (good spirit), one king, one price, one princess, tow prince regents, one astrologer, one hermit, one old man and woman and two court jesters. Myanmar marionette theatre is an important part of our cultural heritage and needs to be preserved and promoted for the benefit of posterity. Now a days, Myanmar marionette is being taught as one of the ceremonies and festival. The nationwide Myanmar Traditional Performing Arts Competitions have been annually held since 1993 and marionette competition has taken one of the items. The young and old artistic puppet amateurish and proffesional have participated in all levels. The University of Culture, the first of its kind ever established in Myanmar was inaugurated on the 24th day of September, 1993 to sustain Myanmar cultural education and heritage. In fact this establishment is an epoch-making event in the history of Myanmar Culture. Today with influence of globalization Myanmar puppet performance admitted has lost much of its artistry and popularity. Decadence has set in and many are already tolling knell. As an organized form of entertainment  it has lost its popularity in urban areas. But the spirit dies hard. There are many artistes scattered all over the country each holding fast to his art and puppet. In additions the state holds the Myanmar Traditional Cultural Performing Arts Competition annually that provides the opportunity for revitalization of drama presentation by the puppetry troupes.



Malaysia Shadow Puppetry

Traditionally four different styles of shadow play have been active in the Malay Peninsula. These are wayang kulit purwa, wayang kulit gedek, wayang kulit Siam. The first three of these forms are derivates of others from Indonesia or Thailand, while wayang kulit Siam is generally regarded as more “indigenous” than the rest. The history of the first three of these forms is fairly well-known due to their recent introduction into the Malay Peninsula. Several opinions have been expressed regarding the possible origins and history of wayang kulit Siam, the oldest and most important of the Malay wayang kulit styles, which demonstrate obvious Javanese and Thai influences.

Due to various factors, in particular economic and religious, there has been a serious decline in the number of active puppeteers (dalang) in recent decades. Under certain pressures, puppeteers have also begun to bring innovations into wayang kulit gedek and wayang kulit Siam. There have also been attempts to create new styles of wayang kulit. On the whole, however, there is, as yet, no serious effort in Malaysia to preserve the shadow play, and its very existence is, is, therefore, seriously threatened.



Marionette Puppetry from Tali Galaw

Puppetry in the Philippines started since the time of Dr. Jose Rizal, our national hero, when he staged the play entitled  “CARILLO” or shadow puppetry. Rizal used a carton and a stick and he placed this at the back of a white cloth.  Then he used a candle light at the back of the puppets.In the town of Angono, the giant puppetsare well known. These are made of Paper Mache and bamboo sticks. They are using these in celebrating the feast of St. Clementine every last Sunday of November.

Aside from the traditional puppetry, there were puppet groups formed since 1972 up to present. These groups were inspired by the different puppetry art in other countries and those children programs seen on the movies and television.

puppets are effective medium for kids’ educational entertainment presently often used in TV commercials in advertising a certain product. Also in field trips, school tours and mall shows. In the Philippines, children are well amazed by the magic behind the puppetry art.

Types or Style of Puppetry found in the Philippines

I.  Hand Puppet

Puppets made of foam and cloth. The puppeteer’s hand is inserted in the neck holding the flap to open the puppet mouth. Manipulations are limited to the mouth, neck, arms and hands. Sometimes, movements of the eye, eyebrows, ears, nose and hair are included. Puppeteers perform from below. The common position of puppeteer is kneeling down or standing up.

Some of the Hand Puppet groups in the Philippines are:

Roppets Puppet Production

These are the samples of their puppets. The group performs in birthday parties, malls, school tours, field trips, Barangay and other special events.  (Effectiveness of puppets in advertising and promotion) The group is considered tobe one of best groups who performs puppet shows in the Philippines and was awarded as Most Outstanding Educational Entertainment Company of the year 2001 by the National Consumer Council and who’s who in the Philippines. Now it has five (5) branches all over the Philippines.

II. Rod Puppetry

Puppets are similar to that of Japan’s “Bunraku”. Puppets are manipulated through a rod. Movements are the head, arm and feet.

Giant Puppetry

Life size puppets made of foam. Sometimes the head is made of fiber glass. Puppeteer is inside the puppet. Movements are walking, dancing and jumping.

Roppets puppet Production

III.  Stick Puppetry

A nursery type of puppets made of cardboard and sticks. Manipulation is through the movement of sticks. Puppeteers perform from below.

IV.  Shadow Puppetry

Puppets are made of animal skin and sticks. Puppeteer performs from the back of a white cloth with light at the back of puppets.

V. Black Theater

Puppets made of foam, rope, cloth, fake fur, wig and stuffing. The whole body can be manipulated. Puppeteers perform from behind, using black light to illuminate the design and color of puppets.

Teatro Itim

VI. String Puppets

Puppets made of wood, rubber, steel, fiberglass or polystuff. Manipulations are through strings. Movements are the head, arms, hand and feet. Puppeteers perform from above.

There are string puppets made in the northern part of the Philippines by the Ifugaos. Materials are yarn and thread.

Iskul Bus Pambatang Palabas

A puppet group which aim is to uplift the social, moral, environmental, health and spiritual values of children. Aside from bringin the puppet show to churches, community and school, thye group is also involved in the radio ministry. On 1998, Iskul Bus won the KBP Alay sa Kabataan Awards as Best Children’s Radio Program.

Fancy Magic Show

Perform a unique type of magic show. The magician is a puppet.

Tali Galaw

The first and only String Puppet Production in the Philippines. The production has made an original string puppet for the Filipinos. The body, head, arms and feet are made of bamboos. Costumes are the traditional clothes of Filipinos interpreted in abstract design.

Tali Galaw has been performing in museums, schools and cultural events.

Since the production is engaged in the manufacturing of string puppets, it also participates in special product selling during events like bazaar, product exhibits conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry, held in parks and open spaces.

Tali Galaw in its commitment in preserving and developing string puppetry, is conducting seminar on puppet making sponsored by the Technological Livelihood Research Center of the Philippines.

Efforts being made to preserve and Develop Puppetry in the Philippines

The Puppeteers Association of the Philippines has been conducting seminars and workshops in schools, churches and art venues. The Association also distribute to its members reading materials about updates in puppetry of other countries like U.S., Europe and Asia.

  1. Puppet groups maintain and develop the production of various kinds of puppets for presentation purposes.
  2. Organizing school tours, field trips and other shows for the interest of children and adults.
  3. Regular performances on televisions and theaters to preserve the life of puppetry art.
  4. Training of new puppeteers of all ages.
  5. Campaign tore-instate the subject of Humanities in the College level and include puppetry as medium for cultural education.
  6. Expanding into putting up more branches inprovinces.
  7. To publish the first Book of Puppetry in the Philippines.
  8. Contribution of the publishing of Encyclopedia of Puppetry released in France, last 2004.

Tali Galaw Synopsis

1. PISYAW (Pilipinong Sayaw)

A 2-part musical play. One is the Tiniklingdance. The other is the Ifugao. These are some of the few well-known traditional danes in the Philippines.

The music in the tinikling dance is played by a “rondalla”, a group of instrumentalist playing a “bandurya”, a small eight string guitar, together with Spanish guitars and cello bass guitar.

Two persons are holding two bamboos on opposite sides. As the music play, the bamboos are pounded on the ground every 2nd and 3rd beat of the ¾ bar and close the bamboos every 1st beat of the bar. Dancers hop into the bamboos.

The second part is the Ifugao dance. A traditional dance in the Cordillera Mountains, northern part of Luzon by tribal groups. A ritual dance as a form of worship to their Gods called Anitos.

2. Pistang Pinoy

A musical play portraying the Filipinos’ celebration of feast in the “barrio”. Scenario and things you can see during “Fiesta”.

3.  Fantastic Bones

A musical comedy featuring a band of skeleton puppets singing to the tune of “I Feel Good” by James Brown.



singapore puppetry

Cultural traditional has great vitality. It adapts to the challenges of time.

Pupppet theatre, one of the oldest performing art forms in Chinese history, has many faces in Singapore. The shadow play, the string puppetry, the wire puppetry, the rod puppetry and glove puppetry were introduced to Singapore at different times in the 19th century. Like Chinese opera, the different forms of puppet theatre share a common repertoire  based on historical events, legends, myths and folk tales but differ in the language of performance, musical style and material condition.

Of all these forms, shadow play is the oldest where shadows of pierced and painted leather puppets are cast onto a screen lighted by a lamp. Although the oldest among the puppet theatre, shadow play is the less commonly seen form in Singapore. However Yin Lu, a professional puppet artiste from shanghai, helped to revive the ancient shadoe play piece in Singapore in 2001 with a group of teenagers and they created a shadow play piece in English besed on the story of “Monkey King and the White Bone Demoness”. They were later invited to the Puppet Theatre Festival in Malaysia.

Similar to Wayang Golek of Indonesia, is the Teochew wire puppetry. In its golden days, several Teochew wire puppet theatre troupes competed to adapt Teochew opera movies from China to win over audiences Madam Koh Ah Lak, key member of the leading group in the 60′s, the Yuan Zheng Fen troupe, recalled that they were able to attract hundreds of spectators when they premiered ” Fire at the Riverside Pavilion” in the early 60′s. The puppet, about 12 inches tall, is supported by a rod on the back while two thin rods control the arms. “There are now so few people commissioning the wire puppet troupes to perform for religious ceremonies. Only four groups are still invited to perform occasionally.



Puppetry of Thailand

The Hun Lakorn Lek disappeared from Thai culture over 50 years. Only recently, in 1985, did Mr. Sakorn Yangkeawsot, otherwise known as Joe Louis, revived and adapted the puppets and their performance for future generations to come.

Mr. Sakorn was born in 1924, the son of Mr. Kui and Mrs. Chuan Yangkeawsot. Both of his parents are Kohn and Lakorn stage performers. Mrs. Plang gave him the name Sakorn after a character in the play Phraapiemanee literature where his parents were performing.



Vietnam Water Puppetry

Water puppet is an original folk art, a thousand year old wonder. Sung Thien Dien Linh Stele located in Doi temple, Duy Tien town, Ha Nam in 1121 was written with water puppet to congratulate the king on his longetivity.

Water puppet has attached with the life of Vietnamese farmers, the working life has been shown originally in water puppet such as; ploughing, raking, transplanting, catching duck, catching frog, fishing… Working live, spirit life, upright dreams full of humanity such as: boating returning sword, fairy dance, phoenix dance, the four mythical animals (dragon, unicorn, tortoise, phoenix)… a naive, unaffected, plain and romantic world outlook.

Vietnam water puppet is evaluated to be uncomparable on the world. Since 1984, artists of Vietnamese Water puppet is evaluated to be uncomparable on the world. Since1984, artists of Vietnamese Water Puppet Theatre performed in most of continents: European: Britain, France, Swiss, Switzerland, Denmark, Germany, Poland,Czech Republic and Russia… Asia: China, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore…

Water puppet is always preserved, a precious pearl that need to be kept and developed. In early pears of 21st century, artists of Vietnamese Water Puppet Theater had continuously created, life pace, breathe today has been blown in water puppet finely but it still keeps the original point.

Historical topic “Tran Saint”, Andersen’s fairy tales, and “Dream of Teu and Kanguroo” are bought in water puppet. Especially in 2006, “The soul of Native Land” by director Vuong Duy Bien- a water puppet works combining traditional with modern art harmonizing with each other sweetly and simply. This is an experiment-a reckless creation which is highly appreciated. Hopely, “The soul of native land” masterpiece is an important point for the historical turning point of water puppet in the early 21st century. Inheriting traditional folk water puppet of the nation, artists of Vietnamese Water Puppet Theatre still long for creation to add to the glistening treasure.


Mr. Danilo Liwanag Philippine delegate, discussing the status of the world of puppetry in ASEAN countries especially in the Philippines.

ASEAN Delegates after the Symposium to the 1st ASEAN Puppetry Festival Jakarta, Indonesia

Philippine Group(from left to right): Antonio Liwanag, Danilo Liwanag, Dennis Panag and Casius Ramirez together with Mr. Gaura Mancacaritadipura Former SENA WANGI Secretary.

ASEAN Delegates visited the Vice Presidents Palace with performance of Wayang by the Indonesia.

Closing and Awarding of the 1st ASEAN Puppetry Festival in Jakarta Indonesia

Philippine Representative Antonio Liwanag receiving the Certificate of Participation to the 1st ASEAN Puppetry Festival

Antonio Liwanag

Tonc is currently working as an Assistant Director in Roppets Edutainment Production Inc. He's offering the most unique and quality educational entertainment for birthday parties and events for more than 25 years.

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