Flag of Indonesia
|Names||Sang Saka Merah-Putih, Bendera Merah-Putih or Merah-Putih|
|Use||National flag and ensign|
|Adopted||17 August 1945 (Original)
17 August 1950 (Official)
|Design||A horizontal bicolour of red and white|
Variant flag of Republic of Indonesia
|Name||Ular-Ular Perang (Naval Jack)|
The Flag of Indonesia is a simple bicolour with two equal horizontal bands, red (top) and white (bottom) with an overall ratio of 2:3. It was introduced and hoisted in public at the Indonesian Independence declaration ceremony on 17 August 1945 in Pegangsaan Timur street and Independence from the Netherlands on 17 August 1950. The design of the flag has remained the same ever since.
The Naval Jack of Indonesia is reserved for sole use by the Indonesian Navy. It flies from every active Indonesian war ship mast. The design of the jack is described as nine alternating stripes of red and white. It is nicknamed Ular-ular Perang (War Pennant or literally "War Snakes"), probably due to the stripes' design. The naval jack dates to the age of Majapahit Empire. The Majapahit Empire, which was renowned for its great maritime strength, used to fly similar jacks on its vessels.
Its colours are derived from the banner of the 13th century Majapahit Empire. However it was suggested that the reverence for the colours red and white can trace its origin to older common Austronesian mythology of Mother Earth and Father Sky; both symbolise in colours red (earth) and white (sky). This is one of the reasons why the colours red and white appears in many of the flags throughout Austronesia — from Tahiti to Indonesia and Madagascar. White and Red would also later on symbolise the duality of nature. The earliest record of the use of red and white panji or pataka (long flag along curved bamboo pole) were written in Pararaton; according to this source, the troops of Jayakatwang from Gelang-gelang hoisted the red and white banner during their invasion to Singhasari. This suggested that even before Majapahit era, the red and white colours already revered and used as kingdom's banner since Kediri era. The application of red and white textile colouring is available in ancient Indonesia. White is the natural colour of woven cotton fabrics, while red is one of the earliest natural dye discovered by native acquired from the teak leaves, the flowers of Averrhoa bilimbi or the skin of mangosteen fruits.
Not only Javanese kingdoms that used red and white colours, the battle flag of King Sisingamangaraja IX of Batak lands also uses red and white as emblem; with the image of white twin swords called piso gaja dompak against red background. During Aceh War, Aceh warriors also used red and white battle flag, with the image of sword, star and crescent, sun, and also part of Quranic script. Red and white flag is also used as the flag of Buginese Bone kingdom in South Sulawesi, the flag is called Woromporang. The Balinese Badung (Puri Pamecutan) royal banner also contains red and white element, their flag is red, white, and black that probably also derived from Majapahit origin. During Java War (1825–1830) Prince Diponegoro also used red and white banner.
Later, these colours were revived by students and then nationalists in the early 20th century as an expression of nationalism against the Dutch. The red-white flag was flown for the first time in Java in 1928. Under Dutch rule, the flag was prohibited. It was adopted as the national flag on 17 August 1945, when independence was declared and has been in use since then.
There is also another story about the flag of Indonesia, which is significantly related to the flag of the Netherlands. Under the colonial rule of the Dutch, the Netherlands (red-white-blue) flag was flown over Indonesia, while the flag of Indonesia (red-white), which was already created by the late 1930s, was prohibited from being exhibited. To symbolise the intention of forcing out the Dutch, the Indonesian nationalists and independence movement tore apart the Dutch flag. They tore off the bottom third of the flag and separated the red and white colours from the blue-coloured section A famous event, the "Hotel Yamato incident", happened on the 19th of September in 1945 on the roof-top of Hotel Majapahit in downtown Surabaya, where young Indonesian revolutionaries tore away the blue part of the Dutch flag flown over the hotel to change it to the Indonesian flag in the lead-up to the Battle of Surabaya. The main reason was because the blue element in the Dutch flag was understood as standing for the "blue-blooded" aristocracy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Conversely, the flag's red element represented the blood shed by anti-colonial nationalists in the War of Independence, while the white element could be understood to symbolise the purity of the Indonesian people.
The official name of the flag is Sang Merah-Putih (The Red-and-White) according to Article 35 of the 1945 Constitution. The flag is commonly called Bendera Merah-Putih (Red-and-White Flag). Occasionally, it is also called Sang Dwiwarna (The bicolor). Sang Saka Merah-Putih (The Lofty Red-and-White) refers to the historical flag called Bendera Pusaka (heirloom flag) and its replica. The Bendera Pusaka is the flag that was flown in front of Soekarno's house a few moments after he proclaimed Indonesia's independence on 17 August 1945. The original Bendera Pusaka was sewn by Mrs. Fatmawati Soekarno, and was hoisted every year in front of the presidential palace during the independence day ceremony. It was hoisted for the last time on 17 August 1968. Since then it has been preserved and replaced by a replica since the original flag was deemed to be too fragile.
Several opinions have been expressed on the meaning of the red and white in the Indonesian flag. One opinion is that the red stands for courage, while the white stands for purity. Another is that red represents the human body or physical life, while white represents the soul or spiritual life; together they stand for a complete human being.
As Sukarno said:
Red is the symbol of courage, White is the symbol of purity. Our flag has been there since 600 years ago.
Traditionally, most Indonesians have used red and white as their ceremonial colours, mixing the colour of sugar (the red colour comes from palm sugar or gula aren) and rice (white in colour). Inarguably, until today, both of these are the major components of daily Indonesian cuisine or cooking. The Majapahit Empire have the same colours in its flag.
Regulation and flag protocol
The flag is set according to the Article 35, Chapter XV, Constitution of Indonesia; Government Regulation No. 24/2009; and Government Regulation No.40/1958.
The national flag shall be Sang Merah-Putih (The Red-and-White)
The raising of the flag should be conducted in the time between sunrise until sunset, but in certain circumstances, it can be done at night. In daily uses, the flag should be flown at every commemoration such as Indonesian Independence Day on 17 August every year, by the citizens who has a right to use it at house, building or office, educational units, public transport and private transport and the representative office of Indonesia in overseas.
It can be used as the cover of the coffin of President or former Presidents, Vice President or former Vice Presidents, Members of Cabinet, Speaker of People's Representative Council, and Head of Government, members of the Indonesian Armed Forces, and person who is the members of Indonesian National Police who died in service, or an Indonesian citizen who contributed to their nation as a badge of honor.
The flag must be used everyday in places such as Presidential Palace, all of government and private office buildings, border posts and outer islands in the territory of Indonesia, and National Heroes Cemetery.
The flag should displayed everywhere on special days as follow:
- May 2: National Education Day.
- May 20: National Awakening Day.
- August 17: Indonesia Independence Day.
- October 1: Day of the Birth of Pancasila.
- October 28: Youth Pledge Day.
- November 10: Heroes Day.
- 26 Desember, as a respect of 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami.
- Three days after the death of President or former Presidents, Vice President or former Vice Presidents, Members of Cabinet, Speaker of People's Representative Council, and Head of Government.
- Other mourning day that has been set by the government.
Usually, Indonesian flag also flown at half-mast on September 30, as a respect of mourning to 30 September Movement, but after the New Order ended in 1998, the tradition was stopped. However, in recent day, it still continues in some staff without official status by the government.
Based on Government Regulation No.24/ 2009, every citizens are prohibited as follow:
- To destruct, tear, trample, burn, or perform other actions with the intention of tarnish, insult, or degrade the honor of the national flag;
- To wear the national flag for billboards or commercials.
- To fly the national flag in broken, torn, smudged, crumpled, or dull condition.
- To print, embroider, and write letters, numbers, images or other signs and put a badge or any objects on the national flag.
- To wear the national flag to ceiling, roof, wrapping goods, and cover goods that can degrade the honor of national flag.
Letting the flag fall to the ground is also strictly prohibited, although it's not regulated by law. Most Indonesians consider it a humiliation to the flag, nationalism, and also heroes who have been fighting for independence from colonialism.
The song was created by Ibu Sud with title Berkibarlah Benderaku (Flutter-on, O My Flag). She made it after seeing the persistence of Jusuf Ronodipuro, the head of RRI (Radio Republik Indonesia), ahead of the Operation Product in 1947, in which he refused to lowering the Red-and-White in the office of RRI, although he was threatened with firearms by Dutch troops.
The flag is similar to the flag of Poland, which is white (top) and red (bottom), and the flag of Singapore, which has a half crescent and 5 stars in the top red band. The flag is identical to the historical flag of Alsace (former region of France), the flag of Hesse (a German state) and the flag of Monaco, excluding the ratio.
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- Makna Saudagar bagi Saudagar yang tak Hadir :: Azhariah Rachman :: Panyingkul,Senin, 13 November 2006, http://www.panyingkul.com/view.php?id=249&jenis=kabarkita
- ian macdonald. "Flags in Bali". Retrieved 20 September 2012.
- "Indonesia". Flags of the World. 6 September 2006. Retrieved 26 December 2007.
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