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Safeguarding Asean's rich cultural heritage

TUGGING GAMES AND RITUALS.
TUGGING GAMES AND RITUALS.PHOTO: VIETNAM INSTITUTE OF CULTURE AND ARTS STUDIES
SBEK THOM.
SBEK THOM.PHOTO: MINISTERE DE LA CULTURE ET DES BEAUX-ARTS DU CAMBODGE
HUDHUD CHANTS.
HUDHUD CHANTS.PHOTO: 2008 BY J. UNALIVIA/NCCA-IHC
Japan has given funding to the Royal Ballet of Cambodia for research and documentation, and training programmes. (Left) Inscribed on the Unesco list in 2008, mak yong has been around for over 200 years and contains spiritual elements and aspects of H
Japan has given funding to the Royal Ballet of Cambodia for research and documentation, and training programmes.PHOTO: MINISTERE DE LA CULTURE ET DES BEAUX-ARTS
Japan has given funding to the Royal Ballet of Cambodia for research and documentation, and training programmes. (Left) Inscribed on the Unesco list in 2008, mak yong has been around for over 200 years and contains spiritual elements and aspects of H
Inscribed on the Unesco list in 2008, mak yong has been around for over 200 years and contains spiritual elements and aspects of Hindu-Buddhist mythology. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF TOURISM, ARTS AND CULTURE, VIETNAMESE INSTITUTE OF MUSICOLOGY
Japan has given funding to the Royal Ballet of Cambodia for research and documentation, and training programmes. (Left) Inscribed on the Unesco list in 2008, mak yong has been around for over 200 years and contains spiritual elements and aspects of H
Half-game, half-theatre, Vietnam's bai choi came about some 400 years ago to entertain the community after the harvest season.PHOTO: MINISTRY OF TOURISM, ARTS AND CULTURE, VIETNAMESE INSTITUTE OF MUSICOLOGY

Singapore last month announced its bid to put the country's rich hawker culture on Unesco's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, started in 2008 to demonstrate the diversity of world heritage and ensure its protection. If chosen, the local food scene will join over 20 Asean entries already given that honour. The Straits Times looks at some of the practices and traditions from the region that have made the cut.

She has watched with illicit thrill a mak yong performance in Kelantan, where the dance drama is banned, sat cross-legged in a pondok in Bali making batik, and watched artists in Phnom Penh carve intricate figureplates for a sbek thom shadow puppet performance.

South-east Asia has been the holiday destination of choice for South Korean teacher Nah Hyun-jeong, who makes sure to set aside time amid a whirlwind schedule of shopping and eating for a bit of culture.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 11, 2018, with the headline 'Safeguarding the region's rich cultural heritage'. Print Edition | Subscribe