Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Why Indonesians Don’t Drink Beer

July 24, 2010

The reason is awful advertisements like this one.   Nobody’s drinking!

In the first scene, we see our man is a construction worker.  Any job that involves manual labour is low status in Indonesia.  At least they could have put him on an  oil rig, which everyone knows pays big money.

At the endo of a hard day’s work, the classic time for a refreshing beer, what’s he do but wash his face?  Maybe we’re supposed to think he’s washing in beer?  Otherwise, there’s no beer consumed after work at this site

In the second half we move to the pub.  Surely this is the place to drink beer, if anywhere?  Apparently not.  In this pub, everyone stands around playing pool, not a glass in sight.  Actually, it’s typical of a lot of Indonesian pubs I’ve been to.

So what’s the reason for the advertiser’s coyness?  Maybe there’s an unannounced censorship of showing people in the act of drinking?  There’s quite a taboo against drinking in Indonesia.  It’s not only because of the large Muslim population, even Catholics are unlikely to be big drinkers.  I once attended an Evangelical service where they used cordial instead of wine for their communion (talk about drinking the cool aid!)  Hmm, can any reader tell me if that’s a common practice among Evangelicals, to drink cordial or juice during their services?

Anyhow, despite the existence of native alcohols such as arak, there just isn’t a drinking culture among Indonesians generally.  People seem to fear it and have little understanding of it’s actual effects.  You will find a lot of people who think that a single drink will turn them into raving alcoholics.

Having said all of that, alcohol is readily available.  You will even find it sold by the case at supermarkets.  I don’t know who drinks it, I guess they do it on the sly.

Here’s someone who appreciates a good drink:

Nanna takes a sip

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Superheroes Convert to Islam

July 19, 2010

Superhero Sholat

A number of the world’s superheroes, have converted to Islam. So far, Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Captain America, Daredevil, Wolverine, Cyclops, The Flash, The Thing, The Incredible Hulk and Robocop have been identified among the converts. The Indonesian superheroes Gundala, Gatotkaca and “Si Buta dari Gua Hantu” have joined the lineup.
This painting, found in a noodle shop / art gallery in Yogyakarta, Central Java, provides convincing evidence. Perhaps this initiative came while the group was taking R&R from their covert activities on behalf of the US Government in Afghanistan. Clearly tired and distressed from the effects of 9 years of everwar, they were open to conversion to the gentler form of Islam practiced in Java.
Proof that these events occurred in Java can be found in the architectural style of the mosque where they are praying and in the clothes which their imam is wearing. Some have said that the imam is Sunan Kalijaga himself, but this is impossible as he passed away in the 15th century, long before the technology for Robocop existed.
If you happen to like this style of painting, and would like a similar one made to your own specifications, leave a comment and we can arrange a quote.

Updates on Recent Stories

July 11, 2010

For those who follow this blog but don’t keep a close eye on Indonesian news, I thought now would be a good time to update you on developments concerning some of the more popular stories. 

Starting with the most recent:

Mental illness

In my second story concerning the practice of pasung, or chaining of the mentally ill, I found a clip which told about a local doctor, Suryani, who is working on this problem in Bali, applying modern medical techniques and showing miraculous results.   The sad thing was that the local government had cut funding to this project, putting a question mark over its continuation and bringing those patients who could not afford to pay for the medication the fear that they will return to their psychotic state.

I have since heard a rumour that the reason the funding was withdrawn was political jealousy.  Dr Suryani comes from an influential Balinese family and her detractors say she is conducting her work under her own name and not giving the government the credit for its funding.  They also imply that because she is seriously rich, she should pay for the treatment from her own pocket! 

Personally, I think people should put political issues behind them and consider the victims.  Even if she is capable of funding the entire clinic from her own resources, public health is a responsibility which the government has taken upon itself.  The potential cost to Bali’s economy if tourists shunned the island because of their handling of this issue is far greater than the cost of funding the clinic.  Government funds need to be allocated according to where they can do the most good.  Finally, I think it’s something to be encouraged when a member of the elite rolls up their sleeves and does some practical work, something Indonesia’s elite are not famous for.

Dr Suryani has a website for her institute if you would like more information about her work.  You can donate towards her work if you feel inclined to do so.

Tempo’s ‘Sold Out’ Edition

The publishers of Tempo ran a second edition of the magazine which was sold out.  The police are saying they were not involved in buying up the first edition and that it was just a publicity stunt on Tempo’s part.  Members of the police force are now taking a different approach.  They are suing Tempo for defamation in comparing them to pigs.  They are deeply offended because pigs are supposedly haram to devout Muslims.  I may be out of line here, but it has always been my understanding that it is the eating of pigs which is haram, not the pigs themselves.  So perhaps they are being a little precious in being offended on religious grounds.  Seldom mentioned is the fact that unbelievers in Islam are haram, yet I doubt any police general would shun his Balinese colleague on that basis.  More to the point, it is also haram to steal and it is also haram to use one’s position in a corrupt manner.

Perhaps the police would suffer less ridicule and criticism if concentrated on solving corruption within their ranks and got on with actual policing.  It is my feeling that the people respond well when they see their police giving a good example.

Peterporn

At this moment, Nazriel (Ariel) Irham is still being held in custody while Luna Maya and Cut Tari are free.  The prosecutor is obviously trying to avoid provoking the public’s sympathy.  All three have undergone physical examinations to check whether their body shapes match the images in the videos.  Intimate measurements were taken, including those of Ariel’s genitals. 

Meanwhile, police have announced they are ‘about’ to arrest eight suspects for actually uploading the videos.  That was a few days ago, I haven’t heard anything about that so far.

Smoking Baby

CNN have sent a camera crew out to Sumatra to verify that, yes, the story is true.  Although somehow they managed to misspell his name and the American public now know him as ‘Aldi’.   I deeply suspect this whole fuss is a beat-up by the big US tobacco companies to disparage Indonesia in the current trade dispute.  The US is banning flavoured cigarettes, including the kreteks which Indonesia exports.  However, somehow they don’t include the menthol cigarettes which the US manufacturers make in their definition of ‘flavoured’.  Self interest creates double standards.

This Site

There are now two people working on Aboutindo.  Neither of us full time yet 🙂  You might have noticed the marked improvement in quality. 

We are planning to make some big changes soon, including self hosting.   I started a bit less than six months ago, but it seems like only three.  Thanks for your support and comments.

Dangdut: Inul Daratista

April 11, 2010

This is the lady and the moves that got a few Islamic leaders excited.  If you can imagine, after decades of the pious warblings of Rhoma Irama, they started to notice that dangdut music includes much more than that.  In fact, it was perhaps Mr Irama who attracted devout Muslims to dangdut in the first place, but it has always included themes concerning love, mens inconstancy and such.  Anyhow, self-righteous anger was invoked and the fanatics almost succeeded  in banning Inul from the stage.  Thankfully, there was a reaction against this and the tide has somewhat turned against the rampaging censorship that had started to take hold of the country.  My thoughts are that after 40 years of state-sponsored oppression, people weren’t in the mood for more years of religious-based oppression.

The way I’ve written the above makes it seem like a forgone conclusion, but it must have taken plenty of bravery to stand against those so-called leaders, including Rhoma Irama.  I call them ‘leaders’ in the loosest possible way.  A true leader doesn’t simply react and follow the herd of consensus opinion, and a true leader doesn’t change his view as soon as it becomes apparent that it’s not popular.  He also doesn’t try to ruin people’s careers thoughtlessly.  Common sense finally came in the form of Abdurrahman Wahid, a former president, and Mostafa Bisri, another prominent theologian, each of whom defended her (so don’t think all Muslims are mindless fanatics). 

Well, you can judge for yourself whether Inul’s performance style is pornographic.  In my opinion, she can dance and she can sing, but she can’t do them both at the same time.  Frankly, I’ve seen better singers (you’ve seen a couple on this blog already), and I’ve seen more suggestive dancing (you won’t see it on this blog, but it’s on the internet for anyone to find).

The following video is the song which kicked off her career, and her raunchy reputation, back in 1992 – Final Countdown.  I’m not sure if this is the original clip, though, as there’s a date of 2003 and she looks a bit tired for a 13-year-old, although the dance steps certainly look 20 years out of date:

She plays a mean air guitar, doesn’t she?  I’m wondering whether she wears a false butt?  Most Indonesians have flat ones, but she’s got a nice rounded one – can’t be real, can it?