For Muslim women only. For exposing her arms while singing for a living, Siti Nor Idayu has been ordered to appear before the Syariah Court. She will be charged with”exposing her body” during a performance and “encouraging immoral activities”. [Singer held over dressing, thestar online, 6 July]
Did Siti Nor Idayu (pic) expose her body and encourage immoral activities? I wasn’t there so I won’t know. But I am tired of this Apartheid. Some Muslims in this country derive pleasure from shaming other Muslims and you’d note that these happen only to the lower caste Muslims. They are never going to order the Muslim directors in Malaysia Airlines to appear before the Syariah court for allowing liquor to be flown and consumed on board, for example. Or are they?
There are a thousand other better ways if religious department still want to help promote a good image for Islam. Without shaming the Muslims, including those who are just having a good time and not hurting anyone.
Recently, a good friend of mine, a Muslim, gave up alcohol after 30 years. He was my drinking buddy. He became very religious. Nowadays he stays away from me, probably because he doesn’t want to smell alcohol. Very sad, what has this world come to.
It is sad that the Perak Mufti would only go after the ikan bilis who have no connections and cannot fight back. Get the “religious” officers to raid the dangdut bars when there is an UMNO convention in town and you will probably have half the VVIPs in custody. They may even have to borrow space from the police station cells and the Kajang prison for the lack of space!
What about the Muslim restaurants that sell cigarettes? Is that halal? Come to think of it, what about those Dato and Tan Sri guys who sit on the boards of gaming, liquor or tobacco companies?
And the officer who said, “Bekulah dia orang.” Was that done in the spirit of Islamic compassion? Or was he playing God’s role?
I blame the government for not setting the correct direction for these little god-designates.
>Another reason why some of us choose to live away from Malaysia.
Is this one of your reasons too, Unspun, may I ask?
Jennie: Yes. I cannot abide by people using religion or race as an excuse to act out their bigotry. Unfortunately, in Malaysia, this is allowed to go on with seeming tacit State encouragement or indifference more than other countries. let’s see what action, if any, would be taken against the religious police who accosted and intimidated Siti.
Well, to be honest with you, it was hard living in Indonesia as a triple minority. I’m not sure about current situations, though. Numbing one’s self was the way to go back then. I have a lot of empathy for Siti. Good thing is I don’t wear sleeveless tops (get cold easily). 🙂
Jennie: My feeling is that things have changed by much in Indonesia, and for the better where inter-racial interactions are concerned.
It would be interesting to hear from others though on:
1. Are inter-racial relations better now than before in Indonesia?
2. Overall, does Indonesia have better inter-racial relations or Malaysia?
How do you describe “better inter-racial interactions” in Indonesia? In your subjective perspective, of course, being a double minority (not triple, because of your gender).
Sex/gender makes a lot of difference in Indonesian society.
Legally and culturally speaking, there are too many double standards for women in Indonesia. Some examples:
– Matrimony Law (UU 1/1974): man is the head of the household and woman is the housewife. (It is an obsolete concept, now many women have to work as bread winners and men stay at home. Whoever stays at home must take care of the house, not only women.)
– Engaging in agreements: A married woman must have her husband as a co-signer or gives permission for a legal agreement to be valid. (What if that husband is a slacker? An abusive one? No marriage is perfect and this law has a loophole as big as the volcanoe’s.)
– Culturally, a woman must ask for permission from her husband to get a job. If he doesn’t allow it for whatever reason, it’s the end of discussion.
– More on the list.
I’m *not* a feminist, I simply believe in equality among all people (human rights equality).
Jenny: While not disagreeing with you, it is a separate discussion where gender is concerned. I would like to keep this posting focussed only on racial issues. Perhaps I’ll insert a separate posting asking the question of where – in Indonesia or Malaysia -do women have it toughest? I suspect it is Indonesia.
Sure, by all means. Include sex/gender issue of the minorities as well, because they experience the toughtest discriminations. Let me know when the posting is ready. 😉
Jennie: Good idea. How about a guest blog from you on this issue since you are hafal with the issue.
Racism in Indonesia’s a strange one. The Chinese have been victimized and targeted for centuries. Often, though, it’s a political top-down kind of racism. On the street, the Chinese shopkeepers need to have good relations with their neighbors. Of course, they’ll often keep a big wad of cash stashed in the bank if things turn south.
I’ve shown in polite company you can get away with anti-‘Bule’ comments to a much greater degree than many other groups. I’ve been at dinner parties around Southeast Asia where stunning generalizations about Caucasians – some 1.2 billion or so people – are casually tossed around. Payback for a colonial era modern-day Bule have never known ? Just commentary on Australian ‘arrogance’ ? With Indonesians, it’s ‘orang bule this,’ or ‘orang bule that’.
Naughty-naughty Unspun even stirred the pot a while back with a posting on why ‘bule’ like women who look like ‘pembantu.’ In one post that skillfully ran the gauntlet, ‘the Hong Kong Ronin’, he talked about washed-up ‘Bules’ in the media. Mr. Unspun was fair in the ‘Ronin’ post, but the simple word-associations would have stirred some careless readers. 🙂 (Aspiring stirrers like Achmad watched on in envy) :-).
Then there are the Javanese, Acehnese, Bugis, Balinese, Minangs, Melayus and everyone else laballed ‘pribumi.’ I think it was the late carmudgeon Mochtar Lubis who railed against Indonesian ethnic bigotry. One editor at a Jakarta newspaper from Aceh told me when he got to this city in the 1960s, people would just call him ‘Eh- Sumatra’. Doesn’t seem to have died. Mr. Kalla, no slouch on the bigotry front, admitted he couldn’t run for President because he wasn’t a Javanese. Indonesian racism, more of a primordial, subconcious thing, perhaps ?
@Achmad, in many ways, Indonesia is too stratified. A baby is basically born with a class (based on a combination of things), in addition to ethnicity, parents’ economy status, etc. There are layers within a stratum. Education plays some roles in the mobility of one’s class, but it oftentimes doesn’t play much role if the parents are influential.
Race is a part of this class thingy. Certain ethnicities or sub ethnicities are perceived differently in the society (some are higher, some are lower). Mixed with other variables, it is pretty much a “jungle” in Indonesia.
I’ve lived in the United States for a decade and I see that babies are born without a class. Of course, this is my subjective point of view. He or she merely inherits his or her parent’s last name, which may open more doors if the parent is an influential person. In the end, the person him or herself must prove to the world how well he or she can perform, so he or she can earn his own class, regardless of his or her race/ethnicity.
Such thing is a rarity, if not non-existent in Indonesia. Just my humble two cents.