Bolehland shenanigans: Making out in a car can be bad for your health

One of Unspun‘s contacts  sent me this Associated Press report which, one supposes, contains a caution against the health perils of making out in a car. Only in Bolehland can such things happen.

Amorous Muslim couple try
to flee law, cause five-car pile up

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct. 17 (AP) – A young Muslim couple tried to
speed off when Malaysian police caught them making out in their
car but got into an accident, causing a five-car pile up, a
report said Wednesday.

A police patrol car spotted the couple locked in an intimate
embrace late Monday in their car parked at a hypermarket in Muar
town in southern Johor state, The Star newspaper said.

As the patrol car neared them, the couple sped out of the car
park onto a main road and collided with a passing car, causing
three other vehicles to crash, the report said.

The unidentified couple, both in their 20s, have been detained
and the man has been booked for reckless driving, it said.

Muar traffic police officer Lim Aik Sin told the daily that the
couple have been referred to the district Islamic religious
department. Continue reading “Bolehland shenanigans: Making out in a car can be bad for your health”

Indonesia on the up and up where Press Freedom is concerned

Reporters sans Frontiers has issued its 2007 Annual Report on Press Freedom and Indonesia has improved its position, ranking only behind Hong Kong and Camodia (?) as the country with the most free press. Malaysia, of course, slipped to 124, partly because of its crackdown on bloggers.
Even so Reporters sans Frontiers weren’t without criticism of SBY:

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono made statements in favour of press freedom but took no significant steps towards any improvement. On the contrary, the government tried to restore its control over the granting of broadcast licences and a new anti-terror law gave security forces very wide powers.

Pluralism of news and information continued to develop in the world’s most populous Muslim country, which boasts at least 700 publications and 1,200 radio stations, as well a score of local and national TV channels. Enthusiasm for electronic media has led to the launch of hundreds of pirate radio and TV channels which the government struggles to regulate

The Constitution and the press law guarantee freedom of expression, and in December, a constitutional court edict decriminalised “insult to the head of state”. Unfortunately, the still archaic criminal code continues to allow prison sentences for press offences.

Sadly, journalists still suffer violence in some regions. ..

Needless to say Burma and China were at the bottom of the list.

clipped from

61 Hong-Kong 20,00
85 Cambodia 25,33
100 Indonesia 30,50
120 India 39,33
124 Malaysia 41,00
128 Philippines 44,75
135 Thailand 53,50
141 Singapore 56,00
164 Burma 93,75

  blog it

Miss Jilbab 2007

When most of us were enjoying our Idul Fitri holidays, a contest was in the making. On October 1, 20 finalists of the Miss Jilbab 2007 contest was selected in Surabaya. The contestant that eventually won the coveted crown-on-the-scarf was one Devi Fatin Adila. No photos could be found of the veiled beauty but here’s a Jawa Pos shot of some of the finalists.

The Rasa Sayang(e) Threads

Welcome back from the Idul Fitri holidays.

Unspun was quite thrilled when the Rasa Sayang(e) postings (here, here, here, here, here and here) generated long and often heated threads of discussions, not only in Unspun‘s blogs but also in the blog of one of Malaysia’s most popular bloggers (see Rocky’s Bru‘s posting here).

After all that’s been said so far in these threads are there and insigts to be gleaned from them? Or were they just so much entertainment as Malaysians and Indonesians flamed each other and vented their frustrations.

Ever the optimist and the skeptic, here are some of  Unspun‘s thoughts arising from the Rasa Sayang(e) threads are (many of these are generalizations so nitpickers hold your horses):

  1. Malaysians and Indonesians are frustrated with their respective governments – Indonesians are frustrated with a government that does not seem to have its act together to protect their heritage and provide a focal point for their national pride. Malaysians are frustrated with their government. Period.
  2. Culturally Indonesia is a treasure house, Malaysia has only ersatz jewels – Indonesia is so rich in history and culture while Malaysia is so bankrupt. Malaysia’s bankruptcy arises from its insistence of making “Malay culture” the predominant cultural overlay while paying lip service to their other cultures. Yadda Yadda about melting pot, confluence of three main cultures etc. The problem is that “Malay” culture is rather thin on the ground because of Point 3.
  3. Malay is a big deal and is a political construct in Malaysia; it refers to a small ethnic group in Indonesia – This, Unspun feels, was at the root of the heated discussions surrounding the Rasa Sayang(e) controversy. Outside of Malaysia the concept of Malay has very little cache. Unfortunately, most of the decision makers in Malaysia are so cocooned in the Malaysian milieu as to realize this.
  4. There is actually still a lot of goodwill and affinity among many Indonesians and Malaysians – The comments on Now to Rasa Some Sayang (and a mirror posting in Rocky’s Bru) attest to the potential amount of goodwill and affinity between the serumpun neighbors. If politicians on both sides were smart they would build on this rather than to emphasize the differences and make stupid  statements that are hurtful to each other. Just a parting thought: could the feelings of goodwill and the beginnings of a closer relationship as expressed in this and Rocky’s blog (here and here) could have been achieved by the governments themselves and their Tourism/propaganda arms? If not perhaps it is time for the governments to turn to blogs/bloggers to bridge the divide.

No alternative to the Burmese junta?

This is an interesting from-the-trenches point of view of democracy in places like Burma and Pakistan.The author, Juwono Sudarsono, is the Indonesian Defese Minister and he posts the view that while Aung San Suu Kyi and Benasir Bhutto may be good to look at and be the Liberal thinking man’s crumpets, they do not have viable alternatives to the reprehensible regimes in power in their respective counties.

Better the devil you know?

clipped from
Reading and viewing Western print and satellite TV and their Southeast counterparts recently, it’s hard to believe that there is deep understanding about the historical, cultural and economic context of what these media call present day Myanmar and Pakistan.

The staple line of argument among liberal media circles in the West is that the “military junta” or “military regime” in Myanmar and Pakistan need to be changed into liberal democracies along the lines of what politicians, legislators and media pundits in America and Britain seemed to be obsessed with. The illusion that Aung San Suu Kyi, Benazir Bhutto and/or Nawaz Sharif and their coterie of politicos/lawyers are able to devise a alternative, competent and unifying “democratic”political system remains a strong and, at the same time, naive and dangerous one.

  blog it

Rasa this!

This (clip below) looks like another cultural time bomb for Malaysia.Perhaps the Malaysian government should just step aside, shut up and let Indonesia and and Malaysian bloggers set the relationship right.

Malaysian Tourism Minister Tengku Adnan, on the off chance that you even even get debriefed on blogs, please see the posting Now to Rasa Some Sayang (and here too) to see how much Indonesians and Malaysians admire about each others’ countries and peoples. And how much potential goodwill there can be between serumpun countries if only the politicians would take a reality check, get off their high horses, park their egos somewhere the sun don’t shine and stop living in denial.

Also read Bleu, an Indonesian expat living in Indonesia for perspective on serumpun sentiments here.

clipped from

“Bw putih Bw merah” cerita Malay?

Terserah mau dianggap nge-flame apa engga, tp gw mau tarik perhatian ke sini lagi: cerita itu dari malay (melayu)? Setahu gw versi Jawanya adalah “brambang bawang” dan ini udah dikenal dari jaman duluuuu banget (nyokap gw ceritain pas masih kecil). Kenapa gw rada nyolot? Karena ini mulai diaku2 lagi sebagai cerita Malaysia, lihat:

“I think the minister should also look into their recent Sinetron called Bawang Merah Bawang Putih which is a copycat of our folklore as well. Their TV series was produced in 2004-2005 while we make a film titled Bawang Putih Bawang Merah way back during the Cathay Keris era in 1959 starring the late Latifah Omar and Umi Kalthom.”

Diambil dari salah satu komentar di weblog ini:
By: kersani on October 6th, 2007
at 4:53 am.

  blog it

Rasa anything but sayang

Malaysia Boleh does it again. This time confirming that it boleh try to bully the Indonesians. I am very malu to be a Malaysian and I think many Malaysians feel this way, again. To my Indonesian friends: We are sorry for a very goblok government that seems to be losing control of even its own government servants. Please take note that it is the government and its aparat, not the Malaysian peoples that are doing this. Unspun, for one, feels strongly that the Malaysian government should apologize unconditionally for this latest act of stupidity.

clipped from
First, Malaysia Tourism dishonoured and disgraced Indonesian blogger-TV anchor Nila Tanzil.Next, Malaysian police beat up Indonesian karate referee, Donald Luther Kalapita.

Last Wednesday, Muslianah Nurdin, wife of Indonesia’s education and culture attache, was accused of being an illegal migrant, and detained while shopping in Kuala Lumpur despite showing her identification.

The vigilante round-up was conducted by members of a 400,000-strong volunteer force, Rela.

The Indonesian embassy in KL issued a statement late yesterday to condemn the arrest. Quote The Star:

“She showed her card to the officer who claimed that he did not recognise it. She was detained and placed with other illegal immigrants.
“Based on the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the Rela officer has violated international laws by showing disrespect to a member of the embassy,” it said yesterday.

Read Associated Press/International Herald Tribune and Google News.

  blog it