I feel ever so fortunate to be in Indonesia at the same time as the infamous anti-pornography bill was finally passed, 10 years after it was first drafted.
I'm also here while the Bali bombers will (presumably) be topped and homegrown Jakarta lad and very nearly Indonesian Barack Obama will dig John McCain's electoral grave. It's exciting times in JKT. (no mother, I'm sure there won't be any hardline Islamic backlash, ok? What, you thought you saw violent protests on the TV today in Jakarta? Maybe it was India. Just calm down and watch some more Home and Away, yeah? Please send some plot updates as well, I'm dieing to know what happened to Martha with the cancer battle and all that. Are Kirsty and whatshisname still together?)
But the porn bill is particularly exciting because it plans to eliminate all sexual desire across all levels of society. So, it's exciting because it's going to eliminate excitement. Whoopeeeeeeee (in a completely non-sexual way).
I am, of course, being a smart arse.
You'd think after maturing on the shelf for so long, the porn bill would have become extrememly palatable, like a good drop of red. No such luck unfortunately. Two political parties even stormed out of the proceedings.
Here's the dish. The final version of the bill states that porno is "pictures, sketches, photos, writing, voice, sound, moving picture,
animation, cartoons, conversation, gestures, or other communications
shown in public with salacious content or sexual exploitation that
violate the moral values of society."
It's toned down a bit from previous versions, but it is still pretty vague. Moral values of society is a pretty loose concept. But I think the clause about stoning people (or something… that might have been exaggeration) who don't cover their shoulders when in public got scrapped.
Thankfully, Aussie bogans can still apparently wear bikinis in Bali. Lucky, SBY, otherwise you would have had Kevin Rudd's polite rationalism busting on your arse to plead the case because "Australian families are doing it tough" right now and they want their Bali beach holidays to be as fun as ever, ok?
For the sexy mammas of Jakarta, stepping out the door is going to become an illegal act in itself. Strutting along the bumpy footpaths, skimming around potholes and sewers… your hips tend to wriggle a bit. My comrade in proving ones point by being a smartarse, the lovable sex goddess Bel, has posted all about these perils (and the double standards of it all) right here and here. There's also another post here by another Jakarta foxy shiela, who writes by the name of Ananda Ayu.
Yeah, sure, we are used to our liberal Western tarty ways. But there are a lot of Indonesians of all sorts of backgrounds who think this bill should have had a bit more work done on it before anyone even thought about giving it the thumbs up.
The way it was rushed through makes me all the more suspicious that there are people who want to use it to serve their own ends, as quickly as possible. Namely, to score political points before Indonesia's general elections next year.
A big concern of mine — besides concerns about how this law could be implemented in a way to serve certain interest groups, how it could be used to attack women for crimes committed by men who can only think with the thing in their pants and how it could kill the cultural industries — is how I'm going to get my laundry done now.
I mentioned below that my laundry lady was checking out my knickers and boulder-holders the other day and thought they were sexy. Well, sexy equals porn.
Am I doomed to handwashing?
Also, this blog is pretty crass. And I'm fairly loose with dropping words of a sexual nature into conversations. So are a lot of people I know.
Are dirty jokes, bad puns and talking like a sailor going to get me and my pals locked up? Conversation can be porn now apparently too. If so, all of Indonesia's foreign journalists are in peril. Is my blog porn? I don't think so, it doesn't get enough hits from Google. Maybe this post will help. Porn porn porn porn porn. I've just increased the traffic at least threefold. Hello dirty old men! Now go away, thanks.
And my Britney Spears-inpired dance moves probably fall under that gestures and body movement category.
It's all a bit of a worry. Hopefully it will backfire on the parties that supported the bill, and in next year's elections we will see more moderates and less fundies sitting in the seats of Indonesia's legislature. Hopefully…
PS. I just noticed, this is my 200th post on this blog! Yay!