Desi Anwar: Going Gaga
I’m not going to write about the Lady Gaga saga. It’s too depressing. Besides, too much has been discussed about it already.
Suffice to say that if I had my way, I would nuke those hard-liners until they glow. Or, as my war-minded friend says, make them disappear the mysterious way, just like the criminals in the old Suharto days when he was the dictator around here. Instead, we have these moral dictators who think they’re doing God’s work by intimidating people minding their own business.
No, I would rather talk about this gem of a seafood place I tried for the first time the other day.
I also have no comment on our police who, lacking the manliness to square up to the thugs, prefer to keep the peace by petting and feeding the mad dogs rather than locking them up where they belong while telling everyone else to stay at home and not venture to the street because it’s dangerous out there. Because protecting sane and ordinary people from crazy and uncontrollable attacks is just beyond their professional skill.
Instead, it seems the police are more interested in protecting our so-called “culture” from the wicked influence of Lady G than upholding the law and cracking down on unruly behavior. Why the police think we need them to dictate our musical taste is beyond me, but one cannot help wonder what culture they have in mind that needs protecting. With Indonesia one of the most corrupt countries in the world and a voracious consumer of Internet porn, it could hardly be said that our morals are beyond reproach. When it comes to erotic performances, surely Lady G’s pale in comparison to the sexy gyrations of some local dangdut artistes.
As to corrupting our youth, we can leave that to the shameful shenanigans of many of their leaders and elders who make a living out of being appalling role models, not to mention robbing the next generation of a better future through their inability to do their job of improving welfare and education.
If anything, Lady G could teach our young people a thing or two about the merits of hard work, the importance of developing talent and creativity and what it takes to be a global success at a young age.
Said seafood place is in North Jakarta, an area that I rarely frequent. The last time I was there was a long time ago, when the eating places had dirt floors and hard wooden benches to sit on.
But the seafood, big fat crabs and juicy prawns, was out of this world. This time, the whole place felt out of this world. At least out of Jakarta. It’s in an area called Muara Karang, in a huge seaside estate called Pantai Indah Kapuk, where massive development has transformed this former marshland into a dream city of concrete, tall buildings, bright lights and shopping spaces for the ethnic Chinese community.
That’s the beauty of a democracy in a pluralistic country. Diversity is seen as a blessing rather than a curse. This, after all, was the vision with which Indonesia was founded. Ideally, there is a place for everybody, where all can feel safe and their freedom to express their religion protected.
Unfortunately, for democracy to work requires the ability and the will of communities to live alongside each other and accept each others’ differences. Where this will is lacking, for example in cases where minorities rub shoulders with an unwelcoming majority, democracy by voting or consensus cannot be implemented. It would be like Switzerland voting on the building of minarets. The answer would always be a rejection of what is outside the norm. Instead, it is for the government to ensure the protection of these minorities from the tyranny of the majority through clear policies and law enforcement.
Unless, of course, the government is a lily-livered bunch of politicians more concerned with vying for the next election and pandering to the lowest populist sentiment than actually doing what is good for the integrity of the country.
Desi Anwar is a senior anchor at Metro TV. She can be contacted at desianwar.com and dailyavocado.net.