Thursday, February 12, 2009

Indonesia's anti-porno laws get stupider and stupider

If you haven't heard, the Indonesian government has recently passed an extremely contentious anti-pornography bill, which bans not only pornography itself, but also whatever behaviours and practices they deem to be "pornographic actions". In other words, things like kissing in public, insufficiently covering one's body, and traditional art with erotic themes, all can be deemed to be pornographic.

Indonesia's population may be 90% Muslim, but its rich cultural heritage includes numerous traditions drawn from animist beliefs, Chinese culture, Buddhism and Hinduism as well as Islam. But the extremist minority are achieving some substantial victories in turning this unique culture into a poor facsimile of an Arab state.

Most Indonesians are sensible about this kind of thing, and are none too comfortable with the heavy hand of fundamentalist Islam intruding into their lives. Recently a council of Islamic scholars handed down a number of fatwas recommending that Indonesian Muslims not partake in such activities as yoga (it has Hindu origins and thus will corrupt one's faith), joining Rotary and Lions Clubs (they are run by Zionists, apparently), and smoking in public (for health reasons - actually, that's not a bad idea). Most Indonesians would care not a jot for these pronouncements. Particularly relating to smoking, which is the country's other major religion.

The latest tradition to fall victim to the anti-porno bill is the West Javanese dance known as jaipong. This traditional routine, performed by females, has not been banned, but dancers have been told they must refrain from wearing revealing clothing and making gyrating hip movements. Apparently these aspects of the performance make viewers uncomfortable and may inflame sexual desires in men. You can read more about that here.

If you are wondering what this apparently steamy and enticing dance is like, you can judge it for yourself below. But honestly, if you find that this dangerously stimulates forbidden passions within in you to the point that lawmakers need to get involved, you should seek medical help. Or go take a cold shower.

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