Monday, April 28, 2008

Formal vs Informal

Formal vs Informal, Indonesia vs Malaysia.

The Indonesia I've known always seemed to have had broadly sensible ideas on its law books, whereas Malaysia had bizarro whacky racist laws on its books.

Indonesia discriminated against minorities on an informal basis, Malaysia on a formal one.

I preferred the idea of Indonesia, because its aspirations seemed to be broadly sane, and well er aspirational.

Now? From all accounts Indonesia's prez is about to ban an Islamic sect that has 200k members and has been in Indonesia before Indonesia itself even existed.

Reading about Mosques being burnt in Sukabumi sounds like European Crusaders ransacking the Middle East. Mobs chanting kill, kill, kill and burn, burn, burn sounds like the KKK in the deep South. MUI members looking to reeducate Ahmadi followers sounds like Dutch Christian missionaries during colonial times. Most worryingly of all, banning a religion sounds like Wilders' legalistic racism.

To imagine, I almost went to Sukabumi on a couple of occasions while visiting Indonesia, a pal's cousin was studying at a pesentren there. Now? I wouldn't set foot in the place.

On the other hand I've heard a NU leader said that those attacking Ahmadis in Cirebon would have to go through him and his followers first. Indonesia needs more courageous people like him, but what good will his efforts be if SBY signs off on that law? Does he place himself and his followers between the Ahmadis and the police?

What happens if the Ahmadis refuse to apologise for their deeply held beliefs? Will SBY jail all 200k?

I love Indonesia. Part of the fascination is that Indonesia at times resembles a car wreck which I can't take my eyes from, I have to admit it's a morbid fascination, but now I feel I've almost had enough.


Elyani said...

The problem is many of the what so called religious leaders (read: MUI) here have a very miopic view on what freedom of religion is. Do you know that churches are not allowed to be built even if the parish has money to do so? However, mosques are built everywhere even to the point asking money on the streets (in my province) by blocking half of the road so your car will slowing down? Silly? what is not silly about this country?

johnorford said...

i'm aware of the churches problem, but stopping cars is news to me... hrmph...

Marisa said...

Thanks for loving Indonesia!

Most likely to be a love-and-hate relationship, where one goes psycho and the other is too bloody emotionally unavailable.

johnorford said...

hehe, yep :)

oigal said...

"of the fascination is that Indonesia at times resembles a car wreck which I can't take my eyes from, I have to admit it's a morbid fascination, but now I feel I've almost had enough."

Too true!

Dominic said...

Very interesting letter to the editor in Jkt post a couple of days ago basically pointing out that the whole thing revolves around a power struggle due to the Mullahs not liking the idea that the Ahmadis don't have Mullahs, and as such, don't create the power bases the Mullahs have in the more traditional Islam.
Thus, this isnt about religion, its about a small group of men who like the power and prestige of their religious office and are happy to cut off at the knees anyone/any group who threatens the status quo.
Sad stuff but a drama that has been played out again and again through the ages across almost all religions.

johnorford said...

yeh i read an interesting blog post on the subject. which came to a similar conclusion.

i don't understand how unelected ppl can cause so much havoc in broadly civil societies.