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Jakarta Post

Fear of comics, commies and the Chinese

Jakarta   /   Wed, February 20, 2019   /  11:06 am
Fear of comics, commies and the Chinese In Indonesian culture, issues of ethnicity and religion are much more of a hot topic – especially recently. (Shutterstock/File)

“My name is Khan, and I am not a terrorist.” Do you remember this line spoken by the titular character Rizwan Khan (played brilliantly by Shah Rukh Khan) in the film My Name is Khan? Khan is a name associated with Islam, so what he is saying is a defining statement: “I am Muslim, and I am not a terrorist.” How do you normally define yourself after mentioning your name? Is it your nationality, religion or profession? In Indonesia, the most common thing people want to know about fellow Indonesians is ethnicity and religion. Sometimes it’s obvious from your name, accent, appearance and attire. If you’re a woman wearing a jilbab (headscarf), clearly you’re Muslim. It’s only when you’re abroad that your first identity is Indonesian. Otherwise you’re a Javanese-Muslim, a Batak-Protestant, a Balinese-Hindu, etc....

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.