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Urban Chat: How low can we, Indonesians, go?

Lynda Ibrahim

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Fri, March 15, 2019  /  02:42 pm
Urban Chat: How low can we, Indonesians, go?

Like, oh my God. Just when I thought I could pen a lighthearted column about that darling ginger cat named Goose, my own country folk began slinging mud, which I simply could not ignore.

First off, who would shoot an animal 74 times? Even if you were savagely attacked by a grizzly bear a la the scene with Leonardo Di Caprio in The Revenant, taking 74 shots would mean you had time to reload your weapon in the midst of the attack. This means you were never in that much danger in the first place, not to mention that the animal in question here was not a grizzly bear but a regular-sized orangutan with a baby in tow, which ended up dying of malnutrition since its mom could not go looking for food.

Attempting to kill an endangered species is already legally wrong and morally repugnant. Taking 74 shots is such soulless overkill that the culprit loses any claims to humanity. Even grizzly bears would only maul the perceived threat enough to subdue it – they wouldn't lunge at it 74 times just because they could. Whoever shot this orangutan is lower than an animal. If caught, I'd rather feed them alive to hungry bears than start a legal proceeding paid by our tax money.

The second serving of lowliness came from a man, hailed by many as a cleric, who was so hell-bent on rejecting a proposed bill on domestic violence that he, using the most graphic of language and gestures that one could possibly demonstrate on national television, described and supported marital rape.

He cowardly ducked behind religion whenever his debate opponent, an activist for gender equality, tried to explain how wives were individuals with feelings and not dull properties. Toward the end of what quickly became a shouting match, he dared question the activist's religion, even though the said activist was a Muslim woman in a hijab.

Those of you who spend a considerable amount of time watching shows on Animal Planet and Discovery Channel will know even animals do a mating dance in which it is usually the male that tries to attract the female. Even animals understand that it takes a willingness of both parties for a mating session to take place. 

There is patriarchy, then there is “patriarchy so unapologetic and vulgar” that you seriously question the media that keeps giving this offender a spotlight and the women who still flock to his sermons. Forget brain-eating zombies – the most dangerous outbreak at hand is the massive loss of logic and sanity, often on behalf of misconstrued piety.

The same can be said about a group of women who were caught on camera canvassing and spreading hoaxes on how the incumbent would endorse premarital sex and eliminate religion from schools.

How is that even possible in a country that puts One God as the first tenet of the state ideology and actually boasts a full-fledged Religious Affairs Ministry?

How twisted can one be before concocting such lies and how daft can one be before falling for these lies?

Why do I feel that the gazelle versus the lions in the African Sahara is somehow more honest and follows better logic? Who are the animals here?

And then there is the one that takes the cake. I wished I hadn't read the news, but I did. 

A legislative candidate, who by the way earns a living as a Quran reading instructor and mosque leader, was apprehended for having molested his 17-year-old child for years.

His own flesh and blood.

Back to nature documentaries, only animals would fornicate with their own offspring – and even then only after the offspring has come of age. 

The pervert has since run away, as he is clearly not man enough to face the hands of law. This time, I hope the police capture and legally process him, because I cannot wait for the karma that awaits him behind bars. We all know what fellow inmates tend to do to imprisoned rapists, but only God knows what they might do to a man convicted for violating his own child.

For all the religious symbols proliferating in every corner of this country, as a nation, we're not getting any nobler.

We're getting lower.

Some of us, as these weeks show, are getting on par with animals, if not lower. And while some of you may try to gloss over these travesties, the rest of us with a shred of humanity left will be here hanging our heads in collective shame.

Lynda Ibrahim is a Jakarta-based writer with a penchant for purple, pussycats and pop culture.