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Jakarta Post

'Anjay' possibly criminal 'verbal violence', child protection commission says

  • Rizki Fachriansyah
    Rizki Fachriansyah

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, August 31, 2020   /   08:00 am
'Anjay' possibly criminal 'verbal violence', child protection commission says “If the term anjay is used to reduce a person’s standing, it becomes a form of verbal violence and may be reported as a crime,” the National Commission for Child Protection has said. (Shutterstock/Kunal Mehta)

The National Commission for Child Protection (Komnas PA) had said that the use of the word anjay – a euphemistic form of the word anjing (dog), which is often used as a curse word – may be considered a form of criminal “verbal violence”. The assertion went viral over the weekend, eliciting parodies and mockery from social media users.

A statement concerning the word signed by Komnas PA chairman Arist Merdeka Sirait and secretary general Dhanang Sasongko responded to a number of questions and complaints from distraught parents concerned about the widespread use of the word, especially its impact on children.

The commission said the use of the word anjay had to be assessed from the speaker’s point of view, the place and situation in which it was used and the meaning the speaker wished to impart.

“If it is meant to convey one’s sense of enthusiasm for a certain situation […] or a certain product on social media, the usage doesn’t connote violence or bullying,” read the statement, which was posted on Komnas PA’s Instagram page, @komnasanak, on Saturday.

However, the organization noted that anjay could also be used to verbally harass or humiliate others, in which case the speaker could be subject to legal sanctions in accordance with Law No. 35/2014 on child protection.

“If the term anjay is used to reduce a person’s standing, it becomes a form of verbal violence and may be reported as a crime,” the commission said, adding that assessing multiple perspectives on the slang term was crucial given its popularity among young social media users.

Komnas PA added that the use of anjay as an inside joke among close friends could be considered a simple expression of camaraderie. However, the word could take on a malicious meaning and therefore facilitate bullying if it was used against strangers or elders, the commission said.

Social media users have mocked Komnas PA’s statement, responding to the controversy with quips and puns.

On Sunday afternoon, anjay was a national trending topic on Twitter.

YouTube personality @kristoimmanuel joked that Indonesian actor Anjasmara might have to change his name because of its similarity to the word anjay.

“Breaking news: after anjay becomes illegal, Anjasmara is worried he might have to change his name!” he tweeted.

Another Twitter user, @handokotjung, imagined replacing certain lyrics of the iconic ballad “I Will Always Love You” with the controversial word.

“If anjay is banned, what becomes of Whitney Houston’s popular song, whose lyrics go ‘Anjay will always love you’?’ he tweeted. (rfa)