Sunday, April 02, 2006


Expat life in Jakarta is focused on text-messaging. SMSing is a lot cheaper than making a phone call, so if you’re going to a bar or a movie, or you want to find out if anyone else is going to a bar or a movie, you whip out the cellphone (or “handphone” as they’re called here) and start tapping.

Last night we went to see a new Indonesian movie called “Berbagi Suami,” or “Sharing Husbands.” The photo here is a scene from the movie. It was playing with English subtitles at a particularly glittery mall on the south end of town. Chad went to get a bite to eat at the food court. (I had gotten a bowl of beef, rice and vegetables at a Japanese fast food place for about $2 – very tasty.) I was waiting in front of the theatre with our new friend Angie, and it was getting closer and closer to 7:30. I sent him a message. No response. I was starting to write a second one when Angie said, “Why don’t you call?”

I stared at my handphone in confusion. I had forgotten it was a phone. “Wow,” I thought, “what value. What versatility. I can actually make calls on this thing.” Just then Chad showed up, saving me a few hundred rupiahs.

The movie was excellent, by the way. We’re going to try and find out whether it’s ever scheduled to play in the States, because we’d like to write about it. It’s about polygamy, which is apparently more common here than I realized. It’s also a great slice-of-life movie about the various social strata of Jakarta. It’s by one of a band of young Indonesian filmmakers trying to revive the film industry after it essentially died out under Suharto. Definitely worth a look if it ever plays near you.


ja said...

polygamy = glomyapy - the modern nonromantic word for ancient communal living...

from the Dictionary of Maleficence, 3rd ed., by Amanda Smackaround

can i text you then?

kopisusu2 said...

You can try! Cathy and Jose managed to call me, but I don't know if text messages get through or not. Email me if you need my cell number ... don't want to post it on the net.


Mary K said...

Hey Trish,
there is a polygamy debate brewing in the US right now. Some polygamists in Utah are suing for the right to have their marriages recognized. They are using a theory based on the Lawrence v. Texas case that struck down the law making homosexual sodemy illegal...I am intrigued as to whether this case will make it to the US Supco before a same-sex marriage case. We are talking about religious people here!! That would be pretty interesting stuff for our newly conservative court to sink its teeth into. And, maybe they will show the Indonesian film here!!

Anonymous said...

Man, it would be fascinating if they could use the sodomy case to win increased rights for polygamy! I'm all in favor of people being able to do what they want, but I can't say the movie makes polygamy look too good. And I suppose they're only trying to win the right for men ... not for women.

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