Thursday, December 07, 2006

New wives tales

Everybody raced to the TVs

I'm kicking myself for not having a better grasp of spoken Indonesian, because it's limiting my ability to follow a rare, juicy scandal in the national legislature. It seems a lawmaker was caught dallying with a naked dangdut singer in a video she shot on her cellphone. The video got out, and now the politician is in a world of trouble. He's even had to resign from his role as his party's religious chair.

The singer made the rounds of the news programs the other day, and everyone at work raced to the TVs to watch. Apparently she said that the politician had wanted to marry her, but she refused because he already has a wife.

By coincidence, in the middle of all this, a popular Muslim radio preacher caused a ruckus by announcing that HE's taken a second wife. His first wife went on the air saying she was totally on board with the concept. But a lot of the guy's followers, especially women, aren't buying it. They liked him because he presented the perfect image of a happy family life. Now they're ready to give him the Jim Bakker treatment and kick him across town.

Things have gotten so stirred up that the President is threatening to broaden a ban on polygamy within the government to cover not just civil servants but politicians, soldiers, and the Cabinet.

I'm a little mystified by what the administration chooses to care about - for instance, there wasn't much fuss when Tommy Suharto, the infamous son of the former dictator, strolled out of jail recently after serving less than five years for having a Supreme Court justice murdered. And little was done to prevent another bout of massive forest fires on Borneo this summer, which are both an environmental and a health disaster.

But, I suppose you can't have everything. A gesture against polygamy would be good. If it materializes, I'll be happy.

Second photo: Preacher Abdullah Gymnastiar


michele said...

I wonder if there are any cases of women openly taking more than one husband.

Here in Massachusetts we get to enjoy the hypocrisy of our governor (and potential presidential candidate) Mitt Romney, who is pressing the legislature to ban gay marriage while he belongs to a church that condones polygamy.

kopisusu2 said...

Well that's the whole thing, is there's no legal framework for women to marry multiple times. And I can't imagine the societal backlash if someone tried to do it outside the framework -- although some women have affairs, of course.