Thursday, September 25, 2008

Singing Ramadan Lady

Last week I went out and bought a funny little cheap videocamera with A/V inputs. And now, after 2 and a half years of unsuccessful attempts, we finally have a system that allows me to bring you the wonders of Indonesian television! As always, let me know if you have any problems with the video:

The Singing Ramadan Lady is used to fill time between programs during the Ramadan month on one of the local stations. The phrase at the end, "Subhan Allah," roughly translates as "Glorious is Allah."

I love the Lady's psychedelic clothes and makeup, which represent the flashiest end of the Islamic clothing spectrum in Indonesia.

Only about a quarter of the women in Jakarta wear Muslim clothing. Some stick to subdued styles, but quite a few opt for bright, shiny or sparkly headscarves with matching outfits. When I did a story on Islamic clothing a couple of years ago, everyone boasted that Indonesia had the coolest Muslim fashions, and in particular "much more stylish clothes than Malaysia!"

As for the voluminous head-to-toe coverings worn in places like Saudi Arabia, they were not at all interested.

"What if Islamic leaders here said women had to wear the burka?" I asked.

"Indonesian women would never do it," they laughed. "We are much too fashionable!"

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