Thursday, 18 September 2008

Wait, old people are protesting anti-smut legislation?

First up this morning, the slightly scary entertaining-sounding news:
Isn't that nice? What's even better is that they are wearing traditional dress while doing it!
Now, to be serious for a moment, this is a fantastic illustrastion of clashes of cultures and "cultural relativity". 
The synopsis is that Bali has an old traditional culture of their own, and the country they're part of, Indonesia, is Muslim. Which, right away, should indicate a problem and, yes, the Islamic dominated parliament has been debating an anti-smut bill intended to shield the young from pornographic material and "lewd acts" which would include (spare me) kissing in public.
Now, from my point of view sitting comfortably in a more-or-less liberal technically-western mostly-democracy, this is laughably reactionary and stupid.
But to the Balinese, it's not "old-fashioned" it's destroying their old fashions: 
""We in Bali see the body as aesthetic, but the pornography bill sees the body as an object of sin," said Sugilanus, one of the protesters at the rally in Denpasar, capital of the predominantly Hindu island of Bali."
I, personally, couldn't think of a wider gulf between "traditional" perceptions of modesty than between Bali - dominated by nude statues and paintings and where some of the sexiest clothed dances on earth originate - and the religion which has given us the Burkha.
It will be interesting to see if, if this bill gets passed and it almost certainly will, Bali gets an exemption and, if not, what happens to the tourist trade.
Link to ABC News Online story

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