Sunday, November 05, 2006

A quote from "Virgin": "Saya Masih Perawan".

The intended readers of this post are liberals. You have been warned.

I had just turned on my tv and saw the last minutes of the movie "Virgin" (2004), made in Indonesia. It's the first time I see this movie.

The movie title's alone is enough to cause controversy in Indonesia, a country with the largest moslem population in the world. The content is said to be even more controversial (
due to it's vulgar depiction of sex and ..cursing. Many groups deemed it immoral enough that it was pulled from circulation within 2 weeks (correct me if I'm wrong).

Anyway, I'm particularly interested in the last scenes of this movie. A high school girl is standing on a platform talking about something (I didn't pay attention). Many people such as fellow students and some adults watch her. After she finish talking, she pause. But everybody seems waiting her to say something. Finally, after an undramatic moment of pause, the girl said "Saya masih perawan" (I'm still virgin). Hearing that, everybody cheers. They hug her. They congratulate her. She seems happy.

Depending on your cultural background, you might find the above scenes to be disturbing. But if you find my comment to be the one that is disturbing instead, stop reading. This is a post for a specific kind of audience.


The glorification of virginity in this movie is so extreme that it feels very ..comical(?). I'm not saying that virginity is worthless, but it's not easy to imagine yourself feeling happy and congratulating someone for being able to stay virgin. It's very.. surreal, like you're living in an alternate world where everybody still look the same, but they are actually different.


Unknown said...

Is Indonesia actually the largest /Muslim/ country?

Maybe it's actually the largest /Pancasila/ country ;)

Amitz Sekali said...

ah, it's a matter of your choice of comparison.

It's true that the latest survey (you implicitly referring to) revealed that more Indonesian prefer pancasila as a political system. But I believe that only happen because pancasila is explicitly mentioned as a choice. If the same question asked without giving the respondents choices (as if they were asked to fill in the blank), I bet a majority will answer Islam (of course given proper phrasing such that: the question is not similar to what students had been taught to answer with Pancasila).

Anyway, whoever made the survey questions, either she needs to take an introductory course in surveying or she doesn't need to take an introductory course in public relation anymore.. either way, it is not necessarily a bad thing..

Unknown said...

i just reckon that /officially/ Indonesia recognises a number of religions as of equal standing. so by that reasoning it is equally a hindu or christian country.

and for good reason! if RI /was/ officially a "muslim" country some day, then it would become a lot smaller -- think bali, batak, manado, papua...

so being indonesian doesn't really have much to do with being muslim by my reckoning...

Amitz Sekali said...

When we try to label something complex, we try to apply the most representative label. It's a rule of thumb we seems to agree on, but we differ in it's application.

It's true that there are christians or hindus in Indonesia, but their number is not as many as moslems. Therefore, considering the rule of thumb, the most representative label is Islam/moslem. The reason I refuse to acknowledge Pancasila as a more representative label - even when Pancasila take into account various religions - is because:
1. Pancasila has been drilled into Indonesian's mind as the default answer of questions asked in a certain way, which is how it was asked in the survey I mentioned. Such answer is suspect.
2. It's difficult to for Pancasila to accomodate the current form of Islam, as indicated by the same survey's result on cutting thief's, canning drinkers, stoning adulterers, etc. In that survey, people who support such punishment are a lot more than people who prefer Indonesia become Islamic country. Such differences in number is caused by people's illusion that syariah (Islamic rule) can be applied to a country and they can still call it a Pancasila-ist country.

Another possibility is that the surveyers suck at surveying :-), or they have a vested interest.

Unknown said...

i do think pancasila is quite a artificial concept (doesn't really appeal to me) so is indonesia come to think of it :).

i often used to think of indonesia as a "muslim" country. but on reflection, the majority shouldn't be the deciding factor -- and isn't for good reason -- indonesia's integrity.

so what i'm trying to say is that the individual's personal views and their views on how the state should be run might be different.

-- just like the US is prob better for being secular than a "christian" state, even tho most of the population is christian. (get me? - late, gotta go to bed ;))

Amitz Sekali said...

ah, when you put it that way, I can't help but see the truth. I agree then that Indonesia is currently run using a Pancasila as it's ideology/political system/whatever that is. Although at a few area (very few), it is not the case.

Some regions in Indonesia, that are granted autonomy, had begun implementing certain Islamic law such as mandatory head scarf.

Novi said...

Hey, I found your post while looking up this absolutely horrible movie, to read a synopsis, but no one can really offer any.
It's not the Indonesia that I know. Or maybe it is like that now in Jakarta? Because I lived in Medan and Bandung, and our lives are not that..."exciting" as portrayed in the movie.
Anyway, I just want to say that I wish you wouldn't call Indonesia an Islamic country. As far as I know, we are still secular.
I am an Indonesian. I am a Christian. And I am of Chinese descent. So the moment Indonesia turns from a Pancasila based democracy to a Moslem country, I would be worried, and I would start finding other countries to move into.
That's my humble opinion.

Amitz Sekali said...


I wanted to preserve the history of what was written but people keep banging me with "WTF, Indonesia is not an Islamic country" :-p. I guess time to change the post.

I'm not sure what you mean by "exciting". Glamorous?

Novi said...

Meh. Not exactly glamorous.
Although I guess it depends on your point of view.
I was thinking about the free sex, clubbing, etc.
I wouldn't call it glamorous, but if it is really happening, some of our young adults sure do.