Porn, scorn and prickly relationships

by
Durians

Durians

After spending two glorious weeks on the Island of the Gods and the Australian Tourist (Bali), I recently returned to the Big Durian. Overall, I discovered two things:

  1. I am moody no matter where I set foot — It has nothing to do with Jakarta. Maybe Jakarta has to put up with me as much I have to put up with it.
  2. For all its flaws, Jakarta is my home. There were flaws I would just have to accept.

My mood before departing Bali: Dread. I was dreading my return to Jakarta.

On the plane I pictured Bali, sunny and blue-skied. In my head, Jakarta was grey, almost black. I would soon be suffocated by the smog and heat, while trapped in another traffic jam.

But when I jumped off the plane, I did not feel suffocated. Rather, it felt good to be home. Half dazed, I made my way home, high-fived the ojek drivers on the street corner, got teased by my regular warung about my love of eggplant (always eggplant) and greeted Ibu Kost. I was home.

Home, home manis.

I love to hate it, hate to love it: Jakarta is bad relationship you can never seem to leave. And like every relationship, I was going to have to learn to forgive without being apathetic. So I forgave it for all its past wrong doings, for the times it had mistreated me. There were still some things, big things, it had to work through — nonexistent public transport system, waste disposal, discrepancy between the rich and poor.

This was Monday. By Thursday, my ability to forgive had depleted. My mood Thursday: Shock and disappointment. Thursday, the day the porn bill passed. A day which truly tested my relationship with Jakarta. A day which tested many relationships with Jakarta.

Confusion set in, as it did for others in the country. Not only because of the vague definition of pornography, but also because of the state’s ideological shift. A shift that further blurs the distinction between the state and religion. A shift spurred by a minority. A shift that threatens (not protects) women, a shift that threatens pluralism. A bill that allows regular Joes to take matters into their own hands.

Why, Jakarta, why? You knew what you were doing was wrong. Two factions of your brain walked out in protest. Legislators of factions encouraging you, egging you on like bad consciences perched upon your shoulders, have admitted it was all for political gain ahead of the 2009 election. What’s more, it is unconstitutional.

It seems the silent treatment the majority of us gave you when it comes to the issue of pornography didn’t work. We should’ve been more vocal. We should’ve realised the severity of your threat.

There is nothing new for me to say. It has all been said before. Just admit you were wrong and take it all back.

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