Why Indonesia Banned “Noah”

Scene of "Noah"

Scene of “Noah”

The Darren Aronofsy’s latest movie, “Noah” (2014) was banned in Indonesia today. The film which you can find the trailer right here casted Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson were forbidden to be played in Indonesia.

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Confession of A Turned-On Prayer

Once upon a time a little girl asked to her elder sister, “Sister, why shouldn’t we pray at the front of men?”

The elder sister answered her, “Coz men should lead women, instead the contrary.”

Then the little girl said, “But I’ve got a problem with that.”

“What’s your problem?” asked the elder sister.

“Each time I pray and look at the back of the man who prays at the front of me, it turns me on.”

***

That explains why each mushalla or mosque should be given a kinda curtain to separate men and women. People often blames on women as the source of sex appeal, but actually men often becomes the sex appeal for women. And it even happens while praying at the house of God.

Photo by William Sebastian, about Sholat Ied at Sunda Kelapa Harbour, Jakarta. Scanned from National Geographic Indonesia, December ’08.
Photo by William Sebastian, about Sholat Ied at Sunda Kelapa Harbour, Jakarta. Scanned from National Geographic Indonesia, December ’08.

Once upon a time my cousin came up with her boyfriend for slumber party at my house. My mom prepared a room for my cousin’s boyfriend. No, not a bedroom, coz my small house made that man should sleep at the couch. But we prepared a small room for my cousin’s boyfriend to pray.

I told my mom, why should bother? Why didn’t just let him praying in girls’ room instead, I didn’t mind that my cousin’s boyfriend entering my room if he just wanna pray.

But my mom said no. Said my mom, don’t let my cousin pray with her boyfriend only. Coz, they were unmarried yet.

I was confused, where the correlation between praying with boyfriend and related like a husband and a wife was. For me, it was just about two people praying together instead. And accidentally, they were in a relationship.

But then, I remember, my mom never prays with another man, except with her dad or with my dad. Even when she goes to a public mosque, she never prays following another man’s prayer, if the formation only takes two. I’m sure, this lesson ain’t written in any pages in our Holy Book, this is just a kinda private ethic code.

Though we all know, that praying together, cost rewards much more than praying alone.

How about you? Do you pray with your unmarried sweetheart?

Mr Santa, Assalamu’alaikum!

I knew the concept that Santa Claus loves giving gifts. But nobody ever told me that for the concept, terms and conditions were applied. And considering this, I didn’t know why Santa Claus was never demanded with act of customer protection.

At X-mas ’06, I took my cousin and three of her kids to a fashion shop in Bandung. The place was full of shoppaholics, and to rave the party, the shop had one of its staff to pretend being Santa Claus. The man wore Santa Claus costume, complete with the thick beard, and he gave free snacks to children.

Santa Claus and wife takes photo with children. Photo from http://storyconnection.net

My niece, Bill, 6, looked desiring, then I said to her, “Look at that, Bill! The Santa is giving away his gifts! D’ya want that? Go get it, now!”

My cousin pulled my shirt in panic face, and her mouth whispered to me, “Vicky, don’t, Vicky!”

I looked at her, wondering. I meant it so Bill learnt to be a brave girl, coz my niece was shy to strangers.

And then my reckless behavior dragged us to a difficult situation. Suddenly, Bill’s brother, O’a, was 4, asked by pointing at Santa Claus, “Who is that?”

That was when I found out my cousin’s mean: never parents lie to children. But she didn’t know, either, how to say the truth. Bill and O’a had learnt to read al-Fatihah since they were toddlers, and now how should we teach them about concept of Santa Claus?

Sometimes Santa wants a compensation from kids' parents , too. Photo from http://donklephant.com

Then I remembered when I was six, Santa Claus always came up near X-mas. Like any other children, I read magazine and watched TV, so it was unevitable to my curiosity about Santa. I asked my Dad, did Santa really love giving away to children who had wrote him letters? What was the address if I wanted to write Santa a letter?

Those days I loved writing my Grandma letters, so I thought that writing to Santa was supposed to be easy. Beside, I thought my Dad was clever. Imagine, my Dad knew the Kompas’ factory, thought he didn’t know people who wrote at the newspaper. So I thought my Dad should be able to give me Santa’s address though he didn’t know Santa.

My Dad laughed out loud to hear my plain question, then he said, “Oh, I don’t know where Santa lives in. Absolutely, he doesn’t live in Indonesia.”

At that moment I got disappointed coz I lived in Indonesia. “So, the kids who got the gift were only foreigners’ kids?”
(My parents taught me that Caucasians were called “foreigners”.)
“Ok, why don’t we move to another country, so I can get gift from Santa?”

*This answer only taught Indonesian kid to be mentally inlander.*

Santa Claus has been aged much and he's got near-sighted. Photo from http://cartoonstock.com

Now, the answer has been irrelevant to be taught to such kids like Bill and O’a, coz Santa Claus comes up anywhere in Indonesia. You walk to any malls this week, then you’ll find Santa waves to children. (Why does Santa never wave to adults? Doesn’t Santa like adults?)

O’a kept asking me who the fat man in red costume was, so his parent and me got confused to explain it. We’d like to say that Santa was an old man who loved giving away to kids. But the kids who get the gifts were the kids who acted nice at home and school, and..they should go to Sunday school each week. My cousin was afraid that O’a wanted to go to Sunday school for getting gifts from Santa. Though each week his parents told him to learn Koran review, hahahah.. May a kid enter a Sunday school by bringing Iqro book?

I didn’t forbid a toddler to change religion. I just disagreed if a kid believed in a religion only coz he wanted a gift.

“Well, Aunty, who’s that?” O’a was still asking me by pointing at Santa.

Finally, that moment I said to O’a, “Oh, I don’t know him.” I didn’t lie. Santa Claus never invited me at Friendster.

“Why don’t you ask Njeng? Njeng, who is that?” I wished my other niece, Njeng, 7, could give a concept which was more children-understandable.

Unexpectedly, Njeng answered like this, “That? Ooh.. that’s a clown!”

Me and my cousin laughed out loud instead. O’a looked satisfied, then he neared the fat clown in red costume and thick beard, then Santa gave O’a the snack away. Santa wasn’t a picky person. All children got gifts. Both Christian kids and non-Christian ones.

***

Oh, finally we have gifts from Santa Claus, too, though our family never goes to Sunday school. Each time I wake up at morning in my birthday, my dad always has put a gift to me on my piano. He does it to my sister, too. If Santa Claus’ concept is only limited in giving a surprise gift for good kids, then my family adopts the concept well.

Merry X-mas, fellas. Wish the X-mas makes you happy. 

Mallrats Need A Break

Definitely, this is not a picture of butts exhibition.

Down on knees, together, in a basement of Bandung Supermal. Photo by Vicky Laurentina.

Once upon a time in States, a store was shocked coz a bunch of their customer which looked like Arabic suddenly did an odd ritual at the corner of the place’s storage. That year “9/11” event has just been happened, and ever since that shitty day, all “weird” behavior of Muslims was made into stories excessively. When police came to check those Arabics, they found out that instead of going to mess up, those customers were just going to pray Maghrib. Those Americans were shocked coz they never saw a person did “shalat”.

***

I think, Indonesia is a unique country coz most of its citizens still admit that they pray, though sometimes they skip from church, temple, or mosque. There’s a good reason why Friday becomes a leeway among working days in Indonesia. The hectic 9-5 rush hours suddenly must be diminished in midday, to spare time for men for doing Friday praying. It doesn’t matter if the male employee really goes for Friday praying, or he just runs away for corrupting extra lunch time. And oddly, how hard feminists make pressure for women’s emancipation in Indonesia, women still don’t complain if their job burden raise higher at Friday, just because their male colleagues go away for Friday praying.

I was at this mall last Friday, when I went to the parking basement and saw this view. Looking at the costumes they wore, I found out that some of them were waiters, buyer assistants, managers, and even customers. The mall was crowded of people each days, but I saw they break of being mallrats at mid Friday, only for sitting together in “mushalla” by listening to preach and pray for two rounds of scene.

All people need a praying place at their work. Including malls. Malls can’t build mosque at their complex, coz their secularism budget don’t accomodate it. So they make compensation by making a small space in parking basement to become a mushalla. The mushalla may be enough for daily prays, but it doesn’t suit to contain the mall visitors who wanna do Friday praying. So they close some of basement area at Friday until midday, so they can use the area for massal Friday praying. When the Friday praying is over, they re-use the area for parking. This is a strategy to keep the visitors who’s already hung out in the mall since morning, instead let them leave the mall at afternoon for Friday praying and then they’re lazy to return.

Once a foreigner asked me, why male muslims must do Friday praying together, instead doing it alone in each of their homes. I answered, as you’re praying with somebody else, you’ll find out that actually you have a brother who must pray like you, as a reply coz God has created both of you. Praying together keeps you from being snob, coz you’ll realize, that probably, you don’t pray better than anybody else as you thought before.

Mall may be a product of capitalist. But, religion stuff doesn’t need to be separated from the capitalism thing.