Sunday, April 23, 2006


As most in Indonesia would know, April 21 was Kartini day. Raden Ayu Kartini
, (April 21, 1879-September 13, 1904), was/is Indonesia's most famous champion of women's rights in Indonesia.

Unfortunately, women generally remain very much an underclass in Indonesia. Women are daily subject to the whims and desires of a very closed patriarchal society. For the vast majority of women, it is debatable if the situation has improved at all since Kartini's time.

"In recent months, there has been a concerted push for the passage of the pornography bill by religious hardliners, as well as the enactment of a number of bylaws that single out women for punishment, including on how they dress in public, interaction with the opposition sex, even to imposing limits on what time they can be in public places."

The sanctimonious crap-trap put up in defence of these regulations "we are saving these women from prostitution and exploitation beggars belief". There is no social security structure for abandoned wives, mothers who have no income etc etc. The vast majority of women forced into these situations are there by economic and social misfortune. To jail them in the absence of an alternative support structure is the height on an unthinking, uncaring patriarchal mindset.

This is not unexpected where, for many young males social interaction with women is limited to family and direct relatives. This makes it extremely difficult for any realistic connection or empathy with members of the opposite sex.

An interesting side note, despite a plethora of statues of male heros throughout the Indonesia the one famous statue of Kartini in Jakarta was under threat of removal (with vague promises of relocation). Does anyone know if the plan went ahead?... What happened to the statue?..

No comments: