FAITH IN INDONESIA

FAITH IN INDONESIA
The shape of the world a generation from now will be influenced far more by how we communicate the values of our society to others than by military or diplomatic superiority. William Fulbright, 1964

Sunday, April 16, 2006

INDONESIAN TV VIOLENCE

FORGET THE VICE – IT’S THE VIOLENCE, STUPID!
© Duncan Graham 2006

Thanks to the TV companies’ commitment to lifting the national knowledge base I’m smarter, wiser - and more evil.

You thought TV means television? Wrong, foolish reader. It stands for Teaching Violence.

I now know how to commit suicide, raise the devil, fleece the poor, torment the vulnerable, hide the loot then corrupt the evidence. And kill.

By gun, knife, poison, pillow, car, pitfall, rope, fire, electricity and water.

Much of this information is fresh. I wasn’t aware of the best cord for a good hanging or the appropriate knot. Thanks to TV these details are now clear.

Shooting and stabbing was old hat. I’d been taught gun skill in army cadets by a sadistic sergeant (is there any other type?) Don’t fire at the head – it’s too small a target. Gut shots disable best.

Thrust bayonets into stomachs like this, then twist the blade to let air into the wound and the blood spurt down the grooved blade.

That was ages ago, but the brute must have led a charmed life because he’s now the principal advisor to Indonesian sinetrons.

While other directors leave gore to the imagination, sinetron producers believe their audience has the IQ of a boiled egg. You don’t understand that this phial contains poison even though it’s being held at arm’s length over a pot of steaming bakso by a crazed harridan? Zoom in for a close up. Hold for several minutes. Nasty, bubbling red liquid. Red for danger, right?

More educational has been the conjuring of demons from the underworld. Maybe you missed it? No worries, it’ll be in another episode or a different station anytime soon. Prefer to get your kicks from CNN? OK, here’s the drum.

Darken the house. The electricity authority PLN can do this for you if you ignore their bill. Alternatively turn off the lights.

Garner heavy drapes and lots of candles. Visit your local concrete caster and buy a few reject gnomes, the more grotesque the better. The district abattoir can supply goat skulls. Put these in a horseshoe around a smoky fire.

Squat in the open gap. Wear weird clothes and lots of rings. Don’t shave for a week. This advice if for warlocks. For witches it’s gratuitous.

A headdress with writhing snakes is de rigueur for graduates of the black arts. Consult an imaginative metal worker. If he’s suspicious say it’s for an opera. Don’t mention soap.

Once comfortably cross-legged toss a powder in the flames. Flour is not recommended as it tends to extinguish. The fire, not common sense; that’s gone already. Chant gibberish and move hands as though stroking a black cat or smoothing a smothering pillow.

With any misfortune a ghastly phantom will arise from the netherworld, wreathed in smoke, awesome to behold. His or her head will be human, with long fangs for bloodsucking. The body will be of a snake, cat, tiger, croc or spider – anything that made it into the Ark will make it into a sinetron.

This satanic being will then laugh a lot, spin like a politician’s statement and vanish to do your bidding. This means getting a blood fix and scaring the souls out of people you don’t like while they take short cuts through graveyards wreathed in blue mist.

I haven’t tried this Macbeth stuff yet because my Indonesian isn’t up to the incantations. But since our maid was growled for burning the breakfast rice last week I fear the surly lass may now be gathering ingredients for a punishing payback.

Why? Because following the logic of the morality morons who say exposure to porn produces perverts, watching violence must lead to doing violence.

A few more sessions of TV and I’ll be the nation’s top serial killer, garrotting, disembowelling and dismembering. Thanks to sinetron I’ll be able to out-rip the Jack and make Claudius look like a Roman romantic.

My neighbours, who say they watch the same programs, are honing their machetes and blessing their Kris even as you read. The slaughterhouse has exhausted its stock of skulls, the supermarket its candles. Come the full moon our once happy street will flood with blood.

You – have – been – forewarned!
(First published in the Sunday Post 9 April 2006)
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