Miss World in Indonesia : FPI vs RCTI

by Rio Tuasikal / @riotuasikal

The opening show of Miss World 2013 on RCTI, in Sunday night.
Imagine a poster : Miss World is kafir. Decorated with photos of Hary Tanoe the CEO of MNC Group, Liliana Tanoe the judge, Daniel Mananta the host and Vania Larissa the Miss Indonesia 2013 which are all christians, and called kafir (infidels). It also says Indonesians are mostly muslims, and that’s enough to say that Indonesians have to reject Miss World.

When I saw that propaganda tagged on my Facebook last Monday, I remember what Habib Rizieq said before, “We must reject Miss World to be held in Indonesia, they are not compatible with Indonesian culture.” Rizieq argued that Miss World will denigrate women’s honor and lead our youths become immoral and (ahem!) sex worshipers. In the name of Indonesian culture, together with his men in FPI (Front Pembela Islam, Islamic Defender Front), Rizieq has asked Hary Tanoe to cancel the show.

Let alone about feminism, I want to see the show differently. Idioms like budaya Indonesia (Indonesian culture) and orang Timur (the East people) have been our favorite reasons to reject culture from another parts of the world. We believe that Indonesians are polite and moralist, while westerners (particularly Americans) are rude and immoral. Without wisely separate what is good or bad, we just snobbishly say that all food, film and fashion from West have attacked our pride as orang Timur.

But what is budaya Indonesia exactly, is that wearing kebaya not bikini, speaking bahasa Indonesia not English, and dancing kecak not ballet? Then we automatically judge a women as not Indonesian just because she is wearing a tank top, and is budaya Indonesia that simple? Oh no, sometimes we don’t realize that we have simplified our high cultural values into just those symbols. If we do so, please prepare yourself for symbol war.

Yeah, the symbol war. That is what happened in the opening show of Miss World 2013, on Sunday. Imagine, for the first time since the first Miss World in 1951, yesterday all the 131 contestants were dancing and made a "Nusantara Parade" in the traditional Indonesian costumes. Also with batik pattern everywhere, Balinese gamelan for music, red and white night dress for singers, and a medley song compiled from traditional songs of Aceh, Central Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Nusa Tenggara and Papua. It’s all Indonesia!

I think the organizers have been thinking so hard and have compromised a lot about this. I think they are understand enough that if FPI refuse Miss World just because the bikini, they only have to delete it and replace it with something more Indonesian like Parade Nusantara. And voila, RCTI simply used plenty of those Indonesian symbols and the show was go on. How will Rizieq handle this paradox?

So, if Rizieq and his folks accidentally watched the show yesterday, and saw how Miss World became more Indonesian this year, will they rethink their misleading maneuver? Their request to remove bikini has been fulfilled, and RCTI even made it sooo Indonesia, I think Rizieq will not have another reason. Sorry to say my dear FPI, but in this symbol war to grab budaya Indonesia argumentation, RCTI is definitely the winner. []