Indonesian TV stations love to deal in gore, the macabre, and the freakish. It’s good for ratings. So while the cops are just laying a blanket over the body of a motorcyclist run over by a 15-ton truck, the camera crew is milking it for all they can. Quite incredible.
But what really freaked me out a few weeks back was this story of cojoined (Siamese) twins shown on Metro TV. The twins were not only cojoined but also dicephalus – or in crude terms a “two headed baby”. Two heads side by side on one body. Two arms, two legs, and the internal organs shared. Great TV fodder in other words. And Metro TV was milking the story for all it was worth.
So rare was this case that the parents even gave the baby a single name – Syafitri - apparently unaware of the fact that they were “literally dealing with two separate people in one package”.
I could barely watch Metro’s news footage to be honest, so disturbing was it. But later on, out of curiosity, I checked on the net and read about the incredible story of the American cojoined twins Abigail Loraine Hensel and Brittany Lee Hensel who have survived to adulthood (Syafitri, the poor thing, died not long after his birth). You can read about the American cojoined twins here.
Of course, it isn’t that long ago that cojoined twins would have joined a freak show to make some money. One of my personal faves is Frank Lentini. He had three legs and two willies but still went on to have four kids!! Pic here.
But besides the natural freaks, there are also the self-made freaks: the fire-eater, the sword-swallower, the tattooed woman etc. And a few weeks back I got to see some in Jakarta. Not the tattooed woman with the big ### unfortunately, but some Indonesian performers from Pekalongan who were into eating glass, fire eating and fire blowing (great fun).
Warning: do not try this at home children! Breathe in at the wrong time and you’ll fry your lungs out!