WTF moments come thick and fast in Indonesia. This time I’m down at the gym and taking a bit of breather when I notice a few shiny pamphlets lying around. They have been published by the “center for the propagation of information on law and human rights” – or something like that - and cover topics such as domestic violence, bullying and marriage – all important topics I’m sure you’ll agree. I pick up the one on marriage and read through it.
Rather unsurprisingly, it’s about as progressive as the manifesto of the puritans in sixteenth century England, full of all sorts of outrageous sexist nonsense and lies, and I was just about to bin it when I noticed – there at the bottom of the page – that its production was supported (i.e. funded, one would assume) by AusAid!
Seriously, AusAid! Now I know that it must be difficult to come up with new ways to spend Aussie taxpayers money (obviously giving money directly to the poor in Indonesia hasn’t occurred to them) and instead they have gotten involved in the production of sexist materials. Cool.
So what gets my beef? Well first off there is this:
Which translates as: the husband is the head of the household and (the wife) is a housewife.
Oh just lovely. So what about all those Indonesian households where the wife is the main breadwinner and the husband is unemployed? Are they somehow violating the meaning of what a marriage should be (as determined by the state). Utterly disgraceful. And why is this rubbish being funded by AusAid? Have they even bothered to read or check the materials they have sponsored? If they haven’t, then that is sheer incompetence. But if they HAVE, it makes you wonder what sort of values AusAid really stands for.
And then this real shocker on “mixed religion” marriages:
In Indonesia, mixed religion marriages are not recognized (by the state) because none of the religions recognized in Indonesia (there are six of them apparently) permit its followers to marry someone else from a different religion.
No, no, no. That is a blatant lie. There is no religious obstacle to a Protestant marrying a Catholic just as there is no obstacle to a Buddhist marrying a Confucist. And so what if there was? It’s not the state’s job to decide who its citizens can and cannot marry. And here we have good ol’ AusAID putting its name to this nonsense. Why?
After that, we inevitably come to the bit explaining the “rules” for polygamy. Well, I’m sure the men will be well pleased with that…
Unsurprisingly, the latest development on the zeitgeist of human nature in western society i.e. homosexuality - doesn’t even get a mention. But hey, perhaps that’s just as well - we don't want an all-out civil war from breaking out in this far-flung archipelago. Even relativism does have its advantages sometimes.
And as for the pamphlets on bullying and domestic violence, you don’t want to know. You really don’t…
We now know where AusAID stands on marriage – at least in Indonesia anyway.