In a rare feat of sheer genius, I managed to post my new badge on my blog (Healthline Top MS Blogs). Let me be the first to congratulate myself.
So, I suppose, in view of the august occasion (and because it is the month of August as well), I should actually write something.
Well, I note that in today's edition of The Jakarta Post, a recent survey showed that Indonesians are overall favorable in their attitude toward America; this, in spite of the generally unfavorable attitude of the Indonesian government and higher powers that be. This is not surprising. In fact, the lion's share of Indonesians are moderate, only marginally 'religious' (in terms of the extremist Muslim tripe regularly tossed at their heads by Ulema, the Islamic Defenders Front/FPI, and such-like), and have a general desire to progress from backward rule and small ideas to a greater inclusion in the pace of life and the modern character of culture.
Just days ago, a certain portion of the South Jakarta populace had their panties twisted in a knot by the appointment of a Christian woman (Ye Gads!) to a district position in local government. Straightaway, they trumped out a petition demanding the dismissal of the woman, on the grounds that she could not possibly lead or be effective in a Muslim culture (proving, thereby, that they themselves could not lead nor be effective in the same). Well, happily, there was a backlash from the thoughtful folk of the neighborhood, and the demand for dismissal was itself dismissed.
Good on ya, Jakartans!
Do Indonesians like the American government, or policies, or drone strikes, or foreign interventions? No, not really. What they like is simply the idea of America - the land of the free, the home of the brave, the myth of riches and equal opportunity, the sheer power, the tall people, the SUVs and the ovens and refrigerators and laptops, the rap music, instant stardom, endless glitter - Wall Street, Hollywood, New York City and the Statue of Liberty. Liberty, yes, that's what they like. The guaranteed rights, the confidence, the swagger, the fearless will against rule and oppression. They play the music, parrot the words (for the point is tone and delivery, not meaning), and they admire the luminaries who have risen above anyone's say-so or judgment. They are all Americans, in heart, in hope.
I have a yellow shirt with blue letters that read American on the front. And you would think I was a shapely woman in a miniskirt. It catches most every eye, and often inspires a comment, if only a word. It must be spoken.
"American", they say, as I pass. And in this, some seminal, some essential meaning is shared.