08 July 2008

Vulgarity on Indonesian TV

Being the world's largest Muslim nation means that one is often left wondering at some of the stuff that gets on TV, particularly late at night. Even though the late evening hours and the wee hours of the morning are hardly times that the kiddies will be watching the idiot box, there are idiots out there like me who instead of getting their beauty sleep prefer to waste time watching silly TV shows. Some of these shows are overtly sexually provocative and then some are more covert. Nevertheless, it would appear that the content would still breach the broadcasting standards that are applicable in this fine land.

The Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (Komisi Penyiaran Indonesia / KPI) has taken offence to a couple of shows currently showing in much earlier timeslots. There are four shows to be exact that have come under scrutiny and have been warned for inappropriate content. The shows are: Extravaganza, One Piece, Ngelenong Nyok, and Suami-Suami Takut Istri.

Working backwards because I do not regularly watch Suami-Suami Takut Istri, come to think of it I watched it once and thought it to be stupid and haven't watched it again. I have voted with my remote and as such do not need any help from the KPI on this one. Suami-Suami Takut Istri translates "Husbands Afraid of Their Wives". The title is self-explanatory and provides an insight into the show. However, the KPI has taken issue with domestic violence in this case wives who abuse their husbands. Domestic violence is wrong but it is an interesting turn around to have the violence perpetrated by wives against their husbands. The other problem for this show is that the KPI thinks that children are portrayed in unsavoury settings. Not sure what that means though. Perhaps it is kids in a setting where there is domestic violence.

For Ngelenong Nyok the issue is that one of the characters is a little person (dwarf or midget -- politically incorrect, right?) and the other characters make fun of him. Then there is another character with buck teeth who also comes in for the brunt of some less than politically correct jokes. This is another show that I do not watch. I just do not find it all that interesting or funny.

One Piece is an anime series which is under the gun for showing violence and blood, sensual looking women, and close-ups of women's body parts. Nothing quite like a cartoon woman wearing spandex to get the juices flowing! I had not realized there were quite so many Indonesians with an anime fetish!

Extravaganza is not my favourite show but I do watch it every Saturday evening. I normally crash out in front of the TV with the better half and have a good little chuckle over the 2 hours the show runs from 19.00 through 21.00. The humour on Extravaganza is generally sexually suggestive, but I have not found it to be vulgar. I guess though I am pretty liberal in my views and attitudes to vulgarity. I tend to watch it because I enjoy the idiocy of the characters played by Tora Sudiro and Aming (pictured). Nevertheless, the particular complaint is one that one of the female characters in one of the skits was portrayed as being sexually harassed.

Now, sexual harassment is wrong. Yet, this was a comedy skit and as such does it have a responsibility to portray this matter in a more serious way. Sexual harassment is no joke. However, I guess it is open to interpretation as to whether the skit was in fact one where the character is sexually harassed or is the definition applied by the KPI too narrow for the purpose. I do not recall the episode in question, although it was aired on May 10, so I might have a look on You Tube later as many of the skits are available there. In any event I would have to see it again to pass any comments that I would feel comfortable defending.

Anyways, under the Law, if the broadcasters ignore the warnings and continue to flagrantly violate the KPI's authority in this area, then the KPI can impose fines of up to IDR 10 billion and persistent breachers would be potentially liable for terms of imprisonment up to five years.

I guess we wait and see.


therry said...


Those TV shows are not anymore dangerous than the typical crappy, over-dramatised sinetrons with bad cinematography, stupid actings and stupid stories of rich people being involved in love triangles in which there is always the Cinderela-ish type of girl who is the protagonist, powerless, cries a lot and does jack shit except for maintaining a pleading, innocent look throughout the whole series.

treespotter said...

indonesian pop culture is truly mindboggling. you got here before me - but i don't see extravaganza. Just the generic tv since I've only discovered the terrestrial channels.

weird... worth going further...

Rob Baiton said...


I know the KPI has a job to do. I just wonder whether these are the only shows that warrant a warning.


Indonesian pop culture is indeed mind boggling and worth exploring a little further.