Julia Perez has certainly quickly mastered the art of using the media. Here is a young woman who's primary claim to fame involves being in touch with her femininity, sexuality, and sexiness who has managed to captivate a nation and seemingly the world into a race in a small town in rural Java.
It is an interesting aside that she is running for elected office in the town that the current president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, hails from, but that's all it is, an aside.
The more intriguing issues were an attempt to introduce "moral" standards that candidates would have to meet in order to be able to nominate and stand for public office. This was designed with Julia Perez (or Jupe) in mind. It has come and gone, and is now well and truly off the radar for the present time. It is probably a good thing for many others other than Julia Perez because there are quite a few politicians that would conceivably have moral issues that would otherwise exclude them from public office (no need to name names, is there?).
There are those that doubt the legitimacy of Perez's candidacy and her ability to do the job as they would rather focus on the presumption that Ms. Perez is being exploited by shrewd political operators in an effort to embarrass the president and to exacerbate the divide between Indonesians of a more moderate and pluralistic view and those who adopt more fundamental and hardline approaches.
Ms. Perez herself. Maybe it is Perez that is exploiting the opportunity and the offers to run for office are just the opportunity she has been looking for.
Let's face it; win, lose, or draw in the election, she has won on a bigger scale in that she will now have expanded her base into places she might otherwise never have been able to. How many seriously experienced Indonesian politicians can claim recent stories on CNN and now in the New York Times.
It should be remembered that even though she has little or no political experience of consequence, she does have plenty of social activism related experience as a spokesperson on a number of issues relating to sexual health, among others. This might in fact be more "experience" than some current politicians had when they were elected to office in the present term.
One final note (and an admission), I am glad that she is running because it is a good excuse to go through my collection of Jupe photos and post them in the relevant blog posts. Enjoy (all these photos are freely available on the Internet, you can search for them and more if you need to).