07 January 2011
Indonesian Actors & Actresses to be Drug Tested...
Actors and actresses are just like anyone else in the community, they have their demons to confront. Sometimes these demons are legal like alcohol sometimes they are illegal like recreational drugs and narcotics. Yet, until yesterday it seemed unlikely that Indonesian actors and actresses were going to be subjected to mandatory drug testing prior to being permitted to work in film or television.
It would be interesting to see a statistical analysis as to whether actors are any more susceptible to drug use than the rest of the Indonesian community. The reality is that a celebrity with a drug addiction or a celebrity caught in possession of drugs and looking at jail time is far more news worthy in terms of shifting papers and selling advertising than is a young kampung girl newly arrived in the big city. Maybe the reporting of celebrity-linked drug offenses serves to distort the seriousness of the problem.
According to the Chief Detective of the Jakarta Police, Anjan Pramuka Putra, the Indonesian Film Actors Guild (Parfi) has requested police assistance in conducting urine tests on actors. In some cases the results may indicate that the actor or actress tested has taken an illicit substance, but the reality is that acting is not a sport and it is unlikely that taking drugs is going to improve performance. In fact, a drug addiction is likely to impact negatively on the ability to work or maintain consistent performance.
For example, an actor or actress may take steroids in an attempt to "buff up" for a role, or to transform their appearance, and in so doing breach the prevailing laws and regulations. Yet, is the intent of the Parfi request to catch all those using any scheduled prescription, recreational or illegal drugs or is it just to catch those with addictions to drugs like shabu-shabu (crystal meth), marijuana, heroin, or ecstasy.
I wonder whether actors and actresses are going to be supportive of the Parfi request. Is it possible that there will be a mass exodus of Parfi members or some kind of actors strike in protest of this invasion of their privacy, particularly considering a urine sample can be tested for a whole lot more things than just to find those using drugs.
Should we be concerned that this is just the first step in mandatory random drug testing for everybody irrespective of who they are or what they do. For example, can prospective employers demand a candidate for a position at their company undertake a drug test as part of the interview process. Or, can the government demand a drug test to be taken before providing a government benefit or paying a tax return. The mind boggles at the possibilities.