An Eternal Dry Season…Indonesia Mulls Prohibition!


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I detest this rainy season, traffic chaos, constant hassle to keep appointments  – I regard lateness as the rudest form of incivility, and do all I can to be on time – but now the prospect of an eternal dry season fills me with dread.,

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Winston Churchill once famously lost his parliamentary seat to a Prohibitionist candidate – Dundee, 1922, I think – so bizarre ideas can surge up unexpectedly anywhere, anytime.

Unfortunately, here in Indonesia, the latest news is far from unexpected, a bill to ban booze now on the legislative agenda, the work of the party whose leader is none other than Suryadharma Ali, a man who may not be the most intolerant politician in town, but to be fair, he’s intolerant enough to be going on with.

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Iindonesia would introduce stiff penalties for the consumption of all alcoholic beverages under a controversial bill drafted by the Islamic United Development Party (PPP) that would effectively ban the sale, production and consumption of alcohol in this Muslim-majority nation.
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Those caught consuming alcohol could face up to two years in prison. Distributors would face up to five years while producers could face a maximum of 10 years in jail.

That’ll boost tourism, for sure!

“This will be a ban on producing, distributing and consuming alcohol,” Arwani Thomafi, secretary of the PPP faction at the House of Representatives, said.

I suppose I should declare an interest in this – it is not unknown for me to support the local economy by consuming a quantity of Bintang beer, a local product agreeable to the palate.

Bali Hai beer is another Indonesian beer. And Anker.

The industry must provide jobs for thousands, and fun for thousands more. But such shameful materialist considerations weigh little with the ‘high priority’ bill’s supporters.

  • Arwani Arwani
  • The Islamic party introduced the bill to bring the nation in line with “religious guidelines” as well as address the negative impact of excessive alcohol consumption on people’s health, Arwani said.

People’s health? Maybe he saw me coming home in the wee hours today! But this next part is curious.

Tourist areas and “certain ethnicities” might be spared the ban, Arwani said. He did not explain which tourist areas or ethnic groups would be allowed to drink alcohol under the ban.

Does he mean areas of Jakarta where foreigners like to hang out” Jalan Jaksa, Blok M, posh Kuningan? I doubt it.

And since when is ‘ethnicity’ a part of the alcohol debate? Religion, yes, but race? Fire-water no good for redskins? A tad out-of-date.

Religious guidlines….I know Hindus who like a drink. Do Buddhists not enjoy rice wine? Did Jesus turn water into iced lemon tea?

Looks like pure shariah intolerance, once more.

Nobody forces Arwani to consume booze.  Why should he want to stop others doing so?

Maybe he doesn’t think his co-religionists can watch their countrymen or overseas visitors slaking thirsts with a glass of beer without casting Islamist strictures to the four winds and leaping into a binge.

Nuts to that!

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