Indonesia – Deadly Invasion by PDA!

One of my friends, who teaches in a Jakarta high school, recently tried to draw his teen students into discussion on what they think might be different between how they live and their counterparts in Western countries.

One young lady, resplendent in her head-scarf, was quick to respond.

“Here, we do not do PDA!”

My friend was baffled, and asked her what she was talking about.

‘Public Displays of Affection.”



Two depictions of ‘PDA’ on Google – that’s Nicole Kidman and her man, and Suki Waterhouse and her man – heard of NK, of course, but not SW, whoever she may be.



He told me of this and I Googled mercilessly (and goggled at such a priggish little minx!) and sure enough, there it is, like some kind of disease, lots of mentions from all over the place.

Just to confuse us more, I found there is an ACTUAL disease, called PDA, Patent Ductus Arteriosus, a congenital disorder in the heart wherein a neonate’s ductus arteriosus fails to close after birth.

But Little Baggie might well regard that as less of a threat!

  • So what qualifies as a ‘public display of affection?’

I suppose holding hands, kissing your beloved when you meet her for a date.

One assumes that was what L.B. was on about. In which case she must be myopic, because I see young Indonesians behaving in these perfectly normal ways every time I go into town, or even to the local mall.

Or does she fondly imagine youngsters (and even us depraved oldsters) perform all kinds of wanton sexual activites willy-nilly (oops, sorry!) in broad daylight all over town back in the Old Country?

Sorry, kid, we don’t.

But we equally do not throw up our hands in horror when we see a guy enjoying a kiss with his girl-friend.  Or a girl in happy embrace with some fellow who’s her ‘other half.’

Our Victorian forebears would have, but times change, and they have clearly changed here, for the better.  

It’s nice to see affection on show. A lot nicer than seeing intolerant louts harassing harmless citizens for cuddling in those oft-mentioned ‘dimly-lit’ warungs we keep hearing about.

Bright Lights Ward Off IslamoNazi Sticky-Beaks! Sometimes! 


Regrettably some people like LB disagree.

And she’s hardly unique here.





That strange woman,  Lydia Freyani Hawadi, who was recently transferred out of her government job as Director General of Early Learning (Non-Formal and Informal Education) made some bizarre remarks arising from similar ‘cultural’ hang-ups, along the lines of students at an international school go about dressed in a ‘free and minimal’ way and demanded that schools  guide students to dress neatly and politely so as not to trigger a negative event…

Lydia would probably clap her hands with delight at LB’s po-faced position on PDA. 

  • hogwashmeterred
  • They are both wrong!

Unpleasant experiences do not happen to people because they hug or kiss, nor because of how they dress.  

They tend to happen because there are bad people in society, here as everywhere, and some of them have this kind of backward nonsense view engrained in their upbringing, that people who show affection, or girls who dress  like girls, rather than like sacks of potatoes, are somehow on a lower level, promiscuous, and thus provoke nasty people to do nasty things.

That kind of narrow, nasty upbringing does not excuse nasty behaviour, of course, but certainly goes some way to explain it.  

One hopes that an increasing prevalence of PDA will usher in a society in which normality flourishes, and prim’n’proper priggery fades away.l