Don’t Chuckle, Be Holy! ‘Excessive Humour’ Irks Jakarta ‘Scholars!’

I drafted this post a week or so ago, but left it on the drawing board.

Now, exasperated by the lack of decent tv this holiday season ( think of the Festive Season back West, all sorts of good films previously unseen on the box) I have resurrected it tonight. Well, it was either that or watch Airforce One for the fourth time! 

Our old friends – where would bloggers be without ’em – the MUI ‘scholars,’ are vexed that people are laughing too much during Ramadhan.

Now they’re bleating about how the very popular ‘infotainment’ TV shows – in which the focus is on the foibles of local celebrities –  may interfere with public worship during fasting. 

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  • All my guests, of all creeds, enjoy these shows – though they drive me to my laptop to seek refuge in blogging – but neither Muslims nor Christians have ever shown signs of having their religious faith undermined by such viewing.  

If anything, the sheer shallowness and stupidity of many celebrities here (as in the West) probably make many viewers inclined to avoid following in their vain and vapid footsteps! 

Be that as it may, it is self-evident hogwash that anything watched in private is likely to interfere with public worship.

Unless the Indonesian Council of Scholars reckons that folk find nagging sermons such a turn-off they’ll opt to stay home and watch silly stuff on TV instead of hurrying out to hear the preachers?


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  • Anyway, it seems they’ve actually issued a fatwa against infotainment shows, but shock/horror – ‘until now they’re still being screened!! 

So many fatwas!

We’ve had them issued against yoga, against pre-wedding photos, aaah, too many to recall. Check our search box for a good laugh.

But don’t laugh too loudly. 

That would be ‘excessive humour‘ – and that’s no fun, as far as the MUI is concerned. 


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-July 4, MUI and KPI held a press conference at the Office MUI, Central Jakarta, to discuss the events of this year’s Ramadan. The result – they found several aspects that don’t belong, including one, excessive humor that often appears on multiple programs.



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Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI)  Chairman, Judhariksawan


Broadcasting here is actually EXCESSIVELY censored enough already.  I watched an old (1960/70s) Indonesian comedy, one of those slapstick Dono films, and the minimal cleavage on display was, as ever these days, ‘opaqued’ out by the silly censoring rules.

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  • As is smoking, though not brutal murder!

Indonesia’s gone/going downhill. 

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Yes, I know the kill-joys are a joke themselves.

But the serious issue is how the KPI, a publicly funded body, meant to supervise broadcasting impartially, openly consorts with these gloomy ‘scholars’ and how those of us who are not celebrating Ramadhan are nevertheless told what we may or not enjoy on our TVs for thirty days.

I don’t recall any such nonsense during the Christmas Season here.  

Okay, if you live in an Islamic Republic like Iran or some swamp like Saudi, you expect that sort of thing.

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  • But this is meant to be a pluralist democracy.  
  • So how come the sectarian censorship?


His Coordinator for Supervision and Broadcast Content, Rahmat Arifin, appears to be equally indifferent, or oblivious, to what the public prefers in television programming. He reckons TV programmes should focus not on “… the story of their divorces or children but the achievements of the artists,” he told reporters.

But if you haven’t noticed, Mr. Arifin, the former aspects of celebrities’ lives are precisely what most viewers, rightly or wrongly, DO want to watch.

Are you KPI guys into public service or paternalistic scolding?