Apparently, there has been an extremely fine grey line between what is good and what is bad. One could only ask himself if he could see the line and make the right choices from his conscience.
In the past two days, I’ve been hearing (and reading) quite a lot about the release of Ariel, the handsome lead singer of a popular Indonesian band, Peterpan. He was convicted and sent to jail in 2011, after his video tapes showing him having sex with a number of Indonesian artists went viral. The incident invited numerous reactions, from the local artist community to any Tom, Dick, and Harry by the streets. Even Mr. President himself had something to say about the unexpectedly shocking press.
Distribution of such disturbing scenes to public indeed had never happened in Indonesia before. An oriental country, Indonesia has always been assumed as a country which maintains traditions and good values of moral and ethics. Moreover, knowing that the country has the largest Muslim population in the world, none would have foreseen that such misconduct would occur in Indonesia, nor taking place in the public eyes. Yet, the opposite has been true for more than a decade now!
Technological advancement that leads to globalisation has, no doubt, delivered numerous benefits to Indonesia and its people. We have become more open-minded, learning about other cultures and values. Ideologies and way of life that were initially foreign to our forefathers, and mothers, rushed in as the Internet began to establish itself across Nusantara, the archipelago. The booming trend of Smartphones – mobile phones that allow access to the WWW – has opened the information valve even wider. High-flux streams of materials flow in, unscrutinised, like no body’s business!
As sceptical as I sound, I’d have to admit that the Internet, along with other supporting technological devices, has managed to make my many days, and I’d bet yours too.
The incident with Ariel Peterpan, however, should only remind each and everyone of us on the elusive danger of accessing the intangible, massive data storage. We could only ponder on how much our nation’s values have shifted since the first time the Internet was introduced. How many people out there have learnt bomb-making skill from irresponsible sites on the Internet; how many out there have made frequent visits to porn sites and taken pleasure from downloading their contents. Worse still, how many out there have developed criminal tendency and executed their unlikely “noble” intention, so to speak. Terrorists, rapists, child molesters, you name it! To figure out that those “sick” personalities were mostly born from unhealthy Internet habits gives me chills.
Despite the implementation of precautionary measures such as Internet education at schools and the threat of being legally convicted, and imprisonment, still it is the public figures who often steal the spotlight with erratic reports of their misconducts. Let’s take for example similar cases of sex tape releases among the Hollywood stars – Kim K, Paris Hilton, and tonnes other names – who didn’t seem to portray exemplary characters, but they are constantly idolised here and there, especially by the youths.
Unfortunately, numerous elites of Indonesian societies have mirrored this western lifestyle. They have sex with multiple partners before marriage, hoping that the public wouldn’t find out. Not only artists, politicians too have been reported to showcase similar behaviour, having more than one mistress staying in different apartments, on top of the legal wife at home. What the proverb says may in fact be true, “A rotten apple spoils the whole barrel.”
Many of us surely wish that with Ariel’s publicised incident, others would learn valuable lessons, not to repeat similar irresponsible mistake Ariel, and his video partners, did. Nevertheless, noticing a televised broadcast of Ariel’s welcoming celebration, I honestly have some doubts if the idolaters have actually realised about the potential effect of their support (to Ariel) to the future of Indonesia.
Without ignoring our innate compassion, we should only wonder if showcasing support to such misbehaving characters would only be interpreted as a “green light” to others, especially those idolising these public figures and those who have secretly assumed similar conducts.
I don’t know about you, but I personally felt weird watching the crowd screaming Ariel’s name, shaking his hands, giving him a huge warm welcome, and partying over his come-back. It’s like as if his endeavour in prison was a heroic act, despite the very reason he was convicted at the first place. What a strange world!