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It is not a new thing to hear that Indonesia, being the largest Muslim populated nation, is rumored to have a terrorist organization linked to Al Qaeda. But do you happen to know, that mixed marriage has been a trend there for the last couple of years? Yes, what I mean by mixed marriage is a marriage between Indonesian to a foreigner. If I should make it clearer, then precisely it happens between an Indonesian woman and a white man, with of course Muslim and Christian backgrounds.

In 2002 my cousin got married to an American, then my friend, then my friend’s cousin, and then my neighbor, followed by lots of female celebrities. In that year alone, I could tell more than twenty women I knew were married to foreign men.

One can argue that this is merely a consequence of the globalization. As industries as well as technology in Indonesia are growing, more and more natives make contact with foreigners. Numerous local celebrities, however, seem to find out that they get more publicity when they are married to a foreign man. Actress Ayu Azhari, for example, is dating White Lion front man, Mike Tramp after divorcing from her Fin husband.

So why do they marry white men? Because of money, prestige, love, or all combined? I would say the third was my reason, but I cannot speak on behalf of the others.

A more knotty point of view to track down the source of this phenomenon is perhaps from post-colonialism. As this theory suggests, a colony is put to the condition where it loses its original identity as the consequence of the colonization, and is forced to apply the colonizer’s identity. After being a Dutch colony for 350 years, I am not surprised to see Indonesian nowadays still think that everything comes from the West is better. To sum up, though I am totally aware that the case is not always true, most people there thinks that white means rich, prestigious, exotic, etc (believe me, they are all good things). If you are white with no talent, just come over to Indonesia and you could become actor, singer, or model. Just name it.

I agree that marriage is a sacred and private matter between the two persons, so it should not have been an issue. It is just interesting. The fact that the government is never being helpful does not seem to slow down the mixed couple; not to mention that inter-religious marriage is prohibited in Indonesia. Well, let us leave the reason behind the marriage to those who are involved, but we shall take a look at the bright side: it is a good model to show that difference does not always end up in fighting. With the temperature rising around the globe on the subject whether or not Muslim and Christian can get along together, I think it can answer to some points. Love conquered all, I said.

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About Ayu

  • Ayu

    Sorry, one of the links is in Indonesian. I couldn’t find any in English 🙁

  • Thank you, Dyah. Jamaica is also an ex-colony and some of the ‘it’s better if it’s from abroad’ residual attitude persists. 😉

  • Ayu

    My pleasure, Angela. Oh yeah, I have read about the colonization in Jamaica through Jean Rhys’ “Wide Sargasso Sea”. I think most colonies faces similar problems after being left by the colonizer. Perhaps some people from Indonesia would condemn me if they ever read this, but I think there are good things, even if it’s not so obvious, as well as the bad ones from being a colony.

  • Lady Logic

    Let’s see…hmmm.. why do women go for men like Mike Tramp and others who look like him. Quite frankly, these men are obviously physically attractive. Yes, girls are just as fascinated by appearance as men are. Enough said.