~ the scary FPI “cleaning” act ~

22 October 2004

today is a long day. i could post three different entries to talk about today. but the one i really want to tell people is about the last 1/3 of the day.

tonight, Ditha, Noush, Leanne, Fenny, Yori and i went to News Cafe again to see the Second Born (our favorite cafe band) playing. since Leanne — she’s Noushka’s guest coming from Brisbane, Australia — is in town, we thought it’s a good idea to take her around and show her the good fun in the city.


well, i guess we ended up showing her the less good (if not bad) part of Jakarta, or perhaps, of Indonesia as a whole.

it was during the band’s break, which was supposed to be half an hour, when all the sudden the band came up to the stage, telling us that their break will be shorter this time and their second part of the show will be reduced to only one song. yep… ONE song. aww, we’re dissapointed (and confused… why?).

to make it even worse for us, the cafe unplugged the sound system right in the middle of the one and only song (it was my favorite song, too!). it was weird… they sing and all the sudden, the cafe went silent.

eh? what the fuck is going on!?

so, we decided to pay the bill and leave the cafe… cause there is no point of hanging around if there is no band playing. noushka was in the bathroom when two waiters came over to us and told us to leave the cafe right away, because the FPI (Front Pembela Islam, loosely translated as Defender of Islam Front) is on their way here, to the cafe…

whoa! i really hope you’re fukkin kidding!

now, let me tell you about this kind of Fronts. two years ago, during the month of Ramadhan — which is the month where muslims are fasting — they completely trashed two cafe around the Kemang area (Salsa and Pasir Putih). they threw stones at the windows, made a huge mess of the interior, and started to kick and abuse the cafe’s guests. this act is usually followed with robbing the venue and the guests, as well. the worse case scenario would be burning the place down… although, thankfully, it didn’t happen to these two cafes. basically they commit total violence. they call it “cleaning/sweeping” action. ugh.

why they do this? i don’t really know… but this is MY interpretation. Ramadhan is a holy month, where muslims are supposed to resist all the worldly temptations and focus on the spiritual matters instead. that’s why we fast to try ourselves in resisting the urge to eat, drink, having sex — both with partner and by yourself… hehe — getting angry, overly emotional, etc.

now, in Islam, alcohol is bad. so anything related to alcohol (which the cafe serves) is also bad, because they provide the evil temptation to drink alcohol. and girls with skimpy clothes, which there are many of them in night clubs and any night entertainment venues, are also another evil temptation source. oooh, those boys will get turned on and start masturbating or something! thus, those venues are blacklisted as the source of evil temptation; an immoral place — according to their book.

now, i don’t know where they get the idea that anything FUN is percieved as IMMORAL, but i think it somehow got to that point. i mean, these people could be just enjoying the music without drinking alcohol or thinking about sex when seeing cleavage, right? even better, these guests may not be muslims, right? they do not need to participate in this holy month activity…

but of course, those thoughts and consideration do not exist in these people’s mind. so, they don’t like seeing the evening entertainment venues open during the holy month. since the Jakarta government gave a permission for cafes to open until 1:30 in the morning during the Ramadhan (usually it can open till even later), these kind of Fronts take the matter into their own hands. they do convoys at night and check if the cafes are open. if they’re opened, they… well, attack and trash the fuck out of it, so they are not able to operate.

the irony of the action is (if it’s not ironic to begin with… doing such a violent thing in the holy month) the trashing usually includes robbing… they take purses, money, stuff from the venues and the guests… under the name of the holy month.

i am a muslim myself. i fast too during the month of Ramadhan… but, for me, this is just inexplicably outrageous.

ah, now back to my story…

so, upon hearing the FPI is currently marching towards the area and will be here about fifteen minutes, it totally freaked us out (except for Leanne, cause she had so much fun in the cafe and had no clue at what’s going on).

the valet parking doesn’t exist anymore. people just fleed to their car, tried to get away from the area as soon as possible. Noushka, Ditha, Leanne and Yori left the cafe right away. the cafe turned off their lights and locked the gates within 5 minutes. all guests are gone by then… except for me and Fenny… my car was NOT parked within the cafe area (which is a good thing… cause that’d be the first thing they throw their rocks at). it was parked in one of the people’s home around the area. but the car itself was parked in the difficult position, so i was afraid that by the time we got the car out, the FPI has gotten there. so, i opted to stay and hide in one of the local’s home.

you see, these Fronts do not attack people’s house. they attack entertainment venues. so, it’s rather safe to hide in homes of the locals.

there were hundreds of motorcycle and a few cars in the convoy. some people said there were 800 motorcycle… i didn’t count how many of them. they wear white with stuff wrapped around their heads. they make scary sound that i can’t explain. they gave chills to people around. maybe it’s similar to how people look at the Nazgul when they were in the Hobbitton in search of Frodo. they don’t look for you… but they’re scary and violent nevertheless.

sirens of cops rang here and there. but they couldn’t do anything except for patrolling around. a few cops against hundreds of mass, heh, what a joke.

i wanted to take pictures, but i don’t want to get beaten up… so, instead, i just watched behind the palm tree, under the shadow near the home of the woman who harboured my car.

when i wrote this story, the news of the march hasn’t gotten to the news paper or online news sites yet (it happended two hours ago, for goodness ‘sake, i just got home!). but from what i heard and saw one restaurant called StarDaily is completely trashed… the window was all broken, the door doesn’t really work anymore. Kemang area was completely dark with pieces of broken glasses on the street. they also said there was a little riot in front of Barbados (one of the cafe in the Kemang area) because the locals decided to take action against the FPI, but lost. the scene was pretty nasty as we went by there (i had to go through all those places to get home).

so, to those violent people… i say, FUCK YOU.

update: ah, found a news link regarding the incident, although it’s in Indonesian… detik.com is surely quick.

~ comment (11) ~

damn… u know what? I always believe that the motivation of FPI is robbery. They just use Ramadhan as their shield, the truth is they are just a low life robber… It is so obvious.

avianto | 23 October 2004 - 04:18 | reply

waaahhh, serem amat… tapi emang tuh, kenapa harus resort ke violence sih, ini sih emang dasar para thugs bertopeng agama…

yasmina | 23 October 2004 - 06:51 | reply

gue selalu sebel dan gak abis pikir kalau denger masalah FPI ini, kenapa yak? atau mereka lemah imannya, jadi cuman liat yang kayak gitu aja udah horny?
huhuhuhuhu… kecian deh.
dan gue sempet liat sendiri tingkah polah mereka di deket komplek gue.. huih gayanya gak nguatin…

godote | 23 October 2004 - 11:42 | reply

FPI itu aneh…kayak teroris aja

citra | 24 October 2004 - 02:03 | reply

FPI itu vigilante, dan vigilante itu sudah jelas illegal di negara manapun. Kenapa mereka semua gak ditangkep dan dibuang ke pulau mana kek biar bikin negara sendiri yang gak ada restoran dan bioskopnya.

Te | 25 October 2004 - 02:18 | reply

what sick people,all that vile behavior in the name of religion.the violence & destruction remind me of nazi
germany in the 30s.

jerry rig | 26 October 2004 - 01:33 | reply

When I saw on the news what had happened - it freaked me out… the news stories actually showed them trashing one of the joints. Thanks for looking after Leanne…

Philip | 26 October 2004 - 05:14 | reply

Hi Thalia, I don’t think I’ve heard you say “fuck you” before, so that was cool.

onedrunkboy | 29 October 2004 - 03:44 | reply

wow, that’s crazy! extremism like that always frightens me, though i am respective of all religions and cultures… :/ sorry to hear that your friend had to experience that so closely.

suki | 30 October 2004 - 02:26 | reply

ugh ngeselin bgt sih mereka :(. how are you thal? udah balik ke oz ya? main2 lagi dong ke jalankenangan :D

yanti | 1 November 2004 - 03:25 | reply

FPI = Terrorist, mo ngocol apapun.. pokoknya mereka itu 100% Terrorist, 100% Al Qaeda

| 12 November 2004 - 01:59 | reply