A Rum Do
No, this doesn't refer to the events of last night although admittedly I did wake up this morning with my head feeling as if it had been bubble-wrapped
I've taken the day off to recover from what I hope isn't terminal flu. Not one to stay in bed, alone, I'm using the day to do those little chores which always seem to get side-tracked. Stuff like emptying out my email inbox and answering a few while I'm at it, painting my nails and replenishing my beer supplies. Essential things you'll agree.
So off to Carrefour I trotted, or perhaps, in case the boss reads this, I should say hobbled. The place was encouragingly empty so I was able to navigate the aisles with relative ease. Usually the emporium reminds me of trying to navigate the city roads with couldn't care less parkers, drivers jabbering away with one eye on the traffic jam ahead and two ears glued to their cell phones.
I found the Bintang
OK and scanned the shelves to see what else might take my fancy and hard-earned rupiah. What was of interest was what wasn't there. No spirits or wines.
In my best bahasa, I asked the lass behind the till where it was and she answered "Nga boleh, mister
". In other words, Carrefour is not allowed to sell any alcoholic beverages except beer. No manager was available to explain why, so I contacted The Reveller
for more info.
According to some members of his forums, there has been a government edict banning the sale of strong alcohol in supermarkets, although no-one has been able to track this down, not even the Jakarta Post. I rang them and all they could confirm was that last week Tangerang banned the sale of liquor
, except in three-, four- and five-star hotels and designated restaurants for on-the-spot consumption.
This is the area of industry and housing complexes which abuts Jakarta to the south and west,The new bylaw is due to come into effect early next year giving the administration three months to communicate it to the public.
Erlan Sunarlan, head of the administration's legal department, which formulated the bylaw drafts, said they were in line with the phrase chosen to sum up the city's vision for future development -- akhlakul kharimah (Arabic for a religious, responsible and honest way of life).
"Mayor Wahidin Halim wants the vision to be legitimate and adopted by the residents," he said.
He added that the mayor would determine at a later date the duty-free shops permitted to stock alcoholic "health" drinks marketed as herbal remedies.
Naturally, the ban will play havoc
with their tourist industry, minimal though it is.
But Jakarta has a different administration and until there is confirmation that a similar bylaw has been issued here, the reasoning behind this situation is open to conjecture.
Indonesia is a secular state, even though religion plays a prominent part in daily life thanks to Pancasila
. In the presumed absence of an official bylaw, have a group of citizens, such as the Flipping Perverted Islamists
issued their own fatwa
If they have, they should note that contrary to what is believed by many non-Muslims, and even by the majority of Muslims, a fatwa is not binding on all persons professing the Muslim faith. The only ones who are obliged to obey any specific fatwa are the mufti who issued it and his followers.
In other words, those who wish to consume liquor and wines, and Jakartass is not one of them, should be allowed to do so within the spirits of the law, so to speak.