Sunday, September 10, 2006

Islam and Tourism

In one of his articles regarding Islam and tourism, Patung mentioned that Islam is bad for tourism, because some attempts to forbid activities associated as sinful by Islam, such as drinking, harms the growth of tourism in some Indonesian areas with Muslim-majority population, such as Lombok. While I agree that such attempts will deter tourists from coming to the region, it doesn't mean that the religion itself is bad for tourism.

I would like to emphasize that it's not just a matter of religion.

We don't need to go too far to see an example. Malaysia is also a country with a Muslim-majority population. But the country has successfully attracted tourists from all over the world, especially East Asia (China and the region) and Middle East countries. So, it's not true that Islam is bad for tourism.

What's the issue here, then?


Malaysians are generally more tolerant towards other religions. Even when the Malaysian Muslims forbid themselves from drinking, they do not forbid people from other religions from doing so. Even when Islam forbids gambling, the government still allows some casinos to be built at Genting Highlands for non-Muslim Malaysians and tourists, of course after ensuring that Malaysian Muslims are prohibited to enter the casinos.

So, again, it's not true that Islam is bad for tourism. We just have to be more tolerant to people from other religion. If the Malaysians can do it, why can't we?

Friday, September 08, 2006

A Eulogy for Inong

I remember the first time I knew Inong was on early February this year, when I stumbled upon her weblog, Cerita Bunda Zidan & Syifa (Stories of Zidan & Syifa's Mum). Finding out that she and her family live in Bukit Batok, very near to our place, and also finding out that her son Zidan was studying at the same school as Irza, PPIS, I added comments to her shoutbox. She then visited my Rumah Indra weblog and added comments there, and turned out to be that she knew my wife from the IndoSing-Mums community, and also she knew some of my friends from BemoNet, such as Kukuh TW and Eko Juniarto. What a small world.

After exchanging several comments on each other's blogs, we managed to meet up on several occasions. My wife discreetly ordered a strawberry tiramisu cake from her for our wedding anniversary, and I collected the cake from her house some time in April. I believe that was the first time I met her. I also met her, Haris and the whole family during Adam and Hanan's birthday party at West Coast Park, ISM gathering at East Coast Park and PPIS Sports Day at Bukit Batok, and that's when I started to know Haris. I also met her during Mela's farewell at Harbourfront.

Inong is a great cook. All the recipes at her Dapur Bunda blog prove it. The strawberry tiramisu cake is not the only cake I and my wife have ordered from her. Once we ordered some chocolate and cheese Indonesian-style martabak from her and just two weeks ago, couple of days before she's gone, we ordered Cars-themed two-tier birthday cake for Irza's 5th birthday party. Guess what, everybody enjoyed the cake, a photo taken by Mbak Hany proves it. Nobody thought that it would be the last birthday cake she has made for us. :(

She's also a friendly person. She has many friends since she's very active in the cyberspace. She's a very active blogger, and her Cerita Bunda Zidan&Syifa blog is now on the 15th position of the Hericz's version of Indonesian Top 100 Blogs. She has several blogs, such as Cerita Bunda Zidan&Syifa, Dapur Bunda (Bunda's Kitchen), Puisi Inong (Inong's Poems) and also Inong's Page at Multiply, among others. She's also very active in some blogger communities, such as Blogger Family (Blogfam) and the Indonesian Blogger Muslim community. In Singapore, she's also a member of the IndoSing-Mums and Indo-Sing community.

Therefore, it's obvious that when she passed away, a lot of people missed her, even though those people might not know her personally and only know about her and her family from her blogs. It is even reported that about more than 1,000 people turned out at her family's house in Jakarta, waiting for her body to be sent from Singapore to Jakarta, for her funeral. The way how she wrote her family's journal, especially about her two lovely kids, Zidan and Syifa, touches the hearts of many of her blog readers. Up until now, condolences are still coming in through her shoutboxes and comments on her blogs, showing that a lot of people really missed her and her writings.

Selamat jalan, Inong. May you rest in peace.