Indonesians demands Miss World 2013 Candidates to Cover-Up

Miss World 2013 Indonesia Kebaya

Indonesian government officials appear to be taking precise aim at their own feet again with a demand that the upcoming Miss World Pageant in Bali not feature its shapely contestants posing in bikini swimsuits, despite the fact that legions of women prance around every day in them on Bali’s famed beaches.

The latest is Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo, who said the 120 beauties from countries across the world must cover up. Others have also demanded that women not display themselves in swimsuits. The East Java branch of the Indonesian Council of Ulema, the Islamic faith’s ruling body in Indonesia, said it would send a letter to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to demand that the beauty pageant be scrapped. It has since been moved from Bogor in West Java to Bali.

Mukri Aji, the West Java MUI chairman, said the pageant is just an excuse to flaunt body parts that should remain covered, adding that the contest is impolite and against local religious norms. The Bogor chapter of Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia, a hard-line Islamic group, also voiced its opposition to the pageant and called for it to be moved. Indonesia is a secular state but religious hardliners often try to enforce their own interpretation of morality on the public.

Sapta Nirwanda, the deputy minister of tourism and creative economy, told reporters last Friday that “even if they do wear one [a swimsuit], it should be in a closed room.” The government, he said, had made a deal with the organizers of the Miss World competition to minimize bikini usage during the Bali event. If contestants must wear bikinis, Sapta said they should only be seen by the jury, unlike the tens of thousands of men and women crowding Bali’s beaches in swimsuits.

Sapta suggested, however, that participants would do better to wear the kebaya, a traditional blouse-dress combination that originated in Indonesia and is worn with considerable style by the famed Singapore Girls, the flight attendants aboard Singapore Airlines, who have them tailored to fit their forms.

Bali is a Hindu island surrounded on all sides by a Muslim sea, its traditions are considerably more relaxed than the rest of Indonesian culture.

The demand that the women cover up has drawn hoots of derision from readers of the daily papers, who have responded in droves, with comments including “Stop acting stupid or people will think that you are stupid,” and “I think the words most people are looking for are HYPOCRITICAL PRUDES.”

Meanwhile, in Bali, modesty is not an issue. “Those who are protesting are only seeking attention,” said Tourism official Sapta, “We have been staging Miss Indonesia, Putri Indonesia and other beauty pageants for a long time.”


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