Neither Desi nor Ismet

May 11, 2008

Opinion and Editorial – March 13, 2008

It was interesting to read Desi Anwar’s opinion published in The Jakarta Post on Feb. 19. Why? Because it represented a form of misleading on morals. Desi rejected when Deputy Major Ismet Amzis said that Valentine’s Day celebrations were banned in Bukittinggi.

Ismet said “the Valentine’s Day celebration is not our culture as it usually relates closely to ‘immoral acts’ where, during the celebration, young couples kiss each other”.

Desi disagreed, saying “… at least, it’s new to me that Valentine’s Day relates closely to immoral acts. For a start young couples kiss each other whether it’s Valentine’s Day or not and there is nothing immoral in it especially when they are in love!” (the Post, Feb. 2).

Both Desi and Ismet did some mistakes about moral. On the one hand, Ismet mixed up between moral and etiquette. Ismet probably would say that the celebration was not in line with Islamic teaching that forbids unmarried people kiss each others.

On the other hand, Desi fought Ismet’s words without scrutinize its linguistical fallacy. Desi’s response is all right and wrong at once. It is right because there is nothing to do between the Valentine’s Day celebration and immoral acts.

For instance, if I write using my left hand, it doesn’t have something to do with moral, but it is something to do with etiquette, according to local cultures. But if I kill someone, so it is an immoral act. Desi’s response, at the same time, is false because she didn’t consider the basic value of Bukittinggi’s society.

Does it morally right to every one in Bukittinggi to get kiss each other in Valentine’s Day celebration just base on the facts that they are all in love?

We have to consider that not everyone who fall in love will be stand in the marital status. I think that is the point of what Ismet would to be avoid by his people in Bukittinggi. Unfortunately that he might be slipped his tongue.

Desi also claimed that she is one of Minangkabau descendant. I am one of Minangkabau descendant too but I can’t say that, quoting Desi, “Bukittinggi is going to the dog by the way things are going” just simply based on the banned of Valentine’s Day celebration. Why? Because it doesn’t have any significance relationship between the ban of Valentine’s Day celebration with the moldy of culture in Bukittinggi. It is totally oversimplify.

Cultural change is one certainty. It depends on how each society reflected their own basic value.


Tentang Penulis

Qusthan Abqary - I am a lecturer and teach some subjects such as Ethics and Social Awareness, Corporate Governance and Ethics, Business Ethics, Critical and Creative Thinking and others. My research interests are political philosophy, ethics, peace, and war.


  • Im agree…

    The culture cant be judge by the general value of right or false… even culture described the ethics of society, means the culture be judge and misjudge by the local value of agreements…

    • kelindankata

      I think there are (1) general value of right and (2) local value of right. But my question is: does culture really able to describe the ethics of society? Or probably on the otherwise, human who really does the ethics. It’s limited of “describing”, right?!

  • apa itu Etimologi dan pembahasannya

    • kelindankata

      Apakah Anda menanyakan mengenai diskusi seputar epistemologi? Jika iya, saya kira sudah banyak buku seputar isu tersebut. Anda tinggal mengaksesnya.

  • jelaskan inti daripada pancasila?

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