Hello Cindy 😊
I watched a doco the other night about the morality police in hardline shariah law Banda Aceh and started questioning the wisdom of going there.
Id say morality police go on bouts of dishing out retribution left, right and centre, but I doubt they are doing it constantly. If they are currently doing it, I would avoid the place for a while.
The morality police didnt come near me in Sumatra, nor did they in Iran which I found even more severe with the morality demands. But, maybe if I was in those places at a different time, there would be problems. I think, a lot of the morality policing happens at times of political or economic turmoil, as tension in society in general increases. Id say keeping an eye on world news helps predict when times of peace and times of trouble are likely for a traveller in the various countries.
I found Sumatra conservative, but noticed that it also has its fair share of rebels. Those rebels often worked as tour guides, in tourist cafes and guesthouses. They do a good job of steering one clear of trouble and also providing a steady stream of place names where you can relax and do what you want. They will probably even escort/accompany you to them, to make sure you are alright, and to explain you to people.
Id say, try to cover the tattoos, piercings and wear loose flowing long clothes to avoid the respect police as well as the morality police. The respect police dont use burtal physical violence to enforce their ideals, but they are tiresome.
Dont wear the burka though. That might cause many to keep a respectful distance from you and that could get lonely. Others might think you are overdoing it or even taking the p*ss, which will cause a degree of negativity to be aimed at you. I am presuming right now, that your suggestion about wearing the burka is a joke, but at the same time wondering what to make of it. You would likely cause more such confusion amongst travellers you meet in Sumatra.
several of my indo students tell me they have cousins etc who have been caned for standing too close to girls etc. I watched vision of the morality police removing piercings with plyers and shaving heads and thought..hmm.
Id say the morality police are more likley to target local people more often than tourists, because they are an easier target as they are less likely to cause the incidents to be featured on world news or to attract the dreaded human rights people.
is this one of those transit in and out type places like Port Moresby.
Then i realised the absolute absurdity of my post..how shall i avoid the attention of the morality police..i know!
If it is one of those in and out type places, the morality police probably wont bother going near it or the transport provided to and from. They know that the sinning and immorality will likely remain enclosed in the tourist bubble and not have any affect on the place or on their sensibilities if they avoid looking in that direction, which is likely because it is the easier choice for them. Unless there are current bad feelings between Indonesia and some country with a western culture, the morality police will probably look more towards people living locally who could use a reminder of what it means to be of the religion they are of, than at you or anyone doing tourist typical activities.
Is the doccumentary you watched about the morality police on the internet? If so, would you post a link to it here. I want to watch it.
Here is a blog of some of my time in Sumatra, which might interest you.
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