Friday, January 06, 2017
Why making fun of "Pancasila" is no joke to Indonesians
“PANCASILA”, a word that embodies the Indonesian national philosophy, is at the centre of a high-profile spat between Australia and its close neighbour.
Many Australians may be scratching their heads at the Indonesia’s reaction to an apparent play on words making fun of their national ideology, but one expert has explained why it’s so offensive.
Associate Professor Greg Fealy of the Australian National University said the furore appeared to be over a joke.
According to The Australian, an instructor from the Indonesian special forces unit Kopassus, went to the Perth base for training but felt uneasy at some of the topics discussed in class
While it has not been confirmed, it’s believed the Indonesian officer went to the academy’s head office to complain and reportedly found a play on words referencing Pancasila, but ending the word with “gila” which means crazy or mad in Indonesian.
Not every military officer would have been offended by the apparent joke, said Prof Fealy, but there was a high risk of offence.
The professor, who is an expert on Indonesian politics, said Pancasila — meaning “five principles” — was very important to Indonesians as these represent the country’s national ideology.
“Every schoolchild, every Indonesian knows what the five principles are, they are thoroughly ingrained and taught in the education system,” Prof Fealy told news.com.au. “For a strongly nationalistic military officer, the Pancasila has an almost sacred status.”