You know, I still believe that a royal love story is meant to be beautiful, or at least be kept that way. It is supposed to be the time when the prince holds the hand of the princess, each with their own horses side-by-side, looking at the bizarrely huge sunset over the windy hill.
But that was my niece’s Barbie DVDs.
I watched them too many times that I started believing in well, the absolute L word. Well, maybe the happy ending love story only applies to American princesses (ehem, Barbie), whereby the princesses are blonde, owns a huge palace, and is married to a prince that is identical to all the princes in the whole Barbie collection, and has spanish-looking maids (seriously), and has either a dog, or a cat as pets (sometimes even a polar bear), and towards the end, they live happily ever after.
Well, if you turn the globe, right to the area where there is a cluster of these unique-looking islands, and one of them is called Bali, and on top of that cluster, there is a name written called “INDONESIA”, you will find a striking different version from a typical royal love story, with a name that currently sells more than Barbie dolls, Manohara Odelia Pinot.
If you’re an Indonesian, reading this, you are probably bound to hear the M-word everywhere you go. And you probably hold a degree, or a master, majoring in the Manohara tragedy.
If you’re a Malaysian, where the “bad” prince is from, you have probably heard of Manohara here and there, and probably only be in the foundation, or diploma level of the Manohara program.
And if you’re neither Malaysian, nor Indonesian, you probably don’t know a thing about it (or care), except maybe, that she made a return to Jakarta after escaping the Kelantan Prince whom she married.
Unlike Barbie, apparently Princess Manohara was abused (physically, and sexually) by her very own former-prince charming, who happens to be Malaysian, Indonesia’s dearest neighbor (Singapore’s too).
Apparently, during their “playing time” the prince used razors to make cuts on her breasts, and her naval area. People have called the Prince a sadomasochist, or even a psycho.
In my opinion, he was too sexually creative, and he found the wrong princess to tolerate razors with.
Other scandal, stated by the princess was, the claim that she was often drugged after her meal, to put her to sleep, and not cause a sensation with the media, or the public. There is also a claim that she was injected with hormones to make her gain weight, thus creating an illusion that she was eating well, and content with the life in the palace.
Well, that’s a claim on one side of the story, on the other hand, the Prince, as expected, denied all these allegations, and told everyone that she was influenced by her mother, Daisy, for making up stories to the media.
Manohara was in a hotel in Singapore when she tried her last escape. A CCTV camera caught her struggling with the Royal guards who tried to stop her. This caught the attention of the Singaporean authorities, and brought her into their custody. Soon, Manohara was given to the Indonesian authorities, and flown to Jakarta, at last.
The story can go on, and is still going on, but one thing is for sure, no one is going to leave the court happily ever after.
Though it is important to know who is wrong, and who is right in this incident, it is more important to realize the escalated tension it has brought to the already bruised relationship between the two countries.
Politics come into play, and Princess Manohara is no blonde Barbie, she used politics as a tool to gain support. Everyone should know how, to a certain degree, nationalistic Indonesians are, though this is a good thing, it brings around a weakness to see things from an objective point of view. (I’m not saying she’s wicked or a liar, I’m just pointing out a weakness in believing things too easily)
The Indonesian public, of course, showed great support for Manohara.
After her tour, visiting plenty of local entertainment gossip shows, and photoshoots, she appeared on a recent demonstration outside the Malaysian Embassy in Kuningan, Jakarta, protesting over the conflict on the Ambalat issue between Indonesia – Malaysia.
She said the reason why she appeared on the demonstration had nothing to do with her, and her awful Malaysian experience, but more to the fact that she felt that as an Indonesian, she believes that Ambalat belongs to Indonesia (which it does), and that was it.
To be frank, I’m not buying that reason. I think that the reason she went there was again, to gain easy sympathy among the provoked Indonesians, and that she wanted to widen her support ground.
Though this may seem smart for many of us, Manohara needs to restrain her silent provocation.
But what really got Manohara where she is today, was not her strategy, but the mass media hungry for some ratings. During the showcase of Manohara all over television, news stations started relating that story to the abuse of the Indonesian workers (especially, Maids) in Malaysia. That got a lot of the public swayed to the notion that Malaysians = Abusers. This, triggered a support of sympathy for Manohara, plus, to the fact that she is one of the upper class and is seen as a ‘mascot’ to the Indonesia and Malaysia row.
If Barbie, a cartoon character, can turn American girls into plastic-capitalists, an abused Manohara + provoked Indonesians, can do much more than that.
Why do we, as a nation, have a mascot to go against our neighbor? And why don’t we, as a nation, have a mascot of peace?
That is the Indonesian royal-tale.
Manohara, do not join anymore political demonstrations, you looked left out.