Indonesian Gov’t Backs Off Bikini Ban

Despite the fact that 2008 is “Visit Indonesia Year,” government officials have been debating for months about allowing bikinis on their country’s beaches. The idea of banning skimpy swimwear is part of an anti-pornography crusade by some high-ranking religious and political authorities. Of course, those working in the tourism industry are appalled at the idea and fear that such laws could kill their business.

Indonesia is a mostly Muslim country (save Hindu Bali), but is, for the most part, much more secular than neighboring Malaysia and the theocratic states of the Middle East. That’s why the idea of a bikini ban is such a surprise to most people. After all, this is the nation of Dangdut music. The genre is filled with hip-shaking moves that make Shakira look tame.

But fear not, traveling g-string aficionados, the government has made it very clear that heavily visited beaches, like those Bali, will be exempt from any anti-skin-showing laws that are passed down. For the rest of the archipelago though, some sort of decency law could come by year’s end.


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