It might be the Year of the Monkey in the Chinese cosmology but where Indonesians are concerned this might as well be the Year of the Horse.
Hot on the heels of the show of Equestrian Diplomacy by Jokowi and Prabowo on Monday, canters in a new horsey concept “Lebaran Kuda” (Literally, the holy day of Eid for Horses).
The phrase sent Netizens into hysterics and propelled Lebaran Kuda and Pak SBY into Trending Topics on Twitter all Wednesday.
The source of all this mirth came from a press conference held by Democratic party Head and former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at his country home in Cikeas.
He told the media that the Government needed to listen to the aspirations of the people who would be demonstrating on November 4 to demand that Jakarta Governor Basuki Purnama or Ahok, be legally prosecuted for disrespecting islam.
Yudyohono said that the huge demonstration must have a cause. If this is not accommodated there will be further demonstrations. “Probably this is because the protesters felt that their complaints haven’t been heard. If their complaints are not heard we will have demonstrations until the cows come home (Ok, this is tricky, the equivalent English phrase is “till the cows come home” but in Indonesian it is usually expressed in using another animal, the monkey as in Lebaran Monyet or the Eid of Monkeys).
Yudohono’s choice of animal, the horse as in Lebaran Kuda, reaped scorn and derision from Netizens. As far as Indonesians are concerned there are two official “eid” holidays Idulfitri and Iduladha. Colloquially Indonesians jokingly use the phrase “Lebaran Monyet” but no one says Lebaran Kuda.
“From before I know only of Lebaran Monyet. I’ve only known that there’s a Lebaran Kuda from SBY :000,” says X-catra
Sejak dulu gw tau ada sebutan Lebaran Monyet. Klo lebaran kuda br tau dr pak SBY nih :)))
— eksa catra (@x_catra) November 2, 2016
@annisanggaraa wrote: “Because Pak SBY owns a lebaran kuda yihaa
Karena pak SBY kita akhirnya punya lebaran kuda ?? yihaa ?
— Annisa Anggara Putri (@annisanggaraa) November 2, 2016
@buset1975 came up with a meme and wrote: “Wow! We are about to have a Lebaran Kuda.”
Duileee mentang2 mo lebaran kuda pic.twitter.com/gB7G7ZDhTe
— Budy #HOKI (@buset1975) November 2, 2016
@digembok was more acidic: “Selamat Hari Raya Lebaran Kuda -dinasti cikeas #SBYPanik”
— el (@digembok) November 2, 2016
Cynicism and derision that appeared most probably because the netizens felt that Yudhoyono’s statement was aimed at helping his eldest son,Harimurti Agus Yudhoyono (AHY) who is one of the candidates contesting the upcoming gubernatorial elections against Ahok.
According to several polls, Argus’s popularity is just below Ahok so if Ahok was taken out of the race through being found guilty of blasphemy, Agus’s electoral chances will be greatly enhanced.
Andika M Halimaking (@KeongKecill) observed: “Maybe SBY is afraid of his son losing and that’s why he came down the mountain :v. Still lacking 10 years #SBYsudahlah
Mungkin sby takut anaknya kalah makanya dia turun gunung :v 10 tahun masih kurang #SBYsudahlah
— Andika M Halimaking (@KeongKecill) November 2, 2016
Yudhoyono supporters and sympathisers, however, wasted no time telling Netizens not to be affected by jokes about Lebaran Kuda. SBY, they said, was only reminding law enforment officers
To process the allegations of blaspheny against Ahok. So he should not be bullied.
@antikonsultanpr wrote: “So now we have a scenario in which the government’s political consultants want to spin it so that SBY is blamed for Ahok’s prosecution. You guys are crazy…”
— Politikkonsultan (@antikonsultanpr) November 2, 2016
Idan Setyawan (@Bangsa2000) added: “There are forces that want to corner SBY after his eldest son makes progress in the gubernatorial elections. Looks like fear and panic has begun to spread.”
Ada saja pihak Yang menyudutkan.SBY
Setelah Putra sulungnya AHY maju Pilkada..bentuk ketakutan sudah melanda dan Panik
— Idan Setiawan (@Bangsa2000) November 2, 2016
Others said that it can’t be denied that SBY’s statement has the potential of raising political tensions since he seemed to support the contention that Ahok is guilty of blasphemy and eligible to be sentenced. As a national figure and the head of a political party SBY would be better off adopting a neutral rather than provocative position regarding Ahok.
Such views were forwarded by people such as LIPI senior political analyst Syamsuddin Haris @sy_haris (4.800 followers): . “In a an atmosphere of heightening political tensions political and religious leaders should issue statements to calm people down, not provoke them”
Dalam kondisi politik yang sedang keruh, para pemimpin politik dan agama mestinya memberi pernyataan menyejukkan, bukan malah memprovokasi.
— Syamsuddin Haris (@sy_haris) November 2, 2016
All this raises important questions on the role of ex Presidents in an atmosphere of heightening political tensions surrounding the gubernatorial elections.
Was SBY right to speak up so that then law would be enforced? Was he doing it to increase the electoral chances of his son? Or did he step out of line and added to the problems rather than help solve them?
What do you think?