The indignation grows…


Different people, different views.But the story of Manohara Odelia Pinot has fast become a media circus.

You get a pretty girl. An exotic foreign beauty at that. Throw in bits of a fairytale with a marriage to royalty. Then allegations from said girl’s mother that she’s denied entry to Malaysia to visit her daughter.

Allegations of drugs, violence and even rape. From this report, the allegation from Manohara covers physical and statutory rape, considering she was 16 at the time. Proper little soap opera don’t you think, but wait…the plot thickens.

A friend of the estranged husband has spoken out against her allegations, demanding proof, but I don’t think this will be forthcoming now, signalling a court battle may be looming in the not-so-distant horizon.

Another twist takes place. The Kelantan palace distanced itself from the media statements of Mohd Soberi, saying that that those statements were made in his personal capacity.

The palace comptroller says the family’s position is that this is a personal matter between husband and wife, to be resolved according to the law.

But the Indonesians are not letting Malaysia off easy. “Don’t think that I don’t care”, says Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhyono, adding that this has become a public issue affecting his citizen. Outraged Indons are protesting, adding Manohara’s case to other complaints of theirs against Malaysia.

Back home, the Women’s Centre for Change, Penang (WCC) says violence ain’t a personal matter. I agree. It is an issue for our whole society, provided of course what Manohara said all this while is true and could be corroborated.

Otherwise it’s just he-says-she-says, and it would be a crying shame that two neighbours with longstanding ties have a diplomatic spat over a love story gone awry.

Still, the public interest in this story is understandable. No one in his/her right mind could help feeling outrage over this violence against women. Which makes me wonder what’s wrong with the public in this story.

On another note, the Indonesian embassy folks Singapore have taken exception to the Manohara family allegation that she wasn’t given help, and instead they had assistance by the Singapore police and the US embassy there.

Embassy hand Achmad Djatmiko details the participation of the Indonesian Embassy down south in the ‘liberation’ of Manohara. If you can understand bahasa Indonesia, read this.

Now, it has been a couple of days and lots of media attention, but there is no sign that this girl has taken her allegations of abuse to the Indon authorities. I mean, I understand trauma and all, but in the logical order of things, a police report in this case should precede a press conference, don’t you think?

I mean, if you were drugged and all, drugs can metabolise in hours or maybe a day at most, and exit the body. Thought about evidence, Manohara?

Now doesn’t this give you pause, people?