Female students at the University of Indonesia no longer ride around on Vespa scooters half naked.
The "Vespa Girls" at the UI of the roaring 70's, who apparently once cruised about on Italian motor scooters between classes, sometimes wearing no underwear under their mini-skirts, are no longer with us. These exponents of the Vespa Lifestyle at the nation's pre-eminent seat of learning have now been replaced by young women who attend Quranic education classes, pray five times daily, and keep their jewels under wraps, and keep away from Vespas if possible. So says Hannah Beech in an article in Time magazine which says Indonesia is undergoing an Islamic spiritual revolution.
The times ain't what they used to be.
In "Why Indonesia Matters" (hmm), Beech makes a familiar list of recent changes in Indonesian political and social life, from the increasing tendency of women to put on the jilbab, or headscarf, regional Islamic laws such as those in Bulukumba, the spread of dour Salafi Islam from Saudi Arabia and the decline of the Hindu-Buddhist Islam of the masses, the Indonesia Ulema Council's increasing conservatism and fatwa issuing, the occurrence of terrorist attacks, and so forth.
All the rage.
There is a battle, she says, over what constitutes true Islam, and the destiny of the country is at stake. The battle goes on, and the Islamists often suffer setbacks, but don't expect a return of the Vespa Girls at UI anytime soon. Read on.
All the rage II.