The Vespa Lifestyle

Feb 24th, 2007, in IM Posts, by

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 These exponents of the Vespa Lifestyle at the nation's pre-eminent seat of learning have now been replaced by young women who attend Quranic education classes, pray five times daily, and keep their jewels under wraps, and keep away from Vespas if possible.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.

Vespa Girls
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.

Jilbab
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.


101 Comments on “The Vespa Lifestyle”

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  1. avatar Mubarak says:
    February 24th, 2007 at 2:52 pm

    Have a look ! The smiling girls look beautiful with their jilbab. Yes, jilbab makes every woman more beautiful and honored.

  2. avatar Robert says:
    February 24th, 2007 at 3:07 pm

    Mubarak,

    Have a look ! The smiling girls look beautiful with their jilbab. Yes, jilbab makes every woman more beautiful and honored.

    Maybe an idea for the next Miss World or Miss Universe contest. Next to the evening dress and bikini, they can walk the catwalk with a jilbab.

  3. avatar Mubarak says:
    February 24th, 2007 at 3:40 pm

    Robert,

    It is totally different view about beautiful lady. Miss World and Miss Universe contest are just the contest for shameless ladies.

  4. avatar Robert says:
    February 24th, 2007 at 5:40 pm

    Mubarak,

    Do you know these ladies then? So when a lady wears a jilbab she becomes automatically shameful or more honored? Well keep on dreaming.
    The fact that the girls in the picture wear a jilbab doesn’t make them more or less beautiful, or less or more honored. It is just a piece of textile.
    The problem doesn’t lie with the women, but with the men who have problems with the women’s sexuality and the fact that women become more independent.

  5. avatar Tomaculum says:
    February 24th, 2007 at 6:33 pm

    Mubarak,
    I don’t like those Miss contests, but tell me the (your) definition of shameless, please?
    Or shameful (in my effort to think positive).
    Do you mean that those girls are good shameful Muslima?

  6. avatar Robert says:
    February 24th, 2007 at 6:44 pm

    It is always funny to see how people try to judge the content by judging the package especially when it concerns women.

  7. avatar Tomaculum says:
    February 24th, 2007 at 9:38 pm

    Yeah, Robert, you’re right.
    We will never know if a “lemper” is tasty (even if it is packed in golden banana leaf), before we try it. (ooops, sorry, I don’t want insult the women by comparing them with lemper!) :)

  8. avatar Julita says:
    February 25th, 2007 at 12:26 am

    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.

    Really are they that bad and suddenly all gone?

  9. avatar Munafikbangetloepade says:
    February 25th, 2007 at 1:25 am

    I know some very hypocritical girls who wear jilbab.

  10. avatar Mubarak says:
    February 25th, 2007 at 1:44 am

    Robert and Tomaculum,

    I just try to think simply. Women willingly showing their thigh, navel or breast are the shameless ones (like in those contest). That is why I consider the ‘jilbabers’ are the honored women. They still have the shame sense with covering their ‘aurat’. Are they automatically the good Muslima? Not sure. But, at least in this context (clothing), they are better than the naked (or half naked) women. They are performing Islamic rule in clothing. What is wrong? If they obey the other Islamic rules, I am very very certain that they are good not only on the package but also in the content.

  11. avatar Mubarak says:
    February 25th, 2007 at 1:58 am

    I also know so many hypocritical girls who do not wear jilbab. So, the girl who is not hypocritical and wears jilbab is a good girl, isn’t it?

  12. avatar Rockstar says:
    February 25th, 2007 at 2:00 am

    Darn it, give me back those vespa girls lol. :)

  13. avatar Tomaculum says:
    February 25th, 2007 at 2:10 am

    Mubarak, I still really don’t understand your statement:

    But, at least in this context (clothing), they are better than the naked (or half naked) women.

    Why are the “jilbabers” better than the naked or half naked? And for whom?

    They are performing Islamic rule in clothing. What is wrong? If they obey the other Islamic rules, I am very very certain that they are good not only on the package but also in the content.

    Nothing is wrong if they want themselves to wear those clothes. But are you sure that all of the jilbabers wear this according to their own free decision? I know some cases, which the women/girls wear it because they can’t stand the pressure in their workplace or neighborhood.
    You ask what is wrong?

    Wrong is the tendency to damn others, which are do not have the same idea or belief. In this case about the clothes.

    What would you say if someone entitle those girls as uptight and backward?

    Are you sure those girls on the picture above obey the islamic rules? They have already break one rule, aren’t they? :)

  14. avatar Mubarak says:
    February 25th, 2007 at 3:15 am

    Tomaculum,

    I also really don’t understad your view about right and wrong.

    “Wrong is the tendency to damn others, which are do not have the same idea or belief.”

    If I blame you and you blame me, so both of us are wrong. If Bush blame Obama and Obama blame Bush, so both of them are wrong. If the two lawyers blame each other, so both of them are wrong. Do you mean like this? Because they have different idea and blame each other? So, where is the truth?

    Are women wearing jilbab backward? Of course no!! The naked and half naked women are backward, like the primitive people. They have the same clothing style : no or minimal clothes.

  15. avatar Tomaculum says:
    February 25th, 2007 at 4:03 am

    Mubarak, it is maybe very difficult for us simple thinking people to understand the politics with their good and evil. So let us stay by the clothes:
    My question was (I think) very simple:

    Why are the “jilbabers” better than the naked or half naked? And for whom?

    I know some “half naked” (tell me your definition of half naked or naked, please) women, which are very kind and which are good human, helpful and tolerant. I know some women with jilbab, which are very intolerant and just “help” themselves and their relatives. Which one is better?
    I don’t like half naked women walking through the street, but if they like it, then I think I don’t have the right to justice their deed, do I? If I don’t like them, then I won’t watch them and I would look another beautiful sceneries.

    To your question about Obama and Bush: I’m sure you are not so underexposed, that you don’t understand the intention of my statement above. But: yes, they are both wrong, because they just argue to reach their ambition. And they wouldn’t admit, if the opposer says something true. The same about two lawyers. Their truth is their purpose/ambition.

    But please don’t just pick parts of my words for your argumentation, read the whole statement and the contextual intention. OK?

    I also know so many hypocritical girls who do not wear jilbab. So, the girl who is not hypocritical and wears jilbab is a good girl, isn’t it?

    And again: is a half naked/naked good girl for you a good girl or not, Mubarak?

  16. avatar Mubarak says:
    February 25th, 2007 at 4:55 am

    Tomaculum,

    I want to emphasizise my statement before :

    “But, at least in this context (clothing), they are better than the naked (or half naked) women.”

    I think I have defined clearly the context. Once again : just in the clothing context. So, due to your question :

    “is a half naked/naked good girl for you a good girl or not, Mubarak?”

    My answer is : No, she is not a good girl in her clothing way. But may be yes, she is a good girl in another context.

  17. avatar Madesh says:
    February 25th, 2007 at 10:52 am

    I can still recall about ten years ago there were not so many girls wearing jilbab but nowadays we can see most of them wearing it.
    I asked a friend of mine about it and I got an answer that she had no choice instead of being ready humiliated like those women in Tangerang area who were caught by police while waiting for public transport a bit late at night in casual clothing.
    So some of them wearing it in order to prevent from being humiliated and not for any other reasons.

  18. avatar Hassan says:
    February 25th, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    Tomaculum, Robert & Mubarak: Tom & Robert are giving answers using their religion’s standard, which probably says there’s nothing wrong with women exposing their body. But Mubarak is using his religion’s standard, which stipulates that women should cover their body. All you three guys will never come to an agreement if you stick to your own standards and not trying to understand each other’s positions and views.

    Robert:

    “The problem doesn’t lie with the women, but with the men who have problems with the women’s sexuality and the fact that women become more independent.”

    Are you suggesting that for the men, the women’s decision to wear/not wear headscarves had something to do with their sexuality and independence? Men can conclude that women who don’t wear headscarves are more sexually ‘open’ than those who do, and women women who don’t wear headscarves are more independent than those who do? I simply couldn’t see the relevance. Which scientific source did you use, Robert?

    How about this: religious rule. Should those Muslim women abandon their religion’s rule?

    Madesh:

    “So some of them wearing it in order to prevent from being humiliated and not for any other reasons.”

    And how many women have you ‘surveyed’ about this? :)

    “I can still recall about ten years ago there were not so many girls wearing jilbab but nowadays we can see most of them wearing it.”

    Depends on your perspective. In an Islamic perspective, that’s a good thing. In a non-Islamic perspective, I can’t see any reason to believe that the fact that more Muslim women are wearing jilbab had a negative impact for non-Muslims.

    Maybe some of us are just paranoid about what some Muslims do for their (the Muslims) own good, like wearing jilbab for women or sharia in Aceh.

  19. avatar Bakso says:
    February 25th, 2007 at 12:55 pm

    Isn’t it sad that the jilbab and other forms of cover for women were invented by and for men who could not control themselves? The fact that women have to cover up so me and my fellow males do not get too excited and want to rape them? What an insult to men of this world. I am a Muslim man and I look at women, I appreciate beauty and I have the odd ‘perv’. It doesn’t mean that I am a raving rapist that shouldn’t be let loose amongst scantily clad women. Wake up to yourselves men, do you really think that the jilbab is a good thing? It means you cant be trusted! You should be calling for its demise, not saying how good it is. And do you really think that it works as a deterrent for those sick men amogst us that attack women? Get a life.

  20. avatar Mohammed Khafi says:
    February 25th, 2007 at 2:04 pm

    Hassan and Mubarak,

    Given that Allah says his Quran is Complete, Perfect , and Fully Detailed, can you tell me where you are getting the rules for Islamic Dress Codes?

  21. avatar Hassan says:
    February 25th, 2007 at 2:11 pm

    I’m sure you haven’t forgotten something called the Hadith and Sunnah.

    Ahh, but you seemed to enjoy this endless discourse about pro Hadith and vs Hadith.

    I, however, believed that we’ve been through this discussion.

  22. avatar Tomaculum says:
    February 25th, 2007 at 2:11 pm

    Hi Hassan, nice to meet you again (really)!
    But I wonder (again) about this sentence of yours:

    Tom & Robert are giving answers using their religion’s standard, which probably says there’s nothing wrong with women exposing their body.

    After reading my comments in former topics, you should now know, that I respect all religious norms. The norms I’ve found in my heart. And if you read my comments above, you will find this sentence:

    I don’t like half naked women walking through the street, but if they like it, then I think I don’t have the right to justice their deed, do I? If I don’t like them, then I won’t watch them and I would look another beautiful sceneries.

    Could you find any religious statement in it?

    You know, I don’t need the help of any religious norms or sentences to show my morality.
    And you should know, that I have massive problems with generalizations like some people like to do. OK? :)

    A.e.: the half naked women are shameless and worst.

    Your words:

    How about this: religious rule. Should those Muslim women abandon their religion’s rule?

    But every norm or rule has a causation, hasn’t it? Or do you believe they suddenly fell from the heaven? Maybe Robert’s statement is legitimate?

    Maybe some of us (maybe incl. me :) ) are really paranoid about what some moslems do, like the activity of Ba’asyir and his followers, Amrozi, FPI etc. or the adoption of sharia in Aceh, the closing of the churches and other things like that. In this cases I have asked somethings in my former comments and didn’t get till now a good answer.

    Those all happenings in the last years could be interpreted by some people (again: maybe me too! :) ) as a tendency to radicalization.

    So why are you wonder about “our”. Are women wearing jilbab backward? Of course no! The naked and half naked women are backward, like the primitive people..

    They have the same clothing style: no or minimal clothes.

    Mubarak, my question was not if the jilbabers (your word) are backward, but it was simply a rhetorical question. :)

    Which one do you mean with primitive people? Isn’t it a little bit (maybe more :) ) arrogance from us “high civilized” people to name people with other cultural understanding and way of life as primitive with such negative connotations? The so called primitive people have frequently complex system in their way of thinking and beliefs, that we frequently can not really understand. :)

  23. avatar Mohammed Khafi says:
    February 25th, 2007 at 3:04 pm

    Hassan,

    Yes we have had this discussion before, and you have never given me a clear answer, Is Allah’s word sufficient for you or not? If yes, why do you insist on following manmade religious rules?

    Peace

  24. avatar Hassan says:
    February 25th, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    Tomaculum:

    “After reading my comments in former topics, you should now know, that I respect all religious norms.”

    Yes, I know. That is why I said “probably”, because I’m not sure how your religion (Christianity) ruled these matters. And as far as I know, Christianity do not have a clothing code that Christians must follow. So “probably” your views came from that particular fact, and that had hindered you from understanding why Muslims must dress in a particular way. It is not to say ‘I’m a good Muslim’, but rather a proof that ‘I have followed my religion’s ruling’.

    As for “the half naked women are shameless and worst”, I’ll leave it to you and Mubarak to discuss further.

    “Maybe some of us (maybe incl. me :) ) are really paranoid about what some moslems do, like the activity of Ba’asyir and his followers, Amrozi, FPI etc.”

    You guys can worry about those matters because it affects your lives. But I were not talking about those things, what I said “what some Muslims do for their (the Muslims) own good, like wearing jilbab for women or sharia in Aceh.” had little (if none) implication on non-Muslims.

    And as far as I’m concerned Tom, Muslim women wearing jilbab and Muslims implementing Sharia onto themselves are hardly a sign of “radicalization”.

  25. avatar Hassan says:
    February 25th, 2007 at 4:14 pm

    Mohammed Khafi: Because I do not believe in your interpretation of the Quran. You guys are trying to interpret the Quran solely using your own logic, without using knowledge (‘ilm) of the subject.

    Excuse my poor comparison, but it’s like a kid trying to understand the concept of atom by solely using his/her own ratios, a concept which is easy to understand when you have the knowledge. That kid needs to open the science books and what experts says about the matter. The kid might succeed someday, but also might not. How about if all kids of all generations use the same approach?

    How about if your children and grandchildren studied the Quran using only their own logic and they learned that Islam completely opposite than what you understood it now? Practicing it completely opposite as you practiced it now? Knowledge is the accumulation of humanity’s comprehension and it’s how humans pass on their understanding of the universe to the next generations. Sunnah and Hadith is the prophet’s comprehension of the Quran, his knowledge. Are we more knowledgeable than he regarding the Quran?

    As for why I used the ‘concept of atom’ in the analogy, it is because both that topic and the topic faith are intangible in nature. Both are easy to learn IF you have the proper knowledge.

  26. avatar Robert says:
    February 25th, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    Hassan,

    How about this : religious rule. Should those Muslim women abandon their religion’s rule?

    Isn’t it a matter of how to interprete the religion? In the Quran the jilbab isn’t mentioned as a headscarf. When women live by the rules laid down in the Quran, and not by those in the Hadith, does that make them bad Muslimas? Given the idea that the Quran is Complete, Perfect, and Fully Detailed.
    Which rule do you mean? The Quran’s or the Hadith’s?

    All you three guys will never come to an agreement if you stick to your own standards and not trying to understand each other’s positions and views.

    I do understand Mubarak’s and your view. The problem I have, is one of interpretation. What is the Islamic standard? If I ask 2 Muslim women, one with and one without headscarf, whether they live by Islamic standard I get the same answer: “Yes, I do”.
    So that makes me confused, because the standard is not as “standard” as one would expect.

  27. avatar Madesh says:
    February 25th, 2007 at 4:26 pm

    Hassan,

    Do you support radicalization in our country?
    As we know that radicalization process in going on in this country.
    From jilbab to burqa who knows.
    From Sharia law then Islamic country, that’s for sure.
    Too bad, conflict couldn’t be avoided then, that’s why God has been sending some warnings recently.

  28. avatar Cukurungan says:
    February 25th, 2007 at 5:03 pm

    Yes God has sent clear warning recently because Indonesians moslems have enjoyed independent for 60 years but still adopt man made rules.

  29. avatar Mohammed Khafi says:
    February 25th, 2007 at 6:02 pm

    Hassan,

    I think the analogy of trying to understand the atom is not much of a parallel to studying Al Quran. It is Allah that puts the understanding of Al Quran and Islam into people’s hearts, but to do this they actually need to read and understand it.

    Most mainstream Muslims can read it, but how many actually know the meaning of the words, they are just making the sounds. Most peoples learning or understanding is from being told by others. How many of us understand Classical Arabic to such a degree that we really understand the meaning, better for us that we use a language we understand, either Indonesian or English. I have many friends in the Middle East, who have Arabic as their Mother tongue, and even they do not know what Al Quran holds, when quoted verses explaining behaviour or rules, they didn’t know them. They also have been mislead by their teachers. What is wrong from the start does not become right by being handed down from generation to generation, it just becomes tradition but is nevertheless still wrong.

    You say that Sunnah and Hadith are:

    is the prophet’s comprehension of the Quran, his knowledge. Are we more knowledgeable than he regarding the Quran?

    But I would ask, how do you know this for sure, without doubt? You have already acknowledged that many Sunnah and Hadith are not from The Prophet, you say that only the Sahih Hadith are to be trusted, this in itself is proof that Allah does not give these stories the protection which he does to Al Quran.

    I gave you in another thread the illustration of Bukhari, and proved I think, that he could not possibly have investigated the numbers of Hadith he collected, it was just not physically possible for him to have done so in his lifetime, yet still you believe them?

    Al Quran was gifted to us via The Prophet, Allah watching over him all the way, the collectors of Hadith were ordinary men without the guiding presence of Allah. Ordinary men are prone to faults they can lie and make up stories, other men are able to buy their favours. We see it all the time around us, given these facts, can we really trust their stories as truely being from The Prophet?

    Peace

  30. avatar Tomaculum says:
    February 25th, 2007 at 7:55 pm

    Hassan,

    That is why I said “probably”, because I’m not sure how your religion (Christianity) ruled these matters. And as far as I know, Christianity do not have a clothing code that Christians must follow. So “probably” your views came from that particular fact, and that had hindered you from understanding why Muslims must dress in a particular way.

    I’m not a Christian and I don’t have any problem with the Muslim dress code. But I have the problem, once again, with generalization and if one damned the dress code of others and call them names like shameless, bad etc. If I don’t want to see something (and I have seen many things in this life, Hassan) then I will look away without damning it (except violence, injustice and poverty).

    I don’t understand the Muslim dress code? Maybe. But I don’t have any objection against it, if they wear it according to their own free decision and believe.
    If they wear it just because they can’t stand the pressures of their teachers, neighborhood, colleagues, friend/husband, parents, parents in law etc, how would you call it, Hassan? Would you still approve it?

    Do you understand it? Like this:

    religious rule. Should those Muslim women abandon their religion’s rule?

    (in context with the question about the reason of the Muslim dress code for women).

    I interpret your sentence like this: “they wear the dress because it is the rule in Islam. There is no other explanation for the dress code.”

    Is this right? If yes, do you really believe in your own words? No other explanation?
    :)

    “what some Muslims do for their (the Muslims) own good, like wearing jilbab for women or sharia in Aceh.” had little (if none) implication on non-Muslims.

    Really? In Indonesia you moslems and Muslima live together with other groups, so all what you do (like adzan calling 5 x in a day or even jilbab wearing) implicate indirectly non-Muslims too. Sharia in Aceh too, Hassan. Because Aceh is a part of Indonesia, and as far as I know you already have governmental law based on the Belief in God. So why always this exception? What about the cases if the Flores people want to adopt the Christian regementations or rules there? Imagine what would happen!

    And as far as I’m concerned Tom, Muslim women wearing jilbab and Muslims implementing Sharia onto themselves are hardly a sign of “radicalization”.

    Really?

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