Koko Liem vs Anton Medan

Jul 18th, 2010, in IM Posts, by

Chinese celebrity preacher Koko Liem hits the big time; brawler Anton Medan unhappy.

In "Chinese Preachers Bridge Indonesia’s Ethnic Gap" in the New York Times [1] Jakarta based Chinese Muslim tele-evangelist and Islamic themed text-messaging service entrepreneur "Koko Liem" is profiled and described as being a trailblazer in breaking down stereotypes that Islam and Chinese don't go together.

Koko Liem, posing
Koko Liem, posing

Liem Hai Thai/Muhammad Utsman Anshori aka Koko Liem is said to have converted to Islam from Buddhism as a teenager in North Sumatra, and says his role now is to teach the universality of Islam:

If a Chinese person becomes a Muslim, and he understands the religion, even to the point of being a cleric like me people are more awed and moved:

He’s just a Chinese, who wasn’t a Muslim before. Now he is one, and his religion is greater than ours. He can lecture on religion, he can memorize the Koran, what can we do?

koko liem sms
Send me more money

Koko Liem has appeared regularly on television, some of his appearances as documented on his website being: [2]

  • Koko Liem menjadi Penasehat Cinta di Acara "Take Him Out Indonesia" di IndoSiar.
  • Koko Liem berperan sebagai Kiyai, dalam Sinetron "Hijrah" di TPI.
  • Koko Liem berperan sebagai Kiyai dalam Acara "Opera Van Java", Spesial Ramadhan, di Trans7.
  • Koko Liem sebagai Ustadz dalam Acara "Rukyah, Dzikir, dan Tausyiah". Setiap Senin, pukul 04:30 - 05:30 WIB di TVRI.
  • Koko Liem menjadi Bintang Tamu dalam Acara "Bukan Empat Mata" Tukul Arwana, Special Ramadhan di Trans7.

Koko Liem is not the only publicly known Chinese Muslim preacher, his rivals in the niche including ex-gangster Anton Medan, and, much more obscure, female Chinese preachers like Irene Handono (Han Hoo Lie) and Ida Astuti ('Bu Nyai', or Tan Mei Hwa). [3]

Anton Medan
Ex-thug Anton Medan

Anton Medan served a total of 19 years in prison for murder and robbery before his conversion to Islam from Buddhism:

I ruled Jakarta; I was running gambling, everything, until '91, '92, when I became a Muslim, and it was all finished.

He regards Koko Liem dimly, saying he is

tacky

Anton, instead of making silly appearances on television, has built an Islamic boarding school near Jakarta and three multilevel, Chinese palace-style mosques in Indonesia and Malaysia, and he does low key preaching tours, involves himself in local politics and still runs some 'secular' businesses like garment manufacturing and indoor soccer venues.

However Koko Liem gets more attention, with Anton saying

Muslims in Indonesia are stupid. They choose speakers and preachers that are famous from TV, not because of what they have achieved.

And

The difference between Koko Liem and me is like earth and sky.


16 Comments on “Koko Liem vs Anton Medan”

  1. avatar realest says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 6:49 am

    ive heard of anton medan but who’s koko liem !?

  2. avatar David says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 9:27 am

    He’s pretty obscure yes, unless you’ve watched “Take Him Out Indonesia”…he’s modestly popular among some middle class Muslims – I’ve seen the facebook photos to prove this – which the New York Times says is because

    to satisfy a need among urban, middle-class Muslims to appear spiritually connected despite living lives in which obtaining, and displaying, wealth is an overriding preoccupation. They give their followers, he said, “moral legitimacy” for a life of consumerism.

  3. avatar diego says:
    July 20th, 2010 at 3:24 am

    Just curious, is he the guy who was once a member of Trio Kwek Kwek? Btw, I really love his poses! Thanks Patung for making me laugh with those pics. Jokes aside, at least Ust. Koko Liem wouldn’t preach “westerners / kafirs are evil” cr@ps. Let’s see if MUI and the gang will react to this (by declaring Koko Liem as “deviant”).

  4. avatar David says:
    July 20th, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Trio Kwek Kwek, I don’t think so.

    Koko Liem wouldn’t preach “westerners / kafirs are evil” cr@ps

    Well I get the impression he’s very orthodox, not surprising for a convert, here he is preaching against the evils of Valentine’s Dayhttp://www.kokoliem.com/Artikel_Islami/_01_Artikel_Umum/04_ValentineDay/index_AI.html

    Pal up with him on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1766136607

  5. avatar diego says:
    July 21st, 2010 at 1:34 am

    The orthodoxy of a convert…, hmm…, I think I have a phrase to sum it up: “suck it real hard ***** boy”.

    I use **** to avoid breaking the “no racial slur” rule…, and (more importantly) not to wake dragonwall up.

  6. avatar deta says:
    July 21st, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    Unless someone seeing it from the racial point of view, comparing Koko Liem with Anton Medan makes only a little sense.

    Let’s see….
    “Koko” means brother, it’s “Aa” in Sundanese
    “Liem” has the same rhyme with “Gym”
    He has SMS religious service “Lampion Hati”, sounds close to the famous song “Jagalah Hati”
    So, if there is anyone that can compare to Koko Liem, it would be Aa Gym ;-)

  7. avatar Lairedion says:
    July 21st, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    So, if there is anyone that can compare to Koko Liem, it would be Aa Gym ;-)

    So we just have to sit and wait until he becomes a polygamist……

  8. avatar David says:
    July 21st, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    If you want to go the AA Gym route then there’s a photo for that too

  9. avatar David says:
    July 21st, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    As for polygamy, here’s his wife, although his facebook page says he’s single so…

  10. avatar diego says:
    July 21st, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    Hey, let’s stop mocking him…. I feel bad now. He hasn’t done anything harmful, has he? I still think the poses are cute tho.

  11. avatar David says:
    July 21st, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    Not mocking him Diego, I’m sure he’s a nice guy, but those photos are from his site, he put them there, he’s got a nice family there…

  12. avatar Lairedion says:
    July 22nd, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    He’s not there yet but possibly could be (or not). deta brought up Aa Gym and that polygamy issue is the first thing I think about when Aa Gym is mentioned.

    I don’t know about this Koko Liem but I’m more a fan of Coco Lee, a near-namesake.

  13. avatar Michel S. says:
    July 22nd, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    Is it just me, or are both of them rather dismissive of their flock?

    Liem espoused a very divisive remark, suggesting that the average Muslim regards themselves as superior to the Chinese — but are now humbled by his superiority

    He’s just a Chinese, who wasn’t a Muslim before. Now he is one, and his religion is greater than ours. He can lecture on religion, he can memorize the Koran, what can we do?

    Anton:

    Muslims in Indonesia are stupid

    Saying the average Indonesian is over-impressed by celebrity preachers (and celebrities in general) is one thing, singling out his co-religionists makes me wonder if he’s making a Freudian slip and admitting that he himself is conning people

  14. avatar David says:
    July 23rd, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Liem espoused a very divisive remark, suggesting that the average Muslim regards themselves as superior to the Chinese — but are now humbled by his superiority

    He’s just a Chinese, who wasn’t a Muslim before. Now he is one, and his religion is greater than ours. He can lecture on religion, he can memorize the Koran, what can we do?

    Yes Michel, was wondering when someone would comment on that, it is an odd thing to say, kind of chauvinistic.

    The other quote, though, might be a bit of ‘tough love’ involved there. Hard to know what he thinks from just the short quotes that newspapers have to give.

  15. avatar joding says:
    August 7th, 2010 at 6:12 am

    WTF?! Is this a publicity stunt? I’m pretty sure he’s making the natives restless now and a riot is just around the corner. With pix like that who doesn’t wanna flock to his teachings – that is, if he’s got anything good to say!

  16. avatar principessaluna says:
    August 30th, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    There’s nothing wrong with using publicity to get your message across. Perhaps don’t overdo it, and definitely nothing offensive like

    Muslims in Indonesia are stupid



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