Indonesia’s desperate housewives chase selfies on election trail

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Indonesia's President Joko Widodo (C) takes selfie pictures during the Jakarta Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) first-phase launching in Jakarta, Indonesia, March 24, 2019. (REUTERS)
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Indonesia's President Joko Widodo (C) poses for selfies with people gathered outside the Bundaran HI mass rapid transit (MRT) station during the inauguration of Jakarta's new MRT system on March 24, 2019. (AFP)
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Indonesia's presidential candidate Joko Widodo takes pictures with his supporters during his first campaign rally at a stadium in Serang, Banten province, Indonesia, March 24, 2019. (REUTERS)
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Indonesia's presidential candidate Joko Widodo greets his supporters during his first campaign rally at a stadium in Serang, Banten province, Indonesia, March 24, 2019. (REUTERS)
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Indonesia's presidential candidate for the upcoming general election Joko Widodo takes pictures with his supporters during his first campaign rally at a stadium in Serang, Banten province, Indonesia, March 24, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 06 April 2019

Indonesia’s desperate housewives chase selfies on election trail

  • Some 192 million Indonesians are set to cast a ballot in the world’s third-biggest democracy, with a record 245,000 candidates vying for positions from the presidency and parliamentary seats

SRAGEN, Indonesia: Tears stream down Lilis Hastirini’s mascara-smudged face after she waited hours to snap a selfie with Indonesia’s president, only to be thwarted by a crush of other female fans with the same idea.
It is a take-no-prisoners battle on the election trail in this selfie-mad nation, where few shots count more than a close up with “everyman” leader Joko Widodo, a former furniture salesman who rose from a riverside slum to high office.
Hastirini was among some 10,000 other desperate housewives, mostly aged between 20 and 50, who braved searing heat as they screamed and jostled, pushing past security guards to reach Widodo at an event in Sragen on Java island this week.
“I’m sad, I couldn’t get a picture with him,” the 37-year-old told AFP as she sobbed and wailed.
“He seems like such a nice person, kind of fatherly.”
The lanky, heavy-metal music-loving 57-year-old, best known as Jokowi, seems happy to oblige housewives and other key voters — including millenials who account for about one-third of the electorate — as he fights to keep a wide lead in the race for the presidency on April 17.
Some 192 million Indonesians are set to cast a ballot in the world’s third-biggest democracy, with a record 245,000 candidates vying for positions from the presidency and parliamentary seats all the way down to local council jobs.
And garnering support on social media is essential. Indonesia is one of Instagram and Facebook’s biggest markets globally, with some 62 million and 130 million users, respectively.
Jokowi’s sole rival is Prabowo Subianto, a retired military general and son-in-law of the late dictator Suharto, who has ditched his trademark suit and tie for a campaign-casual khaki safari suit with sunglasses.
Prabowo, as he is known, is also trying to win over women voters and fans online, balancing his strongman image with an Instagram account of him and his cuddly cat, Bobby.
The 67-year-old and vice presidential candidate Sandiaga Uno — a youthful 49-year-old business magnate — have generated online fan clubs including the Housewives Party in Support of Prabowo-Sandiaga, the Militant Housewives’ Force and even the Voluptuous Housewives Who Fight for Prabowo-Sandi.
Both candidates are regularly mobbed by adoring female fans — though Jokowi appears more at home performing in front of the crowds.
Back in Sragen, Hastirini almost reached Jokowi as he was exiting the arena when someone stepped on her seven-year-old daughter’s foot.
In leaping to help her little girl, she had missed her moment with Jokowi.
Also empty-handed was high school teacher Mariana Wahyu, who said she never bothered to get a selfie with her-then neighbor Jokowi back when he was mayor of Solo city.
“O Allah, had I known then that he would become president, I would have taken a lot of pictures with him,” she said in Central Java’s Sukoharjo city.


Man eats $120,000 piece of art — a banana taped to wall

Updated 08 December 2019

Man eats $120,000 piece of art — a banana taped to wall

MIAMI: The move was bananas ... or maybe the work was just too appealing.
A performance artist shook up the crowd at the Art Basel show in Miami Beach on Saturday when he grabbed a banana that had been duct-taped to a gallery wall and ate it.
The banana was, in fact, a work of art by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan titled “Comedian” and sold to a French collector for $120,000.
In a video posted on his Instagram account, David Datuna, who describes himself as a Georgian-born American artist living in New York, walks up to the banana and pulls it off the wall with the duct tape attached.
“Art performance ... hungry artist,” he said, as he peeled the fruit and took a bite. “Thank you, very good.”
A few bystanders could be heard giggling before a flustered gallery official whisked him to an adjoining space for questioning.
But the kerfuffle was resolved without a food fight.
“He did not destroy the art work. The banana is the idea,” Lucien Terras, director of museum relations for Galerie Perrotin, told the Miami Herald.
As it turns out, the value of the work is in the certificate of authenticity, the newspaper said. The banana is meant to be replaced.
A replacement banana was taped to the wall about 15 minutes after Datuna’s stunt.
“This has brought a lot of tension and attention to the booth and we’re not into spectacles,” Terras said. “But the response has been great. It brings a smile to a lot of people’s faces.”
Cattelan is perhaps best known for his 18-carat, fully functioning gold toilet called “America” that he had once offered on loan to US President Donald Trump.
The toilet, valued at around $5 to $6 million, was in the news again in September when it was stolen from Britain’s Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of wartime leader Winston Churchill, where it had been on display.