Thank our increasingly woke society that we now find an actor dating a 14 y.o. girl to be abhorrent

Tweets denouncing a 34-year-old Indonesian actor dating a 14-year-old girl.
Tweets denouncing a 34-year-old Indonesian actor dating a 14-year-old girl.

He’s 34. He says he’s dating a girl 20 years his junior. An online tabloid romanticized their relationship and seemingly saw nothing wrong with publishing a story about how he’s impressed by her maturity.

It came as a relief then, that people in Indonesia — where, for better or worse, public opinion still matters a great deal — were largely outraged.

The man we’re speaking of is a sinetron (Indonesian soap opera) actor, who we’ll refer to using his initials, KH. In the aforementioned story, he said he’s now dating an unnamed newcomer in the sinetron industry. A 14-year-old, if you do the math. And no, there is no Leonardo DiCaprio comparison here, since the Hollywood star at least dates younger women who are legally adults.

After the story was published, it didn’t take long for netizens to accuse KH of being a pedophile; a groomer.

Perhaps his fame led to the scrutiny. There certainly wasn’t this much outrage when we called out a similar case involving a teacher and his student back in 2018.

On this topic — A middle school teacher married his former student after 7 years of dating, why’d Indonesian media frame it an inspirational tale?

It’s difficult to quantify wokeness in our society. But in recent years, people’s reactions to injustices — especially in stories that go viral — ring particularly loud. The collective outrage can no longer be ignored.

Take the Ferdy Sambo case. Would the former police general have been charged with the murder of his bodyguard had his cover-up worked? It was the relentless public pressure that forced the National Police to investigate the case in a (relatively) more transparent manner.

Just this week, an iced tea company threatened to sue a customer for violating the controversial Information and Electronic Transactions Act (UU ITE) over his hyperbolic negative review of a sugary drink. That lawsuit was not filed eventually — instead, the threat turned out to be a massive PR disaster for the company that made people more conscious about the health risks of sweet drinks.

In a country where child marriage is still depressingly prevalent, outrage towards pedophiles and those who enable them is absolutely essential. This must never stop.

Once we do, the vicious cycle in mass media continues. The dog will go back to endlessly chasing its own tail. For as long as media outlets get views and clicks for sub-standard and frankly abhorrent reporting, you best bet they will never stop chasing that high.

Public opinion is increasingly shaping media discourse, while even the most imperious of institutions still bow to public opinion. And that’s a priceless power in our hands if we want society to progress for the better.

To sum up: fuck pedophiles and groomers. We’re glad the majority of you agree. It’s time everybody else catches up.

Subscribe to the WTF is Up in Southeast Asia + Hong Kong podcast to get our take on the top trending news and pop culture from the region every Thursday!



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