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With ImlekChinese New Yeararound the corner, there is a stir of activity around Chinese viharas (temples) throughout the country. Statues of gods and goddesses are gathered, dusted and cleaned. In preparation for the increased demand for incense, which the faithful place and light up around the statues, Cengklong village in Tangerang, Banten, is doubling their production of incense. On the grounds of Toasebio Temple in Jakarta, barongsai (Chinese lion dance) artists practice for the big day celebrating Chinese New Year 2563. Meanwhile, the Indonesian Post Office has produced a series of Chinese New Year commemorative stamps, to add to the collections of local and international philatelists.
Ahmad Tohari says he is quite satisfied with the film Sang Penari, (The Dancer) taken from his novel. He has been accused, though, of contriving the ritual of the opening of the dancing girl's mosquito net.
The sacredness and eroticism of today's ronggeng dance no longer resemble those as illustrated by Srintil in the movie Sang Penari and the novel Ronggeng Dukuh Paruk. Ronggeng groups in Banyumas are having difficulty getting on stage because their form of art has been associated with obscenity and violence.
The irony of this country is that it is a haven of water but that we are always experiencing water shortages. Every dry season we are confronted with the same sad situation. The farmers stare in despair at their dried-out fields. The vegetation all around them has withered from a lack of water. "Where can we find fodder for our livestock?" they demand.