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Friday, September 15, 2006


I watched PRIME the movie some days ago. It is starred by two “big” actresses: Merryl Streep (cast as Lisa) and Uma Thurman (cast as Rafi).
Some interesting things I spotted from this movie

1.Religious Snob

As someone born in a strict Muslim family and society that supported that Islam is the only “right” religion in this world, I easily understand why many Muslim people in Indonesia become religious snob. Oh well, perhaps not many of them, only (un)luckily, I have been surrounded by such people since I was a kid. After I got enlightenment, LOL, (I found it myself by reading more books than when I was younger and also by getting in touch with “appropriate” people, LOL), I realized it was really ridiculous to think that only Muslim people will go to heaven after the judgment day (for those who believe that this judgment day will come one day) while the rest will go to hell.

Therefore, when finding that in fact people with other celestial religions also can become boring religious snob, I was surprised. (read => it is naïve of me. LOL.) The way Lisa (Merryl Streep) viewed her son’s love relationship with a girl who is not a Jewish showed that she considered non Jewish people lower than her. She insisted that her only son marry a Jewish girl.

My conclusion: when someone become a fanatic, and indoctrinated in an “appropriate” way viewing that his/her religion is the only media to take him/her to heaven, he/she tends to be a religious snob.

2.Western culture versus Eastern culture

Since I was a kid, I have often heard people say, “Oh, for western people, it is understandable if they do this or that. However, it is not appropriate for us eastern people to do the same thing. The reason is simple: they are western and we are eastern. Period. No more explanation.” It made me make a conclusion that indeed there is a big difference between western and eastern cultures.

However, my experience for blogging has taught me a different thing. When posting something in my now and again I got some comments from my blog friends living in western countries that showed me that they are not much different from me here.

For example, when I was worried to let Angie go camping with her school friends some months ago, then I wrote it in my blog, some blog friends commented a similar thing; how they are also worried when letting their kids do something that will require their kids to be away from home for some time.
When I wrote in my blog about the ridiculous rule of some companies in Indonesia that don’t let their female employees wearing trousers to the office—with a stupid reason that females are to wear skirts/dresses, not trousers, I got some comments from my western blog friends that it happened in their countries too some decades ago.

When I wrote in my blog about what a school uniform is supposed to be like—such as how long the skirt for female students, whether the shirt is loose or tight, my western blog friends commented that it was a common debate too some decades ago in their countries.

When I wrote in my blog that women are supposed to do household chores—though they also work outside home, together with their husbands—while their husbands can just enjoy watching television or reading newspapers at home, my western blog friends commented that it was also very common there some decades ago, and even many of them still undergo the similar thing in this twenty first century.

And there are still some other examples. Indonesia with its “eastern culture” is just left behind some decades. Indonesia will catch up with western culture later. Does it mean that Indonesia will be western one day? LOL.

In PRIME, Lisa seemed very old-fashioned—very eastern, Angie said—when she worried much about her son’s love relationship with someone who is not Jewish, and fourteen years older! She said that her son’s relationship with Rafi wouldn’t last long with those trivial reasons. (Oh well, for me they are just trivial things—different religions and different age gap. Differences can be overcome well with open communication, I believe.)

3.Love relationship between a much older woman with a younger man

In fact, westerners also find it not an ideal thing. Well, Indonesian people with their opinion about freedom in the west must have considered it queer to know that in fact for westerners, this thing is also a problem. Most people tend to believe that men must be older than women in one relationship coz men are expected to be wiser, smarter, more mature, more experienced, and some other more things???

When I use my feministic view, inequality seems so idealistic in one relationship coz men are always to have more things than women. Men always expect to be respected by women and they think that to be older is one way to get that respect, besides richer (having higher income), more knowledgeable (having higher educational background, more well-read, etc) Many men then would argue, “In return of that respect we get from women, we will give them love.” They seem to forget that they also expect to get love form women. So, how about if both men and women love and respect each other simultaneously? Love and respect do not always refer to who has “more” things than the other. Isn’t it more beautiful if both men and women love and respect each other because they were created equal?

In PRIME, at the beginning of their relationship, both Rafi and Dave didn’t feel comfortable with the big different age gap between them, especially Rafi. Rafi felt that it was ridiculous for her to date a young kid, while Dave didn’t really consider it as a big obstacle, except that he had to lie to his mother when telling her about the age of the girl he dated. Dave’s main problem with this is his mother’s objection on his dating a much older woman, moreover a non Jewish. Well, this non-Jewish problem can be overcome easily if Rafi is willing to convert. But the age gap?


Needing someone to talk to openly and listen to patiently is everybody’s need in this life, I believe. When seeing Rafi needs to go to a therapist to help her overcome her wrecked feeling after getting divorced, and then later on to talk about her date with a much younger guy, I am wondering if friends—that people think can be the best listener—has become so rare nowadays that Rafi needs a professional “friend”; a therapist. In the movie it is illustrated that Rafi has a quite close friend—a girl—with whom she sometimes spends time to go shopping, eat out, etc. I assume that it is not enough for Rafi to talk to her, or Rafi didn’t find her reliable enough—or she didn’t feel secure—to talk about things she considered very private; e.g. how she made love with Dave in every corner of her apartment, how she understood why men loved to make love with much younger girls for their youth, freshness, naivety, etc.

I remember around a year ago, I had a private student that easily confided in me about her problems with her boyfriend, not long after we got to know each other. She needed someone to talk to, to listen to her, to ask for suggestion, to keep her secrets, etc. It means I had double roles, then, as her private English teacher and as her therapist. LOL. When I told her that I loved writing diary, she found it a not safe thing to do, coz people would easily find my diary and find out my “secrets” I keep in it. I told her that I did find it cathartic to write, to express myself openly, although only to dead papers. My diary will not betray me as people sometimes do, except my own carelessness to put it in a public place and forget to save it. That private student of mine couldn’t see the similar role of my diary for me to my role as her listener.

It is indeed relieving to be able to talk to someone about any problem, idea, opinion, etc we have, someone with whom we can feel secure and we feel that our problems, etc are safe with him/her. If we can find one reliable person to do that, it is lucky of us, then, coz we don’t need to go to a professional therapist where we have to pay the service he/she gives us. LOL. Dead papers such as diary can be very helpful of course, but “living diary” LOL is much more wonderful. Dead papers cannot give us feedback, while good friends can do it.

However, I know that it is getting more difficult nowadays to find such a reliable friend with whom we feel ‘tuned in’ well. It is understandable then if Rafi went to a therapist whose service was professionally paid.

So, guys, what do you think of this movie? I bet you will find some other interesting aspects again to ponder about when watching this movie by yourself.

P.S.: A tribute for someone who came into my life exactly on my birthday this year. Thanks and many thanks always for being my “free” therapist. :)

PT56 07.29 150906


diny said...

Though I have not watched the movie 'Prime', I would like to make a comment here. I used to perceive naively on 'Eastern' and 'Western' thing, but when I married my American husband, I soon to found out that he is a bit of traditional when it comes to parenthood. He objects the 'hoochie' ads and commercials of Bratz that teaches little girls to dress like err... hoochies. So my point is, it's not about 'Americans' or 'Western' versus 'Indonesian' or 'Eastern' but it's about how you were brought up and your own family values. Btw, salam kenal :-)

A Feminist Blog said...

Hello Diny, met kenal balik deh, and thanks for the comment :)