Malaysia: Polygamy is everywhere!

Stop Polygamy in Canada
Most of those who are involved in polygamous relationships are often in denial, says Indonesian film director Nia Dinata.
Nia, a 36-year-old New York University graduate, is behind one of the most promising movies ever made by an Indonesian director, Berbagi Suami, which is about polygamous marriages.
She was in town to attend the charity premiere of her film at Cineleisure in Mutiara Damansara here in aid of Sisters In Islam on Thursday night.

Says Nia: “Polygamy is everywhere. People do it but refuse to admit it.

“Polygamy has been a part of Indonesian culture since the Hindu empire ruled the area.

“When Islam became the majority religion, polygamy started to grow. As a moderate Muslim Indonesian woman, I have witnessed the practice of polygamy among family and friends.

“I believe that by representing the experiences of these women, using film as a medium, I can enable more men and women to understand the underlying issues.

“The women in my film possess different feelings but one thing remains: the sadness and denial behind their smiles.

“Besides, I thought it was an interesting topic to highlight to the public, so I decided to make a film on it.

“I wanted to educate people about polygamy and show them the effects of polygamy on marriages and families,” she says.

A true believer of monogamous relationships, Nia said 40% of the people she knew were involved in polygamous marriages and almost all ended in divorce and sadness.

“Polygamy happens everywhere, but people do not talk about it. No doubt there are those who find it unique to be able to share their romantic feelings with a number of other people but I want people to realise the dangers of being involved in a polygamous relationship,” she said in explaining why she chose to make a movie on the subject.

Nia has spent most of her life in America studying and involving herself in film and television projects.

She has won many accolades such as Most Promising New Director and Best Art Director at the Asia Pacific Film Festival in Seoul Korea in 2002, and more recently Best Director in the 2004 MTV Indonesian Movie Awards.

Nia adds that she and her team faced no obstacles at all when producing the film, despite the fact that they were dealing with a thorny subject.

“The Indonesian government did not know about it until they saw it. Yet, we did not receive any objections, they did not ban the film, so I guess the film is all right,” she said, adding that none of the activist groups in Indonesia had objected to the film or its theme either.

“It was a smooth production.”

By Jo Teh, The Star - Malaysia
Saturday January 6, 2007