Monday, October 5, 2009

Some Indonesians are blaming a supposedly "unlucky" president for Sumatra's earthquake

Source: (click to view): AFP/Aubrey Belford

Some superstitious Indonesians are blaming a supposedly "unlucky" president -- and not shifting tectonic plates -- for the latest earthquake in this disaster-prone country.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, popularly known by his initials SBY, has long been burdened by murmurs that he carries with him the shadow of cosmic misfortune.

A string of disasters both natural and man-made since his election in 2004, including the Indian Ocean tsunami that killed 220,000 across Asia, has seen quips that SBY stands for "Selalu Bencana Ya", roughly meaning "Always A Disaster".

"SBY, because of his birth date, will always attract disasters to this country, according to the Primbon (a Javanese almanac of mysticism)" Permadi, a veteran politician from the opposition Gerindra party and practising shaman, told AFP.

"Just look at the numbers of his birth date -- the ninth of the ninth, '49 -- that's unlucky. The more he holds on to power, the more great disasters will happen," he said.

If Yudhoyono stays president, "a much bigger disaster will strike Jakarta for sure," Permadi said, referring to the Indonesian capital.

"If SBY had a big heart, he would step down."

Not everyone believes this theory -- and many see SBY's birthday as enviably lucky -- but such talk of supernatural misfortune has deep resonance in Indonesia, where Islam and Christianity are for many merged with older traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism and animism….click here for full story by AFP.

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