Culture dictates dating a no-go yet Indonesians looking online for love – The Australian

Culture dictates dating a no-go yet Indonesians looking online for love – The Australian

Lian chats with her date Tom at a coffee shop in Jakarta. Picture: Ed Wray
Lian chats with her date Tom at a coffee shop in Jakarta. Picture: Ed Wray

Cooped up in her South Jakarta apartment, working from home amid a pandemic that has brought her social life to a screaming halt, Anisa did something this year she will never admit to publicly — she downloaded a dating app.

The 35-year-old public servant, an observant Muslim who wears a hijab, says she did so primarily to find someone “who could hold a conversation”, notwithstanding the likely judgment from family and friends.

“Whatever my intentions in using the app, people would judge me and think I’m part of the hook-up culture,” she told The Australian in a Zoom meeting with her boyfriend Andi, a single dad and architect whom her family ­believes she met through friends.

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The two had been “chatting” for months online before finally arranging a meeting in her apartment lobby, and are now dating exclusively.

Says Andi: “Before this, I used Tinder to meet people for meals and to go to the movies with (but) with the pandemic we have all had more time to be at home, to talk and build connections. I’m more receptive to the idea of just dating one person because of the current times.”

With Indonesia’s COVID-19 caseload now more than half a million, and Jakarta experiencing another infection
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