Miss Indonesia linked to sex cult

A fresh storm is brewing around controversial Miss Indonesia 2009 Kerenina Sunny Halim.
The 23-year-old beauty has admitted that she is a member of The Family International, a “non-governmental-organisation” for which she did humanitarian work in Aceh after the Asian tsunami in 2004. Kerenina, whose American mother and Indonesian father were members, was born into the organisation.

Kerenina, who holds six diplomas – in public relations; sales and marketing; primary school teaching; economics; performing arts; and music and art – won the competition over two other finalists, Viviane (from Bali) and Melati Putri Kusuma Dewi (West Sulawesi). Kerenina impressed the judges with her fluent English, and was considered to meet the contest’s criteria of MISS (Manners, Impressive, Smart and Social).

The Family International is the modern day spawn of The Children of God – and admits as much on its website. The name was changed in the 1980s after negative publicity forced it “underground”.

Founded in California in 1968 by David Brandt Berg, The Children of God was a counter-culture evangelical group with a foundation of biblical fundamentalism – and bonking.

Berg, who was also addressed as “Moses”, “Chairman Mo” or “Dad”, preached free love to his followers, to the extent that females were encouraged to go into the world and engage in “flirty-fishing” of men: essentially to use sex to proselytise, according to the Mail & Guardian Online.

The now deceased Berg has been described as “a self-professed prophet who was an alcoholic, incestuous, paedophile” by Perry Bulwer, a Canadian lawyer and blogger who “escaped” the cult in 1991.

Kerenina, who was crowned Miss Indonesia on June 6, was in South Africa for the Miss World finals which ended Saturday.

At that time, she sparked controversy because of her poor ability to speak Indonesian although her fluent English has amazed many people.

On the final night of the Miss Indonesia pageant, Kerenina, the girlfriend of actor Nino Fernandez, needed a translator to help her understand the judges’ questions.

Kerenina had admitted then that this was a weakness and promised to improve her Indonesian language skills.

“It’s been hard for me to speak Indonesian because I use English every day,” she had said. “But I will learn. Indonesian is an easy language, as long as we’re willing to learn.”

According to the Jakarta Post, Kerenina’s brother, actor Steve Emmanuel (now Yusuf Iman), revealed that his sister was not exposed to Indonesian as a child because she didn’t go to a formal school. “She was with homeschooling,” Steve said. “She barely uses Indonesian at home, and doesn’t go out often so she can’t practise Indonesian.”


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