Why I Married a Rice Cooker, and Then Divorced It

Inside the life of an Indonesian man who hammers it out as a construction worker by day and moonlights as a viral content creator.
Why I Married a Rice Cooker, and Then Divorced It
All photos courtesy of Khoirul Anam

In a hamlet in the heart of Central Java in Indonesia, a Philips rice cooker gets all hot and heavy. Next to it sits its newly married – and divorced – husband, looking at his ex-wife with a loving smile. 

On September 20, Khoirul Anam, a 29-year-old construction worker, got “married” to the contraption in a traditional wedding ceremony. His photos, holding his “wife” decked in a sheer white veil and kissing its perfectly round aluminium body, had gone viral. 


Four days after the wedding, he divorced “her,” again prompting a slew of amused reactions from people around the world.

Anam told VICE that it all started with a casual conversation with his friends. They were discussing the need for a “fair” bride, who was “also strong, obedient and quiet.” 

“I was holding a rice cooker during this conversation,” he said. “And it seemed just the right choice for the wife I wanted.”

The very next day, he put a ring on it. The make-believe marriage was an unassuming affair by all accounts. Only close friends attended the ceremony, a modest room was booked, and a photographer was asked to shoot the ceremony pro bono. Anam used his passport as proof of identity and dressed his “wife.” A priest, happy to be in on the joke, presided over the ceremony. 

However, the marriage was short-lived. It wasn’t perhaps as heartbreaking because the rice cooker couldn’t plead for alimony in a court of law, and other usual grounds for divorce did not hold either, be it cheating or desertion. 

In a series of now viral Facebook posts, Anam explained this “heavy and round” decision had to be taken because he “couldn’t handle the pressure,” and the cooker “only cooked rice efficiently and not vegetables.” 

“It was certainly for entertainment,” he confessed. “But I did it in all earnestness. If you can believe the pictures, no one in the ceremony laughed either. When content comes from the hinterlands of any country, the result is raw, unfiltered and bizarre in all the best possible ways.” 

Khoirul Anam seals the match made in heaven.jpg

Khoirul Anam seals the match made in heaven

This was not the first time Anam’s content has gone viral. Six months ago, he broke the internet over another silly stunt. In a Facebook post, he wrote about how he’d fixed nails to his motorcycle’s pillion seat to placate his jealous girlfriend, who apparently was not too happy with Anam giving rides to women.

riding pillion nails.jpg

A scene from the nails on pillion video

Anam, for his part, is more concerned with the democracy of viral content. His job entails working in quarries and chiselling boulders on construction sites for almost nine hours a day – something he has been doing since he was 18. And there are no weekend breaks. 

Despite producing a slew of viral content over the years, Anam said no Indonesian content creator has collaborated with him nor had he earned a single penny from these creations. After the backbreaking nine hours of cutting and loading bricks, he collects his thoughts and gets to work coming up with the most bizarre content. Sometimes, these ideating sessions stretch into the wee hours of the morning, giving him just enough time to get ready for another nine hours at a construction site. 

“The process is enriching in itself,” he said. “Once I have zeroed in on the idea, almost half the village collaborates with me to make it happen. Even for the cooker marriage stunt, one of my oldest friends shared his wedding clothes while another purchased a veil for my bride.”

Anam is a construction worker on daily wages.jpg

Anam is a construction worker by day and a content creator by night

“Now the important question is, whether a construction worker like me can go out of his way to create content,” he said. 

Anam, technically, is still single and always has been. He now wants to work towards producing content that might “aesthetically fit” the standards of millennials globally. 

“The hope is that one day, people will move beyond getting shocked by the bizarreness of it all, sit up and take notice that a construction worker from Java can also produce original, consistent viral content,” he said. “Perhaps then, I will have a mic, a green screen behind me, and comments in English?”

The interview has been translated from Bahasa and edited for clarity. 

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