Asia

Indonesian policeman who became internet hit is sacked

Norman Kamaru dancing in April 2011
Image caption Mr Kamaru says he is relieved to be leaving the police

An Indonesian policeman who became an internet sensation when he was filmed singing and dancing in uniform has been sacked after failing to go to work.

Norman Kamaru was absent from work for several months.

The video of him miming and shimmying to a Bollywood hit went viral on YouTube in April and attracted legions of fans.

He appeared on Indonesian TV talk shows and was seen as helping improve the police's poor image.

The BBC's Karishma Vaswani in Jakarta says that once his video was uploaded to Youtube it quickly became one of the most watched in the country, also turning into one of the top trending items on the social networking site Twitter.

His prolonged absence came after he won a record deal. He has now been dishonourably discharged from his job, in which he earned about $100 a month.

The 26-year-old now says that he wants to give singing "a real shot" and is not afraid of failure.

Correspondents say that does not appear an option with a $100,000 music deal under his belt after a video of him trying to lift the spirits of a heartbroken colleague by shimmying and lip-synching to the Bollywood hit Chaiyya Chaiyya went viral in April.

Initially the top brass was furious about his antics, insisting that he was bound to a 10-year contract.

But their attitude changed when the public rallied to support the officer from the dusty police outpost of Gorontalo and they have now allowed him to be unceremoniously sacked.

Mr Kamaru, now sporting a pierced tongue, said it was a relief to discard his khaki uniform.

"I always had to behave," he told the English-language Jakarta Post, dressed casually in jeans, a T-shirt and a jacket, while waiting to appear on a TV talk show.

"I feel free dressing like this. I feel comfortable."

Not everyone believes he is making a career move for the better, however.

"He may think that his new career is much better than being a policeman, but he's mistaken," National Police spokesman Saud Usman Nasution told the AFP news agency.