The Indonesian punk scene has taken its aesthetic, music and attitudes from the British punk scene of the seventies. You can find kids in Indonesia sporting Sex Pistols shirts with tattoos, piercings and unconventional hairstyles. These superficial attributes are just a small piece of the picture. The punk movement is a reaction to its social and political context and this allows the Indonesian punk subculture its own intentions, outcomes and purpose (Webb, I. 2013). The movement goes beyond its anarchy stereotype and has created a supportive community for the large number of children facing homelessness. It also addresses and re-educates the wider community on the negative connotation associated with the punk subculture (Haska, H. 2005).
The punk band Marjinal and their collective Taring Babi have fought back against the discrimination towards Indonesian punks. The collective contracted a house in the Kampung Setiabudi in Srengsenawah and were met with fear and rejection. Families previously living within the Kampung attempted to have the scruffy haired, tattooed punks removed from the area. Instead the Marjinal punks were awarded a three months probation period. True to punk and Taring Babi philosophy they responded to these negative stereotypes through their art, design and music. The group became as transparent as possible to the community, opening their doors and creating their art works on the front lawn. Through creative expression they were able to communicate their ideals and begin breaking down the stigmas heavily affecting their social standing (Haska, H. 2005).
The collective continues to address the criminal connotation associated with tattoos, demonstrating through their friendly nature and positive presence in the community the out-dated nature of this stereotype. The music created by band Marjinal questions the political, environmental and social landscape of the country. Intending to educate and empower listeners of punks’ intention and question their own roles within society (Punks Vs. Sharia, 2014).
Furthermore the movement has created a community and identity for children living on the streets. The punk subculture fosters skills and knowledge for street kids that would otherwise not be available. These skill sets empower the children while perpetuating the movement itself (Munn. K, 2014). The DIY philosophy intrinsic to the punk movement in a global sense enables a person from any situation to be included, and this remains an integral part of the Indonesian punk subculture (Webb, I. 2013,). The art and design created through this movement is a reflection of the political and social landscape in which it inhabits.
Haska, H. 2005, Marginal and Tattooed, online magazine, Inside Indonesia, Indonesia, viewed 27th April 2015 <http://www.insideindonesia.org/marginal-and-tattooed>
Munn. K, 2014, Indonesia’s radical underground punk scene, ABC, Australia, broadcast 28th November 2014, viewed 16th April 2015, <://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/rn/podcast/2014/11/tsy_20141130_1005.mp3>
Punks Vs. Sharia, 2014, video recording, Vice Media Inc, Indonesia, viewed 16th April 2015 <http://www.vice.com/en_uk/video/punk-vs-sharia>
Webb, I. 2013, The Filth and the Fury: how punk changed everything, online magazine, The Independent, viewed 26th April 2015 <http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/features/the-filth-and-the-fury-how-punk-changed-everything-8591618.html>