The mid to late 90’s saw the birth of Punk in Indonesia, this movement was a anti-authoritarianism move by young Indonesians during the final years of the ruthless and brutal dictatorship by President Suharto that lasted 32 years.
This gave more and more people the motivation see the world through their own eyes, not the politicians. Looking with intelligence and having the blueprint to fight the system, this allowed the Indonesians to respond to their own political, social and economic realities. Lama hidup revolusi!
Punk, is an ideology, a form of expression and fashion, and to the punks its a way of life, it is life. Punks are free, they strongly believe in anti-establishment, anti-authoritarianism, non-conformity and not selling out.
Tight black ripped jeans, leather, tattoos, piercings, mohawks, and studs, these are ways that punks express themselves, no matter how old they are.
Indonesia has one of the largest punk scenes in the world, this is at no surprise, as punk culture is about being anti-conformity. In 2011, Indonesian officials arrested over 60 punks without charge. They were then forced into a a week and a half moral re-education camp, or put more simply, to brain wash them into conformity. As a result, punks do what punks do, as they are anti-authoritarianism, and the punks numbers grew into one of the largest in the world.
However, the tattoos that the Punks associate with are also associated with another group, criminals. Because of this Punks are often not welcome in some public places, including living in many neighborhoods. This has led to some escalated circumstances, with some Punks becoming scared and paranoid, even removing tattoos with razor blades and caustic soda.
This has never stopped the punks though, being independent, punk has never followed the system, it has always found its own way. Punks have taken to the underground and the street scene, “If you want to see street punk in Indonesia with your own eyes, you can come here and you’ll see it. Street punk means: living on the street, surviving on the street, fighting in the street, getting drunk on the street, sometimes having sex on the street.”
Punk has an open mind, this does not sit very well with the Indonesian government, they see this as a threat. The Indonesian government has a reputation of being corrupt even with the new president of Joko Widodo being around. It seems as though the Punks are one of the few groups fighting for a voice. Lama hidup revolusi!
DW 2015, Indonesias punk scene rocks on, viewed 26 April 2015,
New Yorker 2013, Pari, viewed 26 April 2015,
Punks Not Dead 2014, audio recording, Australian Broadcasting Cimmission,
Razorcake 2015, One punks travel guide to Indonesia, viewed 26 April 2015,