Generation X in Indonesia
"Indonesia’s Generation DIY"
"The term “Generation X” was never in widespread circulation in Indonesia. In the early 1990s, when America’s middle-class were facing an economic and existential crisis, poised, it seemed, to be the first generation of Americans to live a less prosperous lifestyle than their parents, Indonesia’s middle-class was in the thick of expansion. President Suharto, in power from 1965 to 1998, opened up Indonesia’s economy as never before, lowering restrictions on trade, and transitioning the Southeast Asian nation from a largely agricultural base to a largely industrial one. The new middle-class popped up in the urban centers of Indonesia to market, manage, and maintain the expanding industrial sector. Their newfound wealth, however, was not fated to last. In 1997, the value of the Thai currency collapsed, sending shockwaves throughout the Asian Pacific region. Many middle-class Indonesians felt the blow. Banks went under. Fortunes were lost. Newly established specialty boutiques closed their doors. Young Indonesian urbanites could no longer afford the lifestyle to which they had recently become accustomed.
There were numerous ways in which the new middle-class responded to this crisis. They pooled their resources, shared access to media, found pirated equivalents to the clothing brands they used to wear, and did what they could to maintain an increasingly tenuous grip on middle-class culture as they understood it. But a certain portion of the young, educated, and urban, those disaffected middle-class youth whose consumer tendencies ran more towards punk, hardcore, and metal than the pop culture schlock on Indonesian national television, adopted a different tack. Rather than depend on chain stores and knock-offs to maintain their alt culture lifestyle, they started making their own stuff, launching their own skate and punk-influenced clothing lines, founding their own magazines and record labels. Over the course of the first decade of the new millennium, they forged an archipelago-wide network of bands and brands, with a conception of youth and modernity modeled more on the imported alienation of America’s Generation X than the conspicuous consumption of Asia’s rising elite.
But “Generation X” isn’t the right term for this group. They had little of the cynicism for which Gen X is so famous in the United States, weren’t steeped in ironic kitsch or celebrative of pop culture excess. These were idealists, creative young entrepreneurs working to forge a new path for Indonesia, one just as critical as consumerist. They took part in the massive protests against the Suharto regime, helped topple his New Order government that had so long restricted their access to information and their rights to personal expression. A better term for them might be “Generation DIY.” They brought the punk ethos to Indonesia and made it into a blueprint for an alternative Indonesian future."
~ Brent Luvaas, Excerpt from Generation X Goes Global
"Rap in Indonesian Youth Music of the 1990s: 'Globalization,' 'Outlaw Genres,' and Social Protest"
by Michael Bodd
Asian Music, Vol. 36, Nr. 2, Summer/Fall 2005 pages 1-26
Genres like rap and punk "serve as weapons of social protest and/or as expressions of a desire to create a new social space or even identities that flaunts its difference from or rejection of the kinds of social identities and behaviour authorized by an authoritarian government and the dominant social groups of society. The possibilities of this deployment are particularly germane to situations, such as that in Indonesia, in which the regime in power seeks to engineer modern culture while also, in order to aid in its pursuit of comprehensive control over all aspects of society, endeavoring to monopolize authority to determine the practice and meaning of 'traditional' culture" (1)
Brent Luvaas. Assistant Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Culture and Communication at Drexel University. His work, on DIY and independent media production in the United States and Indonesia has been published in Cultural Anthropology, Visual Anthropology Review, Inside Indonesia, and The International Journal of Cultural Studies. His first book, DIY Style: Fashion, Music, and Global Digital Cultures, will be released by Berg Publishers in September of 2012.
From "Rap in Indonesian Youth Music":
"The drummer in a Balinese punk group, Superman is Dead, told Baulch:
'Our punk is about an anti-establishment attitude that's communicated musically with a letting go, anything goes kind of approach Bodden 11)
Song "Bebas" from 1993 album Topeng (Mask) by rap singer Iwa-K:
"Let's leave it all behind
Just leave all your problems behind
For a moment our time is ours for freeing our thoughts
And let them go
Let them fly till they float up through the clouds.
For the time being leave behind all the riles
Which sometimes tie us down too tightly.
And without reason..." (Bodden 11)
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