Post A: Marjinal – Indonesia’s Punk Activists.

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).

Punk Band Marjinal. (image sourced:
Punk Band Marjinal. (image sourced:

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).

'Tattoos are not criminal!'- Marjinal Punk Collective (Image sourced:
‘Tattoos are not criminal!’- Marjinal Punk Collective (Image sourced:

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 <>

Munn. K, 2014, Indonesia’s radical underground punk scene, ABC, Australia, broadcast 28th November 2014, viewed 16th April 2015, <://>

Punks Vs. Sharia, 2014, video recording, Vice Media Inc, Indonesia, viewed 16th April 2015 <>

Webb, I. 2013, The Filth and the Fury: how punk changed everything, online magazine, The Independent, viewed 26th April 2015 <>

Post B: Paul Ketz Recycling Initiative.

Germany is among the most efficient recyclers worldwide with approximately 70% of their generated waste being successfully reused or recycled. Attributed to the success of Germanys recycling rates is the ‘bottle deposit system’ (Look, M. 2014). This sees an initial deposit paid for glass or plastic bottles that can be reimbursed on their return. Each returned bottle earns the consumer 8-25 cents while ensuring the raw materials from the container can be appropriately recycled (Nasman, C. 2014b).

Paul Ketz 'Ring Deposit' (Image sourced:
Paul Ketz ‘Ring Deposit’ (Image sourced:

Paul Ketz, a young product designer from Cologne, has created a steel ring that attaches to pre existing trash cans. This allows for bottles to be held on the outer edge of the bin as opposed to thrown in (. This simple yet hugely impactful design addresses a number of social and environmental issues faced in an urbanised space.

It’s easy to understand recycling on a global scale as favoring the developed. We see countries with lower socioeconomic status dealing with immense quantities of landfill and pollution, created primarily in developed countries. Less apparent is the hierarchal implications of a scheme such as the bottle deposit system. The revenue earned on returned bottles primarily appeals to those citizens facing unemployment or homelessness. Paul Ketz’s bottle collector allows for people to partake in this system, which efficiently contributes to recycling, while eliminating much of the health risk and stigma. It is safer and more socially acceptable to see a person collecting bottles from the collector ring as opposed to digging through trash. More importantly it eliminates the health risks present when looking through garbage that may contain broken glass, syringes or hazardous waste (Nasman, C. 2014a).

Paul Ketz was disheartened by the sight of people sifting through trash and so began work on the bottle collector. Starting as a school project the impact of this simple idea was quickly realised (Nasman, C. 2014a). Local politician Andres Putkin stepped in to help create funding for the project, enlisting financial aid of businesses in the club district of Cologne. The bottle collectors were soon implemented on ten bins in busy areas. The success of this design in the Cologne area has seen a call for nation wide implementation of the bottle collector (Nasman, C. 2014b). The ability to support recycling while empowering an underclass of citizens shows the depth of change considered design can have.


Ketz, P, 2012, Deposit Ring, Paul Ketz, viewed 21st April 2015 <;

Look, M. 2014, Trash Planet: Germany, Earth911, viewed 21st April 2015 <;

Nasman, C. 2014a, Inventor’s deposit ring puts change in a bottle, Deutsche Weile, Germnay , viewed 21st April 2015 <;

Nasman, C. 2014b, Generation Change: Inventor claims bottle deposits for needy, Deutsche Weile, Germnay , viewed 21st April 2015 <;

Mr. Bright, 2008, Deposit on Bottles in Germany, blog, Germany Lifestyle, Germany, viewed 21st April 2015 <;

POST A: Indonesian Culture and Street Art

(Indonesian Street Collective, 2015)
(Indonesian Street Collective, 2015)

Street art in Indonesia has matched global growth accelerating from 1990 – now. This was around the Raformasi period (LEE, D 2013), a time of economic crisis in the region, political chaos and bloody confrontations that led to the downfall of Soeharto’s 30 year reign.

Between 1998 and 2003 street art was largely more political, driven by the student movements and protests at this time. After the fall of Soeharto’s reign marked a new freedom of expression(LEE, D 2013), beginning a new era of creativity that would transformed Indonesia’s cultural scene, with cities such as Yogykarta becoming a hub for art, design and culture.(LEE, D 2013)


These days Yogyakarta is plastered with street art in many forms, whether socio-political or just for pure self expression just as most cities in the world are. But unlike most cities the freedom is more apparent , this is highlighted in an exhibition held from July to August in 2010, the Salihara gallery in South Jakarta, hosted an exhibition entitled Wall Street Arts. The exhibition featured seven artists from Indonesia and six artists from France. one of the most memorable moments was a mural painted on an overpass across the road from the South Jakarta’s prestigious Cilandak Town Square. The Mural was a collaborative project between French and Indonesian artists that was sanctioned off and protected by the local police while they defaced public property for the event. The french artists stunned compared to Paris where they are hunted and hold marginal positions in French society. They were to see to the spatial and cultural openness that Indonesian street artists enjoy. (LEE, D 2013)


Popo one of the most prolific street artists in Indonesia believe that “any graffiti, from the most primitive signature to the highly elaborate tags that follow global graffiti styles and conventions, could be considered street art as long as there is a discernible aesthetic to it. One does not have to be an artist to make street art. Anyone can do it.”  For these events many gatherings occur throughout the year, with many gatherings of youth’s sticking together and forming groups such as the Anti Tank Project, most of which talk about political issues in their everyday life(MOCA, 2013,). Community is a a major part of the street culture, with most of them meeting online, or through websites and facebook groups such as the indonesian street collective.


Apart from the local youth culture and street “artists” like POPO, Indonesian street art also has commercial aspect to it on a global scale. An artists who demonstrates this is Eko Nugroho a Post Raformasi artist who mixes pop influences with Indonesian Motifs, touching on issues of identity and democracy(Kolesnikov-Jessop, Sonia. ) much like the work of Camille Rose Garcia an American artists who uses Disney inspired pop culture references to make social commentary.


Nugroho-  ”I like strong visuals. I’ve never used such strong colors before, sometime they are hurting the eyes, but the underlying idea is still about democracy and the freedom,” (Kolesnikov-Jessop, Sonia.)


Nugroho has collaborated with some major artists around the world, but one project that stands out to me is the collaboration between Nugroho and Luis Vuitton where the creature portrayed on this scarf is “a compilation of the democratic idea’s in Indonesia, colorful and complicated, a symbol of today’s society,” Mr. Nugroho said in a recent interview in Singapore. ”Our democracy is still very young, not fixed yet.”  and to put those political views into the world stage is a mighty feat.(Kolesnikov-Jessop, Sonia. )

(Hamdani,S, 2013)
(Hamdani,S, 2013)


I have only touched the surface of street art and the growing freedom and popularity of it in Indonesian culture, but am very interested in how it shows the development of a free and artistic nation.


Indonesian Stret Art Database, 2015, Viewed 30th April 2015 <>

LEE, D 2013, ”Anybody Can Do It’: Aesthetic Empowerment, Urban Citizenship, and the Naturalization of Indonesian Graffiti and Street Art’, City & Society, vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 304-327. Available from: 10.1111/ciso.12024. [28th april 2015].

MOCA, 2013, “Global Street Art – Jogja – Art In The Streets – MOCAtv”, Viewed 27th, April 2015, <>

Kolesnikov-Jessop, Sonia. “Street Artist Mixes Pop With Motifs of Indonesia.” New York Times 18 Sept. 2013: NA(L). Expanded Academic ASAP, Viewed 28th may 2015 <>

HamdaniS, 2013, “Louis Vuitton Draws on Indonesian Artistic Talent”, viewed 28th April 2015, <;


Post D: Punks Fight For Freedom.

The arrest of sixty four punks attending a benefit gig in December 2011 bought global attention to one of the biggest and most politicised punk scenes in the world (Munn. K, 2014). To identify in the punk subculture means to dress, act and fashion your body in a particular way. For Indonesians the consequence of this identity holds a uniquely heavy burden. The current and historical turmoil between citizens and the governing power has redefined what it means to be a punk within an Indonesian context (MacDougall. J, 2015).

Sixty four punks arrested while attending a gig in Aceh. (Image sourced:
Sixty four punks arrested while attending a gig in Aceh. (Image sourced:

The Petrus executions of the mid eighties saw suspected criminals violently killed without warning. Former president Suharto ordered the murders of suspected criminals, regardless and irrelevant of actual guilt. Tattoos held a strong association to criminal involvement and often served as an indicator for Petrus victims. The fear drove some to remove tattoos from their skin with razor blades, hot irons and caustic soda. The implications of this horrific time means those displaying tattoos are still linked to criminal involvement and fear.

The social disorder evident through President Suharto’s brutal dictatorship created a perfect landscape for the punk subculture to manifest. We can see this dynamic in more recent punk arrests. Sixty-four men were arrested while attending a punk gig in Aceh, a fiercely religious province within Indonesia. Aceh operates under Sharia Law that encompasses all aspects of day-to-day life. The contrasts in religious compliance and punks anti-authority nature saw people who identified as punk labeled a ‘Social Disease’. In the hope of gaining popularity by mainstream citizens the government arrested sixty four punks during a benefit gig. They were detained without charge for ten days. During their detention the prisoners had their clothes burnt and heads shaved. They were forced to wear military uniforms and participate in military training. The detention was said to be ‘moral rehabilitation’ against the punk way of life. Prisoners were exposed to brutal beatings and striped of their freedoms and punk identities. This stunt by the government saw a global backlash as the Aceh arrests made headlines across the world. Punks took to the streets across Asia, Europe and North America in support of the prisoners and Indonesian’s rights to participate in the punk way of life (Munn. K, 2014).

Indonesian Punks. (Image sourced:
Indonesian Punks. (Image sourced:

After a decade of violence, oppression and protest within the context of a low socioeconomically situated country the punk subculture reached its peak. In 1998 President Suharto was put out of power attributed partly to the pressure created by young people participating in the punk movement (MacDougall. J, 2015).

This movement has allowed Indonesian citizens a platform and means to fight back against the violent and oppressive nature of their political landscape. This stand has come at a huge risk to their safety and social acceptance, however highlighted in this is the gravity of what they have been fighting for.


MacDougall. J, 2015, Jackarta preman report for ICG, online research papers,, viewed 16th April 2016, <>

Munn. K, 2014, Indonesia’s radical underground punk scene, ABC, Australia, viewed 16th April 2015, <>

Munn. K, 2014, Indonesia’s radical underground punk scene, ABC, Australia, broadcast 28th November 2014, viewed 16th April 2015, <://>

Punks Vs. Sharia, 2014, video recording, Vice Media Inc, Indonesia, viewed 16th April 2015 <>

Post C: Interview with Lawrencia Noerdjaja on ‘The Indonesian Night Markets’.

The PPIA UNSW (Perhimpunan Pelajar Indonesia Australia or Indonesian Student Association) is a university run organisation that aims to unite Indonesian students studying in Australia. On the 27th of April they held their largest event of the year, the ‘Indonesian Night Markets’.

On arriving at the markets you are immediately hit with a buzz of people, music and smells. Traditional Indonesian cuisine is on offer at over a dozen food vendors. Steaming bowls of curry, deliciously gooey rice desserts and sizzling barbeques will have you spoilt for choice. The entertainment includes authentic Indonesian dance, music, games and poetry readings, alongside live art and fashion displays.

Imagery from the Indonesian Night Markets. Photographed and edited by Freya Orford-Dunne, 2015.
The Indonesian Night Markets. (Photographed and edited by Freya Orford-Dunne, 2015.)

I was fortunate enough to chat with the event coordinator, Lawrencia Noerdjaja, and gain some insight into the role of the PPIA UNSW community and this spectacular event.

Are you primarily involved in the PPIA UNSW community, or do participate in the larger PPIA community (nation-wide) as well?

Personally, I’ve just join PPIA UNSW, but some of our members are also involved in PPIA NSW.

What is the main purpose of the PPIA UNSW group and do you feel it effectively assimilates Indonesian students into the Australian university community in the broader sense?

Our vision is to increase the solidarity among our members and other Indonesian societies, as well as introduce the diversity of Indonesian culture to Australia. We help our members, especially new students, to adapt to the new environment by sharing our studying experience in Australia or through our events.

Are the members of PPIA UNSW primarily born in Indonesia and have moved to Australia or are they Australian born with Indonesian heritage?


What aspects of Indonesian culture are you hoping to showcase at the night markets?

The Indonesian Night Market is our major annual event, every year we focus on one aspect of Indonesian culture. This year “Alun Alun” emphasises the beauty of street life in Indonesia. As we know, the street life in Indonesia is very unique; you can find anything there, from authentic Indonesian performances to mouth-watering food that can’t be beat by a five-star restaurant.

What does your role for the Night Markets entail? Do you have any specific experience that has influenced the organisation of this event?

 I am the event coordinator of this event. Basically, I manage all on-stage and off-stage performances such as the murals or live performance. I have also handled several PPIA UNSW events such as Indonesian Independence Day celebration, we called it ‘Indopendence’, as an event coordinator.

How many people are involved in the organisation/running of the event, how many years has it been running and how many people are you expecting to attend?

“Alun – Alun” has 26 committees and 3 project advisors. However, the event wouldn’t be a success without the help of our volunteers. We have more than 100 people volunteer their time to help with the markets. This is our fifth Indonesian Night Market and we are expecting 5000 peoples to come to enjoy our events.

What are they main reasons for holding the ‘Indonesian Night Markets’? 

The Indonesian Night Markets are held to share Indonesian food and culture with all Indonesian people who live in Australia as well as to introduce it to foreign citizens.

Imagery from the Indonesian Night Markets. Photographed and edited by Freya Orford-Dunne, 2015.
The Indonesian Night Markets. (Photographed and edited by Freya Orford-Dunne, 2015.)

Lawrencia and her colleague’s goal to share aspects of Indonesian culture with the Australian community were filled with passion and sincerity. I would like to thank her and the wider PPIA UNSW community for providing us with a taste of their wondrous Indonesian street culture!

POST D: Transvestites ‘Warias’ in Indonesia

Within Indonesian culture, some aspects are not deemed as ‘diterima’ or acceptable in certain societies. Transvestites ‘Warias’ are considered outcasts and are often looked down upon by the Indonesian Islamic society. Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world, with about 86% of Javanese people being practicing Muslims. Although Javanese culture is seen as quite open and laid back, Islamic law still disapproves of people, like Warias, who choose to divert themselves from the accepted norm (Brooks, 2012). Due to their decision to divert themselves from the accepted norm, Warias are not welcome to joined Islamic schools, where Islamic prayer and rituals are practiced (Brooks, 2012). It is due to this diversity that Warias are often outcast by their families, schools and other Islamic organisations or communities which they may be a part of. In attempt to address these issues and give Warias a safe place to worship and practice their culture and beliefs, an Islamic Boarding School for Javanese transvestites called Senin-Kamis School was abolished (Brooks, 2012). Run by Maryani, a 50-year-old transvestite, this school is not only a place of worship and learning, but a place where Warias are accepted and comfortable to be themselves without fear of being judged or belittled (Brooks, 2012).

Maryani and other Warias praying in Senin-Kamis (Photo courtesy of Terje Toomistu, 2011)

Most Warias in Indonesia are prone to violence and poverty, meaning, in most instances, they are unable to get a respectable, high paying job, instead their “job opportunities are generally limited to prostitution, working as street entertainers, working in beauty salons, acting on television or playing caricatures of themselves” (Brooks, n.d.). According to Advocacy Group Lembaga Swadaya Masyarakat Keluarga Besar Waria Yogyakarta (LSM Kebaya) “16% of Warias work as street performers,  47% as sex workers with a minimal 1% of Warias being teachers or college students” (Putri, 2014). With their vibrant voices and their love for Javanese romance songs, Waria street performers perform on streets and at traffic intersections for money. Through both the kind and disrespectful people whom they meet on a daily basis, they tend make 80,000 rupiah ($9) on a good day (Brooks, n.d.).

Two Warias who work as street entertainers to earn money (Photo courtesy of Oliver Purser, 2012)

Maryani mentions that Warias will be able “to blend in and be accepted into society” (Maryani, 2012) but this serves as an obstacle for them as they are constantly glared at and mocked by people of society. Even with such negativity around them, Warias still believe that God is the only one who is able to be judge them and through their belief, “influence their peers to worship God” (Brooks, 2012). Many Warias, like Maryani, hope to be able to live their life accepted in their society and culture, “like a normal woman would” (Maryani, 2012). Reference: Brooks, H, 2012, Vice Guide to Travel: The Warias, VICE, Documentary (YouTube), viewed 27 April 2015, <; Brooks, H, 2012, Warias, Come out and Plaaayayay: Muslim Indonesian Transvestites are Persecuted but Beautiful, VICE, viewed 28 April 2015, <; Dominguez, D, 2011, Waria:The Lives, Struggle & Issues raised by Yogyakarta’s Transgender Community,, viewed 28 April 2015, <; Putri, D, 2014, Talk to Her: Waria in Indonesia, SPARKsummit, viewed 29 April 2015, <;

Post D: The Warias

Interestingly, Indonesia has the largest Muslim population of any country in the world. Islam has spread through the archipelago since the thirteenth century, mainly through trade routes that linked coastal communities to each other [Boellstorff, 2005]. The dominance of this religion in Indonesia plays a major role in creating a sense of community, and Vice’s short documentary ‘Vice Guide to Travel: The Warias’ explores the way an Indonesian transsexual community in Java consolidates their strong religious beliefs with their gender identity.

Waria take a break from street performing
Waria take a break from street performing

[All photos by Oliver Purser, courtesy of]

Maryani is a transgender woman and devout Muslim, and the documentary recounts the hardships she and other Waria face. Waria (the Indonesian term for a transsexual) have for centuries been accepted as a third sex in Indonesian culture, though the rise of Islam has created prejudice within some parts of the community, which makes it difficult for Muslim Waria to embrace both their faith and identity. Islam only acknowledges two sexes – male and female – and it is difficult for Muslim Waria in Indonesia to find accepting places of worship as mosques are typically segregated by gender. In response to the difficulties she and other Muslim Waria’s face, Maryani created Senin-Kamis, an Islamic boarding school, which offers a safe and accepting place for Waria to practice their religion.


The documentary follows the day-to-day lives of the women in the boarding school, and delves into transgender issues in the context of a developing country. Many of the women make a living off of street performing or prostitution, and Maryani herself began working as a prostitute at 15, then worked her way up to owning her own beauty salon, something many Waria aspire to. She states “Everybody needs to make a living, some choose to be prostitutes, some become thieves, some become con-men. God will still bless them.” (Maryani, 2012). This attitude of acceptance is the basis of the Waria community, and creates an atmosphere where each woman can practice her faith and make a living in a tough environment without judgement from others or from God.

‘Tough’ may be an understatement, as viewers follow Maryani to a funeral of a fellow Waria woman who passed from HIV complications. There are no outward signs of mourning from any of the attendees, and it becomes clear this of not a rare event, with usually 4 Waria funerals taking place each month. Maryani warns of the dangers of the deceased’s lifestyle in a speech before the funeral procession. HIV is a major issue within the Waria community due to high rates of prostitution, lack of education, and lack of drugs to contain the virus.

Maryani and other Waria attend the funeral
Maryani and other Waria attend the funeral

Despite the tragedy of these events and the discrimination each Waria faces in her community, the smiling faces of each woman as they farewell the reporter with a Waria makeover shows the joy they have found within Senin-Kamis. The school truly allows them the freedom to embrace their true selves without fear of judgement or rejection, Maryani standing as a mother figure, ready to embrace any woman of God.


VICE, 2012, Indonesia’s Transsexual Muslims (Documentary), videorecording, Youtube, viewed 28 April 2015, < >

Boellstorff, T., 2005, ‘Between Religion and Desire: Being Muslim and Gay in Indonesia’, American Anthropologist, Vol. 107, no. 4, pp. 575 – 585.

Brooks, H., 2013, ‘Warias, Come Out and Plaaayayay’, VICE, viewed 28 April 2015, < >