Useful Notes / Indonesia

Bhinekka Tunggal Ika
"Unity in Diversity"
National Motto

Indonesia, officially known as The Republic of Indonesia (Indonesian: Republik Indonesia), is a collection of 17,508 islands located in Southeast Asia. With a population of about 230 million, it is the fourth most populous country in the world, beaten only by the USA, India and China.

Indonesia is one of those places almost completely unknown to Westerners (at least until the Twitter era) despite its many tourist spots, as well as a major role in world history. Australians are an exception to this, as both countries are (rather uneasy) neighbors, and likewise the Netherlands' colonial legacy has left enough Indonesians and Indonesian-born Eurasians in the larger Dutch cities to make a mark. Ever heard of Bali? It's one of Indonesia's many islands, and probably the only fairly popular one. You've also heard of the komodo dragon and orangutan, of course, both of which live in Indonesia. History buffs know about the Spice Islands, the source of cloves and other spices for which 16th-century explorers set sail — today they are known as the Maluku Islands. Krakatoa, the great volcano that erupted in 1883 and (theoretically) caused a near-extinction event long before that? In Indonesia. Java, source of the English slang for coffee (and a programming language)? An island in Indonesia. The obscurity in most of the West is partly because, until after World War II, the area was known as the East Indies (to be precise, Indonesia was the Dutch East Indies, Malaysia the British East Indies, the Philippines the Spanish East Indies, etc.). So "Indonesia" basically seemed to appear out of nowhere.note 

That being said, Indonesia also boasts a whole lot of resources. One of the so-called Wonders of the World, the Borobudur temple complex, is also located in Indonesia. Unfortunately for the residents, not many in the country seem to be able to manage them well... or to look beyond short-term profits.

Indonesia's major religion is Islam — it is in fact the largest Muslim-majority country in the world. Of course, it is by no means the sole religion: Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism are also prevalent, the latter more so in Bali. Interestingly enough, Indonesian Islam (outside Aceh Province) is almost a religion unto itself — while Indonesian Muslims make the Hajj and pray facing Mecca, they also combine their faith with indigenous traditions. The Ramayana is performed by Muslim wayang puppeteers, women and men pray in the same room (though not the same row), and a vast number of Indonesians believe in ghosts and spirits from their ethnic folklore. There have been grassroots movements to take up a more Middle Eastern-style Islam, which is considerably more restrictive, but these don't go too well with the general public due to human rights reasons, as well as consideration for non-Muslims.

As you can read here and the rest of this page, Indonesians aren't really positive about themselves. Then again, as the second paragraph can attest, most westerners don't know about Indonesia, let alone this page. So there's a good chance that you, reader, are Indonesian. But if not, you're warned. We are very fond of this kind of Self-Deprecation. Now let's continue...


Early History

The history of ancient Indonesia is still uncertain due to a scarcity of historical evidences, though what is known is that the Austronesian people began migrating to the archipelago en masse from Taiwan around 5000-2500 BC, displacing the dark-skinned natives who were pushed eastward to what is now New Guinea and its surrounding islands, now termed as "Melanesia" ("black islands"). The Austronesian people were famously maritime, being the only ancient people who expanded their territories into three continents and definitely had the farthest-reaching settlement before the European expansion; they conquered lands as eastward (westward?) as Easter Island and as westward as Madagascar. In the case of Madagascar, Indonesians certainly had the biggest hand in populating the island, as the language of that country, Malagasy, is related the closest to the Dayak languages in Southern Borneo; to this day, both the flags of Indonesia and Madagascar contain red and white colors, which are seen as reflecting this shared identity.

The indigenous faiths of the people are not known in their purest sense as the archipelago, with the exception of the eastern part, were already influenced by Hinduism and Buddhism since 300 AD with the existence of the Kutai Kingdom in Eastern Borneo and Tarumanagara Kingdom in Western Java. Hinduism and Buddhism, both dharmic religions, coexisted together, sometimes with peace, sometimes with hatred; this can be seen with the Buddhist Borodubur and Hindu Prambanan temples located not far away from each other. Major kingdoms existing include Mataram, who ruled from their Central Javan heartland before their sudden relocation to Eastern Java (possibly due to the eruption of Mount Merapi, basically Indonesia's answer to Vesuvius). There was also Srivijaya, a Buddhist kingdom centered on Sumatra (specifically, in Indonesia's oldest city, Palembang) and became the first to unite multiple islands together, including Peninsular Malaya. It was a major center for Buddhist culture, and it frequently exchanged students with China and India, the latter back when Buddhism was still popular there.

Golden Age - Hindu Kingdom/Empire

Indonesia's golden age, however, began with Singhasari Kingdom, founded by the ambitious and cunning Ken Arok, ex-bodyguard of Tunggul Ametung of Tumapel, all because he wanted his wife, Ken Dedes, rumored to give birth to great kings. Through trickery and Magnificent Bastardry, he killed Ametung with an enchanted kris knife (and Dedes approved because Ametung married her by force and kidnapping), changed Ametung's kingdom from Tumapel to Singhasari, and started his conquest of neighboring kingdoms. Sadly, his life was cut short due to the kris knife he used to kill Ametung being cursed by its creator Mpu Gandring to invoke a Cycle of Revenge, as Arok killed him out of impatience before he could bless it to protect it from evil spirits. The kris knife was used by Ametung's son Anusapati (already in Dedes' womb when Arok killed Ametung) to kill Arok. In return, Arok's son Panji Tohjaya later killed Anusapati with the same knife and then took over the throne. Anusapati's son and Ken Arok's grandchild, Ranggawuni and Mahisa Campaka, eventually rebelled and took down Tohjaya, and then ensured that the curse of Mpu Gandring ended that day, by having no more killing done with the kris knife.

Ranggawuni's successor Kertanagara continued to expand Singhasari's borders, and even humiliated the Mongols under Kublai Khan by refusing their demands of submission. The Mongols prepared from an assault, but around that time, a coup d'etat occured by Kediri's Duke Jayakatwang, costing Kertanegara's life. Thankfully, his son-in-law Raden Wijaya, survived. Raden Wijaya then used the Mongol's coming to take down Jayakatwang, and once Jayakatwang was down, Raden Wijaya drove off the Mongols away from Singhasari. Once he took the throne, he changed the name Singhasari to Majapahit, also changing it into an empire.

Raden Wijaya's successor Jayanegara turned out to be unpopular due to various reasons. However, his reign marked the debut of Gajah Mada, who'd soon go on to become the biggest badass of the empire. After the fall of Jayanegara and the rise of his successor, Queen Tribhuwana Wijayatunggadewi, Gajah Mada was appointed as Prime Minister, and then recited the now famous Sumpah Palapa: He's not gonna taste any spices or any earthly pleasures until he unified the archipelago. And he actually delivered. Under Gajah Mada, the Majapahit Empire started conquering the archipelago one by one, and if there's any rebellion from within the Empire, you can be assured that Gajah Mada is first in line to quell the rebellion. With Tribhuwana's successor, Hayam Wuruk, considered a wise and popular king, in tandem with Gajah Mada, the Majapahit entered its golden age.

It all came crashing down when Gajah Mada was being too eager to force the island-kingdom of Sunda, whose king's daughter, Dyah Pitaloka Citaresmi, was to be married to Hayam Wuruk, to submit to vassal status (and Pitaloka demoted from consort to concubine), causing Sunda to fight a grueling Last Stand/Curb-Stomp Battle that ended with Pitaloka being Driven to Suicide by their defeat. Gajah Mada took the blame, was exiled, and died in obscurity. note After Hayam Wuruk died, his successors got caught in many civil wars and thus weakened Majapahit's grip on the archipelago.

Muslim Era - Invasion of European Foreigners (mostly Dutch East Indies)

With Majapahit weakened, the archipelago began to shift from warring states into a more trade and tolerance-based approach, and at this point, the Muslim religion began to rise along with the sultanates of Mataram, Demak, Banten, etc. Wars still occured here and there, but they're less massive than those happening during the Hindu era. Of course, at this point, Indonesia's natural production of spices made it known to the Europeans, who dubbed it the 'Spice Islands'. Nations like Portugal, England and eventually the Netherlands, came to pay visit at first, but they eventually decided that Indonesia was too much of a valuable region with their spices and and wanted to colonize the archipelago.

Portugal was first, followed by the Dutch. But after few hundred years, England drove away the Dutch, and decided to be more conservative in their colonialism (the Dutch were very corrupt in their colonization), slightly winning the support of various kingdoms. It was around this time that a British man called Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles came to administrate Java and eventually in his honor, he would become the namesake of a huge corpse flower growing in Indonesia that we know as Rafflesia arnoldi. Just so.

Unfortunately, England left the archipelago and the Netherlands were once again dominant in colonization and the cruelty continued. Of course, various Sultanates did not take this kindly and they initiated a lot of rebellions for the freedom of the people. Even some noblewomen at that time had to give the middle finger to the Stay in the Kitchen culture and became Action Girl to oppose the Dutch. Unfortunately, the Dutch love their Divide and Conquer strategy and was always able to crush these rebellions with themnote . Later on, these kind of rebel leaders would be appointed as modern Indonesia's national heroes. On the bright side, though, even if their methods were cruel, the Dutch actually did a lot in modernizing the archipelago and even paved way for educational systems (of course at that time, only rich people and those who won the favor of the Dutch were allowed to enjoy such luxuries). For 342 years, the Dutch held their grip tightly in the archipelago.

But it's not like Indonesian just sit there and be subservient, even in the modernization age. A lot of intellectual people that came in this age decided that their homeland deserves better education, so we got several Dutch-taught people (such as Ki Hajar Dewantara) teaching Indonesian younger generations with what they got from the Dutch, and sometimes, writing books containing Take Thats against the Dutch rule. The Dutch wasn't pleased, but they couldn't curb this completely, so sometimes they just let it go. Bottom line, even as the age of war passed by, the struggle to reach freedom continued.

Perhaps one of the most influential of these intellectual figures around this age would be Raden Adjeng Kartini, who was fed up with how Indonesian women suffer with the Stay in the Kitchen trope so much that she founded a school for Indonesian girls and promoted women's emancipation rights in Indonesia. She would later become the best known female in Indonesian history, and the most influential one too; every women's rights could be reserved thanks to this lady.

World War II - Independence to New Order

Cue World War II. The Dutch/Netherlands, being an Allied nation, got Indonesia involved in the war, only to be driven away by Japan, ostensibly as an "eastern brother" coming to liberate the nation. Unfortunately, the takeover from Japan can be considered to be as harsh, or even worse than the Dutch did, so either way, Indonesia was still suffering big time. However, charismatic figures like Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta studied Japanese knowledge, then took advantage of Germany and Japan's weakening due to the US throwing nuclear missiles to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to declare Indonesia independent at the date August 17th 1945. The Dutch tried to reestablish their colony shortly after, following the Battle of Surabaya where Indonesia's fledgling army attacked British Forces for misunderstandings about disarmament of Japanese troops, but the United Nations told them to just cut it out and leave Indonesia alone. Cynically speaking, the decolonisation of Southeast Asia was in fact a containment measure against the Communists, and the leading independence movement was staunchly anti-communist already.

Building the nation was very hard for Indonesia. Sukarno's early stint included hostilities with Malaysia and even leaving the United Nations, due to favoring communism more compared to the more liberal UN and USA. Sukarno's public approval began to wane, even his loyal vice-president Hatta ended up resigning as he became unable to quell Sukarno's autocracy, which paved the way for the 30 September Movement, a rogue military group supposedly aligned with the PKI (Partai Komunis Indonesia; Communist Party of Indonesia, which led to one of the worst mass murders the world had ever seen. On September 30, 1965, the 30th September Movement kidnapped several pro-Sukarno generals (and a poor adjutant who just happened to be there); six were horribly mutilated and their corpses thrown into a well in Lubang Buaya on the outskirts of Jakarta.

One general, Abdul Harris Nasution, escaped and reported this to his superiors. Led by Suharto, the Army pinned the blame on the politically powerful PKI: members, suspected sympathizers, and in some cases their families, were rounded up, jailed, tortured and killed by the hundreds of thousands. Eventually, with its leaders dead and its members driven underground, the once-millions strong PKI was banned, and the incident is hushed up as a Communist takeover attempt. As this went on, Sukarno had lost even more support and the nation elected Suharto. His first attempt to usher in his regime, called "Orde Baru" (New Order), included mending the relationship with United Nations, Malaysia and adopting a more liberal stance. Along with that, Indonesia experienced a great deal of economic growth, and it looked like Indonesia would prosper Happily Ever After...

Or is it? In 32 years after the birth of Orde Baru, everything started falling into pieces.

Reformation Era - Present Day

As it turned out, Suharto was actually leading an iron-fisted, corrupt government, which lasted 32 years. What's that 'democracy' thing he promoted all those 32 years? Great propaganda to ensure that his dictatorship remained hidden, you know something was off that in every general election for presidency, it's always Suharto's party (Golkar) that won. But no one dared to point that out because any opposition would be stealthily silenced. The economic growth also turned out to be mired with corruption and depended on international debts, although Indonesia really enjoyed economic growth and stabilized from the chaos caused by Sukarno, Suharto was using a weak foundation to accommodate that, along with corruption, collusion and Nepotism (His son was pretty notorious for this. See below on why it ends up this way), and only a select few got to enjoy the growth and improvements, mostly concentrated on the capital Jakarta, while other regions were instead underdeveloped (and even then there were also a large group of poor people not 'taken care of' in Jakarta). When the 1997 Asian Economic Crisis hit, Indonesia obviously suffered big time.

Additionally, though it is still a topic of considerable contention in Indonesia (because discussing it is a criminal offense), it has come to knowledge that the 30 September Movement was a sort of False Flag Operation actually conducted... by the very military it was supposed to have targeted. In a failed coup, blame was shifted to the communists, leading to the massacre (generally estimated from 500,000 to 1 million dead). Special point was taken to remind the population afterwards that only the communists (and absolutely none from the army) are to blame through the education system. In actuality, the plotters were mostly army officers (and did include some communist officers). And since all the communists were dead anyway, it worked relatively well.

College students demanded Suharto to step down, which resulted in another tragedy when, on May 12, 1998, snipers killed four Trisakti University students. Mass demonstrations flared up into riots, targeting police offices and cats before turning to Chinese Indonesians (which general consensus claims to stem from jealousy over how they managed to survive the crisis relatively unscathed, in contrast to most other ethnic groups), devolving into an orgy of murder, rape and pillage that forced most Chinese Indonesians to flee. To quell the chaos, Suharto had no choice but to immediately step down, replaced by his vice-president Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie. In the aftermath, Suharto's horrid methods in building up Indonesia, such as the invasion of East Timor, the PKI massacre, and discrimination against Chinese Indonesians became exposed, and he ended up being demonized by his own country and even the world, being put on the same level as other corrupt rulers like Ferdinand Marcos from nearby Philippines. Investigations revealed that he had amassed illicit wealth that dwarfed any other corrupt leaders at the time. Although, per the Indonesian culture even after his fall, when he died, they still had enough decency to mourn for his death instead of ridiculing him. After all, corruption or not, he still managed to make Indonesia stand strong for about 32 years.

Suharto's fall marked the beginning of Indonesia's reformation, which has a heavy emphasis on democracy. It still struggles to maintain itself, because people's opinions still strongly affect leaders. The presidency is no longer an office which is held for very long, with most occupants lasting for a single five-year term. On the 1999 elections, Habibie stepped down in favor of Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid, with Sukarno's daughter Megawati Sukarnoputri as the vice president. Megawati herself succeeded Abdurrahman, with Hamzah Haz as vice president. The winner of the next election was Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, better known with just his acronym SBY, along with Jusuf Kalla, and surprisingly, SBY won the next one, except at that time, he switched Kalla with Boediono. Due to the new law that a president cannot win more than two consecutive election, SBY had to stand down, but Kalla is still eligible for vice-presidency, and so, he, along with that-time governor of Jakarta, Joko Widodo (Jokowi), went on to win the election, of course Kalla is still vice president.

However, Democracy Is Flawed. Thanks to Indonesia's rather poor foundation left behind by Suharto, they might not be that prepared with their democracy, with how economy is still plummeting and overall people are quick to lose trust to governments (it doesn't matter who's in charge: Gus Dur, Megawati, SBY, Jokowi, all of them have their shares of supporters and very loud detractors that would call them corrupt, whatever it is they do.) due to many unfulfilled promises, the poor still largely untaken care of, causing a lot of demonstrations and the normal people usually living in fear of riots of other, poorer normal people, and above all else, corruption still at large.

Welcome to Indonesia today, folks.

Trivia and information about Indonesia

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    Geography and Nature 
  • Popular tourist destinations include:
    • Bali, the island east of Java that is easily more well-known than the country itself. It boasts beautiful beaches and various cultural attractions (most of the island is Hindu). However, it also has several cases of STD, so wear a condom! It was also the target of a 2002 bombing by the terrorist group Jamaah Islamiyah, which killed 200+ people, mostly Australian tourists. With how it came just a year after 9/11, western tourists predictably stayed away from Bali for a while, though recent years have seen numbers rising to pre-2002 level.
    • Bunaken reefs, off the coast of Manado, north Sulawesi/Celebes. It's the only place other than Madagascar where the Coelacanth is found (discovered by foreigners in the nineties, locals call it "raja laut" (king of the sea)). Explosive fishing, however, has damaged the reefs.
    • Raja Ampat (Four Kings) Islands, located off the coast of New Guinea, known for its rich coral reef ecosystems and possibly the richest in the world.
    • Komodo Island, home of the infamous komodo dragons, is a part of the Lesser Sunda Islands.
    • Borobudur, a monumental Buddhist complex and one of the Wonders of the World.
  • It is the place where Komodo Dragons live. And Orangutans. And Javanese rhinoceros. Indonesians love to boast about the country's biodiversity and natural resources, often claiming that they supply quite a lot of America's oil. Ironically, illegal logging is common in places like Sumatra and Kalimantan, and biodiversity as a whole has been taking a big hit for a while. Enough that some say that Indonesia no longer deserves the title "Emerald of the Equator".
  • There was another hot spot in Indonesia: Timor-Leste, one of the newest countries to be formed (around over ten years ago, to be exact). Unlike most Indonesian territories, which are mostly former Dutch colonies, East Timor was a Portuguese territory (the reason that the Spanish came first at 1512 to the Spice Islands, followed by Portuguese, and then the Dutch). It wasn't until The '70s that Portugal left. Faced with the options of integrating to Indonesia, remaining independent, and becoming a province of Portugal, a bitter conflict erupted. A landmark case involving pro-independence Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (Fretilin) and a pro-integration Timorese Democratic Union (TDU) sparked the Indonesian invasion of the region (after one declaration, dubbed "Balibo Declaration" by the TDU, Indonesia took it as a "go-ahead" signal to start "securing" the place). After the turmoil of 1998, under Habibie's presidency, East Timor was given a free and fair referendum, in which most of the people voted independence. Many feared of the balkanization of Indonesia much like the Soviet Union, but thankfully, none has appeared so far (though Aceh was almost given a precedent, until six years later (see below)) . It didn't help that East Timor was pretty much The Unfavorite province during its rule under Indonesia. The less said about Indonesia's treatment of East Timor, the better.
    • A similar case is West Papua, which declared independence 50 years ago. The indigenous people are of the same ethnicity (and even overall landmass) as the Papua New Guineans. A large group of West Papuans have formed a political alliance and numerous times tried to declare independence from indonesia. This generally ends in violence. Unlike East Timor, they have had no Australian or US support, which may or may not be due to the large US and Australian corporations benefiting immensely from the wealth of the province. Foreign journalists are not allowed in the region, and the independence flag for West Papua is banned. Like the East Timorese, the Papuans are a sort of a Butt Monkey (not helped by the fact that most of them still prefer to live "the native's way", i.e. in the jungle), but then, that status can be extended to just about every people from Eastern Indonesia (say it the wrong way, "Orang Timur" (Eastern People) can be a ''highly" pejorative term for those folks).
  • Aceh was the region hit the hardest by the 2004 tsunami along with Sri Lanka, which coincidentally was also fighting a rebellion. About 60,000 people was killed by the tsunami, mostly thanks to the rather poor infrastructure. Much of it was still in ruins long after the tsunami, no thanks to rampant corruption in government aid programs. Muslims like to point out the fact that a mosque close to the beach stood unharmed after the tsunaminote . On the positive side, it got the government and GAM ("Gerakan Aceh Merdeka", the movement for Aceh's independence) to sign a peace treaty. To this day, Aceh is the most known of the autonomous regions in Indonesia, probably because it made headline news for adopting sharia laws in an era of increasing Islamophobia (to stop the rebellion, the Indonesian government made concessions for them specifically to do just that).
    • Many foreign humanitarian organizations came to help after the tsunami, but fundamentalist Muslims, many of whom are notable government officials, accused them of "Christianization", as evident from the abundance of Christians in Aceh today. Some fundies also claimed that the tsunami was caused by a US nuclear test, citing the blackening bodies of the dead as a proof. The US Navy deployed the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln to help reconstruction and supplies distribution, however the Indonesian government refused to grant them the permission for the pilots' mandatory regular training (most likely because the image of US planes training over Indonesian soil would seriously piss off the fundies), forcing it to leave.
  • Indonesian roads are often very small, and the ones that aren't are always stuffed with restaurant tents on the sides. Motorcycles are incredibly common since they're cheaper and more suitable in navigating the alleys than cats. Unfortunately, they often take up an unnecessary amount of spaaaaaace, leading to Jakarta's infamously monumental amount of traffic jam.
    • Hygiene? What's that? Garbage are strewn along the street, the garbage piles on the sides of the road are almost always exposed, and the roadside water canals (they're meant to prevent floods) are also exposed, leading to people dumping things into them. This has the side effect of causing Jakarta to flood every five years or so...unless you're in the middle of the city, which houses the largest commercial districts and governmental buildings. Gotta keep up with appearances, after all.
    • Do note that these only happen in the capital (Jakarta) and other major cities. The smaller cities and villages are cleaner and more in order...well, still a little dirty, but no jams, at least.
  • Jakarta has tons of shopping malls of varying sizes.
  • Speaking of floods, the city of Jakarta is rather notorious that every once in five years, there will be a great flood rushing into Jakarta, causing atomic blackouts, and occasionally, the floods would even reach adult's chest. For about a week or less. Hope you can swim.


General Notes

  • Indonesia is nominally a secular state but only recognizes six religions: Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. Even if you are an other believer, please choose one, and you can gain entry as a citizen. However, if you're an atheist...(see Atheism below).
  • As briefly noted in the history section above, explaining Islam in Indonesia can take up pages upon pages showing how different it is to the "orthodox" Islam practiced elsewhere. General consensus is that it is very, very lax compared to those practiced in the Middle East, because the religion was spread in Indonesia through Indian merchants, who mostly practiced Sufi Islam, a mystical branch that mostly mixed folk legends and various other "unorthodox" condiment into the religion base. This made the religion open to acculturation with other religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism; it's often said that had the Arab merchants were the ones who preached Islam in Indonesia, it wouldn't be accepted that easily.
    • The Islam practiced in Java noticeably shows much more acculturation than that practiced outside the island. This is because Java was the last (major) Indonesian island to convert to Islam, and there's damn a good reason why it took so long: tradition prevails over new things. Java was the center for most of the Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms which ruled the archipelago, including Mataram, Kediri, Singhasari, and finally, Majapahit. Islam first arrived in the archipelago during the golden age of Majapahit, and when it arrived in Java, the people reacted harshly. By the time that most of Western Indonesia was already completely Islamized, Java hadn't changed their mind, and eventually, the preachers settled on a compromise: allow the people to mix their previous faiths into the new one. Even after this, there were still people who stayed stubborn, refused to convert, and decided to start a new life in the island to the east; they became the ancestors of modern-day Balinese people.
    • Generally, Indonesian Muslims pray five times a day and observe fasting and holy days. However, unless you are a santri (basically becoming a monk), the people won't shout you out loud or drag you to the streets to do them (as in the case in Saudi Arabia, literally) because religion, whatever it is, is ultimately a private matter in Indonesia.
    • Lax as it is, many Indonesian Muslims frown upon light clothing, especially those that go into the Stripperriffic territory. The principle is to dress modestly and comfortably, not suggestively as to cause discomfort. A female is able to wear shirt sleeveless and the dress up to just above the knee, but cleavage, backlessness, and anything that shows the stomach are not recommended. When Lady Gaga planned to perform, the ulema refused to grant permit unless she dressed modestly. As a result, she had to cancel her trip. Curiously, traditional costumes are almost always exempt from this rule. The traditional Javanese female outfit for servants, for example, really does require you to show some cleavage.
    • Extreme Islamist movements get mixed reception in Indonesia. Opinions are evenly divided if they are really doing the right thing or just some loony attention-grabbing freaks who want to tarnish a religion. This may explain why Indonesians always condemn terrorist attacks, yet they refused for outsiders (especially those filthy Westerners) to touch the bodies of the Bali bombers.
  • Despite the anti-Western stance, though, Indonesia still follows the Western 5-day work week beginning from Monday to Friday, a resting day on Saturday, and Sabbath on Sunday. The Islamic Sabbath (A.K.A. the Jumu'ah) is still on Friday, but unlike in the Arab countries, it is not a day off, though the government specifically gives a time permit for the Muslim men who need to do the Friday praying.
  • As a consequence to the six-religion rule (bad for the government, good for everyone else), Indonesia has one of the highest amount of public holidays in a year, most of them religious-related. There are about 18-22 day offs for workers each year depending on the current mood for agreeing on joint holidays (not counting Saturday and Sabbath of course) and even more if you're students. New Year, Chinese New Year, Christmas, Good Friday, Ascension, Eid Fitr, Eid Adha, Buddha's Birthday, and several others are widely celebrated.
  • Atheism has a poor reception and is strongly discouraged by the common people, be they Muslim, Christian, Hindu, or others. Even if you can't fit into one of the six religions provided, you can play chameleon and choose one while maintaining that you have a different religion, but still believing in God, and you're good to go. But if you're an atheist, prepare to be discriminated.
  • LGBT is similarly seen in a negative light, not helped by the fact that two of the biggest religions in the country (Islam and Christianity) are harsh to it. However, it is not forbidden to be one (unlike in, say, the Arab countries), and all aspects of LGBT can be seen, especially in the big cities. Male-to-female transgenders are probably the most visible and accepted, and they have begun working in many "normal" jobs such as laborers and workers without getting too much discriminated.
  • The copyrights laws aren't very strong in Indonesia. Singaporean tourists sometimes visit ITC Ambassador, a crowded and rather claustrophobic shopping in south Jakarta to buy bootleg DVDs (which are sold by at least a dozen stands there)note  and copy the contents into a flash drive to watch at home. Bootleg merchandises of Spongebob Squarepants and the Malaysian animated series Upin & Ipin are commonly sold in the streets.
  • Decades ago, the number of wives, wide farm lands and jewelries are status symbols. Nowadays, it's "BB" (BlackBerry phones) or iPhones/iPads.
  • Following Islamic dietary laws, pork gets an extremely bad rap in some parts of Indonesia. If a restaurant serves pork as a dish, the government requires that they use separate utensils for cooking the food and they also need to pass a qualification to show that they serve kosher (or rather, halal) food. Bypassing this law is subject to criminal prosecution and can earn you long jail terms
  • Indonesians are huge soccer nuts. Worth noting, however, despite their huge enthusiasm to soccer, the national team holds a record in FIFA World Cup for the fewest matches played. One match, to be precise, in the 1938 as the Dutch East Indies. So officially, Indonesia hasn't really played in the World Cup. Mostly because even the soccer management department are also pretty rife with corruptions. The one time they did, the team bailed out because they refused to play against Israel (you know, Muslim-Jewish tension and all that, the usual).
    • Worth noting are the local version of Football Hooligans. These guys come in several flavors depending on the team, like "Bonek" ("bondho nekat", meaning "reckless guys"), The Jak, and The Viking, and they're notorious for yelling ridiculously bad jingles, causing hellish traffic jams and riots whenever their favorite team loses, or wins, or sometimes for no reason at all, as Kelly Clarkson could attest to.
  • Talking about soccer, Indonesia became a runner-up for the AFF Cup, which involves the South East Asian countries. The champion? Its rival Malaysia of course! And guess why Indonesia lost against Malaysia during their first game by 0 - 4? Frickin' Laser Beams!
  • And still talking about soccer, English football club Manchester United once planned to visit Indonesia and play with the national team as part of the Asian tour, but had to cancel the visit when the hotel they were planning to stay (Ritz Carlton) was bombed. Recently, though, when Italian club Inter Milan attempted to do the same, there's no bombing and the visit was a success.
  • Indonesia actually fares better in badminton competitions, winning the Olympic gold medal five times in a row, earning the most titles in the prestigious Thomas Cup, placing third in terms of titles in the Uber Cup, and earning the most medals in badminton by a large margin (100 medals out of 171) in the SEA Games. These achievements somehow get overshadowed by the antics of the above soccer nuts, however.
  • Indonesia has produced a number of Memetic Mutations, like that sex vid between Ariel and some other woman, and recently, a Keong Racun lipsync.
    • What about this policeman here who dances and sings to the song chaiya chaiya from Dil Se note . This also done once again for fun by a comedian here Indonesians sure love Bollywood.
    • Recently, Arya Wiguna's anger towards Eyang Subur becomes a popular fad on YouTube. Case in point. Arya himself becomes popular after that.
    • Here's a compilation of Indonesia's own memetic figures. Bon appetit.
    • Memetic Badass: Mad Dog from the film The Raid. He's pretty much the modern Indonesia equivalent of Chuck Norris.
    • Mastin...Good! note  the commercial has became viral until now.
    • Combining with a more popular meme out there, as of recent, there's a certain post by a fake Twitter account of Basuki Tjahaya Purnama (Ahok), Governor of Jakarta, solving Busway line problems by emulating a kick and yell by a certain Spartan King. While Ahok himself denied making such claims (he willingly said that his Twitter account has different name), the post and image already went viral, and meme-wise, Ahok, already a fan favorite amongst Indonesian people, becomes associated with THIS! IS! J'KARTAAAA!!
    • In late December 2016, a new meme spawns: "OM TELOLET OM!", which is a phrase young people often shout at passing buses, asking the driver to sound the bus horn (it literally means "Honk the horn, sir!"). Some Indonesian internet users spammed the account of famous celebrities like Zedd and The Chainsmokers with this phrase, thus making the meme gain worldwide attention.
  • Indonesians don't like Malaysians. End of discussion.
  • There is one thing that tourists learned about Indonesia after actually visiting it. The fact that Indonesia LOVES to do things later than it is scheduled, also known as Ngaret note  in Indonesian term. This is lampshaded in a Manga named Tokkyu.
    • Well, that's a stereotype, though true among the Obstructive Bureaucrat types, if only to squeeze you out of your money.
  • Barack Obama once lived in Indonesia, which is another thing that Indonesians love to boast about (except the hardline Muslims, who hate everything even remotely Western).
  • As noted in the soccer section above, Indonesian Muslims, in solidarity with the Palestinians, very much hate Israel. The government criticizes them for every activities they do and whenever sieges are done, discussions are routinely held to condemn them in the most violent language imaginable. This sometimes goes for no apparent reason and very much an Unknown Rival, since Israel holds few if any animosity towards Indonesia (they hate Arabs, not Muslims); when Gus Dur tried to establish relation with Israel, they immediately picked it up, though of course it got shot down when he stepped down. Lampshaded by Gus Dur himself, who noted the paradox of the religious Indonesians willing to have relation with atheist China, but don't want to do the same with the religious Israel.
  • On that note, Maria Ozawa (also known as Miyabi, as in the Japanese AV Idol) is quite popular in Indonesia. How popular? Posters of her with the caption "Don't watch my DVDs." during Ramadhan (Islamic Holy Month where, amongst all things, watching porn is prohibited) no less, were spotted. Whomever made it had their tongues planted firmly in cheek, yes, but still. Even more hilariously, a picture of her has been spotted in an English Worksheet for Junior High students, available publicly. Naturally, outrage ensued.
    • Quite a number of Indonesians are for all intents and purposes, smitten with JAV Idols and even Gravure Idols. Trashy newspapers such as Lampu Hijau ("Green Light", as in the traffic light, previously named Lampu Merah, meaning Red Light) once had a countdown on the best Idol (Gravure or JAV) ever, hilariously carrying religious messages in the same paper.
  • Indonesian commercials mostly rely on witty, subversive, or even sometimes "out there" approach. This is, amongst others, a distilled form of a general Indonesian predilection for wit.
    • Not to mention the amount of local memes shoved in them.
  • If you have been speaking Indonesian language for some time, you'd notice that Indonesians love to abbreviate just about anything. Some are even done very much in a tongue-in-cheek way, often referencing multiple things at one time. Fine examples include:
    • Puskesmas= Pusat Kesehatan Masyarakat (Community Health Center, think of clinics. Though unlike others below (except Kopaska), this is kind of accepted as an 'official' abbreviation unlike others that mostly would be considered slangs)
    • Kopaska= Kommando Pasukan Katak (Frog-Diver Command, think Indonesian equivalent to Navy SEALs)
    • Pamer paha= padat merayap tanpa harapan (The joke goes twofold: Pamer paha means Show Some Leg, but the long form stands for "(traffic) extremely congested, abandon all hope")
    • Titi DJ= Hati-hati di jalan (Same joke: Titi DJ is the stage name of a famous TV Personality while the expanded form means "Be careful in the road")
    • ABG = Anak Baru Gede, Angkatan Babe Gue, Audisi Band Gelo, Aku Baru Gajian ("insolent teenager", "my dad's generation", "band audition went shitty", and "I just got paid"; all from the same abbreviation, with many other variations not listed.)
    • Anjal = Anak Jalanan ("street kids", nowadays used as a local substitute of the Precision F-Strike by youths.)
  • The Indonesian language has no tenses or second-person gender-specific pronouns (which results in the English translation for the sentence "he kicks the ball" and "she kicked the ball" being exactly the same: "dia menendang bola").
    • The word "the" is also often absent, as so do the words "is/are/am/was/were".
    • Also, the adjective is put after the noun ("Red apple" = "Apel merah", "Sky blue" = "Biru langit"), a common source of grief among Indonesians trying to learn English.
  • A rather common Indonesian Verbal Tic is to use tag questions by adding ", kan?" to the end of their sentences. The word "kan" is a shortened form of "bukan" (meaning "no"). In English, this amounts to something like, "Your name is John, no/isn't it?", or "Aren't you my friend?"
  • Indonesians' dialects are different depending on their region of origin. Sometimes you could tell an Indonesian's birthplace by listening to the way they speak.
  • Indonesians tend to be overreactive and sensitive when their Berserk Button is pressed. Sure, everyone else in the world has those traits. But if you read this page thoroughtly, you should notice that the majority of the country's problems stemmed from someone's Berserk Button being pressed too hard.
  • Lately, Political Correctness Gone Mad there. For example, smoking scenes are censored now. This is also the reason of why Bleach, Naruto and One Piece got banned there. Which is ironic, because mothers in '90s there didn't care at all about violent shows like Kamen Rider Black or Dragon Ball, and they even watched WCW Nitro at 1 P.M (yeah. It got showed there at that time slot) and brought their CHILDREN to watch it with them.
    • It also had something to do with the increasingly rudeness of kids there. The phrase "Bodoh" (meaning "stupid") there has been turned by kids into something that can pierced someone heart, so the parents heavily blamed it on entertainment. The rudeness also came with the Bloodier and Gorier Soap Opera there became more common (it's quite common to have a scene where someone bleeding profusely shown in a 6 P.M SHOW!), so they have some reasons. Censored smoking, though...
    • Censoring has been quite a problem that entertainment industry had to be careful on people who blamed them for anything. For instance, once upon a time there was a commercial of a telephone card which involves two salary men discussing about them and one of them invoking Tempting Fate that if such a cheap deal of telephone card exists (which is being promoted), he'll go off marry a monkey... and then they encountered a billboard that advertised that yes, such cheap deal existed, and the commercial ended with the awkward marriage ensuing. The commercial actually has a sequel where said salaryman hasn't heard the lesson and again, tempts fate that if a cheaper deal exists, he'll re-marry with a goat. It happened again, and now the monkey is mad that it has to share with the goat. Several times passed and then after a group of conservative people protested that the commercial is like an insult to the humankind nature for marrying animals, the commercial sets were banned. The more proactive people in the future would eventually point out that such censoring would be severely limiting creativity of the entertainment industry (and in a way, it could have been showing).
  • Out of sheer coincidence, the Indonesian (or to be more precise, Javanese) word for piggy bank is celengan, where celeng means pig/boarnote . Makes you wonder how the English and the Indonesian somehow came to relate saving money to pigs...
    • These days, most traditional piggy banks, often made of clay, are shaped like roosters, perhaps to avoid the Islamic stigma associated with pigs today.
    • Or more likely, this 'piggy bank'/'celengan' refers to the myth of Babi Ngepet, a wereboar-ish creature, a man who can turn into a black boar/pig and then magically steal money from other people. Black magic is involved.
  • Having internet is suffering in Indonesia. So don't be surprised that if you come from a country with good internet speed, moving to Indonesia and offered below 100 KBps download speed. And if you managed to get the best (which is 1 MBps tops), then you still have to handle with this censorship rule called 'Internet Positif' which blocks any websites Indonesian Government deemed 'too against their culture', which may include porno, piracy, exposed boobs, manga-reading sites, image/video-hosting sites (even Reddit and Imgur). At the very least, some netizens has taken advantage of this and created its Anthropomorphic Personification in form of Ipo-chan, which is surprisingly popular.

Media popular in Indonesia

  • Around the eighties and nineties, Indonesia had a lot of Tokusatsu shows available in VHS format, paving way to its popularity. Kyojuu Tokusou Juspion was pretty popular in Indonesia, although older Metal Heroes series like Space Sheriff Gavan and Space Sheriff Sharivan were also aired. Super Sentai and Kamen Rider, on the other hand, are a different story...
    • For Super Sentai; it's true that Himitsu Sentai Goranger was available in VHS. But the one who reached popularity in Indonesia was Dai Sentai Goggle Five. To this day, Indonesians remember it as "the essential Super Sentai of Indonesia". It also helps that it stars Junichi Haruta (Goggle Black), who starred in Juspion as Madgalant. Hell, the whole cast of Goggle V once visited Indonesia!
    • Gavan is a special case where it was a popular show back then, but many younger people actualy never watched the actual show, let alone know anything about it. However, the Memetic Mutation term associated with the show are a general daily life term. The Memetic Mutation in question: "Segede Gavan" (As Big As Gavan, referring to its popularity, to refer to something big or popular)
    • For Kamen Rider, the original series also was available in VHS, but it wasn't as popular as the other show available in VHS (Dai Sentai Goggle Five). It wasn't until the TV Station RCTI aired Kamen Rider Black (rechristened as "Ksatria Baja Hitam"/"Black Steel Knight") that Kamen Rider became a sensation in Indonesia. Kamen Rider Black RX, which aired next, also enjoyed huge popularity. They even changed the name of the next aired Kamen Rider (though it was technically one of the previous installments), Kamen Rider Super-1, as 'Ksatria Baja Hitam Super-1', even if Super-1 doesn't have big black color motif. In short, just like how Goggle Five is the essential Super Sentai of Indonesia, Black is the essential Kamen Rider of Indonesia; and probably even bigger for Indonesian Tokusatsu. So much that, if Indonesian shows decided to make reference to Kamen Rider in general, they'd use Black rather than the original.
    • These days are a bit different. The only Tokusatsu show that is still remembered to these days are Power Rangers in name only (as in not to specific show, just power rangers in general), but Black is pretty much untouched in term of popularity of the name.
    • Indonesia has attempted their own flair and style in creating their own Toku shows, but the qualities were usually questionable. That is, until the near present, where MNC TV decided to give another Indonesian Tokusatsu show a go, mostly basing it from, of course, Kamen Rider Black, and they ain't joking when they even got Ishinomori Production to oversee and collaborate. The result? Bima Satria Garuda. And the reception? Mostly pretty good!
    • The season even got enough popularity for a second season, and even brought out Tetsuo Kurata (Kotaro Minami/Kamen Rider Black) to guest star!
    • It kind of continues with the Toku love. For the first time ever, after the cast announcement of Power Rangers Dino Charge, an Indonesian actor/stuntman, Yoshi Sudarso, will take part as one of the main core cast, as the Blue Ranger! Even moreso in the successor show, Power Rangers Ninja Steel, the Blue Ranger is also Indonesian, Yoshi's younger brother Peter, in fact.
  • Naruto was hugely popular in 2006. The Malaysian animated series Upin & Ipin is wildly popular, mostly because Malaysian sounds hilarious in Indonesian, especially when spoken by two bald village boys.
    • Naruto is still very popular to this day. This troper had came across some books that mostly talk about "Naruto vs Pain fight analysis" or "Naruto's various jutsu analysis" which its contents are mostly taken from Wikipedia. And then there was Naburo...
    • In the mid-nineties, pretty much all kids have read and watched Dragon Ball (mostly boys), Sailor Moon (mostly girls) and Doraemon (both).
      • Speaking of Doraemon, it is without a doubt the longest lasting, most popular anime and manga in Indonesia. There is still some Doraemon based events at times, and its still running to this day(even longer than Dragon Ball, which still run to this day). Doraemon, Dragon Ball, and Manga/ currently hold the position of three most long lasting show in Indonesia, and all three of them still has their Mangas sold on local bookstores, and Doraemon constantly has education books(such as Math, PE, and Sports) and special collective editions which includes story that centers around one point from the whole series. In fact, during Holidays season, Doraemon movies always has a time spot (on that note, Doraemon is also the only anime to ever has its movie to be run in Indonesia).
      • In general, during the old days, Pokémon, Digimon, Doraemon, Crayon Shin-chan, Tom and Jerry, Classic Disney Shorts, a Power Rangers show, Kamen Rider and Dragon Ball is the kids show of choice.
  • Disney comics have been published there since 1976 on various form. After several changes of name, Album Donal Bebek (Donald Duck's Album) and Poket Paman Gober (Uncle Scrooge's pocket comic) has been the main stayer since 90s.
  • Several obscure Comics and Show has became popular (or at least a cult-classic). Kobochan, an obscure comic-strip from Japan, is still printed there in comic form. An obscure Slapstick Manhwa called "Kungfu Komang" is also a cult classic here for the insanity of it's slapstick and infamous common Face Fault with addition of mouth foaming and puking scenes.
  • And yes, if you want to know, that horrid Beauty and Warrior is made in Indonesia...
    • The less you know about most of their TV productions, the better.
  • The recent backlash concerning a cultural dance in Indonesia aired as Malaysian in Malaysian TV by Discovery Channel has sparked a lot of demonstrations. The issue of which culture belongs to which nation has always been Serious Business for Indonesians, who claim that Malaysians are stealing their culture. The point is kind of moot since most Malay-ethnic people in Malaysia have some Indonesian ancestry and due to the proximity to western/central Indonesia, it is inevitable that they would share cultures. In fact, Malaysian culture is basically the same as Sumatran culture. Of course, claiming (intentional or not) Indonesian cultures from the eastern side (like Bali) isn't exactly that plausible...
    • The biggest punchline to the ad controversy above? The ad creators were Singaporeans...
    • Indonesians have been throwing insults to anything Malaysian for quite a while after they patented several Indonesian cultural items, such as batik (the method of forming patterns on fabric by scribbling hot liquid wax, dying it, and boiling off the wax). Between the "culture stealing" and Sukarno's support for the communist guerrillas, Indonesia doesn't like Malaysia very much.
  • Superstitions are incredibly common in Indonesia. In many places, teenage boys go to cemeteries and abandoned houses (the latter is surprisingly common) in the middle of the night alone on a dare. There are many "dukun" (witch doctors), who can be hired to put "santet" or "teluh" (curses) on your enemies. Even government officials are in on it.
  • Most Indonesian films are romance comedies or hilariously titled horror B-movies. In the horror side, there was a brief resurgence in traditional, serious A-list horrors back in the early 2000s (most notably 2001's Jelangkung, which actually revitalized the genre, and 2006's Kuntilanak, which is the movie in that year, even taking down some western movies), but it all got shot down in 2008, which saw several exploitation movies with absolutely no shame in revealing the fact that they go with the Sex Sells principle, and it went downhill from there. "Religious romance" is a new genre that surfaced recently, with the high-budget ones shot in the Middle East. Many rely on Deus Angst Machina and/or cookie-cutter plot, though there some definite gems in there. Actually, most of the "serious" A-list movies now have their production outside of Indonesia (especially in Europe, most notably the Netherlands), which of course writes the plot to show that everyone is rich enough to afford going there...much to the displeasure of the common people.
  • If you're watching an Indonesian soap ("sinetron", short for "sinema elektronik", "electronic cinema"), odds are it involves a maid brutalized in an over-the-top manner by her boss (if not that, then it would be a woman/girl brutalized in an over-the-top manner by her mother/sister, who seems to be either jealous or lusts for money and power), absurdly good-looking high school students getting maimed by traffic accidents, religious Aesops, infallible, religious, but impoverished children or a boy getting weird superpowers. Also, you'll ''always'' be able to hear their thoughts, during which scene they will stand idly and bite their lip or look horrified or something...for up to several minutes at a time. It's not all that uncommon to find all of them in a single series.
    • A common occurence in Indonesian soaps is that whenever someone needs to die, they will call in a random car to maim that someone, for karma, angst or evulz. Really, Indonesian soap cliches can become a trope page on its own...
    • Indonesian soaps can be popular amongst the crowd. However, it is pretty much the fate of many soaps to end up having Sequelitis if it became too popular, and it will be milked out until Seasonal Rot hits...and then some, if they can get away with it.
    • Lets be honest, if theres a Soap Opera that has good rating, it WILL have Seasonal Rot in a matter of short time. You can say that Indonesian Soap Opera director are pretty much proffesional in term of causing Seasonal Rot. Some even goes into a Memetic Mutation on its own.
    • A Soap Opera titled "Putri yang Tertukar"(technicaly means accidentaly exhanged daughter) is a good example of combining Seasonal Rot with tons of Idiot Plot, and other absurdities just to make it longer even though it doesnt made ANY sense. For starter, it started as a normal story where a daughter of a rich family is swapped by someone with a daughter from poor family, vice-versa. Its still interesting, and then after a very long time, they finally united with their own family. Then, the rich mother is killed off after one of the villain spread an oil on the floor, causing her to fall from the second floor of a hospital(after she dissapeared for a long time, fall off a cliff, thrown into public thrash field, suffered a burn injury, saved by a group of random villagers, and then kidnapped no less), causing conflict beetwen the two family thanks to the fact that someone manipulated the record of the events(In a hospital computer. Without any external device) to make it looks as if the other side's father is pushing the victim to fall from the upper floor. It is Crazy Enough to Work, so much that the record isn't even changed at all(in fact, the recording CLEARLY looks as if said suspect is trying to calm the victim down, instead of pushing her and the oil(which is the source of the problem) is still there). Then, the rich father apparently have an Evil Twin. And list goes on. This Soap Opera currently held the record of the second longest Soap Opera in Indonesia at 676 episode.
    • Another good example ? Apparently you can hide someone that you kidnapped inside a Hospital. And you can assign an actor to be a fake doctor in said Hospital. To make it worse, in Indonesian Soap Opera, someone can easilly impersonates a Doctor just by using a simple Doctor clothing, and the security will simply ignore it. They take The Guards Must Be Crazy Up to Eleven.
    • Indonesian soaps also seems to have a knack to create over-the-top antagonists. These antagonists tend to be so overly manipulative, so overly power-hungry, and most of the time, for no reason whatsoever. You'll also ''always'' know what their intentions are. You may ask yourself, if these antagonists are so so repulsive and no one would miss them if they're dead, why hasn't someone kicked their ass yet?
    • To be fair, many sinetrons like Keluarga Cemara, Si Doel Anak Sekolahan, even Kedasih have both the staying power and preservation from Seasonal Rot. One of the present time sinetrons is Para Pencari Tuhan.
    • A funny concept within some soap operas was how the usage of snakes were used. Some sinetrons seems to believe that "If it's a snake, it's always venomous", thus they'd often use constricting snakes (like pythons) combined with CG to make them bite and kill people For the Evulz. SNAKES DO NOT WORK THAT WAY!! (They've gotten better with the treatment lately, though)
    • Religious soaps usually means Islamic religious soap and tend to use "astaghfirulohallazim" and "istighfar" pretty much every single time anyone is surprised by someone's...unreligousness, and want to bring them back to the light again.
    • There are also fantasy soaps with side effects that would look outdated on a goddamn PS1 CGI.
    • If there's a scene about hospitals in Indonesia, expect it to have Bribing Your Way to Victory or changing the DNA test results, stealing it, or use a fake tissue for the test. Yes, it doesnt make any kind of sense and its a wonder how Hospitals doesn't complaint to the director for that one, but its there. It is arguably the most "effective" way to make a Seasonal Rot. Of course real Indonesian Hospitals are WAY better than it sounds. Don't expect that Truth in Television will occur in almost every Indonesian programs, trust me, you need it or you will become a paranoid in short time.
    • Not just fantasy. A NORMAL Soap Opera about daily lives. Suddenly they introduced a baby, with third eye, and a psychic power. Yes, you do read it as Daily Lives Soap Opera. The director might be a fan of Dragon Ball. Another recent one has one of the character summon a windstorm whenever said person walks. Its a Soap Opera with tons of praying scene, about normal daily lives.
    • A rather recent fantasy Soap Opera based on a Radio Show that is originally about a Buddhism-Hinduism has Batamn and Joker, Action Bastard/Kamen, Kratos, and Stone Strike Gundam.
  • In The '90s, there were some music groups that gained fame by taking already existing songs (doesn't matter if local or international music), change the lyrics into something utterly hilarious and some of them also get hilarious music videos. The most famous are Padhayangan Project. This practice right now is nonexistent, so such music becomes something of Cult Classic. Not really though. If you're listening to tons of hit music in Indonesia, you WILL realize that it takes so many tunes and notes from Japanese or Western songs. Only this one use some similar lyrics and isnt a comedic parody. That being said, it is a case of Suspiciously Similar Song, which was common in Indonesia.
  • Speaking of musicians, in the year of 2009, Indonesia has produced a minor One-Scene Wonder musician in form of Mbah Surip with his rather Ear Worm-y hit song 'Tak Gendong' ('I'm Gonna Carry You On My Back') which portrays him as a Dirty Old Man trying to hit on girls and carry them on his back. In a short time, it become a mega-hit for Indonesian song... but Mbah Surip himself died due to heart attack in the same year shortly after he gained his fame, right on stage. Alas.
  • Indonesia has its own version of The Three Stooges called Warkop DKI, consisting of comedians Dono, Kasino and Indro. In the old days around The '80s or The '90s, they're famous locally by releasing many local comedy movies (though not exactly international famous level). Unfortunately, as of now the group has disbanded as first Kasino, then Dono passed away, leaving Indro to be the sole surviving Warkop member. This is made worse by the fact that most comedy made after their era are pure slapstick while theirs are considered 'Undergraduate comedy', which refers to their more 'intelligent' form of comedy compared to other comedians.
    • Though eventually at 2015, Indro himself made a film which is a throwback to the usual classic Warkop style (and starring him as well, but not being the main protagonist) titled "Komedi Moderen Gokil!" (Crazy Awesome Modern Comedy!)
    • Warkop's jokes actually can fell on slapstick category (they usually ended the movie fell on a river after caused chaos on an uncontrolled vehicle). It's just that their movies often had breakthrough jokes and satires. For example, a popular joke there where some people represented some useful knowledge on the same became hilarious for they cutting each other at the worst time (like you talking about how to make some soup, only for someone to cut you and talking about the good way to do service on your bike. As a result, apparently that the best spices for your soup are oil and skrew) were came out from one of their movie.
  • Korean Soap Opera, and Boybands/Girlbands are a huge hit on Indonesia by 2012.
    • On related note, Indonesia has several singing contest on TV that took several months to complete, ALA American Idol. However, note that there's enough complaints from several watchers about this kind of shows about the voting system, just like the former. The quality of the singers though is pretty.... questionable to say the least. Watch it a bit and if you know about the stuff, your going to hope someone like say... Simon Cowell existed in that show.
    • A bit of Hype Backlash came out from there. Alot of people disliked Korean stuffs for being corny.
  • Are you a Fighting Game fan who likes going to Arcades? Well, you won't really like living in Indonesia, for Arcade booths are sorely lacking them (said to be too violent for kids), and if they are, they don't receive good maintenance and most games look outdated, with the exception of Tekken machines (mainline series and Tag Tournament). Racing simulations (such as Initial D) or shooters (such as Time Crisis) are more common, though. And you'll mostly find the fighter machines in theaters, rather than concentrated in one place.
  • Notably, Bandai Namco Entertainment has an Indonesian division that localizes Namco arcade games into Indonesian, something of a rarity in the arcade game industry. Indonesian-localized games include Time Crisis 5 and Aikatsu!.
  • Indonesians are specialized in Player Versus Player-oriented Video Games. Especially the MMO ones.
    • Though League of Legends does have its following and local server here provided by Garena, most Indonesians usually stuck with the original Defense of the Ancients: All-Stars or Dota 2 as it was around for quite longer and the former supports LAN play, because as stated above, Indonesian internet are rather slow for dedicated online multiplayer (thus League could not take advantage of its early start until Garena provided the local server).
  • Speaking of MMO, Ragnarok Online is pretty popular in Indonesia. How popular? Enough to have collectible cards sets included in snacks, numerous ads in local television channels for a while, having Ragnarok the Animation aired immediately after it ended in Japan, and several official doujin contests (with most of the winners ended up being professional artists/illustrators/designers, to boot). Several memes it created are being used as Indonesians' internet slangs, the most infamous one being "hode"note . Naturally, most of MMO that brought after RO's success Follow the Leader.
    • And if you ask the older generations what PC games they know, there's a good chance they will answer either RO or Nexia. Yeah, it's that popular.
    • When the sequel is finally brought to Indonesia, it got promoted as much as when the first game reached its peak in popularity.
  • As noted in Germans Love David Hasselhoff page, the First-Person Shooter MMO Point Blank is even more popular here than in its origin country.
  • Inverted by Team Fortress 2. The game's fairly obscure there. Left 4 Dead is much more famous there.
  • Less about modern media, but due to its Hindu history and implementation of Wayang Kulit, Hindu Mythology epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana gains a lot of following there, but most notably, the character Ghatotkacha from the former gains such a huge following thanks to a more local version (where he's usually referred as 'Gatotkaca', yes, just all his 'h' removed) and popular Wayang shows featuring him, that he's sometimes treated like the Indonesian/Hindu version of Superman, with phrases like "Otot Kawat, Tulang Besi" (Wire Muscles, Steel Bones) to refer to his strength.
    • Gatotkaca is also usually depicted with Adaptational Attractiveness in Indonesia as well, while he's a honorable being in both versions, it's worth noting that he's a giant in the original. In the Indonesian version, Gatotkaca is more human-sized and quite well-built (which was comparable to that of Superman above, hence the comparison). This is Ghatotkacha. This is Gatotkaca.
  • During The '90s, Wuxia TV Series got a pretty big boom in Indonesia, although it has died out soon after the 2000's. Two series stands out in the eyes of many: The Return of the Condor Heroes and White Snake Legend (based on a tale similar to Green Snake, only more on the POV of the titular White Snake), the former even moreso because it's the one that starred Andy Lau (and shot him to big popularity amongst Indonesians). Many who were around The '90s would at least know more about either Yang Guo or Bai Suzen (the titular White Snake from the latter). The prequel of the former were also aired, giving Guo Jing a good deal of popularity too (though not as much as Yang Guo).

  • First thing first, Indonesian only knows 2 tastes, hot as in spicy and salty. The concept of the movie Ratatouille about the adventure of creating new taste from already present taste is non-existant in Indonesia. Food must be either salty or hot or both. other than that, you will be classified as a failure in cooking.
  • Indonesian cuisine involves spice, more spice, and lots of spice. While it certainly isn't for everyone, most Indonesians enjoy the taste — if you happen to be the minority who don't, you'll probably get some weird looks for ordering "plain" food in restaurants.
    • While this is true for most regions of Indonesia, Java is a partial inversion. Sure, you'd still have super-hot sambal varieties in Java, but the taste of most Javanese foods itself is actually quite mild; the taste of some foods (as in, main courses) even lean towards sweet.
      • At least, in the "hot" sense, anyway. The "sweet" cuisines are pretty much also loaded with spices, though not nearly as piquant/tongue-raping.
  • As mentioned above, sambal (essentially chili mixed with other ingredients then ground) is one of the quintessential sauce in Indonesian cuisine, Western and Central Indonesia in particular. There exists specific sambal variations accompanying just about every kind of cuisine in Indonesia. Not only that, there is at least one unique sambal variety in a given region which is found nowhere else in or outside the country. One can probably spend a good chunk of their life just studying sambal mixes throughout Indonesia.
  • "Bakso" (meatballs) and "siomay" (dumplings) are often sold on roadsides on wagons as one of the most common sources of income for the lower class. They're sometimes sold quite close to the exposed water canals, which are full of garbage... but that is usually the least of your worries...
    • Most foreigners who ate these kind of stuff without taking preparatory antibiotic shots beforehand usually suffer from stomachaches and diarrhea afterwards, so be warned...
  • A common dressing on Indonesian food is kecap (soy sauce), made with water, soy and brown sugar. The kind sold in plastic bottles in the stores are usually pitch black, while the kind sold in large glass bottles at the countryside is usually thicker and brown. Indonesians usually recognize 2 types of kecap. One is sweet kecap, the other is salty kecap. Aside from the obviously explanatory difference in taste, they're generally discernable by their viscosity and aroma. Sweet kecap is quite thick, while salty kecap is basically like water or vinegar, except black. There are also variations made by mixing spices to the basic 2 tastes of kecap to produce other tastes. The British colonizers brought some back to Britain. Several culinary experiments involving tomatoes later, "ketchup" was born.
  • A kind of unique Indonesian food made of soy is "tempe", made by boiling soy several times over, seeding it with a particular kind of yeastnote , and fermenting it. It's often used as a substitute for meat in poorer areas, but as of late it has also attracted foreign following given it's supposedly rich protein content. Indonesian tofu ("tahu") is usually firmer than Chinese or Japanese ones and served by frying.
  • Tea is usually served plain or with sugar. Tea with milk is rarely served outside of some restaurants. Iced tea is sold in bottles, mostly by the tea company Sosro, leading to the famous slogan "Apapun makanannya, minumnya Teh Botol Sosro!" (Whatever you're eating, drink Sosro bottled tea!)note . Bottled iced tea is incredibly popular thanks to the hot tropical climate, and is recommended by Croatian pianist Maxim.
  • Perhaps the most popular branch of Indonesian cuisine is West Sumatran cuisine (otherwise known as Padang food note ) cuisine, usually sold in the so-called "rumah makan Padang"note , distinguishable by food plates stacked on each other on the front window. Most such restaurants will put out all they have to offer on the table with the exception of certain menus, and let you pick whatever you want to eat. Payment will be counted according to what's eaten and what's not after you're done eating (counting is done per plate, so polish them off!). Padang cuisine tend to be very spicy and high in cholesterol, so be careful.
  • The city of Manado, north Sulawesi boasts an exotic and incredibly delicious cuisine that totally doesn't contain any rat, called Tikus (rat) Rica-rica.
  • There's a great variety of coffee beans in Indonesia, their aromas and taste varying by region. Most foreigners are familiar with Java beans, but there are many more, from Toraja, Aceh, Mandailing, Bali, and more, each with their own palate. You can get coffee that tastes really sour from Bali, really bitter from Mandailing, and some variations that are even spicy, as in, hot. Preparation also differs from region to region, with some adding butter to it.
  • To tell you the truth, what Indonesian eats (sometimes) really differs from one place to the other; from how people prefer it sweet and spicy in one place, while the other likes it plain SPICY to where in one place people have dogs for dinner while in another people eat caterpillars. One thing most (native) Indonesians agree not to eat is pork, since a large number of them are Muslim. Rice and chili are considered staple food items for most areas especially on the western side; to the east, expect sago and yam.
    • About the pork. There are still considerable people that eat it, mostly from two ethnic groups, Chinese and Batak. It's also quite prevalent in the eastern parts of Indonesia. The pork ranged from soup based to roasted crispy. Trust me, its very delicious. The best one are usually in Sumatra. How to find restaurant that serve pork in Indonesia? It's easy in some cities in Sumatra. Especially Medan, with its high population of Chinese and Batak. Some restaurant in Javanese cities also serve Pork, though you have to take an extra step. Ask the waiter for the "secret pork menu". Why? Because of that damn radical Islam group FPI. Moderate have no problem with it.
  • One think you SHOULD remember about Indonesian cuisine is that unusual animal parts are not only common, it is expected to saw it in daily basis. This is not limited to tripe and other offal; some regions has recipe for claws, brains, hearts, lungs, marrows, penises, testicles...
  • Western, in particular Fried Chickens, and Japanese food are fairly popular in Indonesia, especially those of fast foods. KFC and McDonald's are two such examples. Indonesian McDonalds also went as far as including Fried Chicken menus, that hasn't been in most of McDonalds in other country, as does many normally burger-based restaurants like The Burger King or Wendy's if they are in Indonesia.
  • Traditional snacks popular in Indonesia include:
    • Fried tofu. This comes in two distinct varieties: filled and/or coated with dough, or plainnote .
    • Fried banana. Indonesians don't really differentiate between bananas and plantains, so anything goes.
    • Fried thinly-sliced tempe (thicker slices are typically eaten with rice instead). This comes in two distinct varieties: typical 'dried' tempe and Mendoan note .
    • Bakwan, which is basically a fried lump of dough mixed with sliced cabbage, spring onions, and carrot. Might include shrimp.
    • Keripik. Basically chips of all sorts, sometimes even fruits (apples, bananas, and jackfruits are popular choice).
    • Martabak, which comes in two totally-different varieties. The sweet variant is made from essentially two layers of fried dough with the (sweet) topping of your choice in-between. The savory variant, which is a more direct derivate of the Arabian mutabbaq, is basically an omelette inside folded thin dough.
  • Much like several Asian countries like China; in the city Jakarta on Mangga Besar district, you can find a rare store where they sell cooked reptilians, including venomous snakes and their organs (don't worry, just stay away from the snakes (especially the head, it can still kill you if it's still moving up to 1 hour after being beheaded, see here for a similar incident in China) and leave it to the pro to cook them). Kind of exotic and actually gives good benefits to the body, but the organs definitely tasted bitter.

  • Indonesia's military force is called the TNI (Tentara Nasional Indonesia, Indonesia National Army). The branches are TNI Angkatan Darat (Army), TNI Angkatan Laut (Navy) and TNI Angkatan Udara (Air Force). They have several spec ops groups, most notably Kopassus (Komando Pasukan Khusus). The spec ops units are notorious for friendly fire incidents in Timor Leste, friendly fire incidents in Aceh, friendly fire incidents during training note , atrocities against Malaysian civilians, atrocities against East Timorese civilians, atrocities against Acehnese civilians, and probably shooting protesting college students. Indonesian equipments boast very high reliability, and in some cases, abilities not present in their foreign counterparts. For example, during several trainings in the 80s (or is it the 90s?), several APCs were able to dive underwater for a very long stretch of time. So long, in fact, that said APCs still haven't resurfaced... yet.note 
    • Aside from doing things the government isn't comfortable to admitting in Timor Leste, Malaysia and Aceh, they've also participated in the UNPROFOR.
    • They also have a marine corps, which is attached to the Navy. They're pretty well-equipped, operating BTR-80 APCs and PT-76 amphibious tanks, however they're relatively unheard of compared to the other branches.
  • As for their equipments:
    • The standard service rifle is the SS1 (Senapan Serbu = assault rifle), a licensed copy of the Belgian FN FNC carbine made by the government corporation (BUMN) PT Pindad. HK G3, M16 and 5.45 mm AK variants are also used, the latter oddly enough are more often seen in the hand of cops guarding ATMs while they're being filled. The spec ops units often use M4, HK G36 and Steyr-Mannlicher AUG.
      • Recently, PT Pindad starts manufacturing an assault rifle called the SS2, which looks like an M16 with AK gas block, reversed front sight and slightly different detachable carrying handle (Indonesians aren't too big on originality). It's considered a lot more reliable than the previous model.
    • As for sniper rifles, they mostly use the Remington 700, HK G3SG1 and the much-hated Galil-Galatznote 
    • They own several French AMX light tanks, as main battle tanks aren't suitable for the Indonesian streets[[note]]Or so they think. Indonesian buildings aren't very tough, you see. It's more likely due to the abundance of rainforests, which slows most MB Ts down.. They also operate BTR-80 APCs and V-150 Commando IFVs. Early Cold War-era British armored cats also appear occassionally. Land Rover Defenders and Singapore's Flyer are used by both the police and the army, sometimes mounted with anti-aircraft guns or Singapore's CIS automatic grenade launchers. The South African Casspir is used by the police. Also, the older BTR APCs are very very rickety, some of them sank during amphibious assault trainings. The military has recently decided to buy a relatively large quantity of Leopard mk2 tanks from the Dutch government at bargain bin prizes, which faced opposition from the House of Representatives who claimed such heavy tanks are not suitable for Indonesian soil. Some consider that kind of reasoning as a load of crap, however, and claims that the House are against it because the purchase is done government to government, eliminating the role of brokers who usually 'fund' some House members.
      • As for the local ones, Pindad also has started producing the Pindad Panser (meaning armored cat), a rather plain looking APC, but that wouldn't be necessarily bad if Indonesia's equipments don't have the nasty tendency to fall apart at the worst possible moment. They have also made several anti-riot vehicles.
    • They have F-16 and Su-27 fighters. They also have A-4 Skyhawk and OV-10 Bronco ground attack crafts, but don't like to admit it, the former because they were bought from Israel, and the latter because they were bought for COIN operations in East Timor. The TNI AU is the second military forces outside of the US to operate the C-130 Hercules cargo planes, though all of them are very very very very very rickety. They have several (presumably rickety) black Mi-24 Hind gunships. The Mi-8 Hip helicopter is used by both the army and the police. The navy owns several types of naval helicopters, mostly British.
      • The Broncos have been pulled from service and the Air Force has been thinking of getting their hands on a Super Tucano for a while. There's also been talks of cooperating with South Korea in a joint venture to produce a new 4.5th generation fighter, or get some new T-50s which were recently unveiled.
    • A similarity that runs across every single one of their equipments is that they like to break down. A lot. Mostly due to age and lack of funding to properly maintain them. It's getting better...hopefully.
  • The police force is called Polri (Polisi Republik Indonesia). Regional units are called Polda (Polisi Daerah). They're quite prone to human right abuses such as torturing prisoners and extracting informations at gunpoint. Indonesian detention facilities are generally not very nice, with drug circulation, low ventilation, bad hygiene and beating everywhere. Except if you happen to be a rich corruptor, in which case you can get a hidden air conditioned room with luxurious facilities, and occasionally porn DVDs...or the real thing.
    • The Brimob (Brigade Mobil) is pretty much the Indonesian SWAT, only they're less specialized and often perform tasks commonly done by the normal cops in foreign countries. Of note is the Densus 88, which is basically the anti-terrorist unit of the country. Their exploits are among the most widely publicized, and rightly so, if for somewhat conflicting reasons.

  • Alas, Poor Villain: They demonized Suharto after his fall from grace. But when he died, well everyone still mourns for him and remembers well how he stabilized Indonesia for 32 years, even if he used corrupt methods for it.
  • Angry Guy Has A Point: He's not a jerk, but governor Basuki Tjahaya Purnama AKA Ahok is well known for his tendency to rage upon various things in the Indonesian management. However, he's something of an Ensemble Darkhorse amongst Jakarta citizens, because they agree to most of the things he raged upon (Indonesian government is really corrupt and needed decisive actions). It helps that he's also capable of being a Nice Guy when the topic is not about some of the questionable government methods, and he's something of a Henpecked Husband to his wife.
  • Archnemesis: Malaysia. A really weird one, though, as the two countries were one polity for almost of their entire history, only becoming separate ones when the Europeans came and the Dutch and British both took separate parts of the archipelago. Western Indonesia (in particular Sumatra) and Malaysia share identical cultures, and almost every Malaysian Malays can trace their lineage back to those Malays in Sumatra (Malays having their native homeland in Riau). It's suggested that this modern rivalry only really came when Sukarno's autocratic regime began demonizing Malaysia and the British, as Indonesia under him was still intent on incorporating the entire archipelago as one country again, after being humiliatingly driven out. This rivalry was suppressed during Suharto's regime, but after his downfall, all bets are off. Now, Indonesia's relatively freer mass media loves to take a jab (or a thousand) at their northern neighbor, while Malaysia's controlled media can only watch in anger passively.
  • The Casanova: Soekarno. In his life, he had about 10 wives, some of them taken without bothering to divorce the previous one first. Even with having multiple wives more common and tolerated in those days, it's still a bit much.
  • Corrupt Bureaucrat: The entire Government. Period. It has reached Memetic Mutation for so long, there's quite a few songs made about it, such as the legendary Iwan Fals here (it's in Indonesian, though).
  • Democracy Is Flawed: Indonesia likes democracy, when it turns out Suharto's promoted democracy was just a fake propaganda, they were pissed and effectively brought him down, then adapted actual democracy. Unfortunately it opens up a whole new can of problems like some people exploiting their freedoms for disruptive, annoying things. Like those Islamic Defender Front activities.
    • Which are actually common characteristics of a country recently adopting democracy. It's not like Indonesia has the experience of having so for 200+ years like the US did, and if anything, its outcome is still really early to tell. That said, many agree that Indonesians very much love to complain just about anything, and some turn that complaint into something
  • Disability Superpower: Abdurrahman Wahid was legally blind when he took office as President...and, in many people's opinion, did the most things despite being impeached about 2 years into his term.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Conspiracy theories aside, a lot of people seem to forgive Suharto after his death. Despite his corrupt and totalitarian regime, Suharto did pull an economic Back from the Brink for Indonesia after the 30th September Movement, the reason being the previous president, Soekarno, was a complete ideologist who'd rather stick to his anti-Western ideologies rather than accepting aid from USA. Not to mention, as the above, Suharto also suppressed the tension between Indonesia and Malaysia, in which most citizens have been kinda sick of that, the tension only flared up again once he was deposed (but thankfully in less frontal way than the way it was during Sukarno's era). Whenever the Islamic Defender Front tends to cause ruckus due to 'religious reasons', people usually lamented with "If this was Suharto's era, they won't have the balls to do it!"
    • The SBY administration built a fancy mausoleum in Sukarno's hometown, Blitar, East Java, complete with a library, an air conditioned theater, statues, photo gallery, and delicious dumplings sold on carts near the front door. All of these conveniently left out things like the confrontations with Malaysia, Indonesia's extreme poverty under his leadership, unusually close relationship with the communists and his rampant megalomania during his last years. Talk about whitewashing. Most likely, this was because after Suharto's crimes were exposed, the citizens became so sick of his corruption that they thought Sukarno's flawed government style was more honest, thus better.
    • The SBY administration is not as much as draco in leather pants as many would think off, in general Indonesian are basically indifferent/did not care to the goverment, because they are basically The Scrappy.
    • Most of this can be credited that in essence, most Indonesian government admits that they're ruled by humans, and Humans Are Flawed, thus mistakes, severe or light, can be abound. And Never Speak Ill of the Dead. And Forgiveness is pretty important. This can lead to some Karma Houdini though.
  • Evil Chancellor: Suharto became this to Sukarno in the aftermath of the '65 coup attempt.
  • Fan Nickname: Aside of SBY for Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, you'll mostly refer Abdurrahman Wahid as "Gus Dur". You can also add up current President Joko Widodo to be called 'Jokowi'.
    • The one that got out of the normal norm would be Jakarta's governor, Basuki Tjahaya Purnama, who's most known with his Chinese name, 'Ahok'.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Suharto. Growing up, he used to be so poor that he once had to switch schools just so he could afford the uniform. By the time his reign ended, his family had corrupted fifteen billion US dollars from state asset, most of which has never been or will ever be recovered. Media worldwide have acknowledged that he is the most corrupt dictator in the world.
  • Magnificent Bastard: It's hard to imagine a better description for Suharto. He started out as an obscure officer, and in a matter of years, the country was his. He sired three decades of astonishing economic success and brought stability to a formerly ungovernable country, killing around 1 million people along the way and stealing tens of billions of dollars. In the same way that some Russians miss the USSR, a number of Indonesians remember "Pak Harto" fondly, despite his... excesses.
    • Sukarno had his moments. In order to prevent the US from helping the Netherlands (a US ally) retake some newly liberated areas, he went to the tell the then president that he's got the Russians on his side, and that the Indonesian Air Force had acquired the most advanced aircrafts at the time. Given that the piece of land the Dutch wanted was economically insignificant and it's mostly about bruised egos, the US backed down from the coming engagement.
    • This ran way back to Singasari. Ken Arok was just a lowly servant of Tunggul Ametung, and the latter had super powers, but Ken Arok wanted to bang his wife Ken Dedes. Ken Arok went to get an enchanted kris knife forged by Mpu Gandring, then lent it to his less intelligent friend Kebo Ijo who'd then brag about the possession of the enchanted knife... Then steal the knife from Kebo Ijo while he's sleeping to kill Tunggul Ametung, then pinned the blame on Kebo Ijo (and while he's at it, killed Kebo Ijo too under the pretense of avenging his Lord). And so Ken Arok got his women of his dreams and a Kingdom to boot.
    • Of course, this list would be incomplete without the mention of Gajah Mada. While he is remembered as something of the Indonesian Chuck Norris it is easy to forget that most of his accomplishments came from his politics rather than any physical power he had. That's especially true when those accomplishments include creating the strongest empire in Southeast Asia.
    • Inbetween them, Raden Wijaya deserves a mention as well. Not a lot can screw off and give the middle finger to the Mongols while in the same time reclaiming his kingdom, and get away with it.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Also this. Another Iwan Fals song incoming (and though you may not understand it, it's still quite an Ear Worm).
  • The Smurfette Principle: Megawati Soekarnoputri, the first (and currently only) female to be elected President and Vice President. While some may argue that she is not self-made (she's Soekarno's daughter), she is far, far more powerful than many people expected her to be. She has been the head of her party since its inception and it's almost an open secret that the current President, Joko Widodo, is really just a figurehead for Megawati, The Woman Behind The Man (if you want proof, Megawati was the original choice for President, but stepped down in favor of Jokowi).
  • Token Minority: For the longest time, the Indonesian Government had qualifications in accepting people, which were actually unofficial but all took seriously, anyway, including, among other things "Native and Muslim" (Native in this case means someone who doesn't have foreign blood, i.e. an Indonesian Native). But then, comes Basuki Tjahaya Purnama, better known as his Chinese name Ahok, being an Indo-Chinese and a practicing Christian who is currently the Governor of DKI Jakarta and a very outspoken man against the corruption in Indonesia, making him an Ensemble Darkhorse for Indonesian citizens.
    • Curiously, the post of President seems to be more lax. Two of the Presidents, Abdurrahman Wahid and Joko Widodo, are Indo-Chinese or something resembling that as both have Chinese blood somewhere in their ancestry. The former is probably the most beloved of the presidents, while the latter is still early to tell.
  • Sore Loser: In the 2014 elections, when he realized that he might be losing the elections, Prabowo starts calling out for foul play and demanded that some regions restart the voting process again. Despite this, Jokowi still ends up winning. Prabowo then starts showing signs of this trope, like refusing to attend Jokowi's election ceremony in the future, and saying that the whole voting isn't fair.
    • Graceful Loser: On the other hand, when Jokowi was elected as just the governor of DKI Jakarta, the previous governor, Fauzi Bowo, that was running the office before and was beaten, gave his congratulations and stating that Jokowi won fair and square and deserves the governor's seat... and he went to become the emissary of Indonesia for Germany.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Soeharto and Soekarno or Suharto and Sukarno? The latter spellings are generally preferred today. The former were older forms of spelling with Dutch influences where "oe" is the equivalent of today's "u" and considered archaic.
  • Unpleasable Fanbase: After the fall of Soeharto and the rise of democracy, it has become very common for commoners to start a demonstration for nearly everything they wanna protest on, be it rise of prices, or some offensive piece of media (mostly those that offended the Muslim) got into the internet, which is to sum it up: A LOT OF THINGS (Sound familiar, troper?). The bad thing is, this often causes massive traffic jams, or just instills fear into the other common people who preferred not to demonstrate, since in the worst case, it could turn into a small riot (not getting close to the Trisakti riot, but still very dangerous to pass by).
  • Unusual Euphemism: Some were developed during the totalitarian regime of Soeharto. If someone was "secured" it could mean either jail time, or being unpersoned.
    • Conversely, Soekarno's public speeches used many colorful languages to describe what he would do to opposing nations. Most of them were variations of Indonesian versions of "beat the crap out of them". A legend amongst historians that Soekarno famously rejected the aid of USAID relief organization by yelling "GO TO HELL WITH YOUR AID!" to them.
  • And no, there's no 911 in Indonesia. Sorry. We do have other numbers though, 110 (police), 118 and 119 (ambulance), 115 (National Search and Rescue Brigade), 129 (Natural Disaster Post), until 113 or 1131 (fire brigade).
  • Even though the current government is supposedly democratic, pissing off fundamentalist Muslims (who make up quite a lot of Indonesia's Muslim population), opening pornographic sites in public,note , quoting something about Timor Leste or the September 30 Movement out of a foreign history book isn't all that good for your health. You can do all of them if you want, but Godspeed and good luck!

     Other general tropes 
  • Action Girl: Mostly in the Islamic era, there are a lot of women who mounted resistance towards the Dutch colonization, regardless of the Stay in the Kitchen culture at that moment (before R. A. Kartini pioneered its abolishment), enough that they were posthumously proclaimed as National Heroines.
  • Badass Army:
    • The Kopassus (Komando Pasukan Khusus, i.e. The Special Forces) have tales of rampant badassery throughout its ranks. Some of it even stray into the supernatural sometimes, the most famous being one tale where a Kopassus soldier shrugging off a sniper round to the temple in a live-fire exercise. Or the rumor of cannibalism in a very harsh condition.
    • Pasukan Garuda (lit. Garuda Forces) or Garuda Contingent, Indonesian Peacekeepers drawn from the military, likes to invoke this using Debus arts. Debus is basically a martial-turned-performance arts that shows supernatural strength like slicing your own limbs unharmed, stabbing yourself with a spear unharmed, eating fire unharmed, and hand crushing candlenuts to pieces without any tools. Debus is usually performed between fellow peacekeeping forces, so it's likely done impress other country's contignent.
  • Badass Boast: Scrawled as a graffiti during the days after 17th August, 1945: "Indonesia, never again the lifeblood of any nation!" There's also Gajah Mada's famous "Sumpah Palapa."
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: The song "Halo Halo Bandung" / "Hello Hello Bandung", the lyrics roughly translate as follows:
    Hello hello Bandung, the capital of Priangan
    Hello hello Bandung, the city of memories
    It's been a long time since I last saw you
  • Cycle of Revenge: The bloody story of Majapahit's predecessor, Singhasari. Ken Arok had Lord of Tumapel Tunggul Ametung killed with an enchanted kris knife made by Mpu Gandring, who was killed by Ken Arok himself because he's impatient about how long the kris was finished, with Mpu Gandring cursing Ken Arok that the kris would kill around 7 people, including Ken Arok himself. Sure enough, Tunggul Ametung's son Anusapati learned Ken Arok's hand in Ametung's murder and killed Ken Arok with the same knife. Then sure enough, Ken Arok's bastard son Panji Tohjaya murdered Anusapati with said knife... But then defied by Anusapati's son Ranggawuni and Ken Arok's grandchild Mahisa Campaka, ruling together just to defy the trope (and making sure that Tohjaya died via other means than the kris)
  • Divide and Conquer: The bane of many Indonesian heroes during the Muslim era, as the Dutch exploited the trope a lot to successfully bring down many heroes like Imam Bonjol and Prince Diponegoro.
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner, You Cannot Kill An Idea: Maluku's National Hero, Kapitan Pattimura has this as his Famous Last Words against the Dutch, something like: "You can kill me now, but another thousand of Pattimuras will stand and oppose you!"
  • Proud Merchant Race: The Chinese stereotype, which is a reason why some people dislike them.
    • Natively, there's the Bugis. They are possibly one of the remnants of the Austronesian people still practicing seafaring and active trade as a way of life. A stereotype is that there is no poor Bugis, for example. They also have a reputation as power-hungry people, and politics are a fair game too; in addition to Vice-President Jusuf Kalla, the current Prime Minister of Malaysia (Najib Razak) is Bugis.
  • Proud Scholar Race: The Minangkabau people famously have a principle that, unless you have done "merantau" (going overseas to find education), you are not a Minang. Since the olden days, the Minang have attained a disproportionate number of jobs involving education, trade, politics, entertainment, basically everything. If you want proof, the first Vice-President of Indonesia (Hatta), the first President of Singapore (Yusof Ishak), and the first Yang di-Pertuan Agong (king) of Malaysia (Abdul Rahman of Negeri Sembilan), were Minang. Not-exhaustive list can be seen here.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: More folklore, but you can bet anyone in Indonesia to know about the story of Malin Kundang. Long story short, Malin's a very poor boy whose father died on a journey to improve the family condition and his mother had to raise him alone in poverty, and when he reached teenage age/adulthood, Malin decided to follow his father's footsteps by doing the aforementioned "merantau" (he's commonly depicted as being born in Minangkabau), not dying, and he went on to become a very successful and rich merchant, with a most beautiful wife to boot. Then when he ended up returning home, his mom came to see him, but Malin shoved her off and said he didn't recognize her as his mom, out of shame of his crews, wife and new fame. Mom was so stricken with grief she let out a curse that on Malin's journey to his new home, he, along with his wife and crews, got shipwrecked and then turned into stone. Moral of the story: Don't be ungrateful to your parents, especially your mom.

     Famous Indonesians 
The section covers many ethnic groups, since "Indonesian" is just an all-encompassing term to denote, well, someone with a Native Indonesian ancestry.
  • Gajah Mada, 14th century military leader and Indonesia's very own Chuck Norris. The first one to shape Indonesia's far-reaching geography, conquering even the Philippines. It took a misunderstanding/inner tragedy to bring down his career.
  • Margaretha Geertruida Zelle, the most famous Femme Fatale in the world, even though she was not that successful. She was actually a full-blooded Dutch, but had her childhood home in the then-Dutch East Indies and spoke perfect Malay. Her stage name, Mata Hari, means "sun" in Malay.
  • Raden Saleh, full name Raden Saleh Sjarif Boestaman, the first "modern" artist and painter from the then Dutch East Indies. Traveled to Europe and received many royal orders to create portraits.
  • Hamka, an ulema (Islamic religious scholar) and famous writer of several classic novels, many of which has been adopted into the big screen.
  • Raden Adjeng Kartini, a noblewoman around the Dutch era who ended up getting fed up at how women of Indonesia were relegated to Stay in the Kitchen only, and in turn used her education from the Dutch to teach Indonesian women, enough that eventually women's rights and emancipation were secured and she became the most influential women in the Indonesian history. Her birthday (April 21st) is even declared a pseudo-holiday called 'Kartini Day' to celebrate women emancipation.
  • Soekarno/Sukarno, the first president of Indonesia, the one who eventually declared the nation's independency along with his vice-president Mohammad Hatta. Famous for his Rousing Speech, The Determinator, and for taking many wives to satisfy his pleasure, despite his age. Though he was vilified in his last years, he is still respected for being the founding father of the nation (and in the wake of his successor's fall, he's usually looked up more favorably from that point on). He's also the father of Indonesia's fifth president Megawati Soekarnoputri.
  • Soeharto/Suharto, the second president of Indonesia. He ruled as a dictator for 30 years and made Indonesia a powerhouse, but in the process also suppressed press freedom, multiple cases of Room101 and The Gulag, and for being the most corrupt leader in the world. His reign saw the execution of millions of numerous real and alleged communist/communist sympathizers and the annexation of East Timor. Deposed in almost the same way as his predecessor was: being vilified and blamed for everything wrong in the country. However, his good deeds of keeping Indonesia stable for 32 years when it could have been crashing down are still remembered fondly.
  • Abdurrahman Wahid, better known as Gus Dur, the fourth president of Indonesia. Was the first president to have non-native ancestry (he was part-Arab and part-Chinese). Famous for being a real-life Cloud Cuckoolander and for wanting to establish relationship with Israel, calling out the religious for their unwillingness to do so, though it got abandoned when he stepped down. Probably Indonesia's most beloved president.
  • Virgiawan Listanto, better known as Iwan Fals, a legendary Genre-Busting singer who has done songs satirizing, among other things, the Indonesian government. Keep in mind that he did that since the start of Soeharto's dictatorial regime and managed to get away with it.
  • Eddie and Alex Van Halen of the Van Halen fame are both half-Javanese.
  • Michelle Branch, American Grammy-winner singer. Javanese grandparent.
  • Barack Obama famously spent his childhood years in Indonesia where he attended a madrasa (an Islamic-oriented school) and has a Javanese adoptive father, Lolo Soetoro, from whom he has a half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng.
  • Christine Hakim, actress. Internationally, you may know her as Liz's Balinese friend from Eat, Pray, Love.
  • Anggun, full name Anggun C. Sasmi, a singer who is best-known as one of the first Indonesian singer to break through overseas, being especially popular in France and the rest of Europe before Indonesia itself recognizes her. She lost her Indonesian citizenship as Indonesia does not abide by the multiple citizenship rule, though she still performs there from time to time. Her family is of royal blood and she is still a member of the royal family ruling the Special Region of Yogyakarta.
  • Basuki Tjahaya Purnama AKA Ahok. Half-Chinese governor of Indonesian Capital Jakarta, starting from 2012 as the vice-governor of Joko Widodo (Jokowi) who became the 7th president of Indonesia and he took on full office after Jokowi became president. He's a rather controversial figure for his very direct and no-nonsense approach towards fighting corruption, which wins him as many supporters (mostly common people) as many as those who thinks he's crazy (those who were the recipients of his anti-bullshit attitude), eventually developing a Broken Base due to his very outspoken way and a little misunderstanding that sounded like he's insulting the religion of Islam. Despite his Chinese ancestry, he has stated that he's proud of his Indonesian citizenship and would readily give his life for the country's betterment.
  • Alan Budikusuma & Susi Susanti: Legendary badminton players from Indonesia, also pretty well known worldwide in the badminton world, winning several cups for Indonesia. They end up marrying and then teaching new generations of badminton players in their country. They're also born Chinese.
  • Ade Rai: One of Indonesia's more well known bodybuilders and at 2000, winning some international bodybuilding award. The guy Indonesians look for when it comes to native bodybuilders. Pretty much an Indonesian Arnold Schwarzenegger except without his political inclinations, acting career and accent.
  • Dono, Kasino, Indro: The most known members of the comedy group Warkop DKI, Indonesia's answer to The Three Stooges and considered legends in Indonesian old comedy shows. Dono and Kasino has passed away for long, leaving Indro the sole survivor of the group and carrying its torch to the next generation either via a Spiritual Successor or a pseudo-revival of Warkop by recasting them trio with new actors.

     Indonesia in foreign media 
Anime & Manga
  • Several cases of Q.E.D. and C.M.B. happen at Indonesia, or specifically, Bali. One cases involves local belief of Leak, a cannibalistic creature.
  • One episode of Jormungand takes place in Jakarta as part of the SR Squad arc.
  • From Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple we have the member of One Shadow, Nine Fists Yami Silkwat/Silcard Jenazad/Junazard/Jenazard, his Yomi disciple Radin Tidat Jihan, and their fellow countrymen from Tidat, a fictional kingdom located in Indonesian Archipelago. The history of the country is even similar, up to Jenazad's intervention. Their martial arts, Pencak Silat, is a real martial artnote  indigenous from Indonesian Archipelago, practiced since even before the aforementioned Singosari Kingdom.
  • Papaya Island from Dragon Ball is heavily based on, none other than, Bali. The manga's author, Akira Toriyama, had a holiday in Bali with his wife and they're impressed with the island. Also, Toriyama got along with a local tour guide named Wayan Budhiyasa, hence why Toriyama created a carricature version of Budhiyasa to appear as a cameo in one panel (on the left) in the manga as a token of his appreciation for the guide.
  • In CLANNAD, the suitcase belonging to Kotomi's parents is said to being transferred to other people from various countries, one of them being Indonesia, so the words "If you see this suitcase, please bring it to our daughter." is also said in Indonesia. Also, in the anime, the scene accompanying the Indonesia segment uses Jakarta's infamous congested traffic jam situation.

  • A Marvel Comics character associated with New Warriors and Initiative, Komodo, is implied to be Indonesian, if her alias and real name are anything to go by ("Melati" and "Kusuma" are pretty common names in Indonesia. The former is usually a first name, the latter can be either first or last name).
  • Tintin and co. had an adventure in Indonesia in Flight 714.
    • They stopped for transit in Jakarta on their flight to a conference at Sydney.
    • They landed on Kemajoran Airport, a now-closed airport in Jakarta after replaced by Soekarno-Hatta Airport. Newer translation simply uses Cengkareng Airport, the old name of the latter.
    • Mid-flight to Sydney, they are contacted by Makassar, a province capital in Sulawesi.
    • They're taken to an Sondonesian Island of Mystery, with Komodo Dragon and Bekantan, some iconic fauna of Indonesia.

  • The Raid is an action film following a Detachment 88 squad as they clear out an apartment building taken over by a drug lord. As the credits show, it (along with its sequel The Raid 2: Berandal) is almost entirely an Indonesian production, with the exception of the British screenwriter.
  • The 1982 film The Year of Living Dangerously was set in 1965 Indonesia during the fall of Sukarno.
  • The 2013 action movie Java Heat starring Kellan Lutz (better known as Emmett Cullen) and Mickey Rourke as the Big Bad takes place in Indonesia. The Deuteragonist is a Detachment 88 lieutenant and features plenty of other Indonesian actors. Filming took place mainly in Central Java & Yogyakarta, most notably at the Yogyakarta Sultan's Mansion & the Borobudur Temple complex.
  • The final third of Eat, Pray, Love is set in Bali. It manages to avoid most of the East Indies tropes, but does feature a wise Balinese medicine man and a mild dose of White Man's Burden when Liz (a white American woman) befriends Wayan, a healer and single mother that she decides to help out by supporting her business and raising funds for her to buy land to build a house on.
  • The 2015 action movie Blackhat starring Chris Hemsworth is about a hacker who hacks a nuclear power plant in China, whose server is apparently based in Jakarta.
  • Jakarta is one of Asian capital cities mentioned by Alice's father in the beginning of Alice in Wonderland (2010).
  • Banda Sea is mentioned as the place where the Quinjet controlled by the freaking Hulk landed in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
  • Skull Island in the King Kong film series is located west of Sumatra.
  • In Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Jakarta is mentioned as one of the cities where the crime organization Syndicate did one of their acts.


Video Games
  • Uncharted: Drake's Fortune took place in islands near Indonesia. Which gave us this memorable exchange by Nathan Drake (using slangs which are pretty accurate, if a little weird to native speakers)...
    Guard: Halo? (Hello?)
    Nathan: Buka pintu. (Open the door.)
    Guard: Siapa ini? Bicara sekarang! (Who's there? Speak, now.)
    Nathan: Ah crap... SIALAN LO! CEPATAN BUKA PINTU!! (Ah crap... DAMN YOU! OPEN THE DOOR, QUICK!!)
    Guard: Ah... tai! (Ah... shit!)
  • Suhadi Sadono anybody? Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow? Yes, he's the Magnificent Bastard who literally takes all of America hostage with hidden smallpox and crypts to force the US to retreat from East Timor.
  • One of the Alliance cruisers in Mass Effect that fell in the battle against Sovereign is named after the Indonesian capital Jakarta. It's mentioned during Shepard's "The Reason You Suck" Speech against Al-Jilani.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots: Raging Beauty is Indonesian, we kid you not. While the other B&B corps members are described as being from "Europe", "Africa", or "South America", Raging Beauty is specifically identified as being from Aceh. Aceh has been the source of many tough rebellions, from the colonial period against the Dutch (one of the National Heroes, Teuku Umar, pulled off an ingenious plan and it took the Dutch nothing short of inserting a culturalist to understand and defeat them), until almost recently. During the Suharto regime, an Acehnese rebel group called GAM (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka, lit. Free Aceh Movement) started their rebellion. Of course, the Suharto regime, being very paranoid against dissent, slapped Aceh with the "DOM" label (Daerah Operasi Militer, lit. Military Operations Zone), which meant that the military was given free reign to do whatever they damn well pleased, and the situation took a turn for the worse. Their resistance continued even after the 1998 turmoil and it took nothing short of a Real Life Deus ex Machina (the Boxing Day Tsunami) to put an end to the fighting. It wiped out both the government and the rebel military and actually enabled them to meet for one last negotiation, brokered by famous Finnish diplomat Martti Ahtisaari. Now, Aceh is an autonomous special region with free reign to practice Islam as fundamentally as they wish, and rebellion is a thing of the past. Hopefully.
  • Indonesia also has a mech pilot, though his usefulness is questionable. Linny Barilar from the third Front Mission, is an Indonesian from the island of Celebes (Sulawesi). His main concern is how to popularize his family's dung powered mechs.
    • There's also Nina Rahman from Power Dolls, although it's rather debatable since Rahman is a common Malay/Arabic surname.
    • For differing definitions of "pilot", Elvy Hadiyat from RahXephon counts.
  • On another mecha-related note, the terrorist organization Mafty (of Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway's Flash novels) was based on Sulawesi. They also hijack an Anaheim Electronics Gundam shipment meant for the island of Halmahera, which is fairly close to Sulawesi.
  • Indonesia has been used for some background stages of several fighting games. The King of Fighters 97 used Bali as one background, while Tekken Tag Tournament 2 has a Java-based stage called "Wayang Kulit". Also apparently, the Big Bad of King of Fighters Maximum Impact 2, Jivatma, was born Indonesian.
  • Indonesia is included in Civilization V's expansion pack, Brave New World, with Gajah Mada as it leader, thus mixing modern Indonesian cities (Jakarta, Surabaya, etc) and some of Majapahit cultures. Also this means you get to build Borobudur as one of the possible Wonders. Before the expansion, Indonesia had been represented by Jakarta as one of the City-States you could visit, making it an Ascended Extra.
    • Indonesia alsos appear as part of the Polystralia Commonwealth in Civilization: Beyond Earth with several current Pacific countries. The name of the Leader of the Commonwealth, Hutama, is an Indonesian name and he got his degree from Universitas Sumatera Utara, a real uni at the capital of North Sumatera Province.
  • Anno 2070 is set in the waters of Indonesia. Based on its location, the island the game takes place in is probably the remnants of Maluku (Moluccas) island.
  • Indonesia has a Fantasy Counterpart Culture in Ragnarok Online in the form of Dewata. Yeah, named after one of Bali's many nicknames. Inappropriately, it's modeled after traditional Java, complete with the Borobudur Temple complex. Its dungeon is modeled after the famous Krakatoa Volcano, containing several monsters from Bali's own myths as its inhabitants.
  • Two of the Demons/Personae in Shin Megami Tensei are also taken from Balinese mythology: Barong and Rangda. They are the fusion materials of Vishnu, which is proper as Bali is famous for having a Hindu majority when the rest of Indonesia is Muslim majority.
  • Indonesia is featured in Criminal Case World Edition (Season 3 of the game).
  • Chapter 19 in Super Robot Wars Original Generation Moon Dwellers took place in Jakarta. The map is designed to emulate parts of Thamrin road where the Selamat Datang Monument is located (though the monument itself is omitted)
  • Age of Empires II: Rise of the Rajas will feature Gajah Mada as the hero of a new included civilization the Malays, which once again makes sense considering that the archipelago that would become Indonesia was called 'Malay' during the Majapahit era, though Gajah Mada occasionally called it Indonesia anyway and unlike Civilization V: Brave New World, the common units used modern Indonesian language instead of ancient Java. True to history, it ends with the Bubat Incident and Gajah Mada's career crashing down.

Web Comics

Web Original
  • There are two Indonesians that have gotten an entry in Badass of the Week. The first is Iko Uwais, for his badassery and action scenes in The Raid. The second one is from Indonesian history... but surprisingly, it's not Gajah Mada: it's Raden Wijaya, for his screwing over the Mongols by making sure Kublai Khan's last invasion would be the one he got on Singhasari (before he changed it to Majapahit).

See also:

The Indonesian flag
The flag is very similar to that of Monaco, except it is longer. Red and white are the colors of the Majapahit Empire, and symbolize body and spirit, respectively, the components of a human being. Or alternatively, Red symbolizes "Bravery" (Berani), while White symbolizes "Purity" (Suci).