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Bhinneka Tunggal Ika
"Unity in Diversity"Note 
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 United States, 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 and huge population, 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 (like the Van Halen brothers' mom) 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 dragons and orangutans, 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 


Indonesia's territorial expanse is unimaginably vast: from Aceh in the northwest to the extreme southeast of Indonesian New Guinea is a distance of over 5,000 km, comparable to the geographic stretch of the entire European continent. The archipelago is mainly volcanic in nature and has lots of natural barriers. This, combined with the waters separating the islands, results in an extremely diverse population. Indonesia has the world's second biggest number of languages at about 700, with a slightly less number of ethnic groups. Indeed, one can say that it's too diverse; although the Javanese form a plurality, an enduring issue inside the country is whether the state can legitimately unite what's basically the society of a small continent. If not for the fact that country was subjugated by a single colonizer, it would have surely been broken up into dozens of smaller countries by now.


Indonesia's major religion is Islam — it is in fact the largest Muslim-majority country in the world. However, it is not the sole religion: Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism are significant minorities in the country. 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.


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    Early history 

The ancient history of Indonesia, before the Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms started to crop up in the 4th century CE, is Shrouded in Myth. Most of the current inhabitants of the country speak languages that are part of the Austronesian language family, whose homeland is speculated to be Taiwan, where the languages exhibit diversity the most, but how they spread their language to the archipelago (and for that matter, everywhere but Taiwan) is a matter of contention. It's unlikely that all 386 million+ Austronesian speakers are descended from the same common ancestors who lived in Taiwan four millennia ago, the earliest time evidence of emigration is attested (and the Taiwanese aborigines aren't exactly known for a large population, Taiwan being a mountainous island the size of the US state of Maryland). The current consensus is that the Austronesians who emigrated and settled in non-Taiwan lands were few, but they had a tremendous impact by acculturating the locals.

Regardless of the squabbles above, the Austronesians were known universally as a great maritime people, having the largest expanse of language spread before European colonialism: they settled as far east as Easter Island and as far west as Madagascar. Regarding Madagascar, the Malagasy people (particularly the Merina and Sihanaka tribes of the central highlands) are descended from Bornean immigrants of the early 1st millennium CE. The traditional Merina standard is red and white, the same as Majapahit's (both colors are retained in the modern countries' flags, in case you're wondering).

Hinduism and Buddhism reached the archipelago in the 4th century and soon after kingdoms were built. Kutai of eastern Borneo and Tarumanagara of western Java, both espousing Hinduism, were among the first ones. The 7th century saw the rise of Srivijaya, a Buddhist Malay empire who managed to wrest control of all of Sumatra, Java, and the Asian mainland up to the Kra Isthmus in present-day Thailand, becoming the first Indonesian polity to rule more than one major island. The empire was a center of Buddhist learning and many monks from China and India exchanged students to study in the capital, Palembang. The next century saw the Hindu Javanese Mataram rising to challenge the Srivijaya's hegemony. The Mataram period was when the Hindu-Buddhist temples of Java, including the Buddhist Borobudur and Hindu Prambanan, were built. The temples suggest that an acculturation of the two foreign religions was adhered. Mataram and its successors, Kahuripan and Kediri, continued to wage wars against Srivijaya, but they remained stuck in Java until the last Kediri king, Kertajaya was forced to abdicate to Ken Arok in 1222, beginning the golden age of the archipelago.

    Singhasari and Majapahit 

Singhasari was founded by Ken Arok, a regional lord from Kediri, whose last king he deposed. He first came to power by killing another lord called Tunggul Ametung of Tumapel. According to the semi-mythical book Pararaton, he did this to snatch Tunggul's beautiful wife, Ken Dedes, who was rumored to give birth to great kings (and in some stories and the aforementioned Pararaton, Ken Arok was actually Tunggul Ametung's very own attendant so he had to work his way around without getting punished for treachery), and used a magical kris blade which however was bewitched by its maker, causing it to inflict a Cycle of Revenge on Ken Arok's and Tunggul Ametung's bloodlines. The curse supposedly ended in the third generation, when Ken Arok's granddaughter, Mahisa Campaka, and Tunggul Ametung's grandson, Ranggawuni, formed an alliance to overthrow the former's half-uncle, Tohjaya (who deposed Tunggul Ametung's son, Anusapati, who killed Ken Arok), making sure that they did not use the aforementioned magical kris blade (which was used by Anusapati to kill Ken Arok, and in turn Tohjaya would use it on Anusapati) against Tohjaya and rule Singhasari together, ensuring that the curse would continue no more.

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 for an assault, but around that time, a coup d'etat instigated by the duke of Kediri, Jayakatwang, cost Kertanegara's life. His son-in-law, Raden Wijaya, survived and used the Mongol's coming to take down Jayakatwang, and once Jayakatwang was down, Raden Wijaya drove the Mongols away from Singhasari. Once he took the throne in 1294, he changed the name Singhasari to Majapahit.

Raden Wijaya's successor Jayanegara turned out to be unpopular due to various reasonsnote . However, his reign marked the debut of military leader Gajah Mada, who'd soon go on to become the biggest badass of the empire, while still being loyal to Jayanegara despite his flaws. With Gajah Mada's help, Jayanegara was able to reclaim his throne after being driven out by rebels. He then delegated most of the ruling jobs to Gajah Mada, but that enabled him to indulge in his darker lusts, namely being a gigantic casanova, especially towards wives of his subordinates and sometimes even sisters. Jayanegara went from being merely unpopular into absolutely insane. This eventually culminated in him banging the wife of his surgeon just before he was about to undergo an operation. The surgeon didn't take this well, and made the operation go awry as his revenge. Gajah Mada was nearby, and as ever the loyal general he is, slew the surgeon, but failed to save his king. That's one side of the story, another story is that Gajah Mada set up the surgeon to kill Jayanegara because his wife was also being banged by Jayanegara (and of course, Jayanegara's incompetence and insanity was another factor why Gajah Mada had to put him down for his kingdom.)

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 onenote , and if there's any rebellion from within the Empire, you can be assured that Gajah Mada was first in line to quell the rebellion. With Tribhuwana's successor, Hayam Wuruk, considered a wise and popular king, in tandem with Gajah Mada, Majapahit entered its golden age.

Majapahit's downfall was set in motion when there was only one kingdom left in the archipelago to be conquered so Gajah Mada could finally complete his Sumpah Palapa, the island-kingdom of Sunda. Hayam Wuruk made plans to make the Sundanese Princess Dyah Pitaloka Citaresmi his consort, but Gajah Mada had other ideas to approach the situation. He decreed that Sunda should submit as vassal, whereas Pitaloka would become concubine instead. The Kingdom of Sunda did not take this insult well, they ended up fighting in a grueling Last Stand/Curb-Stomp Battle that ended with Pitaloka being Driven to Suicide by their defeat. Even Hayam Wuruk was not pleased with the result, so Gajah Mada took the blame, was exiled, and died in obscurity. note  note 

Despite the loss of Gajah Mada (his massive tasks ended up being delegated to several ministers), Hayam Wuruk was still an influential and most respected king. While Majapahit stopped with expanding, Hayam Wuruk improved the Empire's infrastructure so well that he was extremely well loved by the people and made Majapahit still a strong Empire. It's only after Hayam Wuruk passed away that everything truly crashed down, since Hayam Wuruk decided to pass down his throne to his two children, and then they started fighting each other to become the sole ruler of the Empire, which continued for several generations. Naturally, this weakened Majapahit's grip on the archipelago.

    Rise of Islam and the Coming of Europeans 

With Majapahit weakened, the archipelago began to shift from warring states into a more trade and tolerance-based approach, and at this point, Islam began to rise. The religion actually had presence for quite a while - Muslim tombstones and burial practices were known in the 11th century - but the first extensive, and indigenous, presence appeared in the 13th century with the rise of Pasai in Aceh. At that time, Pasai was the world's easternmost Muslim civilization and was reported by Moroccan traveler Ibn Batutta. In the centuries after, Muslim communities were established along the islands' coast and created kingdoms from the vestiges of the former Hindu-Buddhist ones, including Aceh and Malacca in Sumatra; Banten, Demak, and Mataram in Java; Pontianak and Banjar in Borneo; Ternate and Tidore in Maluku; and Gowa and Bone in Sulawesi. Islam took root slowly because it was spread mainly through trade, instead of organized proselytization; while Sumatra was quite easily converted by the 15th century, Java's Islamization was complete only in the 18th century, when the last Hindu kingdom of Blambangan fell to Dutch intervention. Most of eastern Indonesia accepted Islam only in some places, while New Guinea was outright untouched (although there are documented contacts with Ternate). Most of the remnants of the Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms retreated to Bali along with the artifacts and culture they could recover and it continued to be the majorly Hindu/Buddhist population in Indonesia even to present day, when Islam was pretty much everywhere else.

Wars still occurred here and there, but they were less massive than those happening during the Hindu-Buddhist era. Of course, at this point, Indonesia's natural production of spices, and specifically nutmeg, made itself known to the Europeans, who dubbed it the 'Spice Islands'. Nations like Portugal, England and eventually the Netherlands, came to pay visits 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 almost two hundred years, the Dutch government dissolved the hopelessly corrupt Mega-Corp Dutch East India Company (VOC, Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie) and took over its assets. The Dutch colonial period was a time of much hardship to the Indonesian people and universally regarded by historians as a shining example of the evils of colonialism. Unlike the British, whose interests laid in bringing their colonies up to their standards, or the Portuguese and Spanish, who wanted to spread the holy word, the Dutch were interested in trade and trade only. The Dutch had no particular attachment to the Indonesian natives and looked down on them. They had no interest to educate them, seeing it as something that would be worthless to teach to these "subhumans". Unlike the Brits, whose schools eventually accepted the local commoners, the Dutch violently put down local rebellions and closed education to natives until the early 20th century, over three centuries after they first set shop. Considering these facts, it's actually a miracle that Indonesia managed to become independent relatively stable and sane. Bear in mind: while post-colonial states like Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines inherited their ex-masters' infrastructural and cultural trappings, Indonesia basically inherited nothing from the Netherlands. Not even the Dutch language, which is why virtually nobody in Indonesia speaks Dutch (Although some Dutch words were still used even in modern Indonesia, such as 'Verboden' for 'No Entry' signs, because it's local equivalent ("Dilarang Masuk") is regarded too long for a sign).

The Dutch rule was briefly interrupted in the early 19th century after the The Napoleonic Wars, when France swooped in, sending Herman Willem Daendels to administer the colony. He built the first trans-Java road, a postal road that spans from Anyer in the west to Panarukan in the east, forming the basis of the modern Pantura road. Daendels' reign only lasted about three years, and after that, the British swept in. They sent in a British man called Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles who came to administrate Java, and surprisingly the British were a bit more lax in colonization. Because of this, Raffles was more looked upon by the natives and eventually in his honor, he would become the namesake of a huge corpse flower growing in Indonesia, Rafflesia arnoldi (the arnoldi part came from the naturalist who actually founded the flower, Joseph Arnold). He also wrote a book named The History of Java, some of which looted from Mataram's courtly chronicles, and started cataloguing historical places of interest, such as Borobudur.

Unfortunately, Britain left the archipelago after a few years and the Netherlands were once again dominant in colonization, restarting the period of cruelty. The 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. However, the Dutch loved their Divide and Conquer strategy and were always able to crush these rebellions with themnote . Later on, these kind of rebel leaders would be appointed as modern Indonesia's national heroes.

It was mostly believed that the Dutch held grip of Indonesia for 342 years. However, newer history discoveries stated that this was not the case. The Dutch actually spent about 317 years to fight off the defending Indonesian kingdoms, since the archipelago was big enough that they couldn't finish the process when the most effective tool they had was their Divide and Conquer strategy. After those years, the pacification and colonization the whole archipelago was finally completed and the Dutch only managed to govern Indonesia for good for about 25 years.

After the Dutch relaxed their educational policy (sometimes credited with the rise of the book Max Havelaar gaining late popularity, which made the Dutch realize that they might have ran the exploitation to the natives too excessively), several native intellectuals popped up and decided that their homeland deserved better than this. They wrote books to teach the younger generation what their nation got from the Dutch and sometimes even including veiled Take Thats against colonial rule. The Dutch weren't pleased, but they couldn't curb this trend 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 had to Stay in the Kitchen and 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, and Guided Democracy 

Cue World War II. The 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 could be considered to be just as harsh, or even worse than life under the Dutch, so either way, Indonesia was still suffering big timenote . However, charismatic figures like Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta studied Japanese knowledge, then took advantage of Germany and Japan's weakening due to the US dropping nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, declaring Indonesia independent on August 17, 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. As noted above, Indonesia inherited very little from Dutch colonization, so everything had to be built from scratch. Events happening within Sukarno's rule included hostilities with Malaysia, which he wanted to annex into Indonesia, citing the basis of Gajah Mada and his Sumpah Palapa. He even went as far as leaving the United Nations when it accepted Malaysia's membership. However, Sukarno's public approval began to wane as he became increasingly autocratic, declaring himself President for Life and leading Indonesia under the so-called "Demokrasi Terpimpin" (Guided Democracy). He became close with the Second World (i.e. the Soviet Union and its allies) and enjoyed an alliance with the support of the leftists, chief of them the PKI (Partai Komunis Indonesia; Communist Party of Indonesia). Unfortunately, Sukarno's more autocratic rule started to show cracks as well: economic inflation rose to an unprecedented levels that there were many uncared of poverty throughout the nation.

Eventually, the 30 September Movement happened. On September 30, 1965, a rogue military movement supposedly aligned with the PKI kidnapped several pro-Sukarno generals (and an adjutant, Pierre Tendean, who sacrificed himself to protect his superior's escape); six were horribly mutilated and their corpses thrown into a well in Lubang Buaya on the outskirts of Jakarta (and a few of them were thrown alive to the well along with the corpses while blindfolded, and then barraged with live bullets there too). One general, Abdul Harris Nasution (Tendean's superior), escaped and reported this to his superiors. Nasution's 5-year-old daughter was also shot in the incident and died in the hospital several days laternote  The Indonesian army was able to locate the corpses of these generals thanks to Soekitman, a police agent that was captured and bore witness to the horrible killing of the generals, but ended up slipping away from death and reported back to his quarters. This, along with Nasution's report, made Indonesia realize just what happened in that bloody night.

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 was hushed up as a Communist takeover attempt. However, even without the incident, the Indonesian economy was in the brink of collapsing so they were not out of the danger just yet.

    New Order and its downfall (Trisakti Incident)  

In the aftermath of the PKI coup, Sukarno lost even more support and the nation was on the verge of collapsing. A new president had to be elected and thanks to his achievements for quelling the coup, Suharto was elected. It also helped his case that Suharto was also very close to and trusted by Sukarno himself, thus the story went on similarly with how Suharto looked like a worthy successor of Sukarno just in case he went astray.

Since the turning point was the downfall of PKI because they murdered the army generals, the victims of the 30 September Movement were posthumously honored as 'Heroes of Revolution' as they refused to give in to PKI's demands and it was thanks to this steadfast loyalty that Indonesia was able to keep its philosophies and integrity, eventually averting Indonesia's collapse from Sukarno's erratic actions. And to further strengthen its anti-Communism stance, Suharto also sanctioned a movie called "Pengkhianatan PKI" (PKI's Betrayal) which was a history-based film to showcase the cruelty of PKI against the nation, the dangers it presented and making sure that every citizens would generate the response of "Never. Again.", similar to a certain genocide out there. And the order was that it's to be aired every September 30th by the national television channel.

To stabilize Indonesia, Suharto announced his brand of regime called "Orde Baru" (New Order). Indonesia's face would change that day. While Sukarno was very hostile against United Nations and Malaysia, Suharto instead opted for peaceful relationship and mended their relationship, thus curbing down their rivalry and allowed Indonesia to be part of the United Nations. His economic project was leering to liberalism and capitalism, with the United States of America as one of Suharto's chosen allies, and one of the most important goals that Suharto aimed for was national stability and with his chosen allies backing him, he could reach those goals in a short time. Thanks to this, Indonesia's economy grew exponentially, enough that that the world was impressed with the formerly colonized nation to grow in such great pace and gave it the moniker 'Tiger of Asia'.

All seemed well for Indonesia, and it would look like a good time to say 'And they lived Happily Ever After'. Unfortunately, after 32 years of rule by Suharto, everything started to fall into pieces and Indonesia would experience yet another great change in the face of harsh truths that came out, slowly but surely.

At 1997, Asia was hit with a great financial crisis, and all of the sudden, after years of economic stability, Suharto's leadership somehow plunged Indonesia to an unprecedented crisis and with poverty suddenly rising further, people started to lose their confidence towards Suharto. Demonstrations started to flare up and from there, rumors began to float that Suharto wasn't the 100% nation savior that he was hyped up to be. While he did brought back stability as promised, it turned out that he did so by using a very autocratic government Not So Different with Sukarno's, but with an extra dish of iron fisted dictatorship and horrible fates awaiting those who defy him, covered up with excuses like "Being tasked/deported/secured to somewhere", 'Democracy' was but a cover. And since Suharto concentrated most of the development in the capital Jakarta, and not a completely fair one too, many areas in Indonesia suffered big time for it. Three words went to become popular in that time: Corruption, Collusion and Nepotism. And Suharto was suspected to be doing all three.

Because of these, eventually college students demanded Suharto to step down, which resulted in another tragedy known as the Trisakti Shooting: The college students of Trisakti University planned a non-violent protest, which at first worked normally as planned. The military has placed several shooters with live bullets and some snipers just in case things got rough. The university's dean managed to convince the students to the campus, so they did. Before the students could enter safely, however, the snipers opened fire unprovoked, killing two students. The students afterwards split in two, one half took shelter in the campus, the rest protested further at this kind of shooting. This prompted the snipers to shoot even more, now killing two more students as well as wounding a lot of the rest (though the latter were saved by being rushed to the hospital).

That was the straw that broke the camel's back, while beforehand people were able to hold back their anger at Suharto's lies, this was the moment when the people, without care of what would happen to them in case they spoke back against Suharto, finally stood up and yelled "IMPEACH/DOWN WITH SUHARTO!" en masse, following a mourning parent's low mumbling such words in the face of their son's death by those snipers. Mass demonstrations flared up into riots, targeting police offices and cars 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 many Chinese Indonesians to flee. After realizing how much he lost power and the ensuing chaos that erupted, Suharto decided that he truly had to resign, his reign was over. After airing his resignation speech to public, Suharto assigned his vice-president Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie to be the next president (Temporarily due to the severe emergency caused by the situation, until a new election with new President-Vice President pair that came out victorious, this is why Habibie was the only President to ever hold the office without any vice presidents). He lived the rest of his life in retirement, with the media hounding to convict him, but they couldn't find conclusive proofs even until his natural death by multiple organ failure years later.

    Extra Folder: The shadow of Suharto 
After the fall of Suharto, with the freedom of press truly freed, many were more than eager to do research about what Suharto was doing in all those years throughout the following years (and occasionally still ongoing). And to the horror of many, a majority of the nasty rumors were proven to be true, he really did do those corrupt things and abused human rights inhumanly.

Chief amongst them, 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, in addition to the aforementioned "Pengkhianatan PKI" film being aired every year, which ended up quite hypocritical of Suharto (though not without a point, even if it's a smaller scale, the murder method was still very inhuman and gruesome).

Another discovery about Suharto's actions in the 30 September Movement leading to his rise to power was that somehow, the CIA and the USA admitted of being involved, their reasoning boiled down with how they suspected that Sukarno would become a rising power, and yet he was leaning towards communism and thus they decided to intervene by manipulating the situation, including currying the favors of Suharto and eventually making the 30 September Movement the False Flag Operation as described above so Indonesia wouldn't fall into communism ideology like Russia or China (and becoming an ideological enemy for them in the cold war). For good or bad, this is not the place to talk about it.

Additionally, despite the history of Indonesia being invaded and colonized by the Dutch, it turned out Suharto would end up doing the same thing, except towards East Timor, and doing a lot of inhuman things towards them all while parading that East Timor was part of Indonesia's many provinces. And a majority of them were solely for hoarding whatever resources East Timor had instead of anything defensive.

To this day, even after his death, Suharto remained as one of the most controversial figures of Indonesia. His name would go down in history as one of the worst dictators in the world that ever lived and his own people now reviled him. However, Suharto was not without merits according to those that didn't hate him: If he didn't put himself into power back then, Indonesia would have surely collapsed shortly after 1965 and with the increasing chaos caused by the instability, he did what he had to do to bring stability back to Indonesia, even if he had to use weak foundation and becoming a hypocritical dictator later in his age, where many suspect that with advanced age came senility as what happened with many long lived rulers in history. As Indonesia transitioned from his era, people sometimes remembered the level of stability he brought and wished someone else would bring it back, preferably without bringing in his questionable actions.

His departure from office and the nasty reveals about him put a great shadow towards Indonesia's continued development as a nation.

    Reformation Era 

Suharto's fall marked the beginning of Indonesia's reformation, which has a heavy emphasis on democracy and free speech. 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. Gus Dur was impeached after ruling for two years due to a conflict with interest with the legislative assembly, being succeeded by Megawati for the remainder of his term. The winner of the next election in 2004 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 (and vice-president) cannot have more than two terms, SBY had to stand down for the 2014 elections, but Kalla is still eligible for vice-presidency, and so he, along with the then-governor of Jakarta, Joko Widodo (Jokowi), went on to win the election, with Kalla still being the vice-president. Much like SBY, Jokowi won the next elections in 2019, this time switching Kalla with Ma'ruf Amin for his vice-president.

Additionally, one thing that had to be done from the departure of Suharto was that they finally let East Timor go and declare their own independence, eventually collaborating with them, although sometimes, tensions flared up based on what Suharto did to them.

Despite its turbulent government issues, the Reformation proved to be quite beneficial to Indonesia as applications like Twitter or other social medias became extremely popular and giving Indonesia a lot of international coverage, for good and bad. In addition of this, at 2009, Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States of America and his origins from Indonesia became quickly known, garnering more interest to the nation. As such, Indonesia went to become one of the more well-known Southeast Asia nations in the world (at least, that's in popular culture. Indonesia has always been a powerful regional player economically, being one of the 20 largest economies in the world, with Jakarta being also the seat of ASEAN.)

Around the early 2000's, however, with the fall of Suharto and the independence of East Timor, the westernmost province of Indonesia, Daerah Istimewa (Special Region) Aceh decided to follow suit, with their major movement known as 'Gerakan Aceh Merdeka' (Aceh Independence Movement). This was at first met with resistance from the Indonesian government, but it paused for awhile when Aceh was hit with a Tsunami in 2004. Two years later, eventually Indonesia agreed to let them form their own government while still answering to Indonesia overall, and Aceh agreed to sign for peace. And thus, their province changed their name to 'Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam' (similar to Brunei (Darussalam)), and thus far became the first (and only) part in Indonesia that adapted the sharia law of Islam.

The openness of the Reformation era also led to the rise of religious fundamentalism, and specifically Islamism. Having been forced underground for much of the Guided Democracy and New Order eras, Islamism came to the fore as a grassroots movement and became further inspired with the Aceh movement and seeing them as being successful in making their province stable with the strict sharia law. Even though its publicity steadily rose after Suharto's downfall — and despite multiple deadly bombings against Western and Christian targets on Java and Bali — it only really came into the public attention in 2016 after a political "scandal". The then-governor of Jakarta, "Ahok" Basuki Tjahaya Purnama, had made a controversial statement regarding The Qur'an that was taken out of context. Somehow, this came into the hands of a certain someone who uploaded it to the media, triggering a nasty fallout in which Islamists publicly condemned Ahok, rallying the public's cause by noting his ethnicity (Ahok was the first governor of Jakarta to be an ethnic Chinese) and bad personality (which was unfortunately correct; Ahok had a rather short temper and it only got worse since he became governor, at least when he was vice-governor, Jokowi was there to direct his bad attitude so it would come out in the safest, most proper time). Eventually, an ultimatum was made by an Islamist movement called the "Front Pembela Islam" (Islamic Defenders Front) for Ahok to step down before he would be forced to. Ahok relented, stepping down and surrendering to the police. He served in jail until 2019, when he was released under a parole.

However, this incident ended up backfiring on the political Islam movement. Ahok's downfall garnered a lot of international attention and criticism and led to Indonesians, most of whom had previously regarded the growth of Islamism as a joke, to become aware that there are people who don't like their country's secularist constitution, and will do anything to abolish it, including violence. As a result, authorities began to seriously regulate religious growth, clamping down on sites promoting radical views and banishing and/or arresting people who went too far to promote radicalism. For the 2019 elections, Jokowi chose as vice-president Ma'ruf Amin, a moderate Islamic cleric, something that analysts noted is a way to appease the pious while preventing the more radical elements from taking force. This culminated in the banning/dissolution of the aforementioned FPI and it being declared a forbidden party (akin of PKI) by the order of Jokowi at the tail end of the year 2020, as even before the Ahok incident, they were already inciting many radical fundamentalism activities, most of them getting near threats of terrorism, that wanted to replace Pancasila with sharia laws like many other Muslim countries, and still continued to do so after the Ahok incident. However, the battle against religious fundamentalism wasn't over just yet.

Trivia and information about Indonesia

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    Administrative divisions 

During the colonial era, Indonesia was known as a producer of spices such as nutmeg, which is endemic to the Maluku islands. Today, Indonesia is a developing country and an important emerging market. It is the world's 16th largest economy (ranking right above its ex-colonizer, the Netherlands) and a member of the G20. Its exports include coal, petroleum oil and gases, and palm oil, while it imports machinery and chemicals. Indonesia was a longtime member of the OPEC, but decreasing oil wealth led to it exiting the bloc in 2008, having failed to meet production quota. Indonesia is well-known for its palm oil production, being the industry's top producer. Unfortunately, clearances for palm plantations have resulted in the rapid depletion of the country's rainforests since the late 20th century. For most of its history, Indonesia's main trade partner is Japan, though by the Turn of the Millennium China has been quickly ascending to become a key trade partner. A large chunk of Indonesia's economy is still dominated by state, who owns several important enterprises, including its oil industry.

The Indonesian rupiah is infamous for its steep exchange rate (1 USD = 14,000 IDR as of November 2019), at least on face value. This was the result of the hyperinflation the country experienced during the 1997 Asian financial crisis, when the currency was floated and ended up depreciating ten times its previous value. Although it has recovered and become stable in recent years, the currency stays around the same range. Do note, however, that the rate is deceptive and no way an indication of living costs, which are generally on the same level as other middle income countries.

    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). 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. 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".
  • Backpacking culture is rising since late 2012 thanks to local travel youtuber and TV personalities (Jalan Jalan Men and such) and the introduction of traveling and cheap flight / hotel apps, becoming borderline lifestyle. There's a lot of controversies around this however, especially on "cheap travelers" that occasionally damaged the world-renowned travel destination like mentioned above with vandalism and throwing garbage everywhere. Indonesia's capsule hotel businesses is also getting hotter, noted for affordable luxury and novelty, like Bobobox and they even add ones in airport and stations.

  • There was another hot spot in Indonesia: Timor-Leste, the first country to attain widely recognzied independence in the 21st century, in 2002. 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)) .
    • 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, accused them of "Christianization". 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.
  • 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. Starting from the end of the 2000's, this has been greatly reduced thanks to the infrastructure improvement provided by Jokowi & Ahok. However, at late 2010's (especially after Ahok left the office), heavy floods started to come again.
  • Jakarta is also notorious as one of the most crowded, vehicle-infested cities out there, with some calling it 'the city with worst traffic jam in the world'.
    • Because of the above, whenever you drive a vehicle, sometimes you will find people just standing up in the road and guiding cars on when to cross or make a U-turn. They may request small tip for services (in as much as you give to beggars), but in times when there's a big traffic jam, they can be vital to make sure your vehicle doesn't bump into others, so giving them money, while optional, is often considered being grateful, and if their services gets you through really hard situation, giving more money than usual is often considered much more grateful. Indonesians call these guys 'Pak Ogah', literally translated 'Mr. Reluctant', but actually based on the same-named character from a traditional puppet TV show "Si Unyil", who's a Lazy Bum, since while actually useful in roads at times, in other times it could also add up to the traffic jam problems, or being considered a job for rather lazy people. Then again, considering Indonesia's turbulent economic situation...
  • For a Southeast Asia nation, Indonesia is a home of many snakes, including around 360 species and 76 of them are venomous and yet they only have antivenoms for three species so far. For the most part, snake bites were handled with a more 'general' antivenom, or traditional healing. Therefore, getting bitten by a snake in Indonesia could be one of the deadliest things in the nation... well, as long as you don't provoke them. However, with less knowledge on snakes and Indonesia still pushing on modernization on rural areas, it's only a matter of time that the modern people encounter the snakes that was driven away from their old home (usually by accident, since there are lots of tall grasses in rural areas of Indonesia where farmers work, farmers are more likely to encounter snakes by chance while either cutting grasses or walking through the territory, accidentally provoking the snakes), though death by snake bites is still rare in the country.note 


General Notes

  • Indonesia is nominally a secular state but only recognizes six religions: Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism (since 2000). Indigenous belief systems, ironically, are struggling to be legally recognized and its adherents have to identify as one of the aforementioned six or risk not being able to be registered in the system, e.g. having a national ID card or marriage certificate, even though theoretically it is possible to identify as "Others". Also, minority sects of the six religions are often accused of heresy and persecuted by the more extreme religious organizations.
  • 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, South Asia, or even neighboring Malaysia and Brunei, 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 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. Going to the island of Aceh is a different story; they have Sharia law and have been known to criminalize homosexuality.
    • 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.
    • Due to the majority of the Indonesian people being the more lax Muslim, the Christian and Catholic churches occassionally called God with Allah. As far as the Indonesians are concerned, both Christian God and Islam Allah are the same and they could be referred as both. This is because Indonesia has a specific word to say the Christian/Islam God ('Tuhan' or 'Allah') as opposed to other (for Hindu or other old pantheons) Gods/Goddesses ('Dewa/Dewi', also a pretty common name for its native people).
  • Despite the anti-Western stance form hardline Muslims, 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.
  • 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. However, Eid Fitr is basically the one that gets extra boons, whereas there are more official 'Joint Holiday' and extra payment from working offices to facilitate Eid Fitr (especially those who went home to their village of birth). In other religions' holidays (or even Eid Adha), you only mostly get a holiday that exact day only (though sometimes, Christmas gets one extra 'Joint Holiday').
  • Due to its dark past with Communism, 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.
  • 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 and all aspects of LGBT can be seen, especially in the big cities. Male-to-female transgender people 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. As aforementioned above, none of this would be acceptable in Aceh, having punishments such as lashing and even death.
  • The copyrights laws aren't very strong in Indonesia. Singaporean tourists sometimes visit ITC Ambassador, a shopping mall 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.
    • The bootleg DVD situation, however, ended up shaping the video gaming history in Indonesia with Sony ending up building a legacy out of bootleg Playstation 1 & 2 discs, until 3 made it impossible thanks to changing to Blu-Ray format (you won't see bootleg Blu-Ray discs). See below for more details on this.
  • Following Islamic dietary laws, pork gets an extremely bad rap in most 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 halal food. Outside of non-Muslim enclaves, it's not uncommon for restaurants to forego pork servings from their menu altogether, including for Chinese dumpling and Japanese ramen shops whose dishes are otherwise famous for their intensive use of pork.
  • Unlike what Islamic dietary laws prescribe, alcohol is widely available and imbibed by the populace, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. Local beers include Bintang, Anker, and Bali Hai; Heineken and Paulaner maintain breweries in-country; and there's active experimentation with wine. Due to the Islamist influence though, it does come at a price (18% tax on local brews and upwards of 150% on imports), and is totally illegal in Aceh province.
  • Much like Latin America, most of Europe, and much of the World, 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, where they were the first Asian team to ever play at the World Cup. The Indonesian team didn't have much of a chance of since, as they would refuse to play against Israel, and falling behind many other Asian national teams in quality.
    • 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 with Malaysia as the winner.
    • 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.
    • Due to this, in the video games area, Indonesians love Football Video Games:
      • Despite the bad raps both Electronic Arts and Konami had in the latter decades, their football sports series (FIFA Soccer and Winning Eleven/Pro Evolution Soccer respectively) continue to headline most physical gaming stores you visit in Indonesia. And if there's a video game rental place (usually to provide those on the lower economic scale the joys of video games), you can bet that it'll have either of those two, depending on the latest installment.
      • On the simulation side, Football Manager is the running champion, with people running games since Football Manager 2005.
  • 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, as well as how badminton as an international sensation tends to get overshadowed by soccer or even basketball.
  • Just like many other Southeast Asian countries, another sport that has becoming really popular in Indonesia after the turn of the century is MotoGP. The popularity of MotoGP here far, far outweighs the popularity of Formula One even though Formula One briefly had an Indonesian driver in Rio Haryanto in 2016 whilst MotoGP hasn't had an Indonesian rider that competed in the MotoGP class yet. MotoGP's popularity is so huge here that if you compared the search numbers of MotoGP and Formula One on Google Trends, Indonesia is the only major country where the search results for MotoGP outnumbers Formula One.note  Also according to the Google Trends, it is the second most popular type of sport in the country, with soccer/football being the only type of sport that managed to beat MotoGP's search numbers on the internet. That's just how immense MotoGP is to the general public of Indonesia.
    • The country has hosted a championship race in 1996 and 1997 in the purpose-built Sentul International Circuit, and it's set to return in the calendar for the 2021 season with a street circuitnote  in the currently work-in-progress Mandalika resort area in Lombok island.
    • There has been several reasons that explains why MotoGP is incredibly popular in Indonesia: Indonesia's status as one of the biggest motorcycle markets in the world, Valentino Rossi's immense popularity (him appearing in ads featuring Indonesian celebrities like this in the 2000's certainly helps), and the fact that Indonesia is one of the very few countries to have all of the races aired live on free television is often cited as the biggest factors. If you live in the cities and you overheard people talking about "Rossi", "Marquez", "Lorenzo", "Pedrosa", or "Stoner", chances are they will be talking about Valentino Rossi, Marc Márquez, Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa, and Casey Stoner respectively.
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • Due to the popularity of Indonesian instant noodle brand Indomie, several Indonesian internet users tend to make jokes that Indomie is their seventh, unofficial religion. They also spun off Indomie's signature jingle, "Indomie, seleraku/Indomie, my taste." into "Indomie, agamaku/Indomie, my religion."
  • There is one thing that tourists learned about Indonesia after actually visiting it. The fact that some Indonesians likes to do things later than it is scheduled, also known as Ngaret note  in Indonesian term. This is lampshaded in a Manga named Tokkyu. However, this is 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 proud of (except the hardline Muslims, who hate everything even remotely Western).
  • As noted in the soccer section above, many Indonesian Muslims, in solidarity with the Palestinians, very much hate Israel. The government criticizes them whenever sieges are done. 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 many 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.
    • While commercials eventually got fizzled out, there were at times a commercial ended up getting banned because it was deemed too controversial for good reasons, even if it's a very funny case of Tempting Fate. The commercial in question (Starts at 00:15) and its sequel.Synopsis 
  • The government and daily life are heavily influenced by military tradition, stemming mainly from Independence War nostalgia and the longest-reigning president being a former Army general. Schools and many other institutions hold military-style flag raising ceremonies every Monday and many schools have flag raising clubs, which members have the chance to be selected for the annual Independence Day ceremony at the presidential palace. Phrases like "Semangat 45" ("'45 spirit"), "Merdeka!" ("Liberty!"), and "Siap!" (military "Yessir!" like the German "Jawohl!") are used in daily life.
  • Bahasa Indonesia (lit. Indonesian language, which means calling it Indonesian is more accurate than Bahasa) is not a natural language but a standardised version of Malay language used as the Lingua Franca of the country, influenced by other languages due to historical ties. Indonesian have a lot of loanwords standardized into the standard dialect (bahasa baku) from the former colonizers of the islands (Dutch, Portuguese, English) and trade partners and religious sources (Hindi, Chinese, Arabic). It can be said that Indonesian is mostly Dutch-influenced Malay, while Malay used in the neighboring Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei is mostly English-influenced.
    • Some of Indonesian also made their way as loanwords in English, like paddynote , gongnote ,orangutannote , as well as amoknote 
    • The archipelago contains around 700 local living languages (which are not dialects of Indonesian because they have significant difference in grammar and vocabulary). It is estimated that 270 of them are spoken in Papua. Javanese is the most spoken local language in the country, as well as the most spoken language.
    • Indonesia hosts the most trilinguals in the worlds, comprising 17,4% of the population. This is because most provinces have Local Content policy that mandates teaching of the local language of the province in primary and secondary schools. Besides that, Indonesian and English is also a mandatory subject from the central governmentnote , which means that the average kid would learn at least three languages in their formal education. What's interesting is that there are more second-language speakers than native speakers of Indonesian. This is due to Indonesian being spoken mostly alongside the native local language, especially in rural areas, while urban dwellers are more likely to have it as the first language.
    • Sanskrit (known as Sanskerta) is used a lot like Latin is in Europe, just like in its native India. You'll see it in many government institutions' official motto and award and title names, e.g. the environment conservation award Kalpataru (from the Hindu divine tree), Anumerta (posthumous recognition), Indonesian Army motto Kartika Eka Paksi ("Unmatchable Bird with Noble Goals") and the country's motto Bhinneka Tunggal Ika ("Unity in Diversity").
  • If you have been speaking Indonesian language for some time, you'd notice that Indonesians love to abbreviate just about anything, probably related to the aforementioned military influence. Some are even done very much in a tongue-in-cheek way, often referencing multiple things at one time. Fine examples include:
    • Jabodetabek = the Jakarta metropolitan area ('Ja'karta, 'Bo'gor, 'De'pok, 'Ta'ngerang, and 'Bek'asi.)
    • Puskesmas = Pusat Kesehatan Masyarakat (Community Health Center, think of public 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.)
    • Bucin = Budak Cinta (Property of Love)
  • The Indonesian language has no past tense or third-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").
    • There are several first- and second-person pronouns with varying degrees of appropriateness. "I/me" can be "saya" (neutral/formal), "aku" (casual), "gua/gue" (Jakarta and surrounding areas, loanword from Hokkien Chinese, for close friends and peers only), "beta" (used in Eastern Indonesia), "hamba" (deferrent, usually used ironically or by royal servants), etc. "You" can be "Anda" (very formal and can be seen as rude since it lacks deference), "Saudara" (literally "fellow humankind", mostly used by uniformed services), "kamu" (casual), "lu/lo" (counterpart to "gua/gue"), "Bapak/Ibu" ("Sir/Madam", formal and safest), "Kakak" ("Brother/Sister", used to address young people, most notably by store clerks), and so on.
    • The word "the" is also often absent, as so do the words "is/are/am/was/were".
    • Also, like Spanish, 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.
  • Some slang words are formed through word inversion (traditionally associated with the Malang dialect from Java) or letter rearrangement similar to Pig Latin, for example: "saik" from "asyik" ("fun"), "kane" from "enak" ("delicious"), "woles" from the English "slow" ("chillax"), "bokap" from "bapak" ("father"), "sohib" from "sahabat" ("best friend").
  • 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.
  • 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 censored there too. 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 kind of hard Indonesia. So don't be surprised if you have to handle with the censorship rule called 'Internet Positif' which blocks any websites Indonesian Government deemed 'too against their culture', which may include porno, piracy, exposed boobs, some image/video-hosting sites (even Reddit and Imgur, as those sites is allegedly the ones with the most porn and pirated stuff). Unsurprisingly, the country has one of the highest percentage of VPN users. 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.
  • The fact that Indonesia is almost unknown to the rest of the world besides the popular tourist destination island of Bali (which many outsiders would think is a country or part of another country) is not lost on Indonesians. Due to the relatively quick proliferation of Internet recently, on several occasions that the country is mentioned, however briefly, you can be sure that more than several people will be commenting with "Proud to be Indonesian!"/"Hey, that's my country you know!". Due to how embarrassing this can be if said in Real Life, and the fact that comments can fill almost all of the comment section of a post rather quickly and obnoxiously, it's dubbed "Overproud Indonesians". It's widespread from Twitter to YouTube and SFW Image Boards like 9GAG, but kind of limited in sites blocked by Indonesian Government like Reddit or Tumblr.
  • The Information era allowed Indonesian programmers to develop some applications to better their transportation method. This results in Go-Jek, a transportation reservation application where you can call a public motorcycle (Go-Ride) or car (Go-Car) to transport you to another place. It spread so wildly that it rivaled official taxi services, namely because you can monitor where your driver is located and also even call them (and the process is really quick and also cheap). Another advantage that Go-Jek have in comparison to say Uber is that the application have many other services that you can use, most notably for food delivery (Go-Food) or item delivery (Go-Send), but there are other services such as Go-Clean for professional house cleaning service needs and Go-Tix for online entertainment ticket selling services and of course, Go-Pay, your very own digital wallet in your cellphone, where you can make purchases in shops and get discounts with it. It was popular enough that Go-Jek has made plans to expand into the international market, starting with neighboring countries, like Singapore. Just be wary of some crimes that go along with it.

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. To put this into perspective, the bit about changing the names of Super-1 sticks, and "Ksatria Baja Hitam"/"Black Steel Knight" is essentially the local translation of Kamen Rider. Often times, Indonesian subtitled version of Kamen Rider movies shown in the cinema would often refer to Kamen Rider as "Ksatria Baja Hitam".
    • 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. Some people 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).
      • Aside of Doraemon, the otherwise obscure manga Tekken Chinmi (retitled as Kung-Fu Boy) was really big in Indonesia, it forms one of the most classic manga series (alongside Doraemon and several others) in the country.
      • In general, during the old days, Pokémon, Digimon, Doraemon, Crayon Shin-chan, Tom and Jerry, Classic Disney Shorts, a Power Rangers show, Kamen Rider, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and Dragon Ball are the kids shows of choice.
      • Harkening with how Indonesians being huge soccer nuts, Captain Tsubasa is also a bonafide favorite anime/manga for sports goers. There were times that Indonesia aired some obscure soccer anime, but it's only Captain Tsubasa that became a sensation, even older workers that still like soccer enjoy this series.
  • Mecha anime didn't hit it big in Indonesia, but in the 80's, there is one anime that hit the VHS and its national television channel (TVRI) and became a hit in a similar way to the Tokusatsu entries above: Voltes V. It's didn't reach the 'virtually worshipped' level as the Phillipines did, but kids of that age held great nostalgic feelings to Voltes V. If anything, back in the days, Soeharto was smart enough not to ban Voltes V and letting it run to its end unlike Ferdinand Marcos.
  • Indonesian's taste in comic and magazines are influenced a lot by the European impact, especially Dutch influences.
  • 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.
  • Unfortunately, that horrid Beauty and Warrior is made in Indonesia.
  • 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.
  • Belief in supernaturals 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.
  • 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. Actually, most of the "serious" A-list movies now have their production outside of Indonesia (especially in Europe, most notably the Netherlands).
  • Indonesian soap ("sinetron", short for "sinema elektronik", "electronic cinema") is infamous for having lots of Cliché Storm like overuse of Arc Fatigue, Conflict Ball, Critical Research Failure, Idiot Plot, Wangst, etc. since Viewers Are Morons are still believed by many creators there. The story is almost always an absolutely-oblivious-to-danger Naïve Everygirl that enters the life of a man where love grows. However, either it the mother of the man or the love rival, they're always more than eager to make the heroine's life hell & full of sadness and she never retaliated. Those kinds of villians usually believe that by torturing the heroine for no adequately explained reason whatsoever, their lifes will be happier. They love poisoning the heroine, accuse their lovers of cheating to break them up, and sometimes refuse to clean up. ,They also usually successfully pull Karma Houdinis to our disappointment, but others aren't so lucky, finally getting their Just Desserts in the final episodes.
    • Despite that, many sinetrons like Keluarga Cemara (The Pine Family), Si Doel Anak Sekolahan (Doel the Schoolkid), and Kedasih is some that mostly doesn't use cliches (thankfully). One of the present time sinetrons is Para Pencari Tuhan.
    • Indonesia also had a number of quite popular comedy shows such as Bajaj Bajuri (Bajuri's Bajaj) or Keluarga Minus (The Minus Family). While these sitcoms didn't have ratings as high as Sinetron, these sitcoms were generally praised by both critics and audiences.
  • Since around late 2000s to this day, there are lots and lots of low-budget religious television films, most of which claim to be based on true story. They are full of overused Anvilicious, Cliché Storm, Conflict Ball, Critical Research Failure, Special Effects Failure, Padding, and Idiot Plot. They do have few fanbases for being So Bad, It's Good, though. And that's all we're going to say about it.
  • 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.
  • 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 catchy 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.
  • 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!). And eventually, Indro gave a green light with a remake of Warkop itself in the modern age... by recasting himself, Dono and Kasino with new actors, thus a new set of movies titled Warkop Reborn saw releases.
    • 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, it might hard for you to live in Indonesia, for Arcade booths are sorely lacking them (said to be too violent for kids), with the exception of Tekken machines (mainline series and Tag Tournament). Racing simulations (such as Wangan Midnight), rhythm games, or light gun 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. In the wake of the decline of Arcades, it seemed inevitable.
    • However, ask any Indonesian people that had their childhood in The '90s, and they will remember that Indonesia, especially Jakarta, used to have Arcade stands with classic Arcade games available for play.
  • Recently, Bandai Namco 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!. This is perhaps why Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune has an Indonesia region, something of an issue as it means that Indonesian players cannot race player ghosts from or officially compete in Time Attack with most of the Eastern Pacific, of a vice versa.
  • 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). As of late, the MOBA scene has grown big enough in Indonesia that some championships were held in Indonesia, though it's mostly Dota 2 and some mobile games, like Mobile Legends or Arena of Valor.
    • Arena of Valor has gotten big enough in Indonesia that the country hosted a demonstration tournament during the 2018 Asian Games (which took place in Jakarta and Palembang), in which many Asian countries participate. Additionally, AOV becomes the first MOBA to host an Indonesian playable character based on one of their local novels, Wiro Sableng. Mobile Legends: Bang Bang is also wildly popular in Indonesia that it also got a few Indonesian heroes: Gatotkaca (the local version, not the default giant version in Mahabharata, and Kadita, who is based on the local legend Nyi Roro Kidul (Queen of the Southern Seas, kind of like a local version of sea sirens including all its horrors, mostly known for her horror film played by Suzanna)
  • 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.
    • And as the era of mobile-gaming enters, once again Indonesians quickly fell in love with Ragnarok's mobile version.
  • As noted in Germans Love David Hasselhoff page, the First-Person Shooter Point Blank is even more popular here than in its origin country. At least it was before the MOBA storm happening.
  • Indonesia has a peculiar history when it comes to Video Game Consoles and the gamer generation:
    • The earliest known video game consoles within Indonesia was naturally the Nintendo Entertainment System from the 80's. Come the late 80's to 90's, Sega Genesis and later on Super Nintendo took over the console gaming scene and the effects of the first Console Wars era spread into Indonesia as well. It should be noted that just like other countries, the earlier era of video games was quite harsh for Indonesian gamers, with parents citing that it's a game just for kids and nerds, if you grow up and still play video games at the time, you could get considered very childish. At the very least though, there was no movements to demonize video games just like in other countries.
    • The turning point of video game history was at 1998, when the Trisakti Incident happened. The resulting riot targetted many video game stores (a lot of them ran by Chinese-Indonesians) and resulted one of the most central video game store-containing malls in Jakarta, Glodok Bridge, to be burnt down. This, combined with the decline of Indonesian economy power, forced gamers to think of other ways to get their games, since both Sega and Nintendo game prices ended up very expensive with their cartridges and their main hub (Glodok Bridge) was destroyed.
    • Around this time, the medium CD saw a rise, and with it, Sony Playstation and Sega Saturn. Piracy ran amok thanks to how easy the CD was pirated, and Playstation and Saturn was no exception, but Indonesia was in the middle of restructurization thus the government didn't put much attention to piracy laws... and the CD format eventually made these games very cheap and affordable as opposed to the super expensive 16 bit cartridges; and they have a 'general price' system: No games would be more expensive than other games, and there was no region-locking, therefore Japanese language games can also be played just as fine as English language games. Thanks to this, Indonesian gamers decided to embrace piracy and the 32-bit gaming era, with Playstation taking the lead (Saturn lost the race, staying as a Cult Classic, while Nintendo 64 didn't sell that well here due to using cartridges). While Sony did not mind much on this, they were incidentally building a legacy in the heart of video gamers in Indonesia.
    • When DVD rose in the next generation, naturally Indonesian gamers switched onto Playstation 2, there was no other question, since DVD was also easy to pirate.
    • When Playstation 3 was released, Sony has noted about the rampant piracy within their game console and decided to do something about it: Blu-Ray disc format, firmware updates and internet connection. They also noticed the legacy they accidentally built in Indonesia and capitalized on it by opening their own office branch in Indonesia, and Indonesia has stabilized itself a bit so they finally could push on more original-quality disc. With this, piracy was curbed down, and the generation of gamers in Indonesia realized that they have to get back to the age of expensive original quality games. Luckily for them, at that point, they're at the age where they could make money on their own and no longer needed permission from their parents to get video games. And around the same time, it turned out that those who ran their store at Glodok Bridge successfully made their exodus and reopened their stores in the nearby Mangga Dua district and specializing in original gamesnote . Thanks to the legacy Sony built from their consoles, the majority of Indonesian gamers stuck with Playstation 3 despite its troubling launch history and it paid off: When Sony finally sorted out the issues in Playstation 3 (around the release of the Slim model), Indonesian gamers have already flocked onto Playstation 3 and matured from depending on piracy into being able to support Sony by buying their products. While there were competitors that still allowed measures of piracy (such as Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii), they still lost to the sheer legacy that Playstation had over Indonesia.
    • Only in the next generation that things began to shake up: While Playstation 4 still had a strong following, Nintendo provided its more capable console: Nintendo Switch, which means that they pose strong competition with Sony within Indonesia. Xbox One gamers existed, but they seem less outspoken compared to Sony and Nintendo gamers within Indonesia. Regardless of Nintendo's rise, it's already clear that as far as Indonesian gamers think of, their choice for legendary console would be the Playstation family.
  • 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.
    • Shikhandi is also a Mahabharata figure that got a rather huge boost in Indonesia. Known more as Srikandi, her female figure was more pronounced than literally changing into a man, becoming a more pronounced woman warrior and even became Arjuna's final wife. The name Srikandi becomes synonymous with ideal/honorable women throughout Indonesia, the fact about Srikandi being a man in the original is often dismissed, made easier with how transgenderism is still having a hard time in Indonesia.
  • 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).
  • Somewhere around The '80s and The '90s, Indonesia was known as one of the countries that released a lot of terrifying horror movies, their styles were based on mystical creatures and ghosts. It also helps that around that era, Indonesia also got their own "Queen of Horrors", Suzzanna, that many horror films starring her as the titular horror provider would go down as local legendary films.
  • Indonesians don't have particularly good opinion about people with mental disorder. In the 2000s, there are at least two Dramedy soap operas titled Yoyo and Wah, Cantiknya!note , both of which tell the story about young male protagonists with developmental disorder that essentially turn them into Manchild. Their disabilities are often played for comedy, though also played for drama in few occassions. The titular protagonist in Yoyo is a Momma's Boy who's regularly beaten by his abusive father who absolutely hate having a mentally disabled son. He's also occassionally beaten by bullies in his neighbourhood (one of whom is a shameless sexist man who regularly harasses Yoyo's female childhood friend no less) and insulted by a Rich Bitch whose daughter either took pity on Yoyo or fell in love with him. The male protagonist in Wah, Cantiknya! is a fatherless Momma's Boy who speaks with unnaturally high-pitched voice and often behaves like an airhead. He's conned by the female Villain Protagonist (who hate men after her then-fiance stood her up and dumped her when he's supposed to propose her) into marrying her because she isn't allowed to get her late father's wealth if she remains unmarried. He eventually figured out her deception and ran away (in the most childish way possible) and randomly got hit by a car. He's eventually recovered with his hospital bills being paid by his wife and her two Rich Bitch Gold Digger Maiden Aunts, only to find out that his wife had abandoned him and ran away to Europe and filed for divorce. Ouch.
    • At the very least, eventually for Yoyo, the protagonist was somehow 'cured' from the mental disorder and because of that, things got really better for him, even his abusive father stopped being cruel (despite some of his abrasiveness towards others still remained). Although it might create an Unfortunate Implications and strengthening on how Indonesians really has no high opinion on people with mental disorder since things only got better when you somehow got cured of it, however the method is.

  • Indonesian cuisine mostly involves spicesnote . Causing stereotype that most Indonesians enjoy the taste.
    • 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.
    • It should be noted that despite being derivated from the Chinese Shumai, "Siomay" has a stark difference. First and foremost, the main spice used for Siomay is spicy peanut sauce and sometimes sweet soy sauce (see below), and they're more likely to use fishes than other kinds of seafoods or other types of meats. It's pretty popular for students as street food and sometimes you see some local stores specializing in them but don't think you'll see this kind of "Siomay" in Dim Sum menus (Shumai will be there, though).
  • 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!).
    • The reason it become popular? While most Indonesian cuisine is spicy, the spices is different, thus it is different kind of spicy. Padang food taste general enough that it palatable to most Indonesian, hence the popularity.
  • The city of Manado, North Sulawesi boasts an exotic cuisine that 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.
  • 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 is considered staple food item 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 Bataknese (Balinese also much more creative with their pork, but they mostly keep it in their small island). It's also quite prevalent in the eastern parts of Indonesia. The pork ranged from soup based to roasted crispy. 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.
    • Be careful, as some place don't serve pork at all, and the word for pork (babi) held the same level as the word sh*t in Bahasa Indonesia. The safest way is to go to Chinese, Bataknese, or Balinese restaurant and ask about B2.
  • Western, in particular Fried Chickens, and Japanese food are fairly popular in Indonesia, especially those of fast foods. KFC, A&W, Burger King, McDonald's, etc are 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 if they are in Indonesia.
    • Many western restaurant add rice to their menu because it's a surefire way to have customer, since the majority of Indonesians have rice as a staple of their diet.
    • And most fast food restaurant require a high-school degree before working there.

  • 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 derivative of the Arabian mutabbaq, is basically an omelette inside folded thin dough. Many scholar hypothesize that sweet martabak were inspired by pancake, and since one mainstay ingredients is chocolate hagelslag (known here as meises after mispronouncing of meisje, since Dutch girls LOVE this sprinkly things) it's possible that it was Dutch influence.
    • Pempek, fried fish cakes in a dough, served with a mix of salty soy sauce and vinegars that can also give a hot taste, plus cucumbers and a small portion of noodles. Originating from South Sumatra (especially Palembang, their capital), but funnily its most popular origin was from China, as in, there's a Chinese cook who stayed at Palembang, serving fish cakes. The locals came to like the food, the old cook is called "Pek-Apek", slang for 'old man' for Indo-Chinese, which then evolved into "Empek-empek" and THEN shortened to "Pempek" for the food, not the old man.
  • Much like several East and Southeast Asian countries; 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.
  • Instant noodle have a special place in the public consciousness, being cheap, tasty, while still easy enough to cook with minimal skill and equipment. While mostly sold by street food vendor, there are cafes that specialize on instant noodles. There's also a nationalist pride since the Indomie brand managed to (no kidding) become popular in other countries; from Japan to India to even English and USA, all of them gave praises to their imported Indomie brands. Enough to become a meme amongst Indonesians.

  • 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).
    • 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. 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-Galatz[[note]] The special forces also use the PGM Hecate II, a .50 caliber French bolt-action rifle. Pindad has also been producing anti-material rifles whose designs are juxtaposed from other successful sniper and anti-material rifles.
    • They own several French AMX light tanks, as main battle tanks aren't suitable for the Indonesian streets. 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. 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. They have several 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.
  • The police force is called Polri (Polisi Republik Indonesia). Regional units are called Polda (Polisi Daerah).
    • 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.

     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.
  • The Presidents of Indonesia.
    • 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).
    • 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.
    • Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie, or just called 'Habibie', the third president of Indonesia who was elected in emergency due to Suharto's sudden but necessary stepping down, since he was Suharto's last vice president. While there was not much notoriety he had, he's also the only president in Indonesia to hold the office without any vice presidents.
    • 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.
    • Megawati Soekarnoputri, the fifth president of Indonesia. She is Sukarno's daughter and the only female president in Indonesia. Despite being mostly known for her links with Sukarno, she's a lot more savvy than others gave credits for. She almost became the 7th president of Indonesia, but stepped down in favor of Joko Widodo, who was also supported by her party.
    • Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, nicknamed 'SBY', the sixth president of Indonesia that ran the office for two periods (10 years) before stepping down due to the new law. Has a military background (and minor links with Suharto), which in the wake of Suharto's fall from grace, made him a rather controversial figure, but that didn't stop him from maintaining the country well.
    • Joko Widodo, nicknamed 'Jokowi', the seventh president of Indonesia. He started out as the Governor of Jakarta and made sweeping changes to Jakarta's infrastructure, alongside with his vice-governor Basuki Tjahaya Purnama (Ahok), when he was noticed by Megawati and then elected to become the president of Indonesia. His humble personality combined with his hard-working ethics made him quite well-liked amongst the people, winning reelection in 2019.
  • Mohammad Hatta, Indonesia's first and most famous vice president (There are many more Indonesian Vice Presidents, but Hatta was pretty much the most known), assisting Sukarno in declaring the independence of Indonesia. They are considered one of the best president-vice president pairs in Indonesia, although unfortunately Hatta couldn't curb down Sukarno's increasing autocracy and eventually had to step down, signifying the time Sukarno went on to become more and more erratic. Hatta as a person eventually faded into obscurity, no longer involving himself with politics, but his name and deeds as the first vice president (and co-liberator of Indonesia) lived on.
  • 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.
    • His lyrics has certain tendency to contain Buffy Speak in his protest song despite his romantic song contain a lot of Purple Prose (and yes he did made a romantic protest song, like Galang Rambu Anarki). This is to emphasize how a lot of the victim have lower education thus easier to manipulate, hit the hardest in economy crisis, or to show that they are really, REALLY angry.
  • 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. Unfortunately for him, his outspoken manner turned out to be his downfall as one of his sentences got accused as a blasphemy towards Quran, inciting many of his detractors to demand that he got put into trial. As such, he lost the next governor vote and then sentenced to jail for two years. People, however, remembered him as someone who barked as hard as he worked. With or without Jokowi's assistance, before he went to jail, he's known to have fixed a lot of Jakarta's infrastructure problems. In 2019 he finished his sentence and joined Megawati's PDI Perjuangan party, but has stated that he could no longer become a government official. Regardless, Jokowi's second term saw it that Ahok got elected as the president commissioner of Indonesia's national oil company Pertamina.
  • 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.
  • Joe Taslim: Indonesian actor who practices martial arts, rising in popularity after his performances in The Raid and its sequel.
  • Raditya Dika: Indonesian comedy writer, actor, director, producer and stand-up comedian.
  • Suzzanna Martha Frederika van Osch: Or shortened Suzzanna, she's an Indo-European actress well known for portraying evil spirits in many many horror films combined with an odd mystical lifestyle, eventually granting her the nickname/title "Indonesian Horror Queen". She gained her popularity from the fifties to early nineties before her retirement, but resurfaced at 2008 for another horror film (Hantu Ambulance/Ambulance Ghost), which tragically would be her last film as she died due to diabetes in the same year.
  • Yoshua "Yoshi" and Peter Sudarso: Both brothers are of Indonesian descent and were born in Jakarta. Yoshi portrayed Koda the Blue Ranger in Power Rangers Dino Charge and Peter portrayed Preston the Blue Ranger in Power Rangers Ninja Steel. They also portrayed Joe and Marvin Shih in Power Rangers Hyperforce. Unlike in Dino Charge and Ninja Steel where their characters aren't related despite appearing together in the crossover, their characters in the Hyperforce are actually brothers.
  • Muhammad Panji: One of the rising names through social media in the 2010s. Panji started out as a Reality TV show host "Petualangan Panji/Panji's Adventures" where he goes to the wild to study various animals (mostly reptiles), keeping them as pets, showing great care for them and giving out details about the animals. After the show was put out of the TV channels and Panji having an off-time with TV to spend time with his family, there was a hoax that he was killed by a komodo dragon, but he suddenly resurfaced by the creation of his Youtube channel, debunking the hoax once and for all. He continued as an educational content creator and being a snake tamer/charmer, also sometimes being called to rescue snakes that stumbled onto human settlements and releasing them to the wild. His body is also much more resilient to snake venoms, but even he had to rest and treat his body with proper care in case he got bitten by accident. Owns a king cobra that he named Garaga, unofficially his favorite pet. Panji's close enough to be called the Indonesian counterpart of Steve Irwin that specializes in snakes instead of crocodiles (he sometimes deals with crocodiles, but not as often as snakes).
  • Brian Imanuel: Better known with his rap alias Rich Brian, he was born and raised in West Jakarta as the youngest of four siblings. He reached worldwide popularity in 2016 with his song "Dat Stick", and is credited as one of the biggest players in the booming Asian hip hop scene. Since then, he has released two albums, the latest in 2019.

     Indonesia in foreign media 
Anime & Manga
  • Ken Akamatsu seems to have an appeal for Indonesian language and culture.
    • Albireo Imma/Ku:nel Sanders from Negima! Magister Negi Magi possess a Pactio that is said to be closely affiliated to Indonesian culture, even quoting Sir James George Frazier about "[t]he Tolampoos of Celebes".
    • There are also some Indonesian/Malay words peppered as spells and yells. The incantation of Nii (Fate's "sister") is "Meralega Merasado Nasi Goreng". Besides that, "Api!" is shouted by the crowd when a fire broke out in UQ Holder!, perhaps to emphasize New Tokyo's diversity.
  • Several cases of Q.E.D. and C.M.B. happen at Indonesia, or specifically, Bali. One case involves the 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.
  • Yuuko from Nichijou speaks surprisingly good Indonesian (or Malay). In Episode 1, Yuuko can be seen greeting her classmates with "Selamat pagi!", Indonesian/Malay for "Good morning!" She also said "Selamat tinggal" (meaning "Goodbye" or "Farewell") in Episode 7.
  • Elvy Hadiyat from RahXephon is explicitly identified as being Indonesian. Her nickname, "Bunga Mawar" means "Rose Blossom."
  • A very minor Bridge Bunnies character in Buddy Complex is named... Soeharto. Yes, after the infamous second president of the nation. Thankfully, being a minor character, they only share the name, not the dictatorship corrupt tendencies.
  • Nadira, a housekeeper in Kakushigoto, is an Indonesian. She apparently is intimate enough with Javanese spirit-calling and name-changing practicesnote .


  • 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).
  • In DC Comics, Cascade, aka Sujatmi Sunowaparti, is the Superhero of the Global Guardians and she is Indonesian.
  • 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.


  • Mothra's Song from Mothra is actually originated in Bahasa Indonesia, but sung in Japanese approximation.
    Mosura ya Mosura / Mothra ya Mothra
    Dongan kasakuyan indo muu / Dengan kesaktian indukmu
    Rusuto uiraandoa / Restuilah doa
    hanba hanbamuyan, randa banunradan / Hambamu yang rendah, bangunlah dan
    Tounjukanraa kasaku yaanmu / Tunjukanlah kesaktianmu
  • 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.


Live Action TV

  • Girlboss: One episode has Sophia shoplifting a book and getting caught by the security guard. As she gets upset for getting caught, she mentions that she's sick of being racially profiled because she looks like an Indonesian. This scene received backlash by Indonesians due to it seemingly made fun of them.
  • Jessie: Jessie, Bertram, and The Ross children got lost on a deserted island in Indonesia, after their jet that was supposed to take them to Bali had difficulties.
  • Keeping Up with the Kardashians: Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, Scott, and their children went on a trip to Bali in season 16, where Kourtney and Scott discovered that they might be soulmates from another lives after seeing a medium.
  • Lizzie McGuire: There was a new student in Lizzie's class who came from Indonesia, whom everyone laughed at for speaking very little English. After a mishap on participating a Mexican game show, Lizzie learnt a lesson on understanding cultures from another country and ended up presenting about the facts on Indonesia in class.
  • The O.C.: Zach mistakenly tells Summer that being smart doesn't have to know that Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Indonesia, and he's later corrected by Summer, as Jakarta is the capital of Indonesia.
  • Orangutan Island, an Animal Planet show documenting an orangutan conservation ranch, was filmed on Borneo.
  • The Real Housewives of Orange County: The cast went on a trip to Bali in season 9, where one of the cast, Tamra, thought Bali looked more like Tijuana, as she imagined it to be like Bora-Bora.
  • In SEAL Team, the Batman Cold Open of the third season episode "Last Known Location" begins with a mission at an Indonesian oil refinery in Kalimantan.
  • In the second season of Gordon Ramsay's Uncharted series for the National Geographic, the starring chef went to West Sumatra to learn how to cook rendang from living culinary legend William Wongso, the leading figure of Indonesian culinary diplomacy movement famously known for writing the award-winning cookbook Flavors of Indonesia and granted a medal from the French government for his service to cuisine.

Video Games

  • The obscure (but still available on Steam) Novalogic multiplayer FPS Joint Operations Typhoon Rising takes place in Indonesia and, as the title implies, features multinational elite forces and Indonesian elite forces as playable characters.
  • 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 one who literally takes all of America hostage with hidden smallpox and crypts to force the US to retreat from East Timor. He is eventually revealed to be backed by a rogue CIA agent.
  • 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 3, 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.
  • 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 a playable civ in Civilization:
    • The first appearance of Indonesia as a playable Civilization is 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.
    • While it didn't appear in the vanilla version of Civilization VI, it returned for Rise and Fall DLC, now led by Tribhuwana Wijayatunggadewi, although she's listed as her alternate name, Dyah Gitarja. Her regnal name, translated into English as The Exalted Goddess of the Three Worlds, instead became the name of her unique leader ability.
    • Indonesia also 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)
  • Both Just Cause 2 and Far Cry 3 took place in a No Communities Were Harmed version of Indonesia, with the former combines elements of neighboring ASEAN countries.
  • 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.
  • Dead or Alive 6: NiCO, while obviously not native to Indonesia, partially used its national martial arts Pencak Silat as a base of her fighting style. Her other style? Lightning attacks.
  • Total War: Shogun 2: Indonesia is an available trade route where you can get Incense. It made sense because Indonesia was in the Islamic Sultanate era (before the Europeans came) during the timeline of the Sengoku Period.
  • Fate/Grand Order: Despite being born in Dutch, Mata Hari is by far the only Servant associated with Indonesia, with her epithet being 'From Java With Love' (as stated, she's raised in the Dutch East Indies during the colonization era), although in-story, Indonesia was only mentioned as a possible 'tropical area' visited by a certain character. The game being popular enough to spawn tons of fan works, Mata Hari is often used in tandem with tidbits/knowledge about Indonesia.
  • Body Harvest: Act 2 of the game takes place on Java Island in 1941, where the alien Bugs are taking advantage of the chaos of World War II to isolate remote villages and harvest humans away from prying eyes.

Web Comics

  • The island of Sulawesi is mentioned in a few strips of xkcd.
  • In Polandball, Indonesia usually dons a songkok or Conical Straw Hat to differentiate them from Poland and Monaco. Without it, the three flags are identical in the format.

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).
  • Indonesia did get a mention in bill wurtz's work history of the entire world, i guess, where he constantly failed to spell Majapahit right (he got it right eventually).

Web Animation

See also:

The Indonesian flag
The flag is very similar to that of Monaco, except it is longerdetails . 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). Just don't turn it around and say it's Indonesia. Malaysia learned it the hard way.

  • Unitary presidential constitutional republic
    • President: Joko Widodo
    • Speaker of the People's Consultative Assembly: Bambang Soesatyo
    • Speaker of the Regional Representative Council: La Nyalla Mattalitti
    • Speaker of the People's Representative Council: Puan Maharani

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