Punk in Indonesia, research conference report

This 2017 video is called Antiphaty – Anti Punk Fuck Off (Official Video).

Antiphaty are a band from Malang, Indonesia.

15 December 2020 was the day of the Indonesia part of the Punk Scholars Conference on the internet; after earlier days about France and about Britain and other European countries.

It started for me with online concerts by the bands SOFT-X and S.W.E.W..

219 people were participating in the internet session then, not only from Indonesia, also from Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, Britain, the Netherlands, the USA, Brazil and other countries.

Then, there were two parallel sessions.

In mine, Ms Ekawati Marhaenny Dukut spoke about Punklung music. That is music played by punks on anklung instruments; traditional West Javenese instruments which are simple, so more affordable than an electric guitar with amp.

An audience member said there should be more innovation in Indonesian punk.

Then, Ms Ni Putu Sridiniari from Ubud in Bali spoke about Spirituality and colonial imaginaries in present-day Ubud: Postcolonial critique from the eyes of a local. In Ubud, there was the rise of a New Age style ‘spirituality’ and wellness industry. With ideas from Indian Hinduism (or western misconceptions of Indian Hinduism), neglecting that Balinese Hinduism has developed in its own way. It was an interesting lecture shedding light on Indonesian society today.

It did not fit directly into the punk theme of the conference. Traditional gamelan music of Bali is faster than in Java island. Might that influence Balinese punk musicians to also play faster than their Javanese colleagues? Ms Ni Putu Sridiniari replied that, not being a music expert, she did not know.

Then, Aliffaiz Achmad Iman Naufal Octavideta about Jakarta graffiti writers in sticker slap culture.

After that, the bands Cryptical Death and Faith Runner played. Though the sound quality was not optimal, the bands sounded fresh, somewhat reminiscent of Stiff Little Fingers.

This music video is called CRYPTICAL DEATH – Injustice Society.

Then, Barakalla Robyn spoke about punk music and the climate crisis. He plays in the band Somagora. They play songs about global warming. So does at least one punk band in Bali.

Then, about Indonesian Dutch contributions to the 1977-1981 first European punk wave.

Then, Manunggal K. Wardaya spoke about how the post-1965 mass murders by the Suharto dictatorship of about a million communists and so-called communists were reflected in the lyrics of Indonesian heavy metal bands. The grandmother of one heavy metal band member had been jailed without trial for 13 years, for being, not in the communist party. But in an artists’ organisation which included leftist members. A relative of another heavy metal musician had been in prison without trial for over nine years; he was not in the communist party, but in the PNI party of Indonesia’s first president Sukarno.

Bands played: The Next Victim; and Humanimal, a bit Beastie Boys like.

Then, keynote presentations in breakout room A: Hikmawan Saefullah and Elise Imray Papineau. Behind Ms Papineau was a sign saying Capitalism is the virus.

Hikmawan Saefullah remembered how he in 1994 played in his first punk band. A time when bands like the Clash and Crass were influences in Indonesia. They played covers of Green Day and Bad Religion. The first concert was at an Islamic school. Many punks in Indonesia are also Muslims. Many, not all, are homeless.

Punks played an important role in the overthrow of dictator Suharto. However, after the fall of Suharto, some problems of the old regime like corruption and arrests of punks continued. Some pro-democracy activists became disillusioned. Some of these converted to fundamentalist Islam and stopped playing music. At least one of those who had become fundamentalist later returned to punk music and now considers himself an anarcho-Muslim. Some, including a punk drummer woman, became atheist. The situation for atheists in Indonesia is difficult.

Recently, awareness of bad conditions for workers, climate change and the coronavirus crisis led to an upturn in interest in punk, anarchism and other progressive tendencies.

Then, a question about the relationship between punk and psychobilly in Indonesia. Psychobilly is not big in Indonesia now. A few years ago there was the band Gorilla Trampoline with a female singer in Bandung. This year, another Indonesian psychobilly band was supposed to play in the Netherlands. But the COVID-19 crisis intervened.

The conflicts between fans of different music genres in Indonesia are now much less than in the 1990s. Then, heavy metal fans used to throw bottles when punk bands played. Not anymore.

Finally, the band Somagora played an acoustic set, including songs like Sick society and searise. Their guitarist had a Beastie Boys T-shirt on.

Women in Indonesian punk rock

This 2016 video says about itself:

A documentary about women in the Indonesian Hardcore/Punk scene.

Now with English subtitles.

My Indonesian correspondent Ari writes today:

The involvement of women has been quite strong in Indonesia, but it’s hard to generalize across the board. For example, the straight-edge punk scene might have fewer women involved as musicians

That may be the case in various countries, maybe because of Christian right or Hare Krishna fundamentalist religious influences in straight-edge.

whereas the crust punk scene might have more female singers.

And then there will be variations across the localities, too; Jakarta vs. Bandung vs. Yogyakarta vs. Padang.

But since I have been out of Indonesia since 2009, I cannot give you a fair assessment of the scenes. There is a documentary made by Indonesian punk women about women in the Indonesian punk scenes called Ini Scene Kami Juga (This is Our Scene, Too/ 2016). What I can tell you is that there have been prominent women in the (DIY) punk scenes such as Kartika Jahja (singer of the band The Dissidents) who also contributed to the edited anthology Revenge of the She Punks (2019).

History of punk in Indonesia: here.

Indonesian punk band plays traditional Indonesian instruments

This 2016 music video from Indonesia says about itself (translated):

PUNKLUNG (Punk Calung)

PUNKLUNG (Punk Calung) a music group from Cicalengka, Bandung Regency, a fusion of two cultures as a representation of “Music Without Borders”.

With the vision and mission of “having a critical spirit but still preserving the traditions of our ancestors” so as not to let them become extinct, let alone claimed by others!

Song – Blood Juang

Written by PUNKLUNG

A calung is a bamboo tube xylophone used in Indonesian music of Sundanese (west Java), Javanese (central and east Java) and Balinese (Bali island) language regions.

A west Javanese angklung is not an expensive instrument. So, comparatively accessible to Indonesian punk musicians, most of whom do not have much money.

My Indonesian correspondent Ari wrote:

There’s a band from my hometown [in west Java] that incorporated angklung (bamboo xylophone-like instruments) as their main instruments: PUNKLUNG (Punk Calung). They sing in Sundanese, which is our local language, different from the Indonesian language.

There is a kind of parallel with the Irish Pogues, with influences from both punk rock and Irish folk music.

Indonesian traditional music genres have maybe the biggest variety in xylophone-like instruments in the world. Eg, in gamelan ensembles. With Balinese gamelan traditionally being faster than Javanese gamelan, so maybe a bit more reminiscent of punk rock.

Remember the xylophone in Hong Kong Garden by Siouxsie and the Banshees from Britain.

Another Punklung music video says about itself (translated):

Punklung is a punk community that aims to preserve regional culture, especially in West Java. Punklung was formed by Iday, Dempak, Somad, Demok, Putih, and Adi based on motivation to rebuild the local culture. In achieving its goals, the community, which was founded in 2000, uses acculturation of punk and Sundanese culture in its performances. Apart from the genre of punk music with a fast and stomping beat, Punklung also performed social and political-themed songs to show punk culture to the wider community.

New plant species discovery in Indonesia

This 2015 video from Indonesia says about itself:

On the island of Halmahera, North Moluccas, more than 300 mining permits threaten the existence of priceless tropical forests. Illegal logging is also a problem for indigenous people in the village of Forest Tobelo people in Dodaga village. Deeply concerned with the condition of their forests that they struggle to resist.

Together with Abe Ngingi, an activist from AMAN, indigenous peoples seek to develop a variety of efforts to protect the customary forest in Halmahera.

From Leiden University in the Netherlands, 18 May 2020:

Newly discovered plant species store manganese in leaves

18 May 2020

Leiden scientists have discovered a new plant genus with two new species at a potential nickel mine site in Indonesia. Remarkable characteristic of the plants: they store manganese in their leaves.

At the Weda bay on the island of Halmahera (North Moluccas), entrepreneurs wanted to open a new nickel mine. But before they got their permission, they had to perform an environmental impact assessment. The inventory of the flora and fauna present revealed a surprising discovery.

Brand new plant genus

Leiden researchers did not identify one, but two new species in the plants from the site. They could not classify them into existing plant genera, but did conclude that both new species belong to the same genus. That new genus was given the name Weda. The species are published in the Journal of Systematics and Evolution. First author of the publication is Naturalis researcher and Professor of Biology Peter van Welzen, botanical artist Esmée Winkel, associated with the Leiden Hortus botanicus, made illustrations of the new species.

It’s a rare discovery, says Roderick Bouman, who is a PhD candidate at the Hortus botanicus and co-author of the study. ‘Sometimes an existing group is broken up based on DNA research. But discovering an unknown group, as was the case here, is very rare.’

Not nickel, but manganese

Bouman himself does a lot of genetic kinship research, for example, he is working on reclassifying the genus Phyllantus. For the Weda study, he also helped with the DNA data of the new species.

Other researchers analysed the metals in the leaf material, he says, which resulted in another surprise. The reason for the metal analysis was that the plants were found in an area with heavy metals, in particular nickel. ‘And metal uptake is quite common in the plant family to which they belong. So this was analysed, but then it turned out that the plant stores more manganese and almost no nickel. This has also been independently confirmed by another study. The amount is not enough to use the plants as a commercial source of manganese, though.

Euphorbia family

The new genus was classified in the plant family Euphorbiaceae, commonly called spurge. This family also contains species such as the rubber tree, cassava and poinsettia, which is popular at Christmas time. The biggest distinguishing feature for Weda as a group is the combination of leaves with basal glands, long-stemmed inflorescences that have two bracts under the flowers, says Bouman. The two types can be distinguished on the attachment of petiole to the leaf, flower color and the size of bracts (a type of bracts) with the flowers.


The genus name Weda refers to the location of the new species: the Weda Bay. The name of species Weda fragaroides comes from the scientific name for the strawberry, Fragaria, because the flower base of the male flowers resembles that of the strawberry, which later forms a (mock) fruit. The second species owes its name to the colour of its petals: lutea is Latin for yellow. In addition, according to good scientific practice, the species names are completed with the name of the discoverer, so that the full names are: Weda fragaroides Welzen and Weda lutea Welzen.

Swimming with whale sharks

This 19 May 2020 BBC video says about itself:

Swim With The Biggest Fish In The Ocean | VR 360 | Seven Worlds, One Planet

Whale sharks share the fishermen’s catch in the seas of Indonesia. These gentle giants were once hunted and killed, but here their numbers are on the rise thanks to this special relationship. Stay in and explore their underwater world.

Five new bird species discovered in Indonesia

This video series is called Birds of Wallacea.

From the National University of Singapore:

Novel avian species: 10 new bird taxa in islands of Wallacea

January 10, 2020

Summary: A research team found five bird species and five subspecies new to science in three small island groups off Sulawesi, Indonesia. The islands are situated in Indonesia’s Wallacea region, an archipelago at the interface between the Oriental and Australian biogeographical realms, named after Sir Alfred Wallace.

Birds are the best-known class of animals, and since 1999, only five or six new species have been described each year on average. Recently, a joint research team from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) made a quantum leap in the discovery of cryptic avian diversity by uncovering five bird species and five subspecies new to science.

The team, led by Associate Professor Frank Rheindt from the Department of Biological Sciences at NUS Faculty of Science, found the birds in three small island groups off Sulawesi, Indonesia. The islands are situated in Indonesia’s Wallacea region, an archipelago at the interface between the Oriental and Australian biogeographical realms, named after Sir Alfred Wallace, who was the most famous historical collector exploring the area.

The results of the study, which were published in the journal Science on 10 January 2020, provide evidence that our understanding of species diversity of complex areas such as Wallacea remains incomplete even for relatively well-known groups such as birds. The findings also suggest that modern exploration to find undescribed species diversity can be targeted to areas of high promise.

Insights from paleo-climatology and history guided discovery of new taxa

Sea depth is an important and long-neglected factor in determining the distinctness of an island’s terrestrial communities. The Earth undergoes periods of glacial-interglacial cycles, leading to the formation of land bridges between shallow islands during ice ages, allowing fauna of the different islands to interbreed. Deep sea islands, which have always been isolated, and high elevation islands are more likely to harbour endemism due to absence of land connections even during glacial cycles.

Guided by this knowledge, Assoc Prof Rheindt and his team concentrated their research efforts on the islands of Taliabu and Peleng, which are located off the north-eastern coast of Sulawesi, as bathymetric data indicate the presence of deep sea between these islands and Sulawesi.

The research team also examined the accounts of historic collectors such as Sir Alfred Wallace, and sought to focus on parts of Wallacea that had received the least coverage by historic collectors, as these areas would hold the highest promise of harbouring undescribed avian diversity.

The islands that the team targeted were characterised by such incomplete historic coverage: Taliabu and its neighbours, together forming the Sula group, were only briefly visited by eight historic collecting expeditions, all of which remained in coastal areas and failed to penetrate the highlands of the interior because of poor accessibility; and Peleng and the remaining islands of the Banggai group were visited along their coastline by only three historic collectors who never ventured far uphill into the interior.

New taxa found

Assoc Prof Rheindt and his team undertook extensive fieldwork in the three remote islands for six weeks, from November 2013 to January 2014, and collected 10 new, long-overlooked avian forms.

By integrating genomic and phenotypic research methodologies, the team successfully described five new songbird species and five new subspecies:

  • On Taliabu, they found three new species: the Taliabu Grasshopper-Warbler, the Taliabu Myzomela and the Taliabu Leaf-Warbler; as well as three subspecies: the Taliabu Snowy-browed Flycatcher, Taliabu Island Thrush and Sula Mountain Leaftoiler.
  • On Peleng, two new species — the Peleng Fantail and the Peleng Leaf-Warbler — and a new subspecies — the Banggai Mountain Leaftoiler — were discovered.
  • On Togian, a new subspecies — the Togian Jungle-Flycatcher — was found.

“Studying the routes and operations of historic collecting expeditions and identifying gaps has been a fruitful approach to pinpoint focal areas in our case. The description of this many bird species from such a geographically limited area is a rarity,” shared Assoc Prof Rheindt.

He added, “Going forward, the use of earth-history and bathymetric information could also be applied to other terrestrial organisms and regions beyond the Indonesian Archipelago to identify promising islands that potentially harbour new taxa to be uncovered.”

Implications for conservation

During the expedition, the research team found that both Taliabu and Peleng have suffered from rampant forest destruction. There is virtually no primary lowland forest on both islands, and most highland forests have been impacted by some form of logging or forest fires.

“While most of the avifauna we described seems to tolerate some form of habitat degradation and is readily detected in secondary forest and edge, some species or subspecies are doubtless threatened by the immense levels of habitat loss on these islands. As such, urgent, long-lasting conservation action is needed for some of the new forms to survive longer than a couple of decades beyond their date of description,” said Assoc Prof Rheindt.

Poached green turtles set free again

This 11 December 2019 video says about itself:

Indonesia police released more than 20 adult green sea turtles on December 10, 2019, after the animals were reportedly rescued from poachers. The endangered turtles, which are a protected species in Indonesia, were found under the floorboards of a ship during a routine patrol of waters near the country.

Oldest storytelling art discovery in Indonesia

This part of a newly described ancient hunting scene includes a miniature buffalo, or anoa (right), facing five faint human-animal figures wielding spears or ropes, a study finds. M. Aubert et al/Nature 2019, R. Sardi

By Bruce Bower, 11 December 2019:

A nearly 44,000-year-old hunting scene is the oldest known storytelling art

The panel was found in an island cave in Indonesia

An Indonesian cave painting that shows wild animals encountering otherworldly hunters represents the oldest known example of art depicting lifelike figures as well as of visual storytelling, researchers say.

Discovered in December 2017 on the island of Sulawesi, this roughly 4.5-meter-wide hunting scene was painted at least 43,900 years ago, says a team led by archaeologists Maxim Aubert and Adam Brumm, both of Griffith University in Gold Coast, Australia. Part-human, part-animal hunters depicted in the mural indicate that people at the time believed in supernatural beings, the scientists report December 11 in Nature.

“We assume these ancient artists were Homo sapiens and that spirituality and religious thinking were part of early human culture in Indonesia,” Brumm says.

Two pigs and four miniature buffalo called anoas, which still inhabit Sulawesi forests, range across the cave art scene. Eight small, humanlike figures with animal characteristics appear to be hunting the painted pigs and anoas with spears or ropes. One hybrid creature sports a tail. Another has a beaklike snout.

Mythical human-animal hybrids, also known as therianthropes, often appear in folklore and in fiction of modern societies. Many religions regard therianthropes as gods, spirits or ancestral beings. Figurines of a lion-headed person (SN: 5/19/09) and a woman with exaggerated features previously found in a German cave date to as early as 40,000 years ago, as do flutes made of bone and mammoth tusks found in the same cave (SN: 6/24/09). A drawing of a man with a bird’s head inside France’s Lascaux cave dates to between around 14,000 and 21,000 years ago.

Abstract cave art generally attributed to H. sapiens dates to at least 40,800 years ago in Europe (SN: 6/14/12). In other Sulawesi caves studied by Aubert and Brumm, wall stencils that Stone Age people made by blowing or spraying pigment around outstretched hands date to around 40,000 years ago (SN: 10/8/14). Researchers had reported evidence of European Neandertals creating abstract cave art at least 65,000 years ago, but those reports have come under fire (SN: 10/28/19).

Measures of radioactive uranium’s decay in mineral layers that formed over parts of the Sulawesi hunting depiction provided minimum age estimates ranging from 35,100 to 43,900 years. The oldest mineral layer comes closest to the painting’s actual age, the researchers say.

If confirmed in further research, that age estimate makes sense, says archaeologist Nicholas Conard of the University of Tübingen in Germany. Art, music, religion and language characterize modern human groups worldwide, and the same would have held for Stone Age groups, asserts Conard, who directed excavations of the ancient figurines and flutes in Germany. …

Figurative paintings in several other Sulawesi caves have been found but not yet dated, Brumm says. Nearly all these artworks, including the hunting scene, have deteriorated substantially. “We urgently need to determine why this art is disappearing and what to do about it.”

This 3 December 2019 video is about the new discovery.

Indonesian coral reefs video

This 12 November 2019 video says about itself:

Indonesia’s Coral Reefs

In the second installment of National Geographic’s “Into Water” 360 series, dive into the crystal clear waters of Indonesia with marine social ecologist and National Geographic Explorer Shannon Switzer Swanson. More than a quarter of the world’s aquarium fish population comes from Indonesia. Shannon works with local communities, documenting fishing practices. She is hoping to learn why some fishing families have developed sustainable practices while others have not. “Into Water: Indonesia” is the second stop on an around the world 360 tour that documents the work of female Explorers who’ve dedicated their careers to water-related issues.

While many conservation plans focus on only environmental indicators for success, a new coral reef program is trying a relatively new approach: focusing on both social and ecological processes and outcomes to ensure a long-term future for coral reef systems: here.

Boeing profits before aircraft passengers’ lives, update

This 16 April 2019 video says about itself:

Lion Air’s founder hits out at Boeing

The co-founder of Indonesia’s Lion Air, one of two airlines that lost passengers and crew in recent crashes involving the 737 MAX, has lashed out at Boeing’s handling of the accidents as the potential business fallout from the jet’s grounding intensifies.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Mechanical problems and design errors contributed to the crash of a Boeing 737 MAX 8 of airline Lion Air in October last year. Indonesian researchers shared those conclusions with the relatives of the 189 victims of the air disaster. The findings of the study will be presented later this week.

The flight from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang on the island of Bangka crashed into the sea last year. All people on board were killed.

The research revealed, eg, that the new MCAS system was vulnerable because it was based on only one sensor. The sensor was set incorrectly after a previous repair. Other technical aspects of the aircraft were also not in order.

Furthermore, manuals about the systems were missing on board, eg, about the system that warns pilots if the aircraft loses altitude. …

A total of 55 lawsuits were brought against the US American corporation in Indonesia.

All Boeings 737 MAX types have been grounded since March this year after another aircraft crashed, this time in Ethiopia.

Certification investigation

Immediately after the crash in Ethiopia, the US Department of Justice launched a criminal investigation into the way in which the aircraft were inspected by Boeing. The role of the American aviation authority FAA is also being investigated. Earlier, the Seattle Times reported that Boeing, which has its headquarters in Seattle, was given too much room to inspect systems itself. The FAA is said to have put pressure on its own engineers to have Boeing carry out that inspection.

Final report into Boeing crash shows bosses ignored warnings: here.