Tags: Subculture
April 17, 2014
by Diana van Oort

Escape in Breakdance in Vietnam

By: Diana van Oort

Muscles are being stretched and flexed, head-spins and handstands practiced while the dancers are seizing each other up. The atmosphere is relaxed and full of anticipation. Youngsters getting together and having a friendly hip hop competition where they can show off their moves and tricks. Most are not dressed in the traditional hip hop attire with baggy pants and matching shirts. Tight jeans seem to be the fashion. It doesn’t seem to hinder their moves though. The competitors are mainly boys, but the girls are starting to get into the game as well. The event is held on the top floor of a big shopping centre.

Dancing in Vietnam? Too Bourgeois!

Dancing and Vietnam are not a good combination. If I ask my friends, who are about 25 years old, if they ever dance, they react a bit squeamish: “No, of course not! We don’t do that!” As if you’re asking something truly indecent. Ballroom dancing was forbidden in Vietnam until the mid ‘90’s. Too bourgeois. Vietnamese traditional music doesn’t stimulate dancing either, because it doesn’t have rhythm like we know it. It just streams along.

April 7, 2014
by Chandra Drews

White Shoes & the Couples Company: A Motley Crew of Indie Pop Indonesians

By: Chandra Drews

If there’s one thing Indonesians of my generation (born anytime between 1978-1988) most have in common, it’s the love for the melodies of pop tempoe doeloe that existed during our parents’ generation. Names varying from Koes Ploes, Dara Puspita, Chrisye, Panbers and even The Rollies were more-or-less ever present in the stereos of our parents during our formative years. Thus it’s not really surprising that one of Indonesia’s most recognized current bands abroad happen to embrace the old pop sound of Indonesia while simultaneously exporting the sound worldwide. Having toured the world and back again, the sextet known as White Shoes & the Couples Company are Indonesia’s answer to the independent pop phenomenon.

April 15, 2013
by Ario Triwibowo

Parkour Jakarta: Survival of the Fittest

By: Ario Triwibowo

Parkour, the trend that has become a lifestyle, originated in France. Parkour (or PK, for short) is an activity of moving from one point to another as efficiently and quickly as possible, using principally the abilities of the human body. It is meant to help one overcome obstacles, which can be anything in the surrounding environment. No wonder this art of movement found its way to Indonesia, where obstacles are part and parcel of urban life. In the 2000s Parkour was one of the most viral and inspiring physical art forms worldwide. Parkour touched base in Jakarta around 2007, slowly developing into several regional sub-groups in other areas of Indonesia. Now, all over Indonesia dedicated communities practice the art of survival in a concrete jungle!

December 21, 2012
by Latitudes

A short History of Graffiti in Indonesia

By: Riksa Afiaty


Letter-based writing appeared on the streets of Indonesia over forty years ago and has ever since evolved into several disciplines. While graffiti is considered illegal and challenges the concept of public space, the new notion of street art has also gratefully been adopted in state propaganda and product advertisement. As elsewhere, young people were the key players in the graffiti movement, back in the 1940's, when Indonesia was still under colonial rule. Imagine the city walls covered in screams for independence like "Bung Ajoe Bung" (Come On Man), "Freedom is the glory of any nation Indonesia for Indonesian" or "Hands off Indonesia!"

Graffiti can be simply throwing your name on a piece of wall, to mark off your area, but can also entail elaborate murals that tell a story in the public space. Even when humans lived in caves they painted pictures of animals, battles and their daily activities on their walls. In Indonesia, prehistoric hand stencils were found in  the Petta Kere cave in the Leang-leang Prehistoric Park (Maros regency in South Sulawesi, Indonesia). As graffiti earned more of a name for itself as a “legitimate art form,” more and more pieces find their way from the streets to the galleries.

August 1, 2012
by Latitudes


This Friday, CinemAsia presents ‘Out & Proud in China?’ during the Amsterdam Gay Pride festival – featuring the Chinese documentary “Our Story: 10-year ‘guerilla warfare’ of Beijing Queer Film Festival” followed by a discussion about LGBT life in Asia.

CinemAsia brings the diversity of Asian cinema to the attention of the Dutch audience and offers a media platform to discuss Asian topics on screen.


Out & Proud in China? For ten years the Beijing Queer Film Festival has battled oppression and homophobia to fight for more visibility for gays and lesbian issues in China. The film documents this struggle and the ‘guerrilla’ tactics used by the festival’s organisers. Yang Yang, director of the film, has been executive director of the festival for 10 years, providing an essential space for the queer and allied communities of Beijing. The film will be screened in Chinese with English subtitles.

June 9, 2012
by Monica Dominguez

Interview With the Wok the Rock: Founder of Yes No Wave Music

By: Monica Dominguez

Yesterday, I had the oppurtunity to interview the creator of one of Indonesia’s first and only free online record labels. The man is Wok The Rock and the label is Yes No Wave Music. Relaxing in the sanctuary of Wok’s current residence, KUNCI Cultural Studies Center in Yogyakarta, with his dog by his side, we were able to chat about everything from eighties thrash metal  to the hairbrained dreams and visions for the label. Check it out.

M: What is Yes No Wave?
W: It’s simply an internet-based free download record label.

M: Do you have bands from all over the world on your label or only from Indonesia?
W: I have a band from the Czech Republic...and one from Brisbane, but most bands are Indonesian. But it’s open. It’s open for whoever wants to distribute free downloads and if I like it.

June 6, 2012
by Cher Tan

DIY Bands in Singapore – Who to Look Out For Right Now

By: Cher Tan

Like any other cosmopolitan city, Singapore is brimming in its own broth of culture. In the last 5 years, art and music have burgeoned like nothing else, and despite – perhaps as a result, in spite – of restrictions in the tiny city-state, there now exists a solid albeit tiny underground independent creative circuit which deserves every mention.

Not immediately obvious to the casual onlooker, the DIY (short for “Do-It-Yourself”, which is every bit independent from mainstream corporate culture) music industry is thriving, if you know where to look. Latitudes introduces you to 5 of the most talked-about and talented independent bands and musicians one should be paying attention to right now.

May 21, 2012
by Reza Daffi

Brace Yourself, SBY, a Sack of Postcards is Coming

By: Reza Daffi

In the award-winning clay-animated film Mary and Max, the two main characters find a best friend in each other through letters. Mary Daisy Dinkle and Max Jerry Horowitz feel so excited every time an envelope comes, immediately write back after one does, then can’t wait to receive another.

The story is set in the 70s a time without these modern ‘space-and-time compressors’ like cell phones and the Internet. Today, we obviously are. Yet, as shown by Card to Post, an independent project run by writers Rizki, Putri, and Dea, the excitement of keeping in touch by post is back! The long distance and time as well as the human effort involved in sending — and waiting for—postcards, apparently have a nostalgic effect on our generation.

Card to Post is a wordplay on kartu pos, the Indonesian word for postcard. As the name suggests, it promotes the sending of postcards among people. Here, anyone can write to anyone. Anyone can share with anyone. And sure, anyone can make friends with anyone.

April 13, 2012
by Yvette Benningshof

Give it up for West Hill, Chinese Hip Hop band Features in Docu & on Stage!

By: Yvette Benningshof

‘I’m the pioneer of Yunnan’s local hip hop culture’, says MC ‘Nan’ laughing about his own statement in the documentary ‘Say Sing’. It’s a funny, honest and hilarious docu about the journey of the progressive Chinese hiphop group ‘West Hill’. Combining rap with traditional Chinese instruments and rhymes written in their local Kunming dialect with a healthy dose of self-mockery; ‘I’m the king of pop!’

Straight after the screening of ‘Say Sing’ at the CinemAsia Filmfestival in Amsterdam West Hill performed their songs and in no time the audience was jumping, while no one understood what they were rapping about. ‘The energy of those guys is just catching’, says Kuang-Chong Yu, Taiwanese music producer and director of ‘Say Sing’. ‘When I started filming I also didn’t understand what they were talking about. I just felt the atmosphere was important enough to keep filming. Afterwards when we translated the texts into Mandarin it proved that it was worth filming.’

April 11, 2012
by Yvette Benningshof

Children of Srikandi: The First Indonesian Docu about Queer Women

By: Yvette Benningshof

For the first time in the history of Indonesian cinema, queer female filmmakers are breaking the code of silence. Eight Indonesian women, all lesbian, had their coming out on the big screen, as they produced a documentary together about themselves: ‘Children of Srikandi’.

This is the first documentary about queer women in Indonesia; unique in this country with the largest Muslim population. The film is inspired by the mythological figure Srikandi from the Hindu epic Mahabharata. In traditional Javanese shadow puppet theater (wayang kulit), Srikandi signifies a strong and brave character who is neither woman nor man. Srikandi is often depicted as a female warrior.

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