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The Republic of Indonesia (Republik Indonesia) is a collection of 17,508 islands located in South East Asia. With a population of about 230 million, it is the fourth most populous country on Earth, beaten only by the USA, India and China.

Indonesia is one of those places that is almost completely unknown among Westerners [1] despite the fact that it has many famous sites in it, and has historically played a crucial role in world history. Australians are an exception to this, as the two countries are (rather uneasy) neighbours, and likewise the Netherlands' colonial history has left enough Indonesians and Anglo-Indonesians in the larger Dutch cities to make a mark. Have you ever heard of Bali? It's one of Indonesia's many islands, and probably the only fairly popular one. It's not unusual for people to recognize only Bali from Indonesia, or think that it's a country of its own. You've also heard of the komodo dragon and orangutan, of course, both of which live in Indonesia. History buffs know about the Spice Islands, the source of cloves and other spices, which were the goal of the great explorers of the 16th century. The Spice Islands are in Indonesia. Krakatoa, the great volcano that erupted in 1883 and (theoritically) cause of a near-extinction event long before that? In Indonesia. Java, the source of the English slang term for coffee (and a programming language)? An island in Indonesia. The obscurity in most of the West is partly because, until after WW 2, the area was generally known as the East Indies (more precisely, what became Indonesia was the Dutch East Indies, while what became Malaysia was the British East Indies, the Philippines were the Spanish East Indies, and so on). So 'Indonesia' basically seemed to appear out of nowhere.

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

Indonesia's major religion is Islam- it is in fact the largest Muslim-majority country on Earth. Of course, it is by no means the sole religion- Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism are also prevalent. Interestingly enough, Indonesian Islam (outside of Aceh province) is almost a religion unto itself; while Indonesian Mulsims make the Hajj and pray facing Mecca, most combine Islam with millenia-old indigenous traditions. The Ramayana is performed by Muslim wayang puppeteers, women and men pray in the same room (though not on the same row), and a vast number of Indonesians believe in the ghosts and spirits of their particular ethnic group's folklore. There have been movements in the grassroots to return to a more middle-eastern style of Islam, which is considerably more restrictive, but these don't go over too well with the general public as a whole due to human-rights reasons, not to mention the non-practitioners.

History

Indonesia's prehistoric era revolves around various Hindu-religion kingdoms across the archipelago, warring to unify the archipelago (does this sound familiar enough to the Sengoku era to you now?). The most famous and unique would be the Majapahit kingdom, born after another big kingdom Singhasari fell due to Mongol invasion. It picked up where Singhasari fell, and kept rolling, thanks to the efforts of the Badass General Gajah Mada, and his King Hayam Wuruk, until Majapahit unified the archipelago. Too bad that ended due to a misunderstanding that cost Hayam Wuruk his soon-to-be-wife. And by "misunderstanding we mean Gajah Mada rubbing their vassal status in their faces for absolutely no reason, which led to the kingdom of his wife rebelling and fighting a grueling Last Stand that ended with the King's would-be-wife being Driven to Suicide by their defeat. Gajah Mada took the blame, was exiled, and then died. After Hayam Wuruk died, his successors got caught in many civil wars and thus weakened Majapahit's grip on the archipelago.

Enter the Muslim kingdom warring states afterwards. While less phenomenal than the Hindu kingdom tales, it is at this era that the Dutch began to enter Indonesia and eventually crushed the majority of the Indonesian kingdoms, making the archipelago their colony. For 342 years. Ouch.

Cue World War II. The Netherlands, being an Allied Force, got Indonesia involved in the War, but in the end, Japan drove the Dutch from Indonesia and took it over for themselves (using the guise of a fellow 'eastern brother' coming to liberate the nation). However, charismatic figures like Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta worked together with Japan to absorb their knowledge. Seizing the opportunity presented by Germany and Japan's weakening forces, Indonesia, led by Sukarno and Hatta, declared independence. The Dutch tried to re-establish their colony shortly after, following the Battle of Surabaya where Indonesia's newly formed hodge-podge army attacked British forces for misunderstandings about the disarmament of Japanese troops, but the United Nations told them to just cut it out and leave Indonesia alone.

Building the nation was very hard for Indonesia. Sukarno's early stint included hostilities with Malaysia, and even leaving the United Nations. Sukarno's approval with the populace began to deteriorate, which paved the way for the G30SPKI ("Gerakan 30 September Partai Komunis Indonesia"; AKA Communist Party of Indonesia's 30th of September Movement), which led to one of the worst mass murders the world had seen. How did this happen? Well, it just so happened that the Communist Party (PKI) decided to kidnap several of the pro-Sukarno generals and tried to convince them to agree to the PKI's ideals. When they refused out of loyalty, they were horribly mutilated and their corpses thrown into a well in Lubang Buaya (Crocodile Hole. No, there are no crocodiles in the hole).

One general, A.H. Nasution, escaped the kidnapping attempt and reported this to the army. Led by General Suharto, they struck back at the PKI and eliminated them. 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. As this went, on Sukarno had lost even more support from the people and the nation was in need of a new president. Suharto won the people's support and was appointed Indonesia's second president. His first attempt to usher in his regime, called 'Orde Baru' (New Order), included mending the relationship with United Nations. Along with that, Indonesia experienced a great deal of economic growth, and it looked like Indonesia would prosper Happily Ever After...

OR DO THEY???

As it turned out, Suharto was actually leading a very stealthy iron-fisted, corrupt government, which lasted for 32 years. Any who opposed them would be silently put to death. The economic growth also turned out to be mired with corruption and depended on international debts. When the economic crisis of 1997 hit, Indonesia obviously suffered big time.

College students demanded that Suharto step down, which resulted in another tragedy where government snipers killed four Trisakti University students. People got mad, mass demonstrations occurred, and in the ensuing chaos, riots that originally target police's offices and cars turn into a pogrom targeting properties and businesses owned by ethnic-Chinese (Chinese Indonesian), who were made into scapegoats[2]. Chinese houses and stores were looted and burned down, thousands were killed and hundreds are raped in the riots, causing many Chinese-Indonesian to flee the country. To quell the chaos, Suharto had no choice but to immediately step down, replaced by his vice-president B.J Habibie. Sadly, all of Suharto's efforts to build up Indonesia, despite his horrid methods, were forgotten and he ended up being demonized by his own country... and even the world, being put on the same level as rulers like the Philippines' Ferdinand Marcos. Some investigations supposedly reveals that he has amassed illicit wealth that dwarfs any other corrupt leaders at the time.

Suharto's stepping down marked the beginning of Indonesia's era of reformation, which has a heavy emphasis on democracy[3]. It still struggles to maintain itself, because people's opinions remain a strong weapon against many rulers. The presidency is no longer an office which is held for very long, with most occupants lasting for a single term (5 years). When the next election came, Habibie stepped down immediately and was replaced by Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur), with Sukarno's daughter Megawati Sukarnoputri as the vice president. The next president was Megawati herself, with Hamzah Haz as the vice president. After Megawati, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) took over, with Jusuf Kalla as the vice president. Surprisingly, SBY managed to win the next election, though the vice president is now Boediono. There are fears that SBY might restart Suharto's regime now that some anti-SBY factions are forming...

Not like they're any better. The general consensus among the populace is that the House of Representatives has little actual representatives left in them, and the rest are considered corrupt bastards, like most other government bodies. About the only one the public seems to be able to place their trust in is the Committee for the Eradication of Corruption (Komisi Pemberantas Korupsi, or KPK for short). The way the House of Representatives constantly attack the Committee (for good reason. 40 of their number (and counting), not counting other corrupt officials, has been arrested and put to jail thanks to the Committee) does not help. The way they seem to ignore public opinion and, sometimes, simple logic, only serves to hurt their case.

This Is Gonna Suck.

Trivia and information about Indonesia

Geography and Nature

  • Popular tourist destinations include:
    • Bali, the island east of Java that is easily more well-known than the country itself. It boasts beautiful beaches and various cultural attractions (most of the island is Hindu). However, it also has several cases of STD, so wear a condom! It was also the target of a 2002 bombing by the terrorist group Jamaah Islamiyah, which killed 200+ people, mostly Australian tourists.
    • 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 Islands, known for its rich coral reef ecosystems and possibly the richest in the world.
    • There's a boatload of other places that can be considered tourist attractions in Indonesia, even places that foreigners frequent yet locals thought little of.
  • It is the place where Komodo Dragons live. And Orangutans. And Javanese rhinoceros. Indonesians love to boast about the country's biodiversity and natural resources, often claiming that they supply quite a lot of America's oil. Ironically, illegal logging is common in places like Sumatra and Kalimantan, and biodiversity as a whole has been taking a big hit for a while. Enough that some say that Indonesia no longer deserves the title "Emerald of the Equator".
  • There was another hot spot in Indonesia: East Timor, one of the newest countries to be formed (around 12 years ago, actually). Unlike most territories of Indonesia, which are mostly former colonies of Netherlands, East Timor had always been Portuguese (the reason that the Spanish came first at 1512 to the Spice Islands, followed by Portuguese, and then the Dutch) colony. It wasn't until the 70's that Portugal left it. 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 party Fretilin and pro-integration alliance sparked the Indonesian invasion of the region (after one declaration dubbed "Balibo Declaration" by the pro-integration party, Indonesia took it as a "go-ahead" signal to start "securing" the place). After the turmoil of 1998, under the presidency of B.J. Habibie, East Timor was given a free and fair referendum, in which most of the people voted to become independent. Many feared of the Balkanization of Indonesia much like Soviet Union, but thankfully, none has appeared so far. It didn't help that East Timor was pretty much the Unfavorite province during its rule under Indonesia. The less said about Indonesia's treatment of East Timor, the better.
    • A similar case is West Papua, which declared independence 50 years ago. The indigenous people are of the same ethnicity (and even overall landmass) as the Papua New Guineans. A large group of West Papuans have formed a political alliance and numerous times tried to declare independence from indonesia. This generally ends in violence. Unlike East Timor, they have had no Australian or US support, which may or may not be due to the large US and Australian corporations benefiting immensely from the wealth of the province. Foreign journalists are not allowed in the region, and the independence flag for West Papua is banned.
  • 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 tsunami. On the positive side, it got the government and GAM to sign a peace treaty.
      • Many foreign humanitarian organizations came to help after the tsunami, but fundamentalist Muslims, many of whom are notable government officials, accused them of "Christianization", as evident from the abundance of Christians in Aceh today. Some fundies also claimed that the tsunami was caused by a US nuclear test, citing the blackening bodies of the dead as a proof. The US Navy deployed the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln to help reconstruction and supplies distribution, however the Indonesian government refused to grant them the permission for the pilots' mandatory regular training (most likely because the image of US planes training over Indonesian soil would seriously piss off the fundies), forcing it to leave.
  • Indonesian roads are often very small, and the ones that aren't are always stuffed with restaurant tents on the sides. Motorcycles are incredibly common since they're cheaper and more suitable in navigating the alleys than cars. Unfortunately, they often take up an unnecessary amount of space, leading to Jakarta's infamously monumental amount of traffic jam.
    • Hygiene? What's that? Garbage are strewn along the street, the garbage piles on the sides of the road are almost always exposed, and the roadside water canals (they're meant to prevent floods) are also exposed, leading to people dumping things into them. This has the side effect of causing Jakarta to flood every five years or so...unless you're in the middle of the city, which houses the largest commercial districts and governmental buildings. Gotta keep up with appearances, after all.
    • Do note that these only happen in the capital (Jakarta) and other major cities. The smaller cities and villages are cleaner and more in order...well, still a little dirty, but no jams, at least.


Culture

  • 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!
    • For Kamen Rider; the original Kamen Rider 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. 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.
  • Naruto was hugely popular in 2006. The Malaysian animated series Upin & Ipin is wildly popular, mostly because Malaysian sounds hilarious in Indonesian, especially when spoken by two bald village boys.
    • Naruto is still very popular to this day. This troper had came across some books that mostly talk about "Naruto vs Pain fight analysis" or "Naruto's various jutsu analysis" which its contents are mostly taken from Wikipedia. And then there was Naburo...
    • In the mid-nineties, pretty much all kids have read and watched Dragon Ball (mostly boys), Sailor Moon (mostly girls) and Doraemon (both).
  • Barack Obama once lived in Indonesia, which is another thing that Indonesians love to boast about (except the hardline Muslims, who hate everything even remotely Western).
  • The first Uncharted 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!)

  • And yes, if you want to know, that horrid Beauty and Warrior is made in Indonesia...
    • The less you know about most of their TV productions, the better.
  • The recent backlash concerning a cultural dance in Indonesia aired as Malaysian in Malaysian TV by Discovery Channel has sparked a lot of demonstrations. The issue of which culture belongs to which nation has always been Serious Business for Indonesians, who claim that Malaysians are stealing their culture. The point is kind of moot since most Malay-ethnic people in Malaysia have some Indonesian ancestry and due to the proximity to western/central Indonesia, it is inevitable that they would share cultures. In fact, Malaysian culture is basically the same as Sumatran culture. Of course, claiming (intentional or not) Indonesian cultures from the eastern side (like Bali) isn't exactly that plausible...
    • The biggest punchline to the ad controversy above? The ad creators were Singaporeans...
    • Indonesians have been throwing insults to anything Malaysian for quite a while after they patented several Indonesian cultural items, such as batik (the method of forming patterns on fabric by scribbling hot liquid wax, dying it, and boiling off the wax). Between the "culture stealing" and Sukarno's support for the communist guerrillas, Indonesia doesn't like Malaysia very much.
  • If, by the chance that you have played Metal Gear Solid 4, the character Raging Beauty is Indonesian, I shit you not. While other B&B corps member are described from "Europe", "Africa", or "South America", Raging Beauty is described as hailing from Aceh. This is true, Aceh has been going through very tough rebellions, from the colonial period against the Dutch (one of the National Hero, Teuku Umar pulled an ingenious The Plan and it took the Dutch nothing short of inserting a culturalist to understood and defeat them), until almost recently. During the Soeharto regime, an Acehnese rebel group called GAM (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka, lit. Free Aceh Movement) started their rebellion. Of course, the Soeharto regime being very paranoid against dissent, slapped Aceh with "DOM" label (Daerah Operasi Militer, lit. Military Operations Zone), which means that the military is given a free reign to do whatever they damn well please, and the situation took turn to 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. It wiped out both the government and the rebel military and actually enabled them to meet for one last negotiation, brokered by famous Finnish dude Martti Ahtisaari. Now, Aceh is an autonomous special region, and rebellion is a thing of the past, hopefully.
  • Indonesia also got a mech pilot, though his usefulness is questionable. Linny Barilar from the third Front Mission, is an Indonesian from the island of Celebes (Sulawesi). His main concern is how to popularize his family's dung powered mechs.
    • There's also Nina Rahman from Power Dolls, although its rather debatable since Rahman is a common Malay/Arabic surname.
    • For differing definitions of "pilot", Elvy Hadiyat from RahXephon counts.
  • Superstitions are incredibly common in Indonesia. In many places, teenage boys go to cemeteries and abandoned houses (the latter is surprisingly common) in the middle of the night alone on a dare. There are many "dukun" (witch doctors), who can be hired to put "santet" or "teluh" (curses) on your enemies. Even government officials are in on it.
  • Most Indonesian films are romance comedies or hilariously titled horror B-movies. "Religious romance" is a new genre that surfaced recently, with the high-budget ones shot in the Middle East. Many rely on Deus Angst Machina and/or Cookie Cutter Plot, though there some definite gems in there.
  • In case you haven't gotten it yet, many Indonesian Muslims do not think very highly of Westerners. There are many examples of somewhat xenophobic behaviors against Westerners, among them is not allowing cops to touch the bodies of the Bali bombers [4] after their execution. Why? Because they were committing jihad against the Western swines, dumbass. And no, donation programs aren't going to cut it.
    • Indonesian media also has an unhealthy habit to blame things on the Westerners. For example, the Aceh people suffering? Blame the Westerners for not caring![5] East Timor becoming independent? Those Australian fuckers tricked them! Etc. etc.
    • In fact, whenever a case of Israeli human right abuse pops up, the torch and pitchfork mob gang up in front of the US embassy.
    • The My Country, Right or Wrong attitude is quite common in Indonesia. Those idiotic, backstabbing motherfuckers in East Timor are sub-humans, for God's sake!
  • The copyrights laws aren't very strong in Indonesia. Singaporean tourists sometimes visit ITC Ambassador, a crowded and rather claustrophobic shopping mall...market...something in south Jakarta to buy bootleg DVDs(which are sold by at least a dozen stands there)[6] 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.
  • If you're watching an Indonesian soap ("sinetron", short for "sinema elektronik", "electronic cinema"), odds are it involves a maid brutalized in an over-the-top manner by her boss (if not that, then it would be a woman/girl brutalized in an over-the-top manner by her mother/sister, who seems to be either jealous or lusts for money and power), absurdly good-looking high school students getting maimed by traffic accidents, religious Aesops, infallible, religious, but impoverished children or a boy getting weird superpowers. Also, you'll always be able to hear their thoughts, during which scene they will stand idly and bite their lip or look horrified or something...for up to several minutes at a time. It's not all that uncommon to find all of them in a single series.
    • A common occurence in Indonesian soaps is that whenever someone needs to die, they will call in a random car to maim that someone, for karma, angst or evulz. Really, Indonesian soap cliches can become a trope page on its own...
    • Indonesian soaps can be popular amongst the crowd. However, it is pretty much the fate of many soaps to end up having Sequelitis if it became too popular, and it will be milked out until Seasonal Rot hits...and then some, if they can get away with it.
    • Lets be honest, if theres a Soap Opera that has good rating, it WILL have Seasonal Rot in a matter of short time. You can say that Indonesian Soap Opera director are pretty much proffesional in term of causing Seasonal Rot. Some even goes into a Memetic Mutation on its own.
    • A Soap Opera titled "Putri yang Tertukar"(technicaly means accidentaly exhanged daughter) is a good example of combining Seasonal Rot with tons of Idiot Plot, and other absurdities just to make it longer even though it doesnt made ANY sense. For starter, it started as a normal story where a daughter of a rich family is swapped by someone with a daughter from poor family, vice-versa. Its still interesting, and then after very long time, they finally united with their own family. Then, the mother of one side is dead by slipping on oil from the second floor, causing conflict beetwen two family thanks to the fact that someone manipulated the record of the events(In a hospital computer. Without any external device) to make it looks as if the other side's father push the victim to fall from the upper floor. It is Crazy Enough to Work, so much that the record isnt even changed at all(in fact, the recording CLEARLY looks as if said suspect trying to calm the victim down, and the oil(which is the source of the problem) is still there). Then, the father of the same side have an Evil Twin.
    • Another good example ? Apparently you can hide someone that you kidnapped inside a Hospital. And you can assign an actor to be a fake doctor in said Hospital. To make it worse, in Indonesian Soap Opera, someone can easilly impersonates a Doctor just by using a simple Doctor clothing, and the security will simply ignore it. They take The Guards Must Be Crazy Up to Eleven.
    • Indonesian soaps also seems to have a knack to create over-the-top Complete Monster for antagonists. These antagonists tend to be so overly manipulative, so overly power-hungry, and most of the time, for no reason whatsoever. You'll also always know what their intentions are. You may ask yourself, if these antagonists are so so repulsive and no one would miss them if they're dead, why hasn't someone kicked their ass yet?
      • To be fair, many sinetrons like Keluarga Cemara, Si Doel Anak Sekolahan, even Kedasih have both the staying power and preservation from Seasonal Rot. One of the present time sinetrons is Para Pencari Tuhan.
    • A funny concept within some soap operas was how the usage of snakes were used. Some sinetrons seems to believe that "If it's a snake, it's always venomous", thus they'd often use constricting snakes (like pythons) combined with CG to make them bite and kill people For the Evulz. SNAKES DO NOT WORK THAT WAY!! (They've gotten better with the treatment lately, though)
    • Religious soaps usually means Islamic religious soap and tend to use "astaghfirulohallazim" and "istighfar" pretty much every single time anyone is surprised by someone's...unreligousness, and want to bring them back to the light again.
    • There are also fantasy soaps with side effects that would look outdated on a goddamn PS 1 CGI.
    • If there's a scene about hospitals in Indonesia, expect it to have Bribing Your Way to Victory or changing the DNA test results, stealing it, or use a fake tissue for the test. Yes, it doesnt make any kind of sense and its a wonder how Hospitals doesn't complaint to the director for that one, but its there. It is arguably the most "effective" way to make a Seasonal Rot. Of course real Indonesian Hospitals are WAY better than it sounds. Don't expect that Truth in Television will occur in almost every Indonesian programs, trust me, you need it or you will become a paranoid in short time.
    • Not just fantasy. A NORMAL Soap Opera about daily lives. Suddenly they introduced a baby, with third eye, and a psychic power. Yes, you do read it as Daily Lives Soap Opera. The director might be a fan of Dragon Ball. Another recent one has one of the character summon a windstorm whenever said person walks. Its a Soap Opera with tons of praying scene, about normal daily lives.
  • Decades ago, the number of wives, wide farm lands and jeweleries are status symbols. Nowadays, it's "BB" (BlackBerry phones) or Ipods/pads.
  • Indonesians are huge soccer nuts.
    • Worth noting are the country kids who hitch rides on trains to Jakarta to watch soccer matches, sometimes without bringing anything with them. These are called "bonek" ("bondho nekat"), and they're notorious for yelling ridiculously bad jingles, causing hellish traffic jams and riots whenever their favorite team loses, or, sometimes, for no reason at all, as Kelly Clarkson could attest to.
  • Talking about soccer, Indonesia became a runner-up for the AFF Cup, which involves the South East Asian countries. The champion? Its rival Malaysia of course! And guess why Indonesia lost against Malaysia during their first game by 0 - 4? Frickin' Laser Beams!
  • And still talking about soccers, English football club Manchester United once planned to visit Indonesia and play with the national team as part of the Asian tour, but had to cancel the visit when the hotel they were planning to stay (Ritz Carlton) was bombed. Recently, though, when Italian club Inter Milan attempted to do the same, there's no bombing and the visit was a success.
  • Indonesia 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 [7]. This also done once again for fun by a comedian here Indonesians sure love Bollywood.
  • Suhadi Sadono anybody? Splinter Cell? Yes, he's the Magnificent Bastard who literally takes all of America hostage with hidden smallpox and crypts to force the US to retreat from East Timor.
  • One of the Alliance cruisers in Mass Effect that fell in the battle against Sovereign is named after the Indonesian capital Jakarta. It's mentioned during Shepard's "The Reason You Suck" Speech against Al-Jilani.
  • Indonesians don't like Malaysians. End of discussion.
  • There is one thing that tourists learned about Indonesia after actually visiting it. The fact that Indonesia LOVES to do things later than it is scheduled, also known as Ngaret [8] in Indonesian term. This is lampshaded in a Manga named Tokkyu.
    • Well, that's a stereotype, though true among the Obstructive Bureaucrat types, if only to squeeze you out of your money.
  • In The Nineties, there were some music group 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 nonexsistant, so such music becomes something of Cult Classic. Not really though. If your listening to tons of hit music in Indonesia, you WILL realize that it takes so many tunes and notes from Japanese or Western songs. Only this one use some simmilar lyrics and isnt a comedic parody. That being said, it is a case of Jimmy Hart Version, which was common in Indonesia.
  • 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 Eighties or The Nineties, 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.
  • 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 theres 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.
  • Are you a Fighting Game fan who likes going to Arcades? Well, you won't really like living in Indonesia, for Arcade booths are sorely lacking them (said to be too violent for kids), and if they are, they don't receive good maintenance and most games look outdated, with the exception of Tekken machines (mainline series and Tag Tournament). Racing simulations (such as Initial D) or shooters (such as Time Crisis) are more common, though. And you'll mostly find the fighter machines in theaters, rather than concentrated in one place.
  • Indonesian muslims can be extremely conservative that they mostly forbid anything Stripperiffic (though not to the extremity of Saudi Arabia). When Lady Gaga planned a concert in Indonesia, they demanded that she dresses more conservatively to preserve this culture. As a result, she had to cancel the concert.
    • Foreigners need be extremely cautious. Most of Indonesian Muslims are moderate, if non-practicing. Unfortunately there is this annoying Vocal Minority Mosque Militant group, Islamic Defenders Front, whose people believe Indonesia should be governed by Taliban-style laws.


Cuisine

  • Indonesian cuisine involves spice, spice, and more spice.
    • While this is Truth In TvTropes for most regions of Indonesia, Java is a partial inversion. Sure, you'd still have super-hot sambal varieties in Java, but the taste of most Javanese foods itself is actually quite mild; the taste of some foods (as in, main courses) even lean towards sweet.
      • At least, in the "hot" sense, anyway. The "sweet" cuisines are pretty much also loaded with spices, though not nearly as piquant/tongue-raping.
  • As mentioned above, sambal (essentially chili mixed with other ingredients then ground) is one of the quintessential sauce in Indonesian cuisine, Western and Central Indonesia in particular. There exists specific sambal variations accompanying just about every kind of cuisine in Indonesia. Not only that, there is at least one unique sambal variety in a given region which is found nowhere else in or outside the country. One can probably spend a good chunk of their life just studying sambal mixes throughout Indonesia.
  • "Bakso" (meatballs) and "siomay" (dumplings) are often sold on roadsides on wagons as one of the most common sources of income for the lower class. They're sometimes sold quite close to the exposed water canals, which are full of garbage... but that is usually the least of your worries...
    • Most foreigners who ate these kind of stuff without taking preparatory antibiotic shots beforehand usually suffer from stomachaches and diarrhea afterwards, so be warned...
  • A common dressing on Javanese foods 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 yeast[9], 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!)[10]. 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 [11]) cuisine, usually sold in the so-called "rumah makan Padang"[12], distinguishable by food plates stacked on each other on the front window. Most such restaurants will put out all they have to offer on the table with the exception of certain menus, and let you pick whatever you want to eat. Payment will be counted according to what's eaten and what's not after you're done eating (counting is done per plate, so polish them off!). Padang cuisine tend to be very spicy and high in cholesterol, so be careful.
  • The city of Manado, north Sulawesi boasts an exotic and incredibly delicious cuisine that totally doesn't contain any rat, called Tikus (rat) Rica-rica.
  • There's a great variety of coffee beans in Indonesia, their aromas and taste varying by region. Most foreigners are familiar with Java beans, but there are many more, from Toraja, Aceh, Mandailing, Bali, and more, each with their own palate. You can get coffee that tastes really sour from Bali, really bitter from Mandailing, and some variations that are even spicy, as in, hot. Preparation also differs from region to region, with some adding butter to it.
  • To tell you the truth, what Indonesian eats (sometimes) really differs from one place to the other; from how people prefer it sweet and spicy in one place, while the other likes it plain SPICY to where in one place people have dogs for dinner while in another people eat caterpillars. One thing most (native) Indonesians agree not to eat is pork, since a large number of them are muslim. Rice and chili are considered staple food items for most areas.
  • One think you SHOULD remember about Indonesian cuisine, Animal innard parts are not only common, it is expected to saw it in daily basis. Hearts, Instestine, etc are commonly used as a part of a cuisine, ussualy on stick.
  • Western and Japanese food are fairly popular in Indonesia, especialy those of fast foods.

Military

  • Indonesia's military force is called the TNI (Tentara Nasional Indonesia, Indonesia National Army). The branches are TNI Angkatan Darat (Army), TNI Angkatan Laut (Navy) and TNI Angkatan Udara (Air Force). They have several spec ops groups, most notably Kopassus (Komando Pasukan Khusus). The spec ops units are notorious for friendly fire incidents in Timor Leste, friendly fire incidents in Aceh, friendly fire incidents during training [13], atrocities against Malaysian civilians, atrocities against East Timorese civilians, atrocities against Acehnese civilians, and probably shooting protesting college students. Indonesian equipments boast very high reliability, and in some cases, abilities not present in their foreign counterparts. For example, during several trainings in the 80s (or is it the 90s?), several APCs were able to dive underwater for a very long stretch of time. So long, in fact, that said APCs still haven't resurfaced... yet.[14]
    • Aside from doing things the government isn't comfortable to admitting in Timor Leste, Malaysia and Aceh, they've also participated in the UNPROFOR.
    • They also have a marine corps, which is attached to the Navy. They're pretty well-equipped, operating BTR-80 APCs and PT-76 amphibious tanks, however they're relatively unheard of compared to the other branches.
  • As for their equipments:
    • The standard service rifle is the SS1 (Senapan Serbu = assault rifle), a licensed copy of the Belgian FN FNC carbine made by the government corporation (BUMN) PT Pindad. HK G3, M16 and 5.45 mm AK variants are also used, the latter oddly enough are more often seen in the hand of cops guarding ATMs while they're being filled. The spec ops units often use M4, HK G36 and Steyr-Mannlicher AUG.
      • Recently, PT Pindad starts manufacturing an assault rifle called the SS2, which looks like an M16 with AK gas block, reversed front sight and slightly different detachable carrying handle (Indonesians aren't too big on originality). It's considered a lot more reliable than the previous model.
    • As for sniper rifles, they mostly use the Remington 700, HK G3SG1 and the much-hated Galil-Galatz[15]. 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[16]. They also operate BTR-80 APCs and V-150 Commando IFVs. Early Cold War-era British armored cars also appear occassionally. Land Rover Defenders and Singapore's Flyer are used by both the police and the army, sometimes mounted with anti-aircraft guns or Singapore's CIS automatic grenade launchers. The South African Casspir is used by the police. Also, the older BTR APCs are very very rickety, some of them sank during amphibious assault trainings. The military has recently decided to buy a relatively large quantity of Leopard mk2 tanks from the Dutch government at bargain bin prizes, which faced opposition from the House of Representatives who claimed such heavy tanks are not suitable for Indonesian soil. Some consider that kind of reasoning as a load of crap, however, and claims that the House are against it because the purchase is done government to government, eliminating the role of brokers who usually 'fund' some House members.
      • As for the local ones, Pindad also has started producing the Pindad Panser (meaning armored car), 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 force outside of the US to operate the C-130 Hercules cargo planes, though all of them are very very very very very rickety. They have several (presumably rickety) black Mi-24 Hind gunships. The Mi-8 Hip helicopter is used by both the army and the police. The navy owns several types of naval helicopters, mostly British.
      • The Broncos have been pulled from service and the Air Force has been thinking of getting their hands on a Super Tucano for a while. There's also been talks of cooperating with South Korea in a joint venture to produce a new 4.5th generation fighter, or get some new T-50s which were recently unveiled.
    • A similarity that runs across every single one of their equipments is that they like to break down. A lot. Mostly due to age and lack of funding to properly maintain them. It's getting better...hopefully.
  • The police force is called Polri (Polisi Republik Indonesia). Regional units are called Polda (Polisi Daerah). They're quite prone to human right abuses such as torturing prisoners and extracting informations at gunpoint. Indonesian detention facilities are generally not very nice, with drug circulation, low ventilation, bad hygiene and beating everywhere. Except if you happen to be a rich corruptor, in which case you can get a hidden air conditioned room with luxurious facilities, and occasionally porn DVDs...or the real thing.
    • The Brimob (Brigade Mobil) is pretty much the Indonesian SWAT, only they're less specialized and often perform tasks commonly done by the normal cops in foreign countries. Of note is the Densus 88, which is basically the anti-terrorist unit of the country. Their exploits are among the most widely publicized, and rightly so, if for somewhat conflicting reasons.


Government

  • The Caligula: Sukarno. Yes, Sukarno. While he led Indonesia to its independence and was blessed with massive charisma, he was a hopelessly inept ruler. While 60% of Indonesians were living in abject poverty, he refused any Western aid, picked needless fights with Malaysia and Britain, and towards the end of his rule, with inflation well into the triple digits and famine becoming a very real threat, blew state funds on gaudy monuments around Jakarta as his megolomania spiralled out of control. People forget that when Suharto overthrew him, most Indonesians supported the new order.
    • Perhaps one of the reason for his fall from grace is the loss of Mohammad Hatta as his vice-president. To this day, they are the most famous and considered the best president-vice president partnership, and for good reason. However, with Soekarno's increasing autocracy, Hatta felt his complaints to go back to democracy fell on deaf ears and resigns in 1956 when he can't stand it anymore. It is around this time that Soekarno starts spiraling out of control.
  • Casanova: Soekarno. In his life, he had about 10 wives, some of them taken without bothering to divorce the previous one first. Even with having multiple wives more common and tolerated in those days, it's still a bit much.
  • Disability Superpower: Abdurrahman Wahid was legally blind when he took office as President...and, in many people's opinion, did the most things despite being impeached about 2 years into his term.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Conspiracy theories aside, a lot of people seem to forgive Suharto after his death. Despite his corrupt and totalitarian regime, Suharto did pull an economic Back From the Brink for Indonesia after the 30th September Movement, the reason being the previous president, Soekarno, was a complete ideologist who'd rather stick to his anti-Western ideologies rather than accepting aid from USA.
    • And it gets even WORSE with Sukarno/Soekarno, whom many people do not even REALIZE they are doing this to in the first place. Not only was he responsible for a great deal of the war crimes that occurred during the war of independence AND picked a fight with the British over Borneo AND violently raided Portuguese Timor without a declaration of war, but he doesn't have the excuse that he was at least a competent administrator, and by the time Soeharto came in, the Indonesian populace were VERY happy to be rid of him so the economy would actually WORK and so they could stop being the regional pariahs. Of course, THEN he invaded Timor and the rest is history.
    • The SBY administration built a fancy mausoleum in Sukarno's hometown, Blitar, East Java, complete with a library, an air conditioned theater, statues, photo gallery, and delicious dumplings sold on carts near the front door. All of these conveniently left out things like the confrontations with Malaysia, Indonesia's extreme poverty under his leadership, unusually close relationship with the communists and his rampant megalomania during his last years. Talk about whitewashing.
    • Most of this can be credited that in essence, most Indonesian government admits that they're ruled by humans, and Humans Are Flawed, thus mistakes, severe or light, can be abound. And Never Speak Ill of the Dead. And Forgiveness is pretty important. This can lead to some Karma Houdini though.
  • Evil Chancellor: Suharto became this to Sukarno in the aftermath of the '65 coup attempt.
  • Fan Nickname: Aside of SBY for Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, you'll mostly refer Abdurrahman Wahid as "Gus Dur"
  • Magnificent Bastard: It's hard to imagine a better description for Suharto. He started out as an obscure officer, and in a matter of years, the country was his. He sired three decades of astonishing economic success and brought stability to a formerly ungovernable country, killing around 1 million people along the way and stealing tens of billions of dollars. In the same way that some Russians miss the USSR, a number of Indonesians remember "Pak Harto" fondly, despite his... excesses.
    • Sukarno had his moments. In order to prevent the US from helping Netherlands (a US ally) retake some newly liberated areas, he went to the country...to tell the then president that he's got the Russians on his side, and that the Indonesian Air Force had acquired the most advanced aircrafts at the time. Given that the piece of land the Dutch wanted was economically insignificant and it's mostly about bruised egos, US backed down from the coming engagement.
  • Speaking of Goverments, Corruption is so big amongst Indonesian Goverment that it reached Memetic Mutation level.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Soeharto and Soekarno or Suharto and Sukarno? The latter spellings are generally preferred today. The former were older forms of spelling with Dutch influences where "oe" is the equivalent of today's "u" and considered archaic.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Some were developed during the totalitarian regime of Soeharto. If someone was "secured" it could mean either jail time, or being unpersoned.
    • Conversely, Soekarno's public speeches used many colorful languages to describe what he would do to opposing nations. Most of them were variations of Indonesian versions of "beat the crap out of them". A legend amongst historians that Soekarno famously rejected the aid of USAID relief organization by yelling "GO TO HELL WITH YOUR AID!" to them.
  • And no, there's no 911 in Indonesia. Sorry.
  • Even though the current government is supposedly democratic, pissing off fundamentalist Muslims (who make up quite a lot of Indonesia's Muslim population), opening pornographic sites in public, or quoting something about Timor Leste out of a foreign history book isn't all that good for your health.
  • Indonesia invaded East Timor (now Timor Leste) in 1975, left in 1999, and kept everything secret. If you want to write about it, do it in other pages.


Other general tropes

  • Badass: Gajah Mada - it's still a wonder why he hasn't been considered the Indonesian version of Chuck Norris.
    • Badass Army: The Kopassus (Komando Pasukan Khusus, i.e. The Special Forces) have tales of rampant badassery throughout its ranks. Some of it even stray into the supernatural sometimes, the most famous being one tale where a Kopassus soldier shrugging off a sniper round to the temple in a live-fire exercise.
      • Indonesia as a whole from 1945 to 1949. What's the chance of starving mobs armed only with sharpened bamboos holding off Allies tanks and guns? Better than you'd think.
        • Actually not as Badass, and more Redshirt than you'd think. They had their high water marks, but it's worth noting that their main strategy boiled down to We Have Reserves, in spite of which they never did turn the tables. The war ended with the Indonesian Leadership in Dutch POW camps, but with a diplomatic victory brought about by the genuine frustration of the war and heaping amounts of diplomatic pressure.



The Indonesian flag

File:125px-Flag of Indonesia svg 1765.png

Notes

  1. Though they've made quite a lot of Twitter trending topics, so this is definitely starting to change.
  2. The general consensus believes that it's mostly due to economic jealousy (ethnic Chinese Indonesians are generally viewed as being richer than the average guy), especially after the crisis drove many Indonesian workers out of job. Also worsened by provocateurs fanning the flames
  3. Now you can vote! For non-ruling political parties! BY YOURSELF!!!
  4. You know, the ones who killed 200+ people, mostly Australians.
  5. Which happens because, you know, THEY DON'T TALK ABOUT IT
  6. Mostly movies and TV series, but also video games. Take That, console supremacists!
  7. Said policeman got arrested for apparently 'not doing his job well enough', but received enough backing from the net to be eventually pardoned and considered just trying to cheer his friends up in the middle of hectic work
  8. karet is Indonesian word for rubber, so it's like rubber-band schedule
  9. which is Serious Business on its own since if you used the wrong fungi, you can end up fatally poisoning people. Thankfully, fatal cases are more or less a thing of the past.
  10. A common way of spoofing it is by putting the slogan on a picture of Sumanto, a convicted cannibal.
  11. although there is no such thing named 'Padang' food in the town named Padang, which is incidentally the capital of West Sumatra.
  12. There are also no "rumah makan Padang" in Padang, believe it or not! The proper term is Kapau IINM.
  13. Just kidding, but it's more likely than you'd like to believe.
  14. The most recent accident involving TNI's military equipments was in May 2009, when a C-130 Hercules carrying about 100 soldiers crashed into a village in East Java, killing almost everyone on board and several villagers. If you ask an Indonesian about this, there's a pretty high chance they would just say "What?"
  15. Where did they get it from? Let's not talk about that.
  16. Or so they think. Indonesian buildings aren't very tough, you see. It's more likely due to the abundance of rainforests, which slows most MB Ts down.
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