For a hackneyed review of Pesta Malam Indonesia (PMI), read my submission to Loudmusik. It's got the routine of an office fire drill, so enjoy.
Lastly, if you want amusing insights and quirky outlooks of the concert ala MyIndo.com, read on. Because you so know that it's the audience that makes concerts so darn interesting!
"I refuse to buy the most expensive ticket. Sure, that would mean being able to stand closer to the stage but I’d rather sit at the bleachers and not be out in the field around the Indonesian fans, they get really crazy.”
These were just two of many comments that I had heard from a handful of Malaysian friends while we were strategizing our plan to attend what was possibly the biggest Indonesian concert ever to take place on our home soil that fateful weekend of 15 April 2006.
Apparently a Malaysian’s most feared object at an Indonesian rock concert is the crowd of excited but unruly Indonesian fans!
It is uncanny but not groundbreaking that Malaysians share this sentiment. Indonesian concert fans have somewhat earned a notorious reputation amongst Malaysians who have witnessed them at their worst at gigs.
If you were to stereotype (and God forbid this is inevitable), you'll notice that the rowdy audience tend to comprise of Indonesian males in their 20s and 30s who fit the bill of manual laborers. They look and act kampungan, if I may be so frank. Although, I am not dismissing that folks of other nationalities might also be guilty of troublemaking - there are non-Indonesians who live by redneck rules too.
There are two ways to view this phenomenon, really.
Firstly, the hyperactive behaviors that this particular crowd of Indonesians display at concerts loudly indicate that they aren’t shy to express their appreciation for them. They may mosh their hearts out in an ocean of human hands, wave t-shirts around madly in the air, and get too close for comfort, all in the name of supporting their musicians. Such acts are absolutely expected at a rock concert. These crude mannerisms however translate as all things frightening and tacky to the average, sane concert-going population.
On the other hand however, people have every right to be annoyed, not just at the boisterous Indonesians specifically, but at anyone’s who’s selfish enough to cause so much grief for other concert watchers by blocking their view with DIY banners and dangerously assembled human pyramids. People don't come to concerts to see your backsides, you morons.
There were also cases of people trying to push their way to get to the higher ticket price areas near the stage, causing a temporary disrupt between the rebels and the rightful ticket holders to engage in a water bottle throwing war. According to friends who were unfortunately sandwiched in this juvenile fight, the instigators were allegedly Indonesians and the people who actually throwing bottles were actually pissed off Malaysians!
In conclusion? It's a rock concert, people, shit happens and any sense of civility and proprietary is scarce. Just get ready to run at the first sight of a crumbling human pyramid or a water bottle hurling at you!
He’s asking us to sing WHAT??
I love Sarah and find her genuinely funny; her spontaneous sense of comedy is why I consider her divinely talented. KC on the other hand has had less international fame and one wouldn’t know him unless they were really into Indonesian music in Malaysia and have heard of or followed his radio show, Carta Baik Banget. His sense of humour is just so-so.
In the third hour or so of PMI, Sarah and KC were entertaining the audience for a good number of minutes while Cokelat band members were prepping up for their slot. Sarah was bantering on about compulsory Ikea-shopping in KL, and KC was just responding to Sarah with totally unmemorable lines.
Noticing that the crowd was getting restless, Sarah broke out into songs and shouted for people to join her. The stadium suddenly rose up in sonic volume and before you knew it, Sarah had almost every Indonesian in the palm of her hands singing Indonesian nursery rhyme songs, one of which I recognized as “Balonku ada lima.”
Everyone else who wasn’t Indonesian couldn’t comprehend what was going on at this point, but was definitely amazed by how loud the stadium was, singing Indonesian children’s songs. It was a crystal clear indication of how outnumbered we were. We non-Indonesians exchanged fazed looks with each other and observed with disbelief albeit in suppressed awe at this phenomenon.
Not wanting to admit defeat, KC decided to copycat Sarah and began to ask the less enthusiastic Malaysian crowd to sing along to a well-known local number. Clearly wringed out for original ideas, he started to sing a song that made us all feel like sticking our heads into the ground: Negaraku!
Now I have nothing but absolute respect for our national anthem, but to hear KC asking us to sing it at the concert seemed offbeat given the situation we were. Sure I get why Sarah threw out kiddy songs, it’s cute, but a patriotic song at a rock concert? Tacky! Why don’t you just shoot us all now, the death will come much quicker; don’t blow our candles out with sheer corniness, mister deejay.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, it always does. The response KC received from spectators was lackluster, paling in comparison to the uproar that Sarah had ignited with the Indonesian crowd. Malaysians, if any at all were singing, were mumbling the lines at best, worsened by the fact that KC was a lousy lead (hey if you want people to sing along with you, you’ve got to give it your best, true or not?).
Secondly, most people located in front of the stage who could even hear the hosts decently were most likely Indonesians; I doubt Malaysians sitting at the benches could even hear anything remotely comprehensible enough to react. After all, gigs around here suffer from the perpetual plague of bad sound systems.
Thirdly, no self-respecting, sane Malaysian would respond anyway to a request this bizarre; it felt silly to be standing in the field with all the Indonesians around us and yelping out our national anthem at a rock concert that was clearly dominated by them.
Whether KC was trying to prove that we’re still in control of our country and that the national anthem’s thrown out to show who’s the host here, it's anyone's guess. The man did not at all get a good sizable crowd to sing Negaraku, and I could just feel the hairs on my arms prickle at the total flop that it was.
Let’s save national songs for something more formal, like a Hari Merdeka parade or a Sultan's inaugeration, shall we? And if we're going to be corny, let's go all the way and sing Anak Ayam. At least we'll appear superficially cute.
Run for your cameras!
Press privilege is a nice thing to have at concerts. I would kick my heels with the unmistakable feeling of slight importance (read: smug) as I freely roam the buffer area between the audience and the stage to shoot photos obstacle-free. I fondly call this area the 'cow pit.'
It’s a double whammy if you actually like the performers as you get to enjoy close-up views FOC. Sure, our ear drums are probably the first ones to erupt given our closer proximity with the giant speakers, but hey, what’s a little on-duty injury in the name of good journalism.
Compared to previous events I’ve attended, PMI had tighter security in allowing media folks to wander the 'cow pit' for photography work. I don’t like their system, it’s really quite aggravating.
Only a group of 10 photographers are allowed at any given time to be in front of the stage, and only 10 lousy minutes are given each time. This approach proved to be very annoying as it limited our time in front of the stage and made us lose countless valuable moments. It was an 8 hour concert so you can imagine how many times I shamelessly showed my face up to queue for a turn in the camera ‘cow pit.’
Furthermore there were hoards of other photographers anxious to carry out their duty and to fight places with, so I was not a happy camper.
A photographer’s worst enemy at open air concerts is without a doubt the presence of rain. You too would sweat blood if you were lugging around several thousand ringgit worth of equipment, only to have it exposed to dampness and moisture that could jeopardize the functionality of the thing.
It was funny to see the camera people when it started to rain; many were reluctant at first to leave the area, considering how much time and effort they had put in for a turn in the cow pit. As they clicked their shutters, many tried in vain to shield their cameras with their arms in contorted positions. A handful salvaged plastic bags and used them as little camera 'raincoats.' Some already looked alarmed at the prospect of rain but went on relentlessly, risking their camera’s lifespan in the light drizzle.
However the weather then took a sudden dip and it had started to pour. At this point it was every person for her/himself; we dispersed madly into all directions as did the audience in the stadium field and Padi (the band) on stage who were performing at the time, but even more so us photographers (and to some extent the guitarists) since some of us were at risk of damaging our very livelihood.
The distance between where we were stationed in front of the stage and the media-reserved tent was too great, yielding no way on God’s good green earth that my cohorts and I could reach proper shelter before our cameras got drenched. Suddenly a few crewmen herded us all underneath the stage. There we were, a handful of wet camera people clutching our shutters and lenses for dear life, moving around awkwardly in this small, cramped area where a plethora of electrical wires, spare speakers, roaring generators and metal rods that made up the support of the stage intertwined. Gasping to catch my breath, I could hear the sound of heavy shower pelting against the stage floor that made up our temporary ceiling.
While I felt relieved at escaping the downpour, it dawned on me that I might have somehow ran into the lion’s mouth by being underneath this huge stage. My mind started dancing with paranoia, imagining the infrastructure that was now cocooning us collapsing, and that we, the innocent tenants beneath it, risk being crushed to our very deaths.
It’s unnerving how pessimistic one can be when forced to deal with claustrophobic conditions!
Ex-MTV video jockey Sarah Sechan was happily throwing out posters to the stadium audience and the crowd was only too thrilled to catch them.
Rolls upon rolls of wall posters of the invited artists performing at PMI were generously flung from the stage and deftly caught by lucky fans. While I was observing this, Sarah, who at this point had stopped throwing out the paper memorabilia, suddenly spoke up into the microphone:
“Ibu, ibu, poster itu bukan untuk ibu ya, tolong, itu untuk penonton. Tolong dikasi ke penonton ya, itu bukan untuk ibu.”
(Ma’am, that poster is not for you, it’s for the audience. Please pass it to someone in the audience, it’s not for you.)
I perked up and wondered what Sarah was rambling on about, who was she talking to? Why was Sarah ticking off someone from taking a poster?
It turned out that one poster had landed in the 'cow pit' area before the audience barricade where RELA security officers and photographers were stationed. For those in oblivion, RELA are the folks who have volunteered their time to maintain the peace and order of the crowd at the concert.
One of these uniformed RELA personnel had apparently picked up one poster for her own safekeeping, only to have her hands slapped by Sarah who was scolding her cheekily for taking something that obviously was intended for the paying concert attendees. Suddenly everyone’s attention diverted to this one person and the stadium grew silent, obviously absorbing morbid pleasure from someone else’s inappropriate behavior and lack of professionalism.
|#9||Nicky KeiRenZy - Website||2-Jun-2007, 17:02 MYT|
|Gue pendatang dari indonesia....dan sekarang gue ada di indonesia.Gue seneng banget budaya dan semua yang ada di indonesia di banggakan oleh malaysia dan singapura.Gue berumur 19 tahun dan kini gue seorang radio deejay, di radio station terbesar di kota gue.Slam kenal aja buat loe semua, siapapun anda, jika loe butuh informasi seputar indonesia terkini, dari music, lifestyle, dan ingin dikirimkan mp3 gratis dari lagu-lagu indonesia terbaru, dan band-band baru indonesia yang baru ngerilease album baru seperti radja, dewa 19, nidji, samsons, peterpan, dan lain-lain.........ad d me on friendster di alamat: firstname.lastname@example.org m. atau email gue di: email@example.com m. Thank's|
|#8||phie2t - Website||2-Nov-2006, 10:23 MYT|
|hi... lam kenal nice to read u'r story, btw dikirain co eh ternyata ce|
|#7||taufik||13-Oct-2006, 22:47 MYT|
|I love your "artikel"|
|#6||Benny sigalingging - Website||31-Jul-2006, 06:25 MYT|
|wow nice pictures though|
|#5||Lissy||19-Jul-2006, 12:01 MYT|
|Mbak Fairy, woohoo, you always crack me up Next time don't be so crazy lah, so my stomach won't get keram-keram karena ketawa ngakak Kidding, hehe, of course we all want you to be as crazy as always, kaya Mbak Sarah Sechan, orang edan sedunia tuh|
|#4||Fairy||28-Jun-2006, 01:06 MYT|
|NATALI: Hey Adhe, when are you gonna write for myindo.com again?|
|#3||Natali Ardianto - Website||26-Jun-2006, 15:40 MYT|
|Hi Fai! This post has got to be the most hillarious post so far in the history of Myindo.com! Kalau komentator lain pasti hanya bakalan cerita tentang pemusik-pemusiknya saja. You always think out of the box, that's what makes this site so interesting!|
|#2||Fairy - Website||20-Jun-2006, 16:31 MYT|
Hey HISHAM, how are you? I wondered where you went off to, your old email in my mailing list wasn't working so I removed it. Glad you're rearing your head around here once in a while.
70 million Malaysians by when?? 2020? Hehe. Long way to go people. I have my own stands on world population control but I won't discuss that here.
|#1||hishamtajudin||19-Jun-2006, 20:33 MYT|
Hello Fairy,it's nice to read about Indonesians and being a Malaysian in their midst. Now suddenly it makes sense why Tun Mahathir wants 70 million Malaysians ASAP doesn't it?
It does seem like Malaysia is slowly being overrun, doesn't it? Now, we have to talk about assimilation, national identity and all that sooner or later and determine the best course of action. We'd be enriched by the Indonesian culture of course but pros and cons, let's read you discuss it, would be fun reading I'm sure
Till next time, keep up the energetic writing...
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