Two pseudonymous souls have contributed entries to the Jakartass Poetry Competition, neither of which are eligible for the honorary laureateship. Not because the verses are crap, you understand, but because, as contributor Aangirfan says, his poem works better in London than it does in Jakarta. It is also difficult to translate into Indonesian.
And that of ‘Tongue in Cheek’ presumably works better in Warrington or Wolverhampton.
The key to my contest is Indonesia, preferably about personalities. And written in English.
Please don’t submit anything about golden sunsets, waving palm fronds and Indonesian smiles, which I’ve got nothing against, but I would have thought that postcards would suit such lines better than my blog.
What I’m seeking is pacy and possibly controversial, like these lines from Coming To Jakarta: A Poem About Terror by Peter Dale Scott.
A society which
declassifies its documents
after it is too late
to make any difference
will publish anything.
There are poets in Indonesia although the ‘old guard’, such as W.S. Rendra, Emha and singer Iwan Fals, have lost their impact since reformasi. Perhaps they really are like an old pillow – nostalgic and comfortable yes, useful and relevant no.
It would seem that rap and hip-hop is the new Beat generation here.
Rap’s intimate connection with social critique continues to make it attractive to other ‘underground’ music groups. For instance, one of the most politically passionate rap songs of recent years, Sisi Gelap (Dark Side), was created by the now disbanded Yogyakarta Techno group, Teknoshit, on their self-titled album of 2003.
In Dark Side, Teknoshit warns that the poor and marginalised of society will one day explode in anger and rise up to fight against those who oppress and mock them. They urge those who care about social justice to speak out and struggle for change:
Even human rights will end up trashed and thrown away
If we just stay quiet and dream of a better day
Nothing here will ever be solved
To be a true member of humanity
Requires a conscience free of vanity
For those who speak, for those who believe
It’s not something that mere words can relieve
They’ll never keep quiet, they’ll keep up the fight.
Sounds like a ready made charter for Jakartass.
I still prefer jazz though.