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Entertainment in Indonesia


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Entertainment in Indonesia is a combination of traditional, modern (local), and non-local. Traditional entertainment includes wayang (puppet show), commedians, and traditional dances.

Local entertainment, I supose, is similar to entertainment in other countries but with local content. In music, for example, there are pop bands and singers, rock bands, country singers, jazz groups, rappers, you name it. Some are okey, and some are excellent. Famous Indonesian song writers are Titik Puspa, Guruh Sukarnoputra, Chandra Darusman, Rhoma Irama, Iwan Fals, and so on. (Check out the "Indonesian Music page".)

There is also non-traditional music styles, but has a rich Indonesian flavor: kroncong, and dangdut. They use regular musical instruments. Dangdut is closer to Indian's (as in Asia's India, not North American's Indian) music.

Non-local entertainment includes music and movies from outside Indonesia. For movies, Chinese Kung Fu or martial arts and India films are among the popular ones. I am sorry to say that current Indonesian movies are poor in quality (have low quality). They tend to be produced just to get quick dollars (or I should say Rupiah), not considering (or little consideration ) the artistic or content aspect. Most of them have too much sexual content, with sexy titles. In my subjective opinion, the Indonesian movies were much better few years ago. Imported movies are either subtitled in Bahasa Indonesia or dubbed with Bahasa Indonesia.

TV Stations

Currently there are several TV stations in Indonesia:

  • ANTeve (Andalas Televisi)
  • Global TV: a new TV station, still in experiment mode
  • Indosiar
  • Metro-TV
  • RCTI
  • SCTV (Surya Citra Televisi): Liputan6.
  • TPI (Televisi Pendidikan Indonesia, translated literally as Indonesian Education TV) Originally it was meant for education, but it turned into another commercial TV.
  • Trans-TV
  • TVRI (Televisi Republik Indonesia)
  • There was a plan to add more (5?) TV stations

All of the above TV stations are available without cable TV. In Jakarta there are areas with cable TV. Sattelite dish is also available. With cable / satellite you can get CNN, CNBC, HBO.

Some TV stations have North American's sitcoms, for example Ally McBeal, Everybody Loves Raymond, Friends, Drew Carrey, Boston Common, and the like. Shows that were available (now cancelled) Beverly Hills 90120, Suddenly Susan, Spin City, Mad about you. All of them have subtitle (since the majority of Indonesians don't speak English). I don't know whether people get the joke though, since some of them are very cultural (North American oriented). I suspect kids in big cities understand.

Rentals and piracy

Video rentals (in Beta and VHS format) used to be popular, but not anymore. Now, VCD (Video CD) is more popular in Indonesia (and other places in Asia). DVD is not popular (yet). In fact, we may skip DVD and go with Super VCD format. I don't know why VCD is not popular in North America. I went to California a while ago, November 1999, and DVD is more popular.

You can rent VCDs (including the player, if you wish) from many places. They will deliver the player and some movies to you. Some (most) of the VCDs are pirated. This is why VCD format is the most popular one. The government is closing down on piracy. You will see that now you get more non-pirated VCDs.

An original (non-pirated) VCD costs Rp 50,000,- (at this time of writing, US$1 is Rp 7,400,- so it costs around US$7 and it is getting cheaper - I've seen an original VCDs for Rp 15,000,- or around US$2), while a pirated VCD costs between Rp 10,000 (single CD) to Rp 20,000 (double CD, usually movies, also getting cheaper to Rp 3,000 or around US$0.5 for a single CD moview).

A Taiwan/China-made VCD player costs around Rp 300.000,- (or US$50). So the player and movies are cheap! The quality of pirated VCDs depend on the original. Sometimes the VCD is very poor as if somebody is video taping a movie in a theater. (Sometimes you can see somebody's head moving or laughing. It's true.) From the sub-titles, I suspect the copying was done in Malaysia. The language in the sub-titles are in Malay.

Now, I've seen pirated DVDs as well...

Description Cost in Rp in US$
Original cassette 17,000 2
Pirated cassette 5,000 1
Original VCD (2 CDs) 50,000 4
Pirated VCD (2 CDs) 12,000 1.5
Pirated VCD (1 CD) 5,000 1
Pirated PlayStation CD 6,000 1
Pirated software (in CD) 20,000 2.5
Original DVD 300.000 24
Pirated DVD 50.000 4
VCD/cassette/radio combo boombox 2,000,000 250
Cheap VCD player 300,000 40

Entertainment for kids

There are several children shows on TV. Most of them are animation series from Japan, such as Pokemon, Digimon, Doraemon, and so on. Some series that have dissapear are Sailor Moon, Ranma 1/2. Then there is the Power Rangers-type series.

A similar thing is happening in the reading section. Lots of comics, and again ... many Japanese comic titles such as "Kariage Kun", "Kobo Chan", "Doraemon", "Sailor Moon", "Detective Conan". A few years ago there are plenty local comics depicting super heroes (just like D.C. Marvel comics), such as "Gundala Putra Petir", "Godam" (a mix of Superman and Thor?), "Pangeran Mlaar", "Aquanus". There were "wayang" comics too. I don't know where they are right now. I miss those Indonesian comics.

Play Station, Nintendo, Sega are popular among kids. Today, Playstation definitely dominates the market. You can get pirated Playstation games in CD for US$1. Most of them are Japanese version. You can rent games and the playstation console itself from many places.


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