MTV, Gak Gue Banget!
Posted November 16, 2007on:
As a young person who loves to wear Nike and Adidas shoes I can understand why my girlfriends think that clothes from Zara and Mango are cool. As a person who is a big fan of Rage Against The Machine with the political messages in their songs and lives among young people who think that dangdut is a stupid music I can understand why my boyfriends feel that Eminem is so rebellious (in a motivating way) and that The Killers rocks. As a person who hates watching Indonesian movies and TV soap operas I can see why my friends adore Brad Pitt and Angeline Jolie. And as a marketing guy who believes that positioning is very important to “brainwash” customers’ minds I have to admit that people behind the marketing campaign of MTV Indonesia were smart when they came up with a simple and appealing tagline: MTV Gue Banget (MTV is So Me).
Indeed, MTV is so me and it is so other young Indonesians too. Go to any mall in Jakarta on a Saturday night and you will see how MTV is everywhere. Young Indonesians walk proudly with their modern attributes while mingle with their friends. Some have their hair colored while some are tatooed and pierced. Both the boys and the girls think that iPod is the coolest gadget in the whole world and they just can’t live without it. Since MTV culture is all about the drunk Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, young people in Jakarta think that clubbing is just another lifestyle they can’t miss. In response to that kind of lifetyle, companies keep building new malls, cafes, movie theatres, and clubs.
MTV and its tagline represent two types of cultural distortion in Indonesia:
- Jakarta to other cities: The culture of young people in Jakarta is spreading negatively to big and small cities in Indonesia. In a country where TV is the cheapest entertainment for its people, TV might be the one to blame for the cultural distortion that we are having. The cheapest entertainment gives our audience cheap and low quality TV soap operas (sinetron) that are not educating and motivating our young generation to be a progressive generation for the future of Indonesia. It is common now to hear young people in Bandung, Semarang, or Surabaya speak the so-called gaul languange of Jakarta’s young people. The use of this languange represents the decline of local cultural interest in big cities in Java and other places. It is true that local languanges are still spoken among young people but what about the traditional ceremonies, dances, clothes, and cultural values? Those young people who make Jakarta as their mecca find out that loving our culture is not part of the lifestyle of young people in Jakarta through movies, songs, magazines, radios, and TV programs.
- The world to big cities in Indonesia: The American pop culture through medias like MTV is invading Indonesian young people’s minds, especially those in Jakarta and other big cities. The MTV generation, as they call it, is invading countries in the world including even China and Russia. Indonesia with its Jakarta is no exception. As the world has become so much smaller due to the invention of the internet and other information medias, young people in Indonesia are losing their local taste for a new culture that they consider to be better. Actually, MTV culture is not all bad since it also spreads some positive ideas such as creativity, freedom of speech, love, and friendship. If we classify those ideas as a cultural content then it is true that our Indonesian culture does have those ideas too, so there shouldn’t be any problems, right? But, a problem emerges because our Indonesian culture has a different kind of context in delivering the content. Freedom of speech, for example, Indonesians do support freedom of speech. But, what kind of freedom of speech that our old generation tells us to energize? I don’t think it is the kind of freedom of speech that the Americans implement.
I wish I could say that MTV Gak Gue Banget, MTV is so not me. But, I know that would be impossible since I love the world’s culture too much, or American culture some might say. I love their movies, their songs, their clothes, their internet, and their sports. And, I guess it’s unfair for old generation to ask young Indonesians to be 100 percent “Indonesian.” The world has changed, and it is a different kind of world we have right now. All countries are so connected that cultural assimilation is something we can’t avoid. But at the same time, it is not a bizarre request from the old generation that young Indoesians can love the local culture a litte bit more. I mean, who else would preserve our cultural treasures, the things that make us a nation? So, I wouldn’t end this article by saying, “MTV, Gak Gue Banget,” but instead I’d end this article by saying, “MTV is just half of me.”