Jakarta Globe | Insight

The Year’s Top-5 Moments in Pop Culture

In popular culture this year, Indonesians celebrated love, success, women’s empowerment and meeting their idols, but also dealt with heartbreak and grief. The Jakarta Globe has picked the year’s most outstanding moments.

1. ‘Pengabdi Setan’

Joko Anwar’s blockbuster horror film “Pengabdi Setan” (“Satan’s Slave”), a remake of a 1980 movie by Sisworo Gautama Putra, attracted an audience of more than 4.2 million since its release in October. It also became the top-selling Indonesian movie in Malaysia, won seven Citra Awards – more than any other film at the Indonesian Film Festival – and five Maya Awards.

The movie was a social media sensation throughout the fourth quarter of the year, even after it was no longer screened at cinemas. Fans have created countless hashtags, memes and parody videos. “Pengabdi Setan” was the most talked-about movie on Twitter and the second most-searched topic on Google, while its trailer was the 10th-most popular YouTube clip.

'Pengabdi Setan' (Satan's Slave) by Joko Anwar. (Photo courtesy of Rapi Film)
‘Pengabdi Setan’ (‘Satan’s Slave’) by Joko Anwar. (Photo courtesy of Rapi Film)

The popularity of the film also inspired entrepreneurial ideas, with Socio Traveler and Ghost Photography Community organizing a tour to the haunted house in Pengalengan in Bandung, West Java, where the film was set.

2. Two Weddings – Raisa and Hamish, Kahiyang Ayu and Bobby Nasution

Two weddings stole the nation’s attention — one of celebrities and the other of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s daughter. They were the ninth- and 10th-most popular moments on Twitter in Indonesia.

Raisa Andriana and actor Hamish Daud Wyllie tied the knot in September. Fans on Twitter called the moment #HariPatahHatiNasional, or #NationalHeartbreakDay, as both are considered the country’s heartthrobs.

Kahiyang and Bobby’s wedding was called “Indonesia’s Royal Wedding of the Year,” and the whole country witnessed it.

Kahiyang Ayu marries Bobby Nasution. (Antara Photo/Maulana Surya)
Kahiyang Ayu marries Bobby Nasution. (Antara Photo/Maulana Surya)

Jokowi’s only daughter Kahiyang Ayu married Bobby Nasution in traditional Javanese and Batak ceremonies. The wedding was live-streamed by several news outlets. Tags #JokowiMantu, #BobbyKahiyangWedding and #KahiyangBobby flooded Twitter timelines, with the first one being also the sixth-most popular search on Google.

3. Women’s Movement Gaining Momentum

The women’s movement became visible this year. The Women’s March in Jakarta, organized by Jakarta Feminist Discussion Group (JFDG) to celebrate International Women’s Day, was inspired by a women’s march in the United States against the inauguration of President Donald Trump. However, it focused on local issues affecting women and minority groups.

With more than 1,000 people in attendance, the march highlighted the problems of sexual violence, discrimination, religious intolerance and radicalism.

In August, JFDG hosted the Feminist Fest to raise awareness about the importance of feminist narratives in fighting misogyny.

Participants in the women march in front of the State Palace in Central Jakarta on March 4. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Participants in the women march in front of the State Palace in Central Jakarta on March 4. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

In November, film director Nia Dinata gathered fellow industry players to organize the Enam Belas Film Festival (16 Film Festival) in a campaign against gender-based violence, while in December, the Trade Union Rights Center (TURC) held its inaugural Women Homeworkers Festival to highlight the plight of informal female workers, child labor and sexual harassment.

Female farmers of Kendeng were at the forefront of this year’s rallies demanding that the government revoke construction permits of Semen Indonesia’s cement factory, which is damaging the Kendeng mountain range in Central Java.

The women’s movement is likely to become even bigger next year. Hopes are running high that it will be powerful enough to urge the enactment of the elimination of sexual violence bill.

3. K-Pop Stars Take Over Jakarta 

It is no secret that South Korean pop music is big in Indonesia, so its stars are always met with enthusiasm. In April, Bangtan Boys (BTS) performed at Indonesia Convention Exhibition in Bumi Serpong Damai in Tangerang, Banten, for “The Wings Tour.” Hundreds of fans, dubbed A. R. M. Y., waited for their arrival at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.

The band sang some of its hits, such as “Fire,” “Spring Day” and “Blood, Sweat and Tears.” The concert became the fifth-most popular moment on Twitter as fans flooded their timelines with the tags #wingstourinjakarta, #BTS, #BTSArmy and #BTS1000Days.

Another big K-pop event marked the 2018 Asian Games countdown at the National Monument (Monas) complex in Central Jakarta in August 2018, with Girls’ Generation performing in front of an enthusiastic audience of thousands.

Girls' Generation member Taeyeon makes a heart with her hands during August's concert in Jakarta. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Girls’ Generation member Taeyeon makes a heart with her hands during August’s concert in Jakarta. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

5. Celebrity Suicides 

Expressions of grief marred Indonesia’s pop culture scene, as Chester Bennington of American alternative-rock band Linkin Park and Kim Jonghyun of South Korean boyband Shinee committed suicide.

Bennington, 41, was found dead at his house in Palos Verdes, California. It was only a week before the band’s United States tour promoting for its newest album, “One More Light.”

Indonesian musicians, including Raisa, Giring from Nidji, Tantri from Kotak, Kunto Aji and Sherina took to social media to convey condolences.

Chester Bennington. (Reuters Photo/Steve Marcus)
Chester Bennington. (Reuters Photo/Steve Marcus)

Jonghyun was found unconscious in a studio apartment in Gangnam district, Seoul, on Dec. 18. Korean news outlets reported that he sent a farewell message to his sister, saying that “it’s been too hard.”

Both deaths reminded people of the dangers of depression and ignited awareness-raising campaigns.

Kim Jong-hyun's portrait on an altar during a memorial service for him in Seoul on Dec. 19. (Reuters Photo)
Kim Jong-hyun’s portrait on an altar during a memorial service for him in Seoul on Dec. 19. (Reuters Photo)

Shinee fandom Shawol paid a tribute to Jonghyun by raising funds “for everyone who needs it, but especially the people of Palestine.” Indonesian fan Wina Andana Putri, who created the campaign on Kitabisa.com, collected more than Rp 401 million ($28,000) – four times the target.