Watching K-Pop, drinking bobba, hanging out in TikTok, but always having themselves updated on current social issues and being at the forefront to resist”
– Okky Madasari
From politics to social justice to environment, young Indonesians – from millennials to generation Z – have increasingly been well informed about issues in their surroundings, and actively participated in efforts to create changes within their community, refusing suggestion that they have been ignorant, lazy and unknowledgeable.
In October last year thousands K-poppers or K-pop fans – a group of young people stereotyped as the most unknowledgeable and ignorant community – took to twitter and joined forces with other young Indonesians as well as college students on the streets to protest against the passage of Omnibus Bill or Job Creation Bill into law.
Just last September tens of millions of K-poppers across the globe, including millions in Indonesia, followed what K-pop superstar BTS has to say about environment during the General Assembly meeting in the United Nations. In front of the World leaders BTS members underlined how their fans would join forces in efforts to help solve the problems of climate change.
With the help of social media and technology these millennials and generation Z or zoomers (from teenagers to 40 years old people) have been exposed to almost all issues within their community, and thus have the chance to learn and familiarize themselves with it before giving their response accordingly.
These young people have been dominating the structure of Indonesian population, with data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) showing the number of millennials and generation Z reach more than 100 million people in 2020. That’s more than half of Indonesia’s total voters.
Politicians and political parties have been drooling over these potentials, while government offices are trying hard to engaged them in making their programs successful.
A number of Politicians who have aspiration to run for office in 2024 have been targeting these voters with huge budgets and massive campaigns. These politicians, however, have no knowledge about these generations, and continue to insult the intelligence of young Indonesians by conducting ridiculous campaigns after campaigns without knowing that their targets are smart and informed enough to understand what is happening. These politicians have no ideas that their campaigns are actually making their targets sick and only opening up the true nature of their rotten character.
Take for instance, the massive campaign of Puan Maharani, who looks like to be pushed by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the party which garnered the most votes in 2019 elections and backed Joko Widodo for president in 2014 and 2019, to be their presidential candidate for 2024.
In commemorating Hari Sumpah Pemuda (National Pledge Day), Puan, a daughter of former president Megawati Soekarnoputri, chairwoman of PDI-P, launched a massive campaign with various posters in social media, claiming her to fully care about generation Z.
Puan then became trending topic in twitter during the day, sparking responses from young twitter users who mostly laughed at her while some quickly pointed out that the trending was not natural and those who engaged with Puan’s twitter account were either machine or paid buzzers.
Because for young Indonesians twitter and social media in general are their playing ground, they quickly notice that Puan’s jargons are an attempt to manipulate them. “Apologize to Ibu Puan, but generation Z is the one who know twitter best. They know if the trending is organic or buzzer-made,” twitted one millennial user.
Young voters are also insanely bored with campaign they know to be only a gimmick or dishonest or pretentious, like politicians who try hard to get close to them, but can’t shake off their elite and bossy behavior.
Golkar Chairman Airlangga Hartarto, for instance, called himself as “Paman AHA” or uncle AHA to try to give impression that he is the uncle for every young Indonesians, and is ready to talk and offer them his help. However, rather than feeling closer to him, young Indonesians feel his insincerity. “I don’t even know you, how I can even feel you as my uncle? Sorry, not even close,” said one generation Z voter.
Many young voters feel that these politicians only concerned with lifestyle matters, such as the way they talk or what clothes they wear, or what music they listen, without realizing that many of them are facing real-life problems, such as finding jobs, feeding their families or paying their school fees.
Many others, meanwhile, just want to be heard or be meaningful, or simply only want to channel their creativity. Those who live in cities and have their own family are struggling to pay house or room rents every month, and starting to wonder if they can ever have their own house considering the ever increasing prices of the houses.
Rather than coming up with solution to the real problems facing the young Indonesians, these politicians are busy talking about themselves, or how good they are, and how close and great they are to these young voters.
So, Uncle? Care for us?
Get out of here!