Sixteen-year-old Tania awoke at 05:30 a.m. on Sunday, applied a little make up to her face and put on a white t-shirt, black hotpants and sunglasses. The second grade Ricci Catholic High School student was preparing to join about 150 other Ricci students who were about to march toward the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle on Jl. Thamrin, Central Jakarta.
There, the students were greeted with swarms of people donning various attire, mostly sporty outfits such as caps, bright colored shirts, and colorful sport shoes.
Around 8:15 a.m, the introduction of the super viral song “Gangnam Style”, made popular by South Korean rapper PSY, was blasting from a set of speakers in front of Plaza Indonesia shopping mall.
Then a group of people started dancing to the tune in front of the traffic circle’s water fountain, with others cheering and fist-pumping in front of them. When the chorus started, the mob then turned around and started dancing the signature Gangnam Style dance moves, brandishing imaginary lassos and riding on imaginary horses.
The flash mob attracted various bikers and joggers who passed through the street, creating a “traffic jam” of sorts on a car-free day, when people usually enjoyed exercising and hanging out on traffic-free thoroughfares. “I didn’t know what was happening so I stopped my bike and watched,” said Reza, an 18-year-old college student. “I think it was fun. I already knew the song and the dance moves.”
The flash-mob was planned by Happy Holiday Indonesia, a group of people who made a series of YouTube videos with contents similar to the popular Korean variety show Running Man. K-Pop is huge in Indonesia and PSY’s hit, which has taken YouTube by storm and has now become a global sensation, is not unknown to many Jakartans.
The group leader, Edho Zell, 26, said that the team organized and videotaped the flash-mob to be featured in the series’ fifth episode. “We chose Gangnam Style because it has become a cultural phenomenon all over the world. Even Hollywood pop stars such as Justin Bieber and Britney Spears sent messages on Twitter about the song,” he said.
According to him, around 800 people showed up at the scene to join the flash mob, which consisted of mostly people who had already viewed the group’s YouTube videos. But just when the mob was getting excited and moving their bodies to the music, the police arrived to disband the crowd.
After the music had been halted by the police, the crowd soon dispersed and traffic resumed to normal. ( han )