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Jakarta Post

Forever alone, no more: Indonesia joins the meme race

  • Karlina Octaviany

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, July 7, 2014   /  12:00 pm
Forever alone, no more: Indonesia joins the meme race

Transjakarta meme: This panel (very loosely) translates as: '€œHow do you like being stuck?'€ '€œIt'€™s even worse when you are stuck remembering the past, Mas.'€ @imandita

Spreading jokes on the Internet now includes '€œPhotoshoped'€ images with parody commentary. When hot issues arise, memes spread as a form of creativity to get viewer'€™s attention.

Internet memes have gained such popularity that even the singer Prince wrote a song about it: '€œThis Could Be Us'€.

In Indonesia, meme topics vary from simple things, such as cute cats, to political jokes about presidential candidates.

Local memes also use as fodder artists such as Ariel from Noah band; people from infotainment, such as Arya Wiguna; and even characters from movies, like Mad Dog from The Raid.

Indonesian meme creators use Mad Dog to joke about extreme behavior, making local versions of Chuck Norris facts. (Such as '€œHow tough is Mad Dog? When Mad Dog eats ice cream too fast, the ice cream gets a headache.'€)

And with the help of 62 million social media users in Indonesia (according to, local memes can be quickly be circulated accross the web.

Rendy Imandita says that the objective of a meme is to create fun and give smiles to people.

Yet, according to Rendy, memes only contribute a small part to comedy in Indonesia '€” mostly due to their Internet-only distribution.

'€œThe fun parts is creating memes related to hot issues, so that people get the funny impact and understand the jokes. I love to see people laughing because of the meme that I created,'€ said Rendy, who is active on Twitter as @imandita with more than 15,000 followers.

He has been reacting to popular Internet discussions through memes for three years. His works are inspired by humour websites such as 9gag, Buzzfeed and Imgur.

Rendy also watches for memes on Twitter from his favorite artists, @thepopoh and @madeindar.

Memes are not only just for laughs. There'€™s also money involved. Working as an art director for an advertising company, Rendy found that his creativity can be used as a marketing tools for brands. '€œBut creating a meme as an ad is harder, because there are many rules to follow.'€

The business potential of memes has been proven by Aji Ramadhan.

Using a strategy similar to famous humour websites such as 9gag, he founded to pool local memes on one site.

'€œAll content is coming from users who want to entertain others. The important part is that they should have fresh ideas, be entertaining and inspire readers,'€ said Aji.

To curate the memes submited by users, 1CAK created a voting system. Users are able to up-vote or down-vote the latest uploads.

To attract more users, 1CAK continues to add more features and has updated its Android-based application.

'€œIt'€™s quite profitable. Besides [Google] AdSense, we use self advertising , where we can directly accept advertisers without using the Google Ads network,'€ Aji stated.

The combination of fresh material and hot issue-related content is the recipe for viral memes. Aji says that the creative process of making meme is easy. Rendy agrees.

The process begin with finding pictures that contains '€œmeme material'€.

Rendy chose the comical expression of the singer Pandji as his favorite image. He collected many funny pictures and then searched for ideas for creating jokes. Sometimes he cannot find a joke until the pictures is '€œoutdated'€.

Next is editing pictures, cropping, adding additional images and inserting funny text.

Digital imaging skills is not mandatory for creating a meme. The Line Camera application available for smartphones can also be used for creating memes. It is easy and fast.

'€œI have a principle in creating memes: Do not take too long. I usually create a lot of memes in under 10 minutes,'€ said Rendy. '€œDon'€™t take it too seriously.'€

Keep in mind that not all jokes are appropriate. To keep the quality of the memes posted, 1CAK states its rules on its upload page. Rendy is also alert about certain topics to avoid: rape and the '€œSARA'€ big four issues in Indonesia: tribes (suku), religion (agama), race (ras) and communal harmony (antar-golongan).

Refering to the tried-and-true standup comedy formula, Aji thinks that good material is the key. The difference is that memes use jokes in the form of images or videos.

'€œSo if you have fun ideas but feel awkward to go on stage for standup comedy, you can breakdown the material into meme,'€ said Aji.

 '€œIt should makes people smile,'€ Rendy says. '€œThat is the most important thing.'€