|credit: banksy (obviously)|
I went to pick up a friend at an event, a punk music gig. My friend was not from Bandung, so obviously he didn't know where to go what to do. So, I decided to come and show him around. The venue was an art space; a place from the past. I used to go there when I was still really interested seeing how artists from Bandung struggling to survive. I was not surprised seeing that the punk community used the area as their event's venue.
I was dressed casually; didn't give too much thought to it. A (kind of) white t-shirt, knee-length dark brown pants, black pump shoes and an ethnic shoulder bag, a gift from a friend. I climbed the stairs and immediately got eyes glaring at me, coming from everyone who was sitting on the porch of the art studio. I was a bit surprised. Definitely was not expecting to get as much as a piercing stare from strangers in blacks. And I thought to myself, "Shit, I should've worn black." So then I smiled (at those people who stared) to hide my feeling of awkwardness. And again to my surprise, no one smiled back. Then I thought to myself, "Well, fuck you, Sir." I was glad when I saw my friend, and felt even better when he said he was terribly hungry and wanted to leave so he could eat before the gig started. So we left.
The whole thing happened probably less than 5 minutes, but it was enough to put me on a I'm-not-going-to-watch-the-stupid-music-gig mood. Things would be different, say, if they smiled back, or if they treated me less like an outsider, just because I wasn't dressed like a punk kid. I told this to my post-grad friend. He then in return told me about the way the punk community in Bandung had this weird exclusivity. Weird because at the same time they're screaming they're being marginalised and repressed. Weird because when the so-called-outsiders want to be involved because they care, the kids said outsiders will not understand because they're outsiders. Weren't they being repressive when they were 'hostile' to outsiders? Well, then again, I may exaggerate the situation. Maybe they were just confused seeing a non-punk person coming to their gig. Hence, the confused-and-a-bit-scary expression on their faces.
Nevertheless, I found this a bit odd. I don't quite get the "you have to be one to understand one" concept. I mean, to some extend, it is quite true. But is that the only way? Do you have to be an Englishman to understand English? Do you have to be a moslem to understand Islam? Do you have to be a punk kid (person?) to understand punk? Maybe it's the lack of understanding of the discussed issue that leads people to give that kind of explanation/answer. I honestly don't understand. I do realise that sometimes you become marginalised because someone (something) tells that you are and then later on you put yourself in that position and decide to do nothing about the situation. In the end, it comes to what kind of action that you will take to change your situation, marginalised or not.