K-Pop Controversy After Independence Day Confusion

Korean girl-band pop giants So Nyeo Shi Dae, better known as SNSD or Girls’ Generation, set Indonesian social media buzzing after the announcement of a performance later this month divided fans and conservative netizens.

With a string of hits under their belt including ‘Gee’ and ‘I Got a Boy,’ SNSD enjoys a massive following in Indonesia but the announcement of a performance in the country sparked controversy among conservatives.

Creative Economy Agency (Bekraf) Head Triawan Munaf announced several high profile local artists to grace the stage during Independence Day celebrations at the National Monument (Monas) on Aug. 17, with SNSD set to perform the following day to kick-off the countdown to the Asian Games 2018 to be held in Jakarta and Palembang, South Sumatra.

Confusion over the announcement led media outlets to falsely report the Korean pop outfit would be partaking in the Independence Day event, with netizens taking to Twitter to voice outrage.

Detractors argued SNSD aren’t an Indonesian act, nor hold up conservative values.

Prominent psychologist Elly Risman took to Twitter to accuse the government of trying to corrupt the morals of Indonesia’s youth.

“My motherhood spirit is shocked. How can the country invite a Korean girl band to celebrate our Independence Day?” she said in a post to Twitter.

“Have we run out of super creative artists that you’re inviting symbols of sex and prostitution to our day of proclamation?” she followed.

After the outrage swirled, Munaf cleared up the misunderstanding. In a statement he said: “I want to clarify: SNSD is coming to perform at the Countdown to 2018 Asian Games event, not to perform at an Independence Day event.”

With the Asian Games representing the entire continent, planners aim to have events reflecting the diversity of the region, much like prior to the Olympics, he said.

Bekraf Deputy Chief Ricky Joseph Pesik weighed in on Monday, July 31, saying: “If we must, we can invite all Indonesian stars to meet Korean, Singapore, Philippine, Indian stars. To show our reputation that we are not an awful host of Asian Games [and] that we can attract Asian stars to endorse Asian Games in Indonesia.”

Triawan Munaf, an advisor to the Indonesian Asian Games Organizing Committee (INASGOC), was appointed by President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo as a special envoy to assist South Korea, ahead of the August-September 2018 games.

“The Bekraf chief is also a special envoy to South Korea so he has links. He also helps contact Korean agencies to bring their stars here,” Ricky said, as reported by Tempo.

At this stage it’s unlikely all eight members of the group will take the stage, with Munaf taking to Instagram to clarify that Bekraf is negotiating for several members to perform not the whole outfit.

“Because the Asian Games is a large-scale event, we are planning to present several renowned Asian artists aside from Indonesian artists and singers.”

SNSD fans have considered taking legal action against Ella Risman’s statement, saying she committed slander by calling the group “sex and prostitution symbols.”

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Image credits: Wikipedia

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Ish is a writer and journalist at Content Collision. She resides in the Philippines.


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