In the USA and England, punk now exists solely to sell sneakers and sunglasses. In Southeast Asia, however, it exists to tell overbearing regimes to go fuck themselves.
It made the rounds in international news in December when authorities seized a number of punks in Banda Aceh, Indonesia and put them in reeducation camps for a week, forcibly shaving their heads in the process. Said the Jakarta Globe:
For months Illiza (Banda Aceh's deputy mayor) has been organizing police raids to clear out so-called punks in cafes and city parks - an effort that culminated in December when Taufik and 63 other punk music fans were arrested at a concert and detained for more than a week of moral "re-education." They were never charged with a crime.
"This [punk lifestyle] is a new social disease affecting Banda Aceh," Illiza told the Jakarta Globe following the arrests. "If it is allowed to continue, the government will have to spend more money to handle them."
The city of Banda Aceh abides by Sharia law, and the government sees punk music and fashion as a violation.
Der Spiegel now reports that the military regime in Burma is encountering a similar problem. Despite recent reforms, the government still has no love for punk FUCKING rock and has been cracking down on musicians and concert goers, forcing them into hiding. Some, like the gentlemen pictured above who we all can agree might be the coolest looking humans of all time, do not give a fuck what the regime has to say and still play their music to the masses. Writes Der Spiegel,
"If we just accept what's going on here, nothing will change," says Kyaw Kyaw, as he plugs an electric guitar into an amplifier. "I'm doing everything I can to shake people up." That's why he founded Rebel Riot in 2007. It happened during the period when the military junta cracked down on the so-called "Saffron Revolution" launched by Buddhist monks. Thousands of demonstrators were arrested then, and soldiers were ordered to shoot upon their own people. People in Burma are still deeply shocked by these events. None of the punks believe that the new government is serious about its newfound political openness. "Only a revolution can change the system," Kyaw Kyaw says.
Rebel Riot holds regular practice sessions in out-of-the-way buildings along the railroad tracks. To keep noise from escaping and giving them away, they line the walls with Styrofoam. Kyaw Kyaw's singing is backed by a drummer, guitarist and bass guitarist. "We are poor, hungry and have no chance," Kyaw Kyaw sings into the microphone. "Human rights don't apply to us. We are victims, victims, victims."
These guys make GG Allin and The Sex Pistols look like a bunch of nerds singing church hymns.