An outmoded conception of youth in post-Reformasi Indonesia had led to an essentialisation of the demography into a dichotomous characterization between that of “demographic dividends” and “ticking time-bombs”. In contemporary Indonesia, futurists see youths as fiduciary members of the developmentalist state agenda while pessimists take opprobrium at their volatile and violent track-record. This paper rejects both premises as instances of “Old Society” intrusion into the perceptions of Indonesian youth. Instead it ventures into an in-depth, sober examination of their present state of affairs and predicament. Based heavily upon empirical data from a range of surveys, polls and census, it had been shown that state and institutional attempts at reclaiming/redefining youths as their own fell short of ground realities. Youth emanating particularly from the Y-Generation and beyond have more agency than conventionally felt and it is increasingly imperative that their opinions on democratisation and decentralisation, twin aspects of reform efforts in Indonesia, are urgently taken into account given their potential for growth and influence.
About the Authors
Jonathan Chen is an Associate Research Fellow in the Indonesia Programme of the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University. His research interests include political parties of Indonesia, state and society in Indonesia, the Indonesian ethnic Chinese community, contemporary issues of Timor-Leste and China-Indonesia relations. Jonathan graduated with a Master’s Degree in International Relations from RSIS in 2010. He also has a Master of Arts degree in Southeast Asia Studies from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, National University of Singapore (NUS).
Emirza Adi Syailendra is a Research Analyst at the Indonesia Programme and a current MSc (Strategic Studies) student under the Research Analyst Award at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. His research interests include foreign policy, security and strategic studies, ASEAN and Indonesian politics. He has a Bachelor Degree in International Relations from the University of Indonesia.
Country and Region Studies / Southeast Asia and ASEAN / Working Papers
Last updated on 16/06/2015