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Nurhadi-Aldo’s “Willy Nilly” and Political Satire

March 12, 2019

Please note that these translations from the original Indonesian were made by Southeast Asia Center staff for the educational benefit of our readers but without official approval from the news outlets.  The original articles, with attribution, are also included on this page.  While the translations were made by bilingual staff, thus minimizing the chance for errors, we acknowledge that translations are often subjective and therefore may not always reflect the intent of the author.  

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By: Muhammad Ikhsan Mahar
Published: January 9, 2019

Screenshot from @nurhadi_aldo Instagram post about their program. If Karl Marx dreamed of a classless society, then where would we study?, said Nurhadi, the presidential candidate of the “Koalisi Indonesia Tronjal Trolan Maha Asyik” (Super Fun Willy Nilly Indonesian Coalition).

In the midst of the (political) commotion in the public sphere, a few people who are tired of elitist political battles came up with something creative for the 2019 election. The presence of a made-up candidate for presidential and vice-presidential candidates, namely Nurhadi-Aldo Suparman or “Dildo”, seems to be the answer to the anxiety related to the political elites’ nature and behavior that did not meet people’s demands.

Since they first appeared in the digital media, at the end of December 2018, the official volunteers of Nurhadi-Aldo social media accounts have more than a hundred thousand followers. As of Tuesday (01/08/2019) evening, there are around 286,000 Dildo followers on Instagram; 147,531 followers on Facebook; and around 59,000 followers on Twitter.

@Nurhadi_aldo’s Twitter account

The main magnetism of Dildo is they dare to fight the standard of taboos in the world of politics in the country. Dildo’s campaign team dares to use “disrespectful” terms as acronyms in their campaign program, for example “Perekonomian Juara” (Champions of Economy) or PeJu (bodily fluid particular to men) and “Kurikulum Pendidikan Tingkat Lanjut” (Higher Education Curriculum) or Kulum Pentil (an action akin to breastfeeding).

With the support of one political party, namely the “Partai untuk Kebutuhan Iman” (Party for Faith Needs) or PuKi (a vulgar slang for female genitalia), Dildo also seeks to offer solutions to various problems in the country. For example, to overcome the presence of the soccer mafia, Dildo will distribute (soccer) balls to each soccer player. With the hope that there is no need to have a winner in every game, so that there will be no gambling, mafia, and chaos between supporters.

Dildo also plans to appoint all farmers as civil servants.  To bring social justice, they pledge to subsidize internet cafes for people “Program Subsidi Tagihan Warnet Bagi Umum)” (Subsidy Program for the Public’s Internet Café Bills), which is abbreviated to “Prostat Bau” (smelly prostate). The subsidy would be funded by taxing gaming companies and gaming YouTubers.

One of Nurhadi-Aldo’s campaign team members, Edwin, said that the presence of a fictional candidate was motivated by their disgust with a number of politicians who squabbled every day and became headlines in the media.

We want to show that people like us, who do not have the capital or power and the mass supporters, Edwin said, can at times be a critic of the government and emerge as a new form of political power in Indonesia, Tuesday (01/08/2019), in Jakarta.

A number of captivating and eccentric quotes from Nurhadi and Aldo, according to Edwin, were inspired by the ignorance of politicians who are “tronjal-tronjol” or haphazard (especially) when they spoke to the media.

Hidden voice

Dildo’s presence is a satire for boring political contestation. The creation of the fictional leader becomes a form of hidden accumulation of the public’s hidden voice, especially the younger generation, who demand a new approach in the politics.

This can be seen from the selection of Nurhadi as the fictional presidential candidate. Nurhadi, who works as a masseur in Golantepus, Mejobo, Kudus Regency, Central Java, represents ordinary people. Since 2014, he has become well-known in the Indonesian shitposting community because of his unique posts. Nur Ha Di’s Facebook account has 32,541 followers.

@NURHADI_ALDO Nurhadi-Aldo, a widely discussed fictional presidential and vice-presidential candidate pair. Photo taken from their Twitter account, @nurhadi_aldo.

Aldo is a fictional character who is also famous among the shitpost community. Aldo reached the peak of his popularity on the shitposting Facebook page in 2016-2017.

In the academic journal “No Laughing Matter: Failure of Satire During the 2016 Presidential Election” (May 2018), Jamie Noelle Smith said that the role of satire in political contestation is far deeper than just a means of conveying aspirations. Satire is able to provide political learning for the community. At least, the public know the issues being discussed or what has become the focus of the political elites.

“Satire actually plays a needed role in democracy. Because satire starts a conversation, filters our feelings, helps us voice our anger or frustration, and arranges them into words that we could not say before, “Smith wrote.

According to M. Lampland and M. Nadkarni in a journal titled “What Happened to Jokes? The Shifting Landscape of Humor in Hungary” (2016) satire has two functions in the political climate. In countries that have an open participation in politics, satire is the most basic level of contribution in politics. However, satire is often the only option for people living under an authoritarian regime to voice their aspirations.

United States’ President Donald Trump declared a “Thanksgiving” turkey was pardoned, accompanied by the Chairman of the National Turkey Federation Jeff Sveen, in presenting and pardoning the 71st annual turkey pardon at the White House Rose Garden in Washington, D.C., Tuesday (11/20/2018).REUTERS / LEAH MILLIS

During the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, Smith stated, (political) satires played a big role for Donald Trump’s victory. Using satirical messages, Trump was considered successful in elevating his image to reach voters in the communities which are considered to be apathetic towards politics, such as old white people, workers, and women.

The opposite situation occurred in China. Luwei Rose Luqiu’s research in a journal entitled “The Cost of Humor: Political Satire on Social Media and Censorship in China” (2017) shows that the production of satirical content (directed) towards the government on social media can drag someone into legal proceedings.


Arie Sujito, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta.

Arie Sujito, a sociologist from Gadjah Mada University, said that the existence of Dildo is a public response designed to calm and reduce political tension during this campaign period. He hopes that Dildo will not only present satirical messages, but also provide campaign narratives with educational content.

The idea of ​​jokes that have positive connotation will have special meaning to the society. For example, Arie said, proposing issues or perspectives that were not raised by prospective leaders competing in the 2019 Election.

Responding to the suggestion, Edwin avers his party’s mission is to improve education and is not only for entertainment. “Wait for the next chapter from us. We want to provide not only entertainment but also education for the community and a place for the politicians to learn about campaigning,” he promised.

Soekarno, once said, “Give me 10 young men, then I will shake the world.” Maybe those words have been proven by Edwin and his seven colleagues, who through Dildo, have recently been able to provide a new atmosphere in the country. Let’s hope that we are #McQueenYaQueen (Becoming More Convinced)… (MELATI MEWANGI)