Infamously Indecipherable: The Bizarre Celebrity of Vicky Prasetyo

By : Erwida Maulia & Jonathan Vit | on 6:43 PM September 13, 2013
Category : Life & Style, Editor's Choice, Featured

Who is Vicky Prasetyo?

This businessman, failed politician and corruption convict rose from relative obscurity to Internet celebrity after a segment from RCTI's "Cek and Ricek" info-tainment show was posted on YouTube earlier this month. It's not the subject of the interview that captivated Indonesian netizens — although the man's doomed engagement to a small-time Dangdut star known for her duck-like dance moves was weird enough — but Vicky's unconventional take on language.

Vicky enjoys a freestyle approach to the spoken word, employing a nonsensical string of words and things that sound like words to create sentences that are as pompous as they are unintelligible. English words like status are given an Indonesian flair as "statusisasi" despite the fact that status in Indonesian is, well, status.

Indonesian words suffer similar mistreatment. Vicky doubles-down on the parts of words that appear formal, twisting harmonisasi (harmony) into the needlessly stiff "harmonisisasi" — a word that doesn't appear in any Indonesian dictionary. He has a penchant for odd phrases and little regard for grammar, choosing the word labil (it means "unstable" but usually refers to a mental condition or the ground) when discussing the nation's recent economic woes, characterizing the issue as ekonomi labil but flipping it into "labil ekonomi" for good measure. Other times Vicky is strangely poetic, dropping the phrase “kudeta keinginan” — a coup d’etat of the wishes — into an explanation of his engagement to Zaskia Shinta, a 23-year-old Dangdut star better known as "Zaskia Gotik" for her iconic goyang itik or duck moves.

The two were set to get married — they paid Rp 340 million ($29,500) for an engagement party at Jakarta's Hotel Indonesia Kempinski — when the would-be couple, Zaskia in an ornate dress and Vicky in a three-piece suit, appeared on "Cek and Ricek" to discuss their relationship.

"Dengan adanya hubungan ini, bukan mempertakut, bukan mempersuram statusisasi kemakmuran keluarga dia, tapi menjadi confident," Vicky said, which can sort of be translated as “This relationship [isn’t meant to] scare, to darken the status of her family’s welfare, but to make [us] confident.”

One day later the wedding was off. Zaskia reportedly realized Vicky, a noted playboy, was already married with three kids and had a history of flirting with Dangdut singers.

Indonesian is already a malleable language. Modern slang relies heavily on text-speak abbreviations (PHP for Pemberi Harapan Palsu or "a giver of false hope"), portmanteaus (Ababil for Anak baru gede labil or "Emotionally unstable teens") and letter-swapping (donk for dong, cyus for serius). Spoken sentences often lack subjects and require context.

But Vicky's speech leaves many Indonesians scratching their heads.

His statement, "di usiaku ini, twenty nine my age, aku masih merindukan apresiasi karena basically, aku senang musik, walaupun kontroversi hati aku lebih menyudutkan kepada konspirasi kemakmuran yang kita pilih ya," or "at 29 my age, I still miss appreciation because basically I like music, although the controversy of my heart [makes me] more inclined toward the conspiracy of prosperity that we’ve chosen," makes little sense in either language.

The YouTube clip received more than 880,000 views by Friday. Users posted nearly 3,600 comments on the video, most mocking Vicky's "highly intelligent" speech. The phrasing then inspired parodies — dubbed "Vickynization" — on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube as Indonesian users reinterpreted their speech through a Vicky-like filter.

"When the conspiracy of the heart is no longer contained, I care no longer about this status-ization." "When the conspiracy of the heart is no longer contained, I care no longer about this status-ization."

Vicky, a man whose celebrity depends on his speech, has said surprisingly little about his new-found fame.

The one-time political hopeful is currently behind bars. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison by the Supreme Court for making fraudulent land deeds in Bekasi, West Java, according to reports in the Indonesian news portal Tempo.

He sent an oddly worded letter to his lawyer declining any interviews and apologizing for his crimes.

The letter read, in true Vicky fashion, "Bahwasanya bahwa saat ini saya menolak untuk dijenguk oleh siapa pun tanpa terkecuali sampai saya dapat mengendalikan suasana hati baik jasmani maupun rohani. Demikian surat ini dibuat agar dapat termaklumi pada umumnya dan mendapatkan kebijakan dari siapa pun yang terkait. Terima kasih," or "I hereby decline to be visited by anyone, with no exception, until I manage to handle the condition of my heart, physically and spiritually. I hereby made this letter so that [people may] generally understand and so that it may inspire policies from relevant parties. Thank you."

The fraud allegations were mounting on Friday. Vicky's celebrity has made him something of a public figure and more than a dozen people have attempted to visit the prison with claims that he defrauded them as well, prison officer R. A. Saragih told on Friday.

It seems Vicky's fake land deed scheme was one konspirasi kemakmuran that failed to pay off.

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