Meme Candidate Pair Nurhadi-Aldo Steals Spotlight Amid Political Campaign Hubbub
BY : DIELLA YASMINE
JANUARY 12, 2019
Jakarta. With the upcoming presidential and legislative elections, media coverage of the campaigns by the two candidates, incumbent Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and his opponent Prabowo Subianto, along with their respective running mates Ma'ruf Amin and Sandiaga Uno, dominates the news.
While heated discussion takes place on social media about the perceived strengths and weaknesses of the two sides, fake news and controversies have become the center of attention. During this intense period, many have found a creative way to overcome their political concerns: memes.
On Christmas Eve, a new pair of mock candidates, representing the "Partai Untuk Kebutuhan Iman," or "Food for Faith Party," took the internet by storm with their humorous posters and sexually ambiguous programs.
At a glance, the campaign posters look like any other by political candidates running for office in Indonesia, featuring two men, namely Nurhadi and his running mate Aldo.
In one of their posters, both look quite conservative, dressed in modest shirts and peci (black caps commonly worn by Muslim males in Indonesia), but the poster is also adorned with the campaign slogan, "DilDo for Indonesia," featuring a combination of their names, Nurhadi and Aldo. This appears alongside the made-up name of the coalition that supports them, "Koalisi Indonesia Tronjal Tronjol Maha Asyik," or the "Mega-Fun Boing Boing Coalition of Indonesia."
Indonesians immediately caught the joke and started flooding the internet with memes based on this. The mock candidate pair's slogan hashtag #McQueenYaQueen – a play on the words "makin yakin" meaning "ever more convinced" – was among the top-trending topics on Twitter earlier this week, alongside #JokowiAminLebihBaik ("Jokowi-Amin Is Better") and #PrabowoSandiSaja ("Only Prabowo-Sandi").
Nurhadi-Aldo's social media accounts, which were created in late December, have attracted a following of more than 340,000 on Instagram, 160,000 on Facebook and 80,000 on Twitter as of Friday.
Who Are They?
While some were merely amused, many commented on the mock candidate pair's social media pages, asking about the minds behind the memes.
According to a report by BBC Indonesia, the parody campaign was created by eight people between the ages of 17 and 23 from cities across Indonesia who are disenchanted with the country's politics.
The administrators, who also manage several meme accounts on social media, said they have never met one another in person. When they agreed to create the accounts, all communications took place online.
One of them said the campaign did not cost them any money. Each person was assigned a specific task, including layout designs, copy editing and even marketing strategies.
Despite the memes, the administrators said they do not want to be just another parody account but also send a real message. So in a way, the Nurhadi-Aldo campaign is also a critique of the Indonesian government and the country's politicians.
Sexual Innuendo Galore
Most of the content from the Nurhadi-Aldo campaign teem with sexual innuendo, from combining "Nurhadi-Aldo" to make up "DilDo," to the ambiguous names of their programs.
For example, the name of their political party "Partai Untuk Kebutuhan Iman," when abbreviated becomes "Puki," which means vagina. Some of their other slogans can also be shortened into words like "Meki" – different word, same meaning.
Nurhadi-Aldo also has a program called "Perencanaan Reklamasi" ("Reclamation Planning"), which can be shortened to "Perek" – slang for "prostitute."
Their other programs include "Program Subsidi Tagihan Warnet Bagi Umum" or "Subsidy Program for the Public's Internet Café Bills," which can be abbreviated as "Prostat Bau," meaning "Smelly Prostate" and "Kurikulum Pendidikan Tingkat Lanjut," or "Kulum Pentil," which translates as "Nipple Sucking."
View this post on Instagram
Sesuai dengan asas perekonomian pasangan calon Nurhadi - Aldo yakni "Dari rakyat untuk penguasa". Paslon nomor urut 10 ini meluncurkan program Perekonomian Juara yakni Blueprint koridor pengembangan ekonomi Indonesia. #NurhadiAldo
A post shared by Nurhadi Aldo (@nurhadi_aldo) on Dec 25, 2018 at 8:41pm PST
Members of the team behind Nurhadi-Aldo said they use sexual innuendo as a marketing strategy to attract attention and make their posts go viral.
Besides the sexual jokes, the team also brings up other topics, such as the legalization of marijuana, in one of the candidate pair's fictitious programs called "Peli Gajah," or "Elephant Penis."
View this post on Instagram
Menurut Doktor ahli selangkangan bpk. Aldo. Ganja merupakan tanaman dengan sejuta manfaat dan telah digunakan manusia berabad-abad yg lalu namun pemerintah saat ini seakan-akan tutup mata dengan fakta dan penelitian yang beredar dipublik, bahkan dinegara maju saat ini ganja telah menjadi barang yang legal dengan kontrol yg ketat daei pemerintah. Oleh karena itu, bersama Nurhadi-Aldo kami bertekad akan merealisasikan ijin pengedaran ganja untuk pengobatan bagi rakyat yg kurang mampu. #McQueenYaQueen #NurhadiAldo2019
A post shared by Nurhadi Aldo (@nurhadi_aldo) on Jan 2, 2019 at 7:13am PST
Their recent Instagram post also jokingly compared the language proficiencies of Jokowi and Prabowo to Nurhadi, who can only read holy books.
Nurhadi-Aldo in Real Life
While the creators chose to remain anonymous, local media found the actual Nurhadi and Aldo.
Kompas.com wrote in a recent article that Nurhadi was a masseuse from Golantepus village in Kudus, Central Java. Prior to becoming a mock presidential candidate, Nurhadi was already famous in Indonesia's meme communities since 2014. He often posts jokes with sexual innuendos, along with half-naked selfies of himself to promote his massage services.
His running mate is no different, Aldo, known for his crude jokes, has also been active on social media since 2016, but his Facebook page is no longer visible.
Not Only Nurhadi-Aldo
However, this phenomenon is not unique to Indonesia. An Iowa high school student named Brady Olson created a similar campaign, "Deez Nuts," on social media during the 2016 US presidential election.
Olson, who was 15 years old at the time, said in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine that he was inspired by his frustrations with the front-runners, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
He was quick to catch people's attention, especially since many Americans shared his sentiment. He even polled at 9 percent in North Carolina, 8 percent in Minnesota and 7 percent in Iowa.
Now, two years after the famous yet controversial internet memes, Olson's campaign has been forgotten and he continues his life as the kid who cried "deez nutz."
What Do Millennials Think of Nurhadi-Aldo?
Amid the hubbub of political campaigns and heated social media debate, the presence of Nurhadi-Aldo is like a breath of a fresh air.
A look at the comments on Nurhadi-Aldo's social media pages shows that most millennials are dissatisfied with Jokowi and Prabowo.
Ivan Nugroho, a 25-year-old Japanese language teacher from Bekasi, West Java, told the Jakarta Globe that voting for Nurhadi and Aldo would have been a great option, were they real candidates.
"Until now, I am still unsure who I should vote for. Nurhadi-Aldo is so much fun, but unfortunately, I can't vote for them. Maybe in the next four years?" Ivan said jokingly.
Muhammad Fadil Ikhsan, a 26-year-old entrepreneur, shared Ivan's sentiment, saying that Nurhadi-Aldo expresses how he feels about Indonesia's political landscape.
"I've gotten bored of reading news on politics. If you notice, they all have their own agendas, which I am not even sure would benefit us. It feels hopeless," he said.
Ayu Hassanah, 28, also said the memes were refreshing to see amidst the political ennui.
"Although I understand that it's meant as a joke, I've learned what other people my age think about our politics," Ayu said.
With the "DilDo" posters having flooded our social media feeds recently, it became clear that many young Indonesians have grown tired with today's politics. However, no matter how loved the mock candidates are and how many followers they attract, "DilDo" will never become the leaders of this country.
With the meteoric rise of Nurhadi-Aldo on social media, it is apparent that Indonesia's youth has grown wary of the country's politics. Unfortunately, no matter how many likes we throw, no matter how many followers they gain, "DilDo" will always be just a meme.