The Diplomat has an interesting short piece about punk rock in Asia. Focusing mostly on the punks of Burma, who are still profoundly an underground subculture despite the country’s recent opening up, and Indonesia, whose punks was detained and shaved by conservative government authorities in 2011, the piece raises an interesting point about whether “true” punk can only flourish in oppressive environments. To illustrate this potential conflict, the writer raises the example of Johnny Rotten and Public Image Ltd. (PiL)’s recent shows in mainland China.
Whereas “The punks … in Burma were beyond just wearing the fashion—they truly had an ideology and something that they strongly believed in. It’s about what they believe in, rather than how they look, that is the most important thing,” there were no issues for PiL to perform openly in China, “underscoring the lack of political threat posed today by the West’s punk pioneers.”