Alay, a Phenomenon among Indonesian Teenagers

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Alay or 4L4Y is a pop culture phenomenon in Indonesia, which, has become a taboo among teenagers. How fatal is this phenomenon that it becomes a taboo? Find out more.

Submitted: January 09, 2012

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Submitted: January 09, 2012



There's a phenomenon in Indonesia here called \"alay\" which is an acronym for \"anak lebay\" or \"anak layangan\" which literally means \"hyperbolic kid\" or \"kite kid\". This phenomenon are very common among teenagers. I will write this analytical exposition from teenagers' point of view.

This term is to describe those kids who has typical characters such as having \"ClaRI5sA l0uPh tWelVe zhO mUcH\" as facebook name, or \"@JackPerluSahabat\" (jack needs best friend) as twitter username.

It is also to describe those kids who always overreact and react to everything exaggeratingly. Or, simply to those who write with improper letters like writing \"malas\" (lazy) as \"malaz\", and in its most specific case, replacing letters with number.

There are also a stereotype for pictures classified as alay pictures, such as being taken from above with low quality camera (usually phone), puffs cheeks with index finger on lips, and name written in big letters on the picture. Sometimes the name are \"glorifying\" themselves like \"Dita Cuuttee\" or \"Princezz Cutie\".

It's a huge taboo in Indonesia. The alayers -- name given to the kids who suffers from the \"syndrome\" -- usually are not emotionally or physically bullied, but their presence will not be liked by their peers. Sometimes cases such as humiliating will happen.

Why would these non-alay teenagers discriminate the alay kids? Even giving this term is sometimes considered discrimination.

Annoyance is the main reason why the alayers are hated. What kind of annoyance?

First, these names are annoying. We can always ignore, but these kids spam on social networking almost every second with that style of writing. Who would not hate that? It confuses the brain pretty much.

Second, the annoying pictures. Teenagers described the pictures as \"too much self-loving\" and disgusting. Yes, you may be pretty. But do you think the weird pose and big, self-glorifying names make you prettier? It does nothing other than making you look like an idiot.

Third, nobody likes a drama queen. Especially the most exaggerating type. You got scolded by your mother and writing like 50 status (mostly with the writing style mentioned above and the trademark sound effect \"huuffftt\" as sigh) about wanting to die because the world is not comfortable anymore. Then ten minutes later your mother apologizes, and things get fine, so you replaced the swearing to sweet, honey-dripping compliments for your mother. Totally wishy-washy.

Perhaps this phenomenon is not that fatal, but this has spread all over the country, becoming one of the most popular terms among teenagers.

The positive side is that the emergence of this term had encouraged Indonesian teenagers to use the right grammar, notice the way to behave, and the improving taste of photography.

More observations are needed in this phenomenon, since the classifications of alay are getting blurred and more generalized. But one thing is clear, you better not be an alay if you want admittance from your peers.

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