Ichi is thinking about what to wear to doomsday
The Debrief with Rizky Rahad, Bali-based filmmaker and organizer
Hi everyone! I’m happy to be back, after a month of conveniently letting life get in the way of writing. More on that in another post, maybe. But for now I’m here and once again trying not to betray my desire to show up on this space more.
What better way to come back here than with a Debrief featuring Rizky Rahad a.k.a. Ichi! If you’re new here, the Debrief is the segment of this newsletter where I ask people to share their burning thoughts and interests. And as for Ichi, I’ve always known at some point I’d like to have him come on here simply because I am always interested in what he has to say.
Tbh I took a while writing this intro about him, because I realize that despite having known each other for some time, I found it hard to pin what truly defines Ichi to me. There’s Ichi who everyone having a smoke break outside a Jaksel club seems to know. There’s Ichi who isn’t afraid to call out Vice Indonesia despite having been one of its most compelling storytellers. Also Ichi who, to some extent, is my “landlord”, lmao.
One of my most memorable interactions with him must have been back in 2019, the day protests against the problematic RKUHP bill were held. Some friends, him included, had taken to the streets and another friend decided to create a group chat to make sharing information easier (and to keep track of friends we know). The group was called Queeret Pedurenan, because most of us lived in the Karet Pedurenan area at the time. While I personally spent the day at work, throughout the day, it was endearing to witness friends checking in with each other and sharing updates. Ultimately extending care where possible. Writing this, I thought it couldn’t be more fitting that a protest-related group chat was one of my earliest memories of Ichi, because while I live in a bubble of constant reluctance and overthinking, Ichi has consistently been at the forefront of action-taking.
Over the years that follow, I’ll come to know Ichi as the person who will always take a stance, even if it means being the odd voice out. The guy organizing film screenings to show a way the medium can be used to push for justice. The uncompromising raver, who goes from the airport straight to a party (and vice versa) because why wouldn’t he? Ichi simply doesn’t exist for anyone’s convenience — not even his own.
More recently, he’s unlocked a new label, the author, with his book “Queers Shoot Back!” (Cahyati Press, 2023). An essay collection on radical queer cinema, the book is perhaps the latest evidence of his determination to live a full life, one that is in constant pursuit of unadulterated queer joy. Anyone attempting to define Ichi would do well to pick it up and — while he appreciates being occasionally tagged on Instagram — actually read it. xD
What’s an unpopular opinion that you feel strongly about?
I think this is related to my book. More visibility or representation won’t get us anywhere. It won’t liberate us. People just need to stop getting so easily satisfied with new queer films on Netflix or Hollywood. Representation makes you feel the illusion of liberation — or that your right is getting granted — but actually it barely pays your bills and affects your living situations. So I think you just have to stop catering towards the mainstream and do more crime. Organize more, disrupt more. Reclaim more.
The obsession with marriage in Indonesia is so cringe. I cannot relate and will never think of marriage as sacred ‘til I die. If anything, it takes away from your role in your community because you’re only focused on your household or family unit. I think it was Maudy Ayunda’s wedding recently that triggered me a lot… It’s the combo of everything I hate about Indonesian society, which is the combination of our obsessions with the institutions of marriage, ivy leagues and neoliberal “girlboss” feminism. That is really the trifecta of hell.
Similar to marriage, the attitude with work in Indonesia is so toxic and cringe. Your boss doesn’t care about you. Kalau besok kiamat and you go: “sorry bos, cuti yah, besok kiamat”, your boss will literally say “anak gen Z jaman sekarang nggak bisa kerja ya, dikit-dikit kiamat minta cuti”. We are at that level of toxicity. People should just stop working in general. It's going to be kiamat soon. Why are we working? Alternatively, we should be preparing for doomsday. With everything that’s going on in the world… I think what’s most important is to think about what you’re going to wear. You’d still want to slay during kiamat, you know?
What’s something you’re currently obsessed with?
Not necessarily an obsession, but in light of the ongoing Israeli genocide against Palestinian people, I’ve been doing a lot of reading about the recent global wave of collective work that is either mobilizing direct action against Western powers’ death machine — from PalAction’s shutdown of Israeli weapon factories to the activists stopping the US ships carrying military weapons in Portland — or dismantling Israeli pink-washing and weaponization of queer rights to justify the genocide, such as the works of the collective Queers in Palestine. Both of these works expose the pitfalls of neoliberal institutions and set an example of how radical politics, driven by the power of a collective, can effectively disrupt the genocidal, death machines.
I’ve also been obsessed with cosplaying as a gym bro on Instagram just to fuck up my algorithm and target market, and see what’s gonna happen. Just to troll, really. I don’t actually believe in that culture and I’d like to think I’m subverting it. Being part of it but not taking it seriously.
Who’s someone you think more people should know about?
Definitely Ula Zuhra and her cegil arts. I feel like it’s a crime that she doesn’t have 10k followers yet. Well, I know why. It’s cause she’s annoying as fuck. But yeah, follow her and your life will change!
Kenneth Anger and a group of avant-garde filmmakers in the 60s that were not overtly gay but they were so fucking queer. I feel like we as a society should look back on this era more and reclaim what liberatory queer politics could be instead of worshiping “Call Me By Your Name”, “Heartstopper”, or “Queer Eye”. I think people should know more about their dead queer ancestors. Wake up and let them haunt you.
What’s a life hack or advice that recently changed your life?
I’m seeing many friends in Bali feeling so helpless with Israel’s ongoing genocide of Palestinian people. I feel like part of why people feel helpless is because in Bali we don’t have many physical/political spaces to channel our rage and grief. What would help, I think, is instead of being overly-fixated with our social media, we should process the current events together with our closest communities and let our collective heartbreak radicalize us. In my case, it has helped me cope tremendously.
What’s something you recently changed your mind about?
I recently changed my mind about mental health and ADHD. For the longest time I let myself believe that medications are a Big Pharma scam (which I believe is still true to some degree). Obviously I believe in the idea of mental health, but I was so skeptical of medications. Now, however, because of the current state of the world and my mind, I started taking meds and it actually works. We shouldn’t be ashamed of asking for support if we need one.
That said, as twitter handle/philosopher @jil_slander says:
“Psych meds aren't enough bro I need western hegemony to fall.”
What’s something you’re looking forward to?
I’m very much looking forward to the launch of my book “Queers Shoot Back!” this weekend with my new queer family in Bali.
If you’re free, make sure you drop by! Details below.
The Debrief is the Monday installation of this newsletter. Visit past Debriefs with Stanley who quotes Kim Kardashian, Tari who likes her meetings labeled, Ula who is not a sapiosexual, Rocky who thinks about the Byzantine Empire daily, Erin who nerded out about Asean , Avi who talked about gatekeeping and Vero who hates ambient music. On Wednesdays, I tend to publish essays. On Fridays, I send out a brief pleasure list.
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