Infamously Indecipherable: The Bizarre Celebrity of Vicky Prasetyo

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 vivanews.com on Friday.

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

  • Jodi Baskoro

    i love how Indonesian netizen give a lot of attention to those who sounds different. Anyone remember back in the days how everyone seems to mock Cinta Laura?

    • Dirk

      In defence of Cinta Laura — never thought I’d write that — she never came across as a native speaker of Indonesian.
      This Vicky is even more of a clown. A gold-digging “artist” wouldn’t care if he spoke only Ancient Greek as long as he displayed bling-bling from who cares where. (intentionally tortured English on my part)

    • quas

      Cinta speaks with a funny accent. This Vicky here not only invent words, but also a new way to use language!

    • jester

      At least Cinta speaks proper English even though sometimes not in the place to speak english.

  • lanun

    Lol. Very good one

    • Hypocrite Buster

      Should be, his language is similar to yours. Not sure about his other antics though.

  • verb

    LOL very well-written!

  • supermen

    Hihihii.. don’t mock cinta laura, she’s cute though

    • N8

      Just so long as she keeps her mouth firmly shut. It’s a painful experience when she speaks, no matter which language she uses. It certainly makes me thankful for a mute button on my TV anyway!

  • Hypocrite Buster

    Muslim clerics and FPI members must have gone gaga with the girl’s duck dance.

    • Bang Koja

      Give it a rest man…Why don’t you enjoy this good laugh like everyone else. At least he’s not running for a VP or a Prime Minister like in some countries we know…wink2.

  • Jodi Baskoro

    this is disturbingly funny :))

  • Metta

    has he even gone to school? after all, it is increasingly embarrassing for someone who is obviously of a higher education standard to be mispronouncing or, let’s just say, “making new words of his own” simple words like status. i am ashamed to have such a person in my country, who is not only a corrupt, but also a flirt and a bad father.

  • lanun

    Celebrity status to shine some light? Like errr Mr Ford and wwf that you know I believe and fail to disclose his con status?

  • DrGravity

    Too much idiots in this country. Both Vicky and Zaskia!!

  • Yohander

    Funny thing is, most of my friends at the moment are trying to learn his language and the way he speaks. This guy is one-of-a-kind.

  • Hypocrite Buster

    “So You believe strongly other countries don’t have idiots”? They do lanun/22, but they don’t get celebrated and become celebrities like in Indonesia. They also know who they are and never post inane comments on their online papers.

    • Shamed Indo

      Celebrated? You mean being laughed at?

  • Nathaniel Evan

    You’ve heard all the conspiracies in this stupid country: corrupt politics, incompetent presidential candidates, a bunch of vigilantes called the FPI, celebrity controversies, and now this fool trying to failingly speak like Hawking. Now you’ve got 2 choices: emigrate or wait until somebody capable enough lead Indonesia. How’s that soundin’, y’all?

  • Nathaniel Evan

    Singaporean English or Malaysian English (I say it that way to avoid misunderstanding) is 50x better than his English! Go ahead and test me.

  • Pepesan Kosong

    So, she’s only a Junior High graduate. Whaddya hope then?

  • Pepesan Kosong

    creep!!!!!

  • Shamed Indo

    “@nathanielevan:disqus Additionally, I really agree with Hypocrite Buster’s comment which
    states that idiots also exist in other countries BUT they don’t get
    celebrated and become celebrities” Really?

  • Shamed Indo

    Come to think of it, Its quite funny how Jakarta Globe were having a
    ball bashing vicky while they were actually making money out of them. Someone in the replies posted how he/she were pretty sick of hearing about “celebrities that aren’t real artists, who cares for others and not only themselves, who stand up
    for the miseries of the “little” people and use their celebrity status
    to shine some light on the plight of those who are not as lucky as them” Well try asking media outlets such as this one why they kept on publishing news about the “vicky” kind of “celebrities”. Admit it, idiots sells. They sell because the “plight of those who were not as lucky” as WE ARE makes us feel better about our self. Its ego-masturbation at its finest.

  • bamboobob

    LANUN/22 PULL YOUR HEAD IN

  • Ridzki Andiyono

    From the way he spoke, everyone would agree that this guy’s IQ status was “shocking beyond belief”.

  • Geek

    John Grim..on the pic..4 thumbs up.