Interview#21: Iman Budi Santosa

Iman Budi Santosa, or is known with nickname “IBS” and whose current pen-name is Iman Budi Susu, was born in Kuningan, a town of West Java Province, Indonesia, on December 27th, 1987. He began writing poems since he was sitting in 4th grade of elementary school and was routinely writing poems when he was sitting in 3rd grade of junior high school. In his senior high school era, IBS won the first winner on Writing-Poem Contest 2004 Kuningan University and the third winner on Writing-Poem Contest Forum Lingkar Pena Bandung 2005. In addition, IBS’ poems had ever been reviewed and published in the magazine “Lensa” and Jurnal Nasional and being included in to the book “Antologi Puisi Berbahasa Daerah” which is published by the Department of Culture and Tourism of West Java Province and “Ziarah Kata 44 Penyair” which is published by Majelis Sastra Bandung.

IBS whose the current education in Computer Science of Padjadjaran University in Bandung also has written 8 solo poetry books entitled “Cerita Lalu” (2003), “Kontroversi” (2004), “Siluet” (2005), “Independen” (2006), “Ayah, Aku Benci Padamu” (2007), “Merenggut Kembali Keperjakaan” (2009), “Cinta Brengsek” (2010), and “Cinta Brengsek 2: Lelaki Monster” (2011). Outside writing poems and following the activities and literary poem club in Bandung with poet/writer-pals, IBS had ever been in a chance to cultivate world of theater, with joining and following the production of theatrical performances with Studiklub Teater Bandung (STB). In recent years, IBS has been routinely performing on the art shows and performing the transgender styles and minority’s voices. For more about IBS, visit his official website at

During the Bandung trip, RAP got to share our project with him and so did he about his surroundings in the Bandung’s gay circle. RAP went on to find out more about the fabulous IBS.

Question (Q): Thank you for your performance M. Can you tell us what it is all about?

Iman Budi Santosa (IBS): It’s about masturbation as the critic for the discriminative men. I had observed for it for months. Many men hide their masturbation activity with “prohibiting” masturbation activity to the others. It’s so hypocritical. I also tried to criticize the discriminative men on masturbation with using them only as the object for masturbating. I want to make it like tissue, after you use it, you throw it to the dust bin. The discriminative men are so egoistical about themselves just because they are men and nothing else. They think they are the leader of the world and they can discriminate the others (especially women and the sexual/gender minorities) to keep going on with their megalomaniac mind. I feel sorry for many women because they are the saddest victims and those discriminative men often use them as their object for their own ambition, especially on sexual intercourse (for heterosexual/bisexual men). From some references, I found that many women can find the orgasm from masturbating more than having sex with their men. It’s because those men have the premature ejaculation and they can’t satisfy their women. Those are some of the egoistical things of men, especially the discriminative men.

Q: You have done a couple of other performances in the past. Mind to share what are the themes and issues you are interested in?

IBS: No, I don’t mind at all. I love performing the theme about the rebel for the discrimination which comes to the minority, especially gender/sexual minority, who is done by the discriminative majority. I love it because personally I’m a sexual/gender minority and when I was a child I always found the discrimination from the people around me just because I was sexual/gender minority. Not only that, I have learnt about sexual/gender minority and many wrong references about sexual/gender minority come from the discriminative majorities who want to lead the world naively and egoistically. But, not all my performances were about that. Several times I performed about the different themes, like the badness of education’s curriculum and celebrating the death happily with dancing.

Q: Having a background in Literature, you have also published a series of poems. Tell us more about it. Or even, share an excerpt of one.

IBS: I have published 6 solo poetry books (in paper format), 2 collaboration poetry books (in paper format), and 2 solo digital poetry books. I usually write about my personal feelings and stories, like friendship, relationship, social life, etc. But, I let people make their own interpretations about my poems. They can think about my poems whatever they want. Chairil Anwar was the first poet who inspired me to write poems. Now I love Joko Pinurbo, Syilfi Purnamasari, Dina Oktaviani, and Nanang Suryadi. I love their poems. But, the one whom I really love now is Leo Tolstoy. He’s not really a poet, but he wrote inspiring novellas, essays, short-stories, and novels. He has been the prophet for me after reading his controversial novella entitled “The Kreutzer Sonata” (1889).

Q: Your photography works Cinta Brengsek and Cinta Brengsek 2 are stunning. They seem to project anger, what are you angry at?

IBS: Actually, both of those photography projects are used for the illustrations of my digital poetry books entitled “Cinta Brengsek” (first published in October 2010) and its sequel “Cinta Brengsek 2: Lelaki Monster” (first published in June 2011). Both of them have the different feelings and experiences of mine. “Cinta Brengsek” was worked in early October 2010, several weeks after I was sexually abused by a famous DJ from Jakarta who lost his sanity to his religion. I found the inspiration from him: the discriminative man who loses his control to sexually abuse the transgender. I made those photos as my rebel for him. Personally, I was very angry, depressed, insomnia, and losing my sanity, but thanks to Mimi Fadmi, my best friend and the great artist, for reminding me to express myself into this photography project and digital poetry book as “theraphy”. And its sequel, “Cinta Brengsek 2”, was actually worked in February 2011, but its digital poetry book was published in June 2011. I worked on the photography of “Cinta Brengsek 2” with no anger. I felt so free that time after meeting the “monster man” who inspired this project. He was a member of the Islamic group in Indonesia and he had the very great concepts about sexual/gender minority in his life. He made me realize that the self-freedom could be found anywhere, even in the repressive places.

Q: We have heard about your works, how about you?

IBS: I have been woking on my art projects because of my personal willing and almost the whole ideas come from my own concepts. I don’t work for any group, but several times I collaborated with the artists, like 4Perempuan, Jakapoerwa, and Kerensa Johnston. I also learn so much from my artist/author/poet pals, like Mimi Fadmi, Ipit Saefidier Dimyati, Ade Beton, Wida Waridah, and Erwan Juhara about art and poetry. But anyway, Leo Tolstoy is my biggest inspiration. And about LGBT works of art, I have watched LGBT critically-acclaimed movies, like “A Single Man” (2009), “Flawless” (1999), “Transamerica” (2005), “Boys Don’t Cry” (1999), and many more. Those have inspired me too. I also love enjoying music, like pop, dance, jazz, and classic. I love Bjork, PJ Harvey, Mozart, Janet Jackson, Sade, and Britney Spears.

Q: Bandung is such a small city and little is known about its gay scene. Mind to share? 🙂

IBS: Of course I don’t mind at all. I think Bandung is the biggest gay city in Indonesia. Many gays from Jakarta and elsewhere look for gays from Bandung on weekend or when they go to Bandung. Many gays from Bandung are unique, handsome, and interesting, although some of them are annoying and still discriminative to each other as gay. I have so many gay friends from Bandung and they have inspired me to work on my art projects.

Q: How is the activism and support group in Bandung?

IBS: I think Gay Indonesian Male (GIM) is the biggest gay group based in Bandung, because the founder lives and works in Bandung. It has been operating since 2002. And I think it’s the biggest in Indonesia too, for the urban life. But, so far I find it just for fun. Not for the serious issues about LGBT.

Q: Back to art, are there any artists or creative or cultural individuals who deal with gay themes? This varies, but let’s keep it to the more ‘unacceptable’ say same-sex portrayal, same-sex pornography and also works with gay intentions behind it.

IBS: In Bandung? I haven’t really found yet. Many artists in Bandung, especially “men” that I know, are still discriminative to the sexual/gender minorities. It’s so pathetic. They call themselves the artists, but their mindsets about gender/sexual minorities are just like the high school students who can’t pass any examination because they are too lazy to even think of anything. Okay, sexual/gender minority issue is quite big. You know, about the personal commitment to work with – the simpler thing than sexual/gender minority issue, they are still hard to share. They say they are so cool with being the artists, but actually they look like the pathetic ones who can’t face the reality of their own lives with making the pathetic compensation in art, which are poor, having no better concepts for their own things, and having conflicts with their lovers.

Q: What are the public’s views upon these works? Let’s come back to your personal experience.

IBS: My friends (especially on facebook) really support my works of art/poetry. My poem entitled “Aku Mencintaimu” (taken from my digital poetry book entitled “Cinta Brengsek” (2010)), collected many comments from many friends just in several hours in February 2011. Also, “Mengenang” (taken from the sequel of my digital poetry book “Cinta Brengsek” (2010), entitled “Cinta Brengsek: Lelaki Monster” (2011)), it’s my most commented poem on facebook, whereas it was first published in late May 2011 on facebook. My digital poetry books which were first published in October 2010 and June 2011 both were downloaded for 100-300 downloads until now and the sequel, “Cinta Brengsek 2: Lelaki Monster” was download for more than 100 downloads just in two days. Video trailer of my performance at Kedai Mediterrazia Bandung has been watched for more than 1,000 times. I just couldn’t believe it that time, because I never thought it could be like that.

Q: Any plans regarding your poetry, photographs and performance?

IBS: I have decided to take a break from publishing my poetry book and performing for a while. Maybe for a year or two years. Since March 2010 until July 2011, I was quite hectic with performing and publishing those works of mine. I am being a little bit bored and exhausted. I need to do the catharsis like reading the other books, watching movies, listening to music, hanging out with friends and lovers, and doing the other daily activities to get the new inspirations for my next works. But, I have a plan to write my next poetry book about happiness. My family has accepted me so well as a minority of them. They have not only accepted me so well, but also loved me and protected me, especially my mom and my brother. I am not holding Islam anymore and they are still Islamic ones and stronger. I think I am the lucky one who has the family like that. My LGBT friends are still hard to communicate well to their family, I’m not anymore. As family, we had been through the hard times to be together again peacefully like right now. I feel so happy with this current condition. My family is my best happiness now. That’s why I really want to write my next poetry book about happiness.

Q: Any last words for the LGBT community?

IBS: Just like what Carol Hanisch said, “The personal is political”!

One response to “Interview#21: Iman Budi Santosa

  1. antique pandelaki

    Kadang kejujuran itu memang menyakitkan buat orang munafik. Sayangnya masih banyak banget yang munafik

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