Marcel Thee

Marcel Thee

Marcel is a Jakarta-based journalist and writer who covers everything from culture, lifestyle, to business for the Nikkei Asian Review, Rolling Stone, VICE, The Jakarta Post, and more.

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Latest from Marcel Thee

Ghouls, zombies, jinns – ghost hunters use photography, human bait and a ‘spirit box’ to find proof of the supernatural

Ghost hunters armed with sound recorders and infrared and thermal cameras prowl buildings, dark alleys and roads in Indonesia looking for proof that spectres are real. They are jinns, they say – proof of the vastness of God’s creation.

Ghost hunters armed with sound recorders and infrared and thermal cameras prowl buildings, dark alleys and roads in Indonesia looking for proof that spectres are real. They are jinns, they say – proof of the vastness of God’s creation.

Ghouls, zombies, jinns – ghost hunters use photography, human bait and a ‘spirit box’ to find proof of the supernatural
8 Jan 2021 - 6:19AM
Working for Marvel Comics is ‘a dream come true’: how two Indonesian artists ended up drawing Star Wars, Thor, Venom and other superheroes

Drawing Star Wars characters and superheroes like Thor, the X-Men and Venom for Marvel Comics is the realisation of a childhood dream for Ario Anindito and Alti Firmansyah. They talk about how they followed their passion.

Drawing Star Wars characters and superheroes like Thor, the X-Men and Venom for Marvel Comics is the realisation of a childhood dream for Ario Anindito and Alti Firmansyah. They talk about how they followed their passion.

Working for Marvel Comics is ‘a dream come true’: how two Indonesian artists ended up drawing Star Wars, Thor, Venom and other superheroes
18 Dec 2020 - 5:51AM
Childhood unplugged: why traditional games and toys, from hopscotch to stilts, are having a revival in Indonesia

Communities across Indonesia are promoting traditional toys and games to get children away from playing on their phones. The games use simple props such as chalk or ropes, and are healthy and strengthen the sense of community.

Communities across Indonesia are promoting traditional toys and games to get children away from playing on their phones. The games use simple props such as chalk or ropes, and are healthy and strengthen the sense of community.

Childhood unplugged: why traditional games and toys, from hopscotch to stilts, are having a revival in Indonesia
10 Dec 2020 - 9:40AM
From luxury private cemeteries to graves piled on top of each other, these Indonesians have seen them all, learning about history and people on the way

Indonesians are often spooked by cemeteries, but members of Indonesia Graveyard have never questioned their dedication to visiting them, despite the odd looks they get.

Indonesians are often spooked by cemeteries, but members of Indonesia Graveyard have never questioned their dedication to visiting them, despite the odd looks they get.

From luxury private cemeteries to graves piled on top of each other, these Indonesians have seen them all, learning about history and people on the way
20 Nov 2020 - 12:22PM
Music for plants: the Indonesian band using sounds and frequencies to relax them, and inviting audience members to bring their own

Indonesian duo Bottlesmoker are making a name for themselves with their music created for plants, using sounds and frequencies that relax them and chime with humans too.

Indonesian duo Bottlesmoker are making a name for themselves with their music created for plants, using sounds and frequencies that relax them and chime with humans too.

Music for plants: the Indonesian band using sounds and frequencies to relax them, and inviting audience members to bring their own
11 Nov 2020 - 12:17PM
Famous YouTubers: how a magician in Indonesia put away his wand and became a professional prankster

His Candid Camera-style pranks have made Yudist Ardhana one of Indonesia’s top YouTube stars, but he still harbours hopes for his magician’s act.

His Candid Camera-style pranks have made Yudist Ardhana one of Indonesia’s top YouTube stars, but he still harbours hopes for his magician’s act.

Famous YouTubers: how a magician in Indonesia put away his wand and became a professional prankster
10 Nov 2020 - 2:05PM
Indonesian YouTube star Ria Ricis on her social media rise, controversies and why she needs security guards

Ria Ricis is one of Indonesia’s biggest YouTubers, known for her gag videos, celebrity home visit videos, and reviews of soft foam toys, but she had to experience failure first.

Ria Ricis is one of Indonesia’s biggest YouTubers, known for her gag videos, celebrity home visit videos, and reviews of soft foam toys, but she had to experience failure first.

Indonesian YouTube star Ria Ricis on her social media rise, controversies and why she needs security guards
13 Oct 2020 - 7:30AM
Indonesia’s biggest YouTube star Atta Halilintar on fame, fortune, his mistakes – and why he’s not happy any more

Atta Halilintar isn’t just Indonesia’s biggest YouTube star with 25.5 million subscribers, he’s also a businessman who’s always thinking how to expand his empire – but he says his fame and fortune have come at a price.

Atta Halilintar isn’t just Indonesia’s biggest YouTube star with 25.5 million subscribers, he’s also a businessman who’s always thinking how to expand his empire – but he says his fame and fortune have come at a price.

Indonesia’s biggest YouTube star Atta Halilintar on fame, fortune, his mistakes – and why he’s not happy any more
20 Sep 2020 - 2:50PM
Why tokusatsu, Power Ranger style shows, became so huge in Indonesia, and the diehard fans who made their own series

Japanese live-action tokusatsu shows – think Power Rangers – became huge in Indonesia in the 1990s. Interest has not waned among thousands of diehard fans, and some have created their own tokusatsu series.

Japanese live-action tokusatsu shows – think Power Rangers – became huge in Indonesia in the 1990s. Interest has not waned among thousands of diehard fans, and some have created their own tokusatsu series.

Why tokusatsu, Power Ranger style shows, became so huge in Indonesia, and the diehard fans who made their own series
30 Jul 2020 - 9:42AM
Indonesian music long forgotten, from pop and rock to traditional sounds, digitised for younger generations to appreciate their past

A group of record collectors are preserving Indonesian music of the 20th century with their archival project Irama Nusantara, covering everything from pop and rock to protest albums and traditional sounds.

A group of record collectors are preserving Indonesian music of the 20th century with their archival project Irama Nusantara, covering everything from pop and rock to protest albums and traditional sounds.

Indonesian music long forgotten, from pop and rock to traditional sounds, digitised for younger generations to appreciate their past
6 Jul 2020 - 5:53PM
Horror video game with ghosts, demons from Indonesian folklore an international hit for indie studio

A pale-faced woman with staring eyes, a demonic pig, a white-shrouded corpse – cast of spooks from Indonesian folklore makes DreadOut an international gaming hit.

A pale-faced woman with staring eyes, a demonic pig, a white-shrouded corpse – cast of spooks from Indonesian folklore makes DreadOut an international gaming hit.

Horror video game with ghosts, demons from Indonesian folklore an international hit for indie studio
15 Jun 2020 - 2:27PM
From Iwan Fals to Nidji, Indonesian music stars let their hair down as they connect with self-isolating fans on social media

From Iwan Fals and Nidji to Vincent Rompies, Indonesian music stars, bands and producers are turning to social media to connect with isolated fans, playing from their homes, conducting live Q&A sessions and offering other types of creative content.

From Iwan Fals and Nidji to Vincent Rompies, Indonesian music stars, bands and producers are turning to social media to connect with isolated fans, playing from their homes, conducting live Q&A sessions and offering other types of creative content.

From Iwan Fals to Nidji, Indonesian music stars let their hair down as they connect with self-isolating fans on social media
30 Apr 2020 - 1:12PM
How the passion of one man in Bali sustained a 15-year anti-trash movement and changed attitudes on the holiday island

Bali’s beaches have a real trash problem, but one islander has fought it for 15 years. Komang Sudiarta mobilised a mass campaign, Malu Dong, to educate and galvanise local groups to get involved in cleaning up, sorting and recycling waste.

Bali’s beaches have a real trash problem, but one islander has fought it for 15 years. Komang Sudiarta mobilised a mass campaign, Malu Dong, to educate and galvanise local groups to get involved in cleaning up, sorting and recycling waste.

How the passion of one man in Bali sustained a 15-year anti-trash movement and changed attitudes on the holiday island
26 Mar 2020 - 8:36AM
Five of Indonesia’s best restaurants for pork, and why country with world’s largest Muslim population is eating more of the meat

Classic pork dishes seem an odd thing to look for in Indonesia, which has the largest Muslim majority population in the world. But Facebook groups are praising them and restaurants specialising in pig meat are on the rise.

Classic pork dishes seem an odd thing to look for in Indonesia, which has the largest Muslim majority population in the world. But Facebook groups are praising them and restaurants specialising in pig meat are on the rise.

Five of Indonesia’s best restaurants for pork, and why country with world’s largest Muslim population is eating more of the meat
26 Feb 2020 - 7:53AM
UFO fans in Indonesia on why extraterrestrial life should be taken seriously in a country wedded to the occult

Do aliens exist? A Facebook group of 13,000 believers in extraterrestrial life, Beta-UFO, has been making their case for two decades in Indonesia, where most of the 265 million population tend to ascribe anything unexplained to the occult.

Do aliens exist? A Facebook group of 13,000 believers in extraterrestrial life, Beta-UFO, has been making their case for two decades in Indonesia, where most of the 265 million population tend to ascribe anything unexplained to the occult.

UFO fans in Indonesia on why extraterrestrial life should be taken seriously in a country wedded to the occult
16 Feb 2020 - 5:08AM
Who sells the best noodles in Asia? Club of Indonesian noodle connoisseurs reveal six of their favourite places

Indonesia is famous for its delicious street food, and the country’s Bakmi Club is dedicated to eating and talking about the best noodles in Asia. Members share six of their favourite noodle sellers.

Indonesia is famous for its delicious street food, and the country’s Bakmi Club is dedicated to eating and talking about the best noodles in Asia. Members share six of their favourite noodle sellers.

Who sells the best noodles in Asia? Club of Indonesian noodle connoisseurs reveal six of their favourite places
9 Feb 2020 - 11:00AM
From Justin Bieber to Leonardo DiCaprio to Angelina Jolie, fake celebrity photos are Indonesian’s tongue-in-cheek comment on fame

Justin Bieber, Angelina Jolie, Miley Cyrus and even Indonesian President Joko Widodo have all featured in Agan Harahap’s doctored photos. The fakes, with the contrast between glitzy celebs and humble Indonesian surroundings, have gone viral.

Justin Bieber, Angelina Jolie, Miley Cyrus and even Indonesian President Joko Widodo have all featured in Agan Harahap’s doctored photos. The fakes, with the contrast between glitzy celebs and humble Indonesian surroundings, have gone viral.

From Justin Bieber to Leonardo DiCaprio to Angelina Jolie, fake celebrity photos are Indonesian’s tongue-in-cheek comment on fame
22 Jan 2020 - 6:10AM
Indonesian performance art club shocks and startles with confrontational shows not all will enjoy

The 69 Performance Club, an Indonesian performing arts troupe, puts on shows that are impossible to ignore – think a man in his underpants slapping his body for 10 minutes, or a woman who performs under a large cloth.

The 69 Performance Club, an Indonesian performing arts troupe, puts on shows that are impossible to ignore – think a man in his underpants slapping his body for 10 minutes, or a woman who performs under a large cloth.

Indonesian performance art club shocks and startles with confrontational shows not all will enjoy
8 Jan 2020 - 1:27PM
‘You’re not religious enough’: pain of Indonesia’s mentally ill and the online group bringing sufferers and carers together

Mentally ill Indonesians have to battle superstition and prejudice daily, with ‘advice’ from families and friends often including a lot of praying. Online groups like KPSI, however, let them share and learn from others with similar conditions.

Mentally ill Indonesians have to battle superstition and prejudice daily, with ‘advice’ from families and friends often including a lot of praying. Online groups like KPSI, however, let them share and learn from others with similar conditions.

‘You’re not religious enough’: pain of Indonesia’s mentally ill and the online group bringing sufferers and carers together
6 Nov 2019 - 8:35AM
Taboo toys: criminals, ghosts and politicians among Indonesian company’s unusual figurines

An Indonesian company creates unusual toy figurines

An Indonesian company creates unusual toy figurines

Taboo toys: criminals, ghosts and politicians among Indonesian company’s unusual figurines
10 Oct 2019 - 10:27AM
Surviving Indonesia as an atheist when the country is built on rigid religious traditions and policies

Many Indonesian atheists remain in the closet, but with the help of the internet, their critical conversations are slowly seeping into the public discourse.

Many Indonesian atheists remain in the closet, but with the help of the internet, their critical conversations are slowly seeping into the public discourse.

Surviving Indonesia as an atheist when the country is built on rigid religious traditions and policies
3 Oct 2019 - 9:54PM