You can spot a skinhead in the crowd from a mile away.
Of course it’s not just their signature shaved heads (that is arguably a stereotype, according to former skinhead Ben Liew) that give them away, but it’s also the denim/leather jackets, the suspenders and the Doc Martens used to step over conformity.
Their stick-it-to-the-man attitude is apparent in the way skinheads carry themselves and in times inundated by the corporate machine and political divide, the Malaysian skinhead scene is in need of coverage now more than ever before.
Commencing the month of July, Dazed released the trailer for a skinhead documentary centred in Malaysia.
Reflecting the current state of the country, skinheads are separated into two groups: S.H.A.R.P (Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice) and Malay Power. As you can probably guess from their names, one is against the superiority amongst races while the other is all for it.
While it is not uncommon to find skinheads, punks and affiliated artists who stick their middle fingers out to fascism – Fahmi Reza is a prime example – it is also surprisingly common to find skinheads who don jackets with Nazi emblems stitched onto the sleeves.
The documentary titled, Disciples directed by Jess Kohl, explores this stark polarity within the backdrop of Malaysia’s annual skinhead festival in Melaka.
Watch it below:
Brimming with youthful anarchy, the trailer depicts 14-year-old S.H.A.R.P member, Martin as he narrates his fierce will to uphold his beliefs against racial prejudice and far-right nationalists.
Portraying intimate scenes of Martin getting his head shaved with what appears to be a disposable razor and him visiting the mosque for daily prayers, Disciples is believed to be a more human look into the lives of the people who are deemed to be delinquents in society.
The film is set to premiere on July 15 in an exclusive online screening, so if you don’t want to miss this, make sure to mark an X on your calendar.
But before you go, the ideology of skinheads in Malaysia has definitely been discussed by local filmmakers prior to Disciples.
As an appetiser, Jiran’s personal series of interviews paints an astute picture of S.H.A.R.P and how people from various backgrounds dedicate themselves to the art of punk music and anti-conformity.
Watch it below: