Monday, June 25, 2012

Pictogram Mystery

A few days ago, I watched an Indonesian action film called 'The Raid' (which was excellent, btw). Prior to the film starting, what I assume is a warning screen popped up. Normally, I wouldn't have made much note of it. But on it were a series pictograms, including a depiction of Edvard Munch's 'The Scream', which immediately caught my eye.

Upon closer inspection, I came to the conclusion that these pictograms were ratings devices, indicating the film's inclusion of sex, violence, horror, etc. I found them really intriguing.

I expect I guessed most of them accurately, but a few of these pictograms are really weird, especially the last one. What kind of warning could that possibly be?! 'Beware, may cause dangerous levels of existential introspection'?

I'm hoping some of our readers can help me figure them out!

I'm afraid to say too much, for fear of confirming my ignorance, but the language does not look Indonesian to me. If I had to guess, I would say it's Korean. Does anyone know why the warnings would be in Korean on an Indonesian film?


  1. Well, I don't know Indonesian (Korean?), but I'm confident enough in my knowledge of symbolism to take a stab at it.

    1. Difficult-to-follow plot line
    2. Plain-Jane types may be portrayed by disproportionately attractive actresses
    3. Carpal Tunnel: the terrible price of typing harsh film reviews
    4. Expressionism Ahead!
    5. Hot Coffee
    6. Blatant exposition and/or monologues
    7. The Uncanny Valley.

  2. 1. Warning: Confusing pictographs
    2. May cause blood loss to lower extremities
    3. Intense door knocking may not be suitable for younger children
    4. Excessive aftershave use
    5. Joints may require lubrication
    6. Contains scenes of moths in balloons
    7. Candyman, Candyman, CandymaaaAAAAAAAAAAA...

  3. The language is Korean. Why it would be on an Indonesian movie, I don't know.
    I can give a clear explanation of all but 1 and 6 (I have guesses of those, but their text is too blurry for me to read clearly), but that would ruin the iconography-balderdash game.

  4. Pictograms from other countries have warnings or depictions of racial inequality. That would be my guess for 7. I noticed the characters under the pictograms were all alike except for the lady's silhouette. Guessing profane language for 6 and drug use for 5. You got me on 1 though. But judging by the characters underneath, you were exposed. You may not have even known you were offended by it.

  5. Unfortunately there is no English translation, however the rating system is located on

    In order from left to right they essentially mean:
    - This film may contain (and consider for the demographic watching this film)
    - Sexuality
    - Violence
    - Scary Situations
    - Drug Use
    - Bad Language
    - Risk for Imitation (consider the Jackass movies)

  6. Also, to answer the "Why is Korean used in Indonesia" question, in 2009 the aboriginals in Indonesia adopted Hangeul (Korean writing system) as their written alphabet because they had no writing system of their own.

    Pretty comparable to Japan's Kanji and China's Hanzi and how many Romantic and Germanic languages use and build off the Latin alphabet.

    Now you know, and knowing is half the battle!

    1. I heard about that, but if I recall correctly, that was an exceptionally small tribe who was cut-off from mainstream Indonesian culture. I highly doubt they would have an impact on the film industry. Indonesian is a really well established language. I think it's like the 4th most popular language in the world.

    2. Yeah, Buton. I believe they wanted to spread the use of Hangeul to become "the" standard alphabet of Asian countries. Hard to see that happening, though.

    3. I don't think that is correct.
      It is known that Hanguel is adopted but the screen shows not only Hangeul(the writing system) but also the language Korean. must have been other reason.

    4. Like how it was mentioned below, it's probably just an export/manufacturing thing rather than a language/country thing.

  7. Could it be possible that the copy you viewed came by way of Korea? That's the only reason for the use of Korean that I can think of.

    1. That's probably it.
      I should have taken a closer look at the packaging.

  8. Risk of Imitation FTW!!!

  9. You probably just watched the Korean release of the movie. There tend to be slightly different packagings available for movies(and other products) within Southeast Asia, but wherever they are sold just depends on the price of import, not necessarily the language.

  10. The round red: 'not for youth'
    The last one is 'danger for trying - copycat'


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