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Rebel music is alive and kicking in Southeast Asia

Musicians are still making risky protests against repressive governments

In Southeast Asia, home to some of the world's most authoritarian and straight-laced societies, heavy metal, punk and hip-hop music still functions as a loudspeaker for protest. (Nikkei montage/Source photos from Defying Decay, Terror, YouTube)

PENANG, Malaysia -- Decades after provoking moral panic among Western parents, anti-conformist musical subcultures such as heavy metal, punk and hip-hop have largely lost their original shock value.

While they still rely on a subsystem of interconnected grassroots alternative communities, these subcultures' defiant images and messages have been tamed with age and assimilated into popular culture's mainstream -- at least in the West, where movies and television series now treat these once-rebellious musical genres as wholesome fare.

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