20 years ago, Indonesians nearest Disneyland of shopping sphere was Singapore; where Isetan store at Orchad Road ingrained on mind and Lucky Plaza became one of the most famous names to mention among friends. Middle Upper Indonesians still felt the cheapest Singapore ever, even buying new luggage to packing after shopped out insanely wasn`t a big deal of money. Those were the days when Jakarta didn`t have too many options to canalize people`s money. Even though Jakarta had several malls already, but they weren`t that attractive to fulfillthe citizens` shopping imagination.
To be into current drastic consumption phenomenon, Jakartans once lived through heart-breaking tragedies. Just short years after Lippo Supermal Karawaci in Tangerang opened in the 1990s, 1998 riot protesters messed up the mall with fire, glass breaking and pillage actions. Several other department stores in Jakarta were also the victims; not only being robbed by irresponsible ones, but became a silent eyewitness of innocent people being raped, burned and killed inside the buildings. However, the pain was eradicated and those places are now super safe.
As modernity Urgently dreamed on, PD.Pasar Jaya Blok M (traditional market in South Jakarta) was on fire in 2003 and I saw the merchants cried aloud watching it burned – until years after, a new mall named Blok M Square was opened and perhaps that what consumers finally deserved; a decent one replacing past time traditional pattern.
Today`s Indonesian consumerism is a fascinating development and it`s a party to erase bad memory on certain transformations in the country. Middle class and their buying power are integrated and being consumptive in this developing nation might be one of the behaviours to support economic improvement; together with an aim to spread a balance of economic capacity to all over Indonesia.
It`s now real after a survival footprint; if five years ago customers living in Manado or Makassar had no choice but flying to Jakarta, just to shop for their favourite brands – now are the brands that open stores in those Eastern parts of Indonesia. Despite certain defects prevailing in the country that owns 34 provinces, around 250 million inhabitants, notably 700 local languages and approximately 17.000 islands; Indonesia is the future`s potential economic growth. Indonesians are encouraged to be open-minded and cooperative to struggle for global competition – with boosting number of foreign investors around. While they`re managing to keep their nationality, resources and pride; Indonesians are tracing forthcoming prosperity.
Anisa Kirana | 2014 | Published on SOROTAN Magazine – column: From the Editor (edition II/2014) | Photo taken at Liberica Coffee, Pacific Place Jakarta.