Free Rant Here

Jakartans (or more precisely, Indonesians in general) are famous for wanting the best, but if possible, not wanting to pay for it – at the least, not at full price. The recent wave of smuggled Blackberries is one sign – it’s much cheaper to buy it from an overseas operator compared to the local offerings. And leave it to a Jakartan to try to make money off illegal goods; bring 1 or 2 units, the customs guys can just let it go. 4 units might be pushing it a bit. But 100??? That’s plain greedy. Other proof?

  • piracy – CDs, DVDs, VCDs, software, you name it. I once met a guy who was protesting to the pirate DVD stall “what’s taking so long for the new Battlestar Galactica season to come up?”… maybe it’s because it hasn’t even been aired, you dumbass.
  • knock-offs – YSL and LV bags abound, from the cheap knock-offs to the KW1 version; all enough to give the impression that the bags are real, at least from a small distance. Don’t get me started on the fake Levi’s.
  • refurbished phones – yep, to get a cheap but cool-looking phone, some stores just bring in refurbished ones and sell “with store guarantee” which actually means “we’ll swap it with another one if it breaks down within a week, otherwise, good luck pal”.
  • contests – a surefire way to get your product sold or raise awareness, at least, is to hold a contest for the customers and offer really, really big prizes – cars, houses, washing machines, phones, laptops, and so on. “Buy [place product here] and win [place prize here]” – how often have you seen that message?
  • secondhand stuff – whole markets and mailing lists are dedicated to the trade of secondhand stuff, from clothes to gadgets, from furniture to cars – get an almost new something for the price of, well, less than something. Buy this secondhand phone – still got guarantee, lor, maybe bonus porn in it – but still look new lor, envy of your friends lor! Or a Beemer (BMW, for the uninitiated) of any make is still the envy of the street – even if you paid something less than a secondhand Toyota and pay higher taxes than a secondhand Toyota.
  • Concert tickets – some people go around and try to scam free concert tickets, even though they’re prefectly capable of affording said tickets. Same goes for free anything I guess – Jakartans, if possible, would like everything free and not spend a cent from their own pocket on anything. Needless to say, this might not only be a symptom in Jakarta alone, ha ha…
  • WiFi – even though a lot of people can start to afford laptops, they can’t afford/don’t want to pay for internet connections, so they go off to a free WiFi spot. But of course, this is not the single reason – hanging out at a trendy cafe with your laptop, updating your Facebook profile and chatting with your friends seems to be the coolest thing around. WiFi has to be free! But I’ll pay for this Rp 40.000 cup of coffee.
  • Gasoline – there were many demonstrations, some violent, when the price of gasoline went up 34% earlier this year. After which somehow, the roads got even more congested. Then when the price of gasoline went down 16%, there were still demonstrations, saying the price lowering was not enough. Sounds more like a knee-jerk reaction rather than fully understanding what is going on, like the fact Indonesia still has one of the cheapest gasoline prices at the pump, in the world, though admittedly not the cheapest. The countries who offer cheaper prices are still subsidized by the government.
  • Free SMS, talktime – nothing gets a new customer signed up for a prepaid plan faster than the offer of “free” SMS and talktime, with hidden components like tariffs apply only at a certain time, or the free SMS can only be used if you maintain a certain balance, etc, which subscribers only find out after buying the starterpack. Nobody wants to pay for airtime yet they complain if the telco gives bad service.

Let’s face it, Jakarta is the true face of capitalism, surpassing New York City, London and those other seemingly commerce-driven cities. Here, we want to spend as little as we can to get as much as we can – the smallest capital for the highest gain – isn’t that the whole point of capitalism?


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About barijoe

Failed Musician, Reformed Gadget Freak and Eating Extraordinaire.

7 responses to “Free Rant Here”

  1. Marisa says :

    Actually, ranting isn’t all free.Have to pay internet bills and all. 😀

  2. Marisa says :

    And uhm.If we have more people ranting, depressing over something, there’d be greater urge to consume, perhaps? Aside from internet bills, I mean.It’s how the market organically "fooled" to create an influx as the buying force. Emotion.Isn’t that the whole point of capitalism?

  3. heriyadi says :

    Well, last night is approve your ranting. So many people in Senayan City Midnight Sale.Still I’m not so sure about surpassing New York (USA in General), we still don’t have people in line hours before store opening and trampled people to death just to get a bargain.Btw, the smallest capital for the highest gain is the basic of economics. While the basic of capitalism is every good and services including the most basic necessities of life are produce for profitable exchange.I don’t have problem at all with economics, while I do have big problem with Capitalism (note basic necessities for me is only water, food and shelter not including oil or gas)

  4. joebarry says :

    @marisa well it’s free since you don’t have to pay to read this blog ha ha! and interesting point on creating depression to drive consumerism – it’s part of many, many conspiracy theories.@heriyadi thanks for the correction on the terms. and see how, in Jakarta, what is actually important gets turned upside down?

  5. Marisa says :

    Can I rant about ranters, then?Don’t think it’s just a conspiracy theory. As how your hatred towards Jakarta or judging by this post, capitalism, or anything associated by it ..isn’t a conspiracy theory. All of this, this blog and its posts, are mere topical things to justify your own incapability in surviving this city. Perhaps?Say, do you have any solution to problems in this city, Joe Barry? Or do you just bitch them like a girl?

  6. joebarry says :

    @marisa hehe, you misunderstand the purpose of this blog; we write it because we love Jakarta 😀 because to know the problem is the first step towards a solution. You’ll be surprised at how many of the city’s problems are seemingly unnoticed by most people – until ranters like us come by 🙂 and through this blog that’s as far as we can take itchange doesn’t come from 1 person or 1 blog, but from each of us, and we hope to instill some sort of healhty criticism in everybody – like your comment 🙂

  7. chibialfa says :

    Gue suka blog ini, ngajarin kita buat ketawa tiap kali ngadepin susahnya hidup di jakarta. Ini kayak kartun Benny&Mintje versi inggris dan dalam format tulisan atau foto 🙂 Life is hard enough, so why so seriouuus 😉

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