The Singaporeanisation of the Malls in Jakarta

I returned from Surabaya yesterday, taking the 14.20 flight to Jakarta. I got up relatively late at 7.00am and had breakfast at the Hotel – white rice with assorted condiments. I walked to Yani’s house so that we could visit her mum’s eldest sister. Her mum had bought me gudeg – delicious Javanese dish from Jogjakarta – so I had to have another breakfast at her house. On the way, we also stopped by the residence of Yani’s former’s teacher who was very fond of her. I was a bit amused that I was a bit like a showpony on that day – I had mentioned that to Yani as well, and she just laughed. Ah, the joy of the introduction process in the Asian family system! 😀 She would probably experience something similar when she comes over to Bandung, having to endure endless introductions and similar lines of questioning.

By 12 o’clock, I had checked out of the hotel and then went to the Juanda Airport. Yani’s mum insisted that her brother drove the car, rather than me taking a taxi to the airport. Yani came along as well, naturally. I bought some local snacks as souvenirs, as well as tasted the locally-famous rotiboy – I thought that it was originated in Surabaya, but now I know that it was started by a guy in Malaysia. The flight back to Jakarta was smooth – again, another good service from Mandala. I took a taxi back to Kelapa Gading – the driver remarked that the area was still flooded, so we had to find an alternative route to get into the complex.

Today, I spent the first half of the day relaxing at home – in the afternoon, I went to Kelapa Gading Mall to do some shopping because I didn’t get to bring my shoes. From Australia, my luggage was already full because of the souvenirs and the papers that I had to bring for one of our church’s ex-congregation who had returned to Indonesia for good. So, I bought myself a new pair of shoes for Sunday’s big-do – they’re not especially cheap, since the Australian Dollar is quite weak at the moment. I also bought some local snacks that I will bring over to Australia: I have to start buying them so that I don’t end up getting stressed at the last minute!

On the way home, I made a detour to buy some DVDs – it’s just one of those things that you do when you’re in Indonesia. You also stock up on the movies that you want to see! 😀 I walked home from there onwards, which took me about 15 minutes. It wasn’t particularly long, but I suppose it was a bit unusual for the locals since nobody walked around in Jakarta – it’s just too dirty, too risky (with the number of cars, bicycles and motorbikes on the road), and too hot and humid.

Something that I noticed since the last time I was here was how Singaporeanised the malls in Jakarta had become. I can find Ya Kun Kaya Toast, Best Denki, Old Chang Kee, and now I can even find chicken rice, porridge that are franchised from the original shops in Singapore. I suppose if you can’t take the people to Singapore, you bring Singapore over to the people. Travelling to Singapore has become cheaper in Indonesia, so I suppose there are lots more people who are familiar with Singaporean brands. So the natural thing is to bring those brands out of the country and into the consumers. The malls are also looking exceptionally chinese-oriented with Chinese New Year coming. So I felt a bit weird walking around in the Kelapa Gading Mall today, with so many chinese-themed decorations and Singaporean brands everywhere.

Argh, we have become Singaporeanised! So how, ah?

Published by fuzz

I've finally relented to the lures of blogging - and for those who care, well, I'm a self-confessed geek who's a wanderer at heart, who thinks and analyses too much, and who's trying hard to hold on to his 7-year old inner persona.

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  1. The money in Indonesia is with the Chinese, who are a lot like the Chinese in Singapore, so it makes sense that the high-end malls in Jakarta are looking like the malls in Singapore. Booooooring…….

  2. I totally agree with you, Sjoerd — Indonesian shoppers aren’t so loyal towards local brands or style.

    Now if you walk around in the high-end malls in Jakarta, it’s as if you were walking around in Takashimaya – similar brands, similar shops. 🙁

    They’d rather sell chicken porridge franchised from Geylang than putting a more upmarket version of a delicious local version, and they prefer to import other franchises from Malaysia and Singapore rather than selling local brands internationally. 🙁

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