Saturday, October 30, 2010


Bridging The Divide

I loathe shopping malls and the people who populate them. I loathe the Asian obsession with status and the status that is attached to certain brands and products.

The Bung Karno Stadium is situated along the main thoroughfare in Jakarta's CBD. It is close to two high end malls popular with the poncey bapak and ibu who judge a person's worth by the phone they carry and, I fear to say, the colour of their skin.

These vile, loathsome people were out in force today at their favourite malls. A new handphone was launching and tempted by the thought of saving $110 these fine folk were queuing for an hour or so to part with $660 just to be able to tell their mates they bought one on the first day.

Little did these buggers know that just a couple of hundred yards away Persija were playing Persib in front of 30,000 + fans. Kampung kids from all over Jakarta, who have probably never seen 6 million rupiah in one go, were converging on the Bung Karno. Lock up your daughter oh good burgers of Jakarta, the Jakmania are in town.

Getting a taxi after the game was difficult as they stayed away fearing the jams a Persija home game invariably brought. So I joined a queue. Among the moneyed and the credit carded at the mall. On the main street the Jakmania were going home, singing and dancing on their buses. The precious middle classes clutching their new hand phones and their dreams of increased status did what they did best. They ignored what was in front of them. They stared stoically ahead or examined their shoes.

When they get back among their own they will blame the traffic jams on the unruly scamps from the football. I know. I've seen and heard them. Their comfortable existence had been invaded by the great unwashed hordes and their prejudices were overflowing.

As if 20 or 30 people on one bus is the equivalent of one car with three or four people in it...

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