July 27, 2008

The dirty side of Jakarta's Coastline

A few pics I got from my brother's files :
As with every other major city in the world, Jakarta is fighting an every day battle against garbage.

However, we get a "helping hand" from "pemulung", garbage scavengers who search through the garbage, looking for anything that they can re-sell in order to get money.

July 20, 2008

Small things I love about Indonesia

*Sigh*....another week has passed. It is still very hectic at the office & it is going to get worse, with 3 projects kicking-off this coming week & 2 CLT projects over the next 2 weekends :(

But among the nerve-recking situations at the office, these 2 small things help me deal with the stress....*I love Indonesia :) *

- There's a maid in the house
It is very comforting to come home after a busy day and find that everything in your house is spick & span because you have the maid doing your housework! Your laundry is done, there's food on the table & your bed is made up. All you need to do is relax....

It is a common thing for middle-class Indonesians to have a maid. The more wealthy households even have their own driver, nanny for the kids, gardener & security guards. A survey done by my office showed that
27% of people in emerging markets pay someone else to clean their house, while only 12% do so in developed markets.

Quoting my Executive director for Consumer Insights, Mike Sherman :

In the same way that money cannot buy happiness, affluence does not necessarily mean access to life's luxuries.

Although Indonesia needs to catch up economically, but cheap labour has its benefits!
- In a country where you have to sweep & mop the house everyday because of the dust, having a maid is a tremendous life luxury! -

- Pampering yourself at the salon is cheap
This is yet another consequence of the cheap labour cost in Indonesia. Hair salons, besides providing cutting & styling services, usually also provide various treatments such as hair conditioning treatments, manicure, pedicure, foot massage etc.....at a cheap price!

Just for an example, last weekend I went to the salon to get a hair conditioning treatment (we call it having a "cream bath", where they also massage your shoulders & back while waiting for the hair cream to settle in), manicure and pedicure for only Rp. 120.000 which is about 12 USD!

Of course you have the high-end salons that cost just as expensive as abroad, but why go there when you can get something similar at a far lower price....and just a small note: tipping the hair dresser is a "not must, but expected" thing to do.

July 10, 2008

Unilever Brands in Indonesia

I haven’t written in 2 weeks now because it has been very hectic at the office. I work at a market research company. It is a peak season for us, since the Ramadhan (moslem fasting month) is approaching & we can’t conduct product testing because of this. Many clients are pushing their projects to be done now so that it can be finished before Ramadhan.

One of our major clients is Unilever, which is a multinational corporation. As in other countries, Unilever has many brands, but particularly in Indonesia, most of its brands are in the top 3 players of its category. .... their doing pretty good, huh?......

You can even map out most of your daily activities using Unilever brands only. This is how it would look like :


It’s a beautiful morning. Wake up early to do your laundry with Rinso laundry detergent and adding a little Molto softener. After that, take a bath with Lux soap, not forgetting to wash your hair with Sunsilk shampoo and brush your teeth with Pepsodent toothpaste & toothbrush. After showering, it’s time to dress up. But first, put on some Pond's moisturizer, Citra hand & body lotion and Rexona deodorant. Last, style your hair with Clear styling gel. Now you’re ready to get some breakfast!

A nice cup of Sariwangi tea & a slice of bread buttered with Blue Band margarine is all you need to start the day.


After ordering rice with some meat & veggies, pour some Bango soya sauce to add flavour to your dish. For dessert, Walls ice cream is a nice way to end your lunch break.


On your way home, have some Taro chips to pass the time in traffic jam. Once at home, take a shower (it is common for Indonesians to shower twice a day) with Lifebuoy soap and Dove shampoo. As in the morning, after showering, apply Vaseline hand & body lotion and spray some Axe deodorant.


Have a light dinner with Royco cream soup. When finished, wash the dishes with Sunlight dishwash.


Before going to bed, brush your teeth with Close-Up toothpaste. Maybe you have some light laundry to do? Use Surf laundry detergent. Last, don’t forget to lite Domestos Nomos mosquito coil in your room. You don’t want your sleep to be disturbed just because of itching mosquito bites!

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