Amazing Jakarta (and thanks, JBA!)

Well, ain’t Jakarta wonderful? I really mean that, and its secret of bedazzle is its ABSOLUTE unpredictability, like this morning.

I’d had a late night, trying to pack with one hand, blog with the other, and pet n feed the cat in-between times. I knew I had to get a lot done because that night we were off to the movies and tomorrow brings another cocktail-type party to attend (in my unremitting quest to attain that ‘socialite’ status for which I rebuked the Kardashian woman last week!)

So up today at 9.59am, my alarm normally set for 9.50, thus giving me ten mins to come to terms with reality before rising.   My major task of the morning, or what was left of it, was to buy cigarettes. Australia, like much of the West, pursues a relentless financial vendetta against smokers, using taxation to dictate people’s way of life, so wiser by far to purchase fags (sorry, poofters, if that word offends) here in Indonesia. The best deals locally are at Makro, a large retail store in Meruya, West Jakarta, part of the LotteMart chain (which I’m still hassling, btw, for their failure to stock pork products)   So off I went, carefully equipped with an old plastic bag, since Makro are too tight to supply such to customers.

As I walked through their car-parking area, the sound of dangdut wafted towards me from a large, posh tent beside the store. My fave music. But first things first –bought my Lucky Strikes, 3 slops (that’s local for cartons) for under Rp.300,000, which at about 9000 to the USD$ you may agree is a fair deal!

You pay at the tobacco kiosk, so no long queues to suffer, and since time was not TOO tight, why not? The entrance to the tent was policed by several security blokes and a cute girl in a short skirt, so I smiled at her and asked them what sort of event this was.

“Silakhan, Mister!” Please go right ahead. Many Indonesians toil under the delusion that we Western folks are all moneyed businessmen, hence must have serious commerce to pursue at launchings of new companies, which the tented occasion turned out to be.

Alas, the singers had just finished their turn and all I got to see was two splendid back views wiggling out the other tent flap. As I made to follow, another security man said, “Silakhan, Pak, makan disana.” Go on, sir, eats through there.”

Given my concentration on the disappearing shimmiers, it struck me that perhaps he’d taken me for a cannibal, but I didn’t dilly-dally, simply sped through – wow!

The dishy songstresses had vanished, but before me stood tables groaning with Indonesian dishes! All manner of rice, spicy chicken, sea-food, plus desserts of every kind. Not a breakfaster of note, I nevertheless got stuck in.

Having eaten enough, back to the main tent, where I sat behind a row of Japanese businessmen, who nodded politely – one turned and asked if I did a lot of business with this company.

“Frankly, I only came to Makro to buy cigarettes. What exactly do they do?”

He laughed and was about to enlighten me, when a tall, slim, lovely brought us to attention with her microphone. A burst of greetings, then, believe it or not, she announced that the guest singer was none other than U’ut Permatasari! U’ut!

U’ut is one of my fave dangdut stars, very famous here, on TV all the time. A great surprise. And on she came, belting out her greatest hits.

I took some photos, as she cavorted on the stage. She invited some of the Japanese to join her, but must have sensed I was not there as part of the business community – my sleeveless jacket often leads folk to think I’m some kind of journo – and in any event I had to cut short my enjoyment, for work awaited, as ever.

                                                        Some lucky guy got this golden opportunity!

So a much more interesting morning than I’d expected, and tonight, just back from watching ‘Seeking Justice’ at Blok M Plaza (splendid Nicolas Cage action movie, review soon!) I recount the story to show you why I am never bored in Jakarta.

But now we are weary, and so to bed. Posting can wait till morning!

PS The company, as you can see, was JBA, to whom I send my sincere thanks for a birght start to an otherwise routine day. I found their press release on the internet, and the least I can do is append it.

11/16/2011 | 01:45 am

Sumitomo Corp : Entry into the Motorcycle and Auto Auction Business in Indonesia


Nov. 16, 2011
Sumitomo Corporation

Sumitomo Corporation (Chuo-ku, Tokyo; President and CEO: Susumu Kato) will enter the motorcycle and automobile auction business in Indonesia in collaboration with Japan Bike Auction Co., Ltd. (Chuo-ku, Kobe City, Hyogo Pref.; President and CEO: Ryu Nishimura, hereinafter “JBA”), a leading motorcycle auction business in Japan, and Mitsui & Co., Ltd. (Chuo-ku, Tokyo; President and CEO: Masami Iijima; hereinafter “Mitsui & Co.”).

To commence this joint business, Sumitomo Corporation agreed to purchase new shares issued through a third-party allocation by PT. JBA Indonesia (Jakarta, Indonesia; President: Kazuhiro Shioyama), an auction company which has already obtained an operating license in Indonesia. The company will start motorcycle auction operations in Jakarta effective November 16, 2011.