Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The bold and the beautiful of Jakarta

When I was wandering around in Senayan City, Jakarta, I got to observe the bold and the beautiful of Jakarta for the very first time. These are the rich elite of Jakarta, most of whom live in Pondok Indah (or so S tells me). Since I was shopping in Senayan City at around 2pm on a weekday, it was safe to say most of the Jakarta's middle class would have been at work and not wandering around with me, which would explain why I only saw a certain type of Jakartan lady out and about.

What are they like?

Without exception, they all have big hair. I mean like, BIG. If a scientist were to analyse the cause of the accumulation of CFCs in the earth's atmosphere, I hope he has taken into account the CFCs released in the vicinity of Jakarta from the excessive use of hairspray. No wonder they all gave me sniffy looks because I favour a sleeker look and my slightly allergic skin doesn't allow me to spray this and that on my hair. I can get the poufy look, no problem... but it will be accompanied by some kind of flaking as well!

At 2pm in the afternoon, all of them are carefully dressed and bejewelled and powdered and moisturised and made up as if they were on their way to a glamourous formal dinner. And they may well have been, how was I to know. For some reason, a lot of them favoured a rather gaudy look. Perhaps they are thinking more is better! Who am I to argue since I probably have less than one-thousandth of the money they spent monthly on clothes.

This particular species of Jakartan has its signature sound. If you hear the kik-kok-kik-kok of expensive high heels, you will know that a magnificent specimen is about to enter your sphere of existence. They have clearly made their choice of style over comfort when it comes to shoes.

They are usually trailed by their daughters, who are mini-versions of themselves or a maid, who is assigned the role of carrying all the shopping bags. When I was waiting for S to pick me up at the end of my jalan-jalan session, I watched expensive car after expensive car pull up at the entrance and the doors would open to reveal a glittering member of this species of Jakartan. Made me feel like I was a journalist at the Oscars awaiting the arrival of the big name movie stars.

I'd sat down at the Coffee Bean outlet in the basement to rest my aching back for a bit and had a good time observing them. I can't imagine why they're all so dressed up in the afternoon. I bet if they saw the usual crowd at KLCC or Pavilion, they would be thinking we are such slobs. They all looked like versions of Imelda Marcos really, so one might imagine that Senayan City was being taken over by clones of the Original Shoe-aholic.

I wonder what they thought of me in my jeans, tee and Nikes. Flat hair too! *shock, horror, gasp!* Well anyway, as a friend of mine suggested, "Maybe you'll come back to KL next time with big hair because maybe that's all the Jakartan hairdressers know!" God forbid.


  1. i definitely prefer your "sleeker" hairdo version ... don't allow those "imeldas" to influence u in anyway ok! or Shortcake will make mincemeat out of them! *hyuk hyuk*

  2. shortcake: Tell you... these Imeldas made me feel very undressed. LOL I'm really in awe of them and their determination to look as tai-tai as possible!

  3. "I wonder what they thought of me in my jeans, tee and Nikes. Flat hair too! *shock, horror, gasp!*"

    all lady scousers are pretty ... thank you very much :-)

    newayz ... i'm impressed ... you write well :-)

  4. LOL

    you write just what I think !

    I too have no idea how these gorgeous women teeter around in high heels on marble floors all day, they must be in agony.
    I have put your blog in my google reader, you have a great blog!

  5. azer mantessa: Aiyo.. tenkiu, tenkiu.. so shy dipuji by fellow Red!

    All Scousers are good-looking and smart eh! Hehe

  6. jen jen: Oh gosh.. I'm so honoured you like my blog! I've been reading your blog since last year, when we found out we could be moving to Jakarta and I've always thought your blog was the greatest (just that I never left a comment till lately). Thanks for dropping by and thanks for the encouragement! You've just made my day. :))

  7. ROTFL. Hi there, I'm an Indonesian living in Jakarta. I really love this posting cos it really represent nothing but the truth.

    It's really SHALLOW to judge people by the look, however in real life, it's always happened in some branded stores/boutiques. I read the observation "the power of look" in franchise magazine HERWORLD last month. Sad but true.

  8. devi: I just want to say thanks for your comment. I was actually wondering if I would offend any Jakartan with this post but it was just my observations and I thought well, if I offend them, at least they can tell me where they find it offensive! :))
    I'm glad to have met some more down-to-earth Jakartans since, it's nice to know that I don't need to dress up and have big poufy hair to make friends in Jakarta!

  9. I admit, I used to be one of those stiletto wearing mall goer some 8 years ago, although then they were not as extremely dressed as they do now. I now live in Europe, which is so laid back that I have adopted the ways of the slobs lol
    coming home in 2006, I was actually surprised to see how people dressed! all the while I was with my jeans, tank-tops and flip flops. My friends were actually scolding me for wearing such atrocious getups.. (they told me I looked like a poor bule backpacker from Jalan Jaksa! lol)
    My KL friends didn't mind me wearing my horrible outfit to a chic mall not far from Damansara, though which was nice..
    Salam from Brussels!

  10. rimafauzi: Hello there! I know what you mean about looking like a poor bule backpacker, I always get the feeling I look like one too! LOL Yeah, you're right.. it's a lot more casual in KL, Jakartans really know how to dress up!