Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Teh Botol or Coca Cola

Benjamin R. Barber writes in Jihad vs. McWorld, Terrorism’s Challenge to Democracy (first published in 1995, thus way before 9/11) that “[g]etting people off water is a matter of economics (water is free), but getting them off tea entails a cultural campaign. […] If only every Indonesian could switch from tea to Coke – and from sandals to Nikes and from rice to Chicken McNuggets and from saris to Laura Ashley and from indigenously produced movies to Arnold Schwarzenegger videos and from Buddhism to consumerism – imagine what ‘worlds of opportunity’ would be thrown open to McWorld’s bold corporate adventurers […].” Only in paradise water is for free. Or does mister Barber talk about those indigenous people who still live the Adam and Eve life somewhere in the jungle? Anyway, most Indonesians live the sedimentary life and for them water is not for free. And tap water isn’t potable. So water needs to be boiled. And boiled water is nicer with tea and sugar – Indonesians love the sweet life. The logical next step isn’t then to Coke but to bottled tea: Teh Botol by Sosro. Sosro is founded in 1940 by the Sosrodjojo family in the Central Java village Slawi. And today Sosro is the leader in the market of soda drinks in Indonesia (see: http://www.sosro.com/). A similar remark can be made on McDonald’s. When McDonald’s entered the Indonesian market it came with its hamburgers and French fries. But Indonesians don’t have so much taste for hamburgers and French fries, so they merely ignored McDonald’s. It was only after it started serving Indonesians’ favorite fast food dish – rice, chicken wings and chili sauce – that Indonesians accepted McD. A McDonald’s in Bandung even has a musholla (a prayer room). The same can be said concerning MTV. While the Indonesian movie industry has indeed withered, it is the Indonesian music industry that is thriving. And a greater majority of the bands sing in a local vernacular – from speed rock to easy jazz, from boy band to sexy dangdut (with its Indian influences). Indonesian cultures are full of energy: very much alive and kicking!

1 comment:

lida said...

Hey, you linked a wrong address! sosro.com, not sorso.com