What does it mean to "Put down roots in Indonesia"?
It's been six months since I moved from Jakarta to Summarecon, West Bekasi Barat, for both work and life. Personally, I like the sound of this goofy word "Summarecon".
The reason why I originally rented an office and residence in West Bekasi was because I wanted to appeal to my customers in the industrial parks in Cibitung, Cikarang and Karawang, who I have a business relationship with, by saying "Compared to Jakarta, Bekasi is closer to the industrial parks, so if you have any problems, I can come to you right away.
However, the recent bottleneck of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Tol double-decker (elevated toll road) construction in Jl. Tol Jakarta-Cikampek, which has been going on day and night in a rush in recent years, has moved east from West Bekasi toward the industrial park. It's not as easy to get to the industrial park as it was when I lived in my apartment in Jakarta, and I spend 4 to 6 hours every day driving.
Anyway, the opening of our office in West Bekasi is what we had in mind when we first opened it, and our customers said, "Oh, you have an office in West Bekasi? You must be doing a lot of local business. We are very grateful to our customers for their kind words, "Oh, you have a local business.
However, despite these kind words, I had a vague and hazy feeling that I couldn't understand what it meant to have roots in the local community, and whether I was really doing a business with local roots.
The reason for this is that "putting down roots" is a word that is difficult to explain with concrete examples, such as employing Indonesian people, using Indonesian raw materials, and eating Indonesian food on a daily basis.
It's not a matter of methodology, but of one's own behavior
Apart from those dexterous people who can use local staff like arms and legs to develop the business from the beginning of the start-up, in general, in the early days of a business start-up, each person needs to be able to take on multiple roles in sales, technology, accounting, purchasing, etc., and have the power to complete a series of workflows on their own to some extent.
When this happens, I automatically find myself in frequent situations where I have to talk and negotiate with local people in the context of local customs, which I would not have had the opportunity to do face-to-face when I was working as a member of a large organization.
For example, if you want to go to a Japanese company in an industrial park on the outskirts of Jakarta to do business, it is inconvenient to have a car, but it is extremely difficult to find an Indonesian driver with high driving skills and high loyalty to the company. Then it would be better to drive yourself.
Driving in Indonesia means that you are on equal footing with Indonesian drivers, and you have been in the position to watch from the back seat as they interrupt the car in front of you with no blinker, swerve to interfere, drive in a lurch, and threaten the car in front of you.
When we finally arrived at the industrial park, a security guard at the entrance of the main gate said to me, "Dari mana? "Mau ketemu siapa?" (Who have you come to see?) Sudah ada janji? The words "I'm not sure I'm going to be able to do this" are mercilessly hurled at me from above.
This is because the security profession has the following class-consciousness towards car drivers
- People at the wheel = supplier drivers = people of lower status than you.
I myself am used to being pampered by Indonesians just because I am Japanese, so when I am aggressively interrupted by Indonesians on the road in a traffic jam, or when I am treated uninvited by them, I can't get my mind in order and I lose my temper and that "sense of superiority" or "class consciousness" that I have been hiding in the back of my mind and denying, comes to the surface.
- People's true nature comes out when their pride is hurt.
We believe that whether or not a business is "locally rooted" is judged not by business methodology, but by one's own behavior as the main entity conducting business in the region.
- The question is whether you can relate to Indonesians, who appear in various situations in Indonesian customs and business practices, as a human being without bias of nationality or occupation.
This is not something that comes naturally to a person who was born and raised in a different country with a different climate, but it is a behavior that can only be done consciously, and the opponent you have to fight against is your own immature mind, and the enemy is right there inside you.