A bizarre thing happened last week.
Michael Jackson’s old man – Joseph Jackson - swung by the Big Durian as an honored guest of Michael Riady, CEO of the St. Moritz & Lippo Shopping Malls Group!
Quite a surprise I’m sure you’ll agree!
But why was he invited?
Well, ostensibly as an interested investor in the Rp11 trillion superblock project being built in Puri Indah, West Jakarta.
Or that is how it was reported.
But the real reason is quite different, of course.
Indonesian property is off limits to foreigners and Joseph doesn’t exactly have the sort of cash needed to make him the ideal investor anyway (he makes his cash mostly through product endorsements and entertainment bookings).
Even so, perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised by Joseph’s visit to Indonesia.
Lippo does, after all, have deep linkages into America.
The Jackson’s are good friends with the Clintons, for example.
As are Lippo.
And Lippo’s superblock project is in many ways as vacuous and over-the-top as the very worst American showbiz entertainment.
Even the name of the Lippo development, St. Moritz, is a rip-off of the idyllic Swiss resort town in the Engadine valley, famous for its skiing, snowboarding and hiking. Only 5,600 people live there.
Lippo’s “superblock” monstrosity, in contrast, is being built on 12 hectares and comprises 17 skyscrapers (including a 65 storey tower), and will, when finished, cover an astonishing 1 million square metres in all!
According to Lippo, the development is “beyond luxury” (whatever the hell that might mean) and it is slated as the new global city in Jakarta (huh?)
On their website, Lippo even reckons St. Moritz will rival London and New York. Yeah right!
Among the facilities are an “international grammar school” - presumably imported brick by brick from Old Blighty and rebuilt at St. Moritz; a clubhouse (for golf or cricket?); and an
erotic exotic spa (sounds good to me!).
There will also be Michael Jackson music piped into the apartments 24 hours a day (okay, that's still only an idea!).
As for prices, well luxury doesn’t come cheap of course: you’re looking at Rp20 million per square meter with prices projected to rise to a cool Rp40 million a square meter in the near future.
More than enough to keep the kampong riff-raff out, don’t you think?