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Who is the most famous English tennis player in Indonesia?

Fred Perry!

Never mind that he was strutting around the tennis courts before Indonesia had even won independence - winning three Wimbledons on the trot in the 1930s - Fred Perry is still likely to be the only English tennis player known to (affluent) Indonesians.

That’s pretty crazy when you think about it. I mean can you imagine if Stanley Matthews was a better known footballer than David Beckham in this part of the world?!!!

As a kid, back in England in the 80s, I remember Fred Perry being very popular streetware for football fans and mods in particular.

It was every Chelsea supporter’s dream to get their dirty mitts on one of these shirts – preferably plain white - and they usually did so by around age 13 - either through legit means or otherwise.

Since then, however, the chav subculture has spawned its bastard offspring across the length and breadth of England, adopting brands like Fred Perry, Adidas and even Burberry as their own.

But here in Indonesia, Fred Perry is ironically being aimed at the ultra rich niche of society.

On the rack in the Fred Perry flagship store in Plaza Indonesia I even spotted one polo shirt selling for a cool Rp2 million - or well above the minimum monthly wage for Jakarta.

Fred Perry store Plaza Indonesia

Bloody chavs!

Fred Perry Indonesia
Plaza Indonesia - Level 2 #E27A
Jakarta





7 comments

Anonymous said... @ 17 September 2012 05:06

First of all, if you're thinking that the so-called "affluent" Indonesians know that Fred Perry is a Tennis player, you're sorely mistaken. I'll bet an entire month salary that 99.9% of those Indonesians who buy Fred Perry will NOT possess the knowledge that Fred Perry was a Tennis player - heck, they will not even possess a slightest inkling of awareness that the polo shirt they're wearing has a connection to anything Tennis. For them, Fred Perry is a brand, simple as that. The same people will think that Hugo Boss is currently being designed by Mr. Boss.

Second of all, as an Indonesian, I'm so disturbed by the fact that expats think that anything REMOTELY expensive in Indonesia is automatically geared towards the (and I quote your words) "ultra rich". Just because it's expensive for you expats does NOT immediately mean that only the ultra rich in Indonesians can afford it! That's ridiculous! Let alone the ultra rich Indonesians, even the "borderline rich" Indonesians are much, much wealthier than the average white-collar expats in Indonesia. It just so happens that they live more modestly in terms of spending money on booze and chicks like you expats love to do all the time in Indonesia! But thinking that only the "ultra rich" can affored an IDR 2 million polo shirt? RIDICULOUS.

Fred Perry is not even closely expensive to the "rich" Indonesians, let alone the "ultra rich". I'm personally a middle-class Indonesian, and I think that 2 million IDR for a polo shirt is ONLY SLIGHTLY expensive. As a middle-class Indonesian, I can EASILY afford polo shirts that costs between 1 - 2 million IDR and I do buy them FREQUENTLY. My wardrobe consists of clothing that cost at THE VERY LEAST IDR 600,000 each. And I'm a only a middle class Indonesian - true blue, through and through. Sure, I use credit card (and ergo I'm frequently in debt) from time to time but I've been doing this for 10 odd years and I never missed any payments and right now, I'm debt-free.

So NO, Fred Perry (and similar brands with similar prices like Tommy Hilfiger or Ralph Lauren or Brooks Brothers) are definitely NOT just geared towards the "ultra rich" Indonesians. They're geared towards the upper-middle class Indonesians ONLY!!

Have you ANY IDEA how RICH the "ultra rich" Indonesians are??

My cousin happens to be an ultra-rich Indonesian and he will not be caught DEAD wearing something as cheap as a Fred Perry polo shirt. Ultra rich Indonesians wear stuff like Vertu, Cartier, Hermes, Chanel, Bvlgari, and bejeweled Franck Mullers at the VERY LEAST!

I'm simply shocked by how poor expats think Indonesians are. Fred Perry is AT BEST an upper-middle class consumption in Indonesia. Sure, if you're talking about tukang parkirs and factory workers in Indonesia, there's no way they can afford a Fred Perry shirt but trust me, there's nothing ultra rich about Fred Perry. Even I sometimes cringe about having to wear anything that is made in China on my body (like those Fred Perry shirts are). I lament for being so poor that I can't even afford something like Louis Vuitton, which is not made in China. And you still think that Fred Perry is only for the ultra rich? Hogwash. Ultra rich Indonesians are just as rich as ultra rich people in the most developed nations of the world.

Tempo Dulu said... @ 17 September 2012 18:04

Anon, but wealth is surely relative is it not? I am fully aware that there are some incredibly rich people in Indonesia but out of a population of 240mn they are a tiny fraction. Bear in mind that the minimum MONTHLY wage in Jakarta is less than the price of one of these Fred Perry shirts (!!!!), so to MOST Indonesians, anyone who purchases such a shirt CAN be considered ultra rich. Cheers..

Eric said... @ 19 September 2012 19:54

Let me put it this way:

I do agree with you that the minimum monthly wage in Jakarta (around USD 150 per month last time I checked?) is cheaper than a Fred Perry shirt, but do remember that income gap in Jakarta is HUGE. On the lowest end of the spectrum we've got the slum-dwelling pariahs who earn less than USD 2 a day, and on the next level comes blue-collar workers and housemaids earning USD 90 - USD 150. But, the next step on the ladder are middle class Indonesians who earn USD 300 - 400 per month. Then SUDDENLY comes the upper middle class (like myself) who can earn anywhere between USD 3,000 - 10,000 per month, then comes the veritable 'rich' who earns more than USD 10,000 per month.

The so-called super rich are people like multinational CEOs, corrupt officials, and judging from the number of USD 5-million diamond rings and insane amount of sports car they flash on daily basis, I'd say celebrity lawyers too...and it's safe to say that they earn at LEAST USD 1,000,000 per month.

...and THEN, finally, we get to the so-called 'ultra rich'...Indonesians who earn unspeakable amount of money. We're talking about the top 100 richest people in Indonesia like the Bakries, the Tanotos, the Poos, the Tanoesoedibjos, the Widjajas, the Hartonos, etc. You know, people who are worth at least 5 billion USD per head. The top 0.00004% of the Indonesian population in terms of wealth. Now THOSE people can appropriately be called the 'ultra rich'!!

In conclusion, I'm not disagreeing with you that Fred Perry is expensive for MOST Indonesians, but I disagree with the notion that only the ultra-rich in Indonesia can afford Fred Perry (or, as you put it, Fred Perry shirts are aimed towards the ultra-rich). That is simply not true. Upper-middle class Jakartan can afford Fred Perry shirts with relative ease. I'm a living proof.

Indonesia might be poor to you first-world folks but bear in mind that rich Indonesians are just as rich as rich people in first-world countries.

Now let me ask you this: in the UK, is it true that only the ultra rich people can afford Fred Perry shirts? If the answer is NO, the same thing can be said for Indonesia. Again, rich Indonesians are just as rich as rich British.

Maybe there's a simple solution to our differences in opinion: you should really consider changing the term "ultra rich" to just "rich". Because clearly, sir, you're misusing the word "ultra rich" and seem to have a misguided understanding about what "ultra rich" really means in REAL terms.

Remember, Indonesia is currently experiencing an economic boom with 6 - 7% annual growth, and those growth are MOSTLY from the middle class sector upwards. So, middle-class Indonesians are nearing the same level of prosperity as middle-class people in developed countries, whereas the poor stays poor. Times have changed and it's no longer the case where only the rich can afford luxuries in Indonesia, especially in Jakarta!

Tempo Dulu said... @ 20 September 2012 12:04

It all comes down to your definition Eric. Read Pos Kota and you will read things like “fuel subsidies only benefit rich car owners”. But do you need to be rich to be a car owner? Are Toyota Avanza owners rich? Is the IPAD for rich people or is it a mass market product? You can argue it both ways depending on your perspective. The juxtaposition of Fred Perry as a luxury brand in Indonesia and as a chav brand in the UK is also quite interesting to me – and the basis of this rather bombastic post.

As for your contention that “ultra rich” is inappropriately used in this post, I accept your point – assuming that you take ultra rich to mean that very thin sliver of people at the very top of society who probably in Indonesia only number in their thousands. But what level of wealth do you need to go from being rich to being ultra rich? Rp5 billion? Rp100 billion? You have to draw the line somewhere and that is subjective. So yes you don’t have to be ultra rich to wear a Fred Perry in Jakarta – although perhaps a person in Sumba or Flores may beg to differ! Anyway, I made a slight correction to the post to take on board your comment. And as for Fred Perry shirts, I rather like them. In fact I’m wearing one now. Cheers.

Eric said... @ 21 September 2012 09:39

Thanks for altering the post!

The basis of my argument comes from the accepted fact that in the grand scale of things, the word "ultra" is most likely at the top of the scale already. So by definition, nothing (much) can surpass "ultra". Therefore, "ultra rich" usually refers to the richest people.

I do agree with you that it is almost impossible to define how 'rich' is considered 'rich'. Well, numbers aside, I think we should get back to basics - in Jakarta, people who live in a 2-storey house with a security guard in Menteng / Pondok Indah with at least 2 European luxury cars, who can afford to buy lots of designer goods and who vacation overseas regularly and have business interests overseas can probably be regarded as 'rich', regardless of how much money they ACTUALLY own. Money can be quite misleading sometimes. I know someone in the Jakarta high society who owns a couple of Bentleys and a nice 3-bedroom apartment in Covent Garden and another apartment in Singapore - yet their liquid assets only consist of USD 1.5 million in a bank in Singapore, and IDR 10 billion in Indonesia (my friend is their financial advisor so this info is pretty reliable). As you can see, based on their lifestyle, they look rich but money-wise they're only considered borderline rich.

On the other hand, one of my uncles live in a 'ruko' in Kelapa Gading, drives an old Pajero, and he wears cheap polo shirts but he has over 40 million USD in his financial portfolio in Singapore banks - This guy looks poor but he has a lot of money.

You know what, interesting that you mention about chavs, back in 2007 while I was still in college, I wore my grey Burberry tie to accompany my dad attending a business function in London and my dad's British assistant assigned for that day spoke to me. He was wondering if it's the wisest choice of tie since Burberry is identical with chavs. At that time, I only had a passing knowledge about chavs being the British equivalent to Australian 'bogan' (I spent most of my formative years studying in Australia) and they DID like to wear Burberry, but I thought that:

1) The idea of Chavs buying a $300 tie is rather peculiar. I've always thought that chavs are supposed to be lower-middle class.

2) AFAIK, Chavs have not worn Burberry since the early 2000s, I had no idea that the brand is still somewhat identical with Chavs in 2007 (even today?). I guess it makes sense - e.g. my mother will NOT be caught dead wearing Gucci whenever she's traveling to Italy because God knows how lowly the Italians think of Gucci. But Burberry in the UK is somewhat a unique situation since it has that 'stigma' of being associated with the lower class - whereas Gucci is still considered a luxury in Italy, although a tacky one (because it's domestic & very popular)

3) That said, are people in the UK aware that a significant number of those chavs are probably wearing counterfeit Burberry (& Fred Perry) items? I think it's unfair that non-chavs who wear genuine items are looked upon with prejudice. I mean, for example - you notice how in Jakarta almost EVERY woman carries an Hermes bag? It's a known fact that 80% of Hermes bags circulating in Indonesia are fakes, and even middle-class Indonesians can afford to buy the knockoffs. But Hermes is NEVER associated with the lower class, even though the only ones wearing them these days (real or fake) are nouveau riche ladies that used to be from the kampung (because her corrupt government-official husband suddenly struck gold), and the lower-middle class social climbers who buy the knockoffs.

Sorry if I ramble - I tend to do that, LOL

Tempo Dulu said... @ 21 September 2012 18:10

Eric
if you can, watch the British tv shows "Made in Chelsea" and "The Only Way is Essex" one after each other for the ultimate juxtaposition. (both shows are downloadable from you know where).
PS: is Paul Smith in Indonesia fake?

bleach said... @ 11 November 2012 11:34

not for the ultra rich, but ultra hip Indonesians that ( but ) dance to LADY GAGA

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