Queuing up in Jakarta…

Queing up for the Nokia E90

This really unclear picture is from Telset Magazine (edisi 74 July 2007, p.16), one of the many handphone magazines in Indonesia. It shows a queue of thousands of people waiting in front of the Ballroom Hotel Grand Melia in Jakarta on 13 June 2007. What are they waiting for? Is Michael Jackson making an appearance in Jakarta? Is someone giving away free stuff? Nope, these people are awaiting the launch of the new Nokia E90 Communicator. Indonesia is the first country in the world where this device was launched. This device really harbours all the functions that a mobile device nowadays possibly can have aboard. About 1100 invitees could buy the phone on the spot for around 11.000.000 Rp (almost € 900).
In an editorial, Magazine Telset does not fail to notice how ironic it is that so many people are queuing up for a device which costs 1 1/2 times the average Indonesian yearly income. In this country, thousands of people voluntary queue up for hours to be the first to have the E90, while still at this time many more people involuntarily queue up each day to get cooking oil. According to Telset editor, it can happen here because people feel it is prestigious (gengsi) to have such a device, which in turn increases the tendency to see handphones like this Communicator as a symbol of status and success.

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