Indonesia: The History and the Present
About 30 million people live in greater Jakarta, making it the second biggest metropolitan area worldwide. It’s the capital of the fourth most populous country in the world, Indonesia. Metrohm Indonesia employees face a challenge: the country consists of thousands of islands that are scattered over a distance of more than 5000 kilometers, making sales and service difficult. During my visit, I was able to visit the Jakarta main office and meet the sales and service engineers in Surabaya, the second largest Indonesian city.
Work and Play at Metrohm Indonesia
Metrohm Indonesia’s main office occupies the 17th floor of a tall office building called Menara Batavia, meaning Batavia Tower. The company employs 32 people, most of whom are located in Jakarta. The office has a magnificent skyline view and a customer training room that, when no trainings are being held, is used as a table tennis room. The team plays table tennis every day after work, marketing responsible Gilang tells me:
Gilang accompanied me the whole time of my visit to Indonesia. He was born for his job in marketing, taking photos and sharing Instagram stories all the time. He loves Latin music and, when he’s not busy doing marketing for Metrohm Indonesia, he teaches Zumba classes!
Jakarta is the economic center of Indonesia. Many of Metrohm’s customers are located in the capital, including Kimia Farma, which has been using Metrohm instruments for many, many years. Kimia Farma is the oldest pharma company in Indonesia. Today, the state-owned enterprise employs more than six thousand people all over Indonesia. It covers a wide range of pharmaceutical products, which are sold under the Kimia Farma brand name. In addition to labs and production facilities, the company operates its own drug stores.
«When I started here in 1985,» our customer Mrs. Andria tells me, «we were already using Metrohm titrators.» Gilang, Natalia, and Iman have to translate for me as she and her colleagues don’t feel confident speaking English. Even though they have used competitor instruments, Mrs. Andria and her colleague Mrs. Ibeth say they prefer Metrohm, «because the instruments are simple, user-friendly, and robust. And the engineer is always available on call whenever we need assistance.» For the future, Mrs. Andria hopes «that Metrohm always be leading and outstanding in the world of laboratory instruments.»
Indonesian Independence …
Like Jakarta, the city of Surabaya is located on the island Java, the most populous Indonesian island. When split into its constituents, the name Surabaya means shark-crocodile (sura is Indonesian for shark, baya means crocodile). It’s an explosive combination, and maybe that’s the reason why Surabaya was a main site of the Indonesian independence.
Indonesia was a Dutch colony for three and a half centuries and after that was occupied by the Japanese during World War II before declaring its independence. The Majapahit Hotel, a luxury hotel formerly known as Hotel Oranje, played an important role in the fight for independence. The hotel was founded in 1910 by Iranian businessman Lucas Martin Sarkies and took up operation in 1911. It’s still a hotel today, but it’s possible to join guided tours about the history of the hotel and its role in Indonesian independence.
In 1945, just two days after the Japanese surrender, Indonesia declared its independence. It was from here that the Dutch tried to regain control of Indonesia. They raised the Dutch flag over the hotel, which enraged the youths of Surabaya. The young Indonesians climbed the building and tore off the blue strip, leaving the red and white of the Indonesian flag. The «flag incident» marked the beginning of the revolution and as such went down in history.
… And Indonesian Pride
Gilang took me to the opening ceremony of the Asian Games, an Olympic competition for Asia, which are held in Jakarta currently. The ceremony was a display of Indonesian pride where those things were highlighted that the locals love about their country: the beauty and diversity of nature and people: Indonesia consists of thousands of islands and stretches from Southeast Asia to Oceania. It’s the fourth most populous country in the world and its people belong to more than 300 ethnicities.
Another thing Indonesians love: their president, Joko Widodo. He is ridiculously popular. Every time he appeared or his name was mentioned, the stadium went nuts. He looks like Barack Obama’s Indonesian twin brother (I googled it and was glad to see I wasn’t the only one who thought they looked alike …) and definitely knows how to please crowd. When he entered with a staged motorcycle stunt, the crowd exploded.