Thursday 07 Oct 2021 | 18:19 | SYDNEY
Thursday 07 Oct 2021 | 18:19 | SYDNEY

Reader ripostes: A dog life in Indonesia


Sam Roggeveen


18 March 2009 10:08

Two responses to my query yesterday about dog ownership in Indonesia:

I notice that the picture in your post is selling Frontline tick treatment, a global product developed in 1994 by a French company and that we can buy here. It appears to me that with the rise of the disposable income, particularly in the larger cities, and the proliferation of global business interests in the country, and an interest/influence of Western media showing pet ownership and such, that it is business responding and pushing a market for pet ownership.

I wouldn't say pet ownership is quite 'mainstream' in Indonesia — it's quite expensive to maintain a pet. But they could certainly be considered a luxury item from which money can be made. I've never asked my Indonesian friends (mostly young adults) whether they would like to own a dog, but I get the impression it is not on the top of the priorities. And for a lot of lower-middle class suburbs in the smaller cities (say Yogyakarta or Semarang for instance) I imagine there would be a bit of a risk of religio-social stigma to weigh up if a household started keeping a dog.

And this one's from Mila Sudarsono:

I personally think it’s the middle class living in the big metropolitan cities like Jakarta (or the elite suburbs of South Jakarta!) wanting to adopt what they believe is a 'Western' style of living. Owning a pet dog is a practice they recognise as being 'Western'. Being seen to have 'Western' tendencies in a city like Jakarta is strongly associated with prestige, modernity and wealth.

Owning a pet dog in Indonesia is definitely not mainstream. With a country still ravaged by poverty where many of the people are barely able to feed their own family, the last thing on their mind is to look after a pet. I couldn’t imagine such an advertisement displayed in the widespread densely-populated villages across the country.