Watatita: Alcohol Consumption Growing Concern Among Jakarta Youth
Jakarta is gradually morphing into a modern city – if not already – especially now that the local government has officially declared their commitment and seriousness to build the mass rapid transportation (MRT) system.
The term “modern” is often mixed up with the concept of Westernization. Many people often think that a city with Western influences is perceived as a “modern” city. Jakarta, obviously, is heading towards that direction. And with the sprouting number of malls, it begins to appear like Singapore.
And growing with modernity, is the amount of alcohol consumption.
Yes, Indonesians have consumed alcohol for centuries. Yet these days, young people drink far more openly compared to how it was in a the last decade or two. People’s values, habits and lifestyles have definitely changed.
I remember that one time my mother told me a story about when she first moved to Indonesia from Australia in the 1980s. She was so shocked to find out that people could actually have a social life without the help of alcohol. She watched a group of Indonesians laughing at each other’s funny stories while drinking tea. She figured it is not impossible to have fun without alcohol.
In contrasts, I meet a lot of Indonesians today who can’t live without having a sip of alcohol. The sad thing is they think it’s completely normal and fine.
Well, here’s the deal, a glass of beer or two is enough in a social event, but many Indonesians I’ve met spend a lot of money on liters of alcohol. It’s even more annoying when they do it only to look “cool.”
I spent four years living in a Western country where alcohol consumption is incredibly high. Instead of copying their culture, I avoid it as much as possible. There is not much fun dealing with a hangover and there’s nothing positive about throwing up in public.
It’s really dangerous when you don’t exactly know what you’re doing. And it’s even worse if alcohol becomes an addiction.
A friend of mine who just moved to Indonesia from overseas said he wanted to have a detox from alcohol while living in Indonesia. However, he finds that in Jakarta, alcohol accessibility is even easier. Sellers don’t even ask for an ID card here when our youth buy alcohol.
Now, don’t get this wrong. I’m not blaming any Western culture for bringing the alcohol influence. It’s a matter of an individual’s choice to consume it. But it’s not in our culture to drink alcohol and get smashed every weekend. So, why copy that habit?
I understand many people enjoy drinking wine, beer, or scotch, but there are also many who take it too far and get drunk. Some purposely get drunk, and they end up doing really stupid things. When they’re drunk, they are usually unaware of how dumb and shameless they appear in the public eye.
Unaware to them, they become a burden to other people when drunk: somebody needs to carry you home, or even clean you up after vomiting.
Please remember when you get drunk, you are being the most self-centered, selfish person on earth, and most times you don’t even know. The worst possible damage you can do while you’re drunk is if you accidentally kill someone.
So please, at least think about other people around you the next time you drink alcohol. Drink responsibly.