Mon, 25 Dec 2000

Watch out for the pitfalls

By David Gordon

JAKARTA (JP): Brilliant, daring and assertively intelligent, higher education (frequently education abroad), bank checking and saving accounts, business ventures, stock market investments, real estate investments and speculations, BMW's and Blazers, computers, cell phones and e-mail, hair and beauty salons, golf and tennis clubs, gyms and aerobics for healthy mind and body, fancy people - fancy weddings, Hard Rock Cafe, Planet Hollywood, Jazz Club, staying in the best Hotels, Plazas, designer clothes.

That sums up Indonesia's newest up-and-comers. This is the next generation striving to become individuals of recognition, importance and fame.

These are days cast into demanded change and amplified visions of growth for Indonesia, and this is also the time period for the emergence of the Indonesian Yuppies.

You can plainly spot today's "Yuppies" cruising in and out of high-rise buildings, in their tailored and custom-fitted business suits and dresses, driving their cars along the streets and toll ways -- hurrying in, out, around, and about the entire Jabotabek (Greater Jakarta) area. You can easily glimpse Yuppies gathering their delights at the local shopping malls, eating and drinking in the finest restaurants, playing and scamming at the most happening discos and nightspots. They talk Yuppie Talk, they walk Yuppie Walk, they play Yuppie Play, and live as Yuppies Live.

Yuppies are a new variety, an unusual and unfamiliar brand of "Indonesian Individuals", that are materializing within an age- old Indonesian familiar society and culture. Yuppies are a merging-sign of modern times, rapidly and radically changing times, cross-cultural and bi-lingual times, mixed marriages times, Internet - Networking - Website and - WebPage times.

And, many Yuppies drink alcohol and use drugs, for this also is part of the Yuppie Culture, Persona, and Life Style. These are young individuals -- some are still in their 20s -- who are success-oriented and success-driven, living in a now-happening- world of business, lofty pursuits, and pleasure-propelled frills and thrills. This is a world of fast, faster, and fastest. If a person is left behind, they stay behind. This is a corporate- created idea and generated world, where the Games of Monopoly and Dungeons and Dragons are played for real. This is a stage and setting where a player's turn, and turn over, is based on a seven-year make it or brake it cycle. Make it in seven years, move ahead, or get left in yesterdays dust, past over and forgotten forever.

Many, who will strive to become future Yuppies, begin using alcohol and drugs while attending university (some begin in junior high or high school). Many of these young individuals continue using alcohol and drugs when they enter the business world. Part of the initiation price one has to pay when aspiring to become a Yuppie, is being part of an In-crowd. A Yuppie must be part of some Yuppie In-group. "Connections" in the Yuppie World cannot be side-stepped or avoided, if one wants to move forward in the Yuppie World. The 'Game' must be played, the connections must be made, the person must show up at the right places at the right times, the "personal showing/act" must be in- line and correct with the upper-echelon (and their families) views, opinions, purposes, and goals.... A good Yuppie, on the way up the Yuppie Ladder, is "I Must and I Should - Oriented".... If the In-group drinks and uses drugs the Yuppie must follow, they must show the same likes, patterns and habits.... This is how one moves ahead in the Yuppie World....


Alcohol and drugs both dominate extensive periods of time, with general public approval, and are accepted themes within the business world, and both enjoy a leading role of popularity in this game of chasing success, manners of socialization, and style of livelihood. Alcohol and drugs are often viewed as part of the most necessary tools of the trade for conducting business, essential entertainment stimulants and enhancers for client and customer treats, a definite must for certain types of business clients and associates, and social lubricants -- when striving to find out the "truth" of what is happening within organizations/ institutions, or getting on with certain people, or groups.

Also, we must not forget that both alcohol and drugs (including pills) are used by many Yuppies (directors, executives, bosses, managers, supervisors, foremen, administrators, etc.) as "stress, tension, anxiety, nerve, pain, worry, pressure, and distress reducers". Many individuals who are in "managerial positions use alcohol and drugs to relieve their daily aches and pains, stresses and worries". Many of these people use "tranquilizers and barbiturates" (often these medications are medically prescribed) to ease their daily pangs, woe's, and afflictions.

Also, many Yuppies are drawn and firmly attracted to the amphetamine family of drugs, such as shabu-shabu (methamphetamine), and forms of cocaine (speed). The "amphetamines" can help keep these individuals moving at an "incredible pace" for many, many months, even years. In Indonesia, currently, the Yuppie's favorite drugs of choice are shabu-shabu and alcohol. Many Yuppies also smoke marijuana and take Ecstasy recreationally, and regularly.

Many female Yuppies have a passion for the amphetamines, because amphetamines also act as the "finest diet medicine on the market today". Any person using shabu-shabu regularly will absolutely have a tremendous amount of increased energy, and a euphoric sensation of extra brain power and vitality, plus, as a side benefit, the shabu will definitely take weight off, and keep the weight off. Women in the business world, or those who are part of the In-crowd, and are also into the drug scene are often very attracted to amphetamines.


Yuppies psychologically and emotionally often verge on the edge of "burn-out", because of the accelerated tempo at which their lives are paced, and alcohol and drugs take the edge off before the burn-out occurs (at least for a period of time).

Of course, not all Yuppies drink alcohol or use drugs. That would be highly erroneous to imply. Most Yuppies are extremely stable and solid individuals, they are genuinely responsible in both their personal and business lives. They are loyal and creative employees, and many make outstanding executives. And "they" thoroughly enjoy the world and benefits of Yuppie-dom....! Yet, alcohol and drugs are a definite and constant factor within the Yuppie Community, and must be understood to be a "selected element within their social structure".

An emerging Yuppie Community has been developing in Indonesia over this last decade, and this Community will rapidly grow as Indonesia stabilizes after the krismon (monetary crisis), our political leadership steadies, and the International Business Community re-invests, once again, in Indonesia. And, many Yuppies will have problems with alcohol, drug abuse and addiction in the future. Plus, the Yuppie Community will also be severely affected by both HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis 'C'.

Again, many Yuppies like alcohol and drugs, also Yuppies are a "very sexually active group of people". Sex also plays a large role in the entertainment portion of the Yuppie Business Community. Both viruses will travel rapidly into, and around, the Yuppie Community unless individuals learn about how the viruses are transmitted, how and why the viruses spread the way they spread, and how to protect themselves by changing their patterns and habits of behavior, and behavior-ism.

The World of Yuppies and Yuppie-dom is very rapid and tenacious, very exhilarating and exciting, and very, very rewarding for many. But, this Yuppie World also has its own set of politics, authorities, games, and rules. And, the Yuppie World is not a place for the weak of heart and mind, or amateurs. This "game" is played fast, and played for real, and many get swallowed alive, and are broken in the process. Many begin using alcohol and drugs, at first because of the fun, frills and thrills, and the follow-the-leader factor early in the game. But many also get caught in the game, and the fame, and lose their way and direction, many become alcoholics and drug abusers.

Being a Yuppie is often a wonderful and adventurous life, and life style. But losing ones way and direction is anything but wonderful. Yuppies should be aware, and careful, about the "pitfalls" they may encounter on the Road to Yuppie-dom and success.

The writer, a psychologist, is Program Director, Yayasan Harapan Permata Hati Kita in Bogor.