In Indonesia, we often encounter 'seasonal traders'. These seasonal traders are only present at certain times. For example, a photographer at graduation, or a fruit seller whose fruit only comes once a year. Well, since it's August, the seasonal traders we'll be discussing are Red-and-White Flag Merchants!
Flag Merchants will start appearing from the beginning of August, of course because of Indonesian Independence Day! In Jakarta, we will meet them at red lights, in front of shops, and on the roadside. Uniquely, almost every Flag Trader we meet comes from Cirebon! One of them is around Jatinegara Market, his name is Pak Rafi!
We caught up with Pak Rafi, a Flag Trader in Jatinegara!
Hello Pak, how are the red-and-white sales this year?
Wow, it’s really tough. The market has just opened again after 1 month of being closed. It's still quiet, too.
What do you usually trade, Pak, if not flags?
Usually? Umbrellas, raincoats, all sorts. I follow the seasons. This location is right in front of the market entrance, so people passing by might want to buy something at the right time.
You're originally from Cirebon, right?
Eh, that’s right, I am! How do you know that?
We've often talked with flag traders, many of them are from Cirebon, I think.
Oh yes, there's a lot. Selling 17's has become a local tradition there. There are many warehouses so it’s a safe place to store the goods.
So compared to last year, it's more difficult to sell red-and-white ornaments?
Much less this year, yes. Actually, last year it was still okay, maybe because we weren’t actually in lockdown. This year only small ones sell, which cost just 5 thousand.
Because everyone's economic situation is difficult too.
That's right. Who wants to celebrate the 17th in this condition? More than that, many companies are closed, very few are willing to install red and white flags. For me, I might lose 80% of my income.
Ok Pak Rafi, thanks for your time. Good luck selling this year.
No problem, thanks.