Living on the other side of the world from my homeland Indonesia, I get this weird feeling of satisfaction every time we purchase something with “Made In Indonesia” printed on it. In fact, I’m kind of obsessed with such products. The only place I could find the rare Indonesian-made products (other than food and woodcrafts) seems to be thrift stores, which we happen to visit often. So far I’ve picked up two pairs of shorts (the most comfortable pairs of shorts ever), a number of Fuji 35mm point-and-shoot cameras (just for the fact that they were made in Indonesia), a pair of Nike sandals, and a pair of Reebok running shoes from various thrift stores.
Actually, I didn’t realise that the Nike sandals and the Reebok shoes were made in Indonesia until we got home. It made me think of all the poor Indonesian sweatshop workers who assembled them. The only thing that makes me feel better is the fact that we bought them used (no money going to Nike and Reebok and some might even go to charities), and also the fact that at least when I’m wearing the sandals or the shoes, I’ll be thinking of the country where they came from.
Yeah, I know my justification sounds kind of lame, but really, I only picked them up because they were the only pairs I could find at the time that were comfortable, fit my big feet perfectly, looked as good as new, and, of course, cheap. You wouldn’t be able to get them cheap brand new. And I can guarantee that if I had to buy shoes brand new, I’d only pick up a pair from a brand with an unheard of sweatshop reputation. They’re usually more affordable anyway. And I wouldn’t feel guilty wearing them.