Here’s a new concept for Indonesia, designated non smoking areas. For a country that has been built on tobacco funding, I have to say this is a gutsy number. For a culture that seems to be based on cigarettes as means to build relationships, banning smoking in covered public areas such as offices and recreational facilities will come with its’ share of headaches and challenges for most, if not all involved. As an active Food and Beverage operator, Monday November 1, 2010 (first day of the non smoking regulation to be implemented) comes with a share of its smoke free “Monday Mayhems”.
For most Indonesians, smoking is not just a habit but perhaps can even be consider cultural tradition. So why this radical plan by Jakarta’s Governor Fauzi Bowo? Being a true born and bred Betawi, I am certain he must be aware of the implications of passing such a bill. With the amount of smokers around town, it must be difficult to ignore the fact that smoking is a big part of life here. So what is the objective? Is he really trying to make a stand against the cigarette consumption like they have in other countries such as Singapore or is this just another attempt that will wither and fade away as it did a few years ago?
For the entertainment industry, having such a law carries a hefty repercussion. Since smoking cigarettes or cigars is usually associated with eating and drinking, the sense of enjoyment is decreased with its absence. As a passively second hand smoker, I personal enjoy the change in the air I work in. It feels cleaner and healthier for us all that in constantly in the smoke filled environment. Not to mention my wine has lost some of that “smoky” aroma, while my chef’s delectable work doesn’t come with a hint of burnt cloves anymore. Having said that, I also understand the importance of smoking, especially for people living here in Indonesia. Personally, I know a few people (including myself) who would love to enjoy our meals in a smoke free environment however I guess this will all come down to implementation. Either way, as long as the bill is implemented fairly and appropriately, I’m game. Otherwise, someone is just blowing smoke up our chimneys, again.
Should smoking be permitted in restaurants and bars? What are your thoughts? Please drop me a line with your comments.