The Best Laid Plans Of Mice & Men

That old saying, ‘The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry’ fits my latest cultural exploration in Indonesia perfectly.

Because no matter how carefully one plans things out or dots the i’s and crosses the t’s, sh*t often has a way of messing things up.

The plan was to fly into the bustling city of Jakarta to attend what was shaping up to be one of the biggest automotive events ever seen in Indonesia. I was told that the inspiration for ICEMOD (Indonesia Car Enthusiast & Modifications) was based on the Tokyo Auto Salon, but with an Indonesian twist.

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After a slightly adventurous six-hour flight from Japan, I found myself in a police convoy slicing through traffic, and then stuffing my face with some of the local delicacies. Ah, yes – welcome to Indonesia…

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The following day, the participants would begin rolling into the venue and the stages would be set up. 11:00am was the designated time for everyone to arrive at the venue, but here in Indonesia time is merely a suggestion and not a guideline as it is in Japan, thus most people began turning up from noon. Close enough, I guess.

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After hanging out with some of the punctual participants, Adit, the man behind the event, decided to see if the venue officials would allow them in early, so people didn’t have to stay outside in the blistering heat. It was at this point that things quickly went south…

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No one was allowed to enter, because as Adit quickly learned, money to secure the venue had not been paid by an associate. Long story short, unless 1.2 billion Indonesian Rupiah (around US$85,000) was transferred to the venue’s bank account by the end of the day, the event would be cancelled.

Is this the part where I write about some mysterious donor chipping in and saving the show at the very last second? Afraid not this time. The massive event that had been in the works since the beginning of the year was all over before it had begun.

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To say everyone was beyond disappointed would be a massive understatement. We were all really feeling for Adit; he had put his heart and soul into the event, only for it to all fall apart at the 11th hour.

Rolling With The Punches

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So what can you do when the plans you had all go up in smoke? You take your lemons and make lemonade, of course.

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Having flown all the way to Indonesia, there was no way I wasn’t going to explore the local car scene. So instead of having the cars come to me at the show venue, with the help of Adit I went Speedhunting. 

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In hindsight, this might have been a blessing in disguise; I got a real taste of local car culture.

That included spending time with some young local enthusiasts who invest all their earnings modifying cars the best way they can and with whatever they have on hand.

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And visiting local shops, private collections, and other events going on in Jakarta that same weekend.

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To be able to accurately paint a picture of what the car culture was like, nothing would be off limits.

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A bit too extreme? Hell yes, but nevertheless a part of the show car culture that goes on in Indonesia. Can you believe this started life as a Toyota Yaris?

Stay tuned for my text story, which will have a bit of everything. 

Ron Celestine
Instagram: celestinephotography



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