Teen Memories to Lonely Friends

Jakarta, CNN Indonesia

“The old me is not the same as the current me”. The fragment of the song popularized by Tegar may be suitable to describe Mal Blok M at the moment.

It’s deserted, gloomy, and many outlets are closed. The atmosphere of Blok M Mall is 180 degrees different from the 1990s or 2000s before the pandemic.

In the past, all shops in Blok M Mall were open every day. The sound of bargaining between visitors and shop owners seemed to be soundtrack when visiting the area.

Understand, the items sold at Mal Blok M are quite diverse. Not only that, the lively cheap price is also an attraction for eyewash people to the M Block area.

But it’s all in the past. Several traders who are still staying at Blok M Mall have complained that their income has decreased by more than 50 percent since the COVID-19 pandemic entered Indonesia in March 2020.

This is because the number of visitors has fallen drastically. People are afraid to leave their homes because of Covid-19, so sales at Blok M Mall have stalled.

Not only that, the Blok M Mall building contract will also expire in October 2022. Thus, some traders who are still surviving must be ready to leave the shopping area.

Faris (27), the owner of the ATR Fashion store, said he was sad because he had to immediately find a new place to trade.

Not only sad because he had to move, but he also has many memories of his youth at Blok M Mall.

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“If you ask me if I’m sad, I’m sad because this mall has a lot of memories. I used to like to hang out here in high school,” Faris told CNNIndonesia.comWednesday (18/5).

This shop, which sells men’s and women’s clothing, is one of six clothing outlets that are still open at Blok M Mall.

According to Faris, many shops were closed because the building contract was about to expire. However, many also decided to go out of business due to reduced income in the midst of the pandemic.

He himself admitted that his turnover fell by 70 percent.

“It’s decreased by about 40 to 70 percent, it’s been a bit (buyers). So if you’ve been here before, don’t come here anymore. It’s quiet,” said Faris.

Even so, he was found to have collapsed during Ramadan until Eid yesterday. Faris’ income had soared because people’s purchasing power rose at that time.

Even so, the amount of income he pocketed during Ramadan until Eid yesterday had not touched the level before the pandemic.

“Sometimes it’s up to Rp. 1 million, sometimes Rp. 2 million. Before the pandemic was more than that, it was around Rp. 3 million to Rp. 5 million a day,” said Faris.

On the other hand, Momo (39), a seller of women’s clothing named Tania Collection, admitted that she was tired of being asked by reporters about her business condition which had declined drastically since the beginning of the pandemic.

“Every day I am asked, until it hurts. Every day people come and ask questions,” said Momo.

Momo has actually been selling clothes since the 1990s, when Blok M Mall was founded. He was an eye witness to the closing of shops at Blok M Mall.

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“It’s been quiet for a long time, since the beginning of the pandemic, one by one has started to close. It’s rare to come here, only a few stop by,” said Momo.

His income, which before the pandemic could reach Rp. 3 million per day, is now uncertain. In fact, he was only able to bring home money worth Rp. 270 thousand per day.

“It’s sad when things are like this, but what can I do. Just carry on, everything is like this too. It’s lonely too,” said Momo.

He heard from several vendors that the building contract would end this year, so many decided to leave Blok M Mall. However, Momo himself has no plans to move to where.

“I don’t know where to move, I just follow my boss,” added Momo.

Lonely Foodcourt Mall Blok M


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