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The act of flaunting wealth has evolved into a modern lifestyle for numerous Indonesians.

The practice of flexing, or exhibiting excessive pride in one’s possessions or achievements, has become a controversial issue in Indonesia. The recent arrest of a tax officer’s son for assault led to the exposure of the accused’s extravagant lifestyle, which prompted a government crackdown on such practices. Despite this, the founder of the Asosiasi Influencer Indonesia network, Wenny Fatma Triyanti, believes flexing culture will not soon disappear. She attributes this to the widespread availability of the internet, which has allowed the culture to reach a broader audience. In a nation with significant social divides and varying socioeconomic classes, many people are interested in gaining a glimpse into the lavish lifestyles of the wealthy. This is not limited to low-income populations but extends to people from all walks of life who are conditioned to believe that success is measured in terms of monetary wealth. Clinical psychologists explain that flexing is primarily driven by external social pressures, the fear of missing out (FOMO), and an individual’s initial stage of development. However, Florentina Dwiastuti, a research assistant for the politics and social change department at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, believes that when public officials flaunt their wealth or flex, it creates distrust among the public who assume that their salaries or income are generated from taxpayers money, for the welfare and service of the community and not to gain profit or benefits themselves. Referring to existing regulations, state employees or officials are required to use social media appropriately, such as promoting the activities that they have done, especially in society. The Communications and Information Ministry’s Public Information Communication Directorate General issued a guidebook titled Maximizing the Use of Social Media in Government Institutions, which describes the role of social media in government circles such as to reach a wider, faster, personal, and communicative public. Public officials’ use of social media is perceived as a two-edged sword; when used correctly, it can increase public trust, and vice versa. In a nation where the poverty rate is 9.57 percent, with 26.36 million people living below the poverty line, the flaunting of wealth by public officials is seen as a violation of ethical conduct.

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