|The office building of Maintz & Co. in Kota Lama, Semarang, 1927. Now used as the office and assembling factory of Praoe Lajar cigarettes | Inzet: a pack of Praoe Lajar cigarette (source: Leiden University Library | seputarsemarang.com)|
A bad news coming for smokers in Indonesia on last tuesday, since the guvernment told cigarette makers on to start putting graphic warnings on cigarette packaging, the government's boldest step to reduce smoking in the world's third-largest cigarette market. Arrrghhh...finaly, these disgusting picture come to the cigarettes pack here. Well, but some people said especially those who joined anti-smoking campaign that the rule was widely ignored. Widely ignored or lack of socialization?
According to an articles in tempo.co, Indonesia currently has 672 cigarette companies that consist of 669 domestic companies and three importers. Wow! Such a great number isnt? I thought that the government should have a good willingness to give the socialization to those hundreds of cigarettes company. I guess it gonna take a long long time. Anyway, despite smoking such a bad habbit, but for me, these kinda cultural product that sometimes we have to maintain it. Indonesia, have a one kind of cigarettes that very popular around the world, its cigarettes made with a blend of tobacco, cloves and other flavors, simply known as Kretek. (See also: The story of Nitisemito, "The Kings of Kretek" )
|An advertising of Maintz & Co. in Isles of the East, |
An illustrated guide to Australia, New Guinea,
Java, and Sumatra book, published by
Koninklijke Paketvaart Maatschappij (KPM) in 1912.
Partly due to favorable taxation compared to "white" cigarettes, kreteks are by far the most widely smoked form of cigarettes in Indonesia, where about 90% of smokers usually smoke kreteks. In Indonesia, there are hundreds of kretek manufacturers, including small local makers and major brands. Most of the widely known international brands, including Sampoerna, Djarum, Gudang Garam, Wismilak and so on, but here in Semarang, we also have our own local brands, Praoe Lajar. Eventhough its not as popular among another major kretek company, Praoe Lajar have a loyal consument that spread over Pantura (eng: north coast of Java). Praoe Lajar office and also its assembling factory is located in Kota Lama, Semarang, made it one's of the iconic place in Kota Lama. The visitors in Kota Lama also could visiting inside the factory and see the production process of Kretek cigarettes, every weekdays from 8 a.m till 12 a.m.
Only a few people realized that Praoe Lajar office and factory once is a office for Maintz & Co. a private energy company that firstly developed the electricity in Dutch East Indies. Maintz & Co. produced electricity and had her work in Central and East Java, especially Surabaya, Semarang, Yogyakarta, Pasuruan and Salatiga. Maintz & Co. have some subsidiaries one of it is N.V. Algemeene Nederlandsch-Indische Electriciteits-Maatschappij (ANIEM) that founded in 1909. Maintz & Co. just like the others foreign company in Indonesia, by the late of 50's decade come's to an end through the nationalization policy. Its nationalized in May, 2nd 1959. Likely after that, the office in Semarang used as the office and factory for Praoe Lajar, until now.