One week later, Bakudapan met again. This time, we formally introduced all of our participants – namely Elia, Mira, Putri, Agni, Bagus, Febri, Uma, Dwicky, Benny, Gatari, Fikry, Nisa, and Gloria. For our second discussion we tried to breakdown the issues we covered during the first meeting. We started the discussion at the same hour as last week and our key improvement from the first discussion was that we served more than one menu! Last time we only served cakes and fried tofu, with second-grade Coca Cola. This time we had; mashed potato made by Mira from the “KFC secret recipes” book, two types of (admittedly, still second grade quality) shrimp tempura – perhaps better described as fish nuggets; fried tofu and tempe, and last but not least, our second-grade Coca Cola. With this entire feast, we were ready to start the discussion.
Going around and around and around and around…..
So, in order to develop one’s own ideas, we discovered maybe one week is not enough, especially when it comes to gathering ideas from 13 people. For that we would need a string of long-fun-confusing days of discussion.
Anyway, when the discussion began, Elia gave an update on how she and Nisa evaluated the last meeting, then ended up drawing mind-map bubbles to represent the issues that arose in the first discussion (see the picture above). Looking at this picture, we see the title, “Fast Food and The politics of Taste” and the bubble-issues are divided into two parts; senses and imagery. This title and its bubble-issues will explained in greater detail in our upcoming article.
Following this prolog, we began to discuss the “international” image of J.co Donuts, even the company orginates from Indonesia. Bagus started this discussion by questioning the relation between colonialism and the image of cleanliness- are these notions related to each other? Then Febri thought it might be part of their promotion strategy, creating the international image to gain profit. The next discussion point came from Mira who proposed that the promotion seems to be more personal, for example using the text message that is sent to every mobile phone user. Somehow, these days, the promotions are using a more personal approach. Another example is a recent phenomenon in social media, featuring a taxi driver who collects his monthly salary to celebrate his son’s birthday at KFC. These promotional tactics and issues around them became a hit when it in the discussion – how do these promotions create a new image of fast food?
Speaking about image, Agni then presented her ideas on the relation between fast food and gender. She felt that when she went with her friends to cafés that sell desserts, she never found group of men doing the same thing – and if she did, she would find it weird. Fast food and gender in the end, for the participants is still a question to be discussed further – is gender and fast food related or not? Is the preference of taste related to gender or to the experience?
The discussion went on for two hours and still many of the participants hadn’t figured out their ideas for their own discussion topic. The discussion still wandered around these issues and never really hit the main ideas the participants want to focus on. In this fogginess, Uma proposed a question to the group: “Does the subject of fast food make you anxious?”
At first, we felt confused by Uma statement, what does he mean by “anxious”? Maybe the anxiety comes from the inherent contradictions of fast food and how we wrestle with those ideas. Maybe its because deep down we love fast food. We realized the “anxiety” comes from questioning these contradictions around fast food.
It might seem the second discussion didn’t produce any concrete answers, but for now, we think that’s a good thing.