For some, election campaigns may seem boring or even bothersome. Outdoor rallies cause traffic jams, and thousands of posters and banners are posted all over the city. But for those in the banners businesses, the campaign season is exciting - and profitable. They get orders in big volumes.
On a nice day for a stroll in the city of Malang, I walked from Achmad Yani Utara Street in the crowded north side of the city, to Polowijen Gang 2 street. It is the place where Iwan runs his banner business. At the west side is his factory along the railway track. People in Malang know the building as the 'antique building'. After knocking at the west gate, an officer of the factory, Indra Susanto (25), came out to open the door.
Once inside, I found that the factory is quite large, five times larger than a volleyball field. It has zinc roof. That is why the temperature inside the building is very high. It made me perspire.
Indra told me that they have been receiving a lot of orders for posters, banners, and other campaign material from political parties in Malang. "Since last December the orders have started to accumulate," says Indra. The orders continued to rise through January 2009 when the campaign season started and the factory was producing at full capacity. Walking around the factory, Indra explained that to meet the demand, they had to ask employees to work overtime. Only the last couple of weeks before the election day, the demand has reduced. Now they don't have any more orders from political parties, they have resumed taking orders from their regular customers.
From the factory in Polowijen Street, I moved on to a banner business in Pandaian Street. This factory is run by Pri (49) assisted by two business partners. He does not have much room to run his business, only 12 square meters. Pri's business has also benefitted from the election season. But not as much as Pri would have liked. As he explained "Sure we had more orders before the general elections. But unfortunately we have only three persons here, and cannot take all orders". Usually they can manage producing 500 to 600 T-shirt orders from political parties. Outside, in front of the factory there is still pile of campaign T-shirts drying on the pavement.
Farida Aryani, a businesswoman who runs a banner business in MT Haryono XII Street, has also thrived due to the campaign season. "In February and March I had to hire freelance workers to reach the targets." Now that election day is approaching, these workers in Malang's banner business have to seek employment elsewhere.