In Pontianak, the "Equatorial City": Grapes as a Lifestyle and Symbol of Prosperity


A lifestyle: anything can symbolize it.

If you ever have the opportunity to visit Pontianak, the capital of West Kalimantan, take a stroll around Jalan Katamso or MT Haryono. 

Look to your left and right. You will see "grape gardens" both in home yards and on rooftops, especially at the homes of the wealthy. 

No matter, grapes are now not only a fruit plant with truly delightful taste, but also a lifestyle, a symbol of wealth, and in addition, they beautify the surrounding scenery.

Grapes as a Lifestyle and Symbol of Prosperity

In Pontianak, the capital of West Kalimantan, the cultivation of grapes goes beyond agricultural practice; it is a lifestyle statement and a marker of affluence. 

The grapevine, typically nestled in the gardens of the well-to-do or elegantly draping over their rooftops, has become synonymous with luxury and good living. 

This trend reflects not just a penchant for the aesthetic but also a deeper socio-economic statement. Homeowners who cultivate grapevines often do so as a display of status, showcasing their ability to foster these vines which require careful attention and suitable climatic conditions. 

The thriving grapevines thus serve as a testament to their owner’s gardening prowess and their commitment to a particular quality of life.

Moreover, grapes in Pontianak are not merely ornamental. They are part of a broader cultural context where food and lifestyle intertwine with tradition and modernity. 

In the "Equatorial City" grapevines provide a lush, green backdrop that enhances the beauty of residential architectures, contributing to an overall ambiance of opulence and comfort.

For residents and visitors alike, the sight of grapevines in Pontianak is a reminder of the city’s unique relationship with nature and its role in personal and communal expressions of wealth. 

As such, grapes represent more than just agricultural success; they signify a cultivated, prosperous lifestyle that many aspire to embody.

Represent social status and lifestyle choices

In various cultures, certain plants not only serve functional or aesthetic purposes but also represent social status and lifestyle choices. 

Among these, the grape plant stands out as a significant symbol in many parts of the world, including in Pontianak, Indonesia. Here, cultivating grapevines is not merely about enjoying the succulent fruits they bear; it's a statement of one's social standing and an embodiment of a luxurious lifestyle.

In regions like Pontianak, where the affluent often display lush grapevines in their gardens and even on rooftops, these plants do more than produce fruit. They signify prosperity and a flair for the finer things in life. 

The presence of grapevines in a home indicates not only a capability for gardening but also an affinity for elegance and grace.

Moreover, the cultivation of grapes transcends mere agriculture, evolving into a part of the home decor that enhances the beauty and serenity of living spaces. It reflects a commitment to nurturing and luxury, where homeowners take pride in the panoramic greenery that offers both shade and visual appeal.

Grapes are more than a crop

Thus, in this context, grapes are more than a crop; they are a lifestyle choice and a symbol of wealth, integrating nature's bounty with social prestige and aesthetic value.

Long ago, during the era of the Dutch East Indies Company, tennis was seen as a hobby or a pastime of the wealthy. I understood this from A. Muis's novel, Salah Asuhan (1928: 1).

Then came golf, as a symbol. Or a marker of a certain social class.

In the realm of plants, adenium was once very famous. Later, whose price also fell, was aglaonema. Also the Wave of Love or Anthurium Plowmanii.

And now, grapes. How this plant became trendy, those who set the trends enjoy it.

Thi fruit-bearing climbing shrub is not just a plant whose fresh fruit can be enjoyed. More than that, the essence of the water from this Vitaceae family plant is also famously delicious: red wine.

Not presumptuous. Or even classifying oneself in a particular social class. The writer simply desires, wishes to cultivate grapes.

Quality grape seeds

In the advancing age of agribusiness, it is easy to obtain quality grape seeds. I bought them online, cash on delivery. Buy 2, get 3. However, due to delays in transit, only one survived. It is now for the terrace and front yard of my house in Jakarta.

In the garden and home of the writer in my homeland, Jangkang, Kab. Sanggau, Kalbar. I went directly to the nursery in MT Haryono, Pontianak. To choose personally.

The price of top-quality grape seedlings: IDR 150,000. While the second quality, can be IDR 125,000. Buy 10 and get a bonus of 1.

I observed, in Pontianak. The terraces and fronts of wealthy people's homes—shaded by climbing grape vines. Beautiful and serene.

Grapes are now not merely a plant. They also represent a lifestyle.

Not presumptuous. Or even classifying oneself in a particular social class. I simply desire, wish to cultivate grapes.

Grapes: a house beautifier

Grape plants beautify and sweeten the courtyard of the house. At the same time, they provide shade for the writer's terrace with a plant that becomes legendary.

And now, grape plants have become a lifestyle.

Then I am reminded. One of my hobbies is karaoke. Besides playing traditional games like jonggan "Kayu Ara", I enjoy singing songs by Koes Bersaudara and Koes Plus. Among them, the songs: "Melati Biru", "Biarlah Kusendiri", "Senja demi Senja", and many more.

Lastly, I am very fond of the song "Anggur Merah"

Red wine in my grasp

It has broken and soaked my shirt

Is this like you have been taken by someone else?

My love is shattered into pieces

Every step I take feels empty

Where else should I go?

Oh, dear

Like a kite whose string has snapped

Blown by the strong wind

Who knows where it will fall...

-- Rangkaya Bada

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