July 8, 2008

#18 IKEA

In line with the high regard they have for all things foreign, Malaysians have accorded IKEA with an unassailable position in their hearts and living rooms. From avant garde disposable lamps to collapsible chartreuse cupboards, the pursuit of the IKEA catalogue lifestyle has never been more salient.

Whilst this threatens to homogenize homes across the country and put domestic furnishers out of business, Malaysians throw caution to the wind and head to IKEA every weekend to purchase "that one item" that will make their homes, and lives complete.

By delving into the psyche of the Malaysian, one deduces that despite their quest to achieve a higher and unique social status, in reality they find comfort in homogeneity and collectivism. Although they desire to appear as individuals with good taste, Malaysians are actually consoled by the fact that thousands of others own the same paraphernalia as them thus affirming their choices and beliefs. This psychoanalysis also reveals that Malaysians relate empty space in their homes with the emptiness of their souls that they hope can be filled by Swedish furniture.

The weekend IKEA experience has emerged as a family bonding session where families brave the humidity, traffic and fellow shoppers to look for more stuff to fill their homes with. The IKEA shopper aggressively pursues ornaments and upholstery they believe will give their homes a sense of "elegance and sophistication". The experience is also not complete without consumption of Swedish gastronomic staples that are deemed exotic and quaint but prepared by local culinary talents.

If you enter a Malaysian's home and notice their IKEA adornments, commend them on the exactness of their humble abode to this month's catalogue. This will give your Malaysian hosts great pleasure and they will regard you as their new best friend.

Further insight on IKEA here.


howshouse said...

it's the one homeware institution that is always packed. in a way, malaysians do not have many other choices as we dont have large home dept stores like home depot, bed bath and beyond here (yet?). and ppl usually would perceive ikea to be of higher value than the kedai perabots you see along the highways.

however, having said that, ikea do have some pretty good designers who churn out innovative designs at affordable prices. i guess that's where the value is

B.H. said...

Hi House,

Thanks very much for your informative and politically correct answer.


DiEsE said...

"By delving into the psyche of the Malaysian, one deduces that despite their quest to achieve a higher and unique social status,....."
Pleaasseee... if Malaysians wants to achieve a higher and unique social status, they need to learn how to clear their table after dining at IKEA restaurant.

B.H. said...


Sadly, that dimension of decorum is still a bridge too far for most Malaysians.

Maybe you should start propagating such ways the next time you're there.