The below article is highlighted in Bugils Newsletter, and in attempt to make it more worth to read – since I wrote it in 10 minutes during Manchester United vs. Chelsea game (in between red wine & chips) – and to look smarter (ha, who am I kidding!), I fixed it a little bit.
… I don’t really know my country that well, apparently. Mr. Mck’s friends are coming for two weeks and even though I’ve been to Bali a thousand times I haven’t explored the island further than Seminyak area. Then the will be spending some time in Jakarta. But except visiting our bars (Eastern Promise and Cazbar), I have absolutely no idea where to take them – I have to ask my friends who, despite trying really hard, couldn’t give me satisfactory answers. Where to go in Jakarta except Sunda Kelapa? I might take them to Taman Mini Indonesia Indah but it’s damn too far (in terms of time journey, not distance), we might as well spend the night in Bogor. I only know Bandung for it’s factory outlets. I know, embarrassing. I am embarrassing.
… My country doesn’t make it easy. Really. I check the news sporadically, and sometimes it’s either upsetting or depressing, and I couldn’t help but wonder, how we could manage to stand as a country for 60 years without learning anything from the past and without an extra effort to think about the effects for the future. We tear down all historical buildings and leave next to nothing to the next generation (what can you learn from too many shopping malls?), we choose to build villas on the green areas and then blame God, nature, and other spirits when the flood takes over. Things that should be easy and essential are being robbed: we deserve to breath in clean air, to see the blue sky, to hear the bird chirping in the morning from our bedroom window. We deserve to walk in the city without being harassed by vehicles and thugs. We deserve to use decent public transportations which is reliable and work around the clock. How could we respect our government while they always come up with stupid decisions, like to chain the parked cars on the street (I’m sure they now have a big budget to buy locks and chains), or to argue about whether Prof. Dr. Satrio/ Casablanca street will resemble Singapore’s famous Orchard Road or not, but it has been 10 years since Suharto regime fall and life is harder to most people, and justice has not been put in place. Jakartass writes an excellent review and summary about what happens after 1998 tragedy, and I can’t believe that we’re not progressing much.
… to some, time is a strange concept. And boy how I forget about it – time is not something to be honored in Indonesia. Prepare to face the worst, those who don’t appreciate yours, and those who are familiar with rubber time (jam karet). We don’t know each other except through another person – she lives in Indonesia but is married to a Scotsman, and I live here. But I gave her my mobile number anyway, with a PS: if you happen to be in Aberdeen, do not hesitate to contact me. She remembers and texted me the other day, announcing her arrival and her hope that she’d meet me. After a few cancellation, we settled on this particular day. I suggested lunch. She said she’d make it at 11. I said I could make it at 12. At 12.15 she phoned me, saying that they (yeah, she and her beau, apparently), just left home and will be there in 45 minutes, circa. I arrived 12.45, waited and waited. Bought some juice to calm my screaming tummy. 1.30 I got a text from a different number, she apparently left her mobile at home and now was using her beau’s. They had arrived. I chucked my juice away and went back to the cafe (2.00 PM, 2 hours late!), only to find out that she had had lunch. And I though we promised to have lunch? Looked at the watch and it’s already 2.05PM – another appointment – so apologized and buggered off. Wondering whether I have been away from Indonesia too long or this particular girl doesn’t have manner…. I couldn’t even be mad because I was too hungry! She sent text today asking if I’m free on Friday. When I said yes she texted back, and contrary to what I expected that she’d arrange something, she said she’ll let me know later. 2 Hours later I confirmed a a lunch with a group of friends. That’s how it works, baby. Don’t expect people to wait for you with open schedules.
…I took a look at the pictures gracing my friends’ Facebook and after 6 months of jealousy feeling left out because I wasn’t present I wonder if there is any life outside parties and boozes, and if all gone, what’s left? Hangover? How much longer we want to do that over and over again?
… I have the feeling that I don’t belong there (or here?). I start losing my memory about Jakarta and Surabaya and can’t remember the routes and places. I don’t text my friends that often anymore and they don’t seem to care anyway (sent email a few weeks a go as part as an attempt to keep in touch by sending weekly email to everyone, but harsh reply came from them: too busy to write, sorry. Jaysus!! And that’s it, would never write anymore, ever), so those so-called friends are not friends anymore (funny that when you threw a party you’ve got lots of friends but once you need a hand, no one offers one?) and I only maintain contacts with a very few of them.
… I don’t want to go back. The world is my oyster. I don’t want to go back to stuck-in-traffic-jam-for-3-hours mode, the sense of insecurity and lack of smiles except when there’s a presence of Rp 1,000 notes under the table. I don’t want to go back to the world when manners mean nothing and work means 17 hours-stuck-in-office. Here we walk to office or drive and arrive there in 10 minutes – 45 minutes is a stress. We arrive in the morning and leave after 4. No one wishes to stay after 6.00 PM.
… maybe I’m just fed up in general.
Maybe I’m letting it go.