Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Reported this week that the President of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has toured South Korean Nuclear Power Plants with a view of Indonesia having its own nuclear powerplant capability 2012.
This from the nation that brings us the choking haze every year due to uncontrolled burning of pristine world hertiage jungle (and manages to choke our every neighbour in a 3000Km radius). The nation who brought us "Garuda" (ride first class and die) and the National (?) car (The TIMOR?) and is currently ranked in the top ten most corrupt countries in the world. Last, but not least, the nation that straddles the region more commonly known as " the ring of fire"
I ASK AGAIN ARE YOU SCARED YET?
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
(Please note names, places and acts of stupidity have been censored to protect .... well... me)
Well armed with the just enough knowledge to get into trouble and not enough to get out of trouble..
A rude awakening by the telephone alerted me that all was not well at one of our outstations
So at sparrows fart, Saturday morning I set off for a kampung (village) that which sounds like a BBQ but is really little more than a flooding hole in the ground about three hours from my present abode.
Unfortunately, the plan starts to come apart the moment I get to the car. The "Padang Princess" who so cheerfully announced the previous evening "I have locked the car for you" forgot to mention that she had also secured the keys inside the vehicle as well.
Not one to let a minor setback get me down.. a rambling thought to a misspent youth had me quick as flash probing the window with a bent coat hanger .."mere minutes thinks I and awayyyyy we go" One hour later and 5 broken coat hangers inside the car door, the lack of quality of which explains all those clothes lying on the bottom of my closet (and all this time I thought I was being a bit lazy in my drunken stupors)..finally the door pops open.
Away I go.....roaring down the road at 30Kms an hour ..hmmm I had forgotten today was the big day of the religious holiday. Today is the day where everyone is duty bound to meet the relatives, so out of a population of 220 Million, 50% were going the same place I was, the other 50% were heading the other way (but still on my side of the road).
Of course, it has since occurred to me as one of life's great mystery's if everybody is on the road who the HELL are they visiting!!!! (the other great mystery is ..why does everyone like sitting in the front of a plane when no plane has ever backed into a mountain).
Progressing along, flicking errant motor cycle riders off the windscreen with a deft flick of the wiper washer (don't leave the wipers on too long or they smear across the windscreen). It was now approaching 11am so feeling a bit peckish and reverting to the early morning plan of some breakfast on the way, another minor hitch develops !!! Everything is closed (did I mention the whole country is traveling on motor bikes to meet one another) but dedication and persistence finally a road side stall is found to which the standard answer every question is "Sudah Habis" or "Already Finished"
Back on the road, gulping down my 1/2 kilo bag of unroasted peanuts which I managed to swap for a down payment on someone's house (expensive Pak, its holiday time). I should add at this time, that no matter how hungry you are 1/2 kilo of peanuts cannot be made to taste like coffee, bacon and eggs. But feeling much better with a feed singing along to the music and the dulcet tones of five broken coat hangers inside the car door and the scenery flashes past and pulling over for the odd hoodlum on his push bike who wants to pass us.
Arrive my desitatation, after passing the detailed and intensive examinations from the local security service.." Di mana Pak (where you wanna go Mister)" Answer " Di sana (over there)" ."Ok Pak."....
Now this intensive security checking is truly impressive when you later notice that at no time did the security guard actually have to stop looking at the TV blaring in the background..multi tasking ..bill gates you are not in the race.
Its now been 4.5 hours on the road but have arrived..Meet a friend at the new location
"Hi, the service crew here yet" (we had some lads go down earlier, whilst I was playing Uri Geller with the coat hangers).
"Yep down the road"
Off down the road, and but its flooded.
Wade thru the boot deep mud (is it a cosmic plan that no matter how high the sides of my boots are, the mud is 1 cm deeper, there must be a "da vince code for this), to the side of the "lake".
See our lads on a pontoon in the middle of the "lake"
"So how do I get on?" casting my eyes around (and that hurts) in vain for the dingy.
" Pull the Rope Pak" ..Oh top plan.. so after 20 minutes of reeling in a the pontoon from the middle of the lake to the shore, I finally land the bugger!!! it was a tough fight but these local road crossing pontoons are known as the Barracuda of pontoons on light tackle. In fact, I didn't quite land it, 6m short of the shore it ran aground, well armed with the advice from our crew "its best if you take you boots off and wade out, its not deep" . I sally forth.
So out into the lake I venture. It is at this point, I should point out there are certain things that, by rights should set alarm bells ringing
1. The cheques in the mail !
2. Its not deep !!
I should also add we wear boots because the mud has sharp edges but its ok it didn't hurt. Luckily, when leeches smell the blood and bite they have a leave natural anaesthetic. This is a sneaky ploy by the leeches, so you don't know you are being sucked dry (this is also the principle women employ when raiding your wallet whilst you are watching the football). It is also known as Einsteins "law of life sucks" or "for each and every shitty thing that happens to you an equal and opposite shitty thing will happen to you again"
Now the statement "its not deep" may well be true that for the average guy here weighting 50kg wringing wet. However, with my 100kg of winter conditioning about 3M from shore (I think aircraft carrier pilots call it the point on no return) it occurred to me that I was breaking thru the crust under the water. Suddenly it was getting considerably deeper than I had planned (It also occurred to me at this time that it would have been smarter if I had left my phone, wallet and smokes on the bank).
Oh well bite the bullet, I will swim for it..oops did I mention I was now knee deep in mud and sinking, so swimming was the next best option short of sprouting wings. Of course, I was now better anchored than the Queen Mary at dockside. Pulling my leg from the mud (notice the singular because three weeks ago had a knee operation so the other leg was not going any where, which lead to swimming in circles. Finally I crawled, swam, sluttered and coughed myself to the pontoon, dignity intact (??) ready for action.
More next week..like why am I here..
"In addition, a titillating turn to the case also seems to have surfaced, as recent media reports have placed Leslie with a son of Indonesia's chief economics minister, Aburizal Bakrie, at the time of her arrest. The reports said that when the Australian model was arrested, she was riding in a Kijang van supposedly belonging to the Bakrie family company.
A company spokesperson has denied as "untrue" the reports that were published in an Australian newspaper as well as a number of local media, and added that they would consider a law suit against them. "
One can only say a vastly different result thna Corby but then again converting to Islam, and having the above (if true) as friends can only help. Poor Corby only had a dodgy business man from the Gold Coast and a Current Affair.
Now the really interesting thing will be if the Bakrie company does sue... anyone want to take a punt...
Ah Justice in indonesia .. a valued concept.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
For non-Muslims it can be "hell" month, with wake up calls anytime between 2.30 to 4.30am reminding people to arise for prayers. With bellowing, clanging of cans and the lighting of fire crackers. "The Call to Prayer" blasts from the local mosque's loud speakers. Sleep becomes a very rare thing and something to be treasured.
Now in times of stress like this, you would think its a good plan to duck down the local establishment for a drink and sleeping pill. Well no, chances are your local "mine host" has been closed down by the religious police, government, provincial authories, local thugs (IDF again) or a combination of all the previous. No rest for the wicked I guess my mom was right.
Still wine and song can still be found, most international hotel bars and a number of the larger nightclubs will remain open (religious fever tends be selective based on money exchanged and who actually owns the nightclub). It is always amusing to watch the local trappers getting paid off in alcohol to allow extended drinking hours, still who said "lack of shame was a hindrance in religious piety"
Meanwhile, this is the month ex pats or "bule" will get more visits from Muslims than any other. The vistors are usually of two types 1...Muslim visitors will start popping round the house day and night "just to say hi" knowing full well that as good host, you will offer them some refreshment which they refuse until the blinds are drawn then its the "food fight" scene in Animal House.
2. The more pious Muslim who will call to offer greetings and perhaps save your soul.
Now I should qaulify this post not all Muslims are like this. However, in my experience the louder they proclaim their faith the more "full of shit" they are.
Of course our little darlings, the Islamic Defenders Front will race around town unhindered smashing up food halls, bars, entertainment venues as they see fit (as long as they don't disturb the local "Mafia" but then again courage is not a virtue for which the IDF is famous for).
One on the last years highlights was when the IDF descended upon the Kemang district (a well-known up-market, ex-pat eating and drinking suburb) hell (?) bent on smashing a few places for some extra godly brownie points.
For once the local populace rightly identified the IDF as "two bit" thugs destroying their livelihood. Within in minutes those brave defenders of the faith were running for their lives as their bikes and cars were torched and destroyed. It was one of those incidents where the hope that the ordinary decent people may wrest back control of their lives from the thugs, bigots, liars and thieves still lives.
Anyway to all the believers "have a blessed Ramadhan" and I hope your sins are purged and you can purge the corwardly dogs that are hiding in dark corners of your faith.
To all you Christians..Don't take the high ground just yet..You have more than few dark corners as well to explain..
To all the rest as the man says "to each his faith" in another words piss off and live your own life.
Well I have to go catch a plane..Somewhere where GOD has not appointed a gadzillion helpers to assist me live my life for the next month.
Sunday, October 02, 2005
Meanwhile the government pretends it has been doing something whilst supporting that other haven of cowardly dogs :"The Islam Defenders Front"
Friday, September 30, 2005
Those incredibly brave and passionate men of the Islamic Defenders Front have turned art critics saving our souls from looking at naked women. A recent art exhibition was forced to withdraw a painting of Adam and Eve because they were naked and it was therefore pornography (Just were did they buy clothes from anyway, let alone the hijab).
This of course will prove a real issue for those of course who also love the old masters, because in our ignorance we were all just a bunch of old pervs, at least the Islamic Defenders Front arrived in time to save us from ourselves. It should be fun as we toss all those old oil painting in the fire.
Another huge step forward for human knowledge, freedom and expression.
Of course, if our highly respected lovers of democracy and people's rights really want to be brave perhaps they should trying pulling down dear old naked Chloe( http://www.melbourne.com.au/images/chloe.jpg ) at Y&J's pub, that would really test their mettle instead wanking around with a frightened population and government/police force that does not give a toss except where the next buck can be scammed from.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Sorry been a little while since we posted but been traveling up the the Highlands (See Picture). Actually saw SNOW in the topics...Well we were up pretty high.
Back in the big smoke once more (and in Jakarta that literally means big smoke), some say its the third most polluted city in the world although that may just be people being kind.
Nothing has changed since we have been away. The Cianjur Regent has banned the Muslim Sect "Ahmadiyah" from worshipping in his province, The Islamic Defenders Front is threatening to destroy night clubs and places of entertainment that open during the upcoming holy month and there is an uproar because a girl was photographed kissing her soldier boyfriend as he left Aceh.
Meanwhile, action over the malnourished children across the country, bird flu, outbreaks of polio, women and babies begging in the street will have to wait I guess. First things first!! Lets get those young people displaying acts of affection.
In truth, ACEH applies a version of Sharia law, which allows stoning and whipping along with other gruesome methods of punishment. In last few months people have been publicly flogged for gambling (only small fry, interestingly enough). Some people (? I use the term loosely) are calling for the "kissing" girl to have a similar punishment.
I think if that happens I have had enough of this, I earn my living here now and love the country but could no longer remain and live in the same country as these evil, horrible, small minded little people who seem to gaining more and more power every day.
Monday, September 26, 2005
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Mandala Airlines Crash
Another sad day for Indonesians yesterday with a plane crash killing 143 (?) people.
In the mist of all this sadness a grief comes one those truely remarkable statements from the Indonesian Transport Minister Hatta "There was nothing wrong with the plane, it was certified". Well that must be relief to all the relatives and it certainly takes the hassle out of conducting an investigation and searching for those pesky black boxes.
Mandala was set up in 1969 and is one of several low-cost airlines that fly across the vast Indonesian archipelago. It is 90 per cent owned by a foundation set up by the army strategic reserve Kostrad.
Monday, August 29, 2005
That fountain of bravery, well spring of truth, handful of hope...Ok Just kidding. The local English Rag " the Jakarta Post" is a must read for anyone traveling through SE Asia. Never a day goes by without us choking and wiping away tears of .......
today's (29 Aug 05) gem, page two "Govt won't prosecute Muslim hard liners over church closures" Minister for Religious Affairs M.Maftuh Basyuni said "We will do nothing. We will only clarify there were no church closures" he went onto say the groups closed down illegal congregations (sic) set up in residential areas because they had " created anxiety among the local residents"
Wow, as visitors to this country there seems so much wrong here its hard to know where to start.
As we continue down the streets of Jakarta, watching other groups of thugs extort money from the "pedicab drivers" and "bemo" drivers the following questions spring to mind:
1. What due process was followed before these so called "illegal congregations" were shut down?
2. Who appointed the Anti Apostasy Movement Alliance legal law enforcers and who is responsible for their actions?
3. What "local residents" complained and to which government department?
4. If the Indonesian Constitution guarantees religious freedom then is the forcible prevention of people performing their religious obligations treason?
5. What is the role of the police in this country?
Of course then there is our driver Wayan, a Hindu living and working in Jakarta. We asked him if the "Call to prayer" played over loud speakers five times a day every day for the Muslim faithful made him feel anxious? He answered "of course, its a lot worse now than in the past, lots of orang gila now" Would he complain and ask to have the Mosques crediting checked? Wayan answered "Kamu Gila (You Crazy)!"
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
We have uprooted the stump again and have replanted in Jakarta, Indonesia for a while, so its down to the market to do some shopping (see the picture). Three questions:
1. What is horrid pimply thing that smells so bad (not davo)?
2. Why does everyone assume we need a girl?
3. Where is the blue sky and sun?
Seriously, just arrived via the Jakarta International (?) Airport flying the mangy roo (QANTAS). If there is an award for the most arrogant airline staff in the world, QANTAS have it in the bag.
Lady requesting assistance to place her bag in the overhead locker; QANTAS Hostie (yes you are bloody hosties skip the PC crap) in a snide remark to her mate " if its that heavy she should have checked it as luggage.
No my little darling you should have "checked your attitude" before you came to work.
The "Stump" agrees its time to sell the shares in the mangy roo, its only a matter of time before the political bias for QANTAS drys up (particularly now Minister for QANTAS freebies Anderson has gone) and Singapore Airlines moves into Australia.
Once SQ moves in, the days of the roo feasting in the long paddock are over. I guess QANTAS beer bitches and beastie boys will have to find work in french restaurants around the world, so they can still be rude to people and get paid for it.
While we are on the subject, the lads at the stump have discussed and awarded the following green tinnie awards (out of 12 because that how the tinnies come)
Singapore Airlines = 9/12 Kinda Sterile but Great Service, Great planes with all the extras. Special Note: How do the girls get into those uniforms? No bull and crap PC here!The girls look great and do a great job.
Malaysian Airlines = 8/12 A poor mans Singapore but still great service.
Garuda Airlines = 6/10 Well ok, they are never on time, your seat is cancelled if somebody more important (?) comes along, they run out of the most inept airports in South East Asia but hey the staff smile (even when they tell you your luggage has been used as whell chock. However at the end of the day they put the adventure back into flying
Merparti Airlines = 5/10 As for Guruda but with worse planes and less money don't be surprised if the plane is delayed to wait for more passengers to pay for the fuel.
SAS = 7/10 Smooth, professional and friendly something like a swiss clock I guess but they do seem to care.
QANTAS = 2/10 Arrogant, but come fully equiped with hags and pillow biters but coz we are Australians we will give them a point for the Kangaroo on the side. Oops we had to take the point back off, Davo just reminded us of that ghastly, vomitous Aborginal (Koori?)Art thingy that covers a whole plane. Did we lose a bet or something to have to fly that around the world?
Virgin = 6/10 Stingy, but lots fun to fly. Rumour has it all the pretty young things with a sense of humour are being replaced with the boilers again..sigh
Air North (NT) = 6/10 Expensive (make that gougers, Ned Kelly would blush working for these guys), saving grace the hosties are funny "Sit down!!!! In the history of this airline no one has even beaten a plane back to the terminal" or "If we should crash blow on the little whistle so the crocodiles know where to find you"
Thai = 7/10 Ok maybe more how thehell would we know we were looking at other things.
Emirates = 9/10 Actually no one has ever flown with them but they must great because the rumours say they are (you try and find someone who actually has?????)
Friday, August 12, 2005
Its that time of year again, where Indonesia sets fire to the rain forest (ok whats left of it)
Between the illegal mining, illegal timber cutting and rampant burning its a tough life being a jungle creature in Indonesia. One has to wonder how much longer the rest of the ASEAN community is going to tolerate its crazy, crooked, anti social dirty ol uncle who keeps spitting and urinating in the house.
Fair dinkum, if Indonesia was your neighbour in the suburbs, you would have to move. Not that you would get any resale on your house.
Monday, August 08, 2005
We are all back at the stump, licking our wounds and drying our tears (oops that aint true real men don't cry...maybe a little but only when we get the brylcream in our eyes)
As usual Jakarta was the bizarre mix of overt wealth and and abject poverty.. Took our vistors from the great south land for a night life tour .... BATS bar (named for location and patrons)
CJ's (how many people can you fit into one bar really) and of course BLOK M www.jakartablokm.com . General opinion from the stump ..BATS ..ok CJs...ok BLOK M ..just to damn sleazy. Couple of bars worth a mention Sportsman Bar not bad, nice food clean and not too many ladies...girls of the night. My Bar..not for most including us.
Gobsmack of the trip..." 10 year old kid kept trailing us for money until well past 1 am, "go home to your mother kid" Answer " mama di sana"( mum over there) pointing to a lady lying rags sleeping on a board on the footpath...
Ok so now how do we feel...
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
MUI TO FORMULATE EDICTS AGAINST ‘LIBERAL THOUGHTS’
The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) will formulate several edicts to put an end to what it terms "deviant secular and liberal Islamic thoughts" during its four-day national congress that opened here on Tuesday (26 July). According to the council's edict committee, the edicts will represent the MUI's determination to win the "war of ideas against liberal Islam".
Word from the stump is..... Its about time!!!! Those pesky little liberal thoughts are just proving to be to much of a problem. Next thing you know people will want to have the freedom to believe in what they want. Thats the trouble with ideas one gets out then there's a whole bunch of 'em like bloody rabbits at the stump they are!!
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,16049802^601,00.html Well it has been a a couple of years since I was last in East Timor. I arrived shortly after the Australian soldiers following the rampage by the pro and anti independence militias (oh yea for those of you from the left side of politics both sides managed to disgrace mankind as a species) .
I watched with pride as the Australian contingent conduct itself with dignity and professionalism and later with dismay over the next two years after the UN arrived with their bloated bureaucracy, incompetence and corruption driven practices undid all the progress made.
It was particularly sad, as I like a number of Australians believed in the lofty ideals of the UN only to find in practice the UN is little more than a third world employment agency (with some notable exceptions) that would not be qualified to run the proverbial "chook raffle" (although the UN would employ 1500 people on USD daily allowances and the chook would go missing)
Of course, United Nations did a great ? job even before the independence encouraging all and sundry to vote in the referendum. Of course, once the violence started (something that even blind freddy could have seen coming a mile away) in a moment of shining glory, the UN packed its bags and ran leaving the locals to fend for themselves. That said, it should be noted that some heroic and noble UN staffers stayed at considerable risk to themsleves to help and protect where they could however the UN as an organisation disgraced its charter again.
Anyone who had any dealings with the UN after they came crawling back, once Australia had cleaned up their mess and the locals had paid the price in blood, had no doubt that the future of East TImor was grim. Corruption and incompetence was taught as part of UN state building 101. Make no mistake, East Timor will remain dependent on Australia much like PNG for as far forward as you can see. Oil & Gas money will ensure a few corrupt dogs get rich but for the average Timorese live is tough and going to get tougher (but far be it for Australia to attach strings to its Aid like governance and sound practice that would be racist) .
Some classics (where were the UN advisors and what the hell were they thinking):
1. East Timor adopts the USD as official currency - smart when over 85% population earn less than $1 a day, kinda tough to make change.
2. East Timor adopts Portuguese as the national language - wee! now we can trade with Portugal, eer maybe some African and South American countries... (minor technical hitch nobody under 45 speaks it..oh well).
3. Tampons are now GST free (oh look found a UN advisor, you would think he or she had something better to do than swipe at Howard's GST particulary seeing how the only women who can afford tampons are UN staffers and expats).
Monday, July 25, 2005
Pre Dawn Anzac Service - Borneo Indonesia
There will be the rants, raves, reflections of a 40 something Australian, who is currently working in South East Asia after mucking up his marriage some time ago and decided that maybe a new start would help...that and the fact that money may not buy you happiness it sure decides what class of misery you live in.
You can perhaps expect some funny stories, sad stories, some politics (strong views but doesn't matter because no one listens..grin). Anyway if you read this have fun or not up to you..