Saturday, March 18, 2006
Culture of Contempt
As mentioned earlier I have been on the "road (and air and sea) over the past few days trying to make living.
By good luck, more than good management, we had time to take a walk through a planned tourist "walk" in the jungle. I admit I sometimes have trouble understanding some apects of Indonesian culture and that would be my fault. I can understand why local people would kill Elephants raiding their food crops or for the couple of extra dollars they can earn selling various bits and pieces of Elephant (Although I do not excuse a government more concerned with what people wear, see and listen to than preserving a world heritage). What I cannot understand is why so many people seem to think it is perfectly acceptable to trash and pollute the very Environment they live in.
The walk through the jungle was highlighted not by the beauty of nature or the potential award wining natural tourist attraction but the endless trails of plastic bottles and mounds of rubbish. Sometime in the recent past funds had been made available to build a pool and some villa (?) units at the base of the “walk” (being a government facility, I can only assume it was done via some grant or other). The pool was green with slime and the piles of rubbish were blowing around in the wind.
My disappointment and frustration was so great, I could not help myself so I asked one of the five workers sitting around smoking “Why is the pool green and why is there so much rubbish lying around? Answer: “Belum Bersih Mister” (Not clean yet). I then had to ask “You not embarrassed at this, this is your country, your home” Answer..Blank Stares.
The sad part is forest tourism is like “money for jam”, people the world over will pay to walk through pristine jungle, and it costs next nothing and is forever renewable. I guess it takes a modicum of thought.
Same thing happens August every year, flag waving, singing, pride in the nation and when it’s all over the people go home whilst the countryside groans under the weight of the rubbish left behind.
I can only assume it’s me and I am missing something in the culture, because I can find no excuse poverty or otherwise to treat your mother land with such contempt.
As a start, I think there is a lot to be said for placing a 500Rp returnable deposit on every plastic drink bottle in Indonesia.