Monday, July 31, 2006

Indonesian cool stuff

Treespotter certainly fired things up with his post on expats. I have almost bailed on that one as it seemed to be getting very personal and nasty. I was also having a lot trouble following the comment thread (although I do wonder who is the lemony guy? Is that me?.)

So today to put some personal myths to rest, I thought I would jot down some notes on what amazes me, intrigues me, astounds me (all those things that makes me love Indonesia) about Indonesia. I should qaulify that some of the items in the following list can induce a real love/hate thing depending on how your day is going:

Traffic..
Its bizarre, no matter what happens, how busy it is, the traffic is like a river finding its own level, it just somehow keeps moving along. Motor bikes will keep flowing around obsticles, trees, broken buses, footpathes etc. The tolerance displayed is amazing. If we tried jumping the line at home as is the done thing here, there would be gunfights and punch ups every 20 meters of the toll road.

Schoolkids...
No matter what the circumstances of the parents, it always seems that the kids are in uniform (normally white as well) neat, tidy and well presented. Don't see much of F U tshirts... studs thru the lip crap here.

Family
For a westerner, it is simply amazing how the ties are kept and how far they reach. I remain an object of curiosity (pity) simply because I have not seen my sister for ten years. Babysitting here is NEVER a problem always someone around.

Religion..
Ok, I will tread carefully (today only). I have met one Islamic Girl who simply amazed me (I am sure there are others) she not only "talked the talk, but walked the talk" Literally could not touch her (not a relative) but she never had a mean word about anyone (of any faith or failing). Most impressive to me was her complete and utter belief in her faith. I must admit I envied her peace, contentment and strength of conviction (it would never work for me, I am way to cynical). At the same time she represented to me the positive side of Islam as opposed to the ....

Environment.. (under severe threat)
Tigers, Apes, Jungle, Volcanos, some of the best diving in the world...amazing but disappearing.

The Street Venders..
These guys and women are the best. I can sit outside my house. The "Jamu" lady will come with a boxes of drinks (don't look at it)on her back. Drinks and potions that can make me "strong" hard????(true), skinny, fat, grow my hair (I ain't bald) etc etc..Five minutes later, the Vegitable guy comes on his motor bike and about 50% of the stuff he sells, I have no idea what it is! Or stranger yet, the vender outside the nightclub selling Viagra (?) Condoms (?) or would you believe it.... a Tie?

The Bar..
Beer is cheap, service is wonderful and you never ever open your own stubbie (bottle). A never ending passing parade of pretty girls, strange expats all who have a story, Indonesian guys who vary from the hardened regular to the eyes agoog "this is what expats do all day" type. I should add this drinking reputation can be unfortunate as the vast marjority of expats don't spend every dime drinking, most have families, loves and lifes like everyone else.

The Airlines... (QANTAS YOU SUCK)
Scary, fun, unpredictable but happy all QANTAS/BA staff should take lessons. Catch any plane with a "FLY IS CHEAP" logo and you know it will be an adventure.

The Women
Exotic, friendly, industrious, caring and slightly mystic (make that very mystic, more than one unsuspecting chap has lost his way). You have heard of the House of the Rising Sun,well every bar is like that here.

The Traditions (also under threat)
You could travel this country, for your whole life and you would still only see just the surface ripples.

The Summary

To finish off, what I love most about Indonesia is its "rawness" . Australia and its ilk for all their crys of freedom and democracy are over regulated, over taxed, "nanny states" with blind, overbearing buearcrats infesting and sucking the blood out the populace like a bad case of gut worms. Not happy with giving up smoking themselves then "do-gooders" in their never ending search for relvance resort to ensuring no one else can have a puff. You want to have kids out of wedlock, fill ya boots the state (read taxpayer) will pay for them. Insult me and I sue you, punch me and the police will arrest you. Live in so much imagined fear that the airlines won't even give you a butter knife....sad sad places these days.

Now in Indonesia, the government has very little impact on the ordinary guy in the street, it exists only for a chosen few. The rest live, breath and reproduce on their own wits and cunning. Have a problem..calling the Police, Lawyer, Legal Aid is not an option, they sort things out the traditional way. You break in my house, I will deal with it personally. Have traffic issue and abuse the other driver better be prepared to back it up because the police won't come and save your arse when it gets out of control .

Yes, it is still man's world here. PC is virtually unheard of. The kind of world you make for your family here depends on the kind of man you are, its not goverment regulated its up to you....

And I may ask what the hell is wrong with that???..absolutely nothing in my book!!

Am I going to keep at those things that do give me the Sh@ts here ..you betcha

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

nice work.

but I am still wondering why you consider yourself tolerant. Is it because you tolerate everything except people telling you what to do??

oigal said...

Anon,

Thanks now to correct the spelling errors

Yea I think that would be a fair comment overall. Is there a problem with that?

oigal said...

Anon,

Thanks now to correct the spelling errors

Yea I think that would be a fair comment overall. Is there a problem with that?

treespotter said...

i have to say the street vendors in bangkok are more impressive tho i agree with almost everything else there.

also, the can openers don't seem to work here.

Anonymous said...

.........they sort things out the traditional way. You break in my house, I will deal with it personally. Have traffic issue and abuse the other driver better be prepared to back it up because the police won't come and save your arse when it gets out of control .

Yes, it is still man's world here. PC is virtually unheard of. The kind of world you make for your family here depends on the kind of man you are, its not goverment regulated its up to you....

And I may ask what the hell is wrong with that???..absolutley nothing in my book!!


yeh no rule of law for this hunk.... way to go vigilantee man!! you have the "slug it out" style of most tolerant dudes.

oigal said...

T/s..
You have this thing for can openers don't you..is it like a sign or something?

Anon.. Speaking of chips ...BUT..you do have a point in amongst the bile..the rule of law can be somewhat hazy here at times.. as for the personal shit..your problem not mine

oigal said...

Oh T/s

Don't really know about those other vendors, only been once to BK ..but is there anything the Jamu lady cannot cure?

Anonymous said...

i saw a good question over at economic breakfast for you:

"what is an expatriate and are you one?"

oigal said...

Anon,

So do you have an address for that place ..

Let me guess, not overly polite?

Ind Coope said...

http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/012440.php

oigal said...

Indcoup,

I have to be honest these guys worry me as much as the Hard Line Islamists. Some the comments are just plain insane..

Anonymous said...

stumper as requested ......

http://sarapanekonomi.blogspot.com/2006/07/go-ahead-criticize-indonesia.html (see coments)

this is the ref to expats but i'd like to know if you have an opinion on this word

treespotter said...

in Bangkok you can get White Russian (the liquid form) at 3am from the street vendors, i'd say that's better than the Jamu lady.

As for can openers, in four weeks, i need four can openers to open can until we had it imported. there's just something so fucking wrong about the way they make cans.

Other than that, i think jakarta wins hands down.

vigilante rules man, we take care of our anons manually.

oigal said...

Hey T/s

"vigilante rules man, we take care of our anons manually." grin ..
Actually, I think some people have such a chip on their shoulder they search for offence (ok ..i know what you are about to say).

The point I was making was not about expats or vigilante's (huh??) but the fact the government nor the police exist for the little people. The vast majority tend to take care of their own business in their own way, sometimes its brutal, sometimes not..

Happy for anyone to correct me if that is an incorrect perception.

oigal said...

Hi Anon,

I apologise, anyway I thought the post was well written and more than a grain of truth..

What is an expat (my opinion)? Just about everybody. Anyone who moves to an new location from his orgins to seek a better life can be classed as an expat. Ask the Betawi about strangers coming in, taking the jobs, getting better pay, the best houses. Ask a Dayak what they think...
Ask an Australian what they think about high paid Americans coming into the country taking CEO jobs of Australian companies.

This current "kerfaffle" about expats is xenophobia thats all. People have traveled seeking a better life since the beginning of time and guess what... They always want to bring "home" with them to a large degree. Its human nature (Witness the Romans, witness the Mosques in Britian, Witness the spread of that bloody game soccer).

The world is dynamic and changing all the time, to sit back and rail at the expats because they challenge the status que is futile in the extreme..

Next time someone wants to slur and expat, it might pay to think..where am I from??

Hope that answered your question..now if I post something you find offensive, incorrect or silly, or as our mutaul friend says "LOADED" then tell me, correct me, debate me. I am happy to engage but the odd (in every sense) slur, threat whatever that we get from time to time is not worth the effort it takes to type.

see ya