Friday, March 30, 2007

John Howard goes green.

Well one thing you can say about Western Governments they are slow learners! The Australian Government is proving particulary thick in a field with some very dense over achievers.

Despite having its own water and de-forestation crisis (ok the water crisis is a crock, as the only reason there is one is because everytime a new dam was proposed the the loony deep greenies blocked it...increase in increase in water storage for last twenty years..oh my...we are running out of water!! ...Knuckle draggers!)

As I was saying, despite have their own problems and that the only return for money splashed all over South East Asia is a royal pain in the arse, Australian Prime Minister, John Winston Howard yesterday pledged to buy scores of luxury homes in Jakarta and Singapore..Thanks for coming sucker!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Green Workers and Green Trees

We all have them, those pivotal moments in a plan where we make a decision and run with it, only think later “Damn, hadn’t thought of that”!

This is one such story. A couple hours from where I live is a nice little town and from an outsider’s point of view the Wali Kota (Mayor) has/is doing a very good job. The streets are clean, there is a garbage service and generally the town infrastructure is sound. Of course, like the majority of Indonesia, basic amenities like power and water remain sporadic at best, however that is well outside the local Wali Kota’s control.

Along with clean streets a significant work force is employed to ensure the Parks and Gardens are maintained. This is where the pivotal plan moment kicks in, its very easy to imagine.

Scene: The bosses all sitting around admiring their new Blackberrys (in tandem with the second compulsory “mistress phone”).

First Official “Ok, we have got these Parks and Gardens up and running and have a new budget for uniforms”

Second Official “Great, that should keep every one happy, what is the design”

First Official “I was thinking Parks and Gardens, its obvious the uniform should be Green”

Second Official “ Great Idea, lets do it maybe we will get mention in the Stern Report”

Three weeks later…

First Official “We seem to be going through a lot of Parks and Gardens workers’

Second Official “Why, they not happy? We bought them uniforms”

First Official "That’s the trouble, most of our Gardens are in the middle of the roads, with the green uniforms, the workers look just like bushes until they stand up in front of the on-rushing bus”

Second Official “Sheesh, our poor workers, Green seemed such a good idea. I wonder what the last thing is going through their mind when the bus hits them"

First Official “Their arse”


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Ferrys and Braveheart

Not a lot of posts lately, still tripping around. Its always an interesting activity and you see lots of WTF sights. However I would like to take the time to express my admiration for the "Ferry Operators" of Indonesia. You would think with the raft of recent transport disasters the operators would be too scared to move unless everything was just right and perfect.

Naaghh Maybe not!
Now I don't claim to be a qaulified Captain (well of ferries anyway) but I would think the first rule in ocean safety would be close the doors before we set off?

Or if you must transport a truck load of flammable fluid on a passenger/car ferry then have someone standby with a fire extinguisher?

Oh well, the Greenstump rule of ferry travel remains.
Park the vehicle, quick as possible to the top deck, pick your jumping off spot, carry a two litre plastic drink bottle as it provides more than enough flotation for someone who can swim more than 50M.

Don't bother with the Life Buoys as they are normally triple knotted to the ship to stop people knocking them off. This of course can be hassle if the ferry sinks in water deeper than the rope reach to the Life Buoy.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Vanquished Forests

Recently “Kompas” a local newspaper revealed that Indonesia had the dubious honour of being the number one nation in de-forestation for 2006. This was quickly followed by the news on the weekend that Indonesia is now number three in the world as a major contributor to CO2 emissions behind the United States and China.

The number 3 rating is much undeserved and should be protested. With correct score weightings, Indonesia should have easily achieved the number one rating in both divisions. It should be noted that in both China’s and the United States, there are at least payoffs to the nation’s populace with increased access to power and in most cases an increase in the standard of living (albeit at someone’s expense).

In the case of Indonesia, the increased CO2 emissions are not due to the production of electricity or services to the public. Rather the CO2 is a direct result of uncontrolled burning off, deforestation and peat burning. All of which line the pockets of the chosen few at the expense of the rest of the population. This way everybody loses.

Last week I had the opportunity to see for myself the devastation to the forests wrought by the chosen few. Thought we would take a long drive and see the much abused tropical forest before it was all gone!.. Bugger me, if the forest didn’t drive right past us (see picture)

My Indonesian comrade was moved to say “I hate these guys”! Apparently ever since the supposed clamp down on illegal logging, all they have done is change their methods. Instead of huge mills in the jungle, they employ poor local villagers to operate small, portable mills and have them deliver the logs to the side of the road. These small two or three men operations disappear every time there is word of a Police raid (sadly, the raids always received plenty of advance warning).

Once on the road, the logs are picked up by trucks picking up timber, like bemos (bus) on a passenger run.

Asking the obvious “What about the trucks? Don’t they get stopped by the Police”? With an obvious pity for my poor grasp of the situation, my comrade just rubbed his thumb and forefinger together.

Poor Fella, My Country

Still on the conservation front, the lamest interview this year goes to the spokesman for Nuclear Power in Indonesia (whose name is forgettable as is his grasp of the issues, but see last weekend’s Jakarta Post it you want to send a dill a card).

After several column inches of vague assurances and dubious science, his finishing statement was essentially, “Don’t Worry, even if there was an accident, the government would pay compensation”..??????????????????????

I wonder what the formulae are for compensation for radio active fallout which lasts hundreds of years! About the same for mudflows, I am guessing.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Perth, Singapore

Recently had a good excuse to spend time in Perth, Australia this last fortnight. Perth certainly deserves its reputation as the most beautiful city in Australia, if a little er..quiet after 10pm. I am sure if you were a local there would be plenty of places to enjoy but as a tourist...shhhh..I think everyone's asleep! After Indonesia where there seems to people carrying on with their lives 24 hours a day, its a bit of a culture shock to be staring down the main street of a major city with nary a soul to be seen.

Best of all got to spend a few days in SINGAPORE, which just so happened to have a huge parade every night down Orchard Road.

Life can be Good !

Check out the parade in Singapore (Gotta love them Singapore Girls) and the beach right out side our hotel in oz.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Indonesian Playboys

Many years ago when I first came to Indonesia, friend took me aside and said “Welcome to Bizzaro Land, where nothing is as it seems where yes means no and No means maybe”
He went on to explain (with some accuracy it was proven as time past) that Indonesia was a place that would bring you to the very depths of despair only to be followed the very next day with an overwhelming urge to spend the rest of your life here.

Incredible natural beauty contrasted with the ugliness of unchecked pollution and plundering. Vast wealth walking hand in hand with abject poverty. Loving family links to which most westerners have never experienced often coupled with an absolute disregard for their fellow Indonesian. It’s an interesting ride to say the least.

Why do I bring this up, well yesterday was really one of those “Bizarro Land” moments
Only in a Alternate universe could this happen,

A mother with four children poisons her children and then kills herself because her husband has run away and she has no money to feed, clothe or school her children (one was just a babe in arms).

A child dies in it's father arms from malnourishment

Hundreds of people die in plane crashes, Ferry burnings and Train smashes in a period of weeks.

Thousands of people are homeless due unchecked volcanic mudflows, with the company reportedly responsible during little expect ducking and weaving.

Now in a sane world you would think that a Minister for People’s Welfare and a Transport Minister would have at least a case to answer. Nope, here in Bizarre land we charge the editor of a lame verson of Playboy Magazine. His crime; damaging the country’s morals and “making the people uneasy” and further we demand he is sentenced to two years Gaol. All played to a background of bucktoothed, illegal immigrants, moral fanatics and their sheep

I am going out on limb here, and suggest it is not a Lame, Dated Magazine that makes Indonesians and anyone else with an ounce of humanity uneasy. Its pictures and stories of children dying, mothers so desperate they kill their own children. That’s obscene! That’s Offensive…..That’s so sad it breaks your heart.

Every one of you thieving, miserable, self serving, greedy, inbred, vile, vomitous fat bastards sitting in your ivory towers, scamming your next rip-off, should be forced to have a 8x10 glossy picture of those children on your desk, so you can see what you are responsible for every bloody day! You are morally bankrupt Playboys of Indonesia.

The people really do deserve so much more than this..

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Cromwell, Indonesia and Babies

Back again! Due to picking up a very nasty bug that would not go away, I spent a bit of time in Perth, Australia. Perth would have to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world although somewhat islolated and bloody hot 43c, but great beach weather!!

I had plenty of time to catch on my reading, some very good and very very bad books out there. During my literary excursion, I came across this little extract from Oliver Cromwell's 1653 dissolution of the English Long Parliment.

"Its high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonoured by your contemptof all virtue and defiled by your practice of every vice. Ye are a factious crew and enemies of all good goverment.

Ye are a pack of mercenary wretches and would like Esau. sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money. Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess?

Ye have no more religion than my horse! Which of you have not bartered your conscience for brides?...Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation. You were deputed to get grievances redressed; are you not yourselves the greatest grievance?

Depart immediately - go, get you out, make haste youye venal slaves begone!
Lock up the doors""

Say what you like about Ol Ollie, he had a way with words and I could think of a mass mailing address for this speech myself.

Taking a decent amount of time off does bring some persective back into your life,.You can get overwhelmed, confused, frustrated, happy, sad, estatic, depressed living in Indonesia as an expat.

Somethings will never makes sense to me! How important can trip be that you, mum, the three month old baby sans helmet or any sense of self preservation for your yourself or child have to ride a motor bike like a lunatic thru the traffic? Or, how can a nation so proud that it flys the national flag at any and all places/occasions then turnaround thoughtlessly dump litter and shit (literally) without even a twinge of guilt?

Then in oz for a reality check to the other extreme. What kind of over over regulated place is this!

Baggage Handling allowance 30kg, we have 31Kg..1 am in the morning, "Sorry sir, you have to unload 1 KG from your bag because our baggage handlers can't lift it"...WTF, Who are you baggage handlers - 6 year old children, bugger me they can lift it in Singapore, Indonesia and all points north!

On the plane, here's your meal and enjoy your "plastic" knife...please what am I the world's worst perpared evil doer? Oz Custom's and Immigration: What do you do Indonesia? Where are you staying? Why did you come? etc etc... Answer "listen up sunshine its 3 in the morning and I am F...ed if I am going to justify to some overweight twit, why I want to return to the country of my birth" (ok that was a bad answer, as apparently that triggers the lets search everything bell..bastards)

On the road (aka Indonesian Motor bike comparsion). Look at the babies here, back seat, roped down with industrial strength cargo nets and speed camera's every 2 km (all in the name of road safety..pig's arse..revenue raising)

As for smoking...damn...its the orginal "burning at the stake" Actually not quite, because passive smoking of burning human flesh will apparently cause cancer in people several oceans away. They still tie you to the stake but in place of the burning, various tax payer funded green groups force you to snort tofu and soy bean milk, listening to the chant the "Koyto Good - America Bad" until your head bursts.

So all in all, I guess I am saying its nice to be back warts n all.