Friday, March 11, 2005

Letter to a Friend

The children are wonderful, D is very active and getting into everything ( he is crawling and already trying to stand up by hanging onto furniture-he is 7 months old), Lil C is a chatterbox and always thinking of new games etc to play. Patsy is very patient with her and will allow Lil C to come up with all sorts of things to do together! But Patsy is more for D and cleaning etc, so C spends a lot of time with Lil C now which is very good for them both.

C is doing well and settled. She takes lessons twice a week in Indonesian and is enjoying them. She is also thinking seriously of working in July. Having the car makes a huge difference for he and she is now enjoying the freedom of being able to just get in and go.

I finally bought a car in December! We have a driver and it is all working out very well, so well that we are cursing that we didn’t do this the moment we arrived. Jkt is a city where a car is a must. The car has become a bit of a project for me, last week I had installed bumper bars front and back, a step along both sides for Lil C to get into the cabin more easily (there are sliding doors both sides- it’s a small van like people mover) and a roof rack. All in stainless steel, and the whole job (parts and labour) cost me around $240.00 Aussie! Just amazing how cheap car parts are here.

Today our friendly mechanic dropped in to pick it up again as I wanted a second aircon, towards the back of the car on the ceiling so that the back is a cooler for long trips etc. He picks it up, takes it away to his workshop and does the work, then brings it back again. For installing the bumpers etc, a day’s work, he hesitantly charged me $25.00 Aussie, so gave him a bonus on top and he was very grateful. Labour here is cheap, so what he got was actually considered by him to be a good amount. The aircon will cost about $250.00 dollars, a bargain in comparison with Australia.

I am also considering installing a TV screen and DVD player for Lil C to watch on long journeys, again, not too expensive but might be worth it. This seems to becoming the norm here due to the traffic and ages it takes to get anywhere. They say that jkt will be gridlocked by 2015-2020 if something is doesn’t done soon. Every day around 250 new cars go on the roads of jkt, a huge amount.

This week there is a public holiday on Wednesday and Thursday so school is giving us Friday off as well. We have booked a couple of rooms down at “Pelabuhan Ratu”, a seaside resort area on the south coast of java, about 4 hours drive away if traffic is okay. Going to leave around 6 am to beat the traffic. This will be our first long trip in Indonesia with the kids!

A friend has lent us a baby seat for D (he is normally just held when we are in the car - traffic is slow so there is never any danger) but we thought for a trip like this be better to try him in the seat. Not sure how he will travel in a seat but will give it a go. Some friends and their kids are going to join us down there so it should be fun! Coming back on Sunday morning.

We are coming to aussie in late June and will be stopping in Perth for a few days before heading to Brisbane for a big family reunion. Really looking forward to it.


Indonesia's business climate in Total mess
While President Susilo Bambang Yudhyono goes about telling the world just how wonderfully suited his country is for foreign investment, yet another multinational fights out its case in the Indonesian courts against an investor-unfriendly bankruptcy law. (Asia Time)

Indonesia jails 'may be too soft'
INDONESIAN prisons may be a fertile recruiting and training ground for al-Qaeda-linked militants, blamed for a string of bomb attacks in recent years, because jailers are too soft on them, an international think-tank said today. (news.com.au)

Indonesia transport plane crashes, 15 killed (CTV)
Gam 'may drop independence goal' (BBC)

SBY Orders Arrest of Illegal Logging Bosses
“The profits are vast as local communities only receive around $10 for each cubic meter of merbau felled on their land, while the same logs fetch as much as $270 per cubic meter in China,” said the report. It said a network of middlemen and brokers was responsible for arranging shipment of the illegal logs from Indonesia to China. “These powerful syndicates pay around $200,000 per shipment in bribes to ensure the contraband logs are not intercepted in Indonesian waters, as Indonesia currently bans the export of logs.”

Indonesian jailed for 46 months in U.S. for forcing maid into slavery - An Indonesian woman was jailed for nearly four years on Monday for forcing a maid from her home country into virtual slavery in the US. U.S. District Judge put Trisanti behind bars for 46 months and warned that she could face deportation upon her release after she admitted a year ago to holding a young woman in involuntary servitude.

Trisanti brought the victim to Los Angeles on a tourist visa in 1997 to work for her as a nanny and housekeeper for two years, federal prosecutors said. But after the woman arrived, Trisanti confiscated her passport, used threats and physical abuse to force her to work 17 hours a day, seven days a week and eventually stopped paying her during her three-year ordeal. In order to control her servant, the abusive employer told the woman that if the she tried to escape, she would be arrested and put in jail. The terrified maid finally escaped in 2000, along with another woman, when Trisanti was away on a trip to Indonesia. Trisanti could have faced a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail and US$250,000 fine. Trisanti's husband, Herri Nasution, was sentenced last year to three years of probation. (Jakarta Post)

Indonesian president warns against price hikes as fuel protests continue
Indonesia's president has warned traders and transport officials against price hikes during a tour of several towns around Jakarta as protests and strikes continued for a second day after the government raised fuel costs. At a transport terminal in the west Java town of Rengas Dengklok, Yudhoyono urged drivers to "Please, pity the small people" after they told him they had raised fares by 25 percent. (yahoo)

Indonesia deploys ships to disputed oil-rich area

Scientists issue malaria warning

At least 500 million cases of malaria occur each year - nearly 50% more than estimated by the World Health Organisation (WHO), health experts say. They voiced particular concern over the situation in south and South East Asia. (BBC)

Competition swallowing up tsunami aid money in Aceh

The huge international aid effort promised for Aceh is in jeopardy, the Indonesian minister responsible for it has warned, because the operation lacks co-ordination and there is no agreed plan on how to spend the funds. (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Remember parents, you can't teach the children what you want; you can only teach them what you are..."

Komaruddin Hidayat, an education expert

School engages parents in values education (Jkt Post)

"A number of policemen forgot their commitment to the eradication of illegal logging.
They had a strong commitment first, but it was weakened by conditions in the field..."

Police Chief Dai

"I'm heartened that the good folks of Indonesia see a different America now. They see that when we find a Muslim child suffering we weep just as equally as when we find another child that suffers..."

US President George Bush

"The fact that Jakarta is the most corrupt city makes sense..."
Sutiyoso, mayor of Jakarta

"I don't care..."

Minister of Finance Yusuf Anwar

who oversees the customs service, commenting on survey findings a survey by Transparency International Indonesia (TII), which ranked Jakarta and the customs office most corrupt institutions.

Source: 'I don't care' about graft report: Minister (Jakarta Post)

It’s been a long time since I've added to this blog. You may wonder why...well, guess it has to do with working long hours, coming home and having two small children romping about the place. It's hard to get organised, think things through, then post when a little mite has crawled up to your chair, hauled himself up, and is gazing up at you with a hopeful expression. One hand automatically reaches down to steady him, and soon, its a case of pick up, and play...the computer lies forgotten, blinking in the evening light.
Have been thinking about this and figure it's time I got back on the horse so to speak. I'll try to be more regular with this. Changes are afoot in our household as June comes and the end of my current contract looms. We really haven’t decided what we are going to do as options are still available. Jobs applied for, and now it’s a case of wait and see.
Lots have gone on since that last post back in November; Jakarta still remains a fascinating place to be, though tiresome as well with its traffic snarls and smog.
We are still very much enjoying our life here, and yet, we are also mindful of the fact that it can’t go on forever. C is starting to get restless, discussion of jobs and study are popping up with increasing frequency. She has been out of the workforce for 4 years now and its time to get back into it. For the first time, C went to an interview yesterday to test the waters at a local university for a lecturing position. They wanted her as a permanent, and while this is good, the pay is woeful. An email arrives yesterday from an expat head hunter here in Jkt, wants to have coffee with C and discuss possible ideas. Another email arrives earlier this week from a former colleague of C's now in Brisbane extolling the virtues of moving there or Sydney where jobs are thick on the ground. Does this mean that I might, for the first time, take a backseat to her aspirations? I don’t mind, I can always get work wherever we go, and it would be nice for C to get involved again. So, possibilities are there, change is in the air.


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