Thursday, May 26, 2005


Interesting times! First Perth two weeks ago, then Brisbane last week and now Jakarta hit by a massive storm last night around 5pm. It was the biggest we have seen, with winds hitting the city and cutting a swathe of destruction across the capital. I was out at a mall when it hit, only warned by Cora that it was coming when she called me. Looked out the front doors and it was almost pitch black outside, then the storm hit, an amazing sight. Lightening flashed, trees bent in two under the onslaught of the winds. In the centre of the mall is a big open space, and five sories upm, the roof which is covered with opaque roofing was lit up by the lightening. At one stage I swear that lightening came through the roof and cracked down into the centre space.

Trying to get home afterwards was difficult, with roads flooded, trees down everywhere, and traffic maddened by the storm into a frenzy of m'bikes and cars all jostling for space on the roads to get home. Wanto my driver got a call from his wife to say their roof had come off, and he was desperate to get home, as were , I imagine, a lot of other people. We drove through blacked out districts, massive trees lying scattered all over the place, and the lights of m'bikes weaving in and out of the traffic resulting in chaos.

Got home safely and sent Wanto home with the car to lend assistance. All okay here though, being on the top floor, Cora said there were times she thought the glass sliding door opening onto the balcony was going to blow in. Other expats on the other side of the building copped it worse, one fellow pushed his sofa and table against the balcony door to keep it from blowing in, it had lifted off its tracks and was a foot into the room at the bottom. Another had water come in through the front door and mopped over a bucket of water up!

Went to school this morning and a massive tree at the front gate, with a trunk over a metre wide had snapped in half about 3 metres up, resulting in the entire canopy dropping onto the road and across the power lines. I can just imagine the scene as it is a busy thoroughfare outside the schol and with traffioc trying to get home and blocked by the enormous canopy would have blocked the way. End result, no power at school today. When I got to school this morning, I was told no school today and possibly tomorrow, until they can repair the lines, and knowing the electricity company here, this could take days with so much work to be done across the city.

Interesting times indeed.



Tuesday, May 17, 2005

You Must be a Newcomer to Indonesia if ... 

  • You actually consider using the hasn't-been-washed-in-weeks towel in a public bathroom to dry your hands.
  • You stocked up on Marlboro at the arrivals hall duty free for $15 a carton, only to find you can buy them for $5 a carton in the shops.
  • You already bought fake Mont Blanc pens from 3 different people because you don't know Indonesian for "no thanks", and you're not even out of the airport yet.
  • You imagine the taxi driver will give you a discount because you helped push the car when it broke down on the toll road.
  • You think the warung with the 2 metre wide Guinness advert sells Guinness.
  • You think red traffic lights mean you have to stop.
  • You bet the kids you can spot a truck with tread still on its tyres before they can. No one wins.
  • You ask what the legal drink-drive limit is, and are told "It depends how drunk you are. Around Rp 100,000 should be enough.
  • You wonder what on earth goes on inside those buildings marked "cat oven" (Is the food safe?).
  • You think it is remarkable that every neighborhood in Jakarta and every village you pass in the countryside seems to have a doctor with the rather unlikely name of "Dr. Gigi" (dentist)
  • You think that walking or jogging from your apartment to work is an excellent idea.
  • You still treasure the concept of a COLD beer.
  • You think "Hello mister!" is a little local "colour" and not in the least annoying.
  • You think Hello Mister is a friendly greeting, and perhaps an opportunity to meet a local
  • You consider the mistake in your bar bill genuine ...
  • Someone changed the TV channel 7 times in the last 10 minutes and you didn't notice.
  • You think around 30% of the female population of Jakarta are nuns.
  • You've seen 5,000,000 cars and 10,000,000 motor bikes, but never yet seen a gas station.
  • You ask to see the ojek (motorcycle) driver's insurance certificate before you'll ride with him.
  • You think when the girls smile at you it means they want your body.
  • You think that for the price you pay for telephone calls ... that you will get a good service.
  • You think that the indonesian language is called "bahasa".
  • You go out at the weekend looking for a nice park to take a walk/play ball in ...
  • Satisfaction is not part of the equation in business undertakings ... you must pay for any service
    rendered without regard to its consequences.
  • If you think the little food items the waiter brings to your table (aside from what you ordered ) are free.
Fair comments ....!!


You Know You've Been in Indonesia Too Long if ... 

  • You can kill cockroaches with your bare feet
  • The footprints on the toilet seat are your own
  • You no longer wait in line, but immediately go to the head of the queue
  • You stop at the bottom of the escalator to plan your day
  • You habitually punch all the buttons as you leave the lift
  • It has become exciting to see if you can get on the lift before anybody else can get off
  • You're willing to pay to use a toilet you wouldn't go to within a kilometer of at home
  • It is no longer surprising that the only decision made at a meeting is the time and venue for the next meeting
  • You no longer wonder how someone making US$200 per month can drive a Mercedes
  • You accept the fact that you have to queue to get your number for the next queue
  • You have considered buying a motorcycle for the next family car
  • You accept without question the mechanic's analysis that the car is "broken" and that it will cost you a lot of money to get it fixed
  • You find it saves time to stand and retrieve your cabin baggage while the plane is on final approach
  • You think the Proton and Kijang are stylish and well built cars
  • You walk to the pub with your arm around your mate
  • You answer the telephone with "Hello" more than 5 times
  • A T-bone steak and rice sounds just fine
  • You believe everything you read in the local newspaper
  • You regard traffic signals, stop signs and copy watch peddlers with ignorance
  • If when listening to the pilot prove he can't speak English, you no longer wonder if he can understand the Air Traffic Controllers
  • You regard it as part of an adventure when the waiter exactly repeats your order and the cook makes something completely different
  • You're not surprised when three men with a ladder show up to change a light bulb
  • Taxi drivers understand you
  • You own a rice cooker
  • Due to selective memory you honestly believe you could return to the western world
  • When crossing a busy street you believe that a limp wrist motion with your right arm creates a force field that repels oncoming traffic
  • Suitable family entertainment for Friday night is to dress the whole family in dark clothing and dash back and forth across Jalan Sudirman and other busy streets
  • You think it's logical to dry your hands with Kleenex
  • You find yourself getting upset with inflation because the price of the buffet in a five-star hotel is now nearly ten dollars
  • Someone tells you that 10 kbs is a "pretty good download speed"
  • You ask a person taking your order, "Do you have cheeseburgers?" and the server responds, "Yes, we do." And so you say, "OK, I'll order a cheeseburger." And the server says, "I'm sorry, we're out of cheeseburgers.
  • You can walk into a five-star hotel lobby unshaven, in jogging shorts, ratty t-shirt and flip-flops and DON'T get an awkward glance from the management.
  • You look left, right, backwards, forwards, up and down before crossing a one way street.
  • You've seen every hollywood blockbuster three weeks before its premier
  • You use tap water to brush your teeth (don't do this at home kids)
  • You take a book to read on the journey to work or shopping
  • You carry tissues in your pocket for 'emergency stops'
  • You answer the phone in Bahasa Indonesia
Thought this was very apt!


You Know Youre an Expat Kid in Asia When... 

  • You flew before you could walk
  • You tell adults what to do at an airport
  • You ask the stewardess for your free games and comics as soon as youre seated
  • You speak with authority on the quality of airline travel
  • You can't answer the question, "Where are you from?"
  • You have a passport with lots of stamps
  • You watch National Geographic specials and recognize someone
  • Your life story uses the phrase "Then we went to ..." five times
  • You know there is no such thing as an international language
  • You realize it really is a small world, after all
  • You watch a movie set in a foreign country, and you know what the nationals are really saying into the camera
  • You haggle with the checkout clerk for a lower price
  • You automatically take off your shoes as soon as you get home
  • You won't eat Uncle Ben's rice because it doesn't stick together
  • Half of your conversations with friends are unintelligible to your parents
  • You go to Pizza Hut or Wendy's and you wonder why there's no chili sauce
  • Ordering a meal and drink at a restaurant is normal
  • Wandering around the restaurant expecting the staff to play with you is normal
  • Having every second person pinch your cheek when you go shopping is expected
  • You ask the maid to come clean your room
  • You're spoilt.
  • You know it.
  • You're VERY spoilt.

  • ... Guess I'm forewarned!


The Ten Commandments for Expats 

    1. Though shalt not expect to find things as thou hast them at home for verily thou hast left home to explore different things.
    2. Those shalt not take anything too seriously, for a care-free mind is essential for a healthy body.
    3. Thou shalt not let other expats get upon thy nerves, for one or both of you art likely to be transferred soon anyway.
    4. Thou shalt refrain from acting exceedingly high and mighty, for thou art the same person you were before you had maids and drivers.
    5. Thou shalt not buy everything you see; thou already hast a house full of things stored in your home country.
    6. Thou shalt not sit around and mope and feel unwanted or unskilled; there are many people and organizations who would be grateful for your donations of time and energy.
    7. Thou shalt not worry, for he that worrieth hath no pleasure.
    8. When in Rome, thou shalt be prepared to do somewhat as the Romans do.
    9. Thou shalt not judge the people of a country by the one person who has given thee trouble.
    10. Remember that thou art a guest in a foreign land, and he who treateth his host with respect shall be honored.
I liked this!


Saturday, May 07, 2005

A Favourite Picture  

Oma & Lil D


A Few More  

Just tried a couple more. Seems to work quite nicely! The only thing is I cant seem to reposition the pictures, for instance, to get them to go side by side. Will have to try and work on that one.

Btw, that's Lil D, aka Big Boy, below Lil C.


Lets see if this works.  

The Princesses surveying their kingdom! (the backgarden) Lil C, aka Terror of the House, aka I Want a Story, is in the middle.

Trying out something new. That is, emailing directly into the blog, and attaching pictures as well. When I copied and pasted a picture direct into the blog, by following 'properties' I was able to access my whole harddrive from the net, weird-not sure how that is possible, but not happy about that so trying this method instead.


Friday, May 06, 2005

Friday Evening

Well, its Friday evening, Lil D is asleep after a protracted bout of crying, and Lil C is complaining of a sore throat thus the medicine bottle comes out and she approaches the cherry coloured dropper with some distrust. Not one to leap and try new things, Lil C has to be induced with a teaspoon of honey first.

Lil D has taken to waking every two to three hours again during the night, giving C little sleep and permanent black shadows under the eyes. So, today we make the decision to try controlled crying. Not an easy thing to do as he really wails. But, it has to be done, just not very nice. His nanny was reduced to sniffles after C didn’t let her in while the poor little mite was yelling at the top of his voice for over half an hour. For those in the know, controlled crying uses a series of timed steps where the parent is in with the child then out, then back in and it goes on until one of them drops from exhaustion.

Took Lil C when we had to do it with her two nights of solid crying, but we think it may take longer with Lil D as he is younger than she was and a lot more robust...looks like we have a footy player on our hands. He is now walking everywhere, just in the space of a week he has graduated from a few steps to long bouts of walking. In fact yesterday he did half and half, today it was more like 4/5ths walking, 1/5th crawling. I think in two weeks time he will no longer resort to crawling at all. Very eager to get up and about.

Yesterday was another public holiday (do they ever end?) and we had a quiet day. Took Lil C to the mall to allow C to catch up on some sleep with the nanny staying at home looking after Lil D. We did the usual stuff, rides in the wonderland, including the dodgem car which left her looking a bit ill. She enjoyed it at first but I think it just got a bit too much for her. Note to self, next time don’t do lots of circles, just go back and forth.

Only one tantrum, when chocolate cake was declared off the menu instead allowing a bun with cheese etc. Apart from that she behaved well, making our stay an enjoyable one. Wandered home to find C rested and up and about.

Today, a long day at work and now home to just relax. Lil D has just woken up again, and Lil C is trying to distract me by telling long winded stories about the meaning of life...

"If she is found guilty, I've just taken the stance, the personal stance
that I'm not going to sell Bali as a travel destination..."

Hobart travel agent Source:
Corby trial prompts Bali boycott threat (ABC News)

and so they should. This case is outrageous. I mean, who would be dumb enough to pack 4.1 kgs of dope into an unlocked bag, and take it a country where it is readily available? No fingerprinting of the bag done after capture, no video surveillance tapes given to the defence from authorities in Australia, no record of weight of bag before she boarded was found, incompetent Indonesian prosecution and defence...the whole thing stinks a mile high. The AFP (Australian Federal Police) must have thought something was fishy as they hastily gave up nine others with heroin strapped to their bodies to the Indo cops. Maybe they were hoping that by doing so, the authorities here would let Corby go? who knows. The terrible thing is that though the Bali Nine (as they are now called) are no angels, they are also young, impressionable, and dumb. Some of them are only 18/19 years old. But, they now face the firing squad and due to the amount of evidence, will almost certainly face it. I've heard that it was also a bust gone terribly wrong. The whole thing was handed over to the indo cops but they never caught the mister big, the one who supplied the heroin in the first place, a huge mistake and has the AFP and the indo police running for cover. Instead, they got a number of bewildered young people who have to now face the biggest mistake of their lives at the end of a rifle.

Some say the AFP, knowing what was in store for them, should have kept quiet and busted them after they arrived in Australia. At least then they would have faced imprisonment, not death. Others say that the AFP could have stopped the whole thing with a quiet chat to those involved by taking them to one side before they committed any crime and saying, look, we know what’s going on, don’t be stupid, go home and don’t even think of doing it again. Yet others crow about the war on drugs, and say the Bali Nine have gotten their just deserts. It's a sad world at times. One thing is (almost) for sure, the Australian government will not be able to sit down and accept four of its youngsters facing a firing squad, the uproar at home would be just too big. Thus, there is already talk of prisoner swapping, serving their time out in Australia etc. Can't see how it can't happen, the Aussie government would be crucified otherwise.

On a nicer note:
Nice if you can afford it, which I guess quite a few aussies could. Price equates to about AU$175,000.00 Not bad for your own slice of paradise...and no, I don’t know the owner, just thought it might be of interest to those dreaming of a sea change!


Details: Land 404m2 Hak Milik, Building 280m2, 2 upstairs bedrooms (one en suite bathroom) and open living room, 1 down stairs bedroom and large living/dining room and second bathroom, Fitted kitchen, Carport, Swimming pool, Terrace with nice sunset views.

Description: Located in the quiet Taman Mumbul residential estate (off the Nusa Dua by-pass) a modern and bright house overlooking the palm trees towards the Ulawatu district. Ideal for someone to live as a resident of Bali or even a family retreat. More pictures on request. Price: Rp. 1,300,000,000 (slightly nego)

Expat owner relocating to Jakarta……for some strange reason!

more info: Etik at ehartika@yahoo.com

In fact, this place might be just the way to go, if the big one hits Java:

Spate of giant quakes feared -The Indonesian earthquake behind the Boxing Day tsunami that killed 300,000 people could be the first of a series of giant quakes that will rock the world in the next 10 to 15 years, scientists warn. (The Australian)
Okay, enough for now. Enjoy your weekend!


Sunday, May 01, 2005

News and Articles

A few interesting articles found on laksamana.net. The article on TNI is particularly revealing on the state of the USIndonesia relationship.

The Theo story made big news here and just confirmed what a lot already knew, the power accorded to certain individuals within the government is enormous, and they feel they can do whatever they like. Another case in point, there was the recent shooting of a hotel waiter by a drunken and drugged brother of a hugely rich and successful real estate and business empire. He was in a nightclub, was offended by a waiters lack of service, pulled out a gun and killed him. Witnesses were found, and put under police protection, but to no avail. After they were released back into the general populace (not sure why?!) to await the trial, both changed their stories completely, saying they never saw the shooting etc. The case is still unsolved.

The illegal fishing is, as always, an issue. A friend of mine is actually the chief prosecutor up in Darwin. He showed me the boats moored in the bay when we there, saying they were mostly riddled with worm and could not be used. There is little sympathy for the fisherman, they know the boundaries but still persist. The treatment they receive at the hands of a weary and cynical navy is another problem.

The volcano saga continues. Yesterday , on a related matter, we were visiting some friends who live in a designed satellite city not far from here (as the crow flies-last night it took 1.5 hours to get home due to bumper to bumper traffic-a trip that would normally take about 30 minutes). Near their home is a huge white building, a planned modern hospital, but the windows are glassless, the surrounds not landscaped, the building itself seemingly unfinished. Turns out an earthquake hit the area, and one can see a great jagged line running parallel with the ground on the second story running around the entire building. It is now considered unsafe, and will never be finished. Apparently the Malaysian owner has given up on it, and there was a rumour the ex president Habibe wanted to buy it as he owns a few schools and most probably thought he could convert it into another one. Maybe the cost of fixing it is too high. So there it sits…

The Tampa fiasco, the reason Howard was elected way back when, used as a cynical ploy to show his “leadership” etc, is now coming to a close. There has been a lot said re the Tampa, but to be honest, it was such a shameful period in Australia’s history that I find myself unable to say much. Suffice to end with the hope that the people involved will now find peace and security.

The anti Israeli protest is interesting in that it seems a bit surreal a country so far away has impact here. However, this protest does point to a couple of things. The power of religion simmering under the surface here, and the power of certain clerics to whip up frenzy when they see fit. Not good news for anybody interested in the long term survival of this fledgling democracy.

Theo Toemion: The Investment Terminator April 28, 2005 11:48:00 PM

Indonesia's chief investment official Theo Toemion is generating plenty of negative publicity for the country after going on a violent rampage at one of Jakarta’s international schools.

‘TNI Threat to Human Rights & Democracy’

March 14, 2005 09:39 PM,
Laksamana.Net - Two former American diplomats comment on the future of US relations with Indonesia. More...

Explanation of Fisherman’s Death Sought

April 30, 2005 08:23 PM,
Laksamana.Net - Indonesia has demanded that Australia thoroughly explain the death of an Indonesian fisherman detained off northern Australia. More...

Huge Rally in Jakarta Against Israel

April 17, 2005 12:47 PM,
Laksamana.Net - Tens of thousands of supporters of the Islam-based Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) have staged a massive rally in Jakarta to protest efforts by Jewish extremists to enter the disputed Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in Jerusalem. More...

Indonesia's Deadliest Volcanic Eruptions

April 14, 2005 07:54 AM,
Laksamana.Net - Following is a list of the deadliest volcanic eruptions on record in Indonesia. Since modern records began, volcanoes have killed about 150,000 people in the country. More...

‘Tampa’ Refugees Become Kiwis

April 9, 2005 12:49 AM,
Laksamana.Net - A group of Afghani refugees rescued from a sinking Indonesian fishing boat off Australia by a Norwegian freighter in 2001 have now become New Zealand citizens. More...

Australia Believes Missing Indonesians Rescued

April 27, 2005 11:54 PM,
Laksamana.Net - Australian officials say the crew from an Indonesian fishing boat found near a crocodile-infested river on the country’s remote northern coast was probably rescued by another vessel. More...


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