Archive | August 2008

Happy Anniversary, Indonesia

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I thought it would be a good thing to give Indonesia, specifically Jakarta, a break from my rants and sarcastic routines to congratulate the country for its 63rd year of independence. Seriously, the country is in a bad shape, but at least we got here by determining our own fate instead of having it handed to us by others.Merdeka!Photo by Mr Aaron. License Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0.

63 Years Down The Drain… Really?

Today we celebrate our beloved country’s independence, which has been ‘independent’ for the last 63 years. Why the quote marks on ‘independent’? If we are truly independent, then why are our billboards and TVs filled with ads from overseas brands? Why are almost all of our most important industries controlled by foreign interests? And nobody cares – the state of the country it is in right now shows that.

But really, after 63 years, do we have anything to show for it? Yes. We have our country, our nation, our flag, our culture and our language – something a lot of other people don’t really have.

We need to show that we are worthy of it – we need to earn our place in this hard-fought country. We may even have to fight our countrymen whose self-interest goes above the greater good – the 21st century ‘war’ – but fight we will.

Can Somebody Translate This?

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Jauh dari laut sekarang?

Rainy Days Are Here Again!

Finally! We get a non-seasonal break from the scorching heat to cloudy skies and lower tempratures. A lot of people have been talking about the nice, cool weather for the past few days, but being the sarcastic jerk I am, I would like to remind you of the virtues of the rainy season:

  • get your umbrellas ready. In that case, might as well take the gumboots out of the closet as well.
  • when was the last time you checked your car? don’t let the windshield wipers stop working on a late, rainy evening.
  • friends in the flood-prone areas – better get ready for anything.
  • put those buckets at the leak-prone points in your house. Or maybe it’s time to fix it already.
  • clean up those water drains! Or else you’d be facing your very own, personal flood.
  • companies with give-away merchandise – this is a good time to give out those odd-coloured umbrellas, this time people will just take them, no questions asked.
  • Motorcycle riders – get those ponchos, sheets of plastic, riding boots or plastic bags with rubber bands ready. Might as well use swimming goggles.
  • Don’t leave your laundry outside! Somebody might steal it, whether or not its raining. (yes, laundry gets stolen)
  • Make sure you have appointed strategic waiting points to wait out the traffic jams. Yes, not waiting out the rain, but waiting out the impending traffic jams it brings with it.
  • Jakartan government – do what you always do when rainy season comes. Whatever it is. I never figured that out. Should be something, right?

Saya Bisa Bassa Inggriesh

For a lot of social circles, Jakarta is a city with many languanges. With the many ethnic tribes and groups in Indonesia, undoubtedly someone or other comes to Jakarta bringing their own region’s flavour to the mix – thus resulting in a cacophpny of linguistic madness. At the end of the day, people still speak Bahasa Indonesia, albeit sometimes with a twang of their local accent.Yet a certain slice of the population have very American or British accents, whether or not they actually come from these countries – usually they spent some time in those countries or even have relatives (the ubiquitous Cincha Lawra comes to mind). They even speak more English than Bahasa Indonesia! Well, me included, of course, ha ha…But on some level, in solidarity with our ASEAN cousins, we continue our torture of the traditional English languange and unwittingly modify it to suit our Asian tounges (so note the use of English words):

  • gue harus meeting dulu, soalnya sore ini deadline.
  • pinjem handphone lu dong, gue mau bikin appointment sama client.
  • teks yang kemarin di-translate aja, biar besok bisa di-present ke board of directors.
  • kemarin gue view profile temen gue di facebook, ternyata gue belom add! trus dia udah update foto-foto liburannya ke Sing.
  • Pas kuliah di Aussie, gue sempet ikutan school newspaper gitu.
  • Alarm mobilnya udah dinyalain belom? Gue parno DVD Playernya dicuri.
  • Eh, software yang bagus buat editing gambar apa ya?

I rest my case. At least we’re not speaking Singlish or Chinglish.

Horsing Around

A professor of mine once stipulated that Indonesians treat their motorcycles like horses. To rephrase, they ride a motorcycle like they would a horse; this is caused by the “jump” from colonial times using a horse as transport, to modern times with its motorcycles. Note that these behaviours are indicative of this theory:

  • you don’t ride a horse wearing a helmet
  • you don’t ride a horse with any lighting device
  • you stop your horse anywhere you please, and even sit on your horse when the horse isn’t actually getting anywhere
  • you race your horse when there’s a clean streak ahead!
  • you feed your horse diligently but you don’t care about the excretions made – that’s somebody else’s problem

Hence extrapolating from this theory, mikrolets and buses are analogous to horse-drawn carriages, hence the lack of proper suspension and seemingly uncontrolable.

On-Board Entertainment

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I wonder what the selection of movies are?