Back in Jakarta for 2012

Well it’s been a while since we have posted on the blog as we have both been back in Melbourne, bringing with us, my sweety sayang for his first trip to Australia where he marveled at the empty streets, the wide open spaces, ticket machines, big houses and the lack of availability of Indonesian cigarettes and places to smoke and the fact that EVERYTHING is so expensive in Australia and yet, people still seem to have money to buy houses and cars and Ipads. It’s a mystery.

But now we are back in the madness of Jakarta talking macet again, getting blasted with the toxic fumes of bajajs and the dreaded kopaja buses, cruising around on ojeks and at last my sayang can get back to the Indonesian diet of rice 3 times a day (the rice salad just wasn’t cutting it for him in Australia). We are back in the land where it is possible to smoke in any location (except around bules), it’s possible to have everything delivered and of course it’s possible to walk for 2 minutes and have an abundance of food at your disposal. And it’s cheap. And delicious.

As the years pass living in this city, what was strange before becomes more normal. It’s more normal to see rats running around your street and around the warung where you are enjoying a meal. It’s normal to call out to a waiter even if he is in the middle of something or to call out your order for soto betawi as soon as you enter (“just meat please. No innards”) and it’s more normal that they will remember your order as soon as you enter even if you haven’t been there in months. It’s more normal to have people calling out “hey bule” as you walk past. It’s more normal for people to start laughing as you walk away (as you know that one of them probably just tried to say something in English). And it is great to be back. It’s a beautiful time of year right now with constant rain and cooler evenings.

As I ride to work through the jalan tikus (little streets) that run through the small kampungs and everyone calls out hello and smiles at me, or past the old men who always play tennis in the mornings and they ask me to join them, I feel a little ball of contentment in the pit of my stomach.

Other times I long for the order that fills Australian life and my expectations – when people push me to get in front of me, when motorbikes are on the wrong side of the road and I forget to look 5 ways before crossing the road or the metro minis race to pick up passengers nearly toppling the pedestrians on the side of the road, or I narrowly miss falling into a pot hole, every day a new near death experience – but I guess these are the times, strangely, when we feel the most alive and the numbness that threatens the western consciousness is pushed aside.

Anyway, it’s great to be back in the madness of Jakarta. Welcome to a new year. The Year of the Dragon. Bring on the happiness and success of this auspicious year.

4 Responses to “Back in Jakarta for 2012”

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  1. Bima says:

    Nice to have you back, Trish and Treen! I miss your writings. Always feel and see something new about my surroundings from your perspective.

    One line I read twice in one sitting was, “….when we feel the most alive and the numbness that threatens the western consciousness is pushed aside.”

    Yow! Is it really that bad? Guess I never knew, being an outsider. What it’s like living in a world full of order–as oppose to the chaos you see here, for comparison’s sake. No wonder shrinks are highly regarded and resented at the same time in the west. No offense, lho. Just speaking out loud 🙂 But I’m sorry if it sounds wise-ass, nonetheless.

    Anyway, once again, good to have you back, yo!

    • welovejakarta says:

      Haha you can be a wise ass – I think Australia is second of the list of countries on anti-depressants – so there are definitely some serious issues with what is going on with the culture – all of the cultures of the west actually – and there have been studies that show that those countries that ‘become’ westernized (including losing religion etc) (see Singapore, the more modern parts of China – South Korea), also show higher rates of depression. They shop and they shop and they drink and they drink, but they still haven’t found meaning.

      I blame it most on isolation or loneliness and the loss of community – but I could be wrong.

      Anyway, thanks for your comment as always. It’s really great to be back in Jakarta even if they skies are a little grey – it’s just a better excuse for staying in bed more!

      • Bima says:

        Losing religion. Now that’s the cutest symptom, really. Though it also depends on what religion it is in the first place, imo. Not insinuating anything, though. Simply a general fact. But I personally think things start and going downhill from there, with obvious signature of people letting go of moral barriers and start justifying anything in the name of “logic” and “science”. I mean, with respect, not everything is about science or scientific in nature–like, soul, for instance? And consciousness? Can you say that those are truly merely a byproduct of bio-chemical reactions? I humbly don’t believe that.

        Yeah. Pointless debate, and I’ll stop right here.

        What I meant to say, though, is that basically people find the meaning of life or existence through Spiritual Experience and Acknowledgement. But this gets crippled and dangerous when the moral barriers and spiritual believe system are eliminated. Especially when and after consuming chemical intakes such as antidepressants to physically shutdown the corresponding nerves (yes, I do believe there are nerves involves in developing out spiritual believe system). No wonder life starts to gets veeeery complicated afterwards. “Seperti layang-layang putus”

        Heheh. Another wise ass remark. Right. I’ll shutup.


  2. “…….every day a new near death experience”….jejeje……jejeje.
    Truly is a mistery………..I don’t know yet, why I love the Big Durian 😉
    Very nice post.
    Saludos de Barcelona