Thursday, April 05, 2007

Souvenir from Jakarta part 2

The last time I went back to Jakarta, I got a chance to spend 3 weeks there. It was the longest period I've ever stayed in Jakarta since 2003.
Since I left Jakarta 10 years ago, I don't go back there too often. But everytime I go back Jakarta, many things have changed that make me feel more and more like a stranger there. I am even 'a guest' in my parents' house because I do not know anymore how things are run there.
Many times my dad scolded me for spoiling things at home or for opening the door for a salesman who pretend to be an officer from Pertamina. Luckily nothing bad happened.

I have forgotten that you just can't simply trust anyone at all in Jakarta. So many people will do anything, I mean anything, you can never imagine to get some money the easy way.
My mom has kept on telling me to stay alert ("don't let your mind go blank!" that's what my mom says) everywhere I go to avoid being hipnotized and robbed.
One of her friends has been hipnotized before and she was asked to withdraw all her money from the nearest ATM. Luckily, she was alert and she even said a prayer out loud to scare the person that hipnotized her.

Everytime I go back Jakarta, I'm always stuck at home unless my parents or my friends are nice enough to take me out for a drive or just for a walk in the malls.
There are too many shopping malls in Jakarta. Around my house alone, there are 3 shopping malls considered the nearest to the neighborhood.
There is good and bad. The good thing, you don't have to go too far to enjoy shopping/meet friends who lives in the same area/spend time with family or just to enjoy the cold Air Conditioner inside the mall when the weather is very hot/when there is an electricity black out at your neighborhood because usually, the malls are immune to the black out (My dad likes to go the nearest shopping mall when there is an electricity black out in my neighborhood because at home, we can't open the window to let the air in. If we do open the window, the mighty mosquitoes will be having a party inside my house the whole night).
2 obvious bad things of having too many shopping malls are:
  1. There is less and less area for water/rain water retention that can cause flood in Jakarta.
  2. Heavy traffic jam.
The high living cost in Jakarta is also another thing that I am not familiar with. Coming from Ipoh (which I think has the lowest living cost in Malaysia), I am not used to spend so much money for a bowl of noodle. Just for a comparison, a very big bowl of noodle complete with big prawn and fish cake, in Ipoh, it will cost me RM4 (= 10,000rupiah), but in Jakarta, a small bowl of noodle will cost me minimum 18,000rupiah. In some places it even costs 25,000rupiah(= RM10)! And still people buy...

The last time I was in Jakarta, the price of rice was sky rocketing. Government has tried to control the price and helped the poor to get the rice, but unfortunately, there are some people who just don't care about anything else in the world other than their own bloody fat tummy and they bought all the cheap rice from the Government and sold it to the poor with a high price.

But then, despite all these still many people survive in Jakarta. One example is this family who lives in the neighborhood I grew up in (my previous post). They are the 'orang asli' (origin) of Jakarta or the popular name is Betawi people/Batavian.
They have become my neighbor since I moved to the neighborhood when I was 5 years old.
I honestly am amazed with their spirit to survive the high living cost in Jakarta with only a non-fixed income job.

Here they are:

This is Kong (Mr.) Nyamus and Mak (Mrs.) Nyamus.
Kong Nyamus used to work as a school gardener
to feed his children. Mak Nyamus massaged people
to get some money. When I was small, mak Nyamus
used to cook for me. Her sayur asam is the best sayur asam
I've ever tasted.

The one in motorbike is one of many Nyamus' sons. He is twins. The other one doesn't live there anymore. He grew up with me and my brother. He used to take my brother to school everyday. His job now is a motorbike taxi (or 'ojek' in local language) driver. He is married with 2 sons. Both don't go to school because this guy doesn't have enough money to pay for his sons education.

The lady in pink shirt is Nyamus' youngest daughter. She is the same age as me. We grew up together. The other lady works as a domestic helper for my neighbor. I don't know when she came into the neighborhood.

These 2 boys are cousins. One is son of the ojek driver above, and the other one is son of the pink shirt lady.


johnorford said...

great read, good to know more about ordinary life in ri.......... ... ...

vudining said...

dats quite touching tia...