After sending off Taiwanese delegates, I began another mission in Jakarta - shopping. Mum wanted some batik for her kebaya next Chinese New Year, but be warned: Indonesian kebaya has a younger flair to it, and unlike our Nyonya Kebaya, the design and cutting is slimmer. So I just had to satisfy with some batik fabric.
Pasar Baru is just nice for that purpose - lots of fabric and some opportunity to bargain. As a general rule always go 50% and below. As a good samaritan brought up in kind and friendly Penang, I was naive to the fact until my friend told me back in the hotel.
Walking the long stretch from Pasar Baru to Gambir, lots of interesting places on the way, but pity it's a Sunday, all closed. This is Jakarta's Philately.
Jakarta's first and oldest Catholic Church was something handed down from the Dutch.
The interesting thing is that Masjid Istiqlal (Independence Mosque), the largest mosque in Southeast Asia, is just across the street.
The following day as it was Indonesia's Independence Day (Aug 17), children and adults gathered all around town for games and outdoor daytime partying.
What does 'Merdeka' mean to you? For 64 years the word definitely means more to them than Malaysians - Indonesia's independence was achieved through bloodshed and political scheming, very much unlike what Malaysia went through. At times like this you wonder if they appreciate their independence more than us, because they actually worked for it? When we look back at what our own politicians said in the media nowadays we actually wouldn't believe we're living in the same country...
Having lunch at KL Village Kopitiam, needless to say, Malaysian food! My nasi lemak and teh tarik, along with Samuel and Dian.
Well, shopping malls in Jakarta is definitely more women-friendly (or they are just happy to allocate lots for women just to avoid them parking haphazardly everywhere, you know, female Asian drivers...)
On the road from daytime...
Till nighttime, shopping all the time.
Malaysian shopper: Aiyoh, this one so expensive. 70% discount or I'm not buying! Nono, 70%; ok lah, 65%. This is not good, you see, here the tailoring is bad...60%?
Japanese shopper: OOOO! Cheap! Sim, this is so cheap! So nice! 50 thousand? OK! Cheap!
Departing for the airport. While South Jakarta has grown upscale for the rich and famous, North Jakarta remains the melting pot for the poor and newly arrived - slums stretch beyond your eye's view and till now they live without proper sanitation and water supply.
Back in home soil, again.
Signs of recession are clear in KLIA - decommissioned aircrafts, idle airplanes, and a lot less tourists.
Conclusion: Under the current president, Indonesia achieved tremendous growth amidst the global recession. Though images of hardcore poverty still conjures the reader's mind whenever the name 'Indonesia' is mentioned, the nation is improving in a rapid pace befitting for a country its size. General Indonesians are very friendly, hardworking and hospitable, so much so that I find myself looking into a blank stare when saying 'terima kasih' to the 5-star award-winning ground staff of our self-proclaimed hospitable airline.
Indonesia is quickly emerging as Southeast Asia's largest economy. With our typically Malaysian lackadaisical attitude we would rapidly be displaced and left behind. So, to those politicians who argue over displaying alcohol in public or scheming ways to launder more government funds, it's time to wake up and put your country first. After all, it's the rakyat who brought you mandate and support in the first place. Malaysians are quickly losing confidence in their own government.
To my fellow Indonesian friends, I look forward to working with you guys, and I wish you all the best in improving your country's health, wealth and prosperity!
Seeing Red Over “Green”
1 month ago