Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Jakarta News

Some stuff in the papers, courtesy of the Jakarta Post http://www.thejakartapost.com/ and other sources to share with you to keep you on track with my life in Jakarta. If you are not reading the Jakarta Post, you should be.

All news is good news.

Jakarta to embrace 12 million vehicles by 2011

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Mon, 09/27/2010 3:20 PM | Jakarta
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Jakarta Police have predicted that about 12 million motor vehicles will burden the capital’s roads by 2011.

“The number of vehicles on Jakarta’s streets tends to increase every year,” the police’s Traffic Management Center coordinator Comr. Indra Jafar told Antara state news agency Monday.

The 12 million vehicle estimate did not include public transportation vehicles, which had reached almost 860,000 units so far, he added.

Indra said the number of motor vehicles had reached 11.3 million, of which 8.2 million are motorcycles.

The capital has a total of 7,650 meters of road with a 0.01 percent annual growth rate, while the motor vehicle growth rate is 0.26 percent per year.

With such a margin, Indra said he was concerned traffic jams would be much worse in the future.

Lets makes some assumptions:

The 2010 census recorded a population for Jakarta of 9,580,000 people. Which means we all have or a bike. 
There are a staggering 860,000 public transportations vehicles in Jakarta or 1 bus for every 9 people so why are all the buses full when everyone has a car or bike and no one likes public transport?
Traffic cant be much worse, the average speed in the city is apparently 8.3km or 5.2mph yet there are serious accidents all the time. Last week I saw a 40ft container truck on its side on the other side of a 1 meter high concrete wall where it had managed to crash. I was told after that it had no brakes and rather crash, it jumped over a wall. The dent in the safety fence is still there and there is still broken glass on the road, despite the rain.

Jakarta sinks as soil degrades, sea surface escalates

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Mon, 09/27/2010 6:12 PM | Jakarta
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In addition to traffic woes, Jakarta is under threat of soil degradation and rising sea surface levels, experts say.
Geology research conducted at the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) revealed that the soil surface in 23 areas in Jakarta had sunk by between two and 12 centimeters per year during the 1997-2007 period.
The soil in the western and northern areas of Jakarta had sunk by between five and 12 centimeters per year, researcher Hasanuddin Z. Abidin said.  
“Soil in Jakarta’s central and eastern areas was sinking at an average annual rate of five centimeters, while some of Jakarta’s southern areas were dropping by between two and four centimeters per year,” he added, as quoted by kompas.com.
Another researcher, Safwan Hadi, calculated that with given a one centimeter escalation of the sea surface each year, Penjaringan, Pademangan, Ancol, Pluit and Kamal Muara districts will be inundated with sea water by 2050.

12 centimeters a year? This apparently is to do with ground water being pumped out, concrete being pumped in and the bad state of everything in Jakarta. Saying that though, not such a bad thing Pluit being under water.
My apartment has a sinking tax. Someone I know who understands these things said the following things to me. Everything sinks but thats ok if it is all at once and Apartments here are designed with earthquakes in mind. Leave that statement open.

The upside is Harvey Nicols is closing down as it never really worked here, Paris Hilton has a shop here selling handbags, ( I am sure I could make it sound better but I wont) although she never opened it as the Japanese would not let her into Japan under concerns for drugs, so she turned around and headed back to the USA resulting in her cancelling her aisan tours. Indonesia is also building the tallest electricity pylons in the world, it has a breed of toad that will help the cocoa farmers in Sulawesi with pests and it is one of the biggest 'tweeting' countries in the world. 

A little bit late as normal but this has to be like painting the forth bridge 

City to clear drainage systems next month

The Jakarta Post | Tue, 09/28/2010 10:56 AM | City
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JAKARTA: The Public Works Agency will start the tender process for contractors to clean the city’s drainage systems next month in anticipation of the rainy season.

“Some works will be conducted by the winner of the bidding process as scheduled, while we are doing some ad-hoc work,” Governor Fauzi Bowo said on Monday.

He said the agency should also tackle drains that need urgent work.

“For example, when the Jl. Rasuna Said-Jl. Gatot Subroto intersection is inundated, I ordered the agency to immediately handle it as such a case cannot await a tender process,” he said.

The agency, he said, also regularly cleared blocked drainage systems that often flooded after rain, including the one on Jl. Sabang in Central Jakarta. — JP

Other stories we wished we had missed
The porn saga rumbles on as the minister for information or something wants to stop porn on the internet and he is asking people to report others that view it online. You should know that there are huge markets and shops that sell DVDs of every type of sexual act possible (so I am told) and there is absolutely nothing being done about that or stopping the DVD piracy trade.
The minister in charge admits to viewing porn to check if it is still there... Classic

The female only carriages on trains are being filled up by men. No comment

The concerning stories of religious violence and mistrust continues around west Java with no real clear resolution and the strange case of the American blasphemy in Lombok.
Lots of people from the government are on fact finding trips to europe and someone else high up in the government acknowledged that they will be mainly sightseeing and shopping...

Oh stories like this could go on for hours....

Ah finally I have been thinking, I have a lot of time to do that while dodging buses and other motorbikes so bear with me and if it makes no sense, never mind.
Lets assume our average life expectancy is 96 years. Lets put that on a clock with 48 years being midday and 24  years being 6am etc. I am almost 10 to 10 in the morning. In English eating fashions, either brunch or an early elevenes....

More to come soon.........

Even a clock that does not work is right twice a day 

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

One year on

This time last year, I did something which has shaped, changed and given me great pleasure. No not another trip to Bali, drunken night out with the boys or anything quite as ruinous, nope I started up this 'ere blog.

'What's in my world 22 September' was my first post, this one won't be my last. It has brought me lots of happiness and a place to share my thoughts and feelings and observations of life here in Asia from a different perspective. There has been a huge change for me over the year both professionally and personally not to mention the introduction of Air conditioning in my apartment and a new motorbike.
The year itself has been overall fun. For me personally one filled with challenge, despair, friends, loathing, marinas, stress and victory and that has made my life in Jakarta all the more worthwhile and determined to carry on here as in here, living, and here as in writing.

This is not the day to list my successes over the year nor my adventures as I am sure to save them for a cold rainy night watching Eastenders, with my mums best Sausage egg and chips whilst arguing with my father over why the British newspaper The Daily Mail is so zenophobic and creates a world of mistrust against those that are different living in England.
Did I say England? Mum? Dad? Eastenders (glorious British Sinetron where no one has a washing machine and uses the laundrette, no one has Rihanna's lastest song as their ring tone but just the standard phones one and no one swears), cold rainy nights? Yes I am sure I did.

I am going home for Christmas.

2 weeks of self induced refill of all things English before getting back out to the warm and the chaos again of Jakarta.  I am in a word - happy. Happy to be seeing my parents and family for the first time in 3 years, my close friends (some of them can actually read and do read this blog apparently) and to just catch up and relax over Christmas. I will of course blog through out or when I can, take too many photos and do everything as normal when I have nothing else to do which hopefully wont be often.

Going to buy the ticket next weekend and so I am sure there will be some kind of drama over that but that's all part of the fun.

Managed to get food poisoning last week and so that meant a day off work and drinking far too much Procari Sweat and swallowing handfuls of Charcoal tablets. Did the trick though. A few pringles later followed by a badly presented and slightly warm Macdonalds and I am fighting fit to carry on. These bugs are a pain and it also means no more Ayam Kung Pao for me instead I need to find something else.
So I have done very little away from work as not only have I been sick but I have been working hard with presentations and preparing materials to use and present for my teachers. Needless to say I am now an expert in Powerpoint slides and excel tables!!!!

And here we are.That is what is happening in my world, Wednesday 22rd September 2010.

Alice came to a fork in the road.  "Which road do I take?" she asked.
"Where do you want to go?" responded the Cheshire cat.
"I don't know," Alice answered.
"Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."
~Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Happy days everyone!!!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Supermarkets Indonesia

I guess I am a little bit biased when it comes to supermarkets here in Indonesia, after all I spent 16 years working within food retail in England before my life changing experiences which brought me here.
16 years of being 'managed' and 'managing' both employees and customers to ensure the business and peoples expectations were met.
Working 12 hours a day 6 or 7 days a week, with midnight and early morning calls to discuss problems with the business I was running.
I started working in a corner shop around 12 or 13 bagging up potatoes and doing deliveries from a very small shop in town before being lured to the big lights of the towns only supermarket, Safeway, where I used to push trollies and refill the sugar section at night.
From College I went to work full time and then joined the management training programme, got a car and never really looked back. Rising up through management levels and positions and stores to ultimately become a store manager and be the big boss. It was the ultimate challenge and driver and whilst it ruined by social and personal life it was the ulitmate kick as I was the boss!!!!
I learnt many things a long the way all of which helped me become that manager,
So here I am now, shopping as a customer in Indonesia, in one of the worlds largest chains of Superstores, hypermarkets etc and one of its main rivals is the English born Tesco which does a great job where ever it is. The place I am talking about is Carrefour.
I like Carrefour. I like its electronics, the household stuff and the bakery. On the weekend you can buy cheap pizza already cooked. You can't buy it on a Tuesday morning at 10.30am.
They are big big places, full of people, full of staff and full of the least smiling people I have ever seen.

I was taught that shopping was to a rewarding experience where the customer was delighted with their shopping, prices, range of goods and most of all the service.
Service - The key to any customer facing business the world out.
In my local Hero, the fruit man runs around after me with a trolley convincing me to put my 2 baskets into that to help me, they pack my bags quickly, don't get in the way and are generally pleasant, even the security guards are not too suspicious of me!!!
Back to Carrefour.
I shop at Central Park so its nice and new and clean. Lots of things there I could buy. But the one thing that makes me angry (this is a British thing I believe as we are taught about such things) is the service at the checkouts. They do have conveyor belts which I have yet to see work, but thats ok.
They have though the least convincing service standards. Lack of care, lack of speed, lack of organisation and lack of consistency from the cashier.
Every time I go there something does not scan, the cashier wont help so I can't have it, or the cashier wanders off to find a price leaving the queue, me and the other customers waiting for their return so the transaction can be complete.
The bag packing is terrible and there is little or no support in this area. Prices are wrong and so on and so on. But the service and the training is the one thing that just lets them down.
I can't believe that a company this big competing for customers and in an ever growing market fails everytime to offer good and simple service which is quick and competent.
I left there today after an hour (of which 30 minutes was spent queueing in the basket lane) disappointed and without the basics I need and the satisfaction I like when I do shop. You know smiles and thank yous, the basics in life.
I should like to meet the manager and find out the importance of service over profits, as one drives another.

Right rant over..........

Sunday, 12 September 2010


Sunday already, 2 more days and back to work. The fasting is over, the parties are almost finished, millions of people will make ready to come back to the city, the crowds will return and the chaos machine will start up again.
Jakarta is simply great with out people and cars. I have refused to visit malls so I have no idea whether they are full or empty but the roads are empty and that makes getting around simply a pleasure.
Work finished on Tuesday last week and it was great to leave it behind for a week so I can charge the batteries and relax even more. I could have gone off travelling around the islands but I decided just save the hassle and stress and sit it out here.
I have been about the city all week to the north, to the west, and to the south. Some photo highlights as follows

Water spout over the ocean probably near Ancol or further east of the city. Taken from the Marina. ( I go there quite a bit you know.)

Went to the Mandarin Oriental. Almost everyone who works in there is female, including the porters. There is a European Restaurant manager. Seemed nice enough.

I then spent 4 hours riding around the city on Saturday on all the main roadways with little or not traffic. Apart from the extreme heat and sunburn, it was fun to get around so many places.
Grogol - Harmoni - Glodok - Kota Tua - Sunda Kelapa - Menteng - Monas - Sudirman - Semanngi - Kuninghan - Tanan Abang - Harmoni - Grogol - Taman Anggrek

For those not familiar with the normal traffic in the city I apologise. For those that are.... how cool is the city when it is empty!!!!!!!
All the photos were taken at very busy places and bottlenecks and to be honest I have no intention to stop and photograph these places, actually thats a lie. I have no intention of riding my bike in heavy traffic especially on a Saturday through theses areas. Not a chance. 
Try that for as many photos of traffic in Jakarta as you want to get the comparison.

Follow this link to see all the photos....


Strange really to see a set of pictures of  empty streets. Here are some more random pics from the city. 



I should I guess comment on them but to be honest I think it works better if they stand alone.
I am looking forward to the last couple of days off from work as it involves meeting friends and having a good time. Work, well that is a world away at this time.....

Nice to have a few days where almost everything has gone well. Even the AC has stopped leaking for the time being and its still cold in my apartment!!!! The storms are great. Has anyone else noticed it tries to rain now every day at 4 and there is about a 2 day gap between heavy rain in the day or evening at the moment???

Monday, 6 September 2010

Finding Facebook friends on Twitter

I have been trying to sort this out for a while, how to find my Facebook friends who are on Twitter and add them. I have searched and found little help and ideas. Also the FB application for doing this only works if the friends are also using the application.
However I would suggest trying this idea. It is not exactly perfect but it did work for me.

1. Log into Yahoo or set up a new account
2. In the contact options import all your Facebook contacts into your Yahoo Mail address book
3.Log into Twitter
4. Select find friends and then import from email account
5. Choose Yahoo

And then it will prepare a list of contacts who are on Twitter from all your contacts including your Facebook ones.

Almost too simple....