Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Strange things that I am told....

Having sat through another weird wonderful day at work full of lifes curiousities and quirks I feel compelled to write some down.
One thing I forgot to mention the other day was the fact that the mountains to the south are visible for upto 3 hours a day at the moment, either in the morning or the afternoon. The sky and clouds are not hazy and things look great. Then the pollution levels rise and bang, back to haze no view and the desire not to breath very deeply for fear of ruining what is left of my healthy lungs.
I am not saying the air is bad but when you are stuck behind a bajai which is pumping out pure black poison I can only shed a tear for my future and my lungs who I now apologise to on a frequent basis.
The mountains are simply stunning and a great backdrop to the city land scape. It actually puts things in perspective. No matter how big the city gets the mountains are simply bigger and better in every way.

So the gas main outside on Jl Tanjung Duren is a pain in the ass as it messes up the traffic flow which is not really not a mess but just flows. Now it does not. Still the sight of 30 men in a narrow trenches digging the space for the pipes is impressive and they must work hard and be very tough as the weather is not ideal to this kind of work.
On the main road out side the apartment they are building an overpass to somewhere for some reason but no-one really knows. It is not common knowledge. I will get Yovita to ask taxi man and then I will know. Simple. Thank you :)

Sometimes the logic used here is not say the best. Actually what I am saying is that I still have western thoughts and ideas about things and I do fight them off and go with Indonesian rationale but the shrugging of shoulders and well this is not western culture cant hack it somedays.
Here I am in the gym sweating and not paying attention to anything but not having a heart attack when this guy comes up to me and says. "You know my daughter", ok, now I am worried. But he then says "you teach her at EF", great. The puzzled look is not helping so I ask questions and then when he says her name and age and a few other things I say well thats great and I remember her. Just to placate and feel better. Then he says "where do you live?" and I tell him. The look on his face of pure disgust and he wanders off. What the f**k was that about. I like mediterania and its a great place. I am seriously considering if it is worth leaving here next year or bite the bullet and go to another apartment.
Getting my membership card back at the gym is also another strange event. Everyone holds onto it and smiles overly nice to me and  says thank you mister...
The guys in the bike park speak no English. Smiles and nods. Somethings a thankyou if I buy them a bag of Mentos or something when I remember. Today they start rambling on. "Hey Mister you work EF Puri..." mutter mutter something in Indonesian, then something else". I smile and say " yes thats right" and then another barrage of Indonesian so I ride off and dont look back. I guess the same people must work in the 2 places. Weird.

Ethics are as I was so reminded today important to people. I forgot living here where mothers cant leave hospital until they pay the bill and are charged daily that these things are important. Shark Fin soup ok, deforestation, ok, Tiger claws, yes please, starving children in the streets, hmm maybe but they still look well. Cynical now oh yes.
Danone Aqua is the probably the most popular brand of bottled water here. Sold in the swimming pools full. I drink it all the time and there is 1/2  a gallon of it in my apartment now. It is part of the coca cola company. I was asked today if we could stop the supply of it to the school and the teachers house on ethical grounds that Coca Cola exploit the poor and encourage poor diets etc through their image and branding. All correct and true. Hmmm. I will try. The answer as I already know is no. But it is worth the attempt and the look of confusion on my bosses face when I pose that question.
I really can only thing, isnt there something else to do other than complain about well everything but also I should understand and respect a persons personal beliefs. I do in religion and spiritual needs so why not this.

I actively think and suggest to my shocked teachers that if my shoes arent made by a childs hands then they are not well made.  Indoensia is a textile and shoe producing country and I am sure the workers are treated fairly but harshly at the same time. And with the current levels of black outs and power cuts could all be made redundant due to costs and time delays. Very Zoolander.

The rest of the week has been the slowest it possibly could so far. I am looking forward to Friday and a days holiday and maybe take Saturday as well and have 3 days off. That sounds nice. I can go to work on Saturday but will see.

I leave you with this article about buying animals from the Jakarta Globe. Fantastic.

Muslims commemorate the Idul Adha holiday by sacrificing goats and sharing the meat to feed the needy. (JG Photo)
Muslims commemorate the Idul Adha holiday by sacrificing goats and sharing the meat to feed the needy. (JG Photo)

Indonesian Muslims Surf Internet for a Sacrifice

Muslims no longer have to purchase sacrificial goats and cattle for Idul Adha in person, but can arrange for them to be delivered to their home or slaughtered in their name via the Internet.

In the days prior to Idul Adha, most Muslim families of sufficient means purchase livestock at their neighborhood mosque or at tethering stalls on the side of the road.

On the holiday itself, the majority of them bring the animals to halal slaughterhouses for butchers to sacrifice, but some others, who know how to kill animals humanely following the Koran’s edicts, take matters into their own hands.

The main purpose of the slaughter is to feed the needy, who receive portions of meat. However, it is not always easy to find a healthy animal, a halal butcher and bona fide poor people.

Aiming to simplify the process, a number of Indonesian-based halal livestock sellers have begun operating online.

Risdiyanto, 32, a physics teacher living in Central Java, established about six weeks ago, just in time for Idul Adha.

He said his family had always been in the halal cattle industry, but he worked as a teacher and simply didn’t have time to run a cattle market.

“With Internet technology you don’t have to spend a lot of money building an office or store,” Risdiyanto said.

He posts pictures of his cows on his Web site’s gallery. Prices range from Rp 7.7 million to Rp 18.3 million ($815 to $1,940). Orders are made over the phone and the transaction can be completed either by cash or bank transfer.

Risdiyanto requires a down payment of Rp 2 million and says he can deliver to any address in Bandung or Jakarta. After the initial payment has been made, the cow is transported from the family’s stockyard in Purbalingga, Central Java, to the delivery address.

Risdiyanto said it hadn’t been easy building trust among customers, most of whom had so far been friends or friends of friends. First, it’s not easy to convince people to transfer their money to someone they don’t know, he said. Second, most people prefer to see the cows in the flesh, and are generally fussy.

“For Idul Adha, most people are concerned about the appearance of the cows,” Risdiyanto said.

“Most people want plump, white cows, while it’s hard to sell black ones.”

He said people also liked to show their animals off around their neighborhoods, signifying the extent of their charity.

Mulyadi Ilham, a customer of, said he learned of the service from a friend. “I just wanted to try. It’s a very easy method of buying a cow for Idul Adha,” Mulyadi said.

Rumah Zakat Indonesia (The Indonesia House of Alms) also offers Idul Adha services at

Founded by Abu Syauqi, a cleric living in Bandung, in 1998, Rumah Zakat cans beef and goat and sells it online with the aim of distributing the meat to those in need in the poorer parts of Indonesia, such as in Sabang and Papua.

Before the sacrifice, the butcher will say a prayer and also mention the buyer’s name.

Purchasers, however, don’t get to pick animals out, and are not presented with proof of their sacrifice other than an e-mail confirmation.

A goat, priced at Rp 1 million, yields about 40 200-gram cans of meat. Cows sell for Rp 10 million and provide about 400 cans of meat for the poor.

Another option is for buyers the share the costs of a cow with seven others.

Rumah Zakat also has consultants available to talk buyers through the process via Internet messenger service.

Three sociologists from the University of Indonesia declined to comment about the practice of arranging sacrifices online, because it is considered a sensitive issue. However, Masdar F Mas’udi, the deputy chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama, said buying sacrificial livestock on the Internet should not be controversial.

“Life is changing. If it is possible to buy sacrifices indirectly with credible information, it is not a problem,” he said.

Masdar said the most important concern was whether buyers were being scammed.

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