Thursday, 13 October 2011

Mid October

The more I live and travel through the city the more I feel I see, learn and understand and therefore can rationalise why to everything I see and hear. That way it helps me accept and continue to appreciate what it is I have and how lucky I am to live in another country.

It also makes me realise that I actually know about living in two countries and therefore I know twice as less than before. Perhaps I have a better perception now and deeper awareness of what is going on around me, not that it makes any difference as it would happen any way whether I was here or not.

I often, I think, mention life as an expat and the challenges it brings and whilst you can settle as an expat you are and remain an outsider to everything as you will never catch up with the way of life in the country you move to, on the flip side the life you left behind is almost as alien now as the one being led.

The world is such a big place when you travel it but when you are in one place, big becomes small and foreign becomes familiar but the questionable remains questionable.

There are 400 Sumatra tigers left and they wont last long thats for sure. It is a huge shame and their possible extinction is such a tragedy to witness but actually I don't believe there is anything anyone can do about that now.. The worlds insatiable thirst for cheap Palm nut oil,exotic hardwoods and the most simple of reasons, that man needs to farm to support his family is creating the deforestation and loss of habitat for tigers and wild animals in general. People protest, raise money and demand action but it won't happen. The desire to change is not strong enough. The people who live in these areas want what we have and want to be rich and happy and successful and not be ignored and feel important. When that is their focus, what difference will a few less trees make?

Those watching CNN, or reading the Guardian etc and see reports about the loss of natural habitat get very upset. Start typing on their Macbook about how disgraceful this is, then get into their BMW, and head to the shops for new clothes a nice meal and then return to the family home and forget about it.

They expect someone far far away living a difficult life with little government support to sort it all out for them. Nah it wont happen.

In the city there are people who entertain passer-bys with monkeys dressed in dolls clothes or hats and they treat these animals terribly and it is a sad and cruel thing to watch. Some watch, some pay, some clap, some walk on by. But this form of entertainment has been going on for so long that is almost cultural and part of life where it happens. Will it be stamped out? No. Is it really important ? In the scheme of things, Yes I guess so but in real terms I can't say it is as there are more pressing issues at hand.

The Jakarta Globe published some amazing facts about the wages people are earning.The article can be found here and it is about the need to spend money repaving roads in the slum areas of the city.

 I quote "Data from the city’s social affairs agency say there are 7,315 street children in Jakarta, while the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) estimates that this year there were 363,000 people in the capital surviving on no more than Rp 355,000 per month. - 355,000 = less than 26 quid a month."

So however much we moan and groan and complain really, is it worth it? If I thought about it I would think none of us would want to live on that money and certainly would not be prepared to give up our creature comforts to try to. Yet and I try to explain this to my students when I am feeling philosophical.

Children with limited education who spend their time flying kites and making do with what they can find and living best they can compared to the children stuffed in the back of the Alphard with TV screens in headsets, playing on their Blackberrys and using their PSP, growing fat on KFC and sugar, who are actually happier.

You decide. Its all relative.

So it's Mid October, the wedding deposit has been paid, and the countdown to having a holiday has begun. Its been a while since I stepped foot on another island (Bidadari is not included as it was a day trip) and so I am more than looking forward to that. I am beginning to realise I do need it.

I have been working lots and spent the weekend at Puri Mall supporting the center in an Education Fair. I must say those 6 hours went by so very.....

But I did my bit, it was a useful and purposeful exercise and I am sure to think about doing it again if I am told to.

Getting back from Puri Mall to Central Park was harder than it needed to be as I got into a Bluebird. Bluebird is the most trusted and used Taxi in the city. However this driver did not know where Taman Anggrek was so I got out and got into a Diane and took the toll. The toll was nose to tail rammed and so it took over 45 minutes to do the 8 kilometers back. The traffic and the lack of manners by the other drivers was outrageous. Seriously sometimes you have to wonder what is wrong with people who show no respect for other people on the road. Driving 2 ton killing machines you would think that perhaps they should. I don't see the argument 'Gods will' and 'only God knows our destiny' as an excuse to drive badly putting you, your family and me in harms way.

Still I got back and just before the sky burst and the rain fell heavily for an hour. I was going to use the Heavens opened but I had just spoke about god so I did not want to make another religious reference.

However I have has some successes such as learning to transfer money into a Mandiri account from Permata with limited assistance. Correctly setting a network 3 internet account and keeping my tab in credit. Using Microsoft Office 2010 effectively, downloading free Ebooks from the internet. Can't say where from just in case someone reports me. And most amusing of all being described as Edward Cullen. Ha Ha Ha, got to smile at that one.

Time to find some Max Brooks books. Bring on World War Z

Happy times and have the most Sunshiny days

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