Monday, January 23, 2006

Jakarta

Just came back from a 3 day business trip to Jakarta... one of the major property developers held an exhibition over the weekend and was asked to go for "support"...

I had a fruitful trip business-wise, but felt a virtual prisoner indoors.

Why?

For those of you who have had the opportunity to go Jakarta, you would be aware that walking along the streets of Jakarta is STRONGLY DISCOURAGED.

Why? (eh.. strange, deja vu leh...)

Well, basically it's because it's just not safe to do so. This, in itself, goes against my basic instincts. When I visit a country, I love to go for long walks, just so I can understand the culture and the people. I love trying the street foods, albeit at the risk of my digestive system. I love zipping into small shops just so I can take a look at the local wares.

Every time I go to Jakarta, I cannot do what I so want to do. I so want to just walk out the main door and into the streets, but cannot (or rather, dare not). Not even the Indonesian Chinese do that. Want to go next door to the next shopping mall? We go in a car or a taxi, and not just any taxi at that... it must either be a Silver Bird or a Blue Bird. When you need a taxi, the hotels call a cab for you and record the license plate number... just so that you do not disappear into thin air without a trace.

I do not feel safe in Jakarta.

What's also strange is that in the malls, as in the hotels, you see well-heeled Indonesians going about their leisure. They walk about nonchalantly, carrying their LV / Hermes / Branded bags... all the latest designs of course. Then, we go into a cab and drive around through the little lanes. Here, we see a starkly different Indonesia. What's very evident is that these Indonesian are mainly non Chinese. They hang around the streets in large groups (of course, the times when I saw them is about 9 in the morning and about 8 at night on Saturday and Sunday... the last statement is NOT an implication that these folks have nothing better to do... like work).

I've been asked to go Surabaya next month for another exhibition next month.

The first piece of advice I got?

Do not walk on the streets...

*sigh*

2 Comments:

Blogger hugewhaleshark said...

Sooo... got people buy Singapore property or not?

8:30 pm  
Blogger the maine minx said...

got a friend in jakarta who's girlfriend got robbed in broad daylight. best be careful ya

9:09 pm  

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