Complete Information on Indonesia

Archive for September, 2013

The most sacred word in Indonesia : traffic jam

Punctuality has always been one of the main keys to be successful in work or business. In Japan, for example, 1 minute late can make you have to apologize here and there to your colleague, partners, employers, and clients. I am sure you know the feeling of waiting, right? Like how the plane got delayed for another hour or so.

But if you are in Indonesia, relax and don’t worry because there is a phrase that can let you pass the day without getting scolded even if you are late.
The phrase is ‘traffic jam’. Indonesian people, especially in big cities like Jakarta, are used to traffic jam. It is a real wonder that they can get by those daily heavy traffic jams.
The point is, if you are late, just say to everyone that you got stuck in a traffic jam. They, instead of getting angry and scold you, will let it go because they understand that traffic jams can really delay your arrival.

So, if you are working in Indonesia, don’t worry when you are late. Just say “I got stuck in a heavy traffic jam”, and there you go. No scolding sessions, no pay cuts. Just one suggestion, though, don’t abuse it.

(See this video about the new issue of Low Cost Green Car in Indonesia, will it increase the amount of traffic jam?)

(Credits go respectfully to the rightful owner)

Advertisements

Tissue VS Water, a serious clash of civilizations

Most countries will have a nice set of toilet paper or tissue for the needs of  hygiene after doing the ‘business’.

But do you know that when you come to Indonesia, 99,99% of all places does not provide a tissue or toilet paper in the bathroom or toilet?
Indonesian people grow up with using water, bailer, and water container in their toilet or bathroom. It is weird for Indonesian people to clean themselves using toilet paper or tissue.
So, when you come to public places or houses in Indonesia, remember this article and forget the teaching from your country that you have to use toilet paper.

Another thing to know is that you have to use your left hand to clean the ‘spot’, and right hand to hold the water bailer. It is a very disgusting thing to clean the ‘spot’ using your right hand because the right hand is supposed to be used for eating and other things, right? I know it’s really disgusting to clean yourself without tissue or toilet paper, but don’t worry because you can always clean your hands with the soap later on. Or maybe you can use your own tissue because not all hotels in Indonesia have toilet paper or tissue.

One last thing to know is that you have to bear with the cleanliness of the toilets in Indonesia. Around more than 80% of Indonesian people have no access to clean toilets or bathrooms. Even some malls do not have decent toilets with toilet papers. There are two types of toilets, which are sitting and squatting. Yes, you should squat, not half-standing.

(See this video about the dirty river, even the word ‘dirty’ is overrated. Sadly, this river is used for everything concerning hygiene by the people living above it)

This serious clash of civilizations really marks the difference between Indonesia and the other countries, but hopefully this does not discourage you to come to Indonesia and enjoy the uniqueness of it. After all, visiting other countries and learning their culture is fun, right?

(Credits go respectfully to the rightful owner)

Souvenir, domestically cheap and internationally expensive

Who does not know about Bali, the paradise in Indonesia, the spa capital of Asia? Located next to Java Island, Bali has been a center of tourism. It also becomes the biggest contributor for Indonesia income. It is noted from Tourism and Cultural Ministry, that Bali earned 42% in total on tourism including foreign and domestic ones. In Rupiah or IDR, the number reached 42 trillion in 2012. Imagine how huge Bali impact for tourism is!

But, do you know that behind all of those income, there is an obvious fact of the two different prices for tourists? Yes, for those who come from abroad, the sold souvenir will be more expensive. Yet for Indonesia tourists, it is cheaper. Anyone knows why? Here are some explanations about it.

The currency tells everything. All foreign tourists pay bills in the dollar which has a higher value than in rupiah. Since the rate is upside down, money changers in Bali set a standard for people who are willing to exchange their currency. Some of them still prefer to use dollars to buy souvenirs. Therefore, it is seen as an opportunity to sell the stuffs with a more expensive price. In addition, foreign tourists believe that the price tag is fixed. No more negotiation or bargain. They also do not hesitate to spend their money for what they think it is worth for.

In contrary, domestic tourists are known as the expert of bargaining. It is because as the citizens of Indonesia, they already understand the process and how much the seller would mark up the price when it is sold to tourists. As the label told, the domestics will not 100% believe in the given price at first. The result is that prices on souvenirs drags to a cheaper one and of course, more affordable. For instance, a drink seller along Kuta road gives the domestic IDR 12000 (around 1,2 $US) for a bottle of Teh Botol Sosro. While to the foreign, it could be around IDR 20000 until IDR 30000 (around 2 – 3 $US) each. What you also need to know is that you have to be careful with the money-changers.

According to some sellers in Bali, they speak the truth that their income is rising high enough if the buyers are foreign tourists. The sellers could boost the price like 3 or 4 times more expensive than it should be. Surprisingly, the foreign still want to have it anyway. Other than that, the issue about different prices among domestic and foreign tourists happens because of the opportunists, in this case is the seller, see a potential chance to earn more income.

(See this video about one of the souvenirs shop in Bali having an income of IDR 3-4 million to IDR 10-11 million (around US$ 348 to 900), a fortune for Indonesian people)

Indonesian people think that the price they set is too high and crazy. But still, regardless of the price issue, tourists still choose Bali for a vacation, don’t they?

(Credits go respectfully to the rightful owner)

Another way to enjoy coffee in Jakarta

People love coffee. This addictive drink is believed to wake you up from sleepiness, or help you stay awake in the late night.
Basically, coffee consists of caffeine which tastes a bit bitter. The caffeine itself has reaction to stimulate brain’s work. As a result, the drinker would kind of having more energy or battery.
Moreover, there are some ways people choose to enjoy the coffee.

In Indonesia itself, many coffee shops can be found to fulfill the urge of coffee lover and comfortable ambiance within the time spent on. This offer a tempting option such as free Wifi, and friendly barista/waiter/tress. However, for some people, enjoying coffee does not need to be that complicated. In certain coffee lovers’ eyes, differentiating a tasty coffee is a simple problem. No need to go to a big and famous coffee shop such as Starbucks or Coffee Bean, which actually cost a lot more expensive.

So what to do? An artisan coffee with bicycle and complete coffee stuffs is the answer. As simple as the equipments they bring, the process of making the coffee will not let buyer wait too long. It costs less expensive, as well. Regardless of the coffee, the artisans prefer to use local coffee which is sold per sachet. Look at that, Indonesia still holds #1 on coffee taste around the world.

This kind of artisan coffee plays a pretty important role in Jakarta. As it is well-known that Jakarta is crazy at a traffic jam, the artisans can sell their coffee to those who is in a need for a cup of coffee during gridlock. Thus, they do not have to visit those famous coffee shops to enjoy the coffee.

Nowadays, the business of artisan coffee is growing. It can also be seen since the demand is also increasing. We can look for the artisans in busy or crowded places where people passing at most of the time. Supardi, one the artisans, has once been interviewed on TV about the business. He said that to run this coffee business, it only cost less than IDR 50.000 (around 5 US$) for the equity each day. The income he could earn is around IDR 20.000-30.000 (around 2 – 3 US$), depends on the occasion happens around their place. He also confessed that the target of buyer is certain. Most of them are in a hurry or waiting for traffic and news (applied to media people). If it can be counted, there have been more than 100 artisan coffees in Jakarta spreading throughout protocol areas.

(See this video to see the coffee drinking habit, and the artisan coffee with bicycle)

At the end, there is always a side option for enjoying coffee, isn’t it? The taste with those famous coffee shops can be compared in particular aspects, especially on time effectiveness and cost. Drinking coffee from the artisans is somehow interesting anyway. Since it is sold in the street, the drinker can witness some moments while drinking the coffee. Thus, we only waste our little energy to catch our coffee for boosting energy. Coffee is a coffee? Yes, indeed. The effect will be the same, so why we do not choose to buy coffee from the artisans?

(Credits go respectfully to the rightful owner)

In Indonesia, a Governor at Home on the Streets

Joko Widodo, the governor of Jakarta, made an unannounced visit to the Tanah Abang market in August, where he is a frequent visitor.

Joko Widodo, the governor of Jakarta, made an unannounced visit to the Tanah Abang market in August, where he is a frequent visitor.

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Each day, Joko Widodo, the governor of Jakarta, does something practically unheard-of among Indonesia’s political elite: he ventures into the streets to speak with the people who elected him.

Most times, he is mobbed as he wanders through the slums, traditional markets and other neighborhoods. Women, and men, try to touch him. Younger people grab his hands and lay them on their foreheads — a sign of respect. Many share their concerns over how their city is working (or not), a practice he encourages.

The people, he jokes, are not so much excited to see him; they are merely “shocked to see an Indonesian leader out of their office.”

“The people say it’s ‘street democracy’ because I go out to them,” said Mr. Joko, 52, whose supporters affectionately call him by his nickname, Jokowi. “I explain my programs. They can also give me ideas about programs.” He also drops in on local government and tax offices to let the city’s notoriously inefficient bureaucrats know he is watching.

That daily routine is one of the main reasons Mr. Joko, a reed-thin former furniture dealer, has almost overnight shot to the top of the polls about possible candidates for next year’s presidential election. In late August, the country’s most influential daily newspaper, Kompas, displayed his photo on its front page three days in a row along with poll results showing him with nearly double the support of the closest challenger, a retired Army general. The poll also found he had swept past the leader of his own party: former President Megawati Sukarnoputri, a famously imperious leader who sometimes referred to her supporters as “little people.”

“He’s the opposite of the leaders we have now. He doesn’t fit the mold at all,” said Bhimanto Suwastoyo, chief editor of the online Jakarta Globe. “The mold is: an Indonesian official does what he wants, has no connection with the people and doesn’t consult — he rules. Jokowi is doing the exact opposite. He’s hands on, he asks the public what they want, he approaches them and he’s seen as actually doing something.”

What Mr. Joko has accomplished in his first year leading the capital is not high-profile. In fact, people give him at least as much credit for what he appears not to have done. In a country rife with corruption, Mr. Joko is widely considered a clean politician who has not used his office to enrich himself, and who is working hard to cut down on corruption within the government.

The issue of official corruption is expected to be a major factor in the election, the third direct presidential election since the country threw off autocratic rule 15 years ago.

The economy has been doing well — it survived the world’s 2008 financial crisis virtually untouched, multinationals have been flocking here and its gross domestic product has expanded at a steady rate of more than 6 percent for the last three years. Still, analysts consistently say Indonesia is being held back from reaching its full potential because of corruption and collusion among government officials, lawmakers and powerful business interests.

The current president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, swept into power in 2004 and was re-elected in 2009 on an anticorruption platform, but his governing Democratic Party has been mired in corruption scandals the past two years.

With months to go before the election, anything can happen to derail Mr. Joko’s chances. The retired general who ran second in the Kompas poll, Prabowo Subianto, has a strong following among the poor and has been considered a top contender for the presidency, despite widespread allegations of human rights abuses in East Timor. (Mr. Prabowo and Mr. Joko are members of opposition parties; Mr. Yudhoyono cannot run again because of term limits.)

Since becoming governor last October, Mr. Joko has followed through on his campaign promises, including issuing welfare payments on the equivalent of electronic gift cards that allow people to pay for health care and education supplies directly and ensure government officials do not take a cut off the top. He also instituted an online tax payment system to prevent graft and jump-started long-delayed plans for a mass rapid transit system for the capital.

He has invested the most effort and political capital on two projects in particular. The first was to move street vendors off the roads surrounding Tanah Abang, the largest textiles market in Southeast Asia, who were causing traffic jams throughout Central Jakarta, and give them space inside a nearby building. The second is the relocation of 7,000 poor families squatting around the Pluit Reservoir in North Jakarta into lost-cost public housing so the reservoir can be dredged for the first time in 30 years to help alleviate annual flooding.

These projects might seem obscure given the many pressing problems of a city of 10 million people, but they address the two most important ones for average people: traffic and flooding. To win community support, Mr. Joko visits both areas at least once daily to make sure that city officials are following through on the projects and to assure local residents that he is not really planning to turn the land over to shopping mall developers.

Mr. Joko’s “man of the people” tag is not concocted, analysts say. He is a former carpenter and ran a small furniture export business near Surakarta, a city of 520,000 people also known as Solo, before running for city mayor in 2005.

In 2012 he ran for governor in Jakarta, and his landslide win against the incumbent, Fauzi Bowo, who was backed by most of Mr. Yudhoyono’s governing coalition, was viewed as an emphatic rejection of the political establishment.

Mr. Joko ultimately will not decide whether he will run in the presidential election. Mrs. Megawati firmly controls the party, which decided at a recent congress that she alone would name its presidential nominee. She had been expected to run herself, but analysts say it is increasingly likely she will step aside for Mr. Joko to help her party try to regain the presidency after 10 years.

Party officials say Mrs. Megawati has hinted in recent weeks as much in recent weeks, calling herself at 66 “old” and “a grandmother.” Mrs. Megawati and Mr. Joko have also appeared side by side at party events in recent weeks, prompting even more speculation about his candidacy.

Source : The New York Times

One way train system in Indonesia

The complex train system all over the world has always been confusing to those who are not used to it.

It is very confusing but at least, the train has a two way system which means that two trains can go back or forth easily and without disturbance.
Because in Indonesia, the train has a one way system.

The one way system is really troublesome. Some of the tracks have two way system, but most don’t have it.
So what happens if there are two trains that need to use the same track? It’s simple. One of the trains has to wait for the others to pass.

Furthermore, don’t be surprised to see many people on board of a train. Yes, it’s ‘on’, not ‘in’. This happens because the train surfers don’t want to buy the ticket as they don’t have the money.

If you are looking for a unique experience, try the free electric massage that is reluctantly believed to be beneficial for health, if not dangerous.

(See this video about the unique lifestyle of Indonesian people)

Seriously though, don’t try it. It’s not worth your time. My suggestion is find an official spa to get a good and safe massage, rather than becoming the tragic news of getting hit by a train.

(Credits go respectfully to the rightful owner)

Going to a picnic without lunch box? No worries

Going to a picnic in a mountain or simply to a park nearby must be fun, especially if we bring our own lunch boxes.

But do you know that in Indonesia, there is no habit like that? Indonesian people do not bring their own lunch box or picnic bag. Many reasons cause it, such as lazy to cook and prepare it, not enough ingredients to cook, and probably the most affecting reason of them all is that they prefer to try the local cuisine.

There are a wide variety of cuisines in Indonesia. Fried rice and fried noodle are not the authentic ones because these are from China originally. Some of the authentic ones are the Padang, Sundanese, Makassar, and Javanese food. Travelling to somewhere for a picnic means coming to a new place. Coming to a new place means different cuisine.
This difference in food encourages Indonesian people to not bring their picnic bag or lunch box, but instead taste the new and unique local cuisine.

Bandung, one of the local and international tourist spot in Indonesia, has many local cuisines to offer.

So, if you want to go to holiday or have a picnic in one of many Indonesia’s tourist spots, you don’t need to bring a lunch box. Enjoy the local cuisine, meet the new and friendly Indonesians, and meet the unique local culture.

(See this video below about a culinary destination in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia)

It’s far better than bringing your own lunch box, right?

(Credits go respectfully to the rightful owner)

Tag Cloud