well, finally, after 3.5 years of jumpalitans (), i managed to visit my home country for the first time ever after moving away.
didn’t know what to expect when i was going there, as there’re people who told me that Indonesia (or Jakarta) has changed a lot, etc.. i was just determined to have fun, no matter what.
so i finally arrived, saw some changes alright, but not as vast as i thought. some are for the better, some are …well, not really understandable for me, but i guess it figures.
and i saw things that i have only been able to dream of for the past 3.5 years, and felt like i’ve been awakened from my long sleep . seems like i’ve forgotten many things about Indonesia, and it pleased me to see & experience them again.
won’t bore you with the details of my holiday (and some i’d like to keep in my own head anyway), but here are a few things i’ve noticed, learned, re-learned, and will surely miss again till the next time i go there.
yes, isn’t it obvious why i chose this as the number one item??
if you’ve never been to Jakarta (or any other Asian country’s big city, for that matter), you would not believe when i say that there’s possibly, at least, one hundred malls there.
but i’ve been there, duh, i was born & grew up there. so of course i’m not surprised that there’s already maybe 10 or 20 new shopping malls around Jakarta eversince i left it in 2006.
i have to be honest, i don’t mind it, since they are all mostly functional (i.e. lots of customers everyday). and considering i brought 2 foreigners with me, it’s a quite handy place to eat at..lots of restaurants with hundreds of Indonesian food to choose from, germ-free (hopefully).
what made me write this on “the list” is mostly the people.
i may sound ridiculous, but really…i don’t understand why it’s necessary (anymore) to dress up when you go to a mall.
i can understand it if they’re going to some event at a mall, like..dinner with family, dinner with your loved ones, um…wedding parties (i’ll be surprised if you tell me there hasn’t been any wedding parties in Jakarta malls yet )..anyways, you get the picture.
i’ve been young too once, and i know how you sometimes (or, ALL the time) want to ..you know.. “TAMPIL” aka dress up!
oh, and don’t get me wrong, i love seeing people dressing up. it makes the world a brighter place!
but i just think 10cm of glossy makeup, couture gowns, tiny stilettos that make you walk like a Javanese bride & slip anyway on those shiny floors of the malls is a wee bit too much, don’t you?
but then again, maybe it’s just me who’s getting old.
Colours of the People
2 meanings behind this: the skin colours, and the clothes they wear.
when i was still living in Jakarta, i was one of those people who wishes she has a whiter skin. in my head, i felt like if i were whiter, i can experiment more in the colours of the clothes i wear.
living in Finland made me see myself as beautifully unique. it’s like, hey, i’m different! i have a darker skin, black, black hair…and i’m liking it!
so when i went back to Jakarta, and also going to Bali..i see lots of beautiful people! and they’re not just boring white, but they come in all skin colours. i can suddenly see the beauty of those differences. i guess i appreciate it more, having been living in a “pale-coloured” country for some years now.
to all those who still feel like you have to be whiter, i hope you’ll see that you ARE beautiful the way you are. no kidding.
now, about the clothes.
again, before moving to Finland, i’ve always felt like most of the people in Jakarta don’t dare enough to dress differently. there’s always a certain trend that they follow, and i very rarely (or, come to think of it, never?) see anyone dressing up differently, walking the street on his/her own in a gothic getup, hardcore punk. well, i know the reason for this: other people will look at him/her and laugh, and shout “lunatic!” in his/her face.
and then, i moved here, and thought, well, now i can finally see people like that on the streets.
i wasn’t wrong. i do see them, everyday.
but something bugged me, and i didn’t realize it till i was once again in Jakarta (and Bali).
eventhough people here do dress up the way they feel like dressing up, but it’s mostly in pale colours, or BLACK. black black black black, is all i see, i almost cried in delight whenever i see someone wearing a lime green trench coat (wait…that’s myself. forget it then.)
in my home country, i finally see colours! lots and lots of colours! doesn’t matter if they “only” wear t-shirt and jeans, but the t-shirt has colours!!
okay, i may exaggerate a bit, but really, i’ve missed that here. i do still wish Indonesian people would dare to be different once in a while (well, okay, if your way of being different is by dressing up in couture gowns, 10cm makeup, and tiny stilettos for going to a mall, then i love you. maybe.), but i LOVE how they put more colours into their everyday life.
Prices Have Gone Up?
there’s a reason why i put a question mark there, indeed.
not sure if they really have gone up or not, maybe it’s because before i left, i very rarely ate at restaurants at the malls.
at least the food prices were the ones that surprised me on the first day i spent in Jakarta. i went to Pasar Senen (haha, of course), and the prices there have also gone up. no more skirts for 2000 rupiahs, tops for 500-1000 rupiahs. the cheapest i could get was 3 tops for 10000.
but there are still cute shoes that cost 25000 rupiahs. pirated dvds for 7000 rupiahs (buy 5, get 1 for free!). and a shop at Seminyak, Bali, that sells batik wallets for 5000 rupiahs (highly recommended for those going to Bali!).
and then i decided to do what i used to do upon my first few months living in Finland, but the other way around: converting the prices to euros.
THEN, i started to wonder if the prices have really gone up. or well, it’s obvious that they have, but things are still incredibly cheap, considering the amount of work put into it.
it made me feel sad & sorry, seeing handmade accessories (earrings, brooches) priced at 15000 rupiahs (didn’t stop me from buying them, though. of course).
a very well-designed cardigan by Monday to Sunday which is reversible upside down and downside up (i just HAD to write about this new fave clothing item of mine) priced as much as a mass produced H&M cardigan with poor quality.
i hope someday soon people in Indonesia will put much more respect to handmade & designed stuffs, and realize that they’re worth much more. not saying that they should make things more expensive, but it’s just funny how they can pay more for food, but won’t do the same thing over something that’s also created by hands & brains.
Cashiers of the Supermarkets & Hypermarkets
oh, this one is my fave.
before i left Jakarta, what i remembered was, when we’re paying something at the cashier of supermarkets and hypermarkets, the cashier people won’t say any greetings to you, sometimes their faces are even so indifferent, you wonder if he/she even realizes you’re there.
but now, i got nice surprises by them greeting me (yes, even when i wasn’t with my husband aka BULE), and other people as well. that was really something new to me .
and of course, can’t tell you how much i’ve missed the fact that they ALWAYS PACK YOUR GOODS, food & drinks into separate plastic bags than soaps & shampoos.
yeah yeah, you can complain how it’s a waste of plastic bags like that, but come on…you NEED plastic bags to cover your trash cans, right? so, tell me how’s that a waste?
anyways, that’s something you CAN NOT get here.
so be happy! customers are REALLY kings & queens in Indonesia, and not served with sour faces like the workers actually have so much more important things to do in their day & can’t be bothered to serve you.
another obvious thing i just had to write. no offence to those who uses them and think the world of them, this is just my personal thought.
as stated above, there’s always a trend that rule the lives of people in Jakarta (i only state Jakarta for this one. Bali not included ).
and this time, the most ridiculous of all times (so far) is a thing called blackberry.
first of all, it doesn’t even look inviting. in a world where everything has a touch-screen technology & gadgets are getting smaller & smaller, why would anyone want a phone bigger than a corn on the cob, which is like a few steps back in technology??
and then, there’s the pin. i wanted to laugh when i received a message from FB from a friend of mine, knowing that i was in Jakarta, sending me her blackberry pin number. i mean, i don’t get why people in Jakarta would automatically assume you HAVE a blackberry, AND that you want their blackberry pin codes, AND that you would want to give THEM your blackberry pin code. um. yeah.
there’s a limit to what i want people to know, and letting them know my every move isn’t one of them. it’s no wonder so many people can get robbed in their own houses in Jakarta: the thieves know when you’re in the bathroom & playing nicely with your blackberry. just the perfect timing for them to sneak into your house. and there you are, thanking God that the thief didn’t take your blackberry, all the while it’s your blackberry who gives out the information of your whereabouts to everyone else, including the thieves. oh yeah, blackberries are smart like that, aren’t they?
this is turning to be a much longer entry than i expected, so i’ll stop it right now.
will write more about my first time visiting my home country in different themes later .