It's small work and no play
When I came to Jakarta in late 1987, I looked for recreational opportunities. In particular, I wanted to play badminton because I used to be quite good at it. Now, bearing in mind that Indonesia has long been one of the world's powerhouses in this particular sport, I thought it would be easy. Coming from London with its many evening classes held in local schools, I obviously came with false expectations.
In the early mornings you can witness aerobics sessions in the front of office blocks, police stations and mosques; joggers are out on the streets and, just occasionally, you get to see pembantus
(maids) in the back streets proving that they can't hold a racquet properly.
Fitness centres can be found in hotels and other posh places and, if you're particularly well off, you've got a swimming pool tucked away in a corner of your back garden or at the foot of your apartment block. But if merely getting by, then what choice have you got?
The city government thinks it has the answer. More shopping malls
because, as Governor Sutiyoso says, "the existing ones are always packed with people....". Yet, according to the administration's own figures, 70% of them only go for window shopping!
And that statistic excludes the unemployed. Official figures suggest that 700,000 are unemployed, but no account is made of the uncountables living, nay, barely surviving, on the bare minimum wage of c.$100 per month earned in the factories which churn out useless crap for the boutiques in the malls. And we mustn't forget the street hawkers and scavengers who regularly lose their homes for the sake of 'development' ~ usually meaning new shopping malls.
Thanks to Bart
of the Expat Newsletter for today's theme, which I'll certainly return to at some time.
But enough for now. I feel a rant coming on.