New Year Resolutions - 2009
This is traditionally the time of the year when western folk resolve to make life-changing decisions, such as to quit smoking. For the majority of Indonesians, the day that closes the fasting month of Ramadhan, Idul Fitri, is the moment. However, I've always felt that there is a certain amount of hypocrisy in assuming that one specific day of atonement and resolution is sufficient. Every day is important.
Several years ago, an Australian colleague, now back in Oz with his Indonesian wife and children, told of his brother visiting at Idul Fitri. Slim had lent him a substantial amount of rupiah. Brother-in-law gave the familiar greeting: Mohon ma'af lahir dan batin
. This roughly translates as 'Please forgive my faults and mistakes since the last Idul Fitri, and those I will commit before the next'.
Slim was never repaid.
Certain decisions do need great resolve, such as giving up smoking. I used to say that giving up smoking was easy - I did it every night. Seriously, overcoming an addiction or bad habit may need the continued support of someone close. One year, the mother of Son No.1 and I did give up the evil weed; I managed about six months, until one day, going through my spouse's pockets as one does - I was looking for a coin to feed the electricity meter - I found an open packet of Polo mints.
I knew that these were a shield against the tell-tale smoky breath smell, so, sod it, i gave in to yet another period of nicotine intake.
Anyway, as I'm now perfect, this year there isn't a need for me to change my behaviour. 'Er Indoors does tell me that I shouldn't be grouchy or ever shout, but if there were an abeyance in annoyances caused by others, then life would be better for all of us.
So, if you're guilty of any of the following, please agree to desist.Wasting the time of others
I get regular calls from the telemarketeers of Telkom, offering their Speedy service. I'm given to understand that this would split our phone line so that 'Er Indoors can gossip to her heart's content whilst I surf the internet. Naturally, I wouldn't make a financial commitment over the phone and wanted to think about buying in to this 'service', so three times I've requested a brochure, to be sent by snail mail or email - if the size is sufficiently small to be downloaded.
Not unexpectedly, I've yet to receive anything from them. A couple of weeks ago they agreed to a Saturday visit to Jakartass Towers. I stayed in, but they stayed away.
Other time wasters include:
- The customer in the supermarket queue to whom it comes as a surprise that they have to pay, and spends 10 minutes looking for their purse or wallet.
- Bus drivers who wait for an interminable amount of time for more passengers to clamber into their sweat box. Not only does this cause extra traffic congestion on the outside and heat stroke inside, but generally few actually board.Breaches of handphone etiquette
- Standing at the front of a queue and holding a loud conversation rather than finishing the task already started, such as walking off with one's paid for groceries.
- Starting a seemingly lengthy one-sided conversation instead of completing a face-to-face discourse. This is so sombong
. (I can't use the Anglo-Saxon words I'd prefer in this family-orientated blog.)
- Standing still whilst having a conversation, thus blocking the sidewalk, aisle, escalator, stairwell, corridor or passageway for all other users.
- Shouting ~ I really couldn't give a shit about your meaningless trivialities so lose your phone and get a life.Playing loud music
- Don't park your SUV outside my house with your a/c running and your drum'n'bass 'muzak' thumping. Or I'll come out, thump you and send you
- Hey neighbours. Sorry, I really don't like dangdut music. Especially at 12 midnight and 5 in the morning.
I'm not trying to change your abysmal taste in music, but do you think you could plug headphones into your bionic ears? Thanks.Blocking the sidwalks
- It's probably unfair to blame the sidwalk vendors who are trying to earn enough to survive the day. But I do think they could position themselves more politely.
- I do, however, hate - with a vengeance - motorcyclists who insist on driving along the few passable bits of sidewalk. I will continue to bar their way and ram my trusty brolly through the spokes of their wheels.
It seems that the only walking spaces in Jakarta are in the road. And they're gridlocked.My One Resolution
I will continue to prod the powers-that-be to live up to their responsibilities towards society as a whole.
Needs must - Greed mustn't.
Oh, and I nearly forgot. I wish you the New Year you would wish for yourselves - and others.