It's a word that's been playing on my mind a lot recently, along with reactions
Most of our actions are instinctive and intuitive. That's fine for those basic activities which are repetitive and/or regular and are for short-term needs. There are times, however, when a more considered approach is required before any action is taken because the possible consequences of that particular action are not completely foreseeable.
This may seem obvious to you, but I would suggest that here in Indonesia a considered thought process is not part of the national psyche.
John Aglionby of The Guardian, and a fellow expat, today has a look at the big picture
.It is hard to remember the last time four consecutive days passed in Jakarta without a power cut. Or a week when a toll road did not collapse somewhere in Indonesia, or a train did not derail, or one did not curse at the telephone over the difficulty in making a connection, or one's body did not jar after bumping over a pothole.
Those are just examples expatriates living in Jakarta notice through personal experience or reading the newspapers. The problems related to Indonesia's rapidly crumbling infrastructure go much, much deeper than that, as the government's 2006 infrastructure outlook, published last week, reveals with frightening clarity.
In a comparison of 12 south-east Asian nations from the independently produced 2003 Global Competitiveness Report, which included such backward places as Laos and Cambodia, Indonesia ranked 11th on electrification ratio (at 53%), 12th on fixed telephone line connections (at 4%), 9th on cellular phone users (6%), 8th on the extent of the road network (1.7km per 1,000 people) and 7th out of 11 on both access to proper sanitation (55%) and access to clean water in the home (14%).
According to the government's own data, only 23% of the country's road network is in good condition and only 12% of the water distribution companies are in a strong state.
At least the government recognises the precariousness of Indonesia's economy. What worries me, however, is that nothing the government plans will be effective unless there is a wholesale change of mindset across the country.
Too many people are interested in the here and now rather than the long-term view. For those below the extremely low poverty line and the 40% unemployed, the only focus has to be day-to-day survival but there are many who have more than enough who still grab what they can when they can.
And we little folk have little comeback.
But I have this blog.
So today I'm going to have yet another go at Indosat and it's monopolistic lack-of customer service for non-Matrix users.
As I said last November
and in January
, I do not have a handphone, I do not want or need a handphone and, above all, I do not want a bill for a phone I do not have or want or need.
Every month I get a bill for over half a million rupiah, which is 'only' $50 (but every cent counts), for the use of Matrix which is, I'm given to understand, a post paid phone card. The bill is correctly addressed, except for apparently having moved recently to Central Jakarta. My presumption is that, unsolicited , Indosat sent me a Matrix card which was intercepted and used by someone I don't know.
Now, this is OK by me as sending unsolicited 'gifts' is spam by any other name. Unfortunately, the 'Dunning Letter' Indosat sent today is also spam.
Never in my umpteen years of striving to stay solvent have I ever received such a letter.
Dunning: 1. to ask repeatedly for payment. 2. to annoy constantly.
Yep, that's Indosat.
Naturally, I've rung them. I got through once and spent a tedious half hour being given the gruesome noise of Kenny G. whilst on hold before eventually being told that things were sorted out and they'd send me an email to confirm this.
Which they didn't.
I tried to ring them today ~ their number is (021) 543.88888. You can choose 1 for bahasa Indonesia or 2 for 'service' in English. Once through, the machine tells you to enter your name, address, phone number, mother's birthday and bra size and SMS it all ~ gratis
I don't have a f**king handphone, I don't want a f**king handphone and I don't need a f**king handphone, so how the f**k can I get through to these numskulls?
Jakartass is a very small cog in Indonesia's infrastructure. If one person can get so frustrated, is it any wonder that major corporations, who don't have to do business here, say f**k it and go elsewhere?(If any local readers are pissed off at the lack of expected service, do leave a comment, especially if you want to have a grouse about Carrefour or Indovision.)