There are expats and there are expats.
There are those of us who clock up the years here and those who move on after a while; the difference between 'live' and 'stay'.
In general, the major difference between the two groups is income and lifestyle. The short-termers could well have many of their needs - housing and utilities, travel, medical costs, school fees and pension scheme 'back home' - taken care of by the sponsoring company. They remain insulated from everyday life.A parent in Surabaya writes
about his daughter (and, please note, has written eloquently in reponse to this post):There is an innocence that the kids develop here that you don't see much of back home. They live in a protected bubble in some ways, yet they also see the worst that a third worlds society has to offer by just getting in the car and going to the city.
The operative word here is 'see'. As expats, apart from commitments to and with Indonesian partners, any involvement we have with Indonesian society is generally that of observance. That is the essence of Jakartass. I do know that if I were still a resident in the UK, I would be actively engaged in the issues that concern me. Here in Jakarta, however, I can but comment.
As the hackneyed slogan of the Suharto era had it, Right or wrong, this is our
So, as much as I am not on the same wavelength as short-term expats, I do recognise that their observations are just as valid as mine and the expat bloggers in my blogroll on the right.
Do drop in to Aussie in Indonesia
and Jenny in Queensland
who write nicely about 'how the other half live', or want to in Jenny's case.I feel that we have seen next to nothing of the real Jakarta; we have been wrapped in cotton wool, whisked from the airport to the hotel and onto the mall and back in a private car with a driver. The only sights we have seen have been from the cars window.
There does seem to come a time when the innocence, the initial 'wow' factor, dies a natural death, as in the case of Mark, another Expat in Indonesia
, presumably because the 'exotic' rapidly becomes commonplace for those of us who are prepared to do in Rome (Jakarta) as the Romans (post-Lebaran immigrants to Jakarta from the provinces) do.(Dedicated to Del)