service. He also has a column in the Jakarta Post's monthly Weekender magazine. In the current issue he comments that after three years he's just about beginning to understand how to get things done in Jakarta, like how to order a pizza by phone,
But there remain some truly puzzling matters that have eluded (his) comprehension. So he's posed 35 questions to which we're invited to provide clues. I admit that I can't answer many of them. For example, no.2: Why the 'bigger is better' hairstyle among high society matrons.
However, I think I can provide some answers and have emailed these to him. Not only that, but I've copied them below. On the assumption that you haven't read his column, your task, if you care to accept it, is to provide the questions, preferably in the comments.
Life for an expat in Jakarta is full of questions and what-the ...? moments.
I attempted to answer some of them in my rewrite of Culture-Shock Jakarta, published a couple of years ago. Other answers may be in my blog Jakartass. But that's enough self-promotion, and here are some answers, and varying questions, to the questions you posed in your column in this month's Weekender.
1. Although they may not use helmets, or leave them unfastened, it would be nice to think that motorcyclists wear jackets to prevent grazes if (when!) they get knocked off. However, it's more likely that arms are covered to prevent heavy tanning. Remember, only poor folk - farmers and construction workers - have dark skin.
This is akin to drivers of public transport sporting very long fingernails - which labourers certainly couldn't.
6. And why is it that whenever there's an unexpected traffic jam, you'll find policemen causing it? Or when the lights aren't working and there aren't any police or premen around the traffic usually flows much quicker?
7. A regular topic on Jakartass, and, assuming they don't edit it out, the closing line to a forthcoming interview/profile of me in the Globe.
8. I often wonder more about those women enclosed completely in black. Isn't black an absorbent of heat?
9. I always carry small change!
10. I also wondered about an expat who ordered an iced tea "but hold the ice."
13/14. Is that a toupee you're wearing?
18. That's why I've given up going to Kemang and Our Kid changed school.
19. I don't think I've seen a star overhead in Jakarta in the 21 years I've lived here.
20. Why are Indonesians so reluctant to say 'no' or 'don't know'?
26. And why do the authorities at Borobodur and Prambanan charge expats a much higher entrance fee?
28. How true! 29. Another frequent topic on Jakartass.
30. Why, oh why? Maybe it's because 'character building' is not a priority in schooling, and what there is relates to obeying arbritary 'rules'.
31. I love jazz piano too, so look out for simakDialog's new album Demi Masa to be released internationally (MoonJune 024) in, ahem, June.
When I interviewed Leonardo Pavkovic, CEO of MoonJune Records, about Indonesian music for C.S.-Jakarta he commented that Riza Arshad is an amazing pianist with great touch and ECM sensibility.
34. It's the last kiss which still gets me excited!
35. I have absolutely no intention of leaving Indonesia. It's my home, yet I continually ask questions.