Thursday, November 19, 2009
  Peace Is Restored.

Or is it?

A meeting was held on our terrace for an hour or so following the fracas. Our first echelon RT, an old friend, and second-echelon RW who'd encouraged the yobbos to congregate outside his house, "Er Indoors and her youngest sister who lives with us were in attendance. I think (hope) Our Kid slept through it all. One of the street hooligans was also there. His name is Angga, pronounced 'anger', which I did think apt except that he seemed prepared to listen.

Throughout the meeting, I didn't clean up my wounds: the most noticeable was the blood that had streamed from the small cut below my eye. ('Er Indoors took a photo for future reference.) Of major concern to our local 'authorities' was that I might call the police. Certainly it was a tempting thought, but I figured that if we pressed charges then we'd make permanent enemies for however long we continued to live here.

What I had confirmed was that all those guys sitting around every night are local, mainly of Betawi stock, and all unemployed.

The Betawi (orang Betawi, or "people of Batavia") are the descendants of the people living around Batavia (the colonial name for Jakarta) from around the 17th century. The Betawis are mostly descended from various Southeast Asian ethnic groups, plus Arab, Chinese, and Indian brought to or attracted to Batavia to meet labour needs, including people from various parts of Indonesia. They have a culture and language distinct from the surrounding Sundanese and Javanese. The Betawis are known for their piety towards Islam, as well as their short temper and their openness to others.

Ah, yes, their "short temper". It's too late for regrets, but I really should have stopped to reflect rather than charging into their den and upturning their carrom board. But when you see your wife surrounded by a bunch of jeering layabouts, what's a real man to do, eh?

Having sorted out the non-appearance of the police - this time only, I asserted - Pak RW proposed a compromise: the playing of carrom would cease at 10pm. But, we asked, who would enforce that? Besides, even if there wasn't someone's parlour available, why didn't they play in the daytime? They're all unemployed, many relying on their wives' earnings as cleaners, laundry maids or through running a small food stall, and need some 'entertainment' to occupy themselves. Two nights ago, I was it..

Yes, unemployment is a major factor in Indonesia, with over a million contract workers being laid off in the past year or so. That's why we pay over the going rate to the various ojek (motorcycle taxis) drivers we use, feed our street crazy, and slip the occasional note to those who give us help, however small.

For a few months we provided the capital for the lad who pushed his cart of vegetables around our streets. He paid us back with the choicest veggies. (The last we heard, he'd buggered off to Bogor to become an illegal gold miner.)

So it's not as if we live aloof from our locale.

All that aside, I decided to offer a possible solution, one that could both rebuild the lost community spirit and get the yobbos off the street with some money in their pockets.

All those years ago when I first moved in, there was a system of having our electricity bills paid by the street secretary. Instead of each householder forking out for transport to the local electricity board office, but now at a bank branch, just the one person went and paid the bills of each household who added a 'fee' of, say, half the regular transport costs. A win-win system which generated a considerable sum per month. Our street built up a stock of chairs and tables for the wedding receptions and occasional funereal lie-ins when all and sundry arrive from near and far to pay their respects.

I suggested that this could be revived. Furthermore, perhaps something could be done about our rubbish collection. There isn't a system in Jakarta of sorting organic and non-organic waste, yet there are a few kampungs in Jakarta which have developed profitable composting enterprises.

Ours is a fairly densely occupied area so there is surely scope for a non-profit community run organisation which could operate these and other projects. Our RT certainly liked the notion, particularly as it could be operated on quite a large scale involving the other communities roundabout, from an elite complex to our neighbouring kampung where the street lads all live.

'Er Indoors is not so sure, however.

Orang Betawi have an inclusiveness, much of it based on landgrabs which have seen them marginalised by rich folk as Jakarta has expanded. Unfortunately, they are also seen as being non-entrepreneurial, lazy and shiftless. We can certainly name a few individuals from around here who fit that stereotype.

At the end of our lengthy pow-pow I proposed that we exchanged mutual apologies. The RT and RW put this to the gang, who were still gathered opposite, and they trooped in a line through our front yard and we shook hands. A few seemed sincere.

Engineering a change of mindset which embraces all our differences would be hard work. I believe it is possible - I have to - but can others be convinced?

Only time will tell, long after my wounds have healed.


11:00 am
Alien Thoughts from Home

Home Thoughts from Abroad

Interactive World Time

Indonesian Dictionary

Indonesian Acronyms

Indonesian Slang

Learn Indonesian

Currency Converter

Email Me

The WeatherPixie

5 Day Forecast

Get Firefox!

  • West Sumatra Earthquake Aid Agencies
  • Sidoarjo Mud Volcano
  • Reports on Crashes and Sinkings

  • Living in Indonesia
  • Tempo
  • Bugils News
  • Jakarta Post
  • Jakarta Globe
  • Down To Earth
  • Loads of Advice
  • Inside Indonesia
  • Green Indonesia
  • Hobson's Choice
  • Gunung Bagging - New - clamber volcanoes
  • Indonesian Music
  • Indahnesia Online
  • Maps of Indonesia
  • Indonesia For Kids - blog
  • Green Group Links
  • Faces of Indonesia - blog
  • Photos of Indonesia
  • Indonesian Publications
  • International Crisis Group
  • Indonesian Engaged Travel - blog
  • Outside The Indonesian Box - blog
  • Indonesian Corruption Watch
  • News and Events Aggregators
  • Indonesia's Vegetarian Restaurants

  • Living in Jakarta
  • Culture Shock - Jakarta - 'my' book
  • Bataviase - loads of info in Indonesian
  • Rujak.org - for a sustainable Jakarta
  • Jakarta Kid - stories of street kids
  • Jakarta Events - as it says in the title
  • Map of Jakarta
  • Jakarta Nite Out
  • Jakarta Nite Out - for Francophiles
  • Jakarta 100 Bars - as it says in the title
  • Jakarta Java Kini - upmarket magazine
  • Jakarta Urban Blog- as it says in the title
  • Jakarta Green Map
  • Jakarta Daily Photo - as it says in the title
  • Jakarta? Been there!
  • Protecting Jakarta Bay
  • Nightlife - for single guys - check the forums
  • Jakarta Restaurant Reviews - as it says in the title

  • Living in Bali
  • Hector - at Bali Times
  • Bali Spirit
  • Bali Expat Forum
  • Nusa Lembongan News
  • I've Been To Bali Too Blog - defunct but still good stuff

  • Education Matters
  • Education 21
  • Performing Monkeys
  • Yayasan Goodwill International

  • Pre-Independence History
  • 1941-1942
  • A Family Tale

  • Del Boy - my multi-talented co-author
  • Hotel Rimbo - a mate
  • Ethos Travel - Son No.1
  • Indo Fair Traders
  • Organic Vanilla
  • Merdeka Coffee
  • Pekerti Nusantara

  • Indonesian Blogs in English
  • Top Blogs
  • Merdeka - aggregator
  • Elyani - good stuff
  • Therry - good stuff
  • Om'Bak - group thoughts
  • Yosef Ardi - business gossip
  • Treespotter - his serious blog
  • Milk Tea Girl - poems and stuff
  • Bitching Babe - another slice
  • Café Salemba - ekonomi +
  • Enda Nasution - The Guv'nor
  • Aroeng Binang - a neighbour
  • Harry Nizam H. - legal practitioner
  • Ethereal Shards - youthful ponderings
  • Muli's Commune - defunct but good links
  • Isman H. Suryaman - not a 'Fool'
  • Rasyad A. Parinduri - ekonomi
  • Tasa Nugraza Barley - returned from the USA
  • Indonesia Anonymus - infrequent but always good

  • Indonesian Expats
  • Naz - a "12.5% Indonesian" in Norway
  • Bleu - in Malaysia
  • Anita - in Scotland
  • Maya - in Antibes
  • The Writer - in Denmark
  • Spew-It-All - in Australia
  • Jennie Bev - in SF
  • Rima Fauzi - in Belgium
  • Nadia Febina - in Angola
  • Society of Spectacle - in Berlin
  • Overseas Think Tank - for Indonesia
  • Indonesians Living Abroad Forum - as it says in the title

  • Expat Bloggers in Indonesia
  • PJ Bali - oil worker
  • Mat Solo - Malaysian oil worker
  • Jenny Q - an expat wife
  • Dr Bruce - retired teacher in Bali
  • Spruiked - Brett's take on things
  • Indoprism - an expat family
  • Java Jive - original photoblog (now in the Phillipines)
  • Amor Fati - good links
  • Metro Mad - Jakarta Globe columnist
  • Rob Baiton - back in Oz
  • Jakarta Kid - about street kids
  • Green Stump - in Kalimantan
  • Most Curious - née Betty Loves Blogging
  • The Mad Rotter - Henk loves Indonesian music
  • Duncan Graham - journo archives
  • Hardship Posting - more wtf
  • Indonesia Matters - loads of stuff
  • The Opinionated Diner - and NZ music
  • Patrick Guntensperger - has opinions on current issues

  • Selected Aseanist Blogs
  • SARAwho? - Southeast Asia Aggregator
  • Pelf-ism is Contagious
  • Brommel - usually in Indonesia
  • Friskodude - SF travel writer
  • Klong Walking - an Addick in Bangkok
  • Agam's Gecko - musings from Thailand

  • London Blogs
  • Diamond Geezer
  • London Daily Nature Photo
  • London Bloggers Tube Map

  • Other Fave Blogs
  • Aangirfan - who is s/he?
  • Ad Busters - ecological economic sense
  • Samizdata.net
  • Strange Games
  • The J-Walk Blog
  • Environmental Graffiti

  • Charlton
  • Doctor Kish
  • Inspector Sands
  • Forever Charlton
  • Official Charlton site
  • Addickted to Blogs
  • Ex-Charlton forward in Belize

  • I'm an Aging Hippie
  • Man
  • XTC
  • World Changing
  • MoonJune Records
  • Canterbury Sounds

  • My Youth
  • Blackheath
  • Charlton Lido
  • Charlton House
  • Woolwich Ferry
  • Greenwich Park
  • Severndroog Castle
  • Overlapping Memories
  • More Overlapping Memories
  • Map of My Stomping Ground

  • Put Your Feet Up
  • Biscuit of the week
  • 50's British TV Nostalgia
  • Hello Children, Everywhere

  • Enter your Email

    Subscribe with Bloglines

    Locations of visitors to this page


    eXTReMe Tracker

    Listed on BlogShares

    Personal Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

  • May 1998
  • March 2004
  • April 2004
  • May 2004
  • June 2004
  • July 2004
  • August 2004
  • September 2004
  • October 2004
  • November 2004
  • December 2004
  • January 2005
  • February 2005
  • March 2005
  • April 2005
  • May 2005
  • June 2005
  • July 2005
  • August 2005
  • September 2005
  • October 2005
  • November 2005
  • December 2005
  • January 2006
  • February 2006
  • March 2006
  • April 2006
  • May 2006
  • June 2006
  • July 2006
  • August 2006
  • September 2006
  • October 2006
  • November 2006
  • December 2006
  • January 2007
  • February 2007
  • March 2007
  • April 2007
  • May 2007
  • June 2007
  • July 2007
  • August 2007
  • September 2007
  • October 2007
  • November 2007
  • December 2007
  • January 2008
  • February 2008
  • March 2008
  • April 2008
  • May 2008
  • June 2008
  • July 2008
  • August 2008
  • September 2008
  • October 2008
  • November 2008
  • December 2008
  • January 2009
  • February 2009
  • March 2009
  • April 2009
  • May 2009
  • June 2009
  • July 2009
  • August 2009
  • September 2009
  • October 2009
  • November 2009
  • December 2009
  • December 2013
  • Creative Commons Licence