Jakarta... (Not) as I knew it

What do you have in mind when someone says Jakarta? I say "cluttered".  A melting pot of culture, intelligence, art as well as poor infrastructure and employee incentives and welfare. I have been familiar with Jakarta ever since I was a kid. We went to Jakarta for almost every semester break. But there was nothing to explore, just malls and shopping complexes.  Sometimes, we drove to Bandung to trade the city with Factory Outlets and good food.  I had been living my life in the constant world of the known, strangely, I had never expected anything new and even be amused by it. It seems like I was enjoying what had been making me comforted. Not until now. After university and a brief working period in Malaysia, I had gained a self-independence which I am truly grateful for.  I had so much freedom to experiment, be it meeting new friends, coming to exciting events and traveling to new places around solo.  Kuala Lumpur is not London, is not New York, but it is pretty good and fair for me.

Now here it comes a new chapter...

image by weheartit.com

It has been two weeks I have been staying in Jakarta for... things. I had few interviews and I had a plan to visit a career fair (ugh) Seriously, I had never imagined to go for something called Career Fair, this meant two things (1) I am bored (2) I am desperate. It is kind of sad to see how little workplaces we have, yet, so many graduates.  Your ideal of life, like my friend Aida recently said, had been peeled off.  I have a dream to write and also work for a big multinational, reputable company and do their creative works in branding, anything that is remotely fun and modern, not some paperwork tasks. I dream of meeting a man with minds alike.  These are some of my daydreams, but I know reality bites. Because in order to be secured in Indonesia you either (a) get a job in government or in a state-owned government because they give amazing incentives, benefit and initial salary (b) or meet a man with profession as said in point a, because that way you are going to live securely without a sweat (c) do not even bother to travel abroad and far, at the end you will be buried under your birth land and (d) start to think of a business plan when point a, b and c fail.

Ta-daa... Maya Angelou said that "There is more tragic than a young cynic" but I am not making this up. It is only a condition we need to live in.

Well, I think that's enough for the complain.  I have been complaining a lot three months after I left Malaysia for good... but I'll keep promise to come around. 

Anyway before I went through all that there are recent travel notes I am going to share as a proofs that Jakarta is not all about congested traffic, bad transportation, crime rates and so on.  People have tried to make a bad impression out of the city to me, like choking down to my throat how badly-construct the city is. Maybe they were saying that to me out of distrust.  But I am going to say that : I'll be fine!

Tidung Island

Three fishermen at the edge of the island

I went to Tidung Island one of the Island at Kepulauan Seribu. I travelled with my family and the whole of my father's office (not that lame, he has very hip and cool subordinates around my age). I was happy for the trip because I have been staying in Palembang for too long and I begged for a retreat be it natural or spiritual (I got both at the end but more to that later) and I got it.

Tidung Island is probably one of the prominent island amongst the thousand. There is a tourism activity, not so commercialized but soon it will be overly exploited if no one is doing anything. You must have expected a beach life going on in every island town, like Bali, Bangka or Lombok but not this one. Everything feels local. The population majorly is Muslim.  Every night there are dangdut music, not some house or reggae ones, played from speakers.

The island is only a short stretch from one end to another. It could be travelled by bike by 30 minutes. There were not much activity only some standard water sports, simple as may sound but I fell into the sea anyway from one of those games, some coconut drinking, biking.... and snorkeling too.

Our guide is 23-year old girl named Flora.  She is energetic and one afternoon I overhead her talking with the dads a.k.a the older men from my father's office about her  job. These dads, they are managers in a state-owned oil company while she is a tour guide, living independent life.  Of course, they have a different orientation when it comes to career.  Anyway I feel like high-fiving Flora for saying that "money cannot buy happiness" if it was not awkward enough. But I am not saying that the dads are that money oriented.  It is understandable that they are the breadwinners of the family, while Flora is being young and independent at her own.  I guess this is an unresolved arguments between the parents and the kids about life responsibility.  But I get more to that on a separate post about my first meditation experience.  But I do believe that when you are young, you take advantage of your youth for a good cause.  You may be broke, although your parents will still give you a little bit of financial support out of pity, but you are at your best health and appearance.  Travel and meet more people.

Jakarta : Kota Tua

This trip to Jakarta has been different, because I had few agendas to finish.  It has been different that I finally got to travel a lot.  Maybe to some Indonesians I will sound like "orang kurang kerjaan" in this story, but yes I bought Busway e-ticket worth of 40 ribu from Bundaran Senayan to Kota.  I went to Kota Tua for a walk.  I had no plan at all except to kill time.   I memorised the Busway plan and hopped on the bus.  It is less convenient than KL transportation system but at least there are something that can carry me around the town.  Although I have received many travel precaution about Jakarta's street.  Well I think, everywhere is the same, there is no safe spot anymore.  Capital cities are always diverse and there are always a chance of a crime happening, but I believe as long as we are carrying ourselves right and stay alert, there should not be anything to be worried.  

There is not much to explore that time, it was getting hot and I stayed inside the library.  I am reading "Tale from a female nomad" by Rita Golden Gelman, a childbook writer turns nomad. It is really inspiring because she is not the only nomad that I have heard and known. She has lived in Indonesia too.  And I also found a sudden interest to read about theology and religion...

Found this book as well, could this be anymore sexist?
Well I am happy because I could finally get a grasp of what Jakarta is.  Because sooner or later I have to.  My parents are being so protective of me by not letting me taking public transports in Jakarta.  Okay, I am a bit of a princess, for a long time, I believe in what they told me hence I am afraid to break the rules. But when I walked the pavement in Senayan or waiting for the busway, I could have not careless. Some want to avoid this inconvenience of traveling alone, and it looks pretty sad and poor to rely on public transport... but for me it feels like luxury.

I think that is all I can tell you about my recent travelogue.  I am more excited to talk about my recent trip to Ciseeng... so I will see you later at the next post oh yeaaa... and one thing more

mother forgive me I dye my hair!


  1. Yu, Cotton Ink lagi buka lowongan loh. Kayaknya ada marketing or something. Coba cek deh :D


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