Thursday, March 29, 2012

JAKARTA: SIX DEGREES SOUTH

Cinema

Seated on the pavement in front of the flea-pit cinema, in a state of utter dejection, was a young boy.

He was barefoot and dressed in a dirty ragged shirt and long trousers several sizes too big. He was moving his head from side to side like a depressed young panda in a zoo. At his feet were a few scraps of cooked rice on a crumpled piece of brown paper. Was he twelve years old? Difficult to tell as he was so undernourished.

"What’s your name?" I asked him in Indonesian.

There was no reply; he avoided eye contact. I asked a few more questions but got no answers. I stood back. Passers-by ignored him, or, in the case of three well-dressed young men, mocked him with jeers and insults.

At one point he stood up, a little shakily, and walked to a stall selling drinks. He held his head high, and, in a surprisingly insistent manner, held out his hand to demand a drink. The young stall holder, no trace of emotion on his face, handed the boy a glass of coloured liquid. The boy drank thirstily before returning to his patch of pavement. What was I to do?

The lad seemed like a hopeless case.


An expat's nine year stay in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. The names of people and institutions are inventions. A version with longer chapters appears at http://jakarta-kid.blogspot.com/

1. JAKARTA: SIX DEGREES SOUTH
Why Indonesia?
Adventure, discovery, love, waifs and strays
One of the world's great hot steamy cities
Three bedroom house

2. NIGHT AND DAY
Gamesman's Bar
Pop Gun
The Bintang Disco
The Ranamok and the J Bar
Bogor

3. THE HILL TOWN OF BOGOR
Budi
Doctor
Carmen
Brother John
The Third World

4 THE HIGHLAND CITY OF BANDUNG
Minor scrapes on the road to Bandung
Abdul
His father's taken up with another woman
The Savoy
Where can the child stay?

5. TWO WEDDINGS
Budi
Asep and a wedding
Five star wedding

6. ONE HAND AND HIS MOTHER
Transmigration
Anne, Bob and Pauline in Menteng

7. BANGBANG ON JALAN SUDIRMANDr. Joseph
What would Bangbang's parents say?
Asep and Eddy
Eddy, Budy, Piste Top Bar

8. PELABUHAN RATU GIVES ME BAD VIBES
The Staffroom
The Samudra Beach Hotel and a warung
Rachman
Budi

9 SINGAPORE AND JOHOR BARU
Singapore
Malay Singaporeans

10. FOUND IN KEBAYORAN LAMA
Dipo Hospital
Jiwa Hospital
Doctor Bahari's clinic

11. DOCTOR JOSEPH
Golden Truly supermarket
Staffroom
Min

12 THE HAVE A NICE DAY HOTEL
Eddy, Andi, Asep and a little girl
Dunia Fantasi
Daus

13. THE BOY FROM SUMATRA
Dede, Rama, Melati, Tikus, Dian
Medan Merdeka

14 THEY SHOT YOUR FATHER?
I picked up a metal chair
Wisma Utara
Hamid from Pasar Mayestic

15. A LOVER LIKES HIS LOVED ONE TO BE POOR
Chong
Love and lust

16 HAMID'S GRANNY AND IWAN'S FEET
Iwan and Chong
The road to Ciomas

17. REJECTED BY HIS FAMILY
Andi and Dian
Tejo
New driver

18. MOTHER LIVES FAR AWAY
Tejo and Harjo
Tedi
Iwan

19 FAMILY
Teluk Gong

20 BATUTULIS BABY
Baby
Fingers

21 TWO WIVES TO SUPPORT
The scent of flowers
Sani and Indra

22 SUKABUMI
Marni
Ciah and Agosto
Iwan and Hamid
British children

23 NEW HOME
Iwan
Rubbish tip
House search
Cul de sac
Hamid

24 BANTEN AND MERAK
Moving in
Banten and Merak

25 SAEPUL PUNCHES HIMSELF IN THE FACE
Conversation
Saepul
Business
How's Min?

26 PUNCAK
Chong
Could it be Chong?
Agosto and Suhartini

27 A GIRLFRIEND AGED SIXTEEN
Poster
Sani and Indra; floods; garbage mountain; Cengkare...
Girlfriend

28 ENGAGED
Visits
Dede, Oman and Nurul

29 RAMADAN
Oman and Nurul
Tom
Ramadan
Iwan; vaccination

30 ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE
Alfred Russel Wallace and Indonesia
Justice
John and Saepul

31 ALDI
Aldi and a new house
Hospital
Dosage
Attachments

32 DADANG
Bar
Wisma Utara
Iwan
Irfan

33 BOROBUDUR
Prambanan
Do these things happen in Burma?

34 OLD BATAVIA
Irfan; John
Teluk Gong Hospital

35 CIOMAS AND BALI
Bali
John and Martha
Back to Teluk Gong?

36 NIGHT CLUB
Daud
Night Club

37 POLICE
Police

38 SEXUAL HABITS
Iwan
Mustapha
Dr Joseph

39 ARRANGED MARRIAGE
Ciah
Wisnu

40. ORPHANS
Agosto and Ciah
Wisnu and Saepul
Wisnu
Sally, Agosto, Ciah, Wisnu

41 BANDUNG CONFERENCE
Wisnu
Bandung

42 THIRD WORLD
Nur in the Dipo Hospital
Wisnu and the Taman Clinic
How is Nur?

43. TB
Aisa
Business, corruption and the Dutch.

44 PRIMATES
Bangbang and Wisnu
Didi

45 SAMSU'S GARDEN
Ramadan again
Piste Top and Plato

46 AGOSTO
Bedside
Church

47. PANTI BAMBU
Asep, Mukmin, Dede, Tikus
Wisnu
Wisnu and Panti Bambu

48. TAMAN MINI
Yin and Yang
My driver, Mo

49. OYA
Raj and Oya
Oya and Hydrocephalus
Suharto, Wahid and Megawati

50. THE SPIRITUAL WORLD
Oya and Wisnu

51. DUKUNS
Dukuns

52. THE BEACH AT ANYER
Anyer and Disa
Samsu and Jihad

53 ISLAMIC BOARDING SCHOOL
Saib
Saib; Ibu Tien

54 FIRDAUS SQUEEZED MY HAND
Firdaus
Americans

55. FAJAR AND THE LITTLE STREET MUSICIANS
Firdaus in the children's ward
Fajar, Ali, Dikin, Min, Fergus and Megawati
Carmen

56. MEGAWATI AND RIOTS
Parung
Megawati; Plots

57 NEIGHBOURHOOD CHIEF
Dede and Chandra
Chandra; Novi

58 DENGKLOK - Lady Living on the Street; Child With No Anus
Dengklok
Parung; Jasmin; Dengklok Riots

59. THE ROAD TO CICURUG
Jasmin; Plantations; Dekker; Bayou
Elections

60. ELECTIONS AND TESTICLES
Bayou, Min, Iwan, Economic Crisis, Elephantiasis, ...

61. STRESS
Mukhlas
Christmas, Min in Lamaya, Imah

62. KAMPUNG; SABAN
Aryo's Heart; Min's Rice Field; Dancow

63. MAY RIOTS
Riots in Jakarta, May 1998

64. KUALA LUMPUR
Suharto, Prabowo and Wiranto

65 AGUNG

To be continued

1 comment:

Ann Diamond blog said...

As a personal note, Aangirfan, I dreamed I visited you this morning at your loft. You seemed to be a nice and friendly person.

 
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