Ramadan Kareem


Salam Ramadan Kareem to all muslims readers, wherever you are, and if you are still reading this blog. Its another year to reflect and refocus all the energies and abilities to the Almighty. 

I've been evidently busy this past few months, and again, I've neglected to commit my time to this blog. I ended 2015 with a short trip to Jakarta and began 2016 with another trip to Saigon in February. And had been here and there ever since. I was in Singapore sometime in March and April, and recently, I just came back from Kuala Lumpur for a short vacation, just prior to the ABDB anniversary. During those times I was traveling, I had met with a number of interesting people and had gone to many more interesting places. Jakarta for me was an interesting one. 

In Jakarta, I came to see first hand the realities of the two worlds: one where people are living comfortably within the comforts of their large houses (or mansions), but on the flip side, the poor are living in almost hut-like slums; the two seemingly polar opposites neighboring one another.

Cruising along the highway from Bung Soekarno Airport into the Greater Jakarta city centre, dozens if not hundreds of tiny houses and makeshift wooden huts huddled along the roads and within the city centre are a common sight. Most of them are separated only by plywood sheets; with pitted rusting zinc and in some cases tarpaulins act as roofs. They are set against a background of the gleaming glass of luxurious apartment and mall buildings.On one side, people are struggling to make ends meet doing almost anything from scavenging to "joki" (jockeying for hire. Jakarta is peak hour road rule that required every car to be carrying at least three passengers). On the opposite, people are easily spending millions just to buy foreign branded bags. 

Despite all this, I feel that Jakarta is an interesting place, amazed at hour industrious the people are. One thing that still lingers in my head is their entrepreneurial spirit and the growth of the Indonesia creative scene, particularly the Made in Indonesia fashion scene. If you've been to Jakarta before, you've might have heard of "The Goods Dept", a quasi-Urban Outfitters-esque store, which the majority of items on display are locally produced.

And this same entrepreneurial spirit is evident almost everywhere you go. Go-jek is perhaps the most unique of it all. Anyone who’s been to Jakarta knows how bad the traffic congestion can be. It’s a huge pain for the city, and the problem will not be resolved anytime soon. So for those who need to navigate the traffic quickly, the best solution now is to ride these 'Go-jeks' or motorcycle taxis. Or more correctly: Uber for motorcycles in Indonesia. Gojek derived from the original means motorcycle taxi common in Indonesia called "Ojek".

The thing about Gojek-riding is, its such a low-tech process. Just by downloading the app either on IOS or Android, you can pretty much book a service at your pick up point. Whats sweeter is the fare is as cheap as $1 a ride, not that I've tried the service.

I would've prolonged my stay in Jakarta if I could, so to explore more, but three days is too short for a stay I guess. Nonetheless, I would come again, mainly for "The Goods Dept", as like I said, its one of my highlights in Jakarta.

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