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Friday, October 28, 2005

Off to Jakarta

We flew home, to Jakarta, on Singapore Airlines.

When we drove to Changi, the traffic along the ECP was unusually jammed (for Singapore standard). I suppose it was because everybody is rushing out of the country for the long week holiday (Deepavali and Hari Raya). And true enough, Changi Airport was more crowded than usual.

I guess it’s true that Singapore Airlines’ service on air is one of the best in the world. It began at the check in counter. As usual, we’re being fussy and we tried our best to nag the officer. First, we asked for clarification on why we needed to show our credit card to confirm our e-ticket purchase. Although the staff didn’t give a satisfactory answer, they are incredibly patient in answering our (or rather, Indi’s nagging) inquiries. Second, we asked for baby food at a last minute. The staff assured us that they would try to accommodate our needs. And, when we boarded the plane, the stewardess gave us the baby food as requested, although we’ve only requested it last minute.

After meeting Askar, we decided to have a dinner inside the terminal. I chose to eat six-dollar Subway sandwich rather than eating a ten-dollar Singapore chicken rice (which you can easily find in hawker center for as low as 1.50).

On our way to the gate, we met many of our friends who happened to be in the same flight with us. Aki, Rama, Ranidia, Adjie, Cay, etc were on the same flight. Basically the flight was full of Indonesian yuppies who are working and living in Singapore, going home for lebaran, and managed to secure Singapore Airlines cheap fly-for-two tickets.

Singapore Airlines security check-up was pretty tight. My baby was scanned using metal detector, even though he may be too young to be a suicide bomber. And the boarding time was quite early, perhaps to ensure punctuality of the take-off time.

We’re impressed again, with SQ’s in flight service. A warm moist towel brought by lovely friendly stewardess greeted us when we arrived on our seat. And the inflight meal was really good for economy class (comparable to Emirates, I would say). We had lamb curry, which was really spicy and served warm on porcelain plate and metal cutlery (not plastic). And good quality wine was available anytime you want it (not a lousy tiny bottle of wine I tried on Northwest Airlines). And the coffee wasn’t bad at all. And the stewardess didn’t force us to finish our meal as soon as possible, like we experienced in other flights to Jakarta.

Noe was the star in the flight, many passenger wanted to play with him. He really loved playing on the airplane seats (he had his own seat).

I also saw how stewardesses were treated like they’re sluts by some passengers. There’s one guy sitting in front of Ranidia (he was quite friendly towards us and Noe). This guy quickly grabbed one Indonesian stewardess and whispered, asking her to go home with him (I happened to listen to the conversation). The stewardess, apparently pissed, politely declined, saying that she had someone picking her up at the airport. The guy tried harder, but luckily the stewardess managed to escape him. What a jerk!

I also saw that the bottles of unfinished good wine had to be thrown away before landing! They’re thrown away to the pantry sink! How sad!

We landed safely in Jakarta. In the immigration counter, I saw the sign “Welcome, our hero” which is addressed to Indonesian foreign domestic worker. What a hypocritical slogan, I thought, because 20 meters away from that sign, an officer would usher FDWs to a special airport terminal designated for them, so that the airport officers could bully the FDWs and get money from them. Practically, the FDW have to bribe each counter of airport officer in order to exit the airport! And it doesn’t finish there. If no family member picks the FDW from the airport, the FDW would need to take public transport, which she would get more harassment and be bullied. So much for praising our national hero, huh? What a corrupt country.

Indonesia is a very corrupt country, where corruption is immersed into every segment of society, from high school students, to high ranking official. Oddly enough, it is not reflected in the TV show. On Indonesian TV, all the good guys are good, and the bad guys are really bad. There’s no in between. In reality, everybody in Indonesia is involved in corruption one way or the other. Why is it not on TV? With the trend of reality show filling up Indonesian national TV, it’s timely enough to create a reality TV show about corruption, or further, white collar crimes (as suggested by Michael Moore)! It would be really exciting! Create a bogus proposal to be offered to Indonesian government and use hidden camera to record it! Act as a buyer of illegally cut timber from Kalimantan or act as a buyer of smuggled petrol to Singapore! Or simple, do an investigation on how high school students cheat their parents to get extra money. Or record how police officers receive bribes from traffic violators. This show would be an eye opening! I hope someone would be willing to take this idea into reality.

Pak Hindro picked us up at the Airport and Askar joined us in the car. We commented on numerous advertisement billboard along the highway.

When we arrived, Ibu Tuti has already prepared the bedroom with carpet for Noe to play on the ground. And for the first time she feed Noe with fresh banana. Noe was really excited arriving in a new place that he became insomniac.


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