Thursday, July 15, 2010

My Life in Jakarta

Well, I was lucky to be assigned to work in Jakarta. Lucky in such a way that it is great for my working experience where I have the opportunity to work with the Indonesian, the Chinese and also people from the Western world like Sweden, and UK and it also enrich my experience personally.

Initially I was assigned to be in Jakarta for two months but at the end of my assignment I stayed there for eight months. Well, I enjoyed my stay there as I the lifestyle in Jakarta is different than lifestyle in KL.

The first thing that I observed was that there are less people wearing tudung in the Jakarta office compared to my office in KL. As I can recalled, there were only two people who wore tudung and I'm not sure whether the number of tudung wearer has increased.Maybe we the Malays are more conservatives than the Indonesian. However, you can find many Indonesia wearing tudung on the street.

Secondly, in our office here, we have separate rooms for the men and women to pray but in Jakarta, there is only one room. It posed a problem to me because I never use to share a room with any men except my husband. So whenever I want to pray, I have to make sure there are no men wanted to pray at the same time.

Thirdly, they have dedicated person stationed on the floor just to keep the toilet clean and I tell you that the toilet is very clean. Not that our toilets here are dirty but over here they will come at certain hours to clean the toilet but in Jakarta office, they basically stationed in the toilet.

Enough about office environment, the next one that I find it difficult to adapt is eating at the food court. In Malaysia, we know all the food courts are halal and if there is non-halal food, it will be segregate to other area. But in Jakarta, you can find one halal stall besides non-halal stall and the non-halal will be serving pork. I find it very challenging and I have to rely on my friend to advice me.

Oh you will be surprised with the Indonesian drivers' attitude. The Indonesian drivers are very patient. If they see someone coming out from a junction, they will let the driver exit but here, in KL, if you see someone coming out from a junction, you will honk and speed up. Such a kiasu world in KL.

It is also a challenge to get an English book in Jakarta. It is more expensive to buy an English book there compare to KL. Furthermore most of the books, especially those books that I have read, are in Indonesian language. At one time, I was so desperate to get hold of the English book that I paid twice the price of what I paid in KL. That was the first and last time I purchased English book in Jakarta.

Taking a cab was also a challenge. My Indonesian friends adviced me that you need to take those Blue Bird cab only. Don't take any other cab as you might be cheated or robbed. True enough when I was there, an expatriate was robbed when she took the green cab. She lost everything including her passport.

Shopping is heaven in Jakarta. I found out that it is cheaper to buy branded items in Jakarta then in KL. One of my friend bought a pair of Levis 501 jeans in Jakarta and he said the price is RM100 cheaper than if he buy it in KL. However do not buy electronic goods there as it is more expensive than in KL.

Entertainment outlet is another thing that is great in Jakarta. If you are adventurous you can find a lot of things in Jakarta. Since I'm not really that person, I didn't venture to the bars or nightclub but from the way those people dressed up, wow, it is such a happening city.

I can go on describing my experience in Jakarta but I save it for later. In my next post, I will write about places that I visited in Jakarta.


  1. Yes... I do agree with you Zai :)
    It reminds me to all the experience gained during my stay there - Kuningan, Aston, Gatut Subroto, Blue Cab, Bandara, Tanah Abang, Petra Jasa, etc.....

    Can't wait for your net posting..


  2. Thanks Shahrul. Maybe will include our experience playing pool and wandering around in JKT at night.