Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ramadhan in Jakarta

Yesterday, I blog about my experience on fasting in US during the summer. It was tough. Long hours and very hot, but I survived. And today, I would like to share a little bit about fasting in Jakarta. 

How did I end up in Jakarta? Well, I was there on work assignment in 2006, and I would say that the assignment was very valuable as I learned about Indonesian cultures and people. Eventhough, it took me away from my family I have no regret at all.

If in US, because it was in summer, the fasting was more than 12 hours, but in Jakarta, I felt the day passed by very fast. 

I was lucky to stay in stayed in a hotel with kitchen facility. Hehe.. I didn't cook because it was no fun cooking only for me. So most of the time, I eat outside with my friends. I only cooked when I really missed Malaysian food.

Fasting in Jakarta was totally difference experience compared to here. When I first saw someone who I know a Muslim (a lady), and went out to eat during daytime, I was shocked. You will never see that happened in Malaysia. The religious department might haul you if you caught eating in public. But in Jakarta, it was common for people to eat in public if you are not fasting. 

The first time someone approached me and said, "Bu, Selamat menyambut Ramadhan Mubarak dan minta maaf ya," I was stunt. My replied, "Oh ya?" because I'm not used to it. After few people came and did the same thing, then only I know that's their culture. 

During my one month fasting in Jakarta, I didn't see any hawkers or stalls set up to sell food for breaking fast. Maybe, it was because I stayed in the city center, that’s why I didn't see any. I did asked around, but nobody can tell me exactly where it was, or they don’t understand what I asked.

So, most of the time, I ended up eating either at the restaurant near the hotel or at the Plaza Semanggi. Sometimes, I just packed the food and ate alone in my room. After a few days, I started to get tired of eating almost the same food. Hey! I’m not that adventurous with food, so I tried to avoid those that I have never tried before.

One good thing was the hotel where I stayed offered meals for sahur. They will send the meal to my room at 4am in the morning, but I need to order the food before 11pm. At first, I was so excited, but after two weeks, I couldn’t look at the food. I ended up eating bread for my sahur. Actually, I don't mind eating bread because when I’m back in KL that’s what I normally take during sahur.

Since Indonesia has the most Muslim population in the world, the activities at night were the best. The city becomes alive with activities. Throng of people went for Terawih’s prayer, and I could hear people reciting Quran too from my room, and their TV channels ran until morning where they had live shows while waiting for sahur. They mainly have comedians during the show to keep people awake.

During my stayed there, I also learned that, in most of the villages in Indonesia, the male youths went around the village with a drum, shouting ‘Sahur! Sahur!’, to awake the people for sahur. I’m not sure whether we have it here or not. But I think it was a good community service by the youths.

It was a great experience fasting in Jakarta where I learned new things about their culture.


  1. Zai,mcm2 ragam manusia ni kan...

  2. Terhibur saya baca Bu...