Monday, April 20, 2009

9 SINGAPORE AND JOHOR BARU



After ten months in Jakarta I was fully aware of just how comfortable the place could be for an expat, if he or she didn’t worry too much about the poverty and deaths in the slums.

In the centre of Jakarta, the sky-scraper streets like Thamrin, Sudirman and Rasuna Said looked clean and safe and even a little green, thanks to the many trees; there were ritzy five star hotels where you could drop in for a coffee or a beer; gleaming new shopping malls were popping up; splendiferous supermarkets could sell you Scottish shortbread, English Marmite, American beef and French wine; there was no shortage of boutiques selling Armani or Patek Philippe or Chanel.

At one’s residence there was no need to clean the car, or dig the garden, or wash the dishes; there were servants to do everything from the ironing to the cooking.

At school there were lots of Indonesian assistants to prepare and photocopy materials and put up wall displays. It was always pleasantly warm and mainly sunny.

And in Jakarta you were not so far from lots of other interesting tropical countries.

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