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The Madness of MokcikNab
Motives, movements and melodrama in the life of a thirty something mum.

Friday, October 07, 2005
Jakarta Jam

By the time you read this post, I would probably already be in Jakarta – oh the joy- I’m leaving Friday morning on the 11 o’clock flight. Well, it’s not really something I should be happy about, what with the bomb alert and all, but I’m willing to risk that because you see, my husband Saiffuddin is in Jakarta.

I'm excited to see him, but I feel sorry for my kids because I don't think it's a good idea to bring them along when there's the double threat of explosives and epidemic. I’ll miss them very much while I’m gone, but the fact that they’ve been very naughty today has helped ease the feeling a little.

I’m visiting Saiffuddin primarily because he has to be based in Jakarta for quite some time, and he needs to find a place to stay. I don’t trust him with houses. If I let him, he’d be living on top of a wartel somewhere, just because it’ll save him money. It’s that Javanese streak in him.

For the past few days I’ve been studying the map of Jakarta and going through all the iklan baris in Kompas and Jakarta Post and such, so that he might find a nice place to lay his hat, not that he wears one. Preferably, a place close to his office so that he doesn’t have to go through the infamous Jakarta macet.

At the moment the office is at Jalan HR Rasuna Said, in this area called Setiabudi, which is in Jakarta Selatan or Jaksel, as native denizens of Jakarta call it. As it turns out, residences in Jaksel, are very very expensive. Although he will have a housing allowance, I have no idea if it covers an arm and a leg.

My husband thinks I’m going over because I miss him terribly, which is not entirely untrue, and he thinks this is some kind of conjugal visit. Apparently, he has bought some prophylactics in anticipation.

But to be totally honest, apart from the house thing, I’m really going there to check if there would be good-looking women among his staff, or in his building, or anywhere within a 100 metre radius of where he would usually go.

Okay I’m silly. But some of my friends have told me that no husband should be trusted alone in Jakarta, and with women looking like this, I’m not taking my chances. (This paragraph sounds sillier when it is written down. Saiffuddin's a good boy, kan? Kan? Kan? I should give him some credit, he's been absolutely faithful before. Besides he has no teeth, so that should scare off some girls)

At the moment, though, my husband's too busy to think about philandering, as he is working on two bids at the same time, with only three people to help him. I thought it might be a good idea to buy something for these overworked souls, but I can’t figure out what to buy because everything nice here, seems to come from Indonesia.

I asked my maid for suggestions and she told me to buy, of all things, Appollo cakes. Seems that it's the most popular request for relatives coming home from Malaysia. She said some of her neighbours go to Kalimantan just to buy Appollo cakes. Cheap layer cakes. Who knew?

So this afternoon, I dragged Shazwan, my No 2 husband (tak payah main one) to Tesco and bought Appollo cakes, and some lepuk durian, some Brahim instant stuff, and Haw flakes. I thought it was a nice sampler of Malaysian junk food.

Because I felt guilty about my kids, I bought them about a hundred ringgit worth of books, inane ones that I wouldn't other wise buy : Barbie becoming a rock star and such. Free stickers! I bought Adam, Mark Haddon's Curious Incident of the Dog at Nighttime, which I nicked when he went to mengaji. I read it in one sitting, in less than two hours. Unfortunately, while doing this, my youngest daughter Aliya, ate the Appollo cakes.


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