Category Archives: indonesia

Wednesday, the 9th of July 2014

All of the Van den Brink family hopes to cheer and celebrate victories tomorrow. An essential one in Jakarta* and and the most important side matter in Sao Paulo. That is Jokowi’s win over Prabowo in Indonesia and the Dutch football squad’s win over Argentina in Brazil.

Last Saturday night my daughter in law Feby, my granddaughter Devica Esha and son Gunnar rehearsed for the events dressed in genuine Dutch colours already. Actually a pretty picture and a successful try out in my opinion:

Trio voor Oranje 5 juli 14.

To make the wished for outcome come true, voters in Indonesia and the referee in Sao Paulo have to make the right decisions. I trust our massive mental family support will help them doing just that ;-).

In the meantime I anxiously keep my fingers crossed.

* The advantage of this presidential campaign is that this time it’s a clear choice between the past and the future. One between a man who belongs to the Suharto era and is member of the old system and the old guys’ network on the one hand and the future, the new man on the block with good record, clean sheets and coming in from the outside, on the other. The problem is that bad boys ( be it Wilders, Bush or Prabowo) tend to have ( ample means, on the surface simple underbelly solutions and) a dark appeal to many voters. Therefore I sincerely hope – and trust – the people will make the most sensible choice for good governance and democracy, Jokowi (Though alas, Kalla, the man who in “The Act of Killing” is being exposed as supporter of a fascist youth organization, will be part of the package).

Well, till now, ever since Reformasi most of the time the Indonesian people made sensible political choices. So why not this time.

Keeping up appearances.


Seemingly Indonesian authorities are in the process of cleaning up public areas. A laudable case, isn’t it?

Surabayahas started the adventurous project process of closing down “Dolly”, one of the oldest and most renowned red light districts in South-East Asia. In other parts of the archipelago brothels disappear also. And Jakarta is getting rid of street vendors in top-end parts of the capital. Monas Park has been cleared already.

I wonder if those who are responsible really think they in this way offer a solution to the less well off. I can’t but thinking these are typical cases of sweeping dirt under the carpet.  Actually Mrs Bucket ( “Bouquet”), the leading character in “Keeping up appearances“, keeps popping up in my mind every time I read another one of these items on efforts to embellish urban imagos.

Jakarta is a metropolis

jakartanightlife 2 *

The “Stadium” has been the capital’s epicentre of sin for a long time. Officially these leisure time activities are outlawed in the predominant religious country, but unofficially they are part of a tradition, facilitated by a culture of corruption. Therefore and because of a growing and eager well off hedonistic middle class, expats, supplemented by abundant numbers of experimenting adolescents and students, it’s no wonder the club has been thriving.

We all know moderate and modest will do it, but too much is lethal. North Sulawesi’s policeman Jicky Vay Gumerung, didn’t stick to this rule of the thumb. Nor did Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, all members of the ‘club of twenty seven’, some forty years ago. Cause of death: Overdose.

The death of the police officer was a golden opportunity to act for a characteristically resolute governor. So it’s over now. Acting governor Ahok, in his energetic style, closed down “Stadium” immediately after the young cop died at the premises. The man in charge of the city has decided to join the “war on drugs”. Which world wide fight by the way over the years conspicuously has been lacking moderation and modesty unfortunately. Resulting in even deadlier results than drugs themselves do.

It’s a remarkable decision Ahok took. It’s a policy U-turn. And it’s not in line with the ambition of the Big Durian, the nickname, referring to the Big Apple. A name which indicates what it’s planning to become :). It strives to be an urban hotspot on the globe. That is with all the virtues and vices of it. Including every kind of entertainment most decent people and settled citizens tend to frown upon: prostitution, gambling, alcohol, partying, drugs.

The governor obviously loathes exploitation of women, drugs-abuse and ripping off people. And, most of all, breaking the law. Who doesn’t? Actually I have to admit I also instinctively – in spite of my occasional glass of wine-  tend to side by puritans and righteous ones in these matters.

Yet I doubt whether the governor’s decision is the right one. National, regional or local administrations trying to abolish vice in a big city, deny the realities of life. It’s administrative over-stretch. And it’s an invasion of people’s personal freedom.

I prefer pragmatism.

Don’t close down clubs, but curtail management, help involuntary sex workers to find an exit to other means of income, help drug addicts by health programs and apply a zero tolerance policy in relation to corruption. And keep on track turning Jakarta into an modern, innovative Asian version of Berlin ( for instance).

* This is not the “Stadium”.

Forbidden Love in Cattleya Park

park 1


Desires are what can most easily ruin us (Simona Panova)

By this article I learn that Bylaw No. 8/2007 , article 42  reads “Anyone is prohibited from acting immorally or behaving indecently on the streets, green strips, parks and other public spaces”. Which stands to reason. Of course we should restrict our immoral or indecent behaviour to a secluded place :-> . Our bedroom or  hotel room.  We wouldn’t want to shock tender, innocent souls by our unprovoked explicit scenes, do we. Though I might add that even a hotel room is not a guarantee in all circumstances.  As we once experienced  when my wife and I stayed the night in an inexpensive hotel on the Ballon d’Alsace, France. The walls were thin. In bed we could hear the couple we saw in the Hotel’s restaurant earlier that day, making love in the adjoining room. I admit  her “O, mon chou, mon chou”  was quite inspirational.

However the message in the JP is clear. No hanky panky in Jakarta’s parks any more. The hunt for sweethearts kissing, hugging, petting or having sex in the parks of the capital of Indonesia, is on.

And that’s where we may differ of opinion on what the exact definition of immoral and indecent  is and what the proper sanctions should be.

To start with I do understand those youngsters the JP writes about. You know, it’s tough if you’re short of money as a student, without a waterproof safe haven but passionately in love. Then a quiet place out in the open air with only the moon to watch, a well hidden dark spot, might be too tempting to resist. It’s still risky though. You may think you’re alone in the dark under a tree and no one will see or hear, but always chances are  a Peeping John will  witness you.

By the way to me voyeurism is what really is immoral and indecent.

Probably I’m biased.  Because way back in our rash years, when we ourselves were poor as church rats,  we  ‘sinned’ in a similar way.  No regrets though. Rather tender, sweet  and farcical memories .

Yeah, we were caught in the act. Fortunately not by special undercover guards like the ones who are active in Cattleya Park now. In our case they were two curious teenagers who spied on us and probably had the show of their lives :). We definitely considered them very uninvited and extremely unwelcome spectators at the time. Embarrassing. But  the potential fate of  horny youngsters spotted by under cover guards in West-Jakarta, easily trumps embarrassment.  They face serious fines up to € 2000.- or 90 days in jail and possibly a premature marriage.

That’s over the top.

To me it shows the official definition of problems authorities should deal with, is off balance here.  The emphasis on public virtuousness hypocritical.  The relevance of public morality touchiness overrated. The under-cover part sneaky and unfair.  And the hunt itself a gross exaggeration. Officials acting  as sex police is trouble.

So if someone unexpectedly spots love birds in a public place he or she should  just warn them to look for a better hide-away.