Wednesday, April 12, 2006

It's not all bad

Since I started my blog last year I've had a few comments from readers that suggested I don't like living in Indonesia. On the contrary, I'm very much enjoying the experience of spending a few years in the midst of a different culture. And like any place in the world, there are good and not-so-good things to experience. Hopefully, regular readers of this blog will understand the humorous and satirical side of many of the posts, and realise that I do actually feel that Jakarta can be an interesting and enjoyable place to live.

I was thinking today about some of the things that are very different to what I'm used to back home in Australia, and a couple of great examples came to mind. They're both little things, but they do leave a very good impression.

The first example is what happens when you buy an item that is bulky or difficult to carry. In the West, you'd have to struggle with the package as best you can, which could mean stopping every few meters to rest, or to renew your grip or hold on the object. Here in Indonesia, the sales staff will take a lot of time and effort to package up the item, using a combination of plastic bags, baling twine, staples and packing tape, to fashion a handle to make it dead simple to carry with one hand. To me, that's excellent customer service, and is something that is unusual to find in a Western country.

The second example of Indonesian "niceness" is work related. We have a couple of hundred people working in our office, and there are two staff who are responsible for looking after the office kitchen and providing tea, coffee and drinking water for the office. Without fail, whenever there is a gathering of three of more people in a room for a meeting or informal discussion, one of the kitchen staff appear within 5 minutes, with fresh tea, coffee or water for each person. They do this without being asked, and are able to memorise every staff member's regular beverage preference. This may seem simple and quaint, but it's a very nice touch.

These are just two examples of the type of things that help to counterbalance the pollution, traffic and corruption.


Blogger Topo said...

So,poverty is the only thing you like about Indon.Cheap caddy,office boy and grocery helpers...You forget to mention olympic size swimming pool and 12 maids in yr house provided only fr two of you? No wonder yr nickname is expat in jakarta.

9:56 AM  
Blogger The Editor said...

Pak Topo, thanks for visiting. Actually, we have less than 12 maids (1, in fact), and our pool is almost twice the size of a bathtub. Do you oppose expats providing employment, income and decent living conditions to poor Indonesians?

6:47 AM  
Blogger Jakartass said...

Oh dear, Mr. Expat..

Judging by his blog, you seem to have been visited by a homophobic, anti-Zionist, anti-American ~ in fact anti-everything that doesn't fit his very narrow viewpoint ~ bigot.

If I didn't believe in freedom of expression, I'd ban Mr Tropo from my site.

Do drop in Topo.

9:16 PM  
Blogger Venitha said...

I'm glad Indonesia has its plusses, too. I have the same sort of love/hate relationship with Singapore, where I've lived for nearly a year now. Blogging is a form of catharsis.

8:28 AM  

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