Day 5. Sharing

Everything is gross. The first thing I saw upon arrival at the house was a huge cockroach. The walls are lined with ant-highways. Any piece of metal, plastic, wood, let's say everything, turns brown after some time in the sun and moisture. Leaving your cup of Tehbotol will find you returning to a newly established ant colony, that is also drowning in the sweet liquid. None of this really surprised me. I remembered it to be a bit nasty. My house clearly belonged not only to me, but also to the local wildlife, which surprisingly was thriving in the inner city. Some of the wildlife guests were quite cute. The common house gecko, cecak in Indonesian, was in just about every corner of the house. They'retypically the size of your hand palm, and they eat insects, like mosquitos. In contrast to house spiders, they're too big to kill.

Day 13. Workers

We spent the day at Ramayana, one of four big malls in Malang. It confirmed thoughts I established before at other commercial places: the employees don't do shit. They typically stand in large numbers at the counter, talking, doing... I don't know what They are far from lazy, as the customer service far exceeds that in any given place in Europe. Also everywhere I come, the shops are really neat, with nothing out of place. The reason why store owners would hire so many employees remains a mystery to me. The reality is that it seems to work, although I question the economics of it.

The same degree of own control can be said for construction workers. Though they always do their job, they seem to do it only according to their own schedule. Usually that means late at night. I recall seeing the construction of a crossing going on at 11 in the night, with nightlife crawling around it.

I'm pretty sure that Indonesia takes effectivity pretty lightly. That goes for affairs like traffic, business. A solution to a congested intersection is to close off right turns. The space between the road and your door is left for fate to decide (sidewalks don't exist). You could have three shops selling noodles in one street and still have new ones open their doors. The advertising on the shop front is fake. They just put it up to decorate the store. To the arrogant European this all seems like a shitshow. But I can't help but admit, it makes sense to me more and more. Sure, bumpers are scratched: that's what they're for. You sell the same stuff as your neighbour? Just do it better. And frankly, who wants good advertising?

Workers hangout, Sawojarjar.
Tobacconist, East Malang.

Day 29. Return

A cold, dark, one hour drive home from Schiphol to Rotterdam was my reintroduction to my home. At last, the country of endless wealth and order. Genders, skirts and alcohol. What a perfect little country. I surely missed the cold air, though I was also sure the appreciation wouldn't last long. I missed the tall people, I guess. Being the tallest for a month was beginning to bore me. And gosh they're white white. Were they this white before? I missed... The safety... That was really inadequate. I missed...

Store front, East Malang
Rini's house, Sawojarjar

I went to Indonesia hoping to learn a lot about my country of origin. The biggest lessons were however learned upon arrival in the Netherlands. The amount of space we waste, our addiction with order, the fact that everything needs to be planned for optimisation and control. It creates a sterile city, clean of any disturbances. Our relationship withplanning has unintended results: waste of space, uniformity, sham safety, dead zones, the death of spontaneity and encounter. We plan because we can. If you have the chance to make something better, you do. But I don't think that planning is necessarily the problem. The 'better' part is where we're confused. Comfort has proven to numb us. Like a cell, we need turgor, a bit of tension, to keep us alert. I encourage you to watch Wall-E to see what the opposite would look like. What frustrates me above all in this, is the exclusion factor. Our cities have gotten so manufactured for our demographic that we even lost sight of what was left out. Without spontaneity, there is only uniformity. We strive for maximum diversity, but as long as we plant the seeds, there is no jungle.