Live From Jakarta

Meanwhile, somewhere in Singapore where our reporting team leader is still thinking that what has happened in Indonesia last week was just some kind of “tumbled up and down in some small towns where supply is low”. Eating Singapore breakfast, watching Singapore TV, in peace.

Under his brilliant leadership, the whole reporting team actually went downtown to shop for luxury goods taking advantage of the historical low exchange rate (while everybody else is crazy hunting for necessities – how ironic?!) when he was still around in Jakarta.

That was then, this is now.

FeDee : Selamat malam. This is FM 107 and you are listening to World Wide Wilf Radio Station. Time now is ten pm and we are going to have a live broadcast all the way from Jakarta.

FeDee : Hello, Wilf. Are you there?

*(%)#$(#*)#$*)$) // transmission problem

FeDee : Hello? Can you hear me?

Reply : // (*&)(*(*& // Yeah, I can hear // )*&( // you clearly. Am I on air?

FeDee : Yes, Wilf. What’s up in Jakarta? I heard you guys have done some luxury shopping when Rupiah hit 10,000 against USD. Is that right?

Wilf : Damn right! Everybody here was crazy shopping for luxury goods last week.

FeDee : How come?

Wilf : The goods were very cheap then. Imagine, a CD just cost a mere 4 US dollar. Also, rumours said that the Indonesia government would change 1,000 Rupiah into 1 Rupiah like back in the 1960s.

FeDee : That’s confusing. How’s that going to implement.

Wilf : Basically all your savings in Rupiah will be divided by a thousand and they actually cut the bank notes into halves before you could use them. Pretty scary. On that particular night, we were warned to return home early and our driver had deserted us.

FeDee : So, is it still very advisable to buy luxury goods there anymore?

Wilf : Depends, like my colleague who wanted to buy a pair of GUCCI shoes, the price went up double overnight. Old stocks with new exchange rate. That is so crazy. And our reporting team leader wanted to buy a “Kijang” (8 seated car) that cost only 45 million Rupiah. But the price went up to 90 million overnight.

FeDee : But it is still very cheap right?

Wilf : GUCCI?

FeDee : No, the Kijang.

Wilf : Yeah. With an exchange rate of, say, 7500. It is just merely USD 12,000. But few days ago, it was just USD 4,500.

FeDee : Tell us, do you feel any change on the street. The atmosphere for instance.

Wilf : Well, the Marlboro girls dress in red and white still out on the street promoting cigarette with free gift and so on.

FeDee : Oh really?

Wilf : Yeah, I ain’t joking.

FeDee : Come on. Seriously, what’s on the street?

Wilf : There are armies guarding in front of malls. Those who are with real guns. We saw a couple of Marine Troops last Thursday as well. Wonder why. We thought the army may not be sufficient.

FeDee : Okay, Wilf. As time is running short here, let’s get to the most exciting question. Is there any foreseeable riot over there?

// )(*)^&^&(*) //

FeDee : Hello, are you still there?

Wilf : What riot? // *&^*#@&%! // Where?

FeDee : Wilf? Can you hear me over there? What’s wrong with the phone?

Wilf : Tell me about it! This phone line is pretty coc //&^$#(// up. I can’t even make any decent connection to the email server. Oh, back to riot. You see, there are a lot of rumours around us. People say that the government is trying to hold the price of the necessity during the fasting month. But the prize of goods will go up double after that. The unemployment rate is already high and if the people don’t have enough money to buy food, there is only one way for them.

FeDee : To riot?

Wilf : Damn right as they have virtually nothing to lose.

FeDee : But surely there are police or even army? Right?

Wilf : After some in depth research, I was told that the army will mostly give way. After all, report says that they will only protect those buildings which the owners have paid them.

FeDee : Paying the army to protect the building?

Wilf : Yeah. That is the way it is done here.

FeDee : Have you done any research as in how riot erupts?

Wilf : You bet. The general pattern is that someone will hand out flyers bitching here and there. Common rage is not difficult to provoke under this bad situation right now right here. People hit down the street robbing everything they can, attacking shops and most likely, end up killing the Chinese.

FeDee : This is pretty gross.

Wilf : That is right.

FeDee : Relating to Chinese I can imagine. Is that always the case?

Wilf : Well, sometimes it relates to religion. For once, the Muslim went up against the Christian attacking the churches. And you know what the funny thing is?

FeDee : What?

Wilf : That day, they attacked the church and when the time to pray came, which is five times a day, they ceased the fight and pray. The attack continued after the prayer.

FeDee : Scary concept. Hey, Wilf, time is really running out here. Is there anything you want to add on?

Wilf : Yeah, to my reporting team leader in Singapore.

FeDee : What’s that?

Wilf : The bank that we all put our saving in? It is having some kind of unfavourable ranking from the government. Those of us who are currently here has already taken out what we can. Well, not the fixed deposit though. People are rushing off to take out money. //^*@#@&// QUICKLY COME BACK. //&^%&@//

FeDee : Oh, is that all?

Wilf : I guess.

FeDee : Thanks, Wilf. That will be the end of the live report from Jakarta. Thank you for listening and there may be more coming. Back the music, and the next song is brought you by Celine Dion, “My Heart Will Go On”, from the love theme of “Titanic”.

Note : Reporter Wilf is a specialist in riot and terrorism. Back in the mid 90s – IRA terrorism in UK. Year 97, Algerian bombing in Paris and year 98, Jakarta where riot is brewing every day.

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