more food science

today i ate ikan pepes which is basically a fish with plenty of small bones steamed in banana leaves until it is soft and becomes tender. other things they like to do are deep fry soft-shell crab as well as pigeons, as well as "gurame", a fish which is fried until you can eat all of the bones.

what appears to be a culinary tweak seems to be a very clever adaptation to a lack of calcium in the diet. especially as asians tend to be rather more lactose intolerant and frown upon milk and cheese, they get most of their calcium from the bones in seafood.

found this joke on the internet

hardware = barang keras
software = barang lembut
joystick = batang gembira
plug and play = colok dan main
port = lubang
server = pelayan
client = pelanggan

"the server provides a plug and play service for the clients using either hardware or software joystick. just plug the joystick into the server port and enjoy it."

"pelayan itu menyediakan layanan colok dan main untuk pelanggannya dengan menggunakan batang gembira jenis keras atau lembut. cukup colokkan batang gembira itu ke dalam lubang pelayan dan nikmati."


frying stuff

i realize that frying things is probably an adaptation and response to conditions where the water cannot be trusted. steaming and soups are all fun when you have clean water, but when you don't know what the hell is inside, you would be better off dumping it in hot oil and killing the little fuckers. pigeons, intestines, whatever.

it does wonders for my sore throat, the cuisine, this. i hope this supposed "cure all" works.

parallel lives

Everyone I spoke to had a fantastic weekend, and throughout the 9 hour drive back from Semarang, I was thinking what different weekends everyone must have. Mine was a weekend away. Took a short domestic flight to Semarang to visit my grandmother and my cousin who's just finished his internship in the nearby village of Kudus. Central Java (JATENG, Jawa Tengah, they have the annoying habit of combining words).

Wasn't my first visit, and the area had developed a bit. My grandmother's bakery had already been converted to an electronics store, as it is on one of the main roads, so it was probably a good location for it. It was bustling, but considerably less so than in Jakarta.

Again, the food was something different. Javanese food is pretty different from what I usually eat in Jakarta, though it's familiar because my family cooks it from time to time. Soto with kecap manis, nasi opor, nasi goreng babat, nasi ayam semarang. in general, sweet. they even mix the tea with insane amounts of sugar. not a good place to be if you're diabetic. of course, there are the bakeries.

drove to kudus via demak to search for this famed "beautiful house", and on the way there we stopped by the polytron factory to see where my cousin was doing his internships. generally, i had the sense that culturally, this was more of indonesia's heartland. i saw many more islamic schools (well, as well as chinese temples in semarang). this was where zheng he made landfall in java and helped to spread islam. of course, there are also 9 holy cities where pilgrims who were the descendants of prophet muhammad helped to spread islam throughout indonesia. demak was the site of the first islamic empire which defeated the hindu majapahit one (yes, the empire with gajah mada who tried to invade singapore, if you remember from the myths of singapore book by noel chia).

drove up the mountains and it ws a beautiful house. a rather famous artist owned it and decided to build his residence and his art school there. unfortunately he was in jakarta at the time, so we talked to his wife. this house is situated on a mountain overlooking a valley and with a view of the adjacent ridges. you can hear the sound of water flowing. it was built on a whim, apparently, and on a plan. spread throughout the compound are sculptures done by the man himself. in order to get from the house to the gazebo and viewing/trekking area, you have to hop past some stones. it was easy for us but not for the people who brought tea over.

his children are artists as well, one is a fashion designer and the other helms an alternative rock band. he gave me his album, and he likes face paint a lot. music has pretty international influences, although also some javanese ones as well.

on the way back i encountered an interesting way to deal with corruption. basically this policeman, seeing that we had jakarta license plates and a pretty decent car, decided to stop us on the way back into semarang. he pulled us over, and we asked what for. he asked to see the vehicel registration papers and driving license, which we promptly showed him but refused to hand over to him. then my cousin adrian started screaming at him for stopping us for no good reason, and threatening to call his important friends in jakarta. so now i suppose our crime was going straight when we were supposed to turn left. but that's ridiculous because the car in front of us had gone straight. here we were in the middle of the street, my cousin going mental. when we tried to drive away he stood in front of the car. how desperate. he said "if you help me, i am help you. how dare you scream at me like that. i'm an employee of the state, and you are obstructing justice". so my cousin just started screaming more, like "what justice, we haven't done anything wrong" we wanted to drive to the side to stop blocking, and after a while we continued the debate on the side of the road. by now, he had roped in his friend to try to solve the problem. we just kept screaming and arguing and i think they were sufficiently hassled, threatened or embarassed by the commotion they decided to look for an easier target.

then my cousin started laughing. what the fuck. i was pretty scared i would be handcuffed and put in jail. he said he hasn't had that much fun in a long time. well, i guess it's an alternative to handing over a small some of money, though it wastes some of your time, and if you treat it as fun and doing what is right, it isn't so much after all. i didn't realize what a weak bargaining position supposed figures of authority are in when they're doing the wrong thing, as long as you don't give them anything to play around with.

fridge magnets! the countries my grandmother has been to. wow!

photos and memories. it's nice to have this great big matriarchal home which holds memories stretching back into the past century. you get this feeling of constancy about places, that they change less than people do, and you remember the rooms well, and what people used to do in them. also, enforced relaxation as there was no tv, internet, so i spent time killing mosquitoes with my electric mosquito-killing racket. i had 8 bites but i sizzled about 14. there were none left in the vicinity. how many do you think there are left in semarang? probably 99,999,986. i had made a small difference. i also enjoyed getting the dog to open the gate and playing with them. it makes me want to have these things.

the drive back was long and the dry season was really dry. we haven't had rain in 3 weeks probably. there was a bush fire on the way back. the view at times was spectacular, with padi fields stretching all the way until where the plains give way to mountains, and the orange sun reflecting off them.


the stream

i remember those days in school where i would walk to school being depressed or down for no good reason. i always thought that it was because i lacked something. but i've learnt to accept them as times where i think, and i sort of miss them.


transportation trust

i saw a girl today go up to a man on the motorcycle and touch him gently to smile. she was attractive, mind you, and dressed in cute office wear and all. so i thought the guy was her boyfriend, but then money changed hands, she put on a helmet and looked like a weird cross between biker chick and office girl who doesn't want to get her clothes dirty. so she spread her legs, hopped on and hung on to the guy. she was clearly flirting with him earlier to get a lower price.

so this was an ojek, a pretty ubiquitous transportation which is essentially a fancy name for sitting pillion on a motorbike. she did look vulnerable with her clean clothes and all having to cling onto this guy. so why is that element of trust there? this is a particularly pressing problem in developing economies, and a reason for the existence of conglomerates (haha, manage to use something from my report). but it's also a pressing problem in countries where rule of law is laxly enforced or do not exist, and is why capitalism fails to take off.

elsewhere in iraq, a taxi company has been started which features women drivers only, in order to protect them from all the dodgy "taxi drivers". i thought that was very careful because it's an unimitable brand. here, bluebird taxis are pretty reliable, but even then there are people who will fake the logo, fake everything.
"so how can you tell me, you're looooneleee
don't say for you that the sun don't shine."

how do you seek solutions to problems? usually you state the problem, classify it, use logic or an appropriate problem-solving heuristic and crank it through the machine. if it involves getting it done, get it done.

some songwriters never give an answer. they take you through, observe, show you stuff, describe the world and say, "get some perspective", or "free your mind".

she listens, and she gets the worst of me. she gets the accumulated frustration, the taxi driver who doesn't know the way, who leaves his window open because he can't be arsed to stop smoking. the snarling traffic, the morning light, the insects, the dust and the jumping meter. the frustration of being promised a report and being sent it late. the frustration at night sometimes that there's no one to disturb to see if they're disturbably human, or no one for whom it seems what you do or what you think matters.

is it any wonder then, that she thinks there is no joy or sunshine in your life? you save all your unhappy thoughts, your contradictions, and you funnel them out for the one person who understands. but how can they understand you, when they look through the funnel?

paper then, is objectively neutral. it is forced to listen. how do you describe the sunshine? there is nothing to talk about, sunshine. you bask in sunshine, you enjoy it at the time. it is difficult to imagine going home, saving a snippet of conversation that goes: "how was today?" "today was the sunshine", you reply. "the sunshine?" "yes, the sunshine! the afternoon sunshine and the bustle." it is the different rays of sunshine, they are hitting me at a different angle from you in singapore. they've taken eight and a half minutes to reach me, and probably the same for you.

today was also the breastfeeding woman. they find comfort in pairs (no, not the breasts), they lurk and stalk at the overhead bridges, frightening you with their honesty. money is what they need, and they're unashamed to admit it. sensing that you're insufficiently shocked or convinced, they have as their weapon a baby and their breasts. not pornographically attractive, i'm afraid, but it's meant to convince you. "i need it, i need it for i am suckling my young. how am i to provide them with nourishment?" it works, for the people put in their change and rush around providing for their young (or future young) as well.

every city has a different song. give me a map, maps make me happy, i've known that since geography. when i fly to semarang, i know i will settle in the mood of the place. no longer the bustle here, a quieter, more colonial atmosphere.

i am just like everyone else. i am not happy, not sad, not lonely, i am a body with a pair of eyes and ears and a nose and a mouth, and life flows in through them. all the people i've respected have been eyes and ears. some call them prophets. and this is what i love.


I was patrolling a Pachinko
Nude noodle model parlor in the nefarious zone
Hanging out with insects under ducting
The C.I.A was on the phone
Well, such is life

Latino caribo, mondo bongo
The flower looks good in your hair
Latino caribo, mondo bongo
Nobody said it was fair, oh

Latino caribo, mondo bongo
The flower looks good in your hair
Latino caribo, mondo bongo
Nobody said it was fair

Latino caribo, mondo bongo
The flower looks good in your hair
Latino caribo, mondo bongo
Nobody said it was fair

For the Zapatistas I'll rob my sisters
Of all the curtain and lace

Down at the bauxite mine
You get your own uniform
Have lunchtimes off
Take a monorail to your home

Checkmate, baby
God bless us and our home
Where ever we roam
Now take us home, flaquito

Latino caribo, mondo bongo
The flower looks good in your hair
Latino caribo, mondo bongo
Nobody said it was fair
Latino caribo, mondo bongo
The flower looks good in your hair
Latino caribo, mondo bongo
Nobody said it was fair

"mondo bongo", joe strummer, front man of the clash

"Para todos todo, para nosotros nada." - the zapatistas

tried to reconstruct the meaning of this song. the only comment i saw was "a guy works for the cia, fell in love with a girl and therefore this song is sad." fair enough, there's not much to work with but there seems to be a lot of unexplained detail in the song.

1. joe strummer is a leftist. keep that in mind
2. POV says, "for the zapatistas i'd rob my sisters, of all the curtain and lace" the zapatistas are for land reform, and are anti -globalization and also extremely left leaning. why the cia would support such an organization boggles the mind. so why is the cia on the phone? threatening him, a double agent? or is it "i would rob my sisters to catch a zapatista". this doesn't make sense though, as the curtain and lace is probably a bourgeois symbol.
3. bauxite mine and uniform = workers
4. so why checkmate?
5. "nobody said it was fair" that would sound pretty rich if you were fighting for fairness.

so i'm in a mess.



  • Anti-Nike demonstration
Bob Nozick used to remark how when he was a kid he would like going around having an opinion on everything. I am not trying to have an opinion here, but I found the demonstrations amusing. Stepped out for lunch onto the main street outside the embassy today and there was this long line of trucks (with so many workers, so many many) with people holding signs like "f*** john richards" (nike's main representative for indonesia), "go to hell nike" and "nike = sweat shop".

of course what i found ironic is that if it were really a sweat shop, why are they demonstrating to get their jobs back? but i guess it's just emotion, and people say things when they're pissed off. it's impossible to trust anyone anyway, nike says the stuff was bad quality, could be true, maybe not. i'm not privy to case details. no opinion, just irony.

also why let us know? i don't recall nike being in our building, and last i heard nike wasn't a singaporean company. it would perhaps be more effective driving to the HQ and making the din there instead of wasting fuel driving around. but exposure is so important in this media mad country, and god knows what urban improvements they can make with the budget they spent on political banners. i have never seen something put up so efficiently before. i think the slogan should be, "i can make urban improvements as effectively as i put up banners."
  • black magic women
lunchtime conversation of the day. very scary. must be careful of who you meet here. i tried to see what i could find:
  • wikipedia
tried writing an article on wikipedia today. with the behemoth it's become, there's now a huge community of law enforcers. it can get rather stifling for creativity when your article is default-threatened with deletion a matter of seconds after you write it (making all that effort seem like a waste). last i heard the founder left, because there appears to be so much argument between the moderators. give someone power, i say, and they all become regulators. i guess i can understand that with all the reputation wanting to make sure it's neutral, accurate, and that is why it probably behaves differently from what it used to when it was an upstart. now it's cull, cull, cull and not create, create, create, but i tried to fill a gap. but still, when you want to know about something, it's the first website you go to for a summary. anyway. in addition to writing the article, i have to put up a justification for it. oh well. why do people do this for no pay? idealists or bored, all.
  • soccer
was surprised by the turnout of uzbek vs saudi. mainly because uzbek hit the post 5 times and had a goal disallowed the whole crowd was rooting for the. exciting
  • painted veil
simple storyline, good old fashioned values and people going to poor places off the beaten track, gets me going everytime.
  • newsweek article on "family" capitalism
argues that SEA is going down the path of latin america. interesting facts put forward: Singapore has the Gini coeffient of urban Argentina (?). Interesting opinion put forward: 2nd generation (or 3rd generation) family businessmen (sons) are better off going to law schools or making political connections than applying your latest McKinsey or Harvard MBA techniques for efficiency, because by definition, a sprawling conglomerate is not efficient. Make friends and keep the business, or streamline and lose most of it. Also of course argues such a holding structure is not efficient for the economy as a whole, but from a self-interest perspective, why should they stop themselves from helping themselves to the spoils.
read this and the linked articles.

interesting because recently met some rich kids.


the problem with a desk job

is the desk. god knows how much i feel better walking around thinking, writing on a board, making a presentation than sitting down trying to maintain good posture. THAT, is why i feel so tired and unable to think. i have now found the secret to thinking in the workplace.

i have always studied on my bed. new alternative office arrangements should allow for some place where you can stretch out at work. they have it in business class, why not in business?


the taxi driver test

the past few days i've just been remembering some things, trying to find some meaning in what has been a difficult few days.

today of course i flagged down a taxi and told him that i wanted to go to the bung karno stadium in senayan, jakarta. "to watch the match?" he asked. there, football is the first ice-breaker here, as it was with some of my older colleagues. just something we have in common. he was of course, going back to watch the match on tv, live matches are a luxury (though not expensive), but after a long day of driving it's preferable just to kick up your feet and watch it on tv.

anyway, there was a lot of pride in tuesday's result against bahrain, but it would be difficult against saudi arabia. he also warned me that people burnt chairs and riot when they got angry, citing the recent case of persijia (jakarta) vs one of the surabaya teams. and he told me to be careful, generally. and his embarassment that the lights went off and the world saw it. the shake of the head, and then the discussion turned to floods and flooding.

sustained conversation brings out the flaws in my badly accented and poorly constructed indonesian sentences, so he was clever enough to ask where i was from. "singapore", i said, but my parents are indonesian. "singapore, ah, i want to work there". yes, singapore, the place that everyone wants to work in. "better than living from hand to mouth everyday here." fyi, a taxi driver typically takes back 10% of the metered fare here, and 15% over Rp300,000 ($50) made in a day. all other costs are covered. however, this is data from one of the most reputable taxi agencies in jakarta, blue bird, where drivers go through at least some rudimentary training in service, so one can imagine that the taxis which charge "tarif lama" with a lower initial flag down of Rp4000 (the one that i take) earn less. compared to minimum wage it's pretty good already, and taxi drivers are the entrepreneurs. they are employed, and they have dreams of going to singapore to drive. how he is to accomplish it, i dare not ask, but at least he has this dream. so a tip goes a long way (and is often expected here), on a trip of 13,500 rupiahs, just not asking for the change for 1,500 doubles his earnings from the trip. whether it is appropriate or not, i am sure an economist somewhere will give you some justification on either side.

so he asked, what was i doing working in indonesia? i can't be here to "cari makan" (look for food), because the wages have got to be higher in singapore. i gave him some bullshit about mutual understanding and interest which he probably didn't buy (nor did i). why was i here? economic rules dictate that i should be in london, new york and hong kong, just as economic rules dictate that maids come from indonesia and the phillipines and go to singapore. what large forces these are. i was a civil servant of some sort i said, serving some master. we all are maids or drivers of some sort, and we have some dream, to go to singapore for you, and for me, maybe become big fuck enough so that i can command some of these economic forces in my favour. but unlike him i have some sort of luxury (just like he has by simply having a job, he is not one of those 13% unemployed shut out by the riots against the reforming of the labour law), i can choose maybe to sail against the winds a bit, what they call pumping in windsurfing. i don't know where the winds will take me too, eventually. it might be better to chase the dream, save up, and buy a liner.

i arrived at the stadium, godspeed to me. the queue for the tickets was crushing, and touts were everywhere (and the forever entrepreneurial underemployed, taking the opportunity to sell keropok and fake bambang jerseys (i have not seen a single original indonesian jersey except the one on the player's backs)). buses were coming in from nearby cities, made possible because this was a weekend match. it wasn't the world cup, but for these people the world cup is a thing they see on tv, the asian cup is something they wear face paint and come down for. pure passion. the ticketing system was horrible, i had reservations, but forget it, it doesn't work like that here. impressed by the stadium though, it is currently more modern than the national stadium and it's massive, 100,000 people.


my mac

there are many things my mac is proud of when it comes to work. colleagues gasp in awe when they see how nicely even powerpoint graphics are rendered on my computer vs theirs. also, when i transfer files and eject thumb drives with intuitive use of spotlight and finder in a few seconds.

unfortunately, my laptop faces compatibility problems with lotus notes and access to the IE secure server (which I am sure would be solved if I had a token), but then again there are probably other applications i would like to use for business purposes which do not work on a mac too. if my work consists solely of pdfs and presentations then a mac wins hands down for document handling and quality, and the formatting changes aren't too bad. it's when you venture onto exotic business application territory that the mac starts to infuriate.

so i guess i need a conventional laptop. i haven't tried vista out yet but i wonder if i can get used to windows again.

that said, my colleague does great graphics and seems really good at condensing huge chunks of text into very appealing visuals. "in ac nielsen, we used to do 200 charts a day". i've always been a lister and i'm trying to work on my infographic skills now.


soft power

met someone from JICA today, japan international cooperation agency. having been around a bit I know japan has tons of such altruistic agencies, i usually see them funding some conservation project somewhere (e.g. angkor) for example, and if you look at their foreign aid stats, they're number 1. by a long way. i wonder how much not having an army contributes to your desire to make friends by throwing what's supposed to be your defense budget around helping other countries. if you look at it it's actually quite effective, a lot of countries listen to japan.

i just felt a certain feeling of respect at someone from MITI who can tell me a lot about the japanese economic story. they worked hard at it.

hard power

I keep thinking I'm a realist until I read stuff about East Timor. Maybe I still am, because I am pretty skeptical about East Timor's chances in this world. Singapore did make it as an island state, but East Timor has a far bleaker location. It has some oil, but not the capacity to develop them, and Australia has the upper hand in dictating terms.

America has a strong tradition in undermining the UN, and certain ambassadors to the UN have always took great pride in "effectively" undermining the institution, to make it wholly ineffective in whatever resolutions in wished to undertake. And thus by proxy, the invasion of East Timor was legitimised, and the massacres, because in foreign policy, making friends with a country with 200 million people and pro-western is far more important than suspected communist sympathisers who will be no-hopers in the country league (and not much oil). Surprisingly, it was Australia's pressure which brought East Timor's considerations onto the US radar.

Intervention seems to be one thing, it is perhaps too much to expect governments to dabble in the issues of a small state (although Australia may have its own reasons for being in Timor, they withdrew from the Convention of the Sea so that they would have a free hand in drawing maritime boundaries to place the oil fields where it needed them). But for them to give support by deflecting international pressure from the massacres and providing arms and training seems pretty unfair. Thus, moral concerns dictate that I am probably not a realist. Maybe because I am influenced too much by the deaths of a few.

They shouldn't be a country in theory, but what can you expect from a people who have been pissed on and massacred every few years. They deserve their independence, though they really should stop fighting each other now.


everyone generally perceives temasek holdings as having making some failed strategic moves recently, what with the botched buyout of shin corp etc, and the pressure they are facing in indonesia to get out of either indosat or telkomsel. i'm sure everyone would like to see them fail the same way they would prefer nadal to win at wimbledon.

but this paper has it right. amidst all the talk that temasek would be forced to sell its stake at a loss, temasek has survived the fall of a prime minister, and right now the military leadership in thailand is unsure of the next step to take, and temasek still has their strategic stake in a growing sector. who's the real loser here?

and look at their track record. regardless of how they achieved it, if you're judging them by their bottomline, they're pretty decent.


aku memang pencinta wanita!

had one of the most funnest days today. i was just reading blogs in the office yesterday and felt pretty down because it reminded me of all the issues i had to worry about.

today, we went up to sentul and gunung pancar for some fresh air. i ended up doing the spa thing and having a massage + body scrub and hot spring. then went poking around the pine forest for a bit.

went for karaoke as well, and i now have a repertoire of indo songs okay! see:

the chorus lyrics, especially cute:

aku memang pencinta wanita (i like girls)
namun ku bukan buaya (but i'm not a buaya)
yg setia pada seribu gadis (loyal to a 1000 girls)
ku hanya mencintai dia (i only love her)

and i agree with the youtube comments, the girl in red is damn hot. go irwansyah!

i also sang the duet!


i'm going to post new songs everyday! new hobby!

naff: i just like the pretty girl

tompi: jazzier vibe


i have a love affair with wimbledon (again, see previous posts, i do nothing on this blog but repeat myself). i never actually do set out to watch it, and trying to watch it in london involves waking up really early in the morning to get tickets. luckily for asia, it comes on during prime time.

bartoli is really like monica seles no? i remember actually being sad when monica seles got stabbed, (it was so random, and someone who kept winning suddenly couldn't, and all cause the psycho was a steffi graf fan, like wtf, so wasted.) and then everyone changed their style of tennis and all the commentators were laughing today cause she was using 2-handed forehand and backhand. it's true though, i think in the long run it's dead but you still have to give respect to a style that can work if you know what you're doing.
poor countries actually conserve things quite well. every bottle, newspaper is conserved out of poverty. then as they start growing richer, it goes to hell in the handbasket, until they're rich enough to care again.

i name it the j-curve of environmental friendliness.


i walked out to the call of the adhan today, and it seemed everything fell together. i started thinking today, and i got ideas for papers, which were reviewed by the time i got back from work. i succesfully concluded my tenancy and the landlord managed to find things to return to me. i finally got down to work on the presentation.

i walked across the rocky road out of my place and went to get rice. you don't need to order many dishes when you have such wicked chilli. there's a lot of thinking, a lot of thinking about what i like about this country, what could and should change, but it's all up to them isn't it, what they want to keep and what they shouldn't.

i saw the children in madrasahs on cnn waving back and forth while reciting the koran. call it brainwashing, i just found it a very interesting sight because they seemed genuinely happy to recite it.

well, let us hope everything still remains in place when my results are out next week.


i remember 2 days ago reading an article by the straits times indonesia correspondent about how indonesia has (not) progressed much since the asian financial crisis, in terms of the lives of the ordinary and poor and even with respect to the indicators.

in that respect, reform has been slow. it seems a lot has changed, politics and press wise. there is a great deal of criticism and focus whenever something goes wrong in the country. for example, one particular case is the lapindo mudslide disaster, which followed an earlier earthquake in the region, where a drilling company accidentally released a huge volume of mud which is still flowing, burying entire villages and important infrastructure in east java. the company is associated with the coordinating minister for welfare, aburizal bakrie. other stories i have come across here are a car hurtling down 6 stories off a multi-story carpark because the barriers were too thinly built. and this in addition to the big problem with flooding and traffic jams in jakarta, as well as power cuts. add that to the various political problems in outlying areas, and the constancy of natural disasters (flood, tsunami, earthquake, airplane crash), and it seems like a real mess.

in any case, there is no doubt there is freedom of the press. in that respect atrocities are no longer easy to cover up. the tone in the press, however, tends to be negative. combined with a democratic government, sen predicts that famines shouldn't happen (and they don't), and they should mitigate atrocities. however, i can't help feeling a huge sense of cynicism and mistrust between the people and the politicians.

i think a lot of effort and time have been spent ironing out politics and the details of a new power structure. i think it's necessary, given the vacuum and this chance to sort out a new, less repressive structure. and i feel now they are moving slightly, with the new investment law and the current government being pro-business, and they are reforming, and going ahead with some tough policies, like raising oil prices and being fiscally sensible. being fiscally sensible, however, means they cannot just throw money at problems, and the amount of problems coming at them sometimes overwhelms the resources that they have. and i can understand their anxiety at globalization. people focus a lot on liberalization and i think that is essential. however, i think it is possible to be intelligent about it and negotiate from a position of strength. i have no doubt that china and india are globalizing, but they are clever enough to do with some restraint, such that they benefit too from the FDI. they are here just building FDI to pre-crisis levels (it is still less).

so i guess it is right, the mistrust has to go first. otherwise the government may be tempted to be too plebeian first when that hasn't worked in the past. for example, aburizal bakrie may not be the most sensitive bloke in the whole world with his comments, considering he is welfare minister, but he is right, he hasn't run away from the problem by declaring bankrupt and is putting up his own money to solve the lapindo problem.

it still has a lot to offer. nightlife and food, some of the best in asia. as i said, reminds me of 1960's singapore in a wong kar wai film.