Friday, 18 July 2008


Please tell me. If you had the choice – where would you like to live?
I am hoping to find a place to stay during the noisy nightmare of Ramazan and Eid in the ‘outback’ somewhere – if there is any outback left.
The noise and the stress of everyone blowing their horn and behaving like madmen is getting to me. I had just bought a more powerful set of speakers so that I can drown out the noise of Wailing Willie at 4:30 in the morning with the noisiest bits of orchestral music. As soon as WW says ‘Asalaamu alaikum’[1] we are in for 20 minutes of no peace at all, so I'd rather have my own noise that his. His voice is really awful. I have ear plugs which I wear whenever I go to the shopping mall. They help a bit, but the sheer awfulness of WW's voice means that I have to drown it out with Bach and Tchaikovsky.
The other day an erstwhile colleague came to visit and I had to take my time getting some clothes on before going to the gate. N was surprised that my friend only rang once, ‘Is that what bulés do?’ (bulé = European)
‘Yes, there is no point in ringing more than once. It is annoying.’
I am enjoying moments of solitude more and more now. I have to just wait for two and a half years and I should be able to get a pension which seems to be enough to live on in a cheap country like Indonesia. But living even in a suburb like Bogor is getting to be too much for me now. I just want to have somewhere to hide away and write and think. And I am getting really to hate the noise and stupidity. I ‘escaped’ from the UK because the stupidity of the corporate bureaucracy was too much and it was just too expensive. I don't want to face life there again. Peace, quite and freedom from stress are the most important things for me now.
I think that probably the most important reason for me coming to Indonesia this time was to shake me up and get Islam out of my system. I am beginning to appreciate European culture and values far more now.