Selamat malam, Indonesia.

Posted: August 26, 2013 in Travel
Tags: , , , , , , ,

My final thoughts on Indonesia, as I wait to board my plane to Japan:

Indonesians are warm and welcoming people. They are not xenophobic, and take delight in the new. They love to laugh and sing and joke. 3 large group religions that traditionally hate each other compete here for souls, and they all seem to get along quite well.

Yet, I cannot shake the sentiment that (and we’ve heard the same for just about any country including America) that Indonesia would be a great place, if not for the damned Indonesians. Hear me out before you oil your torches and sharpen your pitchforks…

Just like in any government, they vote in the most sleazy corrupt pieces of turd to official post and then wonder why their legal system is a mess, businesses are gutted by regulation and corrupt demands, currency is debased, and life is made tougher. However in Indonesia it’s even more corrupt due to tight clannish nepotism, and it’s so ingrained it cannot and will not be driven out.

Due to this, and due to the general culture of the people, the Indonesians are now terrible stewards of their environment. Absolutely terrible. The US gets a bad rap from environazis for this and that, but I dare any environazi to go to Indonesia, stay there a year in the charming third world Papuan villages, and see what the “sustainable tribal people” are doing to their reef and rainforest, then come back to the US where trash is managed, sanitation conducted, and conservation carried out in a clean and organized fashion, and let us hear what they have to say, if they still have anything to say!

The park fees to dive in Raja Ampat and Cendrawasih are very high, more than the average Indonesian can afford. More than the average diver wants to pay– Several hundred dollars just to enter the parks. Per person. Then there is the hiring, keeping, and feeding of the “warden.” Then the graft to the local village chiefs for “permission” to dive on their reefs. That money is all supposedly used to conserve the marine reserves. However, judging by the “wardens” we encountered, and the heavy audible fishbombing (and its visible results) going on in both locations, there is absolutely zero enforcement, zero education, and zero give-a-shit. That money goes to buy the ministers shiny new cars and shiny new mistresses, and not a dime reaches where it was originally intended. Loads of money is spent, tourists and tour operators are fleeced and inconvenienced, and the environment perishes under the watch of the scumbags whose jobs are to protect it.

Indonesians think nothing of bombing a reef with dynamite or cyanide to get a boatload of fish, a good week’s haul in a single day but that reef is now gone for 100 years and 10,000 times more fish lay dead at the bottom, rotting. They think nothing of dumping trash and chemicals into the sea. It simply doesn’t occur to them the long-term results of these actions. They don’t even seem to see the trash blowing up in the street, literally in drifts. And where there was once an actual clean space, as soon as a piece of trash blows there, then it is soon joined by new freshly-discarded neighbors. Oh, they can see the trash plenty good when they are looking for a place to throw it.

When the bottom rungs of your social ladder have been kicked out by government meddling, you have more important things to think about, like “will I have rice on my plate tomorrow?” and so to hell with the environment that sustains you. The government claims to be all mega-green and super totally keen into making sure their parks are well-kept for the future enjoyment of Indonesia and foreign visitors, but it’s 100% BS.

I’m going to go out on a very inflammatory and politically incorrect limb and say that the Allies should have let Japan keep the parts of Indonesia that they took during WWII. The Japanese sure were cruel bastards but they took good care of their stuff. And they would have taken good care of Indonesia. Much better care than the locals are giving it today, for damned sure. 100 years before that, one group of islanders running through another island to take it over, even waging genocide in the process, wouldn’t have generated any wow-factor whatsoever. But for some reason it was considered inconceivable during the 40s, and still is today? I believe that the US simply used the Indonesians as disposable generators of unrest and enlisted support in order to upset the Japanese occupation. They certainly didn’t leave their capital in Indonesian hands– there are dump sites where you can dive on boats, trucks, millions of rounds of ammunition that were all scuttled in the sea on departure because they would have cost too much to transport back home or on to the next battleground.

Sure, the Indonesians were given their independence but what are they doing with it? Destroying their lands is what. For short-term petty reasons.

Not all of Indonesia is shit-hole. Some parts are beautiful. The beautiful places are all you see when you go searching for information. But the intelligentsia only goes to these beautiful tourist places, and no longer wants to rough it to see the real side of things. You won’t see tattoo-faced people who just came out of the jungle and are gobsmacked at the sight of a white man. National Geographic is too busy these days with Top Hooker and other reality trash to waste any time showing you the true naked islanders of Pogo Pogo. And so you will never see the “real side” of Indonesia unless you go and do it like I did. Not that I can recommend it as wholly enjoyable outside of the scuba experiences.

The end result? Give Indonesia a pass until it gets its act together. Tell anyone who is remotely interested about the wholesale environmental destruction there.

  1. Patrick J Hughes says:

    try Ethiopia

    I have a feeling etheopia may be the surprise you looking for.

    very western & adanced. christian country. not part of the IMF!!! reasonably priced. many AUSI and GERMAN imigrants of late. South africans (WHITE ONES) have been moveing there for some time.

    english speaking country. German is also whidly spoken.

    solid infrastructure that works.

    a scandenavian work ethos as the tax paying classes where all educated in norway sweden and germany during the 20 years of war.

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