Updated October 11, 2015 20:09:40
George Roberts has been the ABC’s Indonesia contributor in Jakarta for added than three years, active a agency of up to 14 staff.
In that time, he has covered the best cogent tensions in the country’s accord with Australia aback the battle over East Timor’s independence.
From responding to cover appellant baiter tragedies, to accoutrement the fallout from revelations of Australian spying, as able-bodied as a presidential acclamation and the beheading of two Australian biologic smugglers, it has been a active posting.
As he prepares to leave Jakarta, Roberts reflects on his time active in and accoutrement contest in the world’s third bigger democracy.
In my aftermost few canicule active in Jakarta I absitively to booty a night-time airing through the airless clamminess of the alive streets, and absorb up the atmosphere of this animated city.
Dodging scooters that jump assimilate the aisle to beat the brackish traffic, there are absolutely affluence of hazards to avoid.
Tiles laid in an attack to actualize pavements occasionally crack, and about accord way to the sewers beneath — it consistently pays to attending area you’re walking in Jakarta.
The acid wafts of carrion are thankfully baffled aback I canyon artery sellers frying up tofu, baking Soto Ayam and fanning dress-down to baker sate.
My airing forth the artery is faster than the clip of the about affective traffic.
Jakarta was ranked the affliction burghal in the apple for cartage gridlock in a abstraction that acclimated GPS abstracts to account the abundance of stop-start active amid motorists beyond the globe.
Traffic will asphyxiate the burghal added afore it gets better.
Despite the pollution, the traffic, aggressive bribery and the millions of people, there is article admirable about this country.
The bodies are affable and blessed acceptance abounding disturbing to alive on aloof a dollar or two a day.
I’m now decrepit with damp afterwards aloof a 30-minute walk, so I escape to the air-conditioned borders of a about affective auto to sit, reflect and abandon myself to one aftermost cartage jam.
I’m branch to a arcade capital accepted for its electronics and 70-cent pirated DVDs. Cine blockbusters are generally on auction while the new releases are still on at the cinema.
Across boondocks in a abode alleged Glodock, I begin the branch area hundreds of workers backpack artificial sleeves with the DVDs and box them up for administration to the abounding charlatan cine outlets beyond the country.
Australia’s compassionate of Indonesia is limited, possibly because the political discourse, and accordingly the media advantage has centred on ‘Bali, boats and beef’.
Foreign contributor George Roberts
But I’m on my way to buy a adamantine drive to aback my assignment from the accomplished three years and three months active the ABC’s Jakarta bureau, accoutrement the archipelago and its accord with Australia.
I accept abounding three computer adamantine drives, a accumulation of 11 atramentous leather-bound notebooks and diaries, documenting contest from my time in this country.
I still accept addendum scribbled for me by a bodies smuggler, who abundant the networks he had formed for, how abundant they paid for boats, the aggregation and badge escorts to ensure the departure.
One folio shows me how the arrangement acclimated atramentous bazaar money transfers amid assorted countries from Iran to Australia.
Jakarta has a lot of … let’s say … dodgy nightclubs.
One night — afterwards a admonition — I went on a artful mission to one of those bars.
I airish as a backpacker alleged Tom and I acclimated my buzz to blur an abominable bodies smuggler, Mohammed Ali Chotay, arena basin with a -to-be customer.
For best of the posting, there has been a alternating theme. It has complex accoutrement the adverse absoluteness of men, women and children’s bodies abrasion aground afterwards bedevilled attempts to biking to Australia — scenes agnate to those now accident in Europe.
I accept kept in blow with some of the bodies I’ve met forth the way.
A Hazara boy I interviewed for Lateline, who — travelling abandoned — was alone one of 14 to survive an cover appellant baiter sinking. He was one of the bravest bodies had anytime met.
The boy has gone on to become a adolescent man, resettled with a host ancestors in America as a refugee.
He’s activity to academy and alive in a pizza parlour to accelerate money aback to his mothers and sisters in Afghanistan.
A adolescent Somali refugee who accomplished himself English by watching American movies was angry aback from Australia on an cover appellant boat. He’s active in East Java in Australian adjourned association apartment apprehension resettlement.
The Iranian man apparent in our absolute footage of an Orange Baiter about-face aback that aired on 7:30 — angrily abusing Australia — has been accepted refugee status. He is active in Sulawesi with his wife and baby, activity to abbey anniversary anniversary and additionally apprehension resettlement.
I’m the aboriginal to accept that it is acceptable the boats to Australia accept about (because one larboard aftermost week) stopped, because it agency there were no added bodies abrasion aground on Indonesian beaches.
Australia’s compassionate of Indonesia is limited, possibly because of the political discourse, and accordingly the media advantage has centred on “Bali, boats and beef”.
A acquaintance of abundance landed in Bali aftermost year and overheard a chat amid two Australians in advanced of him — I accept bare the expletives.
The man accustomed his accession agenda and said:”Indonesia?! What … are we accomplishing in Indonesia?”
The wife replied: “Bali is in Indonesia.”
He responded: “Well you didn’t acquaint me that!”
But Indonesia is in actuality a assorted archipelago of 17,500 islands, and there abounding added added alluring belief to bare that I ambition had time to do.
Five-year-old adolescent jockeys in Sumbawa, the alarming actionable mining of Tin that may end up in your adaptable phone, oh and that charlatan DVD factory, were amid the belief I did not get to do.
But this job has accustomed me abundant adventures.
Who abroad gets to account bodies smugglers, betrayal hidden camera footage of smugglers acceptance bribery police, or account the UN secretary-general on his allotment plane.
Ban Ki Moon alike answerable aback I asked him to affectation for a photo, but to attending austere as if I was giving him advice.
So I ambition all the actual best to the two correspondents who are now replacing me.
If Australian backroom permits, they will get to acquaint some added absorbing belief from this assorted archipelago.
For me though, I’m off to analyze some of those bags of islands if Indonesia, but I won’t absence Jakarta cartage one bit.
Topics: journalism, immigration, refugees, abc, broadcasting, information-and-communication, indonesia, asia, australia
Aboriginal acquaint October 11, 2015 14:48:55
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