Jakarta Memoir

I took a job as an English and Social Studies teacher in a very prominent school in Jakarta during the years 2005-2007. Moving from a village to a bustling city gave me the experience of something new as lights, colors, smells and sounds. I had to become a thorough bred professional. Slowly as time went by I started doing my profession excellently well. Jakarta had many maids and I engaged a maid to sleep in flat to do the cooking and washing of clothes. The lady teachers there strictly warned me not to sleep with maids as this would lead to gossip and reach the headmaster’s ears. Though I wanted to sleep with a maid, I avoided it. My predecessor in the school lost his job because he slept with maids and gallivanted with them. So I took all precautions to avoid it. There in the school, I was introduced to drinking as the school gave lavish parties during festival seasons. Slowly I started drinking every day. One day during a party: I drank a lot and started weeping. Then the Principal came over and hugged me and said ‘son don’t worry’. I felt so grateful to him for that. Jakarta has a fair collection of malls and it is fun to be in them. Time flies so fast. Indonesian cuisine is unique with a dish of rice, chicken and duck curry. There is also sambal a paste made by grinding shallot and chilies. The grilled fish of Indonesia is a sheer delicacy. Night life of Indonesia is so vivid. One can see prostitutes standing on both sides of street waiting to be picked up. Cars slow down; doors are opened and this continues still the streets become empty. Sometimes I regret the fact that I did not sleep with prostitutes. I was all full of Christian virtue. Another thing I would like to mention is that when I came back from school, someone has slipped a notice through the underside of the door and it reads: ‘massages available at budget costs’. At that time I did not understand that in meant it was a professional calling for you-know-other-things. I feel sad that I did not visit the beautiful island Bali. I would like to say that though Indonesia is a Muslim country, it is very liberal and permissive.

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