I mentioned in a recent blog post that I finally, finally got an apartment! Maybe this is because I’m from Japan – but there are several small things that aren’t working quite correctly, or are designed really badly. For example, my bedroom door will not close properly in one spot, because my floor isn’t perfectly flat. Like, really??? Isn’t that a basic thing to do when you make an apartment? Apparently not – I’ve found similar examples at work as well. The saddest one was when we found multiple holes in the walls of the office building, which the construction company said that they “would try to fix some of it”. Um, I think having solid walls are pretty important…
I went back and forth to China for approximately 5 years, and during that time, I saw a lot of advancement. Some highly visible signs were that more people were able to afford cars, or that more people had smartphones. The not-so-visible signs were that people’s sense of what is normal became more developed. More people had traveled abroad and saw what was normal in developed countries such as Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
Jakarta is a very large city, with nearly 30 million people living in or near the city. There are lots of cars, and many people use smartphones. But I feel it is not as developed as China is.
A simple example of this is when I asked a young Indonesian colleague how he felt after going on a month long business trip to Japan. He said that he felt Japan was a very developed country, very different from Indonesia. I asked the same question to a young Chinese colleague, who said, “I want to teach my son to not litter everywhere, to follow traffic rules, to wait patiently in line, because that is what developed people do.” I felt that Chinese people thought it was up to them to make China a really developed country.
On the other hand, and perhaps related to this development – Indonesians in general are definitely nicer than Chinese people. Although I developed close relationships with many people in China, if you compare the average people on the street or the average taxi driver, Indonesians are much nicer than Chinese.
On to my Ups and Downs!