Our Kid and I went to a non-existent art exhibition in Taman Ismail Mazurki, Cikini, today. It was supposedly an exhibition of what could be termed ‘street art’; not so much sprayed on graffitti by the ‘street drunk punx’ as the work of Bill Posters which can be seen all over Jakarta, on walls, the interiors and exteriors of public transport, on every pillar, post and pylon and the sides of household rubbish boxes..
The decaying remains of the recent gubernatorial election are everywhere, as are black and white SPANDUK posters. I’ve always found it odd that supporting pillars of flyovers should be covered with adverts for folk who put up adverts on supporting pillars of flyovers. I’m also bemused by the cloth advert which was suspended from the electricity pole outside Jakartass Towers. It advertised goats for sale which can be slaughtered at the Idul Adha festival of Scarifice to be held on December 20th. It had a picture in the centre, of a cow.
I thought it could be a pleasant educational day out. Most folk are totally oblivious of their surroundings, which is probably why Jakarta is so bloody in terms of places of beauty and access to whatever there is. I hoped that the exhibition would be an eyeopener so that in his daily trawl through Jakarta’s traffic, Our Kid could look at it more critically.
We can get to TIM by train, if we’re prepared to wait. And we got to our local station just in time to see our preferred means of transport departing. So we waited for half an hour.
Two stops later we got off and strolled slowly, but carefully, along the bits of sidewalk that were not blocked by warungs (kiosks), mechanics repairing vans, ojek (motorcycle taxi) drivers sleeping, parked cars, motorcycles confiscated by the Cikini police. For those stretches we walked towards the onrushing traffic.
We then strolled around TIM looking for a non-existent exhibition. We didn’t go in the Planetarium because it was full of kids aged from 5 to 10. Our Kid is 11. We didn’t watch a movie either because the only customers seemed to be young couples, possibly senior high school age, learning how to snog. Yeuk.
So we checked out the DVDs in the secondhand book shop which didn’t seem to be as antiquarian as I remembered. The DVDs cost Rp.7,000 each, which is more expensive than my usual suppliers. What is the world coming to, I wondered, when even pirated discs are not inflation-proof. I bought 7 and, thankfully, only one was fimed from the back row of the stalls, possibly by a snogging couple.
We trudged back to the train station and Our Kid took several photos of the impasses that confronted us. This one seemed particularly ‘up yours’.
The lass in the ticket office sorted out my change. “I hope you don’t mind small money,” she said as she counted out Rp.48,000. I’d given her a Rp.50,000 note especially to get the small change needed for all those folk who tell me “Tidak ada uang kecil, Mister” in the hopes that I’d tell them they can keep the change. Whilst all this was going on we heard the rumble of our train overhead.
So we waited an hour for another to come along.
The lad wearing this T-shirt was also waiting for the train as he wanted to board it and wheel trays of fried tahu (tofu) through the carriages. I told him that his message was important, a pesan penting. I’m not sure he understood but it certainly made a nice counterbalance to last Saturday.
And this lad, who can’t have been much older than six, attracted a few glances, but just a few.
He disappeared when the train came along, but which we didn’t board. We couldn’t because there wasn’t even any room on the roof. The next train was the usual standing room only and was OK until we arrived down the line and tried to disembark. Like an icebreaker, I ploughed my way through the onboarding hordes. Let us off first, you arseholes, I shouted in my best vernacular, there’s Our Kid trying to get off.
At the ticket barrier there were seven, count’em, guys in uniform collecting our ticket scraps, vaguely interested in the commotion a couple of metres away. You’re lazy good-for-nothings, I told them, in my sweetest bahasa, and if there’s a serious injury among the passengers you’ll lose your jobs.
Our Kid told me that he’d landed a punch or two getting off. He seemed quite proud.