7 Attitudes to Survive in Jakarta

Let’s face it. Living in Jakarta is getting more and more ridiculously challenging (“challenging” is a word the optimists use which is actually synonymous to: hard, difficult, complicated, and tricky :D).

It will be a boring repetition, but I have to mention again why Jakarta is so (damn) not easy. The air is heavily polluted, the traffic is frustratingly congested, the rivers and canals sickeningly stink, and the living cost is relatively high. Above all, we still have to face various people who many of them are cynical, opportunist, individualistic, hypocritical, and depressed

 Having lived here for a few years gives me the idea to share some of my observations, conclusions, and (perhaps) tips to survive in this “lovely” city.

First, patience. You need it a LOT. You have to be patient. Most of the frustration you face in Jakarta is out of your control and there is nothing you can do but to be patient. Trust me in this. If you try too hard to make things under control (people are naturally control freaks), you will find yourself beaten up because you are helpless. If Fauzi Bowo can’t fix all those problems faced by the Jakartan, most likely, neither can you. So, why don’t you stop complaining and start establishing some smart tricks to get along well with the city?

Second, patience. Yes, after supplying so much patience to get along with everything, you still need to spare another form of patience in order to rejuvenate your spirit and energy. This second layer of patience will keep you willing to continue living the unhealthy metropolitan life.

Third, indifference. You don’t have to care about everything around you, including people’s opinion regarding you and what you’re doing. And since I am purely admirer of Paulo Coelho, I will happily quote his words: “what other people think about you is none of your business.”

Fourth, ignorance. Ignorance is bliss, you know. Although for the whole life you have been preached to always dig all knowledge in the world, sometimes being ignorant is harmless. What you don’t know will not hurt you.

Fifth, arrogance (or probably I should call it: confidence). Trust in yourself and believe that you’re a meaningful creature having some important missions to do. You are significant and you play an important role. Otherwise, you will feel miserable and useless and you will want to die.

Sixth, optimism. Nothing is eternal in this world, so is in Jakarta, so is the depression. Live your day lightly and calmly. Don’t take too hard on too many things. When you are drowned in so much trouble then take a deep breath and have your golden slumber. You deserve it. Afterwards, you may start planning some strategy to face all challenges. Everything will flow.

Seventh, respect. Other people are frustrated too. They also have to deal with their nagging wives, lazy husbands, naughty kids, stupid partners, annoying colleagues, never-ending tasks, corrupt government officers, or fraudulent real estate agent (hehehe). So, try to understand when sometimes they act unrealistically. We are all human anyway.



9 thoughts on “7 Attitudes to Survive in Jakarta

    • you think so? i was thinking that when i lived in a small town, i should be more friendly than when i live in this metropolitan. but thank you for your remarks! 🙂

      • Debbie says:

        People are people and the needs are the same whether we live in a hut in the middle of a jungle or a highrise in the middle of a metropolis.

        In small communities, we feel obligated to be friendly because you know “things” about this person and you recognize them and they recognize you. Yet in big cities, we feel entitled and wise to treat people that we don’t know as if they are people we don’t know and have no obligation to, all the while hoping in our heart that someone will see us as a person worthy of acknowledgement and respect and perhaps even love.

    • thanks dear ian. as i told debbie above, i always think living in small town or a village will require us to be more compassionate and thoughtful. no?

      • So true dear Amalia, the smaller the community the more likely a person’s ways can cause anger or offence. In Asian and cities for example in South America people are jammed in like sardines in a can so it is essential that everyone try to get on as well as possible. In larger urbanised sprawls such as in parts of the USA and most Australian cities for example a person can be considerably less conisderate before it effects others in a major way.

  1. wulanadian says:

    I like this post very much. Next time I find you depressed or stressed, I’ll copy this link and paste it onto your facebook or send it by email to you. :-))

  2. Minoltian says:

    the concepts are too abstract… let’s get more concrete
    tips to survive in DKI
    1. minimum walking speed has to be 75meters/minute
    2. dont forget to bring coins,, 100, 500 rupiah.. it will be handy
    3. sunglass, masker can help
    4. since bring sharp weapon isnot allowed, bring baseball bat or golf stick, we need offensive weapon, defensive weapon such as pepper spray will not be enough
    5. both abilities to blend and to stand in a crowd are necessary

    • i kinda like your ideas. but we are using different approach. i’m more to the human-relationship side, while you are more technical. but i do like them. and… 75 meters/menit? wew, i walk everyday but never really measure my speed (all i know is i spend 15 minutes walking from my apartment to the main road, hehe).

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