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.



Patience is Endless

Plenty of times in your life you might ask: when can I stop being patient?

Is it when I eventually accomplish my dreams? Or is it when I know there is no other way to go? Now I know the answer to that question. It is: never, until you exhale your final breath. Maybe this is not new for you. Or maybe you expect me to answer differently? Well my friend, I think “never” is the correct answer.

At some point, life will treat us unfairly — this is the universal rule. Our narrow perspective will see these unfair:
– we fail after a very hard work or
– we achieve something effortlessly or
– we lose the loved ones or
– we surprisingly are loved by the loved ones.

But as we see the bigger picture, the wider viewpoint, we will realize how life has been moving as it should be. We are merely some small pawns living our life-scripts.

Don’t lose your patience. This is a powerful weapon to survive. Sometimes you are able to keep yourself sit still in silence and swallow your agony. Sometimes you need to stand up and fight for what you think is right or necessary. Both require patience. Both require you to embrace the life that has been given to you.

Yes, patience is endless
(= kesabaran itu nggak ada habisnya).

PS. I am naturally very impatient. Somehow I need to tell this — at least to myself, as a reminder when I am down.