Daggers keep dropping hints that I should give a Southeast Asian expat perspective on what’s happening in Egypt. By dropping hints, I mean that they keep emailing me and telling me to write a Southeast Asian expat perspective on what’s happening in Egypt. I’ll think about that some more and get back to you.
ArtAppraiser asked for my thoughts on a New York Times article about the relationships Indonesia is forging with the United States and China. I have to admit I haven't been paying that much attention to politics and economics over here. There isn't much in-depth analysis in the English-language press and my friends are mostly fellow teachers, so we talk more about grammar and culture than geopolitical manuevering. But, for what's it's worth, I do have some thoughts.
You'd think for the kind of money President Obama is spending on travel in Right-Wing Fantasy Land, there would be at least one public event during his time in Indonesia. I mean, it's not like there are occasional attacks of terrorism in a city that is beyond impossible to secure.
Except it is exactly like that. Oh, well. I know somebody who knows somebody who is invited to dinner with the President this evening. Him and a few hundred other more important expats. Not that I'm bitter. But for $200 million a day, you'd think anybody holding a U.S. passport would be invited.
I didn’t have internet service at my house this week. There was nothing wrong with the service. I paid the bill and magical signals were coming through the cables hanging high up above the street. I say magical because I don’t understand the ins and outs of how I can sit down on my couch in Jakarta and communicate with people all over the world through invisible electrical impulses. What’s more, I don’t really care how it works, just that it does. And when it fails, I get the tiniest bit cranky.
Lebaran is this weekend which means I have successfully completed my first Ramadan in a Muslim country. I wasn't affected much. My area of the city has almost as many Christians as Muslims, so the restaurants were still crowded at lunch time. I was more careful about eating, and drinking alcohol, outside during daylight hours and I didn't eat in front of my Muslim co-workers prior to sundown, but other than that, life went on normally.
Bukit Lawang is a village in North Sumatra, on the edge of the jungle. The Bohorok River plays a central role in village life, providing a place to wash bodies and clothes, to cool down during sweltering days, and to have a little fun, running smallish rapids on tubes and in rafts. The village exists almost entirely due to tourism.
There is a report in the Jakarta Post this morning announcing that the city will begin construction on a sewage system next year. The first phase of the project will take almost 10 years and only serve about 10 percent of the city, but it's a start. In 20 years, a projected expansion plan will reach a quarter of the population.
On my way to Jakarta, I had a nine hour layover in Seoul, Korea. As I was planning my trip, I considered spending that time sight-seeing or finding a restaurant with some excellent bi bim bop. But then I realized I would be tired and grimy, so then I decided to try to find out if there was any place at the Seoul airport where I could take a shower. I was explaining this idea to a friend who frequently travels to India and she made a suggestion that changed my entire trip. She said, “Why don’t you look for a day-rate hotel?” Whichever hotel maven thought up this idea was a genius.
Instead of asking students to shoulder the burden of improving society themselves through the dubious project of finding meaningful work, we should see that overwhelming student debt burdens have left students with little room to maneuver. Our debt-based education system reflects the neoliberal belief that college exists so its graduates will earn more: College is an “investment,” a crude financial term, rather than enrichment. We tell students to study what they find interesting and not what will make the most money, but we don't believe it. We still rank colleges by how much their students earn and expect students to pay back thousands in student loans no matter what happens to them financially.
Former Iraqi military officers and Baathists exploit Jihad, and control ISIS across Iraq and Syria. The shadowy figures send foreign fighters out to die while they run the terrorist organization with utmost secrecy. The blanket exclusion of the Baath from power they were accustomed to by the US and Shiite government, and firing of the Army by order of Paul Bremer and GW Bush, led to the formation of ISIS.
Yesterday Calbuco Volcano erupted for the first time in about 50 years. During the night it sent off a second round of lava and ash. This article was the best one I could find that covers the event with detail, pictures and video. Calbuco is in Southern Chile and is part of the ring of fire. Chile has the largest amount of these volcanoes in this chain. The main worry is that the ash column will collapse and send a pyroclastic flow over the area for several hundred miles that could destroy everything. The volcano was covered with ice and snow before it erupted so there is a watch for flooding of ash and water in the streams.