Uncritical puffs

A copy of the Jakarta Post is delivered to the offices of Mata Pribadi every morning by a very nice man on a motor bike. There are days when one wonders why we pay good (if not terribly much) money for reading an organ whose content is in no small part already paid for by those they write about.

an off the cuff remark ..

We have no issue with Macquarie Capital Senior Managing Director John Walker, he is doing a job, though we fail to understand how it is possible to have a “senior” managing director. On the plus side, however, he does have a very fine name and we do wonder how often he gets called “Johnny”.

No, instead we have an issue with the uncritical “puffs” that appear so regularly and right across the JP and which can, at best, be labelled crap journalism and, at worst, something rather worse.

Take a look at this recent piece on the front page of the Business Section of the JP and, after you have read it, do you get the feeling that this is a fine example of the vigorous beating heart of challenging investigative journalism, the stuff that has brought down Presidents, Kings, Tyrants and Robert Maxwell? Or perhaps something else?

Determined to bring a bit more clarity to the situation, MP has its own version of what might have been reported instead.

Infrastructure is very important to Indonesia as it is a key enabler to the planned industrial development of the Nation. At present it is crap and often total crap, not least in the City that Really Never Sleeps™ where nightmare congestion is the daily norm. Infrastructure spending also adds to the country’s GDP, an indicator that foreign investors take very seriously.

Government is of course aware of the issue and occasionally stirs itself to do something about it, though the compulsory land acquisition legislation that would be the principle enabler to infrastructure development has hung around the DPR for years.

DPR members, rather than vigorously pass laws for the greater good of the Nation, instead argue endlessly for their vested interests and those of whom they represent. Business as usual there then.Infrastructure worldwide is generally a responsibility of Governments though, for developing countries with funding issues in particular (but not exclusively), there are attractions in involving the private sector in so called “Public Private Partnerships” or PPPs.

Macquarie Capital is an Australian “Mega” Fund with extensive interests worldwide in an asset class that has been the darling of investors for some years, that of large infrastructure projects. The asset class is popular not least because the sort of assets within in it are generally capable of consistent long term revenue growth and are not so subject to the violent swings in capital value seen in many other asset classes – and therefore just the sort of whizzo thing for those with long term liabilities to match, like Pension Funds.

Today we spoke with Johnny Walker, Macquarie Capital Senior (sic) Managing Director who has popped into Indonesia, and may or may not have met Deputy Transport Minister Bambang Susantono, in order to see if he couldn’t add a few profitable projects to his portfolio. We fearlessly asked him a few questions and equally fearlessly made up his answers for him.

MP Selamat pagi, Johnny.
JW Selamat pagi, juga, and if you don’t mind it’s John.
MP Ok, John, thanks for that, now, first question, is Macquarie a charitable institution?
JW Erm no, we are a publicly held company accountable to its shareholders
MP John, the Jakarta Post alleges that you “like the PPP model for RI airports”. Is this true and if so why?
JW Er, yes. The real reason of course is that it allows us to get in at all and then make money without offending nationalist sensitivities too much. Look at the mess all those water companies got into.
MP Quite, and thanks for your honesty, Johnny. What sort of financial terms are you looking for here in Indonesia?
JW Essentially we look to get back all our costs including depreciation and make a 15% per annum return on our capital employed either in cash or increased project interest.
MP Well, best of luck with that then Johnny – and you might check out with the oil companies regarding getting your costs back, there are, er, certain pitfalls that you might wish to take into account in your project economics.
JW Right, many thanks, I’ll get my staff on to that right away (said while paying no attention at all).
MP Johnny, did you pay for the insertion of the piece on infrastructure into the business pages of the Jakarta Post the other day?
JW Better ask my PR guy about that; I am a Senior (sic) Managing Director and am therefore shielded from such mundane detail by a large executive support staff.
MP Erm, right, well thanks for that, we hope you enjoy the rest of your time in Jakarta, have you visited Blok M yet?
JW No, but I am a keen hasher and Lick a Clit and Juicy Clam have invited me to the Monday night hash after which we will visit the Everest Cafe, they have a good girl band on at the moment apparently.
Posted in Blok-M, Business, November 2011 | 1 Comment

Mata Pribadi’s “Fill in the Bubble” Competition #2

First of all many thanks to all those readers who participated in Mata Pribadi’s Fill in the Bubble Competition #1, a magnificent response and due not least to reader Ed T who managed a record 13 entries on his own (and counting as of 31st October – lunchtime).

Pleased to tell you all that Ed T has made second place his very own with this, one of his very last entries.

The judging panel were actually rather upset that Ed didn’t win anything after all his efforts and decided to award him a special “participation over and above the call of duty prize” which this month is a jug of the coldest Heineken draft you can get in the Blok. Just expose your credentials to Sake or Ibu Alda at Everest Cafe, Ed, and the mouth-watering Heineken is yours!!

And now, the winner is, by the very finest of margins, and only after a nail-biting and Tequila fueled judging competition that lasted into the wee small hours in Top Gun’s back room earlier this week ……………

So, a close contest but a worthy winner and the Sepeda Motor and fully kitted iPad 2 goes to Anony Mouse who, unfortunately, was not to leave an e-mail address like everyone else. No worries, as we have the winner’s IP Address and if he would like to get in touch with us with details of same as proof, then the prizes are his!

And now to finally close the first competition, many thanks to Pedro Rancamayer himself for putting up with all this shit with his usual good grace and humour.

Moving on we have to tell you that the photo long promised by the Hash House Harriers of Lick a Clit in a very compromising position appears to have gotten itself snarled up in the post and, instead, we invite you instead to put something into the mouth of prominent businessman, Golkar Chairman and likely 2014 Presidential candidate, Aburizal Bakrie.

Good luck everyone, get those entries rolling in, another iPad 2 this month!!


Posted in Fill in the Bubble Competition, November 2011 | 29 Comments

One More Bar

Not much negative to report

Walking into the Satu Lagi Bar is like bumping into an old mate you haven’t seen for a while, instantly familiar and friendly. The place hasn’t changed much since it moved from inside the Kristal Hotel itself to its free standing position alongside nearly twenty years ago. Impeccably maintained, this lack of change is most definitely not a negative

Perhaps the greatest charm of the place is the staff; while most of them have been working there forever, they have retained their enthusiasm and service orientation and have an unerring ability to remember your name and what you drink, even after a significant absence.

Food remains as good as pubs get here in the City that really never sleeps™, a wide ranging menu and always fresh and well cooked – we tried the fish and chips on a recent visit and it was just great according to your correspondent’s 5 year old and a new item, a huge Yorkshire Pudding stuffed with steak and mushroom, was excellent according to Dad.

While very far from being a girlie bar, there are a few, generally mature, ladies who invariably gather mid-evening who welcome a nice chat and who knows what else if you play your cards right.

For the pool player a dedicated room provides one of the best kept tables in Jakarta – and plenty of opportunity to play as it doesn’t get too busy. They don’t have a pool team, however, if that is what floats your boat.

If you go more than a couple of times a year then it would be madness not to invest in the Kristal’s affiliation card which for 2 million roops gets you from 20% up to 50% off food and drink  – and they throw in 2 free nights stay at the Kristal for heaven’s sake – very useful for the odd visitor – or whatever else you might need a hotel room for.

Being associated with the hotel also brings the benefit of making Satu Lagi a true year round bar, it has never closed for even a day over the years so you know where to go next Lebaran and those other odd days where the Mayor requires so many others to close or serve only soft drinks etc.

The place is also the HQ for the Yayasan Indonesia Chapter of HOG, the Harley Davidson owner group, the buggers even have their own reserved parking space in front though, thankfully, these HOGS are not of the chicken blood quaffing variety, preferring instead to gather around the “long bar” to drink the amber fluid, served extra cold – and generally take it while plotting how to help local underprivileged kids, not least those with cleft palates for which the HOGS raise very significant sums of money every year.

A magnificent initiative deserving of your support, so drop John Arcus a line if you can help in some way.

Great food, impeccably kept beer, genuine booze, family friendly, safe and easy parking and with a variety of distractions, so what’s not to like? The only thing we could think of is its location, being just a little off the beaten track and sitting on its own there is no opportunity to have it as part of a street pub crawl; if you go then you are intending staying there for the night. Bugger all they can do about that other than inviting a competitor in next door – and that ain’t going to happen. Oh, and your F&B correspondent still hates walking over the glass covered railway tracks after twenty years, on and off, of doing so.

Sounds like an advert? – mmm, a little, unfortunately, is it genuine and unpaid? – You betcha ..

Posted in Food and beverage, November 2011 | 1 Comment

Jakarta in Gaddafi shock!!!

The world’s media has been speculating for more than a month regarding the whereabouts of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi following the violent ejection of his despotic Libyan regime and its replacement by the democratically inclined National Transitional Council.

Mata Pribadi therefore has enormous pride in bringing you the world exclusive news that the Colonel has been tracked down by its own intrepid reporters – and to Jakarta of all places!!!

The Jakarta expatriate community was in absolute uproar last evening as news spread like wildfire following our discovery that Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, recently deposed leader of Libya had been found living in a tent with a large entourage of followers in the grounds of the International Sporting Club of Indonesia (ISCI). On the left hand side of the swimming pool and to the right of the lake as you look out from the clubhouse if you are familiar with ISCI.

Hi Pak Gad!!!

This revelation follows several days of speculation that the Colonel had been seen, in mild disguise, in a number of the less salubrious Blok M bars on Saturday night last.

We met with several barmaids and patrons of My Darbar subsequently and it was clear that they were convinced it was indeed the Colonel. “It was definitely him” said Dewi, a hairdresser from Bekasi, “he didn’t have his funny head dress thingy on and had shaved his moustache off but there is no doubt it was him” adding that he went away hand in hand with Dewi from Clilegon and someone whom she only knew as Dwi but thought might have been a hairdresser too.

Regular My Darbar patron, Kark Milner, told us that “it was hilarious, the guys on the door crapped themselves and nearly dropped their newly delivered soto ayam when the Colonel arrived along with a dozen Arabic looking guys all kitted out in suits, sunglasses and suspicious bulges. They reminded me of Pak Karno’s lot in the old days; not that they owned a suit between them of course, however, they did like sunglasses and were invariably possessed of at least one suspicious bulge each”

Kark also shared with us that he had played a couple of frames with the Colonel and took him 2-0. “Not a bad player at all, we might invite him to join the Every Nighters, but he is going to have to learn the International Pool Rules that we use here; I thought I was going to be shot after I told him that it was a free ball for me when both his ball and the white failed to touch a cushion after a failed attempt to snooker me in the second frame”.

The owner of My Darbar was to comment that “their presence was a little intimidating, however, they paid their bill and tipped generously so they can come back any time” adding rather gushingly that, “the Colonel said he would welcome more choice of lamb and goat dishes next time he comes and I am very seriously looking into that, we don’t want him going to Top Gun instead”.

School teacher from JIS, Kohn Jinghorn (not his real name), who would speak only on grounds of anonymity because his girlfriend would kill him if she knew where he had been, told us that the Colonel sat at the bar for nearly an hour as he sipped slowly on his JD and coke while sizing up the talent and that a bodyguard had explained that, “the Colonel doesn’t dance, he considers it a vile Western affectation”

A visit to the ISCI grounds out near Sawangan earlier today by our intrepid reporter confirmed the presence of a significant number of strangers to the area, many of them wearing the traditional Arabic dish-dash and at least one very large tent, apparently made out of carpets. It was impossible to get closer than a couple of hundred meters; however, our man on the spot was able to secure this photo at what was clearly great risk to life and limb.

Regional political analyst, Joseph Georgeous of The Economist in Hong Kong, was to observe that “relations between the Suharto regime and Gaddafi had been particularly warm but there has been significant cooling since”, noting however that “there is no extradition treaty between Indonesia and Libya, hardly a surprise as Jakarta doesn’t even have one with their next door neighbour, Singapore, leading to the establishment in the island state of a huge colony of the corrupt and venal Indonesian elite escaping justice with seeming impunity.” A Golkar spokesman indicated that the party had not yet met to arrive at a position on the issue.

All attempts to contact the British Embassy in Jakarta to get their views on the development ended up in their irksome multi-layered automatic answering service menu, the one that was put in by the low bidder in 2008 and which hasn’t worked since installation.

As the British have spent several billions of their own increasingly scarce resources trying to put a bomb up Mr Ghadaffi’s bottom, their views would certainly have been interesting. They could perhaps save themselves a bunch by getting Dewi or Dwi to try on one of those body bomb thingies and bring about  what might be considered a singularly appropriate way for him to die and one which might even bring closure for the relatives and loved ones of the many who died over and in Lockerbie.

While at ISCI we were granted a World Exclusive if rather short interview in their tasteful and well appointed, though rather inadequately air conditioned, clubhouse with spokesperson Muhammad al-Bubl Gum Rapper who described himself as the Colonel’s “Chief of Staff” and who, while somewhat taciturn, was to fill in a few of the gaps in this fast developing  story, not least being that the encampment at ISCI was short term in nature as a very large empty plot of 5,000 square meters had been identified from the very many of them available in Pondok Indah and that, just as soon as negotiations were complete, what he described as “The Caravan” would move to there. No need to build a house he explained, the Colonel prefers to live in a tent, so they could move right in.

Asked to explain how the Colonel and his entourage had travelled from Libya and effected entry into Indonesia, the “Chief of Staff” explained that they had used “the same Garuda Boeing 747 that “Pak Nazarrudin”, a personal friend of the Colonel, had used in his journey from Colombia” and that they “had landed at Halim” but would add no more.

We understood further from the interview that the Colonel was interested in taking over as Chairman of the Jakarta Pool League in order to sort out what has become a major issue in the expatriate community, the committee’s  disturbingly mysterious and apparently contentious “selection process” for the upcoming Inter-City series match with Bangkok adding that the Colonel will “select himself and all his own sons that are still alive, with the rest of the places going to the highest bidder” explained the “Chief of Staff”.

The “Chief of Staff” was unable to confirm whether the Colonel was interested in Hashing or Golf but did quote the Colonel as having said that “there is no way I am joining in Mata Pribadi’s Fill in the fucking Bubble Competition unless and until there is at least one camel in it – and I will make fucking sure that Ed T isn’t allowed more than one entry”

Requests for clarification by the Ministry of Boule Affairs, Foreign Stuff, Judicial Reviews, Lamppost Solar Power and Things that Go Bump in the Night went unanswered, though in fairness we understand that the Minister and his deputy are currently waiting anxiously to hear their fate in Cheeky-Ass in the latest reshuffling of the venal and incompetent.

Please be assured that Mata Pribadi will continue to dedicate the entirety of its resources to this important breaking story.

Posted in Expat Foibles, November 2011, Politics | 2 Comments

A public embarrassment

Jumpin' Jim in happier days

In a remarkable and seemingly otherwise unreported incident last week, long time Jakarta based US Expat and former Schlumberger wireline hand “Jumpin” Jim Le Fevre, whose wedding we reported earlier in the year, was arrested and interrogated for unintentionally breaching the “invisible” security cordon around Inter-League President Bapak Jack Coldcall (BJC) in the middle of an opening ceremony for a new branch of The Golf House in Pondok Indah Mall.

Jim had been shopping for a new pair of iPod speakers for his wife, Dewi, at the time and was just passing Ace Hardware on his way to the Apple Store when he was overcome by Presidential guards. “I don’t know what the fuck hit me, man, all I was thinking about was them thar speakers”.

The incident was later described as “a public embarrassment” for the Presidential Security Force (PASPAMPRES) by a respectable looking chap passing the scene at the time who refused to give his name to your correspondent  but who might very well have been a terrorist according to a PASPAMRES spokesperson who also refused to be named or, rather more intriguingly, gendered..

“Jumpin Jim” was so upset by the whole ordeal that his family arranged a special ritual in front of his house in Pondok Labu, South Jakarta yesterday.

The pengulapan ritual is designed to cure trauma and is commonly accepted by those of faith to be a most effective cure.

In an interview after the ceremony “Jumpin Jim”, while sitting on a sack of coconut leaves, admitted to feeling a whole lot better, but whispered in your correspondent’s ear that this was probably more down to the self-administered half bottle of Jim Beam than anything else.

Clearly another piece of Mata Pribadi fantasy nonsense, huh? …. then check out this “not dissimilar” incident last week and perhaps think again.

Posted in Expat Characters, Expat Foibles, November 2011, Politics | Leave a comment

Message from MP

First of all, thanks for subscribing to Mata Pribadi, it means you are the very first to get new posts!

We intend to publish the November Edition shortly and are currently putting the thing together, however, if we accidentally press the “Publish” button rather that the “Save Draft” button then you instantly get an e-mail advising of publication of something which is likely to be only a draft … duhhhh

Apologies for that, Mas Budi is on his last warning …

See you soon with what we hope will be a great edition, it is starting to shape that way! ….. All the best and thanks for your support, ED

Posted in November 2011, Reader Dialogue | Leave a comment

Jakarta Expat

Rather against our corporate nature, we have consistently struggled to say anything terribly nice about the various Jakarta media which, by and large, manage not to separate journalism from paid puffs and advertising – with spotting the join being almost impossible to do most of the time.

The same cannot be said of the freebie Jakarta Expat, not that it doesn’t have advertising because it does – and lots of it, but because it makes it very clear just what-is-what. Not only that but they are also increasingly producing articles, real articles, articles of genuine interest to your Jakarta expat. If this is a trend they can keep up then they are on a winner and, being a sucker for classifieds, they already have my loyalty! The thing is created with high class software that is quite beyond the means of this organ unless our boat comes in – and then printed in full colour on glossy paper.

Couple of great pieces this week (fortnight – ED), one of them tremendously insightful on the late Darryl Patton, the “Godfather” of Jakarta’s many expat bars. The Editor has spoken at length to Darryl on a number of occasions over the years yet still learned a lot from the article. The other excellent piece is about one Andre Graf, a crazy but clearly well intentioned French lunatic, who digs wells at his own expense for the benefit of the Rakyat on the island of Sumba.Glorious stuff.

On the downside. the Jakarta Expat appears to be entirely factual with nothing about large scale arrests of expatriates, boy-girl pool players or foreign tyrants found carousing in Blok M for that matter. Oh, and they do not appear to have an online version which makes, erm, “borrowing” their generally excellent photography something of a pain. There again, no one’s perfect.

The thing is available for free in all the usual bars, expat supermarkets, golf clubs etc

Posted in Blok-M, Business, Expat Foibles, November 2011 | 2 Comments