Goats on the soccer field


There are goats on the soccer field.

Goats on the street.


Goats on the sidewalk.

And most especially, goats at the mosque.

It’s kind of fun having all this livestock around in super-urban Jakarta. But the fun has an expiration date, as do the goats.

Dec. 31 is Idul Adha, which commemorates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son (Isaac, according to Jews and Christians, but Ismail according to Muslims). You may recall that in the end he sacrifices a sheep instead. So for Idul Adha, people who can afford a goat, sheep or cow are supposed to buy one, have it slaughtered, and share the meat with friends, family, and the poor.

An estimated 73,000 animals will meet their end on Idul Adha. The city has called for them to be killed at slaughterhouses rather than mosques. But some clerics have said there aren’t enough slaughterhouses to do the work. Since so many goats are gathered at the mosque on our street, I assume they’ll be dispatched there … so I guess I’ll avoid that end of the street tomorrow.

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Office improvement and a vibrating belt

I have a few days off in honor of Christmas, New Year’s, and Idul Adha (more on that later), so today we got a dangerous notion to use all that free time to organize the office. Off we went to Carrefour to buy files, file boxes, reading lamps, scotch tape, etc.

Carrefour is a Walmartish sort of place, only, in Jakarta style, it’s a bit louder and more chaotic. Today they had a Surf laundry detergent demonstration with loud music and some guy talking up the glories of Surf, and they had employees wandering around with hot dog samples and soda pop samples and best of all, ice cream samples.


They also had a vibrating belt, modeled by the woman on the right. She seemed pretty cheerful even though she had to wear a vibrating belt in public, and even though nobody was asking her about her vibrating belt. That’s Chad in the background, by the way.

Carrefour’s slogan is “Ke Carrefour aja, ahhhh!” or roughly, “Let’s just go to Carrefour, ahhhh!” I think it’s meant to imply a sense of relief that instead of running around to lots of stores, you can go to Carrefour and find everything you need. Which is sort of true. For example, we found scotch tape. The files, file boxes, and reading lamps, however, were a different story. Carrefour seems to specialize in having a lot of stuff that’s kind of like what you want, but isn’t really what you want. Which is why, in my mind, the slogan reads, “Ke Carrefour aja, aggggh!”

Toilet instructions

This was in the bathroom at our homestay in Yogya. It was clearly affixed to the toilet by the manufacturer. The top says “Correct use of the closet (i.e. water closet).” And the large pictures are labeled “Men” and “Men and Women.”


At first I couldn’t figure out why there was a need for instructions. But then I remembered the “do not squat on the toilet” signs you sometimes see in Jakarta. People are replacing their squat toilets with Western-style ones, and they don’t want their houseguests leaving footprints on the seat.

I’m still a little unclear about the pictures on the side, under Maintenance (Perawatan). The top one must mean “do not scrub,” but why can’t you scrub? “No chemicals,” on the bottom, I can applaud from a water-quality point of view, but if you can’t scrub or use chemicals, how are you supposed to clean this thing?

As to the middle one, my first guess was “Do not make tea.” But it must be “Do not add boiling water.” Is that something people do? It never occurred to me to pour boiling water into a toilet … until now.

If labrador retrievers could testify

The moose, the whole moose, and nothing but the moose:
BearDog and favorite toy

A while back I read in the Jakarta Post that the bloodhound is the only dog whose testimony is accepted in U.S. courts. It got me thinking: what would trials be like if Labrador retrievers could testify?

1. “I knew beyond the SHADOW OF A DOUBT that somebody was at the front door. So I ran over and barked my head off, but somehow, it turned out there was nobody there.”

2. “My nose tells me that in this distinguished court, right at this moment, there’s a ham sandwich. I request a recess to conduct further inquiries, your honor.”

3. “Well, Ms. Bigshot District Attorney – if you think I’m lying you can RUB MY BELLY!”

4. “What? Sorry, I kind of fell asleep for a second. I have this little narcolepsy thing. I don’t let it stop me from living my life. Where were we?”

5. “May it please the court – I present EXHIBIT A – a dead skunk! With your permission, I’d like to roll in the evidence, your honor.”

6. “I am now absolutely certain that the defendant is NOT the woman I saw holding the gun that night. And I’d like to add that my testimony has nothing to do with the fact that she scritched my ears for ten minutes during the lunch recess.”

7. “My apologies, your honor. I thought someone had planted something suspicious in your crotch.”

Christmas in Jakarta


… is crazy mall decorations ….

… and unlucky mall employees dressed as Santa Claus in the tropical heat.

And of course it’s many more things to the nine percent or so of Indonesians who are Christian, who are celebrating in the usual ways.

Merry Christmas to all! I understand there’s a War on Christmas in the US, so stay clear of the crossfire, all you guys back home …

Secret Buddhas

Photo: Wikitravel


As I’ve mentioned, we only had half an hour at the Buddhist temple at Borobudur, which was a little crazy. We only had time to capture the feeling of the place, which to me was a happy feeling. Even the lions looked cheerful — especially the ones with the raised paws, who reminded me of the little gold waving-cat statuettes you see in Chinese restaurants.


The top of the temple is ringed with bells, and inside the bells are Buddha statues.

Some are missing their heads, so you have to peer into a few to find a Buddha smiling serenely to himself.


One of the Buddhas is considered especially lucky, because a terrorist put a bomb inside his bell, but the bomb was a dud and didn’t go off. People reach in and touch the Buddha for good luck. It’s hard to imagine how anybody’s understanding of religion could compel them to put a bomb in a place like this.