Last night I went to café for dinner with some friends. I heard this old song. Her voice is quite pleasing. The melody is smooth but without enthusiasm, kind of afternoon siesta-music.
I had a dream of Indonesia… They seem to hear the wisdom of the sea… They never hurry…they never worry… They take a tide away the way it was meant to be…
Wow! This wisdom of the sea is quite amazing. Perhaps, the singer dreamt a place, an imagined vision, a picture of paradise borrowed from tourist department brochures. And paradise? For those whose lives are hemmed in by lack of time, paradise is not a flashy noisy place. Freedom with no hard edges. No worries. Calm people with lots of smiles. Everyone is friendly; even you’ll still hear people laughing at crowded markets.
This is no anthropological description, for sure. Advertisement is ninety per cent wish and ten per cent reality. Yet Indonesians are not just people imagined by tourist sunbathing on Kuta beach. They are also a little strange people, just like others in developing countries. They appear to be rushing around in retrace, but they probably are not. They are just bad-tempered. They crowd each other on the roads and hoot their horns.
Yes, the horns. For us they are a symptom of development. The roads are better and there are ever more cars. Economic development is happening more quickly than the preparation of large cities to absorb it, especially in Sumatera, Jawa and Bali. In some areas, while villages are picturesque with lush fertile rice fields, the small towns are saturated with waste from all the trading activity. The tranquility we knew in these small towns has gone. And the horns are an example of this; something is not right in our heads.
Don’t believe it? Try to drive your car to the nearest traffic lights. If you just half a minute late at the lights, then immediately cars behind will start to yell at you. It doesn’t mean that these people are efficient with time. In England, where the pace of work is so much faster, you’ll hardly hear car horns used to push another car on.
So why is it opposite here? Car horns, when sounded, are actually a symbol of uncertainty. Maybe we don’t realize that time is actually something we can managed. Here, roads give a chance to show your power and the horns are the signs. Such chances are few – so it seems you’re always looking out for them. Then you sound the horn, your power. It’s only those who sure enough of their power won’t quick to shout and hurl abuse, fearful to loose their power.