Which Day

Flip flops, strewn on the ground,

bottles cut in to varses,

making holders in the trees.

Hot coffee,

accidentally strong enough to

wrench a man from his bed.

 

 

 

Staring and squinting

as the day buzz begins.

Not sure whether it’s Wednesday,

or Tuesday,

or Saturday for that matter.

The giving up pack

of tobacco.

Never seen so many men smoking,

replacing that liquor

with the liquorice paper.

Mechanical fixing,

a neighbour puts their

bike together.

Ready to whizz away,

and join the tropical speedway.

 

Jakarta-Bogor

Bladerunner?  Just another dystopian neon sky-scrapered, spaghetti-fly-overed megacity.  Flying through, trucks hurtling by … the tropical heat, the drenched forehead, the dripping roadby macro-flora, all wet, everything watered like an island-expansive greenhouse.

Bhinneka Tunggal Ika

1st Day at ICRAF, Thursday 20 January 2011

I have arrived at my first day at ICRAF, the campus-based ngo on the outskirts of Bogor, on the island of Java, Indonesia.  I have only been in the country for less than 24 hours, and I have already witnessed a shift in myself, let alone the culture.  Don’t need legal pluralism here to understand how important and fundamental it is to travel the world – and fundamentally realise that through our diversity, we are but the very same.  This is the Indonesian mantra, ‘Unity in Diversity’, or ‘Bhinneka Tunggal Ika’, the slogan of their self-made plural philosophy, Pancasila.

What I will be drawing from here, is the impact of ICRAF’s schemes and their integration, in to the cultures of the communities surrounding Lake Singkarak in West Sumatra.  As I learn more about this hardy island, one treacherous in its elements, beauty in its fight against the perils of mother nature, the more mesmerised I become.  Its gurgling volcanoes, endangered species-riddled rainforests, and its dynamically different peoples within its own shores.

Right now though, is Bogor, and as I sit at my air-conditioned office, looking out through to the almost visible air, so thick in its tropical warmth, I can’t wait to learn more.