I returned to Jakarta after spending a week with my parents and most of my siblings. Instead of travelling by train, I travelled by a shared minibus from Bandung. Such arrangement is known as ‘travel‘ locally – I paid Rp 60,000 for the 2.5-hour-trip and it was quite a smooth trip even though I had to wait for half an hour because the car was purportedly delayed.
Leaving Bandung, I couldn’t help feeling a tad bit reminiscent. In the past, leaving Bandung back to Jakarta and on to Singapore (when I was still working in Singapore) gave me a sense of relief. It signified freedom from ‘nosey’ siblings and parents and a return to my independence. However, as I get older, I realise that underneath the ‘nosey-ness’ lies the genuine care for my wellbeing and my future. I can’t help thinking how many more annual trips can I make to Bandung to find my parents alive and well, and leaving the town still with both of my parents intact. Spending a week with them is an experience in itself – I took out my cloak of independence and my guise as a Bank Manager and wore my old clothes as a family member – a son, a brother, an uncle. My mum is noticeably older – she no longer walks with a straight posture, and dad? Well, ever since the stroke many years ago – he’s no longer the same. He has always been a proud man, and when the stroke took away his pride as ‘the man’ in the family, he became a broken man. I noticed this time round that he had become more clingy to mum, even when she just stepped out for a moment, he would cry out to her, using the excuse that he needed some assistance in urinating. I suppose it is true that as one gets older, the behaviour becomes much more childlike. Dad often nods off to sleep, even when he just sits down in his wheelchair for 10 minutes or so – he laughs at simple jokes and gets really upset when his simple requests were not granted. So the quest is on, supposedly I need to get married whilst they are still around …
Travelling away from Bandung also gave me a chance to look at the whole greater Bandung area from the tollway. Bandung was apparently a prehistoric lake, so the whole valley looks like a massive green field, surrounded by overlapping mountain ranges. Bandung looked beautiful … however, if you have spend some time in Bandung, you will realise that Bandung is overcrowded, chaotic, and messy. She’s no longer a beautiful village maiden, she has become somebody who has toyed too much with makeup and clothes that don’t suit her. Whatever happens to the paradise?
I don’t know when the population in Indonesia started to explode – the fertile, verdant isles with meandering rivers, serene volcanoes, peaceful beaches have turned into a country with a massive poverty problem, with major cities adorned with slums, escalating crime rates, with a chronic overcrowding issue. If only the country were managed well from the beginning … *sigh*.
I’m in the mood to write this evening but unfortunately I can’t string so many themes into a coherent passage, so maybe I should stop now and continue again tomorrow … off to my old church tomorrow, but unfortunately my Visa Cash Passport card still hasn’t received the money that I transferred on Thursday! Aaargh! 😮