Sunday, April 02, 2006
Expat life in Jakarta is focused on text-messaging. SMSing is a lot cheaper than making a phone call, so if you’re going to a bar or a movie, or you want to find out if anyone else is going to a bar or a movie, you whip out the cellphone (or “handphone” as they’re called here) and start tapping.
Last night we went to see a new Indonesian movie called “Berbagi Suami,” or “Sharing Husbands.” The photo here is a scene from the movie. It was playing with English subtitles at a particularly glittery mall on the south end of town. Chad went to get a bite to eat at the food court. (I had gotten a bowl of beef, rice and vegetables at a Japanese fast food place for about $2 – very tasty.) I was waiting in front of the theatre with our new friend Angie, and it was getting closer and closer to 7:30. I sent him a message. No response. I was starting to write a second one when Angie said, “Why don’t you call?”
I stared at my handphone in confusion. I had forgotten it was a phone. “Wow,” I thought, “what value. What versatility. I can actually make calls on this thing.” Just then Chad showed up, saving me a few hundred rupiahs.
The movie was excellent, by the way. We’re going to try and find out whether it’s ever scheduled to play in the States, because we’d like to write about it. It’s about polygamy, which is apparently more common here than I realized. It’s also a great slice-of-life movie about the various social strata of Jakarta. It’s by one of a band of young Indonesian filmmakers trying to revive the film industry after it essentially died out under Suharto. Definitely worth a look if it ever plays near you.