Sunday, January 06, 2008

When will the crisis be over?

I don't remember hearing about the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98 before coming to Jakarta. I'm sure I read a newspaper story or two at the time, but they clearly failed to make an impression.

Once you're in Jakarta, though, you can't get away from the crisis. I've never known a decade-old event to be so alive in people's minds. It's as if everyone in the US were still talking about the Clinton impeachment or Hurricane Mitch. The reason, of course, is that the country is still recovering. You often hear cab drivers and other people say, "I had a good job ... before the crisis."

"When will the crisis be over?"

The weary guy on this button is from Benny and Mice, a great comic strip about Jakarta street life from the Kompas newspaper. The title Lagak Jakarta means "Jakarta-style." I'm not sure why he has what looks like a colander on his head; maybe it's scavenged from somebody's castoffs?

We got the button free with our Benny and Mice books. I photographed it on one of Chad's batik sarongs so you wouldn't have to look at a picture of my hand, for once.


Tio said...

It's an empty rice bowl, which means nothing to eat.

Please keep posting.

kopisusu2 said...

Ahhh, thank you! I've been wondering for a while.

Shelley said...

Did you like Benny & Mice? It's simple, but I really dug their wry sense of humour. Also, so many practical little tips that I wish I'd known before tackling Jakarta public transport...

I was out in rural Timor with Havowie recently, and gave a little girl the Club Frisbee button that was on my bag. In hindsight, I should have given her the Krisis Kapan Selesai one... so fitting.

kopisusu2 said...

I do really like it. I always feel triumphant when I get the joke! ... and even when I don't, I love the drawings.