Visiting Bandung, Indonesia
Singapore is known for its large migrant population, of which about 170,000 aredomestic workers. According to the terms of their contract, they are entitled to areturn trip to their home country once every two years.My domestic worker is only 2 years older than me and has been working for my family for nearly 10 years. She has two teenage children and a deceased husband.She is the sole breadwinner for her family, including her parents. She was my tour guide and interpretator. I visited her when she was back in her country in Sep 09. Below is a recorded impression of my trip.
Bandung is a city of 9 million people and growing. It is a sprawling urbanmass spread across a huge mountain plateau 750m above sea level andsurrounded by mountains. The buildings are low in height by developedcountry standards, and you will seldom see a building more than 3 or 4storeys high. I'm not sure if it lies in the earthquake zone, but that wouldexplain the lack of towering skyscrapers. The first visual impression I had of Bandung was when my plane was about to land. The ubiquitous orange clayroof-tops were very distinctive. Sporadic patches of cropland dotted theurban landscape
Aerial view of part of Bandung My domestic worker and I having Sudanesefood
From what I read from the internet, Bandung is one of Indonesia's intellectualcapitals, with many universities and schools. It is also known internationallyfor its cheap fake branded goods as well as authentic local fashion designbrands not found elsewhere. Many tourists come specially to shop for shoes, jeans and jackets produced in factories around Bandung. Jarkarta residentsare also known to drive 2 hours to spend the weekend shopping and eatingthere.While many people are poor, the streets are not filled with beggars like whatyou see in India and a few other developing countries. From fly-byobservations from my rented taxi, the people seem contented with their lot,and get by with simple trading of goods and services. Bandung feels like oneof the most peaceful places I've been to. The people seem happy.