Jakarta Notes

The main purpose of my Jakarta visit this Christmas was for visiting our families particularly visiting my father and father-in-law graves, who both passed away before they met their granddaughter, Kezia. I took some notes in my mind for what I had been seeing in three weeks there.

Seeing Rp300,000 as 100 bucks

NZD100 is supposed to be more than Rp600,000 but I prefer to see it as Rp300,000. No economic value theory supports this analogy, this is only my own respect in how to value money in Jakarta and compare it with Wellington as I feel it's worth it. This roughly equals to USD70. So I use my own rate here, 1USD=Rp4,300 and 1NZD=Rp3,000.

Rp100,000 for 22 litres petrol

My first hate was when I spent Rp100,000 (33 bucks) for 22 litres premium petrol. With 33 bucks, I could also buy 22 litres unleaded (91 octane) in NZ and drove my car on the best quality roads and traffics. No stressful driving atmosphere.

Say that I earn Rp5 million a month, if I spend Rp100,000 a day commuting to my office and return, there is a transportation cost of Rp2 million a month. Kill me!

Motorcyclists rule

Motorcyclists often tooted their horns from behind asking for their space to overtake. This was a crazy way that I never managed to ignore because I was just affraid to crash them. They just suddenly came up from my left or right. They had a very short visibility as they could find a small space to suit their motorcycles in the middle of traffic.

I found there might have been an increasing motorcycle users in Jakarta. Particularly because of the price of a motorcycle is so cheap and with very low down payment. It has a low running cost as well.

Public vehicles also rule

Something that I found it's still the same from time to time is the chaotic public vehicles behaviour. I can understand that as the drivers were chasing their target of income. No wages or salaries here.

Spending Rp600,000 for groceries

We tried to go shopping for groceries as we normally do in NZ. We spent Rp600,000 at Giant the closest supermarket from our home. Using my exchange rate, it's 200 kiwi bucks, the same amount with our grocery expense in NZ. I felt something wrong in the economy, or just my exchange rate is outrageous, beyond the normal economic morality. Who said that 1USD=Rp4,300 is immoral?

Toyota Avanza and Honda Jazz

These two cars were often seen in Jakarta's roads and car parks. Toyota Avanza is just around Rp100 million but giving much more utility to the users as it's low running cost (1,300 cc) and a 7-seater car, suits for family car. While Honda Jazz is just Rp125 million, low running cost, more stylish and suits couple or single driver. Money consciousness, I think, is the reason to buy these cars.

No Internet

One time I had no internet access as a result of Taiwan's earthquake. I couldn't log in to internet banking to pay my bills and amend my automatic payment, and also to retrieve my emails.

Super Milyader 3 Milyar (billion)

Super Milyader 3 Milyar is an ANTV programme which imitates "Who Wants to Be a Millionare" to win USD1 million. Using the normal exchange rate, USD1 million roughly equals to Rp 9 billion. Why Rp 3 billion? Can you see USD1=Rp3,000?

Worth it or not

Say that we live in Jakarta and try to calculate our monthly budget.
Petrol= 2,000,000
Groceries= 2,400,000
Phone and Electricity= 1,500,000
Clothing= 200,000
Dinner out= 400,000
Total= 6,500,000

Finding this, I asked myself: is it worth it to spend Rp6,500,000 a month in Jakarta? No, it is not really worth it. Remember to put USD1=Rp4,300 in mind, you would think that it would be better if you live overseas.

I wrote this for fellow immigrants from Indonesia who live in OECD countries. You may find it's not worth it with what you're having now, but when you come back you'll find even more not worth it. With a same value of spending you're getting the upgraded atmosphere.

However, something that has no value and price is meeting your relatives and friends. Cheers.


Anonymous Saturday, 20 January, 2007  

Nicely put! Though your exchange rate assumption can swing the argument on the exact opposite, I agree people tend to overpay almost everything, especially in Jakarta.

Try going back during the Lebaran break. It's like Jakarta in the 80's, traffic-wise.

Anonymous Sunday, 21 January, 2007  

Glad you`re back, Jeff! Jakarta should be a stop-over, beside your duties. Immigrants are just world citizen. No "boundaries" attached.



Anonymous Thursday, 25 January, 2007  

Bleu, I agree if you agree. Anyway, my assumption is fair from my point of view. It may change depending on my situation :)

Kalangie, goedenmorgen. But Jakarta still has some mooi meisje. They choose not to migrate :)

Anonymous Monday, 05 February, 2007  

I'm always bad with numbers and figures. But surprisingly I understand this post! LOL.

We do pay too much for too little. And that is major EUGH!

Blogwalking well done :) Nice to bump into your blog.

Rani Saturday, 29 September, 2007  

I think your exchange rate is justified, particularly from the perspective of middle-class workers in Indonesia. As you can see, the salary increase in Indonesia doesn't seem to cope with inflation rate or purchasing power. Therefore the exchange rate that you choose is more inline with the salary rather than the real quantitative inflation rate / actual purchasing power. But anyway i'm not an economist..

Anonymous Saturday, 29 September, 2007  

rani, thanks for your idea. it's true that salary and prices are unlikely to move in line in jkt. i'm not an economist too, but just intuitively know that what i get is not worth with how much i spend.

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