Thursday, November 27, 2003

My Natural Habitat

My Natural Habitat

I knew it would be difficult for me to blog consistently while I'm in KL. I had managed to blog daily since June, without fail, until yesterday--Wednesday, 26th November. Even though it is already Thursday morning, I consider this to be yesterday's entry, as I haven't gone to bed yet for the day.

My last trip home to KL was almost 3 month back. This time I carried a suitcase of books home, because my hotel room in Jakarta is getting a bit cluttered, even though I tried hard to minimize my posessions. I still have a huge stack of books which I will have to slowly hand-carry back to KL over a couple of trips; and hopefully I will not accumulate any new ones for some time.

Living a simple life is easier in Jakarta; it is much tougher to do so in KL. Like Singapore, KL is a consumer society. You are constantly bombarded with glitzy advertisements and snazzy billboards, touting the latest cellphones and luxury cars. Temptations are everywhere.

In Jakarta I avoided the middle-class places: I never visit the bule watering holes in Kemang or shop at up-market malls like Plaza Senayan. I have never even gone for a movie at the popular Planet Hollywood cineplex. Somehow I feel more comfortable in places like Atrium, TIM, Roxy Mas or Kota. But then again I have the luxury to do so because I am an outsider: I am just a mad adventure tourist who considers it perversely romantic to wallow in the grubby side of Jakarta but would instantly bail out the moment it gets too uncomfortable for my liking.

Back in KL, I have to sink back into the horror of my mediocre middleclass existence--driving a Proton Wira, drinking beer with friends at Bangsar and shopping at Suria KLCC. If I stay here long enough, I'll even start thinking about getting a better car--a Beemer perhaps; and maybe get one of those gaudy-looking tri-band camera cellphones with built-in PDA functions. It'll also be nice if I could pull out a spanking new Centrino notebook while I surf the Net, sipping coffee at Starbucks.

I'm back in my natural habitat. I don't think I want to stay long.

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