03 February 2007

Jakarta Notes

I took some notes in my mind for what I had been seeing in three weeks in Jakarta.

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 in NZ 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, we can buy 22 litres unleaded (91 octane) in NZ and drive our car on the best quality roads and traffics. No stressful driving atmosphere.

If the cost of commuting a day is Rp100,000, 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. We can understand that as the drivers are 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.

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, we can asked ourselves, 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, we 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 might find it's outside your expectation with what you're having now but when you come back you may find even much more. The fact is that with a same value of spending you're getting the upgraded atmosphere. Nevertheless, something that having no value and price is meeting your relatives and friends. Cheers and good luck.