Thursday, December 30, 2004

self Egidia's family's OK in Jakarta


Just in case you're wondering (I've been getting calls and e-mails galore). Egidia's family in Jakarta and Borneo are OK. In terms of Indonesia, which bore the brunt of this horrible disaster, the tsunami primarily affected the northwest coast of Sumatra (Aceh province, mostly, which sustained more than 50,000 fatalities and vast homelessness and human misery). Sumatra (the world's third-largest island) effectively operated as a floodwall preventing the tsunami from affecting Java, Borneo, and other islands to the east in the archipelago. If Jakarta had gotten hit, Singapore (being closer to the earthquake's epicenter, and at the end of the Malay Peninsula) would have gotten it much worse.

Thanks for your concern. Obviously, it's been a rough month for us. No point wallowing in the crap that others, including God, dish our way. We're resilient. We're fine (though occasionally I feel a tad coarse).


P.S. Indonesia's a beautiful country with many wonderful people. Here's the poem I wrote this past summer during our stay (my fourth in 16 years) with her sister and her family in Jakarta-Pusat. Yes, Jakarta is crowded and congested, but exciting in its pure energy:



Is all a warm swarming sprawl.
It's as real remembered as
experienced, as crass and
crowded as any shining
capital, idealized
as any concrete bog. What's
a car to this labyrinth:
a serpent snaking itself
into impossible slots,
an air-conditioned escape
pod to brave the squeeze of the
unending Indonesian
welter. Go drive the hive of
brands and goods, up the high and
mighty rises, down through the
frayed Batavian canal-
infested old neighborhoods.
It's a mart. It's a cart. It's
a stall. It's hidden bazaars
and holes-in-the-wall. It's the
superstore and the mega-
mall. Broadcast prayers, dirty air.
All far too far familiar.


Mari kita berdoa kepada Allah untuk orang-orang yang meninggal di propinsi Aceh dan di negeri lain yang berkeliling Samudera India.