A visit to Sukajadi

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Got off the reservation today (Friday, April 27) when the power went off at Smiling Hill and Doug and Trevor decided to go see Trevor’s new house in Sukajadi. Trevor is one of the owners/directors of Smiling Hill, and works at an offshore oil rig, two weeks on and two weeks off. Sukajadi is an upscale residential area in Batam. For my Atlanta friends, think Buckhead, except the McMansions here mostly don’t have sprawling landscapes around them. The houses are built abutting each other but they are huge.

Trevor’s house is a renovation project of a house built in 1992. He expects it to be finished next February. Currently, he and his wife, Anna, and their two young children, live at Smiling Hill.

I can’t help but be struck by the wealth exhibited at Sukajadi (mostly Chinese, Western expat and Singaporean owners) as compared to the squatter slums that line many of the roadways here.

The mayor comes to Goodies

The Smiling Hill pool complex and Goodies Restaurant hosted another wedding reception Saturday night. About 160 guests attended for the BBQ dinner and festivities. The highlight for the crowd was the attendance of the mayor of Batam and his wife. This post is mostly to show the pictures. Lots of good people shots.

Also in the batch are photos of a baptism that took place on Sunday at the Smiling Hill pool.

The garbage insanity

Every morning when I get up, the first thing I do is take my morning walk to the top of the hill, three times. It’s about a quarter-mile lap, with a steep incline, and takes me by all the houses in the Smiling Hill community. Most of these houses, built in the 1990s, are run down and inhabited by squatters. The plan is to buy all the properties at some point and renovate them for sale or rental.

Every morning, I find the roads in the neighborhood freshly strewn with yesterday’s trash.

Workers build the walls for the new section of Goodies Restaurant, which will more than double the dining space, and allow space for the pool table.

It’s a cycle that repeats itself every day, with new garbage decorating the street each morning. By mid-morning, the trash is gone, some cleaned up by staff and some by the very people who put it outside in the first place.

The practice, as best I can tell, is for people to put their trash in plastic bags and either leave it outside for a mysterious trash collector to pick up, or to place the bags of trash in concrete collector bins placed around the complex. These bins are generally open for animals or people to get into.

Once then trash is placed outside, it’s open hunting season for the cats, dogs, rats, chickens and even humans living here. They rip up the bags and scatter the contents while they try to find something edible inside. There is even one man here who meticulously goes through the concrete bins, opens all the plastic bags, dumps out the contents and keeps what he can salvage. The result of all this mayhem is a neighborhood littered with plastic bags, empty cans, shredded packaging, plastic cups and whatever else is not edible.

Then the mess is cleaned up – only to have the same process repeated that evening. I have heard that one definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I wonder if these people think that somehow their trash will disappear (and not be spread around the neighborhood) when they set it outside. Whatever they think, they keep doing the same stupid thing and keep getting the same insane results.