When I landed in Singapore and exited the customs check this morning a young reporter from a Chinese daily approached me.
“Excuse me, did you just arrive from Jakarta?” said the reporter who was obviously assigned to do a story possibly of panicked Jakartan residents fleeing the city after yesterday’s terrorist attack.
She was therefore staking out the arrivals gate of Changi to catch the startled and awestruck passengers of Garuda’s first flight out of the city.
Her line of questioning indicated that she was all set to write a story of how shocked Jakartans were by the incident and how many of them were seeking sanctuary in Singapore to calm their nerves (and do some shopping on Orchard Road).
Was I near the incident? Somewhat I replied. I was at the CIMBNiaga tower media training a group of executives, about 5km from Sarinah.
But was I in the central business district? Somewhat. It was too complex to to described the diffused nature of Jakarta.
Did I hear sirens and mayhem from where I was? No.
Did I hear the bombs go off? No they were small bombs.
Were people panicky? No. Actually they were quite unfazed by it all. Nonchalant even. They’ve seen bigger bombs and The ones yesterday were firecrackers by comparison.
So when would I return to Jakarta? This evening. I’m here merely for administrative stuff.
Oh, she said, failing to hide her disappointment that ISIS has not down terror in Jakarta.
And that seems to be a fact about Jakarta and indonesia, as my friend Herman Saksono so succinctly spelt out here
So here’s something for ISIS to think about. It is tempting that a country with the largest Muslim population in the would could be a viable base to expand your activities to Southeast Asia.
But what you don’t realise is how dangerous to attack Jakarta and Indonesia. This is because it is the only city and country that, instead of being shocked and awed by your violence, would respond to your attacks as mere irritations.
To treat your attacks and sacrificed lives with such contempt and nonchalance. That is the ultimate insult.