Wednesday, 3 September 2008

A weekend in Jakarta - Coach of Portugal football team.

I travel frequently in the course of my work, and when I have weekends in Jakarta, I never know what surprise is awaiting me. Saturday was no exception. A football competition started last Saturday where all the schools mix people up into teams, with exotic names from Portugal to Brazil, and Argentina to Cameroons. Naila (my wife)and I took our boy Mahdi out to play in the Under 7 competition, where he was in the Portugal team. During the week Naila had been coerced into being assistant coach/organiser of the team. We arrived there with 9 eager young boys, a lot of enthusiastic parents, the opposition team called Brazil, and no coach for Portugal. Parents of the boys (and one girl) started hunting for a coach. They asked me and I said I know very little about football, but I did coach rugby in New Zealand. That was a mistake. It was five minutes to the kick off and I found myself coach of Portugal.

The Portugal under 7 team. Arnold Co-coach left, Naila (my wife) right in white, and Mahdi our boy on the far right, front row. Photo Bob McKerrow

There I was, coach of Portugal. When in doubt, delegate is my maxim. I saw a parent, Arnold van der Zanden from the Netherlands Embassy and asked him, " Do you know anything about football ? " He replied, " a little." "OK you can be co-coach" and we spent a few minutes giving the players a position each, a simple game plan.

So last weekend was football, dinner on Friday night with Zhaflan from Mongolia her husband, Tom, Madina from Kazakhstan and husband Tino, formerly East Germany. Tom is a banker by profession and is an adviser to a number of Indonesian banks. So we had a wonderful evening eating Mongolian food, fine Californian red wine, while listening to the women speaking Russian, Tom and I English. Tom, I and Zhaflan have a deep interest in Mongolian history so it was good to share ideas and experiences. Noting that over 20% of the population in Mongolia are Kazakhs, and Kazakh is a national language, it was fascinating to have people from Kazakhstan and Mongolia round the same table.

On Saturday night I sat on the balcony and watched the sun setting over Jakarta, and the night creeping silently over the city. (see photo below)

Then about 7.30 pm, I went off to the Everest Bar with Bill and Steve, my rugby mates, to watch South Africa thrash Australia in the Tri Nations rugby match.

The urinal in the Everest bar with a superb photo of Mount Everest, placed at eye level, so when you are relieving yourself, you see in one glance, all the peaks from Pumori, Everest. Lhotse to Nuptse

The Everest Bar is my favourite as the owner, Anish Shakya from Nepal, has tastefully decorated the bar in a Nepali style, and it has a relaxed atmosphere and friendly staff. There are at least four large screen TVs so you cam watch sport from all over the world, mainly coming from three exclusive South African sports channels. In addition, Anish's personality attracts people from all over Asia, in fact, from all over the world and there is always someone interesting to have a yarn with.

In the Everest Bar with owner Anish Shakya, a Nepali who has lived 11 years in Jakarta. Yours truly in the Otago jersey is on the right.

Sunday, we had a delightful time swimming and playing in a local pool, and later helping the boys with their homework, and time eating and talking together. Usually, late afternoon the boys go out to hone their football skills.

Brothers in arma. Mahdi and Ablai after football practice

Normally I grab a few hours early on Saturday and Sunday morning to compile my weekly report for my headquarters which I send off on Sunday night. I also am fanatical about my Air New Zealand and Heartland rugby picks, and follow the results with great interest.

Late Sunday afternoon I spent a little time helping my friend Harald edit a profile for his website. He has an interesting website called The object is to help its members to build happier and longer lives by having access to the best and most relevant stories available on the internet. Profits generated by Enriching-Life are donated for food, health and education of children in developing countries all over the world.

So it's dinner on Sunday night, prepare the boys for school the next day, a little writing or blogging, the BBC news, then the weekend is over, and I have become a football coach. There is a surprise every weekend in Jakarta.

Monday I go to work and in the poem below, I describe what I see.

A clanging chain on a rusting cycle
Glides past sludge in open drains,
Skyscrapers and Dunkin’ Donuts
A handcart rots outside a graveyard
With four painted headstones
Where souls sleep restlessly
The Muzzien calls for prayer
Stacked wood feeds furnaces
In a Tofu factory
A leper’s hand reaches with downcast eyes
Veiled school girls walk with friends in tight jeans
Motor bikes dart and pour
Like rats in a frenzy through every gap
Herbal healers hawk in narrow alleys
Traffic jams at egg timer intersections
Cuploa’s and minarets punctuate
Hoardings and concrete towers


Marja said...

Congratulations you made it from a rugby coach to a soccer coach. A great development. A Dutch man is co-coach who only knows it "a little"? He must have left Holland a long time ago. Your boys look gorgeous. Must be great fun to see them play. You had an interesting and fun weekend.
Loved your beautiful poem. Many imges raged through my mind, some of them alien to me. But I could picture it well and could see through your eyes. Thanks

Bob McKerrow - Wayfarer said...

Thanks Marja. I think my Dutch friend Arnold has been out of his country for a long time. He has an Indian wife.

Yes it's a big step from rugby to football.

Pleased you liked the photo of the boys, and you enjoyed the poem.

Have a relaxing weekend. Bob

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Bob,
I am sure those kids will enjoy your presence as their coach. Reads as if was a truly lovely weekend with fun, interesting people,good food and wine and family. You deserve it Bob. Wish I could join you in that bar for a couple of bumps! Have a great weekend my friend.
Ka kite ano,

Bob McKerrow - Wayfarer said...

Kia Ora Robb

I am off in a few minutes with the boys to coach the team. Thanks for your feedback. You would enjoy the Everest Bar as it attracts some wordly people who like me, seeks
shelter from the storm from time to time. You enjoy your weekend. Bob

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Bob,
I really would appreciate your feed back on something that has arisen and i have posted about. BY the way I see you are back in chch this Nov - Dec? I may be down that way visiting some friends and would love to possibly hook up. I will bring some fine "wee dram". Kia ora Bob.

Bob McKerrow - Wayfarer said...

Kia Ora Robb

There can only be one answer to wind generators polluting the skylines of the Tararua's and other asscociated ranges. That is a resounding no !

New Zealand has been tardy in developing cost-effective solar energy at household level. With the sunshine hours we have in NZ, household solar energy for heating water and houses would reduce our dependemce on hydro electric power and negate the need for wind generators ruining our national parks, scenic reserves and other important conservation lands.

In the late 60s I was a strong supporter of Paul Powell, the great mountaineer, conservationist and writer who wrote the book, "Who killed the Clutha." He wrote a song to the tune of God sabe New Zealand and some of the lines go:

Flood the Wilkin, dam the Rees,
Will their planning ever cease,
When they reach Aspiring's top,
God Defend New Zealand.

We need to unite to prevent this folly going ahead and look at individual solar energy, sea wave generation and other methods. If we insulated all NZ houses, with bats and double glazing etc., energy saving would be huge.

I want my children and grandchildren to tramp the high ranges without dodging windmills.

Have a good Sunday. Bob

Paterika Hengreaves said...

Hi Bob that poem said more than a thousand words in such a short time. I got from it a vivid picture of Indonesia's largest city and Capital. The images gave out a bustling city that blends well the old and the new, wealth and poverty, architectural heritage etc, so characteristic of major cities. The pictures are so cool. Thank you for sharing the delights of your weekend rendezvous in Jakarta. So glad to hear that you had an enjoyable weekend there.


Bob McKerrow - Wayfarer said...

Kia Ora Paterika

It is a day of discovery for me. Thanks for such positive feedback on my poem. It took weeks to put together as I viewed and analysed everything I saw. As I get older Isee more, particiularly the contrasts.



Unknown said...

Hi Bob, this is Arnold, your Dutch co-coach for one match in September :)
Marja is right, I know a bit more about football than a little but I was just being modest, and you probably know why. I ran into your blog purely by coincidence while surfing a bit on the web while we're n a fun holiday in Noosa, Australia, where we will spend our X-mas. Let's catch up in the New Year. Enjoy NZ, that's where you probably are for X-mas, and have good 2009. Say hi to Naila, who did a great job with the kids, and to Mahdi, also fromn our son Rahul, Mahdi's team mate. Cheers, Arnold said...

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