Sunday, July 02, 2006

Indonesia or Bust Scotland beckons

Ben's back in the UK!!!!!!
Indonesia or Bust 11 - The End Glasgow lets rock!!!!
A long time has passed since I last wrote and an awful lot has happened. For starters In am in Bonnie Scotland where they have an obsession with Irn-Bru and many drunks roam the streets singing at you. Its juts like home but it doesnt get dark til 11.30pm. So its a real contract from Indoland getting dark at 5.30 each evening.
So far I have been sampling the good Scottish culture such as having a good booze up. It is strange to go into a club or bar and have to push your way through all the smokers standing on the pavement as they are banned from smoking inside. But is is great to come home not smelling of old fags after a ood drinking session.
I have to pretend I am an Aussie mots of the time as yesterday saw the orange marches and the world cup end for our heroic boys. Oh Rooney why doyou have to be such a chavchild and why is Christaino Ronaldo such a snug basterd that you want to smash his face in!
Yet again the dream has ended............
Indoland is now in the past, the second phase of our Glbal Xchange has now started and here I am in Maryhill Glasgow where the weather is refreshingly cold and the sun sems to never set. I am working for the Princes trust and really also baby sitting the Indo's as they are like fish out of water and have no idea as to whats going on and cant fathom out anything at all. They are scared of seeing people sitting drinking outside a pub, scared of crossing the road, scared of the accent and scared to do anything un-Indoish. They even go so out of their way to eat only noodles and Indonesian foods. I knew that they wouldnt be asked to conform lik we did. For one they havnt the ability to as tey are so extreme in their beliefs and ways. But they have also been indoctrinated to be so, well so bloody Indo. They are so fundamenta theat they look at our culture as though they have desended into the fiery furnaces of hell. They even brought eith them so much bloody Indo food and not once can we get them to sample fsh and chips or a slither of haggis. I fully understand that they only eat halal meat but for gods sake try a bit of cheese fr the first time in your life. Dont come to Brirain and live in an Indo bubble.
The police gave them a talking to about safety as they alreday walking round in a group, jumpers tucked into waits bands that were up to their nipples and bloody socks and sandles were taken away on a trip by some complete stranger. Its so bloody ironic, the police told them as they were complete naive visitors to this country not to talk to strangers and the next day armed with bloody rape alarms which the copper gave them they go to Loch Lomonde with a random tey met in the street!!!
Dogs! Miftah is murder to live with, not only does he stink to high heaven and never use any form of deoderant but he is shit scared of the dog. So much so that when he walks around in the house he arms himself with that bloody ear splitting rape alarm and a spatula. He wont leave the house to do anything and wont even go into the room where the dog is. Get over it man!
Last days in Indolands
Our last time spent in Indonesia was a mixture of formal and informal farewells. We had a governors reception thing in Surabuya where they presented us with placques each and there were lots of speeches. But so many cameras that they all crwded round you and became irritating. The govenor a rotund moustached man gave speech after speech and some other chief honchos spoke and it was al rather tedious really. Back in Malnag we all had to stand up and say something as a sort of leaving speechs so I said a few things in 12 different languages whichI got off the internet and really had no idea about pronounciation at all. All of this of course was done in bloody batik. Batik is not forever gone, thank goodness that I have never got to wear that awful shite again.
So after the Indos fiorst ever flight and the first time they had ever left the country. We headed to Glasgow vis Singapore and London. Og wat a flight! I froliced in the free beers and gin al the time, when we got to Singapore airport we ran straight for the bar and it was cosktails all round. Wehave been back almots 2 weeks now and already I have had to carry Hugh home from his brithday night out. We went out on the town and lived it up. Only Brits of course you would never get an Indo coming out aftre 6pm. But what a cool night out we had. It was juts wat the dpoctors ordered, but the fuzzy head feeling the morning after as I woke up spralwed on Katies floor wasnt the greatest return home reminder of hardcore binge drinking after a long sabbatical!
When we irst got to Scotland vis our stop overs and randomhello I'm back send me socks and pants phone calles we went to our In country orientation for the Indos in the beautiful Scottosh town of Stirling. This place has actually got a statue of Mel Gibson at the castle. Yes a five foot nothing ststue that looks like a bleeding action figure, oh how braveheart boosted the Scottish tourist industry! At Stirling we had many sessions basically based at our naive friends from Asia on how to adapt and many team bonding sessins. Oh how I am sick of all that tripe. But ater a few days of reajjustment where I sampled many beers and cheeses to get my tates buds back to normal and managed to properly wash my clothes we went back to Glasgow to meet our host families.
I am yet again living with captain stinky and his awful bodily odours. But my host Mum who intridueced her self to me as 'I am your new mummy' is fantastic. Angela O' Sullivan is a great hoot, an Irish lady from Kenmare who ves fun and is a great person to stay up late drining Guinness with. She also has a dog which Miftah is scared of and hides from and she also loves a tipple so I am drink in the house and scare olf uber Islamic smelly pants out of his mind. Her dog 'mocca' is wonderful and hastaken to me. We regualryl run in the park eveymorning and he is my fitness buddy. Its great to be doing some sport again, we evengot free leisure passes so I canuse the locals gyms for free. The trouble is my local gym is near Ibrox (I worl near in Govan Hill) and there are alays bloody fights going on. Sort of area an English southern accent should be avoided. Hense my constant use of Australian!
I live on Maryhill road up to top by th station and her house is a beautifully converted tenement flat. Top floor with views over the par. glasgow as a city has the mots parks in Europe and some late night spots.I have orientated myself almost fully and I rem,embered where all the weatherspoons pubs werer from my visit here 3 years ago. We had a community welcome and even had a piper play for us. One of the Indonesians did a little dance of stage which to her anoyance I keep imitating and since our arrival, being met by the LOcal Member of the Scottish parliament and reporters aswell as the all the partners of this exchange and all the hosts and worki placemnts. We have also been a bit of a media frenzy up here. The locals rags and the national papers including todays Sunday times (which I get a menton in) have all asked us for interviews and they have concentrated on the shock value of the Indos coming from depravity to the UK to hlep. IOts not the norm really is it and it makes for shock news. But even though the papers have been full of us, Richard and Judy wanted in on the action but backed out as we then were not front page anymore and had our moment fame.
I am working for the princes trust here in a place called Govan Hill and there area is full of chavs and whet are called NEET people. Basically young people not in employment or education. I have my work vut out and especially as I am working with Ennik one of the Indos who needs constantly bady sitting. They are so out of their depth. But I am enjoying watching that waste of space Fifie the Indo supervisoor struggle. Its so funny seeing the indos shuder when they walk past Anne Summers or visibly look sick when they see a wino in the street. They are so sheltered and now have to face the real world. A world where alcohol is in your face, there are dogs and kidsshout obsenities at you. Luckily they havnt realised that when a kid shouts 'Chinkey' at them it is an insult!
So for a while I have been getting readjusted back to a normal life again. Drinking, eating copius amounts of cheeses exploring the city and babysitting the lost, dazed and confused indonesians. Luckily my host mum has said to me that I can leave Miftah for her to baby sit so I can go out and have fun. The Indos are intheir little bloody buddle here again and have not done anthing British at all. That annoys me as I dressed up in their bloody batik, danced in festivals, was made to wear traditional attire and ate all the spicy food that blew my socks off when I consumed it. They cannot even try anything or even set foot ina pub so have a look. They are little lost kids.
As for now I have joined the gym, been running with the lvely dog and visited many other volunteers host housese and their great host families. Tomorrow is the first full day at work and a routine. For now Indonesia is over, but rock on Glasgow!!!

Take care all and you dont have to read the newspapers articles which I have put on the end of this.
Love to all
What the Sunday times said when we rocked up to Glasgow...................
The Sunday Times
June 25, 2006
Third World to aid Glasgow poorMarc Horne
IT HAS traditionally been a chance for gap-year students and skilled people from affluent backgrounds to do a good deed in the world’s most destitute spots. Now it seems Britain itself is a suitable case for help from the developing world.
The charity Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) is bringing volunteers from Indonesia into some of Britain’s roughest housing schemes to help tackle deprivation that is sometimes worse than in their own homelands.
The visitors have been warned they will be working in areas with “shocking” levels of violence, drunkenness and other social ills.
Nine Indonesians, aged 17-25, will be sent for three months to districts of Glasgow. Paired with British volunteers, they will work on projects addressing poverty, racism and disability.
Here they will become acquainted with the city’s endemic crime, random violence and such terms as “a Glasgow kiss” (a headbutt) and “a Glasgow smile” (a mouth extended with a cut).
Under the programme, known as Global Xchange, young people from other developing countries have spent time in deprived areas of Birmingham, Luton, Bradford and Blaenavon in Wales. In return, young people from those British cities have been able to spend time in the developing countries.
Youngsters from Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan, India, Nigeria and the Philippines have also worked in parts of Bradford, Luton and Selby.
The Glasgow districts are among the most impoverished in Britain, with life expectancy rates below those of many developing countries. Average life expectancy in Indonesia is 66, compared with 60 for men born in Maryhill and Milton.
Rebecca Metcalfe, the project supervisor, said the visitors have been told to prepare themselves for the harsh realities of inner-city Britain.
“Before arriving in the UK, the Indonesians had preconceptions that they picked up from movies and adverts,” she said. “They saw the West as glamorous with everyone being affluent and having access to high-technology gadgets. But the next three months are really going to challenge those preconceptions.
“They are going to see and experience things which will surprise them. They are going to be shocked.”
The visitors, members of the Indonesian Scout Association, will live with families in Glasgow during their stay. They have been told that there are areas of the city where there are problems of drink and drug abuse and they have been briefed about the country’s growing secularisation, according to Metcalfe.
“Poverty in Glasgow is at a different level from Indonesia but it is a serious and very real part of life here.
“In Indonesia, most people never drink alcohol and drug use is very much underground,” she said. “They will be especially surprised at the number of young people who use drink and drugs.”
She added: “They were surprised to learn that people in the UK have the right to have no religion. In Indonesia it is expected that you must follow a faith.”
Indonesia is among the poorest countries in the world. The monthly average wage is around £40, and most people have to survive on less than £2 a day. According to figures published by Unicef, as many as 140m people, around two-thirds of the 210m population, live below the poverty line.What the Daily Record said...............
Volunteers braced for 'shock'
By Ben Spencer
ONE of the world's poorest countries is sending aid workers to Scotland.
Nine volunteers from Third World Indonesia will spend three months trying to tackle deprivation in Maryhill and Milton, Glasgow.
The districts are among Britain's poorest, with life expectancy for men some six years lower than in Indonesia- 60 compared with 66.
The group, aged 17-25, have been warned they'll face "shocking" levels of violence, drunkenness, drug abuse and other social problems.
They will stay with local families and work on projects addressing poverty, racism and disability.
The trip has been orgaanised by the charity Voluntary Service Overseas as part of Global Xchange.

Rebecca Metcalfe, project supervisor, said: "The Indonesians see the West as glamorous with everyone being affluent and having access to hi-tech gadgets.
"The next three months are going to challenge those preconceptions."
The exchange bucks the trend of sending people from richer countries to the world's poorest regions.
The average monthly wage in Indonesia is about £40 - compared with £1943 in Scotland. Rebecca added: "Poverty in Glasgow is at a different level from Indonesia but is a serious and very real part of life.
"The visitors will be especially surprised at the number of young people who use drink and drugs."
A Glasgow City Council spokeswoman said: "We welcome people from all over the world on cultural and professional exchanges."
The sunday times article from july 2nd. I get a mention, oh fame at last!!!!
We thought you needed some help in the First World
Adrian Turpin meets the Indonesian volunteers who have come from the Third World to help the deprived of Glasgow
Oh, for the certainties of empire. Britain exported civilisation to its colonies, and the country was smug in the belief that this trade in values was strictly one way. Pity any Victorian imperialist faced with last week’s news, then, that nine Indonesian volunteers are being deployed to help in some of the most deprived areas of Glasgow.
Indonesia is one of the world’s poorest nations. Since its economy collapsed a decade ago it has struggled to keep pace with its Asian counterparts. The tsunami and the earthquakes dealt it further blows. Poverty is endemic. Britain’s Department for International Development says that 40% of the Indonesian population (roughly 86m people) live on less than £1 a day.
A cynic might say that seeking help from such a country is a bit like asking the Swiss to train your navy or hiring a national football coach from Sweden. But these statistics do not tell the whole story. In Indonesia the average life expectancy is 66, whereas in Maryhill — the area of northwest Glasgow where the Indonesian volunteers will spend three months — it is less than 60 for men.
The third most deprived area in the UK, according to a 2002 survey by the Child Poverty Action Group, Maryhill has some of the worst records for drug abuse, heart disease and unemployment in Scotland. Its streets are a jumble of ragged tenement blocks, iron-grilled chemist shops, tattoo parlours and fish bars.
It is not hard to see why the Global Xchange scheme should choose this part of the city. Run by Voluntary Service Overseas, Community Service Volunteers and the British Council, the programme’s aim is to pair a group of British 17 to 25-year-olds with their peers from a nation in the developing world. The group spends three months in each country, staying with local families and learning about each other’s lives. Unlike many similar cultural exchanges, however, they do useful charity work within their host community.
Potential for culture shock is great on both sides. But while 24-hour news has made poverty familiar to young Britons, in Indonesia the prevailing images of the UK remain Big Ben, Hugh Grant and trooping the colour.
“At home we never see any of the problems in Britain on television,” says one of the volunteers, 23-year-old Ennik Fajarwati. “When I heard about the scheme I thought, how can we in Indonesia do anything to help? We have created the stereotype that western countries have a modern life and society and won’t need anything.”
Fajarwati arrived in Glasgow nine days ago. It is the first time she has been out of Indonesia, the first time she has not eaten rice three times a day. She finds it hard to sleep in Glasgow because, unlike East Java, the summer sun in Glasgow does not set until almost 10pm.
British toilets, she giggles, take a bit of getting used to; so does the Glaswegian accent. What has she learnt so far? “In Britain you have to be on time in any situation,” she says. “In Indonesia we have rubber time.” But other things are harder to get her head round. “I find it surprising that people live longer in Indonesia than in some parts of Glasgow. I would have imagined it was the other way round. I thought the welfare system was very good in the UK.”
Fajarwati and her English pair, 23-year-old Ben Whateley-Harris from Essex, are to work with the Prince’s Trust in Govanhill, another pocket of deprivation on the city’s south side. Their project is to encourage social enterprise and is one of five pilot schemes across Britain.
“What we’re asking them to do is get out on the street and engage the young people,” says Ken Imrie, the Trust’s Glasgow manager. Imrie hopes that, as a Muslim and a woman, Fajarwati may be able to reach sections of the community that would otherwise be neglected.
Glaswegians may be shocked to be receiving charity from the Third World, but what is happening there may offer a glimpse of the future. Increasingly the university-educated elite of the developing nations (to which Fajarwati, the daughter of a teacher and a navy officer, belongs) will not be content to stay at home but will seek the same opportunities as their western counterparts; keen to do a little good in their gap year while polishing their CVs. And where better than Britain?
Instead of nursing wounded pride at accepting help from afar, we should be grateful. There are, after all, parallels. The National Health Service would grind to a halt without Ugandan doctors, Nigerian nurses and the like. Last January Médecins du Monde, the medical charity, launched a clinic in east London because it believed the state provision was not adequate. If that doesn’t dent misplaced First World pride, nothing will.


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