Yellow flags are often seen in Jakarta. Not huge great flags hung majestically from flagpoles but little pieces of cellophane attached to thin bamboo poles. And nearly always in residential areas - the ubiquitous kampong that make up this huge city.
They signify that someone has passed away.
Why they put them up I’m not really sure. And why yellow too?
But when someone dies in Jakarta there is no messing around. The body has to be buried as quickly as possible and it’s quite a common sight to see a convey of vehicles flying past at ridiculously high speeds with the sirens blasting and the little yellow flags fluttering furiously. Dead people, in a strange twist of fate, a lot more dangerous than they ever were alive.
We all have to die of course. And so we too will be honored by a small piece of yellow cellophane. And probably a lot quicker than we may think.
Because it’s always hot in the tropics and you’re never really aware what time of the year it is. So while time goes through cycles in Europe, in Indonesia it seems to stretch out in one continuous long line. Sure there is the rainy season, but apart from the rain of course, there are no other differences. January here is basically no different from July.
So time speeds up and the years merge into each other. And the next thing you know you are 35 years old and the gas tank is already half empty – or half full if you’re one of the optimistic types. But either way the clock is ticking down - and fast.
So can anything be done to rectify this terrible state of affairs?
Well, we are all doomed of course and nothing is going to change that. No wonder then that the slum dwellers here always seem to be smiling – they have far less to lose than the rest of us. The last laugh is on us, our material riches ultimately as useful as aircon in the Arctic.
But while we can’t reverse course, we can at least delay the time of arrival.
Time just has to be slowed down a bit.
And, according to this chap here, to do that we need ketamine, a drug which, if taken in the right quantity, facilitates a journey into the K hole, a place where very few people have ever been. One of the few locations where the time line is done away with for good. Well at least temporarily. A childhood experience made as fresh as yesterday’s ball game. Dismantling of the human mind followed by complete reconstruction. All the bricks hopefully put back in splace…
When will the Grim Reaper come to take YOU away?