from Expat Newsletter
25 Oct. 2005Editorial
Last week Thursday BuGils had one of these nights. People were dancing on tables. Shots of tequila in every corner. The music went louder and louder. The ones that were in, called their friends and more people came. Nobody wanted to go home. It was almost like BuGils was building up to a climax, ready to explode.
Suddenly they came in. Police officers with hats bigger then their heads. Little men in green government uniforms. Sneaky black dressed men on the background with cigarettes in an extended filter, holding it just a bit different then people normally holding a cigarette. They came in big time. It had to happen one day. For six years my motto had been No Guts, No Glory and I sternly had refused to serve the holy water of Heineken in coffee mugs. Now, it was all over. While trying to talk my way out of it, outside on the terrace, one Dutch regular stumbled outside. 'Bart, who are all these people? Can I buy them a beer? They look thirsty to me." He slapped an officer on his shoulder. 'He, mate! Biertje?' (a beer?). I let my face sank in my hands. They were not amused. Inside the music started to pump up again. Never before I had heard people singing in BuGils the song 'Alice!? Who the f... is Alice?' so loud... It was wrong...
The next day I had to come to the governors office on Jalan Merdeka Selatan. For four hours they kept me waiting, but this I had expected so I brought some magazines. It seemed that the Trantib department had a quiet day. Or maybe for them it was actually a busy day, I couldn't figure it out. I observed them. The puasa clearly took a toll on some of them. Luckily there was football on the TV's in every corner of the office, so the ones who managed to stay awake, tried to focus on the little white men running back and forth on the screen. Sometimes one person would suddenly stand up and walk slowly to the other end of the office with some paper in his hand. Colleagues would try to pinch the person. Lots of slow laughs. And then somebody else would try to walk somewhere and the same thing would happen. I asked if Pak Bresman or Pak Harianto already had arrived. No. On his way. Meeting. Lagi makan. You just wait a little longer, Mr. Bartele... Then I received a call from the office that some government people were busy sealing off the bar, as if it was a crime scene. And in a way it was. Mr. Bart had been bandel (naughty). I understood it was to no use to wait any longer. The brown envelope could be brought back home. I called some 'befriended' government officials and they told me that the BuGils case had gone to a higher level. We had been 'grassed' on - the cover was blown..
The staff was in great confusion. 'What are we supposed to do now!?', was their first reaction. That evening I received a lot of supportive messages on my mobile. One regular was happy that he finally could rest a bit (Lens, red.). Another, a Scotsman, told me honestly he had been crying. Huib, also known as Mr.Tong, apparently was seen walking in distress on Sudirman Street, naked. That night I couldn't sleep. Not only because of the image of Huib walking naked on Sudirman, but also because I expected my regular sales report by SMS from Uci the cashier. It never arrived. Just now (while typing this editorial) I received a call from my mother. She said she couldn't sleep last night. Something was worrying her. She figured out that once I will manage two bars, maybe my alcohol intake will also double! I decided not to tell her about the problems with the Indonesian government officials. Then my father wanted to say something. It was about my brother. He had not been the same since he had come back from his holiday to Indonesia two months earlier. My father suspected him of trying to bring a girl over to Friesland. 'Can you check this out for us? He doesn't tell us anything!' I refused. 'I don't like people tipping off', I explained. 'Yes, but maybe he brings a girl that doesn't want to work. If it doesn't work out, it will cost him a lot of money!'. I thought for a second on how to calm the old man down. 'Dad, maybe it will go wrong. But if he doesn't take the risk he will never have some fun. What else is there to do in Northern Holland? Nothing. And it is only one girl anyway. Let him go. No guts, no glory, dad. No guts, no glory....'. I hang up. Again I sank my face in my hands. -- Bartele