Category Archives: Domestic staff

Expatriate demand sends condo rentals, Sharehouse enquiries soaring

Wah, I knew this was going to happen. Kemang’s played out! It’s not worth living that far away from the office anymore — and there just aren’t that many suitable houses near the CBD. 

The Jakarta Post article in question says that all the action is in or near the CBD (that’s us, unless you’re talking SCBD) and “growing demand from expats to rent upscale apartments [is] a sign for the government to allow foreigners to own condominiums in Indonesia.”

Since that’s not going to happen anytime soon,  we’ve got a couple suggestions.  The first one is closely linked to our recently updated FAQ & Vacancies. Otherwise, if you’d like to be part of or in charge of your own Sharehouse in this part of Jakarta, we can help, pursuant to a rent outfit management (ROM) arrangment.  

Please email for more information.

Expate, outsource, automate and disappear: how to spend less and live more in Indonesia

Here’s what we’ve heard over the years about why single expats find that sharing a house near the business district with other expats makes sense in a city like Jakarta.

“I like the fact they’ve got a micro-brewery on board. It’s social, but in a focused way. The Jakarta serviced apartment thing was convenient, but ultimately alienating and boring. There’s just not that much going on in Jakarta on the 26th floor.”

— Development consultant, Madrid

“The kost thing was fun for a while. Sure you meet a lot of people, including Indonesians. It’s almost like a family experience. But then if your boyfriend comes to Indonesia or something . . . or you want to throw a Halloween  party, you may as well be in a hotel . ”

— Tech journalist, Palo Alto 


“My company offered me a big kontrakan [rental house]. But there were a lot of questions about who was going to look  after it. I’d just as soon not have a pool if I have to clean it.”

— Expatriate GM, Melbourne 

“I’m having enough trouble with my driver so I wasn’t really keen on having more people [maid] to manage.”

— Hydro engineer, Montreal

“Once I got the gym membership and located a few good swimming pools, there was really no reason to stay in the apartment.”

— Intern, Helsinki 

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Guntur Halimun Jakarta photo update

Pictured, are houses with characters located on the border between South and Central Jakarta in the Guntur/Pasar Manggis residential area. Dig the greens. They come with the territory. Buy the cheapest paint and you’re guaranteed a funky color.

According to a neighbor, if it hadn’t been for cris-mon (the 1998 Asian economic crisis), the Guntur area would be just a footnote to Kuningan. The pace of change in Jakarta is dizzying.   He said that some of the first houses in Menteng (the part near Taman Suropati which is newer than the part closer to Monas) were actually over here in “New Menteng” — and they were the ones built for the builders of the other (old?) Menteng over by Taman Suropati.

What were the streets in this area called in Dutch times. That’s an important question for anyone doing Jakarta history work and I got a special request for a reader which I’m following up on. “What were the names of Jakarta streets when it was Batavia?” No easy answer, Mr Bart would be a good guy to ask. He sent me a text from Japan but said I could catch him at Bartele Gallery (in Kemang) in a week or so.

He’s the guy who wrote Bugils, Eastern Promise and several other expat bars. I don’t think he grew up in Indonesia. But he knows his way very well (pictured  below at one of the houses where Obama lived (O. said his favorite was Meester Cornelius (now we’d call it Jatinegara). That’s one or two train stations down from Manggarai (not the one in E. Indonesia) where the Sharehouse is supposedly located.

Barele Santema and lieutenant at Obama's old white house

The streets were the same as now — named after mountains he said. Pasar Manggis has obviously been around along time. The street (a narrow one for sure) to the east of the pasar is an older one. And then going past Pasar Manggis and coming out — for example — where they sell all the toilets near Pasar Raya Manggarai. That’s and older part of town. Keyword is Westerslokkan (Saluran Minangkabau). But the original bridge, he says, was at the intersection of Guntur and Sultan Agung (where it is now).

Mary Poppins of Menteng — how we found Jakarta domestic staff

About on a year ago our honest, hardworking, well-liked, well paid maid, Ibu Eny (not her real name)– resigned for the second time, for personal reasons. Reluctantly, we decided we would have to replace her, permanently. She is a great cook and really good with people. We are willing to provide a candid recommendation on her behalf.

Part of the fascinating series of events that followed has already been published as Merapi Blows, Expat Maid Goes.  Here is the rest of the story (first installment).

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Price of chili peppers hottest Indonesian news. Spice gardeners keep their cool.

Indonesian hotties in the news

Cinta Laura Kiehl, Indonesian model becomes a singer


For some time Cinta Laura Kiehl, born 17 August 1993 in Quakenbruck, Germany, has been neck and neck with cabai rawit — the little green ones — for hottest Indonesian hottie. Her first CD– Cinta Laura –has gone double platinum in 5 weeks. It’s got to be finger-lickin’ good or else  Colonel Sanders wouldn’t be promoting it.

According to the Jakarta Globe, Indonesian agriculture minister Suswono has told Indonesians to “grow chili” in their back yards to offset the high prices of “spices” this year. What is meant is chili peppers, most of which which — including rawit,  jalepeños and cayennes but also bell peppers — belong are of the species Capsicum annum. (No relation to black pepper, a tropical vine.)

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