Indonesia Anonymus

We are a group of Indonesians, ranting about our beloved country. This blog is a result of many people grumbling about many things in many ways.
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Anonymus is the Latin word for anonymous, the correct English spelling. The Latin spelling, however, is traditionally used by scholars in the humanities to refer to an ancient writer whose name is not known, or to a manuscript of their work. Read more at Wikipedia.

Our blog in Bahasa Indonesia (but rarely updated) can be found here.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Finders Keepers

One colleague lost her wallet. What a bummer.
Lady-readers surely are familiar with how it could happen: Went to a public toilet to powder one's nose, the cellphone in the handbag rang. Opened the handbag, cellphone was under the wallet. Tookout the wallet, put it by the sink, answered the call. Busy talking, left the toilet without the wallet.

Our colleague did not realize she lost it until she was back home. Thinking that her wallet was now history, she then called up her banks to cancel all her ATM cards and credit cards. She also had to look forward to having her citizen ID card and driver's license reissued. If you are Indonesians, you know how 'fun' that can be.

The next day, she took a day off work, and did it. (Yes folks, you have to take a day off to do that).

But then, after all that, guess what:
just two days later, someone came to the office, with her wallet.

Everything is there: All the money, the cards. Nothing is missing.

The person was a cleaning lady at the shopping mall where our colleague lost her wallet. She said a mall-visitor found it, and gave it to her. One day when she was off-duty, she followed the address in our colleague's namecard and went to our office.

She was totally honest with her intention: "Rather than take the money in the wallet and benefit from someone's misfortune, I'd prefer to return the wallet and expect some rewards.." She said. This is not the first time she did it, she added. Our colleague rewarded her handsomely.

So why bother blogging about this?

Well, we were intrigued by what our colleague said after she got her wallet back:

"Ah, " she said, "If only I had faith that someone would return my wallet, I wouldn't have to take a day off and queue all morning just to get my driver's license reissued...".

Ah, yes of course. Not only that, now she has to wait until her new ATM cards and credit cards arrive, because she had cancelled them all.

Ah, if only she had a little faith.

But should we? After all, we live in Jakarta, and surely the lady who returned the wallet is a rare breed. Or not?

Time for yet another silly experiment:

We prepared 10 wallets. Filled it with money and we would leave it at public places around town. Cafes, restaurants, shopping malls.
We will then see, how many will find their way back to us.


Here is how it is done:
We asked our office assistant to buy 10 cheap wallets. (Decent-looking though. The fake leather type). In each of them we put Rp.100.000 in small notes (just so they look a bit bulky). To make them more genuine, our assistant cut up some credit card pictures from brochures we always get in our mail, and laminated them. At a glance, they did look real.
As a final touch: to help the finders to find us, we put a name card and we wrote at the back (in Bahasa Indonesia of course):
"If you found this wallet, please call xxxxxxx or kindly return it to the address in the namecard. Reward will be given".

Last weekend we separately went around town with our family and left the wallets at the spots of our choice.
It was fun and not always easy. There were occasions where the waiters/waitresses of restaurants and cafes noticed the left-wallets right away and returned them to us on the spot. Or one little girl at a food court who screamed: "Maaaaaaaaaaaaam, you leeeeft your waaaaaaaaaalleeeeeeeeeeet..... !!!"

That's just sweet. It's one of those rare days when you feel that Jakartans are sweet people and Jakarta is a great place to live.

(For the sake of the experiment, however, those do not count. So we went on to find some other places to leave the wallets.)

And the result?

Don't know yet. We just did it last weekend. Kindly comeback next week, hopefully we have something to tell.

Meanwhile, if you happened to find a wallet, it won't hurt to return it to the rightful owner. If it was one of ours, then you help to improve our statistics.
If it wasn't, then even better: you have done someone a really great favor.

That will make you one of the sweet people who make the city a great place to live.

16 Comments:

Anonymous Pak Tani said...

gile.
Keluar 1 juta cuma buat ginian?
Kenapa nggak dipake buat ngasih makan orang miskin ajeh?

8:18 PM  
Blogger treespotter said...

you should put the name, or more detailed description of the wallet and where exactly you left them.

i'm about 1 mil short this week, could do with the extra stipend.

12:44 AM  
Blogger Indonesia Anonymus said...

Very droll, treespotter...

By the way, don't you have more postings on australia to write, to catch up with your quota?

1:20 AM  
Anonymous enda said...

nice experiment, keep it up, we need more social experiment like this.

i just hope you do it more scientifically, such as, you distributed the lost wallet on different areas, 5 in the malls, 5 in the street, 5 in kampong and then we can see the average result of these different social scenes

7:57 AM  
Blogger roi said...

i bet none of your wallets will return...
the reasons?
you only put Rp100.000, person who find your wallet will think... "He/she only have Rp100.000 on her/his wallet, how much he/she will pay me to return the wallet? Rp50.000? or less? I guess i just take the money and the wallet..."
that's the reason
(... and I'm really really really hope that I make a mistake for this one... )

1:48 PM  
Anonymous agusset said...

Well, nice experiment... I can't wait to see the result!

My guess, no one will call you and give back the wallets! why? because you just left 10 wallets, not 100! *just kidding*

2:08 PM  
Blogger Marek Bialoglowy said...

It seems you guys are getting highly specialised in writing fiction. I'm impressed with your imagination guys.

7:14 PM  
Blogger Indonesia Anonymus said...

Hey, the cynical Marek is back !
Welcome back, dear Marek.
All opinions are welcome of course.

Enda,
We only have 10 wallets...

Roi and Agusset,
You guys are probably right.
Nothing so far.
But then again, for such 'silly experiment', we could only spend so much.

9:01 PM  
Anonymous Marek said...

I actually said I’m “impressed” with your imagination and I believe it is fairly useful skills in writing, thus you can consider that as a positive comment.

The thing with some bloggers is that since they are not journalists they can write whatever fiction they want, as actually most of the time nobody will verify their writings. In fact it is a very popular trend and thousands of blogs are full of fiction and even the owner of the blog is often an invented character. It is all perfectly fine as the point is to generate some traffic thanks to stories that are in some small percentage based on reality – i.e. a friend of mine lost wallet or I received three hate e-mails. Anyway, personally I've always preferred reality rather than fiction.

PS: You’re not as anonymous as you think.

12:27 AM  
Blogger Indonesia Anonymus said...

Anyway, personally I've always preferred reality rather than fiction.

Dear Marek, if you have problems with what we write, you are welcome not to read them. There are millions of other blogs out there, surely you can find one or two that you like.

PS: You’re not as anonymous as you think.

Of course not. Nobody is.
But at least we don't use our being anonymous to go around to other blogs and accusing them of things.
We're nice people. Anonymous or not.

It is all perfectly fine as the point is to generate some traffic

And why do we want to do that? We're using anonymous name and none of us can take any credit.
On the other hand, leaving comments that can draw controversy, can be seen as an effort to generate traffic to YOUR blog.

But we are sure that is not your intention.

12:59 AM  
Anonymous Marek said...

I don't even link to my blog from here.

11:26 AM  
Blogger Indonesia Anonymus said...

oh dear Marek,
Why didn't look at your first comment above ?

Note to other readers:
We thank you for all the supportive comments you sent us.

We however believe it is best to stop this matter right here.
If Marek feels strongly about what he said and has the proof to support it, he certainly can write it in his own blog.

You can then write your comments there instead.

Thank you though. Very sweet of you all. (We won't name names, but you know who you are.)

3:40 PM  
Blogger Memento said...

looking forward to read the findings of this brilliantly unusual experiment, guys :)

PS. to nobody particular: everyone knows that there's no such thing as absolute anonymity on the net these days. yet some people keep blogging nicely ;)

8:11 PM  
Anonymous Silverlines said...

I just love this place. Keep returning and now trying to hang-out longer.
You guys must be bored of words of compliments already so I won't bore you out.

PS: Where's the wallet again? I need it for tonight's dinner.

8:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you can't draw any meaningful conclusion from this. as you realized, this is just another silly experiment (and total waste of money).

but speaking of sillyness, i would even go further. i put a card on the wallet saying:
'congratulations, you're part of the campaign to promote random act of kindness. please put another wallet with rp50.000 in a random public place so others can benefit from this campaign.'

6:54 PM  
Blogger Mixer said...

i think your colleague did the right thing. even if she had faith that the wallet would be returned and the 10 wallets in this silly experiment (as you're called it, it is silly btw :D) were all returned, people will always have incorrect estimate of the probability that the wallet will be returned.

instead of relyng of faith, imo, a better thing is to provide an incentive to return it e.g., by providing a note with phone number (so you can be notified quickly) and reward promise in the wallet.

9:45 PM  

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