analytical Q May-Aug 2000 Sept-Dec 2000 Jan-Apr 2001 Discussion

The Diary
Anne Ku

25 February 2001 Sunday



If you are unfortunate to be the last one to go through immigration in Jakarta, Indonesia, you might get a lot of hassles. The officers may hover around you and scrutinise your passport from front to back. I learned afterwards that I should have kept a 10,000 Rupiah note in my passport - as pay off.

Dieter had a similar experience in connecting in a city in Africa. Lots of locals making him nervous about whether he would be able to get on the plane on time.

Why the corruption, he asked.

I try to see it from their angle. They were simply creating a market to extract value for themselves. They created hassles which would only disappear if you pay up.

In mainland China, foreigners are charged more than locals. I tried to understand why. Is it because foreign visitors can afford to visit China and therefore have more money? Or they are willing to pay more? But visitors from China don't have to pay more than locals, in say Germany, for the same museums, access, etc. Is this an economic or political argument?

Tipping is another one of those strange traditions. In the US, the hotel bell boy may hang around until he gets tipped. In Japan, he would insist that he cannot accept my tip. Would you view this as corruption or part of the service?