Hello, my dear reader, I bet you wanted to know how is it possible that I can travel when all countries decided to lockdown and all the airport is close. I too have no ideas where I got that courage to travel. Let me share you my personal experience
It happened when I resigned with my previous job, I had a month period to go back to my country and then I try to extend my stay by applying it with the immigration. Singapore decided to go into the circuit breaker back then and my application got rejected. I applied for second time and still it got rejected.
So, I decided that it is time to go back. I asked my brother if he also want to go back with me and he said ‘yes’. I went to online check for the airlines ticket, and found only 1 airport that open in Jakarta which is Soekarno-Hatta Airport since, the airport also handle international flight.
I packed all my stuff and get ready to fly back to my lovely country only to get called in the middle of the night by my travel agent that all international and domestic flight is cancelled and the airport will close the day we flying. The news is way too sudden and I am not prepared. For someone who just lost her job and struggle to heal from mental health issues causes by the previous employer.
I am in no doubt cannot handle and suffer from neuroticism. My hand is weak, and my mind is blank. I cannot stay in Singapore as illegal immigrant. Just for your understanding, I often fly from Singapore to Balikpapan and to my hometown. I take 2 flight in a day or if there are no flight to my hometown, I frequently stay in a hotel or family place, but mostly hotel because I like my own space.
I called to ICA but nobody picked up, i guess they are busy then called to my country Embassy only to get stupid answer from their staff then I proceed to call Singapore Airlines. I did called them when I receive the news but they has not yet receive official announcement from the authority.
The timeline is the authority is telling to the media on 12:00 am, then the next morning they give out the official announcement but they give the appropriate time for the last flight on that particular day.
Our flight is the last flight from Singapore to Jakarta. We get the confirmation the next morning by Singapore Airlines, and my domestic flight travel agent called me around 8:00 am in the morning. I really not panic at that time. I just wish that I will go back to my country soon, because it’s better than stuck in foreign country.
So, we stuck in Jakarta. We had it planned once we get that news. We fly to Jakarta and stay in Swissotel for awhile after that we went to Tangerang because my aunt and her family stay there along with my sister good friend. So it easier for us to arrange to meet, besides we are on a budget. We stayed in Atria Residence – service apartment for nearly 2 months.
You can view Tangerang on this link and see beautiful image of Tangerang sky below:
View Jakarta stories on this link.
We stayed for 2 months and keep ourself update with all of this sudden regulations. It seems that Indonesia is not well prepared for this COVID-19 situation. Most citizen is not satisfied with how the government handles the situation. We all not prepared with this but Singapore has done their preparation long before this happened, because of SARS.
Virus-like this gonna happened, we have no ideas when it will happen but having the mentality of ‘it is gonna be over soon’ or ‘it is not gonna happened while I still live’ or ‘It happened in the past, we are now more advanced in technology’.
It is stupid and ignorant. Even if we have advanced technology. I took the time to build vaccine and medication. The only thing that we can do is to train ourselves when this is going to strike back again. The reason I said Singapore is well-prepared is because they have accumulated years of experience to prevent more likelihood victims that will fall under for this virus.
The country have just 6 million and they are not gonna risk to lost more of their citizen, since they try to prolong the their citizen by giving lots incentives for newlywed to make more babies.
The rules and regulation keep on changing, seems like the government try to lower the risk but it has not received more positive respond by people who want to Balik kampung (En: back to their city/village/hometown). If I am in their shoes, I also will feel anger and dissatisfaction. Imagine if I have to work hard and only can travel back to my place once every year to celebrate the festive day.
Even during the stuck period, myself also felt annoyed and mad with all the rules and regulation yet I cannot do anything because I know a good faith from the government themselves to make every possible prevention of COVID-19 happened.
Then the government slowly change the rules by made it stricter. As you know that Jakarta is Indonesia capital city. Most people who come from other region and city go to Jakarta to find a better living opportunity. Better salary, better facility and more product range to shop because in my hometown not all products is available to shop here.
Then we reach a month, the rules still strict. We need SIKM (Surat Ijin Keluar Masuk) En: an official letter of permit in-out of Jakarta. Even thou, I am only want to go out from Jakarta. They only gave this official letter to business people and government officials staff. So, I asked my parent to wait patiently for us to go back to my hometown.
Then June come, around 10 of June as I predicted. They lifted the rules. People who want to go out from Jakarta can now just took a test as accordance to the city when they depart and arrive. For example: my hometown require to do SWAB test and Jakarta require to do either rapid or SWAB test so, we decided to do SWAB test.
We done the swab test. We arrange with Atria Residence, since the owner also own hospital. It was super simple. They just took nasal mucus from inner throat and inner nose. It only took 24 hour for the test to release, since most people take rapid test.
Then we book our flight of 04.45 am in the morning from Soekarno-Hatta airport, the staff check and stamp our SWAB test and our health card. We fly to Balikpapan, report to the officer and they also do the check. I have been so amazed by how well Balikpapan handle those naughty people who doesn’t want to do social distancing at all. The officer shout to them loudly, even handle them.
The airport has never less crowded as it seems to my eyes since I often fly from this airport to Singapore. Rumour says that the regional governor and all other government staff have never done any corruption. I guess the rumor is true. Fact check, you can see on my Insta stories. The airport is clean and big. It is the biggest airport in Kalimantan. Well, I could be bias since I am a Kalimantan girl. I grow up seeing Balikpapan airport but this airport, it does makes me proud as Kalimantan citizen.
We travel to my hometown, the health staff welcomes us by checking our temperature first before allowing us to go inside the building. Even if we are inside the building, they only allow several people. We have to queue for like 1 hour because most of the passengers not took the SWAB test and not health cards. Most of them are not the locals too.
After the official letter is being checked, then we took our luggage yet the health staff stopped us and asked us to go to another building because they need to register and see our letter whether it is fake or original. Just to let you know, this kind of letter has fake and they sell it online on Shopee app.
My hometown is a green zone, while many other Indonesia areas in either the yellow or red zone. I proud of it and that’s actually the reason I went back in the first place. It safer living with my mom because she clean every inch of the house twice a day. I also helped her to purchase all the alcohol, sanitizer, and mask too.
I don’t have to worry about food and shelter as well. No need to pay for food and rent, hahaha… I heard there are lots of people getting fired by the company also rejected when they applied for SIKM (Surat Ijin Keluar Masuk) En: official letter of permit in-out of Jakarta. With this unstable economy and people depend on the official letter to be able to perform their work. I just don’t feel it is good for anyone.