Why Do These Questions All Prove So Difficult for People to Answer?
My mother says she knew I was going to be a journalist when I would wake up early to read the newspaper from cover-to-cover at the age of 5.
I had an inkling of my future profession when I was frequently scolded in the classroom for raising my hand too many times. (“You already know the answer to that one, young man!”)
And my career path solidified in college when I switched majors from public relations to journalism. In PR, we were told “not to ask too many questions.” “Why not?” I replied.
It’s that eternal inquisitive nature that serves newspeople well. Thinking you know the answer doesn’t always mean it’s the correct one. My philosophy is “always ask.”
And that should hold true for everyone, not just those of us holding microphones or notebooks. So in the spirit of the season of seeking fulfillment, let me ask the universal questions that surely many of us have pondered. Answers, anyone?
• Do reflexology workers stop massaging when you fall asleep?
• Why would a Taipei nightclub stop me from taking in cookies but didn’t check me for weapons?
• Why is there no pedestrian overpass linking Plaza Senayan and Senayan City? Or between Plaza Indonesia and Grand Indonesia? Makes business sense to me. And you won’t have to risk your life in traffic.
• Do socialite hairdos get bigger with increasing wealth?
• Why does toro sashimi (raw fatty tuna) cost Rp 450,000 ($47) for two pieces at one Jakarta hotel, and Rp 75,000 for five slices at another?
• Where are the parents of street kids begging for money at midnight?
• Do some police officers really wake up saying “I need a new shirt, so I think I’ll try to collect Rp 500,000 today by stopping 10 motorists?”
• Why doesn’t the police department spotlight its honest cops — like the 20-year veteran who actually directs traffic — instead of its beauty queen rookies?
• Has anyone ever heard this explanation for being late? — “I’m sorry for not getting here on time, but I didn’t leave home early enough to account for the heavy traffic that’s a daily part of city life.” Didn’t think so.
• Why is there no Japanese beer at Japanese restaurants here?
• Shouldn’t we change the rule that allows political campaigning for only a two-week period prior to an election? Most voters can’t really get to see and know the candidates in that short a time.
• Why don’t the city and area merchants put in a decent sidewalk on both sides of Jalan Kemang Raya so everyone benefits?
• When is there going to be a televised karaoke competition between your favorite personalities from different TV stations? I’m ready to do my Michael Buble imitation of Frank Sinatra.
• Why does Indonesia have the largest Ace Hardware store in the world?
• Is there any street food vendor safe enough for tender stomachs like mine?
• Shouldn’t a company with 7,000 employees and 23 branches across the country produce a quality product? So why doesn’t anyone watch public broadcaster TVRI?
• Why hasn’t the world discovered 15-year-old Sheryl Sheinafia? The singer/guitarist sparkles on YouTube, especially doing her John Mayer cover.
• When are those concrete monorail pillars going to be taken down in Senayan and Kuningan? Or will they stand forever as monuments to failure?
• How is it that the best lasagna in town is served at the Tex-Mex restaurant Amigos?
• Am I imagining things, or is this the most mellow Ramadan so far in years?
• Why was pop singer Nazril “Ariel” Irham sent to prison at all?
Hawaii native Dalton Tanonaka is the anchor of Metro TV’s “Indonesia Now” program on Saturday at 6:30 a.m., and host of “TalkIndonesia” on Sundays at 6:30 a.m.. He also co-anchors “Asean Today,” a monthly program that airs throughout Southeast Asia. Reach him at email@example.com.