Jakarta blasts: Some Singaporeans taking precaution of staying indoors

(Above) A police bomb squad member approaching the scene of an explosion following the terrorist attack in central Jakarta yesterday. (Right) Some of the weapons reportedly carried by the terrorists in the attack. Indonesian President Joko Widodo (ce
Indonesian President Joko Widodo (centre) visiting the scene of the terrorist attack in Jakarta yesterday. Two bystanders were killed during the attack, which was carried out by Indonesian militants with ties to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY
(Above) A police bomb squad member approaching the scene of an explosion following the terrorist attack in central Jakarta yesterday. (Right) Some of the weapons reportedly carried by the terrorists in the attack. Indonesian President Joko Widodo (ce
(Above) A police bomb squad member approaching the scene of an explosion following the terrorist attack in central Jakarta yesterday.PHOTOS: REUTERS, EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY
(Above) A police bomb squad member approaching the scene of an explosion following the terrorist attack in central Jakarta yesterday. (Right) Some of the weapons reportedly carried by the terrorists in the attack. Indonesian President Joko Widodo (ce
Some of the weapons reportedly carried by the terrorists in the attack.PHOTOS: REUTERS, EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Singaporean Lovie Wong is staying indoors in Jakarta until investigations into the terrorist attacks and suicide blasts are over.

The 34-year-old and Singaporeans who are residents or frequent travellers to Jakarta told The Straits Times that they are taking precautions in the wake of yesterday's attacks.

Several blasts were reported in the heart of the Indonesian capital yesterday morning in the vicinity of the Djakarta Theatre XXI building and Sarinah shopping mall popular with tourists. At least seven people have died, including a foreigner. No Singaporeans have been reported to be injured.

 

But Ms Wong, who lives just a 10-minute car ride from where the blasts took place, is taking no chances. "I don't think any of us are going out to any malls, I'm not sure for how long. We're waiting for the outcome of the investigation," said the businesswoman, who lives there with her husband.

There are no numbers for how many Singaporeans live in Jakarta, a city of about 10 million.

Mr Toh Heng Guan, 43, who arrived at about 2pm yesterday for a work trip, said the streets were less crowded and quieter than usual.

"Some street food vendors are still operating but there are fewer people on the streets," said Mr Toh, who works in the auto industry. He said he would have dinner in his hotel to avoid going outdoors.

Other Singaporeans said people were trying to get on with their usual lives.

"People aren't surprised and they're not letting this stuff panic them either," said Ms Adrianna Tan, 30, who runs a tech start-up.

Communications specialist Fawziah Selamat said the mood was "surprisingly calm".

"We were all hunkering around the TV set to catch the updates," said Ms Fawziah about the scene in her office, a public relations firm, yesterday.

"This did not seem as bad as (the JW Marriott bombings), so no one wanted to alarm themselves without any cause."

In 2009, twin bomb blasts ripped through the JW Marriott Hotel and Ritz-Carlton hotel in Jakarta, killing nine.

Meanwhile, Singaporeans returning home confirmed security checks had been beefed up at both the Jakarta and Changi airports.

IT sales manager Joseph See, 39, and solutions architect Zac Leow, 44, were both on a Singapore Airlines flight that touched down in Singapore at about 7.45pm.

The duo, who were on a business trip, had checked out of their hotel - which was just 1km from the Sarinah shopping mall - at noon, after they got word of the bombings.

"We were lucky that we got out early. We heard that the gunmen had dispersed and they could well be at the hotel for all we knew," said Mr See.

•Additional reporting by Joanna Seow

For more stories on the Jakarta attacks, please go here

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 15, 2016, with the headline 'Some S'poreans in Jakarta staying indoors as precaution'. Print Edition | Subscribe