Anissa S. Febrina, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
What is the most essential item for Jakartans during Ramadhan?
It's the holiest of months, so you could be forgiven for thinking that the answer might be a copy of the Koran, or perhaps prayer beads or a sajadah (prayer mat).
You would also be completely wrong.
""When you are fasting, there is nothing that suits your mood better than taking over the sofa and the remote control,"" says Ersa Hasto, a 29-year-old entrepreneur. ""In my case, I simply lack the energy to anything else after work.""
And it would appear that Ersa is not the only Indonesian who turns into a couch potato during the fasting month. Right alongside her would seem to be a large part of the population.
A recent AGB Nielsen Media Research survey, which took in five million respondents across the country, the number of television viewers increased by 17 percent during Ramadhan, and then dropped by 10 percent after Idul Fitri.
""Part of it is because in Muslim-dominated Indonesia, people spend more time at home breaking the fast with their family,"" Nielsen senior manager Sell Cahyani Putri said.
The physical effects were obvious in Jakarta, where the main thoroughfares were packed with vehicles by about 3 p.m. during Ramadhan.
Among the results of the Nielsen survey is the revelation that the number of middle-class professionals watching television rose by 9 percent during Ramadhan.
""We turn on the television at unusual times during the fasting month, at 3 a.m. when we have to eat sahur and at 5 p.m. when we are waiting to break our fast,"" said Ersa, who lives in Cibubur, East Jakarta.
""After Ramadhan, life goes back to normal. I only watch the morning news and barely turn it on in the evening after work.""
The survey also showed that the number of viewers increased by more than five times at sahur, the early morning meal.
The highest numbers of viewers, however, were recorded during and after the fast-breaking meal in the evening. Watching more religious shows, were we, Indonesia?
Well, no. We weren't. There was certainly an increase in the number of religious talk shows being aired, but the nation's television viewers stayed loyal to their sinetron, the soap operas that keep Indonesia's television stations in business.
Of the 20 programs that had the most viewers during Ramadhan, some 80 percent were sinetron, although a few were ""repackaged"" for the month as religious dramas.
And if you thought that perhaps people were using the pre-dawn meal of sahur to watch religious talk shows and gird themselves for the coming day, you would be, well, wrong again.
Nielsen say that 60 percent of television viewers skipped the early-morning religious wisdom in favor of European soccer matches.