The burrs of the Big Durian

Jakarta is the ultimate bitch: You love & loathe it in the same time.

Local TV station audience surely familiar with that live discussion on the red news channel which features frustrating debates by Indonesian politic elites plus the throaty-scapegoat thirst-host. Last night, the topic was Jakarta’s Governor Election.   As usual, the candidates explained their programs, what if they are the elected governor and so on and so on. Since it was their time to blabber, I did not find it special, because obviously everyone will take the chance to explain their program and campaigning in the show. For me, to literally do what they had promised in the campaigns, is what really matters.

So, i try to describe what are the main problems in the capital city. Nothings new, but maybe you haven’t given the chance to really think about it. Because Jakarta is more than just a place. For lots of people, Jakarta is a concept of opportunities, a place where they gamble the future, risks their life. Jakarta represent diversity, Jakarta represent life. It’s tough, it’s dusty, it’s glamour, it’s in your eyes, it’s that moment when culture and daily life collide. It sucks, but we love it. So, here are four main problems in Jakarta.

Lack of Public spaces. Okay, this is fast. We need more public spaces. For instance, Saigon – capital of Vietnam – a country with sad history that declared their reunification 31 years after Indonesia – have more than 20 public parks. Simple question; what define weekends in Jakarta? Malls, Movies, Shopping, Bars, Concerts. People are consumptive, because they don’t have any other option to do anything than spending money in places. We need to think very hard to spend a fresh-beautiful weekend in the capital city. Stop making malls, provide free public spaces.

Endless Traffic Problems. This is a very ‘in your face’ problem. Motorbikes owners will blame the car owners, the pedestrian will blame the motorbikes owner and in the same time they will also blame the government for being so careless. Indeed, traffic problems in Jakarta is not a simple problems. It involves; infrastructure, industry gangster (commercial vehicle business hold very important role on national economy), the gasoline equation politics, and of course mass transportation. We need more than trashtwit complaints on the rush hour. We need an integrated and sincere motivation from all elements of the people.

Poor Environment awareness. Let’s admit it; careless people will pay at the end. No waste control, no policy vehicle with pollution. I see many awareness sirens in social media – which is very good. They started in small scale, with efficiency. Again, nothing from the government. Despite the term global warming is going overrated, I witnessed real action from people to save, lets say, Ciliwung river for example. You should go check various social movements: Transformasi hijau, Indonesia Berkebun etc etc.

Pressure group threats. Jakarta is the melting pot of so many kind of diversity. Different kind of ethnicity, religion, social backgrounds melting in one hell of a pot. These group added their certain identity and move in one beat as a group. Slightly peaceful, but In some case, this means problems. People had already lose their trust to government, and some group manage to provide organization based on their relevance to give these people real identity. These pressure groups specialized on certain areas. Some ended up in violence. Some put religion to covered violence. If you look back to Soeharto regime, this thing would never happened. Since the reformation, freedom is misused by some people.


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