Saya mendapat artikel dari seorang teman yang isinya membuat saya malu, gemas, sebal, kecewa, dan tergugah. Artikel ini menceritakan tentang keadaan
by Andre Vltchek
Today, high-rises dot the skyline, hundreds of thousands of vehicles belch fumes on congested traffic arteries and super-malls have become the cultural centers of gravity in
While almost all major capitals in the Southeast Asian region are investing heavily in public transportation, parks, playgrounds, sidewalks and cultural institutions like museums, concert halls and convention centers, Jakarta remains brutally and determinately 'pro-market' — profit-driven and openly indifferent to the plight of a majority of its citizens who are poor.
Most Jakartans have never left
Newcomers are often puzzled by
Even to take a walk in Ancol, a family of four has to spend approximately $4.50 (40,000 Indonesian Rupiahs) in entrance fees, something unthinkable anywhere else in the world. The few tiny public parks which survived privatization are in desperate condition and mostly unsafe to use.
There are no sidewalks in the entire city, if one applies international standards to the word "sidewalk." Almost anywhere in the world (with the striking exception of some cities in the
Most world cities, including those in the region, want to be visited and remembered for their culture.
Bangkok's colossal temples and palaces coexist with extremely cosmopolitan fare — international theater and film festivals, countless performances, jazz clubs with local and foreign artists on the bill, as well as authentic culinary delights from all corners of the world. When it comes to music, live performances and nightlife, there is no city in Southeast Asia as vibrant as
Now back to
It seems that
While Singapore decades ago, and Kuala Lumpur recently, managed to fully eradicate poor, unsanitary and depressing kampongs from their urban areas, Jakarta is unable or unwilling to offer its citizens subsidized, affordable housing equipped with running water, electricity, a sewage system, wastewater treatment facilities, playgrounds, parks, sidewalks and a mass public transportation system.
Rich Singapore aside,
Polluting pre-historic buses are being banned from
Mercer Human Resource Consulting, in its reports covering quality of life, places
Considering that it is in the league with some of the poorest capitals of the world,
Curiously, Jakartans are silent. They have become inured to appalling air quality just as they have gotten used to the sight of children begging, even selling themselves at the major intersections; to entire communities living under elevated highways and in slums on the shores of canals turned into toxic waste dumps; to the hours-long commutes; to floods and rats.
But if there is to be any hope, the truth has to eventually be told, and the sooner the better. Only a realistic and brutal diagnosis can lead to treatment and a cure. As painful as the truth can be, it is always better than self-deceptions and lies.
Comparative statistics have to be transparent and widely available. Citizens have to learn how to ask questions again, and how to demand answers and accountability. Only if they understand to what depths their city has sunk can there be any hope of change.
"We have to watch out," said a concerned Malaysian filmmaker during New Year's Eve celebrations in
Could this statement be reversed? Can
An outsider like me can observe, tell the story and ask questions. Only the people of