Tag Archives: jakarta

In response to: “Kami Cinta Indonesia. Tapi Buat Apa Kami Pulang Ke Indonesia?”

Indonesia, Asia’s sleeping giant, has recently been woken up by a man on a quest to clean up Jakarta with his straight-talk and no-corruption movement. What he is doing is unheard of in Indonesia where corruption has become part of our cultural identity, one that I abhor but at the same time benefit from.

This man, Pak Ahok, truly has the heart for the nation. He should be hailed as National Hero because he is unafraid of the “elite” gangsters and working his best to help the citizens who are unable to return him any favour. But instead he is put behind bars for deliberate blasphemy. While I can see why a Muslim can take offence of what he said but anyone should be able to tell the context of what he said was that voters should not be deceived by politicians hiding behind the religious veil and using that to manipulate people. It wasn’t a deliberate blasphemy. Besides, if someone said something negative about the bible I would defend it but I wouldn’t demand that person be locked up or cry for blood. We can have differing opinion and still co-exist that’s the whole point of democracy. Anyone with clarity of mind should be able to tell Pak Ahok has no ill-intention to the Muslim community. It’s just unfortunate that he was a marked man and his opponents were looking for reason to throw a grenade and they did.

For Ahok’s supporter, I can understand your disappointment, anger, or sadness. His sentencing to 2 years in prison is clearly a political play. How could the sentence be harsher than what the prosecutor demand for? I find the whole case just ridiculous. After the verdict, my Facebook timeline was flooded with posts expressing my friends’ disappointment and how some of them are ready to abandon their Indonesian passport or move to another country. Then I read an article of a letter by a student in Australia asking “Kami Cinta Indonesia, Tapi Buat Apa Kami Pulang Ke Indonesia?” (translate: We love Indonesia, but what for we come back to Indonesia?)

I grew up in Singapore and I’ve spent most of my life abroad. Every time someone asked if I have any intention to come back, I would say “what for?” or “not really”. I’m much more comfortable living in Singapore where rules are observed and values are sustained. In Indonesia everything is malleable. My friends say that what makes Indonesia creative and filled with opportunities but I find it just too much hassle. I like to keep my hands clean and enjoy the advantages of earning dollars, spending rupiah. Yes, I’m one of those hypocrites but if there’s anything that Ahok has stirred within me is the desire to come back to Jakarta.

Since Ahok came along I see how the nationalism towards Jakarta has improved among Indonesians around me. He brings glimmer of hope that Jakarta can be improved and become a city we are proud of, or willing to come back to. I always thought the slogan for Indonesia should be “Money is Power” but Ahok has a vision to help the less fortunate. As an idealist, I think that’s more important than thinking of how I can earn more for myself while watching the depressing news everyday and reading about the poor dying because they are denied of basic health care.

Now that Ahok is locked behind bars, the first thing that came to my mind was “Man. Jakarta need more people like Ahok to continue the fight!” We have an obligation to come back if we truly love the country. Honestly I don’t know if I love the country enough to leave the comfort of Singapore and if that’s what my calling at this point. Even if I come back I don’t know what good can I do to the country. Will I be joining a political party? If yes I need to be active? Am I willing to be active? Okay, this indecisiveness is my problem. Let’s leave it at that but I’m considering returning for good.

Ahok said “Kalian semua bisa memenjarakan Ahok, tapi kalian tidak bisa memenjarakan ide-ide saya.” (translate: You can put Ahok behind bars, but you can’t put my ideas behind bars.) Ahok may be in jail but we still have more people with his ideas. We need to rise up. We need to continue the fight. It’s time to stop mourning for Ahok’s sentence. The war is not lost. It has only started.

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X,
Mel.

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#KamiTidakTakut

“People have different ways of dealing with a situation.”

Looking at the recent terrorist attack that happened in Jakarta on Thursday, 14th Jan, and Paris on 13th November last year, the above statement could not be more true.

Parisians were in unison, solemn, in mourning but remain strong after the attack. They show solidarity among countrymen especially to Muslims who could have been the target of public’s anger. Paris inspires the World and unite us to fight against the terrorist.

Jakartans on the other hand, reacted to the recent attack in way true to their nature; with humour. The trending #KamiTidakTakut (#WeAreNotAfraid) soon deviated to #KamiNaksir (#WeHaveACrush) when someone posted a sighting of handsome policeman on duty during the incident.

Unlike Paris which has one trending social media image that was shared worldwide following the attack, Indonesia known for its strong social culture began showcasing its pool of graphic design talents via Instagram and Facebook.

Third, the livelihood in the city resumed almost immediately, except for a few that took advantage of the event to slack off work. Roadside food seller keeps on selling, passerby keep taking selfie. You can read more on why the terrorist attack in Indonesia is a failure here.

I am an Indonesian and I am not trying to diminish the impact of the attack. We lost few lives. Although the number of terrorists killed are greater, we still lost 2 innocent lives. Maybe if more lives were killed Jakartans would take the attack more seriously, but imagine if the two lives were someone close to you. Terrorism, no matter the scale of damage, is not to be taken lightly.

But I do find comfort in knowing that the attack does not dampen the spirit of Jakartans, our solidarity and sense of humor. It’s the way we heal and move on.

Yes ISIS struck us but we stood still and punched them with our spirits.

Cheers to all Jakartans,

Imelda.

P.S: I can’t seem to upload any photo to wordpress. :( Am I the only one?

 

 

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[#traveltuesday] Jakarta – Introduction

What better way to start the #traveltuesday theme than to begin with my birthplace, Jakarta!

Jakarta is the capital of Indonesia. Indonesia is the country that owns Bali. In case you’ve never heard of it. Now you know.

Jakarta is not the kind city that will be on people’s bucket list. It is a chaotic city marks with bottleneck traffic, overpopulation, high poverty rate yet hosts some of the most laid-back, friendliest and easy-going people in the world!

We spend half our lives getting stuck in traffic.

We spend half our lives getting stuck in traffic.

If you’re ever traveling to Jakarta (most likely on a business trip or you’re feeling extra adventurous) one thing you should not miss is the noodles! Noodle houses are ubiquitous in Jakarta and each noodle house has its own unique recipe so no two places taste the same. That also means you have to try as many noodle houses as time permits. The price per bowl ranges from US$1 to US$5.

Bakmi Akong!

Bakmi Akong, a small family-run noodle house.

Of course we have many other food that are really awesome like Martabak (pancake-ish), Pempek (Fish Cake), etc. I don’t understand why Jakarta has not become a food destination. Okay, maybe the poor infrastructure and horrendous traffic is a big tourist-proof. Nonetheless, Jakarta is definitely a city that welcomes travelers!

IMPORTANT: When taking taxi you must only hail for BLUE BIRD. You have to make sure the word “Blue Bird” is on the cab because not all blue cab with a bird logo belongs to the company. Yes, Indonesians like to trick you like that.

Other than that, enjoy the warmth of its people, depth of its cultures and the glorious food!

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Cheers,
Mel.

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