I never liked Jakarta. I see it as a mean place, where the wealth disparity between people is so wide, and the rich doesn’t care to the poor. The national parliament is located here, so I always see Jakarta as the place where corruption is centered. I hate the hectic life, wake up at 4 am and get home at 11 pm JUST because you are trapped in a crazy traffic. It is a scary place because crimes are all around. That was why it was very hard for me to believe the presentation today at the Jakarta Local Government office. Pak Sukesti Martono, the Deputy Governor told us how Jakarta is a harmonious place where people from different background can melt together in peace, how the economic development of Jakarta is even bigger than the economic development of the country as a whole, how Governor Fauzi Bowo is close to the people. I didn’t believe that. I kept comparing this presentation with Jokowi’s presentation about Solo (I interpreted for him when he talked in front of Citibankers, talked about his leadership experience in Solo). Jokowi is just real. He didn’t fill his slide with the normative principles, how things should happen. Instead, he gave the examples, how things already are. When the audiences asked him about his plan or idea, he didn’t come up with abstract things like, “Yeah, we should have dialogue in order to respect each other.” But he went like, “What I did was… because… and the result was…” And he didn’t need to put his picture on banners all around the city to make people acknowledge him. He is already in people’s heart and mind because he really does the people favors.
I don’t want to sound like campaigning for DKI Jakarta Governor Candidates here. I mean, I do not even live here (Thank God). But yeah, I started to think that I’m being unfair here. Jakarta is a lot bigger than Jogja and Solo, and it has more complex situation compare to both cities. Like any other big cities, the gap between rich and poor tends to be more obvious, crimes are more often, and so on. So I asked Pak Junaidi, the Head of UI international office, who is very cool, to get the perspective from a person who live in Jakarta. And yes he admitted that many problems remain unsolved, like traffic jam, but compare to the situation couple years ago, Jakarta nowadays is actually not so bad. I nodded, and promised to myself that I will try my best to see the different side of this city.
So we stopped by to the National Museum or Museum Gajah (which is pretty much my favorite museum beside Ulen Sentalu. I love the golden room the most because it reminds me on how rich Indonesia is), and when we walked around the block where the museum is located, I feel like Jakarta is kind of pretty. The buildings are well taken care of, as well as the plants and flowers, at least it looks good and prestigious as a capital city. After a quick, like real quick, tour in the museum, we went right away to the Constitution Court. I am so excited because the head of the court is one of my favorite figures which is Mahfud M.D. We met with Pak Harjono (read: Pak Haryono), one of the 9judges in Constitution court.
Constitution Court (MK) was established in 1999, as a result of constitution amendment. At that time, post reformation era, Indonesian politics was unstable and there was a demand from the society to uphold the constitution. MK judges consist of 8 male and 1 female (I saw the picture of this lady, I like her, she looks fierce). Since its establishment, MK never had a scandal like any other parts of government (you-know-what). Pak Harjono explained that this situation was because 2 factors. The 1st one: in 1999, the political parties and government were not strong enough to give pressure or influence toward MK. So MK can grew independently, in a shaped attitude. And the 2nd, because all the judges were scholars from university! This second point reminded me to our conversation with Pak Junaidi during the lunch. We talked about the system: how to change the system. The most effective way, if not the only way, to change the rotten system is to get into the system and replace it with the new one. Our concern is whether or not when the idealist people get into the system, they will still uphold their idealism instead of being blown away. To avoid this, Pak Jun said, we need to get into the system together with other people who have the same vision, so the replacement have to be done massively. But how is this possible? And Pak Jun said, that is the job of the university. To create sarjana, sarjana isn’t only mean a scholar. But according to Sanskrit, the word also means a civilized person, orang yang berbudaya. By being civilized doesn’t only mean that you have to be smart, or knowledgeable about cultures, but you also have to have a good manner, and do good deeds. When these sarjana created by universities get into the system, they will be able to make the change. Pak Harjono and MK prove this hypothesis. I now feel like I have so much optimism for being a university student.
From MK, we head to the Old Batavia. We had Pak Jun’s student, Mas Kartum Setiawan, as our tour guide. He works at Museum Mandiri (the biggest bank in Indonesia) and a member of Komunitas Jelajah Budaya or the Cultural Journey Community. He took us through Glodok Market which sells rabbits, candies and electronic things. Through pecinan or China Town in which we found market (that sells lamp, candles, frogs to Chinese herbs medicines), Confucian klenteng, and a church in a shape of klenteng. The church guard is a man from Panggang, Gunung Kidul. His English is fluent because he teaches English in an elementary school. He showed us around the church, told us the story that the church used to be a house of a rich family. Until they finally sold the house to priests. We then continued the walk to Museum Mandiri, and the old city hall.
I’ve seen more in Jakarta today than I thought I can found; the complexity, commitment, and the beautiful places. Guess I’ll start to like it a little.
Depok, June 7 2012