Not Too Bad ...

Bogor Station in the morning

Whimsical depiction of extravaganza is perfectly conspicuous and too much captivating for passer-by at little slums area in Jakarta, if Chinatown is too high as comparison. Shared public toilet for no less than dozens of these happy settlements, yellowing river right next to the kitchen, children playing with lots of joy all through narrowing alley that divide every neighborhood, my notion of impression once I happened to lurk into communes of three hot spot areas within the capital city. I, since a couple week ago, who has been joining a research activity for megapolitan disaster management initiated by an university in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, will work on these fields for some weeks later on. Interviewing the settlement, translating the report, spending some hours to reach the location for I commute daily from Bogor, are kinds of my endeavor to run the project.

As an aficionado of aesthetic urban landscape, the contrary of living between highrise concrete building and outlier downtown is striking. It is a portray of contemporary artwork made by intangible social ego. The scenery is the body, the city's life is the soul. To me, the overlapped voice of grassroots down beneath vibrant city's noise is way more fascinating. As this research covers up interview with the slum settlements, I can barely recognize their voice is seamless and honest. Different study case yields different buzz. Slum area in North Jakarta has its own echo and sometimes similar point of interest as questioned is responded by varying perspective compared to that of fellow compatriot in Central and South Jakarta . The pro and con is common.

One highlight that I draw from the interviewee's perspective, is how their assessment on incumbent government. Although this part is minor of research inquiries and is avoidable in order to keep the scientific value of research objective, for I here write on a blog, the measurement is valid unconditionally. Some people voluntarily express their fulfilled satisfactory what the Governor has done to them, some others complain about for being excluded subject of blusukan. This account has suggested me that these people are wanting for being taken care of, seen, visited and recognized. Although the real problem is quite complex, even seems always more complex when some snobbish media extravagantly add glitter on news to spoil people's opinion. Let me alone to have my own assessment, and these settlements whose mirror is crystal clear have directed me to address my perspective goal: understanding the matter comprehensively.

Living at such slum, for some people, never look opulent instead too desperate. Bur for the kids I met through the alley, they never complain about despite of their fully informed account of blessed apartment right over there, to them, is no more than bird cage. The old ones, as life what they understand is not always fulfilling, are frankly aware that their existence would not last. Anytime the govt would demolish their settlement in favor of refurnishing city landscape. But what they expect is evacuation to appropriate decent housing complex. Though, it does not successfully work for a commune in North Jakarta, other areas are waiting to prove for more accomplished story.

The immense gap I captured at these areas has paid my inquisitiveness off as I have been wondering why Jakarta straddles this circumstance for that pretty long. However, I still have no sufficient answer to explain . I'm just too curious to return to these area again by this week and finding out more fun facts to share with.     

Un Petit Appel

It was not missing MH370's black box resonated alert but my dad's call at that night. For few days I was not in telephone line, he might be kinda anxious. Well, it had a reason, simply just because my mobile phone lost its buzz. When it got the vibe, my dad's voice was already there.

He then started the convo, deliberately asking "What happens, son?" gently. As always, he has no more words than an usual intro, a distinct voice compared to Mom's call in which she goes straight to the matter. No later than a minute, he tried, though kinda awkward yet still subtle, asking another questions. Some of it were just the same as he used to. But that night he added a quiz, "How's your choice?". Sounds vague, until then I got the point, he meant my vote belonging to whom.

This year's election is the second term of mine to celebrate the democratic euphoria as real. And my dad's curiosity about my vote is no big surprise. But not until I deliberated my ballot. He was still wondering the reason behind my cast, of course he would be fine to listen my explanation. Then I quested his voice in return. Claiming himself as silent supporter of those politicians, ranging from newcoming competitor to old-fashioned icon on TV, made me a little bit surprised. Knowing that mine and him is in opposite side, he offered me a chance to complain. But I refused, I chose to make a deal that we agree to 'disagree' on our own instead. Sounds fair right?

His point of view is mostly influenced by local newspaper, TV news but almost no internet. He is a maiden of buzzfeed. The only thing I know about him and his acquaintance with internet is Facebook. He might be overdue. He is a sort of bloke who still pertains traditional way of circulated accounts. Sitting with neighbors with local printed newspaper in hand, he is simply simple person of his own living at hometown where he was born, bred, grown up and is running daily job. To me, his life could be so boring, but frankly I do admire his determination is inspiring. He is the one who always teaches and trains me to think beyond his limitation, being critical, standing-out amongst talents, all things democratically he has inculcated in me even before this country transformed into what so-called recognized juvenile democratic nation. He is the first person who refused the idea of sending me to religious boarding school as many people around us would decide to. Instead he suggested me to run my education in public school where I could befriend many kind of people from different background, though I had to leave home and even until now.

My dad's view in some parts are though still conservative, much intrigued by traditional influence which in my measure is irrelevant. Perhaps I'm too naive, lost translation in his childhood. Thus I try hard to thread his past and my today experience, obviously contrast. But one thing I understand, his vision is solid. He barely knows I never ever live the way he was, how his dad trained him. He knows exactly I supposed to be who I am, not himself nor even his ancestor.

When his phone was offline, I realized that I had to recharge mine, almost running out of power. It has been an hour since we started the talk. Then I think, I would be better to give my vote to candidate who has similar trait with my dad, someone who is able to vision the future and in the mean time is adaptable to underground matter. And of course my vote only belongs to those whose political maturity is unquestionable with humble attitude. No matter what your party flag is. I and my dad would love to look forward what will happen. Coz we'll talk it up later ;-)

Hommage à père!

Loved-Yet-Hated Street

Street of Life

Street hustle of Bogor, near to Train Station

I have been more than curious to see people's way of life how they run things, from cooking to driving, from sleeping to riding. As a neophyte of neighborhood's bustling life, it is such a guilty pleasure when I desync myself out of the spin despite of my countless endeavours to match the rythm. And out of such livelihood, the 'street culture' is definitely the one I am at my utter inquisitiveness why I still have yet nodded.

Over last four and half years, it has always came relatively conquerable to me to adapt with new style of living. Moving from a dwarf town of an island you probably never ever see on screen to an outskirts of city well known for its long standing history and jardin-like visage at some stops, fellows at my arid yellowish origin land may think I'm blessed by the new place of lush green. But here I am not about upholding royal, folks. I'm just like other ordinary pedestrians who are fully sober we are not on too fascinating runway. Most of times we are like stepping on sherds with non-stop rushing fogs passing by next to us.

Here it is my current hut, few-meter-distant from circuit. Together with other disciples, at no distant we clearly are alarmed sometimes by distracting yet painful roar of failed racer. Pieces of glass, the blood stained, even conflicted argument on who is right among involved convicts, is face of street next door. When sorcery works out, out of sudden it turns into temporal hearse before ambulance cleans up the hot spot no stinks nor random things left. Then people forget it on the next day until the new scene comes over like deja vu, we are reminded. It is so magical!

 The circuit next door is our daily pathway, beautiful painted asphalt turning out two-way street divided by four lines borderlessly. It extends as long as miles away from somewhere out of sight to the heart of city which passes by our niche. Don't ever challenge yourself to drive or to ride during busy hours, or you'll be trapped in crazy hell traffic jam. Even though being a pedestrian has no guarantee to be always safe. I'm so jealous of strolling along the sidewalk of Solo city as far as I would, or of crossing the street the way I enjoy most at every crossroad of Yogyakarta with guaranteed traffic light accuration. I also miss to be drowned in the brisk walk of Ginza and to enjoying panoramic view by stepping on sidewalk of Makassar street competing with cars next to me to catch the sunset. But the reality is here and right now.

I remember one of past Fridays at sultry noon, this magical street was full of long queueing cabs and motos covered by unhappy face of sweating blokes, a police in the middle of jungle and was trying his best to ease off the crowd. I attempted to pass by the zebra cross as it is supposed to be, starting from right side to left side approaching a small mini store over there. Out of my glassed eyes, a helmet-covered ghost rider had his costly ride touching my leg and geez! Fortunately he was able to control his accelaration, just my leg chafed. A girl few meters from my standing also experienced the same. Sigh.

Another day perhaps was my another badluck. It was still fresh and the sun was so bright though. I planned that day to have early class. I expected it would be nicer to have myself bridging the two sides as that day was. Unfortunately, as I passed by through the appropriate way (Zebra Cross), out of sudden a happy couple riding moto commuted right in front of my move at crossing pace. I tried to keep a distance avoiding clash, instead of being thankful for in a state of safe, the boy shouted out loud at me with some f*cked spells and the girl who was covered by hijab looked happy innocently the way his boy screamed his mantra while she still stared at me after the plight as they were passing over. You both really scared me and I was still numb, speechless.

As a guest of this town, I expect nothing but please let us be more respectful. There should be no sense of superiority as we all are same, the tax payer and in the mean time altogether users of this highway, just for some miles long. Some of us are true not seating inside Jaguar nor Cadillac nor Valentino Rossi-like moto. Some of us are just daily pedestrians who sometimes should take longer road when it was blocked as few weeks ago when the President and teams crossed by.

This is the true street of ours, not very pretty nor too popular when you name it like most others, away narrower than LIE (Long Island Expressway) but as crowd as it is. And our street has some mentions you can beguile as it brings you to place you name it. Expect us.