Sunday, August 24, 2008

Spread the Words!

I was in the middle of bloghopping, and stumbled upon Rima's posting. Somehow I'm feeling ashamed of myself; I live and grow up in Jakarta, however I didn't notice this letter until a blogger friend of mine (living thousand miles away in Belgium) took it seriously. Well, I guess not everyone reads newspapers/news site, right? *trying to make a self-defense, LOL*

Below are the copy-paste of a very honest opinion of Jakarta:
My name is Daniel Rais Abin. I am a 19-year-old hotel management trainee living in Portugal. I spent the first twelve years of my life in Jakarta together with my parents and my younger brother.

In 2001, we moved to Germany (after my parent’s divorce) as my mother is German. I moved to Portugal after finishing my Abitur.

Every year, I come and visit my father and grandparents in Jakarta. I never noticed the things I am about to write about here because they all seemed normal to me. Maybe that is the problem — everybody takes the Jakarta of today as it is. It seems normal to everyone.

A few days ago, I was on my way to one of the many walls here in Jakarta when I suddenly noticed, recognized and understood something.

As we were passing the new advertisements for Kemang Village and The Mansion, I also noticed some youngsters around my age just sitting around on the streets. I came to think, do they have a bright future? Do they have the same chances in life that I have?

Shortly after, I also saw a beggar knocking on a window of an expensive car asking for small change. He held a starving child who looked very weak, maybe even sick, in his arms. They were sent away with just a simple snobby wave of the driver’s hand.

At that moment it came to me. The Jakarta of today is too focused on becoming a wealthy tourist city and pleasing the wealthy rather than trying to save the majority of its people from poverty.

Everywhere you look, you can find luxury homes. Since I moved to Germany in 2001, the number of malls here has increased significantly. Logically, most of the shops in the malls are not affordable for the majority of Jakartans.

Instead, of investing in expensive luxury facilities, just to fill up the almost unending bank accounts of the investors, why not invest in affordable homes for low-income families? Why not fill up on good conscience and at the same time help the ones who are in need of financial support?

The most probable answer is that it won’t bring in as much money as a luxury facility would. This goes without further question. But don’t investors have enough money?

Maybe, a company could make money by, for example, building a facility for low-income families under their name. Is it not highly probable that more people might want the products of a socially active company?

Another subject which I want to mention is the mentality of the wealthy. Many people I have talked to here — young and old — are more interested in materialism than social thoughts.

They are too busy trying to polish and decorate their important reputation with very expensive objects such as cars, phones, mansions and jewelry even though they possess a sufficient number of these items, to look out the window and face reality.

Again, in my opinion, this does not have to be. I don’t want to offend anyone by writing this.

I am not one to judge anyone. All I want is for people to start thinking about these things. I hope that even though I am young, people will take this article seriously for the good of the wonderful, innocent people of Jakarta.
If you really concern about Jakarta for the better future, please write about this in your blog to give a wake-up call to our fellow Jakartans, and yet Indonesians in general. 


  1. this is a great piece of article, thanks for sharing. The Philippines is also like this. I would say, people who are rich gets richer and the poor gets poorer. It is time to be aware but people at times have nothing much to do, but do something different in our own small ways!

  2. hey dev... thanks for making people more aware about this..
    i think i have a lot of time on my hands and i use it to browse news and stories from around the world, but mainly about our country..
    no need to feel ashamed.. :)

  3. It's a time when the only ones who care about others in need are too poor to do anything about it. Big investors make themselves twice as rich by investing in luxurious buildings to target the rich. But how can you blame them? Start with yourself. You shop for new clothes while just a couple of meters away there's a family who can't even afford food for their kids.

    People are always saying that they care, but no one ever does anything. But how can you blame them? How can you blame us? After all, we're only humans.


  4. Is it the time to write a comments blaming on capitalism and hedonism??

  5. agree with Avante... back in the days, we have chosen to be somewhat capitalist... so this is one of the consequences. This problem happens everywhere in capitalist countries, even in Japan or US where sometimes we would meet beggars & homeless on the street. So what about in some poorer countries such as indonesia. Sad! :(

    I'm not quite sure what the solution has to be... But maybe government can put more budget on shelters..?

  6. hi dev. a good post :)agree if the government need 2 concern more on poorer. a lil bit comment only for 'more malls in jakarta'. well, sorry if this sounds controversial, but having more malls will also create job opportunity: shopkeeper, transportation of goods, warung2 nasi (foodstalls), abang ojek/angkot for shopkeepers (transportation). May be if the investors/gov want to create a commercial profit, they need to create a social activity at the same time as well (i.e; building schools, hospital, houses. numpang bunyi aja :)

  7. First of all, I have to say sorry if what i'm about to write will sound offensive.

    In respond of the article, even if the government help those beggars, will those beggars help themselves? Because what I saw from Indonesian ppl are that they are lazy. Maybe in their thoughts, if they can get food just by asking ppl on the street, why do they have to work they ass off?

    what we need to change now is their mentality. Their own ambition to have a better life. Don't just judge the rich, they are rich because they work AM to PM, because they have dreams, because they want to be better.


  8. @mdoank: pros and cons both come hand in hand, why would I feel offended? :)

    Their mindset is their responsibility, not ours nor the government. I believe they weren't born lazy, it's the environment that makes them feel hopeless. How selfish we are, generalizing them as sluggish people to defend our ignorance. There are still lots of children like those in "Denias" and "Laskar Pelangi" movies; Indonesian children living in hinterland and still struggle for better education. At least, they govt. can make public schools as free schools (in terms of monetary costs).

    Moreover, I don't think we're justified not to help those that truly in needs. Where is the love? ;) We're just human after all...


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