Jakarta Butuh Revolusi Budaya!

Archive for the ‘Articles in English’ Category

I’ve been to Museum Bank Mandiri for many times now. This morning I went there again to have a meeting with the Berburu Center team. And just like always, going to Museum Bank Mandiri gave me a very unique sensation I can’t describe with words.

But first, let me make it clear. Going to Museum Bank Mandiri and Kota Toea is not an easy journey. The traffic that you have to pass is like crazy. You all know how bad the traffic in Glodok and Kota can be, don’t you? So I suggest you wake up early and get going real soon in the morning.

Museum Bank Mandiri is not the world’s best museum, for sure. The condition outside the museum is a big factor why this museum is less attractive than it should be. Kota Toea is indeed a very hot place to be. If you come at 12 noon, you’ll probably think you’re 5 minutes away from hell. It’s damn hot and the air is so polluted. The sound of bajaj, angkot, buses, and people just makes everything so perfectly frustrating. If you want to commit suicide (a memorable one for people you love), I suggest not to do it in this area.

So, it’s so wonderful to know that you can still find peace inside the building of Museum Bank Mandiri. The old building offers us a very “adem” atmosphere. Its old furnitures and displays give us a very peaceful feeling. The fact that the museum is a melting point of a lot of communities and organizations makes it even more special.

I spent most of the time with the team at the library which is managed by Forum Indonesia Membaca; a very inspirational organization who seeks to educate people that reading is important.

We talked about our programs and strategies. The meeting was not too long but very effective, although we could still hear the sound of bajaj from inside.

One important thing we all agreed on was that we are going to conduct a training on living values very soon. We feel that the famous 12 living values rhyme perfectly with the 5 themes/values that we have in Berburu. We’re hoping the training can be conducted next month during the holy month ramadhan.

Back to Museum Bank Mandiri. We managed to take some good pictures. The museum got plenty of great spots for camera posing. I’m not a professional photographer, but taking a great angle may not be that hard for me.

It seems that I’ll be visiting Museum Bank Mandiri even more in the future, since we’re planning to launch Berburu Center’s so-called office (sekretariat, to be exact) at the museum. Hopefully, we can conduct many creative events and programs and together with other organizations we can create a better Kota Toea.

Note: We’re changing Jakarta Butuh Revolusi Budaya (JBRB) to Berburu Center: The Research Center for Human Positive Behavior.

Salam Berburu!

Advertisements

Kemacetan lalu lintas merupakan salah satu masalah kronis di kota-kota besar Indonesia dan masalah ini semakin parah setiap tahunnya. Pertumbuhan panjang jalan kota di Indonesia jauh lebih lambat dibandingkan dengan tingkat pertumbuhan kepemilikan kendaraan. Di Jakarta, misalnya, tingkat pertumbuhan kepemilikan kendaraan adalah 9 sampai 11 persen per tahun tetapi pertumbuhan pembangunan jalan kurang dari 1 persen per tahun.

Pembangunan jalan baru atau pelebaran jalan hanyalah memecahkan masalah kemacetan lalu lintas secara sementara. Setelah beberapa tahun, jalan baru akan diisi dengan lalu lintas yang akan terjadi jika jalan baru tersebut tidak dibangun. Hal serupa terjadi dengan pelebaran jalan ketika jalan yang telah diperlebar tersebut akan kembali macet hanya dalam beberapa bulan. Fenomena seperti itu disebut induced demand. Karena induced demand ini, membangun jalan baru atau pelebaran jalan adalah solusi kemacetan lalu lintas yang sifatnya sementara.

Ada beberapa solusi untuk mengurangi kemacetan lalu lintas dan salah satunya adalah pengurangan menggunakan kendaraan pribadi. Sebuah artikel di New York Times (12 Mei 2009) menceritakan tentang sebuah kota tanpa mobil di Jerman. Jalan-jalan di kota ini sepenuhnya bebas mobil kecuali di jalan utama dan beberapa jalan di pinggir kota. Penduduk kota ini masih diperbolehkan memiliki mobil, tapi parkir menjadi masalah bagi mereka karena hanya tersedia dua garasi umum di pinggir kota tersebut.

Kota tersebut bernama Vauban yang berpenduduk 5.500 jiwa dan terletak di pinggiran kota Freiburg, dekat perbatasan Perancis dan Swiss. Penduduk kota tersebut sangat tergantung pada sarana trem ke pusat kota Freiburg dan banyak dari mereka hanya menyewa mobil ketika tidak tersedia sarana angkutan umum di tempat yang mereka tuju.

Tujuh puluh persen dari keluarga di Vauban tidak memiliki mobil. Mereka cukup berjalan dan bersepeda ke toko-toko, bank, restoran, sekolah dan tempat-tempat tujuan lainnya di kota Vauban. Bentuk kota ini memanjang dan menyediakan akses yang mudah untuk berjalan kaki dari setiap rumah menuju tram.

Menciptakan tempat hunian dengan desain kompak, akses yang mudah terhadap transportasi umum dan tingkat berkendaraan yang rendah adalah visi perencana kota di abad ke-21 ini. Kota Vauban merupakan contoh desain perkotaan di abad ke-21 sebagai jawaban terhadap ancaman emisi gas rumah kaca dan pemanasan global dan terbatasnya pasokan minyak.

Saya berpendapat bahwa desain kota Vauban adalah ekstensi dari konsep New Urbanism. Konsep New Urbanism adalah suat konsep desain perkotaan yang pertama kali muncul di Amerika Serikat pada awal tahun 1980. Konsep ini mempromosikan beberapa prinsip utama diantaranya walkability dan konektivitas, tata guna lahan yang beragam (mixed land uses), dan kepadatan tinggi. Terdapat cukup banyak kota dengan konsep New Urbanism yang tersebar di beberapa negara, tetapi jalanan kota-kota tersebut masih penuh dengan mobil.

Kota Vauban menunjukkan bukti adanya kemungkinan untuk menciptakan kota tanpa mobil. Penerapan desain kota yang walkable, tata guna lahan yang beragam, dan kemudahan akses ke transportasi umum yang handal seperti ditunjukkan di kota Vauban kota merupakan komponen untuk menciptakan kota tanpa mobil.

Mobil masih merupakan barang mewah bagi kebanyakan keluarga Indonesia. Banyak warga kota, terutama yang tinggal di kampung kota, tidak memiliki mobil dan terbiasa hidup tanpa mobil. Gang-gang di kampung kota terlalu sempit untuk mobil dan warga banyak berjalan kaki dan bersepeda ke tempat tujuan mereka. Merujuk kepada konsep New Urbanism, kampung kota di Indonesia telah menerapkan prinsip-prinsip penting dalam konsep tersebut seperti walkability dan kepadatan tinggi.

Perencana kota di Indonesia harus menghargai keberadaan kampung kota dalam konteks rendahnya tingkat kebutuhan berkendaraan para penghuninya. Warga kampung kota cenderung memiliki kebutuhan berkendaraan yang rendah ketika mereka memiliki akses yang tinggi terhadap angkutan umum dan dan jalan-jalan di lingkungannya tetap sempit. Warga kampung kota harus tetap memiliki tingakt kebutuhan berkendaraan yang rendah untuk mengurangi tingkat kepemilikan mobil di perkotaan.

Bagi pembangunan kawasan perumahan baru di di kawasan pinggiran, perencana kota dapat meniru keberhasilan kota Vauban. Kebutuhan berkendaraan adalah dipengaruhi oleh desain kota dan akses ke transportasi umum. Melalui desain kota yang mendorong untuk banyak berjalan dan bersepeda dan akses yang tinggi terhadap transportasi umum yang handal adalah tidak mustahil untuk menciptakan sebuah kawasan kota tanpa mobil. Kota Vauban di Jerman dan kampung-kampung kota di Indonesia adalah contohnya.
______________________________

Traffic congestion is one of the chronic problems in most Indonesian cities and this problem is getting worse year by year. The growth of road developments in Indonesian cities is much slower than the growth rate of vehicle ownership. In Jakarta, for example, the growth rate of vehicle ownership is 9 to 11 percent per year but the growth of road developments is only less than 1 percent per year.

When a new highway was built or a road was widened, it will only solve the traffic congestion for a short period of time. After a few years, the new highway will fill with traffic that would not have existed if the highway had not been built. Similarly, the widened road fills with more traffic in a few months. Such phenomenon is called induced demand. Because of the induced demand, neither building new roads nor widening roads are the long-lasting solution to traffic congestion.

There are several possible solutions to eradicate traffic congestion problems and one of them is the reduction of private vehicle uses. I read an article in the New York Times (May 12, 2009) on a suburb town without cars in Germany with great interest. Streets in this upscale town are completely car-free except the main thoroughfare and a few streets on edge of the town. The residents of this town are still allowed to own cars, but parking is relegated to two large garages at the edge of the development.

The Vauban town, is located on the outskirt of Freiburg, near the French and Swiss borders and home to 5,500 residents. The residents are heavily dependent on the tram to downtown Freiburg and many of them take to car-sharing when longer excursions are needed. Seventy percent of Vauban’s families have no cars. They do a lot of walking and biking to shops, banks, restaurants, schools and other destinations that are interspersed among homes. The town is long and relatively narrow and provides an easy walking access to the tram for every home.

Creating places with more compact design, more accessible to public transportation and less driving is the envision of urban planners in the 21st century. The Vauban town is an exemplar of the 21st century urban design in response to the threats of greenhouse gas emission and global warming and the dwindling oil supply.

I could argue that the Vauban’s urban design is the extension of the New Urbanism. The New Urbanism is a school of urban design arose in the U.S. in the early 1980s. This school of urban design promotes several key principles including walkability and connectivity, mixed land uses, and high density. There have been many the New Urbanist towns in several countries, but cars still fill the streets of these towns.

The Vauban town provides an example of the possibility of creating city without cars. The walkable and mixed-land-uses urban design, easy access to public transportation and excellent public transportation system as demonstrated in the Vauban town are the components for creating city without cars.

Cars are still a luxury item for many Indonesian families. Many urban residents, particularly those live in kampung kota, do not own cars and are used to living without cars. Streets (gang) in Indonesia’s kampung kota are too narrow for cars and the residents are used to walking and biking to their destinations. Kampung kotas are located in the center of urban areas and relatively accessible to public transportations. In reference to the New Urbanism concept, the Indonesia’s kampung kota has implemented the principles of walkability and high density.

Indonesian planners need to appreciate the existence of kampung kota in terms of lacking driving needs. Kampung kota residents will be less likely to have a demand for cars when their neighborhoods are accessible to public transportations and the streets in their neighborhoods remain narrow. Kampung kota residents need to remain lack of driving needs for reducing the car ownership rate in urban areas.

For new developments in suburb areas, Indonesian planners can emulate the success of the Vauban town. Driving needs are profoundly affected by the urban design and the high access to public transportation. It makes sense to envision and is not all impossible to create a city without cars.

Did you know that last June 22 was the birthday of our beloved city Jakarta? Some of you were probably aware of that fact, but I’m sure most of us didn’t care at all; that is exactly what happened in my office, everything went just like any other day. No one mentioned the fact that Jakarta was having its 482nd birthday.

Compared to our country Indonesia, Jakarta turns out to be so much older. But it is too bad that despite the fact that our capital is so old, the condition doesn’t show the kind of maturity that a city as old as Jakarta should have. Perhaps that is why we Jakartans don’t really care whether or not it’s a birthday. Because it’s always the same kind of Jakarta we all have: bad traffic, bad public transportation, pollution, flood, and poverty.

With all those problems, we don’t feel like celebrating it. I even forgot that last Monday was Jakarta’s birthday until I heard, accidentally, the news on the radio reporting that our local government had been conducting cultural events in several areas.

Our ignorance of this special occasion definitely reflects our attitude towards this city of ours. Admit it, most of us don’t like it here. Admit it, most of us always curse at this city every single day and always think that if not for the money we would have left this city so long time ago.

Am I being too much on this? I don’t think so. I was driving my car a few days ago from my office to a friend’s house in Blok M when suddenly a metromini cut me off. This bus came from nowhere and stubbornly stopped right in front of me. I was going to curse but decided not to when I saw the people’s faces on the bus. I felt sorry for them.

They all looked sad. None of them were crying, but I could tell they were all unhappy. Their bodies were squeezed against each other and they were all sweating. Suddenly I felt guilty for being inside my comfortable car. I felt guilty for having my air conditioner and radio on. I looked at those people and I realized that not all people in this great city of ours can enjoy Jakarta’s luxurious malls and nightclubs.

The funny part was the fact that the condition of the bus was no better than the people’s condition inside. Just like any other Jakarta’s public transportation system, this bus in front of me looked like the ugliest bus in the whole world. At that very moment, I was so ashamed of being an Indonesian. I couldn’t imagine what I would have said if there had been a foreigner sitting next to me; trying to mess his or her concentration from this very embarrassing sight, I would probably have said, “By the way, have you tried our busway?”

It seems to me that Jakarta is run to please the rich. Look at our big malls. Our malls are so luxurious that even my American friend, Bill, admitted that our malls are better than the ones in the United States. While walking inside a famous mall in Central Jakarta, he pointed at those branded items being displayed at various outles, and said, “Isn’t it amazing, there are actually many people in this city who buy all those unreasonably-priced products?”

But it is interesting to know that even the rich are not actually happy living in Jakarta. If you don’t trust me, ask them to describe Jakarta in one word. I bet most of them will say macet. In other cities, people probably have positive words like: beautiful, traditional, or peaceful. And that is why they always go somewhere far every time they have a chance. We shouldn’t be surprised to know that Jakarta’s rich people are among the main tourist sources for cities like Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Bangkok; and not the other way around.

So, what now? Did 482nd birthday mean anything? It still did and should mean something.

I think it is time for all of us to look at Jakarta differently. It is time for us to treat Jakarta wisely and start doing small but real actions to this city. I remember I didn’t really like Jakarta in the past. But living in the United States for 2 years made me realize that Jakarta was not as bad as I had thought before. It was the first time when I realized that Jakarta had so many great things I couldn’t find in America. And one thing for sure, I missed those things so badly.

So when I came back, I decided I would treat Jakarta differently. I made a vow that I would start doing the things that I never had done before. It was not easy, but I managed to survive. First, for the very first time in my life I went to Monas. Then, I went to other cultural and historic attractions. I began to find out that Jakarta is more than just about malls and cafes. Second, I started trying all kinds of food that this city offers. I found out food in Jakarta is not mainly about nasi uduk or soto betawi. You will be surprised to know that the choices are unlimited. Third, I now use the traffic as a perfect therapy on patience.

At the end, we can always have thousands of excuses not to like Jakarta and all its elements. But, we all should know that there is a second choice to like this city, although it might only be just a little bit more; and to do it, it will need some efforts.

It’s a bless that JBRB has been awarded “2008 Young Changemakers Initiative” by Ashoka Indonesia. I hope this achievement will make us stronger.

This is not the end. This is a start.

I thank everyone out there who has been supporting our movement and never given up hope. Let’s build this city together because we believe that Jakarta deserves a second chance.

This article was published by The Jakarta Post on October 27, 2008. Read the article on The Jakarta Post, here.

Don’t forget to join the “What do you think of dangdut?” poll below.

It may sound funny but I do have a theory that one of the reasons why our young people are losing their national identity is because they hate dangdut.

It’s so obvious, no young and educated Indonesians like dangdut. And I’m not just pointing my finger at my fellow young Indonesians, I have to admit I don’t like it too.

We young Indonesians don’t like it so much that we have been making it as one of the best laughable topics for so many years.

We feel sorry for people who actually dance to the rhythm of dangdut; we feel sorry for people who like Rhoma Irama. We laugh at them so happily knowing that their music is so kampungan and our music is so much cooler.

We can sing any famous American singer’s song perfectly and we know the lyrics by heart.

Modern music concerts are common in this country, and it seems to me that every single one of them can easily attract a large number of young and educated Indonesians.

The Java Jazz Festival, for example, has always been packed with young and educated Indonesians for 4 years although when the festival was first introduced many people thought the ticket prices were unreasonable; but young Indonesians came anyway.

The same organizer just conducted an R&B festival called Soulnation which was successful in drawing a lot of young Indonesians; they paid tickets worth at least Rp 200,000 and didn’t complain. They came in dressing up themselves with the latest R&B outfits copying their idols like Akon and Ashanti.

What’s wrong with not liking dangdut one may ask. Well, it’s not wrong as one of my best friends pointed it out to me that you can’t blame someone for liking one type of music as you can’t blame someone for liking nasi goreng.

But what we don’t realize is that dangdut is our national treasure; It’s part of our national heritage. What we don’t realize is that dangdut is the music of our country; just like Project Pop said through their song “Dangdut is the music of my country” a few years ago.

What we don’t realize is that when we laugh at dangdut thinking that it’s a stupid music, it’s like laughing at keroncong or any other Indonesia’s traditional music genre.

Sometimes I wonder why we can’t fall in love with dangdut while young African Americans can be so proud of their R&B and rap music.

One of the reasons may lie on the fact that we are too arrogant to like the same kind of music that low-income Indonesians like; that we don’t want to put ourselves on the same level with mas-mas and mba-mba.

If that is the kind of mentality that we all share, then I think we should feel sorry for ourselves for thinking that dangdut is so kampungan and that those people who like it just don’t have taste in music. We should feel sorry for ourselves for not realizing how music, like language, could be a very effective medium to unite us all.

Imagine if all young Indonesians, whether poor or rich, could at least agree that dangdut is something we all could enjoy together. We would be more united.

Apparently it’s the responsibility for anyone working in the dangdut industry to find a way to make the music more attractive to young and educated Indonesians, such as my friends and myself.

At the end, I’m not encouraging you to like dangdut. Music is about one’s personal preference, after all. But what I’d like to encourage us all is that instead of mocking those who like dangdut, we all should respect them for being able to express their “Indonesianity” a little bit more than we can.

Picture above taken from here.

A hesistant “interesting” sums up about seventy percent of the responses I get when I tell Indonesians that my majors are History and Political Science. For them, “interesting” is not always postive and thus, not always…interesting. Seeing that the pursuit of History as either a field of study or a career is rare in Indonesia, that reaction is not surprising. The following article aims to explain this lack of interest. At the same time, it acknowledges that undertaking this field in Indonesia is far from easy. This hinders further studies on the subject, and yet its importance cannot be emphasized enough. So we come to a conundrum.

Through years of questioning and observation, I can attribute this diminishing interest to at least two factors: teaching methods that foster unfavorable attitudes towards the subject, and the limited and dim career opportunities. There may very well be others, but these are ones I can pinpoint from my own experience.

To those who do not have a natural interest in a subject, the manner in which a class is taught is significant in determining a student’s outlook towards it. It is only understandable that the amount of facts that has to be memorized can cause one to dread class. Combine force-fed information with monotonous lectures that scream boredom? Tiresome.

For Indonesian students, history class and history may be considered tedious and dull purely because of these teaching methods. In contrast, a history class in the USA may use visual aids (movies, pictures, powerpoint slides) and even incorporate field trips to draw students in. Essays, debates, and discussions encourage students to structure their thoughts and challenge existing ideas. This is not to say that all history classes in the States take on this dynamic approach, it just happens more often. As a result, information is more easily absorbed and remembered. History class may even be fun. Clearly, it would be nice if the objectives of the history class go beyond memorizing dates, names and information. Teachers should aim for bigger goals such as cultivating students interest in the world or pride in their own country.

Regarding limited and dim career opportunities, being a historian or a professor seems to be the most obvious career choices. I have lost count the number of times people have assumed me to be either of those in the future. Let us be frank, they are less than desireable jobs in Indonesia. Not only are the related number of jobs minute, the salaries are not sustaining. Not all of us are fortunate enough to pursue a degree that may lead to dismal careers – even if we are passionate about it.

There are two silver linings to this. Firstly, there is the increasingly common reality that one’s graduate degree – not the undergraduate degree – will determine your career. This gives students the opportunity to pursue their interest first, then decide on a Masters degree related to their future career. Even I am constantly reminded of this fact by graduate students, professors and young professionals.

Secondly, even with a History major, one can find jobs in other fields. Business, finance, and government are such fields that employ those with a History degree. This is again supported by the idea that one’s undergraduate degree does not necessarily determine one’s career. Knowing this, readers may question, why waste time pursuing two different degrees when it is possible to specialize in one? Thus the other reason why I choose to pursue the social studies.

Interest is not the only reason why I take History. There are pros to the degree that are often forgotten. With History, students are forced to develop essential and yet basic skills that other majors may not: the ability to read, the ability to write, and the ability to analyze. In order to do well, it is compulsory for students to be able to scour and digest information from numerous sources, and present them in an orderly form of thought. For a country like the US in which experts of these areas are highly sought after, a History major is a good bet for covering the basics. Once they are taken care of, the handling of new information and becomes much easier. Therefore, employers do not avoid recruiting graduates from the social studies, even if the job may differ from the field of study.

It appears that the problem in Indonesia can be traced to the education system as well as ourselves. Current teaching methods fail to draw the students in, and it has become widespread for youths to consider history as a boring subject. History is crucial not only because it explains how events have changed through time or because it tells of the development of the world. It allows people to learn from the past and possibly even predict future circumstances.

Furthermore, students benefit from it by perfecting their reading, writing and analysis. However, with the difficulty of finding careers, how can one expect the interest and pursuance to rise? To put it simply, it would be difficult without personal motivation and systematic change. Fostering interest should be the first step – then we can move on from there.

This article was published by The Jakarta Post on September 29, 2008. Read the article on The Jakarta Post, here.

I was having a conversation with a friend from Jakarta over the Internet several days ago. When I asked her if there are some new places in Jakarta that young people go to, she said, “What kind of places do you mean? One thing for sure we have lots of new malls.”

She explained there are some new malls in the city. Some of them are Senayan City, Grand Indonesia, and Pacific Place.

She suddenly reminded me of how Jakartans are so much in love with malls and shopping centers. What is a mall, anyway? A mall is simply a big modern building where people can go to shop. Unlike any traditional market, a mall is very convenient; it is an air-conditioned building and it is clean and safe.

Having lived for 6 years in Jakarta I know how much people in Jakarta love their malls. I was one of them. While I never visited Monas, not even once, my friends and I would go to malls at least once a week for various purposes.

I went to malls for shopping. I went to malls for eating with friends on special occasions. I went to malls to watch movies. I went to malls to have a business meeting. I even went to malls just to use their bathroom.

And just like other people of Jakarta I was proud of having those big malls in my city. I remember a friend of mine from the Netherlands was so amazed to see how malls in Jakarta could be so big and beautiful. He said, “This city has the greatest malls.”

But now I know I’m not a big fan of malls anymore. Read the full article!


Dukung Program Berburu di Sekolah Anda

Mari jalankan dan dukung Program Berburu di sekolah-sekolah di Jakarta dan jadilah bagian dari sebuah REVOLUSI BUDAYA! Kirimkan email ke revolusibudaya@gmail.com dan daftarkan sekolah anda untuk ikut dalam Program Berburu.

Contact Us

BERBURU CENTER Jalan Cucur Timur III Blok A 7 No. 6 Sektor 4 Bintaro Jaya Tel: 62 21 736 3617 Oki: 0856 8102299 Tasa:087881521091 E-mail: revolusibudaya@gmail.com

Blog Masters

Guebukanmonyet (Washington D.C.) and Udiot (Jakarta)

Contributors

Andri Gilang (Sydney), Ian Badawi (Washington D.C.), Dejong (Washington D.C.), Sherwin Tobing (Budapest), Anggie Naditha Oktanesya (Jakarta), and Izmi Nurpratika (Jakarta).

Guest Writers

Deden Rukmana (Savannah), and Harris Iskandar (Washington, D.C.)

Categories

Gudang Artikel

Our Pictures