If Jakarta Sinks…

Asian Boss has asked several young Jakartans what they think of the recent discourse of moving the capital to a new city outside Java Island.

If I were one of them, I’d say:

“It should’ve done long time ago. It has always been a debate since the last administration but nothing occcured.

Moving the center of economic and administrative affairs from Jakarta (formerly called Batavia) to a new city in Borneo Island.actually not only involves shifts of physical positions but also shifts of paradigm in the mind of our policy makers.

For more than 70 years, Indonesia has been too Javacentric. Seriously. We have had almost all of our presidents from Javanese families. The first president is Soekarno or Kusno Sosordihardjo, which is a very Javanese name. Suharto is also a Javanese-born man. Our third is not a pure Javanese man but B. J. Habibie has a mother of Javanese nobility. Abdurrahman Wahid is totally from East Java. Megawati is Soekarno’s daughter, so she is Javanese to her core. And Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) is from Pacitan, East Java. Even the current president Jokowi was born in Surakarta, Java. So we can tell how much the Javacentricism is in the core of our country. All is about Java.

Though I am a Javanese and muslim man myself (just like being a Christian, white male in the States), I in fact look forward to something bigger than this restricting and suffocating Javacentricism as I believe in the notion that openness to reform is the key to unlocking the nation’s biggest potential.

Jakarta and Javacentricism are getting less and less relevant as Indonesia is becoming a more developed country. And Jakarta is way too old and fragile to support a disgustingly rapid economic boom in the country. The impact of this slow response to the Jakarta’s incapability of becoming a representative capital is too bitter for us. We have been so tired and drained by the traffic jams, floodings, environmental issues, etc.

And no one seems inside a happy bubble, not wanting to acknowledge the fact that Jakarta is doomed once the nation gained its independence. I am not saying our independence is the culprit of the huge mess in Jakarta but Jakarta/ Batavia was clearly built by the Dutch. And our ‘organic’ way of city plan growth and changes is very wild, dissimilar in many ways possibly found from the Dutch’s ways of thinking and city planning, design and so on.

Not to mention the urbanization rate which has been soaring and the ill-planned urban landscape, Jakarta looks like an old lady getting raped by super selfish men.

But the current regime should learn from the past mistakes so they won’t create another Jakarta in Borneo.

I really think Jakarta’s role as an administrative center can be gradually removed; while its role as an economic center can be transferred to other big cities throughout Indonesia, such as Medan, Makassar, Jayapura, and other port cities. (*/)

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