I never knew it was coming. Living in Jakarta for me was beyond my imagination in the past. I knew Jakarta and its notoriety: the legendary traffic jams, the heavily polluted environment, the crime rate, the harsh working condition, and the list went on.
But then the time came when I had to stay and live there. I love the career, the yoga, the super supportive career environment, the cosmopolitan artistic scene, the international colleagues, the open possibilities and opportunities that I might never have had back in my hometown.
On the other side, I also loathe its lack of trees, its disgusting slum areas, its poorly managed environment, its selfish, always hurried and disobedient motor drivers and car drivers, and most importantly its horrible air. When everyone is out on the streets, congesting the entire transportation lines and modes.
And maybe this is why I’m trying to be an ‘early bird’ and avoid going out in daylight as much as I can. Working in Jakarta’s streets especially – if you’re a driver working under the seemingly fair sharing economy scheme – is the most stressful type of job. The traffic is unforgiving and the stress level can be too much to handle even for the people with strongest mental and psychological state and well being.
I think we’ve all known the bad rap that Jakarta has in the world. It’s dubbed as one of the cities in the world with the highest level of air pollution. But with the burgeoning economic growth, it’s absolutely inevitable to stop the pollution level altogether, completely. Rapidly advancing economy means more mobility, which means more air pollution because this country is mostly operated by fossil fuels. And still there’s no sign and strong political will to shift to clean energy. Shame on the current administration.
GO OUT EARLY
If you really need to do something outside, please consider doing that earlier when not many people are going out at the same time. For example, if you love working out outdoor just like me, get up early before the dusk and prepare for your morning workout or run or yoga.
Once the traffic gets too hectic around 6.30 or 7.00 AM, stop working out outside and get inside the room/ house immediately to avoid being choked by the fumes or smokes that millions of vehicles are letting out in the air.
WEAR A PROPER MASK
What I mean by “proper” is that your mask must be a mask that protects you NOT ONLY from dusts but also toxic substances in the air, i.e. N95 masks that keep you away from toxic gases. As we all know too well, fumes and smokes in Jakarta contain various toxic substances that can destroy your lungs gradually.
Okay, if you think you have no lawn to plant trees in, why not donating some trees in the local parks around your neighborhood? I know it’s a wishful thinking to hope that this will work immediately but at the very least it will protect us in the future.
LOVE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION MODES
Though I can tell you that mass transportation system in Jakarta is not quite advanced for a megapolitan city but it is improving from time to time. Trans Jakarta buses are available and now we’re having this Monorail Train (MRT) serving the route of Central to South Jakarta. The next is Light Rail Transit (LRT) that will connect more places in the capital of Indonesia. But again it is coming underway.
DON’T BUY A CAR/ MOTORBIKE
I love mass transportation modes because it simplifies my life. It is actually a trade-off with the lifestyle of a rider or driver. But I keep reminding myself of this line: “Be part of the solution instead of problems”. And I know by having a motorbike/ car, I’m automatically turning myself into that part of problem that I hate. So I bought myself a bike in late 2016 only to lose it in early 2019 and ever since I’ve turned to mass transportation system and online ride-hailing services like Go-Jek and Grab. (*/)