NOW! JAKARTA | Life in The Big Durian: A letter to The Governor of

Life in The Big Durian: A letter to The Governor of Jakarta “Bapak Ahok”

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A huge birthday wish to the city of Jakarta from all of us here at NOW! Jakarta. Congratulations on completing what must have been a very difficult year.


[caption id="attachment_31000" align="aligncenter" width="492"]NOW Jakarta Painting by Sudigdo[/caption]

Well every year is difficult in Jakarta, but I would like to congratulate you on some notable success:

  • Parks: some green and leafy areas have actually emerged, well done. Where I live in South Jakarta there are two “new” parks: one for families to sit and walk, with a duck pond, the other with a futsal field and mini fitness area. Brilliant. Perhaps you can also make mall licences dependent on providing a public fitness area available so that even more people can get healthier? We are facing an obesity crisis in Jakarta now.



  • A Cleaner City: the teams in orange uniforms are really visible cleaning streets and drains and generally tidying up the city. Again well done. Perhaps you can add some promotions to stop people throwing garbage away so recklessly too, so that this massive clean-up isn’t necessary?



  • Red Lights Districts. A good initiative to clear the notorious sin bins out since there is usually drugs and violence in those places too. But please make sure the displaced workers have real jobs to replace their lost earnings or they will soon return to their old ways. They need real jobs with no stigma attached to their old “profession”.



  • Transport. Well we can see that progress is being made on the MRT and various toll roads and flyovers, but honestly it’s not enough, so while congratulations are due please move on to the next phase now with seriously strict guidelines on car and motorcycle use being brought in. We can’t wait for the new systems to be finished, we need help now!


We know you are trying, and so many people are trying to trip you up for purely political reasons, so from us to you and your team:

Happy Birthday Jakarta and keep up the good work Pak Ahok!

Alistair Speirs

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