Thursday, June 22, 2006

Bang Yos: Start “Acting Metropolitan”

Today is Jakarta’s 479th anniversary, and last night Bang Yos pleaded the 13 million plus Jakartans to start “acting Metropolitan”. In his speech during the Kick-off party of the month long festivities, Bang Yos called on the people who have lived and claimed to be a resident of the Big Durian to behave like modern city folks and not just like “villagers who vandalize public property in the capital city”.
On the vandalizing subject, he was also referring to the labor rally turned violent in early May of this year, when hundreds of workers destroyed city properties along the protocol roads including an attempt to torch a Transjakarta bus.

For “un-metropolitan behaviors”, Sutiyoso gave examples such as littering and jaywalking. He also added that
Jakarta is already a big mess as a result of the uncontrollable flow of urbanization, especially when those who come are “unqualified and unproductive” according to city standards.

Reading about his speech, I couldn’t help thinking that his “Acting Metropolitan” plea is geared more towards those who are less privileged in the city, while we know that some citizens who drive around in fancy new cars or big chopper bikes are also “kampungan”. Well, those who are less privileged tend to imitate or look up to the behaviors of those who are perceived to be at the higher social strata. So, perhaps in his final year of his second term, Bang Yos should be tougher in enforcing his rules and values to those who are supposed to know the rules already - those who have experienced the “better” cities in the world, and those who know how other citizens work together in making their city a better place to live.

Indonesia is a country that never misses to be in the top 10 lists for everything bad, and a major city like Jakarta also gets some reputation acknowledgement. A Recently, New York based Reader’s Digest magazine published their survey on the “35 Most Courteous Major Cities In the World”, putting New York City at the top, while Mumbai, India is the least courteous. Although the method of survey seems too sketchy and non-scientific, Jakarta is ranked at no. 8 from the bottom of the list. What do you say about this?

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