Commitment is about doing whatever it takes.—Anonymous

Old Town makeover off to a rocky start

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Evi Mariani and Ikram Putra
The Jakarta Post/Jakarta

It seems like a bad omen. The city's Old Town revitalization project was mired in conflicts of interest between the city and locals even before the project's soft launching on Sept. 30 this year.

To launch the grand project, the city began revitalizing the central part of the 846-hectare "Old Town": Fatahillah Square, a 1.5-hectare plot of land in front of the Jakarta Historical Museum.

The Fatahillah project was overseen by the head of the museum and cultural agency, Aurora Tambunan, in partnership with a foundation chaired by Miranda Goeltom, Jakarta Old Town Kotaku (JOK).

First to bear the brunt of the project were the usual victims of urban redevelopment in Indonesia: the poor and the informal sector, in this case street vendors around Fatahillah Square.

Second to be affected were the more well-off, businesspeople around Fatahillah and Glodok, who experienced the impacts from the closure of a street next to the square. The closure worsened traffic jams and hurt businesses.

To beautify Fatahillah Square, the city evicted 90 street vendors from the square in August, and relocated them to a nearby street.

"They moved not far from here, but I heard reports that sales had decreased to a third of their usual earnings," the head of the vendor community, Rohadi Kusumah, said.

Street vendors selling beverages, snacks, food and clothing depend on pedestrians, from the north to Kota train station and the Kota busway terminal, and employees from businesses around the square including the post office.

Urban planners said the vendors did not sell any unique items or services, however the location was vital to their revenue and moving them has considerably hurt their business.

The Fatahillah vendors were relocated to Jl. Kunir, not far from their original location, but a much quieter area, Rohadi said.

"Furthermore, this is only a temporary move ... we will have four options, including moving to Pluit in North Jakarta and Jembatan Lima in West Jakarta. Vendors have said all four options are undesirable due to distance," he said.

Tambunan confirmed the city would move street vendors to the four locations, adding there were no plans to integrate them with the Old Town project.

"We understand we don't meet sanitation and health standards, but we can and are ready to cooperate. Tourists who come here are bound to be thirsty after a walking tour. They may wish to have a snack or try some local coffee," Rohadi said.

"Why doesn't the city help (vendors) ... who have run business here for many years to set up clean stalls."

"We don't mind paying rent."

When reporters asked Aurora about any master plan for street vendors and other workers from the informal sector within the Old Town area, she said there was none, except to relocate them to the best place, to be chosen by the city.

"They invited us to meetings but we did not have much to say to them ... so we just accepted the plans," Rohadi said.

Unlike Fatahillah's street vendors, no meetings were held for formal businesses regarding the partial closure of Jl. Pintu Besar Utara.

In response to the city's decision, the Old Town Community comprising 200 businesspeople around Glodok expressed their complaints to the press.

"We did not oppose the (redevelopment) plan, but they never asked for our opinion about the street closure and now we have to suffer the impact," Jacky, the deputy chairman of the community, said.

He said at least two members of the community had reported a plunge in revenue including owners of a cafe and a nightclub.

"One of them even had to close their doors recently. No customers went there anymore because their cars couldn't enter the street and they didn't want to park further away due to security risks," Jakcky said.

Some nightclubs in the area provide discreet parking on their property for some customers. Parking outside is not desirable for some customers, sources said.

"Sales of electronics goods have also been slightly hurt ... since congestion worsened with the construction of a pedestrian underpass near Kota railway station. It's becoming even worse now," Jacky said.

"The city should remember, we are the first-class taxpayers here."

In response to complaints published in several local newspapers, on Oct. 10 Aurora invited stakeholders to discuss the issue at a hotel in Central Jakarta.

The discussion turned into a heated debate when stakeholders, including businessman Jacky and Noersaijidi from the city's heritage preservation board, who had previously been left out of the project planning, raised their objections bluntly.

Aurora, accompanied by her deputy and consultants from the Center for Urban Design Studies, were unable to provide satisfactory answers to many questions and the debate continued outside the hotel.

Some invitees suggested the city present a master plan at a public event to make room for suggestions and comments.

Aurora, however, would not commit to such a plan.

Revitalizing the Old Town has been a dream for many people: Architects, heritage buffs, historians and even many ordinary Jakartans who are bored with shopping malls. Inviting participation of as many stakeholders as the city could is the key to a revitalized area.

Masuk Nominasi Pesta Blogger

Friday, October 26, 2007

Barusan Bisri memberitahu saya bahwa blog ini masuk nominasi sebagai blog favorit di Pesta Blogger 2007. Pas saya lihat ke halaman online voting, eh ternyata benar! (Ya iyalah, buat apa juga Bisri bohong pagi-pagi)

Masuknya di kategori "Current Issues" bersama-sama Wimar Witoelar, Priyadi, Iman Brotoseno, dan Wicaksono alias Ndoro Kakung – empat dari beberapa blog kenamaan Indonesia. Jadi jangan tanya soal kemungkinan menang.

Pertama saya bukan paranormal, dan kedua seperti dibilang tadi, mereka itu empat dari beberapa blog kenamaan. Hahaha. Masuk nominasi saja sudah bikin senang kok. Tapi tentu hal pertama yang bikin senang ya kalau blog kita dibaca dan dikomentari. Ya kan?

Oya, sebenarnya Daeng Rusle sudah memberitahu juga tapi saya belum ngeh apa maksudnya sampai barusan. Maaf ya Daeng!

Terimakasih banyak kepada yang sudah repot-repot voting. Selamat berpesta! Saya Sabtu nggak libur.

Dilihat dari cara publikasinya yang masih memanfaatkan liputan media cetak, pesta ini semakin menegaskan bahwa antara "media lama" dan "media baru" tidak sepatutnya dipertentangkan. Satu sama lain bukan untuk saling menggeser melainkan saling melengkapi. Atau malah saling membutuhkan?

Silakan baca tulisan Fakhrizal dan Firman Firdaus ini :)

Sok Artis

Obigesto - Tamara - Alfonso. Tiga orang yang sok artis :)

Cilandak Town Square, 15 Oktober 2007.
Merayakan ulangtahun Alfonso alias Lay.

Copperfield's cargo remains unclaimed

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ikram Putra
The Jakarta Post/Jakarta

Tanjung Priok Customs says the two 40-foot containers belonging to magician David Copperfield will become "no-man's" property unless claimed within 30 days.

"We will wait only 30 days. If nobody picks them up then we'll declare them no-man's property," head of prevention and investigation at Tanjung Priok Customs, Heru Sulastyono, said.

The containers arrived last week from Los Angeles.

Copperfield, whose real name is David Seth Kotskin, has canceled a string of performances in Southeast Asia including in Jakarta, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand following investigations into his alleged sexual misconduct in the U.S.

Peter Basuki, whose company was organizing the Jakarta shows, lost more than US$1 million in advertising and other preparations as a result of the cancellation.

Official Sulastyono said if the equipment was unclaimed it would become "property of the state".

Hundreds of civil servants skip first day of work

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Mustaqim Adamrah and Ikram Putra
The Jakarta Post/Jakarta

Deputy Governor Prijanto inspected two offices Monday morning, "checking civil servants' discipline".

A regular practice the first working day after the Idul Fitri break, the inspection was also conducted in the neighboring city of Depok.

The first office Prijanto visited was the personnel affairs bureau on the sixth floor of City Hall.

Accompanied by city personnel affairs bureau head Sukesti Martono, Prijanto asked for printouts from a finger print recording device used to register civil servants on duty.

"Four out of 173 employees are absent today (Monday) -- one is on maternity leave and the others are taking courses," Prijanto announced.

"But I'm looking forward to seeing the official documentation for their leave."

Next, Prijanto went to the seventh floor, to the city supplies office.

He noticed that six of eight civil servants absent had yet to provide official leave statements to their supervisor.

All civil servants off duty without a "reasonable official statement, who could not account for their irresponsibility" will be subject to punishment for their absence, although "overall, I feel satisfied," Prianto said.

"We will wait two or three days for civil servants to provide official leave statements" he said.

In the meantime, a similar inspection, held at the behest of Depok Mayor Nur Mahmudi Ismail, found 37 out of around 6,000 civil servants absent from Depok administration.

"Penalties will apply for those absent today (Monday), except for those who are sick or on maternity leave," Suhadi, head of the training and careers development division at the Depok Personnel Affairs Bureau, said.

Meanwhile, Prijanto said he was also expecting staff attendance reports from city officials at a meeting later that day.

The meeting concluded that 1,519 out of 27,591 Jakarta civil servants, including 500 who failed to provide official reasons for leave, were not present Monday at their offices, city Secretary Ritola Tasmaya said.

He said the number absent this year was slightly less than last year's 1,600.

Echoing Prijanto, Ritola and Suhadi said civil servants absent without leave would be punished according to government regulations.

"The punishment will vary, from delayed payment of monthly wages to delayed promotion or demotion," Ritola said.

Musim Kebakaran

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Jika ada yang bertanya-tanya sedang musim apa di Jakarta sekarang, maka jawabannya yang paling pas adalah: musim kebakaran.

Hampir setiap hari ada saja kebakaran di ibukota sini. Situs resmi pemadam kebakaran DKI Jakarta memuat 18 berita kebakaran dalam kurun waktu 1 s/d 17 Oktober 2007 (mohon koreksi jika salah).

Bagi wartawan baru seperti saya, ini bukannya enak.

Pada hari Selasa (16/10) yang lalu, saya ceritanya dapat tugas meliput kawasan Cilincing, Jakarta Utara, di mana 700 lebih rumah terbakar sehari sebelumnya. Pagi-pagi dari kantor saya naik angkot ke Tanah Abang. Eh dalam perjalanan, persis di seberang Museum Tekstil, kok banyak orang tegak-tegak?

Ternyata semalam ada kebakaran dan mereka ini sedang menonton sisanya. Asap tipis masih mengepul dari puing-puing reruntuhan rumah – yang dikais-kais para korban untuk mencari barang berharga yang mungkin ada.

Akhirnya saya turun angkot untuk mengambil gambar dan wawancara, setelah itu baru lanjut ke Cilincing.

Dan ini bukannya enak. Kadang saya berpikir apa gunanya wartawan bagi korban kebakaran. Kita datang, berkeliling, wawancara, ambil gambar, lalu pulang. Tapi mereka masih saja tak punya rumah tuh.

Ada yang sedang tidur saat kebakaran berawal. Ada yang sedang ambil wudhu setelah menonton sinetron Aisyah di RCTI. Ada yang menyangka suara “kretek-kretek” dari kayu yang terbakar sebagai suara hujan. Tapi semuanya menyiratkan perasaan yang sama: terkejut dan terpukul.

Menggali cerita dari korban kebakaran ibarat mengorek luka yang belum kering.

Mereka tak terlalu ingin mengingat-ingat musibah yang melanda, kita justru ingin gambaran cerita yang rinci.

Mereka perlu segera melupakan kepedihan serta melanjutkan hidup, kita justru perlu kutipan hebat.

Tapi di sisi lain, jangan-jangan memang sengaja saya ditunjukkan bencana-bencana hebat ini, supaya sadar bencana yang saya alami tempo hari tidaklah seberapa (dan memang tidak).

Apapun, ini bukannya enak.

Fire leaves 2,000 people homeless

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ikram Putra
The Jakarta Post/Jakarta

A fire tore through the district of Kalibaru in Cilincing, North Jakarta, early Monday morning, as residents slept after the Idul Fitri weekend.

The fire is believed to have been caused by an electrical short circuit, although some residents have suggested it may have been arson.

"Someone shouted 'fire' loudly and I realized the cracking noise was from the burning roof of my house and the neighbors," said resident Andini.

"I ran so fast ... All I could take with me was this small purse and now it's all I have," she told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

More than 2,000 residents are now homeless after the fire destroyed more than 700 homes.

The fire, which broke out at around 4.30 a.m., was believed to have been caused by an electrical short circuit in a house left empty by its owner over Idul Fitri.

"We suspect that the wires of an unused but still plugged-in electrical devices got hot and melted thus setting the fire," said Masy'ari, another resident.

But other residents said they suspected arson.

"Some of us have smelled kerosene around the empty house before the fire, but we didn't suspect anything that time. Another thing is, the house has been empty since three days before Idul Fitri so why the short circuit now?" said Herman.

According to Sabar, another resident, the empty house was located in the center of the densely populated neighborhood.

"There was strong wind at that time, almost like a typhoon ... That's why fire spread that fast. If it was really arson, I'd say it was well prepared," he said.

Another fire on Monday night destroyed about 40 houses in Tanah Abang, across the road from the Textile Museum.

A resident, Ira, said it had been difficult to put out the blaze because the nearby river was drying out and the piped water had been down since that morning.

"Many houses were also empty because the owners are in their hometowns."

A fire also razed a three-story nightclub, Superstar, in Teluk Gong, North Jakarta, at dawn on Tuesday. It too is believed to be the result of a short circuit.

There were no casualties in the incident because the club was temporarily closed during the Idul Fitri holiday.

Meanwhile, another fire destroyed a few houses in Mampang, South Jakarta, on Tuesday afternoon.

In the past two weeks, there have been 15 fires in Jakarta. (08)

Warga Depok Sudah Dimaafkan Walikota

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Manakah yang sebaiknya dilakukan terlebih dahulu – meminta maaf atau memaafkan?

Bagi Walikota Depok Nur Mahmudi Ismail, jawabannya adalah memaafkan lebih dahulu baru meminta maaf, sebagaimana tertulis di alinea terakhir sambutan khutbah Idul Fitri 2007 di Masjid Baitul Kamal, Balaikota Depok.
Akhirnya saya atas nama Pemerintah Kota Depok dan juga keluarga menyatakan telah ikhlas memaafkan segala kesalahan seluruh warga Depok, dan kami pun memohon maaf lahir-batin, Taqabballahu Minna Waminkum. Semoga kita semua menjadi manusia takwa sebagaimana yang dikehendaki Allah SWT.
– Nur Mahmudi Ismail
Betapa senangnya menjadi warga Depok. Tanpa diminta, segala kesalahan mereka sudah dimaafkan Walikota.

Namun sayangnya, sewaktu membacakan sambutan itu, Nur Mahmudi tidak membaca kalimat “telah ikhlas memaafkan” melainkan langsung melompat ke bagian “mohon maaf lahir-batin”. Antara yang ditulis dan yang dibacakan jadi nggak kompak.

Kenapa begitu ya kira-kira? Memangnya ada yang salah dengan memaafkan lebih dahulu baru meminta maaf?

Senangnya Dapat Amplop

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Dia sudah merasakan ada yang tidak beres sejak para penerima tamu berulangkali memastikan nama serta tempat kerjanya. Mereka seperti berkasak-kusuk di belakang namun ketika dia tanya, malah menjawab tidak ada apa-apa. Sebagai penggosip lepas, dia sedikit benci kalau digosipkan diam-diam.

Maka ketika mereka kembali memanggilnya supaya mendekat, hatinya kembali sedikit curiga.

—Mas! Sini!

—Ada apa Bu?

—Yang dari The Jakarta Post kan?


—Ini buat Mas. Silakan tandatangan di sini.

Sebuah amplop putih disorongkan ke arah mukanya. Mengingat ini sebuah acara yang diselenggarakan pemerintah Jakarta di sebuah hotel berbintang tiga, amplop itu pasti isinya uang bukan petasan.

—Wah Bu maaf, saya nggak boleh terima yang kaya gini-gini.

—Ah nggak apa-apa. Ini buat ganti ongkos transportasi, yang lain aja terima kok. Ayo cepat tandatangan!

Secepat kilat matanya melirik ke lembar tandatangan dan melihat berapa sih jumlah “ganti ongkos transportasi” itu. Sekitar 100 ribu rupiah. Mak oi... Empat kali honor magang. Betulan bisa buat ongkos ojek. Beneran menggiurkan.

Otaknya berpikir cepat. Di satu sisi, suratkabar ini toh tidak pernah mencantumkan pengumuman “wartawan kami dilengkapi identitas dan tidak diperkenankan meminta/menerima apapun dari narasumber” — sebagaimana suratkabar tetangga seberang.

Kalau diterima tentu takkan ada masalah.

Tapi di sisi lain, pengumuman itu memang tak pernah diumumkan sebab sudah kewajiban wartawan — jadi tidak perlu lagi setiap hari diumumkan ke publik. Bagaimana ini?

Seumur-umur nama dan tandatangannya akan tercantum di daftar penerima amplop yang duitnya dari anggaran pemerintah. Merusak reputasi diri dan suratkabar di pekan kedua magang.

Ah, ini cuma godaan, katanya dalam hati. Sambil senyum dia lalu berkata,

—Begini Bu, kalau yang lain kan memang diundang datang ke sini, kalau saya kan nggak, makanya saya nggak bisa terima... Maaf ya Bu?

—Oh gitu? Ya udah, yang penting kita sudah menawarkan lo ya.

Ini cuma godaan, gumamnya lagi. Kalau sebelumnya dia bisa bertahan dari godaan seorang polisi yang mengancam akan menggoroknya “jika bikin berita macem-macem”, mengapa untuk godaan yang satu ini dia tak bisa bertahan juga? Hehehe.

Selamat Idul Fitri 1428 Hijriyah kawan-kawan. Semoga menang menahan segala godaan!

*Maaf, ada yang tidak kuasa menahan godaan untuk menulis judul menyesatkan :)

Tambora On Fire

Friday, October 05, 2007

I was on my way back to office from Salemba when I saw black thick smoke from a far distance. Got off the bus, I grabbed an ojek and told the driver to take me to the location. We got there at around 4 pm.

Everyone was in panic. Some men were trying to stop the fire with anything they found, while women cried out loud "Allaahu Akbaar!". All these made me shiver. Some of me wanted to continue taking pictures but some of me didn't.

After being there for about nearly two hours, I decided to leave. At the office I told my editor that more than 20 houses were burnt (by that time) and no casualties so far. She replied "it's too little — we couldn't publish the story."

Well, I'm okay with that. If it takes more burnt houses just to get my story published, I'd rather not have it published anyway…

PS. Bat, how's your day?

Officials confiscate Chinese meat imports

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Ikram Putra
The Jakarta Post/Jakarta

At least 58 canned meat products imported from China were confiscated Wednesday by health officials who suspected they contained the bacteria that causes foot and mouth disease in livestock.

The discovery was made in a supermarket in Menteng, Central Jakarta, as part of a government initiative to monitor the safety of food products packed in gift parcels for the Idul Fitri holiday.

Head of the Central Jakarta health office, Evi Zelfino, said the Food and Drugs Monitoring Agency laboratory was still examining the imported canned meat.

"We suspect it is an unhealthy product because all of the cans have exactly the same trade registration number but with different producer names," Evi was quoted as saying by Antara.

She said she had asked the supermarket manager to reregister the imported canned meat products to the food monitoring agency.

The municipality's trade office also searched retail markets and supermarkets for expired food products.

"We have two operations ... the open one involves uniformed officials, while the closed one is being conducted by undercover officials to maintain secrecy," Central Jakarta trade office head Sukirno said Wednesday.

Meanwhile in Depok, south of Jakarta, officials from the Depok Agriculture Agency found five needles and one jerrican containing formaldehyde, believed to have been used by traders at Kemiri market to preserve chicken meat.

Official Tubagus Ismail said the agency did not have the authority to punish traders who were using the preservative, as it was beyond its jurisdiction.

"We were only able to seize the needles and formaldehyde and warn the traders not to use the chemical again," he said Wednesday.

Chicken traders at the traditional market, located behind Depok Mall, have long been suspected of using formaldehyde to preserve chicken meat. They have also been suspected of injecting water into chicken carcasses to make them weigh more.

The Food and Drug Monitoring Agency has banned the use of formaldehyde, widely used to preserve dead bodies, in food products but still tolerates the use of formaldehyde – in small doses – in toothpaste, soap and shampoo.

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