I got tons of messages two days ago, wishing me a happy birthday along with wishes to find a decent guy soon. It’s not the first time tho, every time I’m having birthday people will wishing me the same, each year. Even when it’s not my birthday, people bother so much about my relationship status and I was like … WHY. I mean, I thank every people who’re care enough to wishing me to have a good relationship, but stop it. I’m started to get sick of it already. I’m 24, it’s only 24 and feel very fine about myself. I love my jobs, I’m having lot of friends, I learn so many new things, I travel to new places. Yet, people are concerned about my love story. I refuse to be trapped within social pressure cycle to have decent guy — who’re financially stable to marry me soon. I do want to meet one, but not very soon. I still have so many dreams to catch — and I feel good about being by myself. And I won’t let people told me what they want me to do. It’s my life anyway.
Sungguh, saya merasa bersyukur pernah hidup di berbagai daerah sehingga tidak terjebak dalam kondisi homogen yang sangat signifikan dalam membentuk pola pemikiran dan identitas kita. Sugguh saya bersyukur orang tua saya selalu berpegang pada nilai nilai keberagaman dan percaya bahwa agama adalah urusan kita dengan Tuhan. Saya banyak belajar bahwa terkadang being individualist has some benefit in your life. Indonesia kadang terlalu guyub, terlalu care about each other business. Sudahlah kalau memang bukan urusanmu, saya percaya hidup itu adalah pilihan di mana setiap orang harus bertanggung jawab atas setiap pilihannya tersebut. Memang terdengar egois (but then we can’t always make everyone’s happy). Saya bersyukur berbagai pengalaman hidup di tempat yang berbeda mengajarkan saya untuk menghormati nilai-nilai yang berlaku di setiap daerah tersebut. Saya belajar betapa mengerikannya jika sebuah kelompok mayoritas bersatu dan saling mengamini nilai nilai mereka. Saya belajar bagaimana sakitnya menjadi minoritas dan had to please majority voice. Tapi yang terpenting saya belajar bagaimana hidup berdampingan sekalipun dengan nilai yang berbeda. Selama tidak menjadikan orang orang itu pribadi yang berbeda. Saya punya teman yang mati matian mendukung prabowo, saat saya secara terbuka mendukung Jokowi, we still a very good friend. Itu kan hanya pilihan politik. Tentu saja tidak semua orang bisa setuju dengan pemikiran saya, toh sekali lagi itu pilihan.
This may not exactly same, yet I’m quoting Paul Kingsnorth here
“Why do people feel special, that makes them ignorant to environment?”
I am not an environmentalist, yet my job ‘forced’ me to learn about it. It was quite hard for me to be adapted to such scientific terms (e.g. climate change, global warming, biodiversity etc.) yet I am sure, it worth the effort.
If I were to tell the whole journey, I will spend too much of my precious time to write, and your time to write of course. So, I will keep it simple. Let me give you some little context here.
It is undebatable. There are more and more urban cities in our world. Prognoses showed that by 2020, more than 60% of world population are living in urban scape. ‘Global South’ countries will experience rapid-growth of population, in which urban population tripled, while rural population only grew by 38%. Less people will be living in rural areas, which is not impossible there will be no more people living there by year xxxx (I cannot project this for sure). Some resident of rural areas in Indonesia had left their home (Metro TV covered this story about Suku Anak Dalam residents).
No Option but to Expand
Since more people coming to the city, more houses need to be build, more transportation need to be operated, more water, electricity, fossil fuel to be used and so on. Which in turns will make less green areas (because of land conversion), land subsidence (because we keep pumping ground water), water scarcity and bad sanitation (because more people use water, yet our water management is still poor), and so many other possible problems that could come up. Of course, urbanization or populated urban areas are the only reason to be blamed for these whole problems. BUT! Trust me, each of urban problems are connected to each other, let me give another simple example of this.
Since urban city keep expanding, we cannot afford/there is no more space in the city, so then we begin to expand the urban boundaries (in which it might be formerly function as agriculture space, swamp, or just green area (forest, peat lands). As we built more houses within urban boundaries, its former function has disappeared. We forced the land to be able to function its best performance on drainage, we built simple drainage without further planning (thought it will be just fine). It can take several months, or sometimes year, and another years to see the impacts of it. When it used to be swamp, it used to function as natural drainage, but when it is disappeared? say hi to the flood! Then flood will bring diseases, it will cause more people in hospitals, more people seek for money to pay, and more jobs needed, more fierce competition, more unemployment. Does it sounds make sense for you?
Still connected with my former argument on land conversion, when mosquitos used to live in the swap also with frogs, and we finally built houses there, where will they go? First option: they will be living with us, second option: they will leave and go to urban areas just like us. Both of those two options have similar implications. Mosquitos seek for blood within our house, either it is in urban areas or urban boundaries. We will then kill them with chemicals, which some research proved that while we think it is effective to use chemicals to kill mosquitos, it might also increase their immunity (since we have this immune system to adapt to each condition, Kelly Clarkson said: what does not kill us will make us stronger, that might be applied to mosquitos too)
Today, I learned interesting project from Semarang’s City Government. As they are preparing presentation at Melbourne, I came to the hearing. They spoke about how land conversion has made least rice field available in Semarang. Even if it still exist, several damage to its ecosystem had happened. Since more houses built around urban boundaries, snakes that used to find their food in the rice field began to visit resident’s houses. Residents who freak out of it started to kill it, while some other started to hunt for it. Since residents killed more snakes, there is no snake left around the areas, which then mouse live happily ever after, because their predator has disappeared. And then, farmer began to experienced loss (because mouse eat their agricultural products), mouse also brings disease which then residents started to suffer because of it.
Thus! Semarang’s City, specifically Department of Agriculture implement started owl breeding to hunt for mouses. They refuse to use chemical substance for killing mouse. They breed owl, train it to eat mouse, and place them in several areas which has a lot of mouse (based on their area assessment). Sadly, owl resulted from that breeding process will have no choice but to eat mouse during their lifetime, sorry owl, human are cruel.
It fascinated me as former social student, I just knew if there are people who actually do research on mouse, and owl, and bird and fish (which called biodiversity). Which it such a shame that our Government has not yet take this matter seriously (of course our country has too much problems already), but who knows if this matter can contribute much to solve those problems, right?
Although we cannot do much to these complicated urban—climate change—biodiversity matter, simply educated yourself about the issues, share it and do acts to safe our earth will be our best contribution to the future generation.
I am posting this as reminder to myself too.
Have a nice Friday night pals!
I wonder why those people think that they’re above everyone else. I wonder if that happened to others religion, would it be the same?
I do support democracy, I respect their rights to speak up, not throwing hate. Those ppl who’re imune to criticsm, they who’re easily throwing tanturm, they who speak as behalf of others, close their ear from those who think differently. Shame on them.
Urban cities have shown rapid growth in infrastructure and population in these past decades. Initiatives such as smart city and resilience city often comes up to the surface. Both concepts aiming cities to better manage themselves and strive from challenges (e.g. poverty, health, climate change, education, transportation, water etc). Smart city is heavily related to ICT utilisation in supporting city system. Smart city also has a very broad scope those are (1) management and organisation, (2) technology, (3) governance, (4) policy, (5) people and communities, (6) the economy, (7) built infrastructure, and (8) the natural environment (Chourabi, Nam et al. 2012).
Jakarta is one of cities in Indonesia who proudly called themselves as “Smart City”. Since last year, Jakarta Government has continually showcased their online complain handling system (Qlue) and other services under Jakarta Smart City initiatives. Jakarta Smart City is playing role as the umbrella of other online services such as Qlue, Waze, and Peta Jakarta (@petajkt). Indeed, “Smart City” concept is far beyond ICT development; it needs citizen participation and fruitful collaboration to develop sustainable solution for city. So, how far have we gone?
Glenn Maail, researcher from Open Data Labs Indonesia explained that Jakarta is still on the 3rd out of 6th phases of Smart City: where citizen only showing low-level of participation. This low-level of participation could be illustrated by report submitted each day through Qlue app. By submitting a report about government services, citizen involves in giving feedback to city system, yet has no opportunity to create the solution. Whereas, the ideal concept of smart city services is to accommodate citizen needs, not only for conveying their messages to the stakeholders, but also their ideas.
Concept above is related to Open Government, where everyone could actively participate in government-related activities, such as policymaking, monitoring, and problem solving. Setiaji, head of Jakarta Smart City Initiative claimed that every data collected from Smart City apps (Qlue, Waze, Peta Jakarta) are open to public. Public could access the raw data (excluding private information about user and other sensitive information). Peta Jakarta is the only one app that releases their API data. Setiaji hopes that open data mechanism that has been running in Jakarta’s Government will encourage citizen to utilize the data, and make it useful. “We encourage academics, journalists, as well as programmers to use our data. We have annual event HackJak, as our commitment to catalyze collaboration project between citizen and government.”
Yet, if we look closer hackathon event is no more than a problem-solving activity that placed citizen as the solution-seeker. Citizen has no power to develop their authentic ideas to solve city problems, aside from those that already been defined by the government. Setiaji, revealed that their current ICT assessment is relying more on solving government problems, rather than developing tailor-made application for citizen.
Government of Jakarta is not to blame. Lack of communication to disseminate this ongoing initiative could be considered as the root cause. Recent research conducted by Centre of Innovation Policy Governance (CIPG) implied that 70% of respondents are not aware of this ongoing initiative, while most of them use one of Jakarta Smart City service: Waze to get information about the traffic. Most of users are youths that are attached to their smart phone 24/7. It is not exaggerating to say that Jakarta Smart City had failed to market themselves. Setiaji added, it is indeed his current concern. His team is still figuring the best way to promote Jakarta Smart City, whether as a technology platform or as whole initiative to build good governance. In fact, Qlue, Waze and Peta Jakarta (@petajkt) have already market themselves separately, and public have no idea if those 3 apps are related to Jakarta Smart City initiatives.
As solution for current ongoing problems, Jakarta Smart City conduct Bijak (Bicara Jakarta): a monthly discussion event, held at Jakarta Smart City Lounge where academics, programmers, and other professions meet to share ideas about Jakarta. This event also conducted to promote the initiative. The apps surprisingly have done better job in terms of marketing, than Jakarta Smart City. Qlue has #BeraniBerubah, a social campaign to raise public awareness for preserving Jakarta. Recently, Qlue encourages citizen to report through the app to get hint about Pokemon location, and it has showed significant increased of reports.
But still, most people perceived Jakarta Smart City as a bundle app services that support Jakarta’s citizen ranging from education, transportation and health. Approximately 40 IT geeks working in developing new app to meet the government needs everyday. Puja, IT developer who was a winner of HackJack last year concerned, Jakarta Smart City is supposed to strengthen multi-stakeholders commitment on developing comprehensive strategy towards better governance, instead of creating ICT to support city system. App making is a work that could be done by developer.
Although it may heavily relate to ICT, it does not imply that developing digital platform itself would simply make a better city to live in. Smart city is rather an abstract concept to be defined. There are a lot of roles that have to be played well by government, citizen, and private sector. Furthermore, government must have sufficient capacity and knowledge to lead the initiative well. They are responsible to create more inclusive space for citizen and also private sector to collaborate. Jakarta might still have far journey to reach ideal concept of Smart City. However as a Jakarta citizen, I should say objectively this is a most-growing Smart City initiative in Indonesia. Only our feedback and action will make the system better #BeraniBerubah.
Full report: http://cipg.or.id/smartcity/
Aside from mitigation, how if we start to think about adaptation?
For long, I have heard about climate change, yet barely had any attention towards that issue. It might be happened to most of us. We may think that it has already too late to prevent the climate change, how could we reduce the electricity when we are attached to our mobile phone almost 24/7? Even the plastic reduce policy was not worked well, or at least yet. When I was living in Korea, I had to pay 100 won for each plastic, even 300 won for the fancy one. Whereas in Indonesia, it is only Rp 200,00 for each plastic bag we use, of course we would very please to purchase it along.
This whole work to prevent climate change then looks complicated, each of us do not even bother to care about it anymore. However, we could not deny the fact that it continues happening. Leave the facts that we are now dealing with the impacts of climate change. Numerous paper works said that we lost several million dollars due to climate change (e.g heat stresses, floods, storms etc.)
In Jakarta itself, we experienced flood on each year with more frequent runoff. Blaming Ahok (Jakarta’s Governor) would not simply solve the case. There are many problems related to that, aside from the climate change (e.g people live in river basin areas who need to be relocated, people habit on disposing trashes to the river etc.) Yes, I agree if it’s sound depressing.
What can we do then? As mitigation or easily describe as any activity that could prevent disaster/any hazard to occur, climate change adaptation is the only option left. Climate change adaptation indeed was a new term for me. It explains how society could adapt to the stresses, and to easily overcome the situation. How? Well, the adaptation projects could be so diverse, ranging from community development to infrastructure development.
I was happened to witness Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network works in several cities in Indonesia (e.g. Semarang, Tarakan, Banjarmasin, Lampung, Blitar, Cirebon etc). They tried to build community capacity, in order to develop their resilience. I’ll try to make it simple: all they do is to make community stronger when they are experiencing disaster. (Read my post about my site visit here).
Climate change isn’t sexy issues, compared with gender or economy thingy, yet it will not be apple-to-apple comparison. Climate change has broader context that could heavily affect gender and economy issues, thus at least if we could not prevent it, let’s just prepare ourselves for the adaptation.
What is it like to work on NGO? This big question suddenly appeared in my head. I still remember it vividly, when I graduated from my uni, I called my mentor during my internship to have a dinner. He offered me an opportunity to continue help him assisting the other intern and managing some of his work. Yet, I refused to do that, just because I think that I had enough time learning, and I should move to another place soon. He then advice me to apply at NGO (just because he thinks that I’ll suit that place, rather than working at aid)
So then, I applied without knowing much about NGO and their works (this is horrible), long story short they called me for interview for job that required person with 5 years experience (they made such a huge mistake for calling me). Yet, somehow they finally offered me the position… and here I am working at one International NGO that based in Indonesia.
How’s working here? First thing that violate my expectation is that people that working here are (mostly) beyond my age! far older than I am. Although I used to be the youngest one, I never really thought that NGO’s people would be this old (LOL!). Second thing is that, they are unexpectedly professional, I did thought that working in NGO will be super easy; waking up late, do a very casual chitchat after arriving at office (DANG!) totally different. I have a rigid office hour (8 am – 5 pm) with 1-hour lunchtime. It took quite long time for me, to finally adapted to the situation (3-4 weeks I guess)
Last month, I think that I finally realized why I love this job. It may sounds cheap and over-romantics but I do mean it. Working here makes me feel that I am doing good, by helping people to have better life. Of course, NGO was not like a fairy-god- mother who changes one life’s in abracadabra way. We did many mistakes, before finally developed precise project for each. Doesn’t mean that I lose my critical view on how NGO and aid works too.
I visited one of our office projects in Semarang. As now, I’m handling climate change resilience projects, site that I visited was obviously related to climate-change adaptation program. I went to (considered as) one of Semarang’s slum area that located below average land level. For the first time in my life, I saw people houses are lower than the road, which then obviously would be sink once the flood happened.
The community leader of the neighborhood told me that they have received capacity building from my office for more than 5 years now. After several flood they experienced, he said everything is pretty much under-control now. They installed automatic water-level measurement in the river, which will send information directly to the leader’s phone. After receiving the information, the leader will disseminate it to the people using mosque speaker. If the electricity got off, they will use kentongan with different rhythms (depends on water level) continuously until everyone safely moved to the shelter. They have this special bag filled with their valuable documents, dry foods, medicine, toiletries and other things (depends on what they identified as important). Each household in the area owns this emergency bag. So, wherever flood comes, they’ll be ready to evacuate themselves.
Seeing this demonstration of the evacuation process made me amazed. These NGO people surely worked hard to train local people and community to do such things (well, it needs more than 5 years to do so in 7 others riverbanks area). Being there at the moment (although it was very hot and I felt so stuffed, had somehow made my heart felt warm).
Yesterday, I met one of my colleagues during internship. He boasted about his salary and savings (this is my least favorite topics to discuss). He worked in multinational bank by the way. Which then I coldly reply “I never, or not yet considered corporate as I place to work for though”. It is not that I by any means tried to say that working at corporate is a bad thing (I believe everyone has their right to pursue what they think is right). But, at least for me, working at corporate which our capacity is merely measured by our sales and achievement is definitely not kind of job that I want to do. Besides, NGO salary is quite much too (this is expectation violation number third) LOL.
I moved to Semarang two days ago for works! and this is my first touristy trip (ever) even after flying back and forth to Semarang. I have ever gone to Lawang Sewu though, but has no courage to look inside, LOL. Anyway! Before I talk more about Semarang, I’ll explain briefly about this city.
Semarang is the capital of Central Java, considered as small city (compare to Jakarta, yes of course) its size might be around 1:5 of Jakarta. The weather is super hot and humid! because it surrounded by the sea. There are two parts of Semarang, the uphill and downhill. The downhill area is the central of Semarang city where government buildings, tourism places, department store etc located. And so does the famous Sam Poo Kong Temple! Sam Poo Kong Temple also known as Gedung Batu Temple is the oldest Chinese Temple in Semarang.
It’s not far from Simpang Lima (or called five intersection in English), because it does have 5 intersection. Anyway! it took only 5-8 minutes drive from Simpang Lima. The good things of living in small city is it’s very easy to go here and there. Back to Sam Poo Kong. The foundations of Sam Poo Kong were set when Chinese Muslim explorer Admiral Zheng He arrived in the western part of what is now Semarang via the Garang River. Zheng He, often spell as Cheng Ho in English, was commanded expeditionary voyages to Southeast Asia, South Asia, Western Asia, and East Africa from 1405 to 1433. He also promoting peace during his expeditionary voyages.
This Temple is not as tremendous as I imagined though (sadly), there are no sufficient information about the site. Which I wonder why, so people usually just come to take couple pictures without knowing the story of this temple. However, it’s make sense considering the price of ticket, which is very cheap! it’s only IDR 5000 or less than 1 USD. But still, I always love Chinese ornaments. It’s beautiful, and worth a visit. Just, don’t expect too much.
Semarang is one of city in Indonesia, where Chinese ethnic lives. You could easily find Chinese restaurant, Chinese Temple and Chinese shop on the street. I decided to grab night snacks at famous street snacks area, called Chinatown. Local people called it “Waroeng Semawis”. Semawis in Javanese has a similar meaning to buffet, means people could choose what they want to eat, because everything is there.
It was unlike Chinatown that I had ever visited in Kobe though, the street food are mostly not Chinese (again, I wonder why haha). It mostly have sort of fusion food street of Javanese-Chinese. As I am a sweet-tooth person, I picked sweet snacks called Martabak, however local people called it “Kue Bandung”. It’s kind of pancake, yet this one looks like crepes. It was yummy and crunchy, it was not that sweet, but just enough sweet to please me.
Kue Bandung, Tipis Kering
You could grab it for IDR 30,000 or around 2.5 USD
This is a story that I have drafted since last year, but have been able to finish it.
I haven’t slept yet. Now, 3 PM and my flight for Jakarta has been canceled since the pilot was sick (this is the most ridiculous reason ever). In the end I was transferred to the new hotel, and I spare time before sleeping by writing this post. After a long time, I finally had a chance to travel (yeay!)
It was on 23rd November 2015, I flew to Banyuwangi, East Java. Actually I was surprised that Banyuwangi has airport (I just found out, never heard before). Of course, this is much smaller compared to any other big city airport in Indonesia. It only has 2 ticket counters (Garuda and Lion Air) with 4 flights everyday. To reach Banyuwangi, I had to change flight at Surabaya (means that the plane also changed). That was my very first time riding light aircraft, and also my first time landing on small airport that barely has ticket counter in it. Feel awesome!
Banyuwangi is a small city, every street looks same to me. The road were narrow, might only be 1/3 Jakarta’s road wide. There are only 3 Department Stores (Ramayana, Roxy and Hardy’s), while I used to live in a city that has thousand Malls, oh irony. Every time I want to eat dinner in a proper place, we have to travel long journey (well it took only 15-20 minutes, when it could be more or less 1 hour in Jakarta) but it feels so long because the road was so crowd less. I had to admit Banyuwangi’s food (especially seafood, tastes super!). I tried Banyuwangi’s signature food, named Nasi Tempong but the sambal tastes super spicy, and I couldn’t take it.On 25th November 2015, 12.00 a.m I decided to go to Ijen Crater, by jeep (rental it from the hotel 700k include driver and guide). The road to Ijen Crater was a bit thrilling, with minimum light, and narrow road. I recommend you to go there with local guide. It took 1.5 hours to reach Palitudung (parking area of Ijen Crater). We expected to go up at 1:00 am, yet the gate was opened at 2:30 am. Everyone fell asleep and I was not been able to sleep, I don’t know if it was because the excitement or the anxious.
After the gate open, we queue in a line and being checked by the guard. It hasn’t been awhile since Ijen Crater re-opened, a couple weeks ago it has been closed because of sudden eruption. For your information, Ijen Crater is famous for its sulfur. And yes, it is still active, but no need to worries, as long as you stay away from the smoke. You will be just fine! the guide will give you mask to avoid inhaling too much sulfur smoke. No need to be afraid.Ijen Crater is located 9,183 ft above sea level. It needs approximately 2-3 hours to hike up to reach the rim of crater, followed by another 45 minutes – 1hour hike down to the bank of crater. The elevation was actually fine, but I guess the main problem was because I hadn’t do exercise regularly, all of my muscles being shocked by sudden hiking activity. And, I felt like nearly die. However, I survived the torture! Yet, it has not over yet. The down road to reach the crater was extremely harder than to climb up. We need to walk in sort-of coral/rock that could be very slippery. If you want to go here, make sure you’re wearing proper shoes (not a canvas shoes like me).
Along the way, I met several sulfur miners and was amazed by their strength. They have to carry up to 5kg sulfur, back and forth to get paid for USD 50 -70/each day. This journey was so emotional, I was nearly cried but tried to hold on (and still have to extra carefully walk down road to see the blue fire). Talking about blue fire, I think I forgot to mention it at the beginning of the story. Ijen Volcano is also famous for its blue fire. My guide said there are only two blue fire mountains that are still active in the world. One is here in Ijen, and another one is in Iceland (what a long journey to go). Blue fire itself is a phenomenon that ignited sulfuric gas, which would emerge from cracks with temperatures up to 600 degrees Celsius. If you want to see this blue fire phenomenon, that only two in the world, YOU HAVE TO REACH THE PEAK BEFORE SUNRISE (5 am). This was also why, I had to suffer myself hiking up at 3 a.m. But, the view is amazing! I guarantee, you’ll be thankful for had a chance to be here. The turquoise lake was tremendously beautiful, again I nearly cried here. What a weepy kid. It was so calm, and beautiful, and soon after sunrise, you could see everything clearly. Mountains that surrounded by the lake will exceptionally capture your heart. Hiking up here was definitely worth the effort, the sweats, and tears. Make sure it’s gonna be on your list whenever you’ll go to Banyuwangi!
It’s been a loooooong time ago since my last post. I must’ve been busy all these times (Yes, I had!) after struggling with my undergraduate thesis, I started to work as communication officer at one of international NGO (based in Indonesia of course). Well, anyway I’m not gonna talk about myself here. I want to share my last trip to Pahawang island, Lampung.
But, I have to admit that the view is worth the effort! The sun is shinning so brightly, and burned my skin. Frankly said, there are not so many things that you could do in Pahawang (besides swimming and snorkelling). I love the beach though, it has no wave. It does feel like you’re having infinity pool. The water itself was so clear, unfortunately the coral wasn’t as beauty as I had imagined. Most of them weren’t alive, my guide said the fishermen used to bombed the fishes, so it has destroyed the coral. However, these days the locals and fishermen stated to plant coral, ever since Pahwang became one of main tourism places in Lampung. It worths the vist, if you’re having short time and short budget!