About JakartaLives

The breath of a city

Say what you like about Jakarta – its traffic, pollution, political games and open drains – the city is alive. And it’s changing before our very eyes. Growth stalks the capital while its older faces fade away.

The alleyways, hawkers, and street urchins of Dickens have long since disappeared from London. How much longer will Jakarta know kaki-lima, rag-and-bone men, labourers sleeping under bridges, scavengers and their children living along railway lines?

These people, and the rich too, and the exploding middle class – these Jakarta lives may not be the pulse of the city, but they are its breath. Day in, day out. Hot, ragged, smooth, cool.

Ready. Steady. Gone.

Nafas ibu kota

Apa saja yang dikatakan mengenai Jakarta – tentang kemacetan, polusi, wayang politik dan air gotnya – kota ini hidup. Dan dia berubah di depan mata kita. Di mana saja, tumbuh, seketika juga wajah lamanya lenyap.

Dulu, kota London juga punya gang kecil, pedagang asongan dan anak jalanan, pada zaman Charles Dickens. Berapa lama lagikah masih akan ditemukan di ibu kota kaki lima, tukang barang, buruh harian tertidur di kolong flyover, keluarga pemulung hidup di bawah terpal di bantaran rel kereta api?

Rakyat ini – orang kaya juga, serta kelas menengah itu yang lagi meledak – rakyat ini mungkin bukan denyut jantung ibu kota, tetapi mereka hembusan nafasnya. Hari lepas hari. Panas. Sesak. Lancar. Adem.

Siapkan dirimu.

Siap. Siap. Lenyap.

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