Also in the Jakarta Globe
I am realy worried about street life in Jakarta. It is heading into chaos, not anarchy.
Anarchy refers to a well-thought philosophy of self-governing society with highest trust and capacity for consensus making that it does not need any authority to run it. But chaos is about the collapse of rules and order, deliberate ignorance and deviance.
There is no more walking culture. No one stops for people crossing on zebra crosses. I was once scolded by a man because he had to stop his BMW suddenly as I crossed before him on the street between the expensive Plaza Indonesia and not so expensive Grand Indonesia. He only shied away after I approached him, knocked at his window, and told him that he is required by law to give me priority, and that if he hit me with his car, he would be charged wth meditated murder attempt.
And the motorists confidently are taking all the sidewalks to the horror of pedestrians.
During heavy traffic, which is becoming more and more often, the sheer density of cars, motorbikes and hawkers–with the later two often go against te one-way traffic—almost give no space for pedestrian to enjoy walking. Those who walk just walk because they have to, not because they like and enjoy walking.
Those metromini buses are obvious violation of emission limit, and they stop wherever the drivers and the passangers want, sometime in the middle of the roads. Yet, they have been so for decades.
The view of 3-in-1 jockeys in dozens on one street is another thing. This is a suspended experience of absurdity: You know this rule is not working, and yet it remains useful as an income redistribution instrument.
People spend between two and three hours a day on the streets of Jakarta. And that is how they mostly experience the city. The streets are the city. If the streets are kind and civilised, the city would be perceived as kind and civilised. You cannt feel civilised when no one respects each other anymore.
Urban civilisation in Indonesia is indeed young. With rapid urbanisation, many people are pushed to learn very abruptly about how to live in high density, how to share time and space, how to queue, how to board public buses, etc. It is only humane when they fail. They actually need helps—or enforcement, if you like—to habituate themselves to city life. So, my suggestion is: Transform the Satpol PP into a friendly London-like bobbies to help guid people into urban life. Well, considering their history of violence in forced eviction, it is difficult. But for me, its name should actually be interpreted into such friendly role. I believe it is doable, with properly formulated doctrin, training and human resource management, including firing those unfit for the new job, and recruiting new ones.
Because, it is just needed before Jakarta street life plunges into chaos .