This is my second published article in The Jakarta Post. It is just my own thought. What do you think? Please let me know…
You can also check this through this link http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2008/06/03/where-have-all-good-jakartans-gone.html
Tue, 06/03/2008 9:48 AM | City
Jakarta has almost everything. From wonderful cuisines of various regions and continents to people of various backgrounds and ethnicities. They all melt in the big crowded polluted pot, once known as Batavia.
When one is looking for a lucky break, he or she can find it in Jakarta. That is why many go to Jakarta to seek jobs — they want there share of luck, people say. Indeed, there are many beggars in Jakarta, but the city also hosts many conglomerates.
The crowded city, however, leaves little space for tolerance and compassion. I doubt there are any good people in Jakarta.
At first, I wasn’t too cynical or paranoid about city people. I always held the dear principle that if we’re good to people, they will be good to us too.
My best friend from Surabaya is very much afraid to go to Jakarta. It’s not that she is afraid of flying, she actually fears Jakartans. She truly believes Jakartans are a bunch of mean, individualistic and unfriendly characters.
To her, no Jakartan is good. I remember laughing at her when she told me to be careful about working in Jakarta. My parents also call every day and remind me to be careful in dealing with Jakartans. I used to shrug it off and ignore them.
But now I deal with urbanites’ negative traits every day and am starting to think I was wrong.
I take public transportation to and from work every day and I never find a seat available. I always have to stand. It’s not a major problem; I’m young and fit enough to stand all the way to work. But I often see middle-aged women standing on the bus, while there are young men sitting comfortably. They do not even notice, they don’t seem to care at all.
Even on Transjakarta buses, with clear signs urging passengers to give seating priority to pregnant women, the elderly and sick people, the rules seem to not apply.
My disappointment of Jakartans reached its pinnacle when several weeks ago I had to find an address. Based on some clues I’d gathered, it turned out to be somewhere around Transjakarta’s Sawah Besar bus stop.
Stepping out of the bus shelter, I immediately hailed a passing by taxi. I showed the address to the driver and asked him to take me there. When we got there, the taxi meter showed Rp 15,000, so I gave him a Rp 20,000 note.
At first I thought he would give me the change, so I simply sat there and waited. Oddly enough, the taxi driver also simply sat there.
Then, in my East Javanese manner, I politely asked him, “Excuse me, do I need to pay more? How much should I pay?”
“Twenty five thousand,” he said.
“Ah, sorry, I didn’t know,” and then I gave him another Rp 5,000.
I told my relative and I was appalled to find out I had been cheated by the taxi driver. I should have paid Rp 15,000. My friends laughed at me. OK, I was tricked by a taxi driver — how ridiculous.
Jakarta, oh, Jakarta. Is it true there isn’t anyone good left in this city?
Several days afterwards, I went to an ATM in a general store that evening to withdraw some money. I was going to use it to pay my rent for last month.
When it was my turn to use the ATM, apparently there was an ATM card still stuck in the slot. Frowning, I took the ATM card.
I looked around for the person who used the ATM before me, but he was no longer there. Since I was somewhat daydreaming, I couldn’t quite remember who was in line in front of me.
After withdrawing my money, I decided to wait there a while. I figured if no one came to claim the card in 10 minutes, I would leave the card with the store’s security officer.
I waited at the store for 10 minutes. I was finally about to go to the security desk when a woman ran in a flurry to the ATM machine.
She approached someone using the ATM. “Excuse me, did I leave my ATM card here?” she asked, with a hint of panic in her voice.
When the officer shook his head, she looked even more panicked. I immediately went to her.
“Is this your ATM card?” I asked her.
She shouted happily and thanked me.
“Thank you very much. I had given up hope. I’m so glad we still have honest young people like you in this city,” she said.
Ironic, isn’t it? Apparently there are good people in Jakarta. And I am one of them.
So, instead of being occupied with finding good people in Jakarta, it would be better to train ourselves to be good citizens for the city. Don’t hold your breath trying to find a good person in this city. Instead, try to find the good person in yourself.
— Daisy Natalia Awondatu