According to Marco Kusumawijaya, both are true. Both don’t contradict one another. It is just a matter of area. A city is not necessarily be modeled after New York or London. Intensive development for at least the past 3 decades made Jakarta a victim of urbanization shock. Developments are not done 3 dimensionally. The city grows rapidly, eating up all the small villages surrounding it and left the people in a cultural misunderstanding. For some people I know, they can always feel at home inside Plaza Indonesia with Starbucks and Debenhams while a few feet away, people are washing their hands in street puddles. A city is not just about functionality but also expression. The expression that Jakarta was trying to tell me, “Help me, please!

My first day in Jakarta, I was all alone. The rest of my fellow backpackers were delayed for a whole day. I remember the first advice I got from a taxi driver just before I set foot at the infamous Sudirman-Thamrin roundabout, “Hati-hati ya, ini Jakarta”. But that doesn’t stop me from seeing the real face of Jakarta.

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