Archive | December 2008

Lavish, Huh?

A coalition of NGOs got together to scrutinize the city budget, concluding that it is too lavish on some points. I agree, there is Rp 1.6 billion set aside for … speech writing? I think presidential speech writing is something necessary, but… on the city level? When was the last time you heard a commanding and heart-rousing speech from a city official? We’d most likely hear a commanding and heart-rousing speech from a student demonstrator, and they do it for free. Not that either speech would be heard by Jakartans in general.But I’m not sure why the NGOs pointed out that equipment for the fire department, at Rp 1 billion, was extravagant. Have they ever seen our pitiful excuse for a fire department? They need all the help they can get.A state budget limit of Rp 12 million for laptops a bit over the top considering that city officials won’t be doing 3D animation or video editing anytime soon, but budget allocations for Rp 35 million laptop? I think someone just has their eye on a nice 17″ MacBook Pro, which would look nice on their desk, be damned if he didn’t have the slightest idea how to use it properly. That’s what the desktop PC next to it is for.When asked about the obvious excess from limits of state budgetary rules, the city official in charge merely said ‘state budget limits do not apply to regional budget decisions’. And this quote is priceless: “.. we have no authority to say whether they are overpriced”. Use your head! The rest of us surely can.On the positive side, at least the public budget can come under scrutiny now. It’s one small step.So, congratulations to Jakartans who have until the end of this month to sign up for their tax number (NPWP). Your future taxes will be well spent, if this is any indication. The question is for whom.

Pay Me To Clean Up My Own River

Trash piled up in the Citarum in North Jakarta. The river supports 28 million people and 20 percent of national industrial output. (Adek Berry/Agence France-Presse) - from the International Herald Tribune

The Asian Development Bank will be lending USD 50 million to the Jakarta city administration to clean up Citarum river.Hm.We actually need to borrow money to clean up our own mess, regardless on whether or not the money will actually be spent cleaning up the river or becoming somebody’s Hummer. And the debt will be paid off at the taxpayers’ expense, including the Hummer.Of course, the ADB will be implementing measures and controls that will somewhat prevent or decrease misuse of funds or corruption, but yeah well… if there’s one thing Indonesians are good at, it’s definitely cooking the books! But you know what? As long as we get the river properly clean and keep it that way, I don’t mind paying for a few Hummers. As long as we know about it.

Alternative Fuel in Coconut Juice?

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Perhaps alternative energy sources are here already. Your coconut juice can also become your Pertamax.Submitted by Nita.

We Love The Flag – Ours

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A view from outside of one of the political party offices. We blurred out the party name… a bit.

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Close-up: despite having tons of party flags, the office only has one small, measly Indonesian flag on the car.Submitted by iiiccchhhaaa.

Remember My Photoshop Face

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As mentioned in a previous post, there are many campaign banners going up all over Jakarta with faces and party affiliations on them. We don’t know who they are, what they stand for, but they definitely have clear complexions and well-defined make-up. Check out the lady’s lipstick on the right, for instance, and the generally unblemished faces. So unblemished that they seem to be cartoonish, indicating Photoshop manipulation.Would we recognize them in real life, let alone vote for them?Submitted by iiiccchhhaaa.

Maybe It Just Blowed Over After Blowing Up

A Transjakarta bus exploded after some technical problems (as of yet undisclosed), but thankfully after safely carrying passengers to Blok M Terminal.Somehow in any other capital city, I think there would be outcries from the public towards the government and the public transportation administrator. Here? It gets a few articles and shows up on non-essential blogs like us.Shouldn’t there be more people asking why it happened?

No Obstacle Cannot Be Overcome… By My Motorcycle

Jalan RE Martadinata was flooded up to 30 cm on Sunday (14/12), but somehow several motorcycle drivers thought they could go through the water. Well, waddayaknow? The motorcycles broke down and they had to push it along on foot.That’s taking the struggle slogan ‘maju terus pantang mundur’ (forever onwards and never step back) a bit too far…

So It’s OK To Cause Traffic Jams As Long As You’re Not Loud

The police went into fits when 6 people armed with a pickup truck and really big loudspeakers did a demonstration in, where else, Bunderan HI. The demonstration itself was protesting the global crisis and urged the government to protect the working class.Maybe they’re more concerned about protecting their ears.Note to demonstrators: I respect your intentions and goals but you really have to find another way to get the message across. Staging something in Bunderan HI just falls on deaf ears these days, and the general public only care on whether the demonstrations will jam traffic or not. Really.

Hot Off The Press: Gas Prices To Lower On Monday, Dec 15th

Yep. Premium will go to IDR 5000 and diesel will go to IDR 4800, according to this evening’s press release.This will be the second lowering of gas prices since December 1st, and probably surprising people filling their tanks for gas tomorrow morning. All the while, compared to when gas prices were at IDR 4500, congestion has actually got worse in Jakarta. What will happen now?I can imagine SBY in his office signing this edict while saying “in your face” to the people saying December 1st’s price lowering was not enough. I don’t hear the critics now. Demonstrations and social criticism always spring up when something is perceived wrong, but what happens when the government does something right? No-thing.We’ll never know if the price will go up or down again in the coming months, but since the subsidies have been discontinued, the price will always adjust to global market prices, as it will be evaluated monthly. I can picture now the monthly student demonstrations.

Heeey… Makarona!

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submitted by Aulia