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What it's like to live in Jakarta

April 20, 2014, 10:05 pm | This story has an Influence Score of 1683

By jemimatumewu

According to a poll that was gathered by The Economist back in 2012, I know it’s a bit outdated, but just for your information- about the happiest country.. I was surprised with the result, because honestly I never expected that this country could be the front-runner. So the happiest country (drum roll please) the happiest country in the world goes to Indonesia. Wow, as an Indonesian I was stunned. Well this result might be affected by and thanks to the fast growing capital city of Jakarta.

I was born and raised in this beautiful, modern, overflowing-with-people kind of city. So it is actually my hometown, and if you’d asked me how it is, I’d have to say it is beyond explanation. It’s the city where you can fall in love and out of love in a heartbeat. It may sound complicated and ridiculous, but believe me my words are true.


So if you’d ask me what has brought me to choose Jakarta as my place of residence, I could simply answer that living here was not my choice -- well it is now my choice but it wasn’t my choice in the first place. For me personally and maybe for other Jakartarians – that’s how the natives are called here- Jakarta is Indonesia’s own concrete jungle where dreams are made. Jakarta is Indonesia’s melting pot, where every people outside the city migrate to Jakarta with the hope and the expectation they will get a better future, so no it is no wonder that on every Lebaran holiday, there would be an increase of Jakarta’s population, thanks to some of the people that bring their relatives who would like to have their dreams come true in a big city.

First of all I’m not going talk about Jakarta in economic or political terms, just so you know. I’m going talk about it just like any other middle class young adult woman who works as a creative.

For some people from another country or even cities in Indonesia, the first thing that would welcome them was the traffic jam. It’s no secret that the heart of this country is full of any kind of vehicles you can name; cars, motorcycles, public transportations such as; transjakarta, buses, commuter line, and now we’re in the progress of having our monorail. Excited? YES! Of course! Basically if you came to Jakarta, all you would see is a motorcycle ocean with sedan waves. Due to the inconvenience with pollution as well as the humid weather, the motorcycle is trusted to be the fastest way to get anywhere; you don’t have to ride it by yourself, and you can ride by ojek (motorcycle taxis). Due to the weather and the environment, walking in the street in Jakarta is not very common, but yet again the street is where you can get the real experience of the city.

The traffic jam which surrounds Jakarta, especially in the peak hour, is one of the biggest problems in the city, and it is wished that problem would go away. But along with the traffic jam, somehow you can spend more time with your friends in the car, if they’re with you, well if they aren’t, there’s always time for you to be kept up to date via the internet. PS: do this when the car stops not while driving.

Jakarta has so many malls; it’s like trees growing everywhere. So the question that possible rises every weekend, is “Which mall should we visit this weekend?” Hate to be said but yes, Jakartarians love to go to the mall, shopping, even simply window-shopping and to eat.

There are so many places like cafés to hang out, an activity we call nongkrong. When malls are trees, that make cafés, restaurants, and places to eat the fruits that are growing on them. This also connected to the food. Jakarta is a fast growing city. Talking about eating, as a Jakartarians, we all know that sometimes the street foods are the best, compared to restaurants. Don’t let me start with the prices, it’s so cheap yet so good; but for sure don’t expect Michelin-level hygiene. In addition to that, Jakarta has all kind of foods you’re might be looking for: local, Indonesian, and Asian to Western.

Besides the malls, Jakarta has many museums that you can visit, and each one of them are very interesting. You can easily look them up by variety just by typing “Jakarta’s museums” in the Google search engine.

For my comment personally, I think Jakarta is like a small world. Jakartarians easily adapt and absorb new trends in the world nowadays. Seriously. When you watch tv shows, you can simply see a lot of celebrities that don’t look like what other expatriates have been thinking about us as a developing country, and they’re influenced by other countries in the world. Not only celebrities but ordinary people, natives and so on.

And not only entertainment wise, talking about fashion, nowadays the fashion industry in Jakarta is growing rapidly -- there could be a fashion week every week in different malls. And this thing goes so well for my work as a creative on a TV channel focusing on fashion.

But honestly you cannot just take my word for it about living in Jakarta. You have to experience it yourself. Take it all in.

Well to sum it all, or maybe to make your wonder off far, my last sentence would challenge yourself to one day visit Jakarta and experience all the lovely madness on your own. “Jakarta seems to be the perfect city to fall in love with or out of love, all in a heartbeat.” I can love it today but can hate it tomorrow and an hour after that I could easily fall in love with it all over again.


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