Saturday, January 13, 2007

'We need information, not assumptions'

Thursday, January 11, 2007

With all the focus on the Adam Air flight that went missing near Sulawesi island more than a week ago, numerous questions have been asked about the safety standards of budget airlines in the country. The Jakarta Post asked people if the Adam Air case, as well as several recent ferry and boat accidents, had affected their travel plans.

Besly Yermi Tunggaoly Messakh, 34, is a pastor. He lives on Jl. Salemba, Central Jakarta:

I was flying from eastern Indonesia to Jakarta over the weekend, but I decided to end my flight in Surabaya and continue on to Jakarta by train.

The Adam Air accident is so frightening. We were confused by the flood of information provided by all the media coverage. I think people don't trust local airlines anymore. Their credibility is questionable. We don't trust Indonesian technology or the people in charge of that technology, but at the same time we rely on these people. This is really a mess. We deliberately put ourselves in danger.

I think all the airline companies must be transparent with passengers, and the government must be transparent with the people about its audits of these companies.

What we need to reduce our anxiety is more reliable and accessible information. People need to make decisions based on credible information, not based on assumption.

Sarah Lerry Mboeik, is a social worker. He lives in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, but frequently travels to Jakarta:

As consumers, we have no bargaining position with the airline companies. With the limited number of airline companies, especially in remoter parts of the country, we have no choice about who we travel with.

Maybe because most people do not really understand the technical aspects of aviation, the companies feel free to deceive us. Then, when a case occurs, they feel they can just lie to us.

An accident happened in East Nusa Tenggara in early 2006, and later it was clear that the government lied to the public about the age of the ship, causing hundreds of people to die. But why are these cases happening again this year?

I think no matter how expensive the price of an airplane ticket, people will still buy them because they need to fly, as long as they are convinced about the safety.

However, for a long time we have not had any reliable information.

We never know how they come up with ticket prices, for example. Sometimes I wonder why passengers in the same section of a plane pay different prices for their tickets. But the government has been turning a blind eye to such problems.

--The Jakarta Post

Officials say no mutation in latest avian influenza outbreak

Saturday, January 13, 2007
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Authorities are dismissing speculation that bird flu has mutated in its latest outbreak, which killed a 14-year-old boy Wednesday and a 37-year-old woman the next day.

Accompanied by a panel of experts, the head of the National Commission for Avian Influenza and Pandemic Preparedness, Bayu Krisnamurthi, also denied a more virulent virus caused the outbreak.

He said the pattern of transmission remained the same, from chicken to human. He added that further study must to be done to discover whether ducks could also pass the virus to humans.

"There is a variety of hosts, but so far there is no scientific evidence that other animals can spread the virus to human beings besides chickens. The virus found in other animals is still the avian virus and has not yet transformed into a new variant," he said before the panel of experts in Jakarta.

In Bandung, West Java, four suspected bird flu patients -- a 33-year-old woman and her two children from Cicalengka in Bandung regency, and a poultry farm owner from Purwakarta -- remained in Hasan Sadikin hospital Friday.

The woman's husband, Endang, said his wife and two children, a 14-year-old boy and an eight-month-old baby girl, started suffering from high fever and coughing over the past 10 days.

"Around Idul Adha (Dec. 31), some 30 chickens around our house suddenly died. One of them even died in our front yard," he said in the hospital's Flamboyan room.

The three were referred to the Bandung hospital Thursday by a local community health center since they had a history of contact with dead chickens. Rapid test results from the dead chickens around their house showed two were H5N1 positive.

Another suspected bird flu victim, a 55-year-old poultry farm owner identified as J, had shown symptoms for three days before being taken to the hospital Thursday.

West Java animal husbandry office head of poultry health subdivision warned Friday that the H5N1 virus has continued to spread, and told people to maintain cleanliness, especially during the monsoon season.

The head of Hasan Sadikin hospital's bird flu prevention team, Hadi Jusuf, has also told people to be more aggressive in identifying bird flu symptoms, including high fever, coughing, and breathing problems after having direct contact with dead chickens.

Despite the return of the virus, the panel believed Indonesia was on the right track toward eradicating the H5N1 virus.

"By saying that there is an improvement in our efforts, we don't mean the virus is not around anymore. We have to remain alert to the danger because the nature of the virus is random. The war is far from over," said Bayu.

Bayu said bird flu control efforts in 2007 will focus on an expanded public awareness and social mobilization program, strengthened animal and human disease surveillance and control programs, and a restructuring of the poultry industry.

"Restructuring the poultry industry is not an easy choice; we need a comprehensive policy in order to reduce the cost. We need to be more careful because it will reduce jobs and disrupt the protein supply from chickens," said Krisnamurthi.(02)

--Yuli Tri Suwarni contributed to this story from Bandung, West Java.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Fear of bird flu yet to reach those in the poultry business

Friday, January 12, 2007
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Despite the recent death of a 14-year-old boy from suspected bird flu, chicken breeders and slaughterhouse workers are unconvinced that the HN51 virus is any particular worry, giving residents the feeling there is little they can do to protect themselves.

"I am really scared, but what else can we do? We are powerless. The only thing we can do is to protect ourselves and our children,"
Yusuf, a resident of Pluis hamlet in Grogol Utara subdistrict, West Jakarta, told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

Yusuf hoped the government could prevent an outbreak of the virus in his neighborhood by intensifying inspections of poultry breeding sites and monitoring residents' health.

There are nine chicken suppliers in Pluis, each of which sells up to 1,000 chickens a day to nearby markets such as Palmerah and Tanah Abang in Central Jakarta and Kebayoran Lama in South Jakarta.

Residents say they have often observed chicken parts floating down the waterways in front of their homes.

"There'll be lots of chicken parts in the drainage ditches first thing in the morning and, if the ditches are running dry, there'll be even more," said a resident who asked not to be named.

The man, however, has never raised his concerns with the chicken suppliers to avoid conflict.

Kholifah, 57, who rents rooms to chicken vendors, said even though she had indirectly earned a living from the poultry industry for decades, she too feared avian influenza.

"I pray for God's protection from bird flu,"
she said.

Mulyadi, 61, one of the chicken suppliers, said he got broiler chickens from Tasikmalaya, Garut, Bandung and Majalaya -- all in West Java -- and could sell up to 800 chickens, with a total weight of 1.1 tons, a day.

He said the chickens were crowded by the hundred into his truck for the two-hour drive from the West Java cities to Jakarta.

At least 10 chickens would not survive the journey. Mulyadi said he dumped the dead birds into a bin for collection by the city sanitation service. .

He said he was not afraid of contracting bird flu because "broilers, unlikely free-range chickens, are not carriers of the disease".

Despite reports of bird flu resurfacing, it is business as usual.

None of the workers in the chickens warehouses Thursday wore protective clothing to handle the birds. Many could not remember when the chickens were last vaccinated.

Faisal, a restaurant employee who lives about 30 meters away from Mulyadi's warehouse, said he did not worry about bird flu.

"Thank God, so far no one in this neighborhood has fallen ill," he said.

However, some residents of Pisangan Lama, Cakung, East Jakarta, are concerned about a possible outbreak because there are more than seven chicken suppliers in the area.

The chickens are mostly brought from West Java. Most of them are sold to street vendors or food stalls around the city.

The residents said they had long worried that HN51 might be lurking in their environment due to the operation of the chicken warehouses and had spoken to the district head about the issue.

He responded by ordering the sellers to manage their waste better.

Hendro, a chicken vendor who has been in the business for 10 years, said his chickens had not been vaccinated since midway through last year.

The poultry business continues to be lucrative. Hendro, for example, sells up to 1,200 chicken a day, making as much as Rp 15 million.

Last year, at the height of the bird flu outbreak here, the city administration announced it was formulating an ordinance prohibiting residents from keeping free-range chickens, but the law has yet to be drafted. (02)

Voters skeptical about legislation on gubernatorial election

Friday, January 12, 2007
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

People are skeptical that the House of Representatives will pass a bill on the administration of Jakarta that serves the reelection needs of politicians.

"There is nothing new about our legislature. They pass laws on certain issues, pretending to serve the people, but actually they are manipulating the situation to their own advantage,"
Rizal, a state-owned enterprise employee from Cipete Utara, South Jakarta, said recently.

The special committee is now debating the merits of electoral methods for selecting a governor for Jakarta in 2007.

The first approach proposed is direct elections based on competition among candidates from all the legally recognized political parties, while the other two would limit participation to only parties that have 15 to 30 percent of the seats on the City Council.

Rizal said the three electoral methods proposed by the special committee would curb people's voting rights because the gubernatorial candidate mix would be limited to supposedly safe candidates.

"I don't care what kind of law they want to pass, as long it enables people to freely participate in the election," said Sumitro, a pensioner from Ragunan.

He suggested allowing independent candidates to be nominated and placed on the ballot at the gubernatorial election, but was doubtful of public support for the move.

The bill, which is currently being deliberated at the House, is designed to replace a 1999 law on the administration of Jakarta, which is seen as being the barometer for other regions in relation to local election processes.

Erna, a stay-at-home mom who lives on Jl. Radio Dalam, South Jakarta, said political parties' disagreement over the election administration reflected the system's inability to speak to the needs of working people.

"They only think about who is going to be governor, and are not necessarily thinking of the people,"
she said.

Nine out of 11 people interviewed by The Jakarta Post said the electoral method did not really matter, as long as the elected candidate was responsive to the needs of the people.

Some people, however, said they did not even know when the election was going to take place.

"I don't mind who they elect so long as her or she improves the quality of life in Jakarta," said Paul from Cipete.

A number of people said they would like to see independent candidates applying for places on the ballot.
"What about people with real potential who are not nominated by any party?"
said university student Cornelia.
"There are lots of good people out there, but they might not be interested in any of the parties because they think politicians are a self-absorbed bunch."

However, around half of the people interviewed said they doubted the House would accept the idea of independent candidates.

"The House will not allow such candidates because that would narrow their chances of gaining political power,"
said Chairul, a businessman from Kebayoran Baru, who preferred the third choice requiring a 30 percent party representation, proposed by the special committee, saying it would curb political adventurism. (02)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Bakri, si nelayan

Namanya Bakri. Dia cuma seorang nelayan di Pare-Pare, Sulawesi Selatan. Namanya kemudian masuk media massa nasional karena dia menemukan sayap belakang bagian kanan pesawat Boeing 373-400 Adam Air saat menjaring ikan 300 m dari bibir Malusetasi.
Namun popularitas hanya cukup di situ: hanya namanya saja yang muncul, tak lebih dari itu. Yang selanjutnya muncul di halaman depan media-media cetak nasional dan media televise adalah foto ‘orang besar’ macam Ketua Badan SAR Nasional, Bambang Karnoyhudo atau Komandan Pangkalan Udara Hasanuddin. Mereka berpose memegang foto sayap Adam Air.
Bakri memang ngak butuh semua popularitas itu. Bahkan ketika ia menemukan sayap itupun tidak ada niat untuk melaporkan hal itu ke polisi. Ia takut diperiksa seperti warga Toraja yang diperiksa sebelumnya. Konon, orang besar seperti Komandan Pangkalan Udara ngak bisa salah, yang salah dan bisa diperiksa hanya rakyat.
Baginya sebuah sayap patah dari sebuah pesawat lebih berarti disimpan di rumahnya daripada sebuah laporan yang akan berbuah kesalahan. Walaupun sayap itu mungkin tak memberi tambahan nilai apa-apa pada dirinya, ia pun tak akan kurang suatu apapun bila tak melapor.
Konsep “tanggungjawab publik” mungkin memang tak ada dalam kepala seorang nelayan. Tapi bukan itu yang tak membuatnya melapor. Ia memang tak punya sangkut paut apapun dengan Negara ini dalam segala hal. Karena Negara memang tak pernah memberi apa-apa kepadanya. Ia mungkin punya KTP yang diperoleh dari kantor desa atau kelurahannya, tapi itu tak banyak memberi arti bagi seorang nelayan yang tiap hari berurusan dengan ombak dan garam, bukan dengan polisi air ataupun polisi daratan. KTp itupun belum tentu banyak membantu ketika ia meminta pinjaman ke bank terdekat. Apalagi ketika ia dan anggota keluarganya harus berobat ke puskesmas. Biaya sekolahn anaknya pun tidak bisa dibayar dengan sebuah KTP. Tidak juga ketika bersengketa dengan nelayan lain. Paling mungkin KTP itu berguna ketika pemilu local maupun nasional. Karena saat itulah baru rakyat punya nilai.
Maka tak heran Bakri emoh melapor ke pemerintah. Mungkin pikirnya, paling-paling ia akan diperiksa karena tak mampu menunjukkan dimana ia menemukan potongan sayap itu.
John Dewey benar ketika ia mengatakan: biarkanlah rakyat tidak melakukan apa-apa untuk negaranya maka lama-kelamaan ia tidak akan peduli kepada negaranya. Ketidakpedulian ini sudah mengetal dalam masyarakat, hanya banyak orang tak mau mengakuinya.
“Emang gue pikirin,”
kata anak jaman sekarang.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Waterbird count identifies species in trouble

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
January 10, 2006

For a long time, the public has regarded wetlands as waste-lands, though they are great places to see a variety of bird species.

During Dutch colonial rule, 15.40 hectares of land in Maura Angke, North Jakarta, was declared by the governor general of the Netherlands East Indies on June 17, 1939, a coastal nature and wildlife protection zone.

A ministerial decree issued in 1999 extended the zone to 25.02 hectares, covering coastal areas of Jakarta and the mouth of Angke River.

However, a visit to Maura Angke Wildlife Reserve (SMMA), which was named after a warlord of Banten, Tubagus Angke, reveals the area has been neglected in recent decades.

The river carries along with it the waste of those who live and work on its banks, from fishermen to vast industries.

Visitors must pass over pools of mud on rickety pathways and the security and information posts are in dire need of renovation.

But the reserve is still a haven for bird-spotters.

More than 30 bird lovers and volunteers gathered in the area Sunday for their annual waterbird count.

The bird count, organized by Wetlands International -- a nonprofit group dedicated solely to wetland conservation and sustainable management -- Jakarta's Green Monster and Flora and Fauna International (FFI), began in the early morning.

By noon, participants had spotted 408 birds belonging to 22 species in the reserve.

The annual census is a part of the Asian Waterbird Census (AWC), which has been running since 1987 and usually takes place in the second and third weeks of January.

It runs parallel to other census of waterbirds in Africa, Europe, Central and West Asia and Latin America, under the umbrella of the International Waterbird Census (IWC).

"This data will be brought together with data from wetlands elsewhere, providing the basis for estimates of waterbird populations. The counting may have been done over a relatively short period of time, but any wildlife count is subject to conditions. However, it is important in providing basic data and an overview of the waterbird population," said Imanuddin from Wetlands International.

"Because this is an annual event we can determine how the bird population is affected by the reclamation of Jakarta Bay. If it shrinks, then we will have the basis to say development activities in the bay area are posing a threat to the birds in the sanctuary."

Alex from the FFI said the objectives of the census were to monitor the changes in waterbird numbers and distribution, to improve knowledge of lesser-known waterbird species and wetland sites, to provide information on the conservation status of waterbirds species and to raise awareness of the importance of waterbird and wetland habitats.

"The more we know about the population and condition of inhabitant or visiting birds, the better we can manage this place as a wildlife protection zone," he said.

A few month ago, nonprofit group Jakarta's Green Monster dredged tons of rubbish from the site.

A study by the Institute of Mangrove Research and Development (IMReD) shows there are 76 species of birds in the reserve, of which 17 are protected and 50 others endemic, and there are 10 species of migratory birds.

Muara Angke wildlife reserve is home to two endemic bird species, the Sunda coucal (Centropus nigrorufous) and the milky stork (Mycteria cinerea), both of which are endangered. A coucal is one of about 30 species of birds in the cuckoo family.

"This is why this site is very important for bird conservation. In order for a species to survive, there must be 500 or more birds. There are no more than 50 coucal left. It will become extinct within two years," Aminuddin said.

He said the coucal was particularly vulnerable because it could not fly for more than 20 meters at a stretch and the reserve was surrounded by buildings, so there was no chance of it emigrating to another area where it might have a greater chance of survival.

Ruskomala Sari, a student from the private National University, saud she did not enjoy the bird counting very much because of the poor condition of the reserve.

"For beginners it is very interesting because waterbirds have bigger builds than land birds. However, I feel bad about the poor condition of the site," said the student who has been spotting birds as a hobby since 2003.

"It's strange that a wildlife sanctuary should be surrounded by a mall, housing complex and slums."

Monday, January 08, 2007

Church's role throughout Betawi history

Friday, January 05, 2007

Most stories and histories of the Betawi people, who are native to Jakarta, are devoted entirely to aspects of Chinese and Islamic culture.

However, in a village in Pondok Gede, Christianity has entered into almost every facet of the lives of the Betawi.

In 1851, Dutch priest Meester Anthing brought Christianity to Jatinegara, East Jakarta, and its surrounding areas.

A local kyai, who had converted to Christianity, Ibrahim Tunggul Wulung, served as Anthing's assistant. They began preaching the Gospel in places as far afield as Kampung Sawah in Pondok Gede and Gunung Putri in Bogor.

The following is the history of Christianity in Kampung Sawah and its surrounding areas:

In 1892, a Protestant church, led by local teachers Natanael and Matias, was built in Pondok Melati, not far from Pondok Gede.

Three years later, however, the parishioners split into three groups. The group under Natanael chose Catholicism over Protestantism.

On Oct. 6, 1896, the Reverend Bernardus Schweitz baptized 18 natives of Kampung Sawah. At that time, six people had already been baptized by Schweitz: Nathanael, Tarub Noron, Markus Ibrahim Kaiin, Yosef Baiin and Sem Napiun.

When the church's membership grew to 57 a year later, the Reverend Bernardus, who lived in Jatinegara, bought a small house for worship. Engku (Betawi for teacher) Natanael and Markus Ibrahim Kaiin led the congregation.

The congregation had grown even bigger by the early 1900s.

In 1921, Methodism spread to Kampung Sawah, and the churches in this small kampong began to compete for followers.

In 1922, the Reverend Yoanes van der Loo, who led the congregation, built a small church in the village.

In 1935, Father Oscar Cremers became the first priest to live in Kampung Sawah. He built a health clinic called Melania, which still operates today.

On Oct. 23, 1936, Cremers opened a school, Rooms Katholieke Vervolgschool. In the same year, Batavia's apostolic vicar, Monseigneur Petrus Willekens, established the fifth parochial church in Kampung Sawah under the name of St. Antonio from Padua.

Over the years, many parochial churches were founded in Jakarta, including the Jakarta Cathedral (1808), Matraman church (1909), Kramat church (1920) and Theresia church (1930).

Father Cremers introduced the tradition of celebrating the Harvest Festival to the parish. Until now, Sedekah Bumi, or the Bounty of the Earth festival, is celebrated every May 13.

World War II had an immediate impact on the European community in Jakarta. The priests, who were nearly all non-nationals, returned to their home countries, where they were obliged to perform military service, leaving their congregations behind.

In 1942, the remaining Dutch and local priests were arrested by Japanese soldiers. Indonesians Poesposoepadma and Benjamin Kadiman then took over the leadership of the churches.

Weeks after Indonesia proclaimed its independence on Aug. 17, 1945, the churches, which were associated with the Dutch, were burned down on Oct. 7, 1945.

At the end of 1946, 90 people came together in Kampung Sawah to rebuild their churches.

After almost 20 years (1951-1970) without a permanent priest, in 1971 the archbishop of Jakarta, Monseigneur Leo Soekoto, ordained a teacher and former religious brother, Marius Mariaatmaja, who became a priest at the age of 60. He died a year after he was ordained.

After Marius' death, the church lost its parochial status from 1972-1993.

In 1998, Aloysius Yus Noron became Kampung Sawah's first parish priest. The year after Father Rudolf Kurris took charge of the congregation in 1993, the church decided to change its patron saint to St. Servatius, a missionary from Armenia. A new Roman Catholic church was also built that year.

On Sept. 30, 1996, a relic of the saint was brought to Kampung Sawah by three priests from St. Servatius in Maastricht, the Netherlands. A week later, Cardinal Darmaatmadja blessed the church. (02)

Religious tolerance prevails in Kampung Sawah

Friday, January 05, 2007
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Jacobus Napiun, a Betawi with a Catholic upbringing, considers himself blessed to have experienced such a rich, religious life in his birthplace of Kampung Sawah in Pondok Gede, Bekasi.

Kampung Sawah, some two hours drive from Jakarta, is home to St. Servatius Catholic Church, which has 6,500 parishioners and four Protestant churches, which have a combined membership of 2,600.

The village has offered considerable scope for the proliferation of churches, which stand side-by-side with mosques and pesantren (Islamic boarding schools).

Fifty-year-old Jacobus said the Catholic parish of Kampung Sawah dated back to Oct. 6, 1896, when Father Bernardus Schweitz baptized 18 residents, most of whom were Betawi.

The village's Catholic community has had its ups and downs, its good times and bad; witnessing many milestones in history.

On Oct. 7, 1945, St. Servatius was torched and looted by a group of nationalists who associated churches with the Dutch.

The incident, known as gedoran, caused the parishioners to scatter.

Jacobus said that during the long absence of a Catholic priest in the area, Protestant and Methodist church pews began filling up.

The Muslim community at that time was relatively small.

"As far as I remember, until the early sixties, when I was about eight years old, there was only one mosque here in Pasar Kecapi," Jacobus said.

However, there is a history of religious tolerance in Kampung Sawah.

"For us, natives to Kampung Sawah, brotherhood is more important than which religion we follow," said Jacobus, whose younger sister married a Muslim and whose younger brother is a Protestant.

"When she wanted to marry a Muslim, I said to her 'if you promise to be better than when you were a Catholic, my heart will let you marry without any regrets',"
Jacobus said.

The key to maintaining religious tolerance, he said, was to respect people's different characteristics and cultural backgrounds.

"Culture knows no limits and is not always based on religion. Preserving culture preserves diversity and creates bonds between the people of different religions," Jacobus said.

Established in 1878, Pasundan Protestant Church is situated about 50 meters away from St. Servatius.

During the gedoran, the house of the Reverend Mika Rikin was looted.

"Though the people here follow a number of religions, many of them are related to each other. It is not uncommon to find more than one faith being practiced within a single family," said Pasundan's minister, Anna Marjani Sarniem.

"This is, perhaps, why the people here are more tolerant than in other parts of the country," she added.

It is relatively easy to establish houses of worship in Kampung Sawah, despite the growing religious intolerance elsewhere.

"Many Muslims and Christians in Kampung Sawah are in one way or another related to one another. We are the descendants of several big families.

"However, there are some outsiders, who, unaware of the reason and tolerance that has prevailed in this village for many years, try to destroy our customs. We have always greeted our neighbors on holy days, but now, some people don't like it," Jacobus said.

The Reverend Anna, who has led the congregation of the Protestant church for the last eight years, shares Jacobus' view.

She said they had received multiple threats related to the establishment of churches in Kampung Sawah.

"We are really welcoming and do not fear for our safety, or worry about losing members, because people know we have been here (Christianity in Indonesia) for hundreds of years,"
the minister said.

"Here we can breathe easily and carry out our activities, healing the trauma of being cast out several times," said the Reverend Pieter Napitupulu of GPI Petra, a Pentecostal Church in Kampung Sawah that has more than 300 members.

Pieter said they had been evicted more than once from their place of worship before building a permanent church in June 2005 on a block of land in Kampung Sawah.

Not far away from GPI Petra, the Protestant Church of Java, which also has 300 parishioners, recently held its first Christmas service in its new building,

Established 15 years ago, it moved to Kampung Sawah in August, where it will start holding regular services this month.

Gunadi, a member of the church council, said they had received many threats when they applied for a license from their neighborhood unit, but thanks to some neighbors, they eventually secured a license from the district authority.

The strong tolerance that exists in Kampung Sawah is partly the legacy of a previous village head, known as Haji Encip or Haji Gocep.

He had allowed Christmas services to be held in the village hall long before a church had been built.

"He knew how to bridge the gap between Muslims and Christians," Jacobus said. (02)

Indonesia sangat kejam terhadap orang cacat

Hari itu PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI) bersama Komunitas Peduli Tuna Daksa Indonesia (Kopentuda) menyelenggarakan uji coba penggunaan kereta api bekas yang baru diimpor dari Jepang (lihat untuk para penyandang cacat.

Uji coba yang diikuti puluhan penyandang cacat itu dimulai dari stasiun Gambir ke stasiun Bogor pergi pulang. Pihak penyelenggara menyebutnya “wisata teknologi”. (lihat atau )

Ada satu peristiwa kecil yang mengganggu perasaan saya saat rombongan wisata itu tiba di stasiun Bogor. Para penyandang cacat ternyata tidak bisa turun di stasiun itu dan harus dibantu karena ternyata platform stasiun lebih rendah sekitar 50 cm dari lantai gerbong dan berjarak sekitar 50 cm. Sejumlah penyandang cacat tetap turun juga, -tentu dengn bantuan banyak orang- hanya untuk memastikan bahwa stasiun itu memang tidak bersahabat bagi penyandang cacat. Suatu show yang menarik apalagi hadir para wartawan cetak, radio, online maupun TV.

Orang banyak di stasiun segera berkerumum menyasikkan ‘pertunjukkan’ ini. Sekilas saya melihat ada seorang pemuda kurus duduk memeluk lututnya di sekitar kerumuman masa. Ia berbaju kaos merah memegang kantong plastik. Mungkin seluruh barang-barangnya di dalam kantong itu. Ia nampaknya seorang gelandangan.

Karena seorang penyandang cacat di atas kursi roda segera diturunkan dan crew sebuah TV swasta akan mengambil gambar, ia disuruh minggir. Seorang petugas satpam bahkan membentaknya. Saat ia beranjak, barulah saya sadar kalau ia ternyata cacat. Ia pun minggir dengan susah payah. Kemungkinan ia sudah sejak tadi duduk di situ dank arena akan ada ‘pertunjukkan’ itu diusir.

Perhatian saya akhirnya tidak pada uji coba itu lagi. Padahal itulah tujuan liputan saya hari itu. Terlintas di pikiran saya betapa kejamnya negara ini dan masyarakatnya. Menjadi cacat di Indonesia sudah merupakan suatu penderitaan tersendiri. Apalagi menjadi cacat dan miskin di Indonesia. Kekejaman dan penderitaan berlapis-lapis.
Ada orang cacat yang masih mendapat perhatian yang luar biasa dari keluarga, masih punya tongkat, masih duduk di atas roda. Tapi bagaimana dengan mereka yang catat dan miskin? Mereka tersingkir dua kali dari masyarakat kita.

Pemuda berbaju merah itu, dia bukan saja cacat tapi juga miskin dan gembel, karena itulah dia bukan bagian dari “wisata teknologi” itu. Ia tidak layak masuk layar TV atau halaman Koran, sehingga ia harus disuruh minggir. Betapa malangnya. Ia cuma bisa jadi penonton, padahal ia juga punya derita yang sama dengan orang cacat lain yang sejenak menjadi perhatian massa.

Mungkin ia tak butuh publikasi ataupun popularitas sejenak. Ia juga mungkin tak butuh kursi roda atau tongkat. Ia di sana, di stasiun kereta api itu, mungkin karena ia tak punya rumah. Ia di sana karena ia butuh makan. Bisa makan saja itu sudah cukup baginya.

Itulah sebabnya ia mendekat ketika melihat kereta berhenti dan orang berkerumun.
Sebelum berangkat bersama rombongan, saya mewanwancarai Sartono Mukadis, sang dokter yang sekarang duduk di kursi roda karena kakinya dioperasi itu.

Ia bilang menjadi orang cacat di Negara ini seperti tiba-tiba dilempar ke dalam sebuah kelompok yang harus menerima segala keadaan apa adanya.

“Bukan hanya kepada tuna daksa, kepada banyak marginal juga kita masih belum adil. Misalnya kepada minoritas agama dan etnis. Saya egois kalau mengatakan ketidakadilan itu hanya pada tuna daksa seperti saya. Ketidakdilan itu masih berlaku kepada banyak pihak. Benar bahwa masih banyak perlakukan di bawah standar, tapi perlakukan di bawah standar itu tidak hanya kepada tuna daksa,” kata Sartono.

Menurut Sartono, selain alasan klasik bahwa kita adalah negara yang sedang membangun, ada alasan lain yang sebenarnya berbahaya.

“Ada alasan yang lebih prinsipil, lebih struktural, dan menurut saya lebih berbahaya yaitu kita memang miskin dalam empati. Kita cuma katanya bangsa yang gotong-royong, kita begitu mayoritas bahkan cenderung korup. Maaf saya muslim, tapi korup itu datang dari yang muslim. Jawa, saya jawa, tapi Jawa mayoritas cenderung korup. Setiap kekuasaan, setiap kelebihan dimaanfaatkan untuk korupsi,” tambah Sartono.
“Kalau dibilang negara beragama, Cina itu apakah kurang atheisnya. Mereka sangat athies, tetapi mereka mampu mempunyai perhatian yang luar biasa pada tuna daksa. Kita yang katanya Pancasilais ini, sebenarnya kejam. Itu karena kita miskin dalam empathi. Coba lihat Cina yang kita sebut cina loleng, yang ngak pernah belajar P4 yang ngak pernah bilang alhamdulilah tiap detik, dia takut betul kalau ada lambang orang cacat,”kata Sartono.
“Kalau yang besar, diperhatikan, yang bombastis, kita bukan main. Setiap bulan puasa kasih ke yatim piatu. Waduh bukan main. Apalagi muncul di televisi. Agama saya mengatakan, kita harus melindungi anak yatim piatu. Tidak ada kata-kata dalam Quran yang menyatakan anak yatim piatu muslim. Kenapa acara berbuka bersama selalu kita pilih anak yatim piatu muslim? Kan non-sense. Nanti kalau sudah terjadi seperti di Ambon, di Poso baru itu pendeta-pendeta dan haji dikumpulin. Kita bangsa yang suka show-off,” tambah Sartono.

Adanya undang-undang tentang orang cacat, menurut Sartono, tidak menjamin adanya perhatian yang wajar kepada orang cacat.
“Kalau perkara undang-undang, banyak sekali hal yang sudah ada undang-undangnya, tertulis, tertulis, tapi kita kan membaut undang-undang untuk dilanggar. Depsos sendiri menggunakan berbagai cara untuk menjadikan kita (orang cacat) sebagai proyek. Contohnya dalam pemberian penghargaan segala macam. Itu diperjual belikan. Walaupun kita harus katakan oknum-oknum Depsos, tapi Depsos sendiri tidak mempunyai program dalam pengertian mendasar yang betul-betul berusaha mengubah paradigma banyak orang tentang kecacatan. Yang mereka lakukan adalah proyek yang charity, seolah-olah memberikan sesuatu. Atau menolong kalau sudah ada masalah seperti pemadam kebakaran. Pemadam kebarannya pun mesti ditonton oleh orang banyak.”

Orang cacat di Indonesia tidak menuntut lebih selain pemenuhan hak-hak mereka, katanya.
“Setiap hari kita cuma bisa mengetuk, bahwa kita ini ada. Kita cuma menuntut hak kita. Charity ya boleh lah, terima kasih deh. Tapi asal kita jangan dijadikan obyek. Diberikan kesempatan yang sama sudah cukup. Saya melihat orang cacat itu, ketika kamu cacat tiba-tiba kamu masuk ke suatu domain tersendiri. Tidak boleh nakal, tidak boleh macam-macam. Lu musti dongo. Musti jujur. Padahal kita cuma manusia. Kita punya keinginan, kadang piunya niat jahat.”

Bahkan di antara sesama Negara berkembang, Indonesia terhitung sangat rendah perlakuannya terhadap orang cacat.

“Jangankan disbanding dengan negara maju. Terlalu jauh membandingkan Indonesia dengan Negara maju. Bandingan dengan Singapore saja kita kalah jauh. Di Indonesia, orang lebih takut pada fengshui daripada undang-undang tentang orang cacat. Dia bikin tangga tiga, tangga empat, dia ngak mau bikin lantai, karena lantai feng shuinya jelek. Di Singapore kan ngak begitu. Di Indonesia, di semua terminal, di bandara, dipenuhi sama mobil-mobil pejabat, meskipun ada tanda penyandang cacat.

Sartono mengaku pernah meminta ajudan Wakil Presiden Yusuf Kalla, untuk memindahkan mobil wapres yang diparkir di tempat parkir yang diperuntukkan untuk orang cacat.

“Setelah saling ngotot, akhirnya dia minggirin juga, mungkin dia pikir ini orang tua gila. Saya kan sudah nothing to lose kan? Tapi setelah itu saya takut sendiri. Coba bayangin kalau orang biasa,” kata Sartono.

Group sees the environment as election issue

Friday, January 05, 2007
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Jakarta chapter of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi Jakarta) says the next governor should have a keen understanding of the current issues that are key to the enforcement of environmental law.

In its year-end report, made public Wednesday, the organization said weak law enforcement had led to the development of environmental problems in the city.

"Moreover, the administration's development policies deny public participation, which has resulted in human-caused environmental damage over the years," Walhi Jakarta chairman Selamet Daroyni said.

The report notes the major problems in Jakarta's environmental history, including air, water and land pollution, floods, droughts, the inadequate waste management system and poor energy choices.

"Up to 70 percent of air pollution in Jakarta comes from vehicle emissions. This figure alone is enough to show that if the city government does not introduce a good macro-transportation system, we will continue to breath in polluted air," Selamet said.

The report says the city is at a critical juncture with losses due to air pollution estimated at Rp 4.3 trillion in 2015, compared to Rp 1.8 trillion in 1998.

Atmospheric pollutants and irritants have been linked to chronic respiratory problems.

The group predicts that in 2007, the concentration of particles in the air will change as the energy crisis has forced the government to push some regulations that pursue the use of coal in industry.

Although the city's water management is contracted out to two private companies, the quality of water is not getting better.

"Many people drink groundwater, which is 75 to 85 percent contaminated by E-coli and other fecal coliform, as the waterworks' pumping and purifying equipment is only sufficient to supply 45 percent of Jakartans," Selamet added.

Whereas water shortages are experienced in the dry season, floods leave 370,000 families homeless in the rainy season, with total losses estimated at Rp 92.5 billion per day.

Data from the city public works agency shows that Jakarta has 78 flood-prone areas, while data from the Central Statistics Agency says the city has about 500 flood-prone areas.

The city administration has allocated about Rp 500 billion to prevent this annual disaster, but Walhi Jakarta says most of the money has been spent on dredging waterways and buying pumps, which will not significantly help in controlling floods.

The city's poor waste management system is also putting residents at risk of disaster.

"Jakarta produces 6,000 tons of garbage daily but the administration can only manage 88 percent," Selamet said. "The government's master plan for waste-management until 2015 clearly shows they are merely reliant on the technology of private institutions to solve the problem."

The conversion of conservation areas to commercial areas is also blamed for environmental hazards.

"In 1965, about 27 percent of Jakarta was green open space. In 2000, it dropped to 13 percent and now it is only 9 percent. This is a serious problem. The administration has been inconsistent in enforcing the environmental impact analysis requirements for development projects. It accommodates business interests while ignoring the environment," Selamet said.

So far, the group said, none of the gubernatorial candidates seemed to have a good grasp of current environmental issues.

"This will simply lead to the mobilization of resources for gaining power and the neglect of the people and environmental issues," Selamet said.

Indonesia has ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which requires the state to respect and observe human rights and freedoms, including the right to a clean environment.

The group expressed hope for a new perspective in policy-making that did not discriminate against the poor or ignore environmental hazards and their abatement.

"These changes include the revision of the city's spatial plan and the provision of a low-cost, safe public transportation system, as well as an end to the eviction of the poor," Selamet said. (02)

Bikers unhappy with road restrictions, peak hour ban

Monday, January 08, 2007
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Motorcyclists are opposed to the decision to limit them to the left lanes of designated streets, with more plans to ban motorcycles from main roads during peak hours ahead.

"The decision won't work if there is no special lane for motorcyclists. Clearly, bikers are not the only problem; buses and bajaj, which usually stop wherever they like and sometimes without any warning, also contribute to the chaotic traffic," Suharto, a courier for a travel agent in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta, told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

Muslim, who works at an advertising firm in Warung Buncit, South Jakarta, said that many of his clients' offices were located along the city's main thoroughfares.

"It's easier to get to my clients with my motorcycle. Would there be alternative route for motorcyclists?"

Indonesia Transportation Society (MTI) chairman Bambang Susantono said that any policies to limit the number of motorcycles in the city should be accompanied by an improvement of public transportation.

"The basic idea is to provide a specific lane for motorcyclists. In theory, a moving motorcycle will take as much space as a car if the lanes are not clearly separated," he explained.

"The more special lanes that are provided, the better the traffic will flow. There might be traffic, but it will still be moving."

Besides driver behavior, he said, an imbalance between the number of vehicles and the availability of infrastructure was also one of the main roots of traffic jams. MTI says the growth in the number of vehicles in the city is 10 to 12 percent a year, while road expansion is only 2 to 3 percent a year.

Therefore, Bambang said, every public transportation policy must classify different kinds of vehicles according to their function and other factors, in order to reduce traffic jams and traffic accidents.

"Basically, motorcycles are not for long distance traveling. In theory, there are backbone, collector and feeder vehicles. The backbone vehicles, such as busway buses, commuter trains and subway cars, are for long distance; the collector vehicles, such as minibuses, are for middle distance; and the feeder vehicles such as motorcycles, are for short distance," he explained.

He said Jakarta could learn from countries in East Asia that faced the same problem of an imbalance between the number of motorcycles and street space.

In Taiwan, he said, the government provided special lanes and special parking lots for motorcyclists, and also imposed a heavy tax on motorcycles.

Towns in mainland China have developed another approach to the problem, banning motorcycles from main roads at peak hours, while providing good public transportation.

Bambang said that if the government really wanted to address the problem, the busway project and the rejuvenation of the railways, which would provide good and affordable transportation, must be finished in two or three years. (02)