The advertising board has its big printed sign: “Welcome to Jakarta”. Yeah you can clearly see it, especially when your car is not moving.
Coming back from Singapore this afternoon, we, again, stuck with Jakarta’s traffic. Just 10 minutes after leaving the airport, everybody is greeted with Jakarta’s usual grim face. And I wonder, if you’re a foreigner who is coming for the very first time to this capital city of Indonesia, what perception this situation will leave to you? Not good.
I just came from reunion with my fellow Singapore International Foundation alumnus. The last time we met, 14 years ago, during our study in Singapore, we traveled to Thailand and Malaysia. Back then, Bangkok did not have a metro. And KL just launched its STAR monorail system. I remember Jakarta had plan for mass rapid transportation as well.
Fast forward, now in 2010, while my other fellows from Malaysia and Thailand can smile and share their relief that the traffic problem has subsided in their countries, we, the Indonesian fellows who lived in Jakarta faced worse and worse traffic situation every day.
Clearly, we were late in the game for at least 10 years. And we can’t afford to delay this anymore. Bundle the incompetent authority with self-interested politicians, we have perfect mix for getting this MRT project nowhere. Now we can only hope somebody up there has their sense well enough to understand this is not a sign welcomed by Jakarta visitors, investors and inhabitants.
*stuck in Jakarta’s daylight traffic – on toll road which we paid for better access*