Sat, 21 Jun 2003

'Everyone lives in the shadow of crime'

Jakarta, which turns 476 years old on Sunday, is a busy metropolis with many problems -- some of which people take for granted. The Jakarta Post interviewed some city residents about their concerns regarding the city and how they could contribute to its betterment.

Suharyanto, 41, is manager at a supermarket in West Jakarta. He is a neighborhood chief in Cempaka Baru, Central Jakarta, where he lives with his wife and son:

Everyone in the city always feels unsafe and lives in the shadow of crime.

I believe that the complicated social problems have caused the growing number of street crimes.

The weak mentality of the police and other law enforcers has only worsened the situation.

We can see how bribery rules the verdicts at court. The police, prosecutors and judges are corrupt and they make the situation chronic.

I feel concerned about this alarming condition. Therefore, as a neighborhood unit chief I try to raise the people's awareness to safeguard their environment and remain on the alert against criminals. That's the only contribution I can make now.

Purnama Sari, 21, is a model and soap opera actress who resides in Karet, South Jakarta:

I think one of the most serious problems facing the city is how to keep it clean and orderly.

Jakarta has an image as a dirty city because most residents litter carelessly.

Worse still, the punishment for littering is never effectively implemented. The city government fails to show the concrete results of their policy, so it only sparks public distrust.

The city public sanitary agency is only concerned with the main thoroughfares and do not care about other places, while the people lack awareness and a sense of belonging to the city. This makes me really sad.

I would rather care for my environment myself. I feel guilty every time I litter carelessly.

Dradjad, 32, works at a private company in Central Jakarta. He lives in Rawamangun, East Jakarta, with his wife and daughter:

The city has many complicated problems and all need to be handled urgently. But the most worrisome of all is drug abuse among the youngsters.

I'm really upset about this. I cannot imagine what will happen to the younger generation in the future.

Drug dealers are like merciless killers that trouble and kill many people slowly. I hate to see these drug dealers who are still alive and freely roaming the city, preying upon new victims every day. They are all evil.

On the other hand, I realize that it's almost impossible to stop drug trafficking as most law enforcers are not too bright. They could easily be bribed to protect the dealers.

I worry about this a lot, as I have a little daughter who will someday grow up. The only thing I can do is to bring her up well so she won't take any drugs.

-- Leo Wahyudi S.