Mon, 26 Jun 2000

Sutiyoso launches first 'Delman' parade

JAKARTA (JP): In a campaign to establish an image of a capital that is safe to invest in and in connection with the city's 473rd anniversary, Governor Sutiyoso launched the first delman (horse- drawn carriage) parade on Sunday.

Thousands of city residents assembled outside City Hall on Jl. Medan Merdeka Selatan, where the Festival Delman Hias kicked off, and along Jl. MH Thamrin.

"The festival will send a positive signal to the international community that Jakarta is a safe city to invest in," Sutiyoso announced after opening the festival.

"It turns out that residents from all walks of life can unite through events like this," he said, adding that he expected residents to maintain unity in the upcoming General Session of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) in August.

The governor said the festival was also a form of entertainment for residents to enjoy after days of demonstrations in the capital.

"Residents are tired of demonstrations which usually end up in clashes between protesters and police officers. That's why we hold this pesta rakyat (society celebration) today," he said.

"They can directly meet movie stars taking part in today's parade. It's another form of entertainment for them."

Residents took the opportunity to shake hands with their idols, have their photographs taken with them or ask for autographs. The celebrities involved included Mieke Wijaya, Nani Wijaya, Riko Tampatty, Lula Kamal, Iis Dahlia, Camelia Malik, Djaja Mihardja, Bokir and Nasir.

Sutiyoso expressed pleasure at seeing residents watch the parade, and vowed to hold other parades to commemorate other events in the future.

"We'll hold a parade for our anniversary next year with some improvement. We can also organize a parade for other events," he said.

He, however, emphasized that the carriages could only be used for tourism development purposes, and not as a means of transportation in the capital.

"In bygone days, Jakarta residents used delman as a means of transportation. But now we can use them only as a tourist attraction," he said.

"It's a different case with becak (pedicab) which is banned by City Bylaw No.11/1988 on public order," he added.

The city's jointly owned developer PT Pembangunan Jaya Ancol won the first prize of Rp 5 million (US$588) and the Governor's Trophy for its carriage. Second place went to Jakarta's chapter of Indonesian Equestrian and Horse Racing Association (Pordasi), which took home Rp 4 million and a trophy.

Third place went to the West Jakarta mayoralty, which won Rp 3 million and a trophy. The Indonesian Film Producers Association (PPFI) was in fourth place, while cast of Si Doel Anak Sekolahan television movie came fifth. All were presented their prizes on a stage.

The organizing committee, the City Culture Agency, recorded 63 carriages participating in Sunday's parade, including those of city agencies, city-owned companies, film organizations and embassies, among others, the British and Mexican embassies.

Agency chairman E. Sjahrial admitted that there were shortcomings in the parade.

"However, we can call it a success considering the number of spectators at the festival," he said.

"We expect the festival to gain the same popularity as the Brazilian festival in which residents are actively involved," he added.

No barriers separated spectators and festival participants. Some spectators raced to approach the carriages to see and greet their idols, whom they can normally only see on television.

After the parade, the spectators also approached the stage for another look at their idols.

Most artists regretted the lack of promotion for the festival.

"It was a large crowd we saw today. But there would have been a larger crowd if the promotion had been good," artist Mieke Wijaya said. (nvn)