Tue, 10 Jun 2003

`Who needs art, just give us Inul'

Jakarta will observe its 476-year anniversary on June 22. In celebration of the anniversary, the city is organizing various festivities, including JakArt@ 2003, which features around 900 performances in more than 150 locations across the city. Some residents are enthusiastic about the events, while others say it is a waste of money. They expressed their ideas to The Jakarta Post.

Suhaimi, 45, is a taxi driver and native Jakartan who lives in Depok, West Java, with his wife and five children:

I'm not impressed with the festivals in conjunction with the city's anniversary. I mean there is nothing special.

I'm not interested at all in the festivities. It might only worsen the traffic congestion and reduce my income.

I remember the former city governor, Ali Sadikin, who always made the city anniversary attractive and really entertaining for the city residents. At every corner of the city, there were many attractions.

It's completely different now, because the festivals are just boring. At least that's what I feel.

I'm pretty sure that there is a lot of money being allocated for the festivities. Alas, most of that disbursed money might be used by certain high-ranking officials. So, the low-income people will never get the real entertainment.

I realize that fun and entertaining festivities are important for most Jakartans. But I don't think now I need that sort of amusement in my life.

I can't even say whether or not I'm depressed. But from my experience, since I start driving early in the morning and spend all day long on the roads, I reckon I'm depressed.

Entertainment is no longer effective to relieve my day-to-day depression. I guess I am used to a distress-filled life. I don't need that.

Actually I like dangdut music particularly Inul with her controversial dance. But I prefer to turn off my TV so as to avoid any temptation in mind. Otherwise, I will be tired and I will not work well the following day after being "tempted" by the show.

Lyla, 29, is an employee with a private company in South Jakarta. She resides in Tangerang, Banten, with her family:

The series of art festivals to mark the city anniversary commemoration are meaningless, if I may say.

If it is to entertain the city residents, I wonder which part of the community? I don't think those of the low-income brackets will be amused.

Most low-income earners are just simply fed up with living such a hardscrabble existence just to survive every day. Such stress prevents us from enjoying entertainment. Art will not soften the hardship.

It would be far better to give us free staple foods or hold cheap bazaars for low-income people. I'm very sure that would please most of the people in this city.

Honestly speaking, I'm not at all interested in the commemoration of the city anniversary. Nothing is so special about Sutiyoso's tenure.

I would rather praise the former city governor, Ali Sadikin, who held more down-to-earth commemorations. It was more enjoyable in my opinion.

Hamka, is a university student in Pondok Labu, South Jakarta. He resides in Halim, East Jakarta, with his family:

I welcome the art festivals to mark the celebration of the city anniversary. It's a good idea.

I think a touch of art here will minimize the image of the city which is often related to violence and hardship for most people.

Without art, I guess life becomes tedious and clumsy. The art festival will touch the hearts of the busy people. So, I agree with the JakArt@ 2003 festival.

I believe that many Jakartans have great untapped potential in the arts, in many ways. The festivities will serve as a medium for those who want to express something artistically.

For instance, the mural paintings are good to avoid vandalism and graffiti in many parts of the city.

Thus, the festivals should move on to keep up with the creative people and to meet the public demand for art in the city.

Personally, I like all kinds of art, but music is my favorite.

-- Leo Wahyudi S