Drive down Jalan Sudirman today and what do you see?
You’d probably say you see workers putting the finishing touches on smooth, wide walkways flanked by generous islands of grass, in a process of tarting up Jakarta for the Asian Games that starts on the 18th of next month.
What I see, however, is a potential eyesore. The authorities here are very good at erecting monuments, public works, parks and grandoise infrastructure. The look great.
Then comes the hard part – maintaining them, and this is where things unravel. What will the walkways be like a year from now? Will the islands still have grass growing? And what about the ornamental plants beautifying the scene?
Unspun’s prediction is that it will all go to seed because maintenance just isn’t a forte of the authorities.
Jakarta Deputy Governor Sandiaga Uno (the Dumber of the Dumb &Dumber Duo) yesterday admitted just as much when he told Kompas.com that the City could build Kalijodo, the former red light district converted into a public park, but it could not maintain it.
Of course being Sandi he was not concerned by the truth (It was Ahok who converted and built the park, not his administration) and he had to blame others for his own failings. He said that the public was unable to take care of their park, so it was futile building things like that.
What is wrong with this guy? Cities have by laws against littering, destruction and defacing of public property and unruly public conduct precisely to prevent people from degrading the facilities. It’s a rather alien concept called enforcement that is required here.
Cities also have a budget for maintaining parks. But ensuring that the money is spent properly rather than ending in people’s pockets takes effort and hard work so its not something that he would concern himself with.
So here we go again, seeing magnificent erections but none of the energy to maintain them. When will this country ever learn that implementation and enforcement is as important, if not more, than grand gestures and magnificent new structures?
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