Jakarta, Europe Galore
The city of Jakarta is indeed what they call “Indonesia in a nutshell”. (I love my Lonely Planet tourist guide for coming up with such interesting terms and definitions. It saves me from a lot of trouble) “Jakarta is a vast culture melting pot in which the larger Indonesian identity is forged”. But that also means that this city is the country’s utmost experience of the poverty and the social and economical disparities that assail this land.
Like most visitor’s first experience in such a city, I found myself led in between traffic jams from the lodging I shared with Mr. Didik’s staff to the venue where his latest creation was about to have its premiere and vice-versa. Mr. Didik’s dance piece titled Dewi Sarag Jodag in Love was part of the Festival Salihara, which celebrates the opening of an Arts Center of the same name. Komunitas Salihara is a brand new creative space for performing arts, cinema, fine art, music, etc. In short, Salihara is a complex of two theaters, galleries, offices and other ‘eclectic’ roofed as well as open-air spaces meant to promote the contemporary arts scene in Jakarta.
One could believe him/herself to be in a similar arts’ compound located in any place where the influence we call ‘western’ has reached. I felt indeed back in Europe for a little while. A half Indonesian and half cosmopolitan cheaper Europe where people, from Europe galore (Thanks Madonna for increasing our English slang vocabulary!) and the rest of the rich western world, head to with their mixture of interests and expectations.