I have just been to Jakarta and I can’t tell you how excited I was to visit the capital before we got there. I wanted to do so many things, Eat the street food, visit the 172 shopping malls, see old town built by the Dutch, see the 1000 islands, the theme park, the zoo, the markets, the rivers, the monuments. It sounded like an amazing city a place that everyone should visit. I spent a long time not understand why it was not at the top of the tourist destination list.
That was until we arrived….
The first thing you notice are the slums and that’s all you really notice till you leave. They are not hidden like they are in other cities Jakarta doesn’t hide their poor, right next to the huge new skyscrapers are slums that don’t have toilets showers, electricity the internet what I consider basic human rights.
So the longer I stayed in Jakarta the more the inequality grained at me, I began counting down the days till I could leave. All the activities we tried to enjoy were ruined because of the horrid feeling of guilt and frustration. So I became curious about how bad the slums really are, this is a great explanation from an American tourist.
That really highlighted to me one thing I have always found true by Mahatma Ghandi who said “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” for Jakarta this is true.
This wealth inequality got me thinking about Australia and how lucky we all are and the simple joys I take for granted. I have never been happier to be a place I can walk around and not be worried I’ll be mugged or killed for my wallet because others can’t eat. It’s nice to be in a place where I don’t have to lock my car doors every time I leave my place. It’s nice to feel safe.
So this election campaign I beg you to think about those most helpless in society, and what not helping them can do to a city. How that disparity can destroy a place that has so much to offer and make the entire world look down on you. How it can destroy the prospects of economic gain because the best people don’t want to be there and other countries don’t want to send their staff or invest. Talented people will be forced to take simple jobs as they can’t afford the education. Please think about it those less fortunate and what poverty really is and the real economic crippling effect ignoring it has.
Thanks for reading, happy weekend.
Photos are not mine they are here to show the context.