Welcome back Floods

I was in Semarang when Dewi called me at about 3 pm, Friday February 1. She told me that heavy rain was pouring Jakarta since early morning and had caused floods in many parts of the city, including the main thoroughfare and toll road towards Soekarno-Hatta airport.

Jakarta was again in complete chaos, and so were airports across the country, since the authorities had to close down the airport for hours due to poor visibility during the torrential downpours. The toll road to the airport was also closed down, created heavy traffic jams at the back entrance from Tangerang.

To be in the safe side, I took Argo Anggrek train on Sunday to go back to Jakarta and cancelled my flight. It was a smooth ride, and it gave me ample time to exercise my brains and also to take photos along the way.

Many people lamented and felt sorry for the disaster after disaster that hit regions across the country, or criticized everybody else except themselves. It's human, but, I think we need citizens with abnormal human characteristics to work and make this country become a better place to live.

Those are the people who see all these hardships as opportunities and challenges to find ways to better predict, mitigate and control the disasters when they strike.

In the case of the worsening flood that just hit Jakarta, it actually gives a good opportunity for the city administrators to get people's support for a comprehensive city plan to create a better Jakarta. This plan certainly needs bold drastic measures, multiple major surgeries in many parts of the city, that will need sacrifices from many people. No pain no glory, regardless who gets what.

One of the drastic measures is to reduce number of private houses significantly in the city. Jakarta needs a lot more affordable apartments to replace private houses that will enable the city to have enough green spaces for water catchments. It's too luxurious to have a house in Jakarta. Let people move to apartments or have houses at Jakarta's vicinities, and provide them with convenient mass rapid transportation to reach the down town.

Meanwhile, for 4-5 years, stop sending students from faculty of planology, communication, sociology, psychology, and other related subjects, to remote villages to do their Kuliah Kerja Nyata, or Rural Community Service Program. Send them to Jakarta instead. There are huge number of people who live in the city, who need counseling and assistance on how to make their neighborhood more environment friendly, including those who live in elite housing complex.

In addition, it's high time for Jakarta to be handled by a super governor with a ministerial authority level, and report directly to the President. The Jakarta Megacity territory shall cover Jabodetabek (Jakarta-Bogor-Depok-Tangerang-Bekasi), including Puncak area, and probably also Sukabumi. This arrangements will give greater rooms and authority for the governor to make necessary changes for a more integrated approach to tackle Jakarta's chronic problems. True, it's not new thing, but let's revive the idea.

There are many other great ideas that had been offered on how to make Jakarta free from floods, but the disturbing brownish dirty abundant flow of water still strike unchallenged.

Hence, welcome back floods. Keep greeting us, until the time when people become really strong to stand up and make bold decisions and actions to deal with your ugly face, face to face...
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