- Discover Indonesia Online

You are currently in > Just a blog about Indonesia > Streets of Jakarta not paved in gold

JAKARTA - Jakarta stands out like a gleaming beacon to the rest of the country, attracting a wave of migrants each year. And the largest influx of migrants to the capital takes place each year following Idul Fitri, when thousands of Indonesians from the rural areas stream into Jakarta full of hopes for a better life.
But for the majority of these new arrivals, the streets of the city are not paved with gold. They soon discover the darker side of Jakarta, and find that their dreams of the good life have been transformed into a nightmarish existence of constant struggle simply to survive.
Strangely enough, the strongest warnings against coming to Jakarta to seek a better life don't come from the city's governor or the population agency, but from musicians and artists.
When Indonesia's economy was on the ebb in the 1970s, renowned female musician Titiek Puspa composed Bimbi, a song about a village girl who comes to Jakarta with high expectations but ends up working as a prostitute. Sam Bimbo of the Bimbo Group explored the same theme in Balada Gadis Desa (Ballad of a Village Girl).
Probably the most popular song among migrants is the satirical Siapa Suruh Datang Jakarta? (Who Told You to Come to Jakarta?).
All of these songs are stilled played on the radio and TV, yet their message has not dissuaded the migrants, who keep coming. Governor Sutiyoso was quoted by a local newspaper as saying that an estimated 250,000 people come to Jakarta each year following Idul Fitri. What is the fate of these migrants?
The 56-year-old Samin left his hometown of Brebes, Central Java, to seek a new life for himself in Jakarta. He sold his paddy field, his family's only asset, and used some of the money to send his daughter to school in Brebes. He used the rest of the money to travel to Jakarta and try his luck.
But when he arrived, he found that finding work was not as easy as he had heard from neighbors in Brebes who had been to the capital. "This year's fasting month is my fourth Ramadhan here and I have no savings. I am only able to earn enough for one meal a day."
Samin spends many of his days at the Permata Hijau housing complex, South Jakarta, where groups of men go to seek work as manual laborers. Jobs are few and far between, and when he does find work, Samin is paid only Rp 7,000 a day. "That's not enough for anything except to buy some food and a few cigarettes," Samin, who sleeps in a security post in the housing complex, said.
When asked if he wanted to return to Brebes, Samin said: "If I wanted, I could have gone home when I still had enough money to buy a bus ticket. Now I am too ashamed. I can't even pay for the bus fare, and anyway what would I do back there." Suhardiyanto, has done better for himself and his family than most migrants, running 14 small bakso (meatball soup) stands and overseeing 20 employees. But he still feels that he has not achieved the success that he dreamed of.
"What success? This is not success. A boss should work behind a desk, not like me. I have to wake up at 4 a.m. and start preparing bakso until it's all finished at 10 a.m.," said the 47-year-old at his house in Cipulir, Kebayoran Lama, South Jakarta.
The father of two said when he first came to Jakarta from Wonogiri, Central Java, some 11 years ago, he was just hoping to find a job that would allow him to improve his life. "I changed jobs many times during the first five years, until I ran out of ideas what to do as my life was not getting better. I was already married and had a family to feed," said Suhardiyanto.
He started selling bakso and eked by on his earnings until a relative extended him a loan and he expanded his business. Now with a daily income of about Rp 700,000, he is able to bring his family to visit his hometown almost three times a year. There, he is looked upon as a success story.
Suhardiyanto said he was often approached by relatives and neighbors in Wonogiri looking for a job in Jakarta. "I don't look for workers from my hometown but relatives and neighbors who need a job come to me, and most of the time I just can't turn them down," he said.
Of his 20 employees, all but five are from Wonogiri. When asked what they hoped for from Jakarta, most of the employees said they wanted to be like their boss. Sociologist Paulus Wirutomo said migration to the capital was caused by the large welfare gap between Jakarta and the regions.
He said if the central government and the regional authorities did not take steps to end this welfare gap, migrants would continue to pour into Jakarta, resulting in dangerous overpopulation, increased unemployment and a fall in productivity. "The increasing number of migrants (coming to the capital) is an indication that there is a difference in the welfare and the opportunities in Jakarta and other regions. Migrants don't just come to Jakarta after the (Idul Fitri) holiday, they come every day."
And as the competition for jobs become tougher, he said it would be difficult for people with little or no education to succeed in the city. But such warnings are unlikely to dissuade would-be migrants, convinced that a better life awaits them in Jakarta. Sadly, though, many of these people will find themselves in the same position as Samin, having given up their dreams and simply trying to scrape together enough money each day to eat.

Posted in Culture @ 24 November 2001 by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink

There are no reactions on this blog entry yet. Be the first one to give a reaction here!

Log in to write a reaction

You are not logged in to the website. You have to be logged in to write a reaction on this blog entry.

· If you already have an account, please login.
· If you have lost your password, please retrieve it.
· If you don't have an account yet, you can create one.

Add this blog entry to your email, your own blog, MySpace, Facebook, or whatsoever via AddThis:
Bookmark and Share

e-mail updates for this blog article

Login if you want to receive emails for reactions on this blog entry. You will receive an update as soon as a reaction on this blog entry is posted.

Your website for tickets in Indonesia!
Looking for e-tickets for flights in Indonesia? Here's your solution! Order your e-tickets at
· 2015, 28 entries
· 2014, 591 entries
· 2013, 750 entries
· 2012, 1061 entries
· 2011, 792 entries
· 2010, 644 entries
· 2009, 916 entries
· 2008, 504 entries
· 2007, 725 entries
· 2006, 1014 entries
· 2005, 723 entries
· 2004, 558 entries
· 2003, 525 entries
· 2002, 375 entries
· 2001, 162 entries
· gigolo
· jakarta
· blogger
Automatically generated every hour
· General (1205 entries)
· Economy (643 entries)
· Politics (574 entries)
· Accidents (561 entries)
· Terrorism (541 entries)
· Earthquake (539 entries)
· Volcanoes (387 entries)
· Crime (357 entries)
· Corruption (349 entries)
· Flooding (278 entries)
· Elections (276 entries)
· Travel (268 entries)
· Bird Flu (254 entries)
· Religion (242 entries)
· Tourism (239 entries)
· Oddly enough ... (219 entries)
· Violence (198 entries)
· Drugs (196 entries)
· Health (192 entries)
· Aceh conflict (191 entries)
· Environment (185 entries)
· Weather (171 entries)
· Military (168 entries)
· Protests (157 entries)
· Culture (106 entries)
· Garuda Indonesia (91 entries)
· C. Sulawesi conflict (86 entries)
· Human rights (82 entries)
· Forest fires (78 entries)
· Sidoarjo mudflow (71 entries)
· Power supply (64 entries)
· Ramadan (63 entries)
· PT Freeport (55 entries)
· Picture guess (48 entries)
· Maluku conflict (47 entries)
· Dengue Fever (37 entries)
· History (37 entries)
· Infrastructure (36 entries)
· Polio (35 entries)
· Mexican flu (35 entries)
· Website (25 entries)
· Media (22 entries)
· Nuclear power (21 entries)
· Sports (20 entries)
· Sexy (16 entries)
· SARS (15 entries)
· Nightlife (10 entries)
· Others (5 entries)
· Lippo Cikarang (5 entries)
· Close smallest categories
EUR-IDR: 16,590 · 16,620  The Rupiah rate declined since yesterday
@ 17 May 2018 18:12 CET
JPY-IDR: 126.83 · 126.95  The Rupiah rate improved since yesterday
@ 17 May 2018 21:58 CET
MYR-IDR: 3,545 · 3,549  The Rupiah rate declined since yesterday
@ 15 May 2018 08:42 CET
SGD-IDR: 10,479 · 10,501  The Rupiah rate declined since yesterday
@ 07 May 2018 07:48 CET
THB-IDR: 439.14 · 439.41  The Rupiah rate declined since yesterday
@ 16 May 2018 09:18 CET
USD-IDR: 14,097 · 14,157  The Rupiah rate declined since yesterday
@ 17 May 2018 00:46 CET
Go to 'exchange rates' 
·  At 14 July 2020 08:32 newnight reacted on Three more bodies of AirAsia victims to Surabaya hospital
·  At 20 September 2018 06:54 erik12 reacted on Fuel prices lowered, again
·  At 19 October 2015 17:17 imambudianto5 reacted on Bank Indonesia maintains benchmark interest rate at 7.75%
·  At 04 March 2015 19:18 merdekaSah reacted on Alleged terrorists shot dead three villagers in Poso
·  At 04 March 2015 13:11 Yogya-Bali reacted on Alleged terrorists shot dead three villagers in Poso
·  At 26 February 2015 13:02 Irena reacted on Sexy, a young woman with candy
·  At 08 May 2014 09:51 jstar reacted on No alcohol should be sold in warung
·  At 01 May 2014 10:07 jstar reacted on Indonesia to be among the top 10 peacekeeping contributors
·  At 27 March 2014 05:50 harlys reacted on PPP leader voices concern over Islamic parties' future
·  At 10 March 2014 06:11 Yogya-Bali reacted on Sriwijaya Air leaves behind 200 passengers at airport
·  At 09 March 2014 00:11 Yerun reacted on Sriwijaya Air leaves behind 200 passengers at airport
·  At 08 March 2014 20:33 nicknick reacted on Sriwijaya Air leaves behind 200 passengers at airport
·  At 18 February 2014 04:17 Yerun reacted on Ash from Mount Kelud eruption spreads over all of Java
·  At 16 February 2014 05:41 Amed East Bali reacted on Ash from Mount Kelud eruption spreads over all of Java
·  At 14 February 2014 22:27 Anne Mieke reacted on Asylum seekers in Medan wish to be sent to Australia
·  At 14 February 2014 22:22 beritaislam reacted on Asylum seekers in Medan wish to be sent to Australia
·  At 16 January 2014 15:37 Anne Mieke reacted on Landslides cut off Tomohon-Manado road
·  At 16 January 2014 15:21 Yerun reacted on Landslides cut off Tomohon-Manado road
·  At 16 January 2014 15:05 Anne Mieke reacted on Landslides cut off Tomohon-Manado road
·  At 16 January 2014 14:48 Yerun reacted on Landslides cut off Tomohon-Manado road
Go to 'forum topics' 

Created by · feedback & contact · © 2000-2020
Other websites by · · ·

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional 137,351,535 pageviews Discover Indonesia Online at