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JAKARTA - Indonesia will celebrate its 59 anniversary on Tuesday and many people nationwide are planning to welcome the anniversary by holding festivities around the special day. The Jakarta Post talked to city residents on what they planned to do on Aug. 17.

Ratna Sarumpaet, 55, is a playwright and chairwoman of the Jakarta Arts Council: I will shoot some scenes of my play called The Children of Darkness at the Jakarta Playhouse by the Merah Putih Panggung playgroup. The play will be released on VCD format and as a book. They will be launched on Sept. 8.
But, what does this have to do with Independence Day? Well, my play is about the victims of the Sept. 1965 coup-d'etat and their offspring. Until today, they have yet to see justice in the matter as the truth about the tragedy has still not been revealed. Don't you think my play is a great way to commemorate Independence Day in a meaningful way?

Maya Yulianti, 26, is a promotions representative at a private company on Jl. Sudirman, South Jakarta. She lives with her family in Tebet, Central Jakarta: I watch the flag-hoisting ceremony at the presidential palace on my TV. I always like to watch it because it's so grand and majestic. It is also very invigorating to see the red-and-white flag being hoisted accompanied by the Indonesia Raya national anthem.
I remember when I was a member of my school's flag-hoisting team, I've always wanted to be one of the Paskibraka (the national flag hoisting team). But, I never became one, maybe I was not good enough. I still like watching the ceremony, even on TV, and I hope it is never abandoned. Indonesia will be 59 years old but we haven't done anything meaningful yet in our independence.

Teguh, 30, is a bajaj driver. He lives alone in a rented house near the fish market in Muara Karang, North Jakarta: Every year, I join the parades people hold in the neighborhood unit for Independence Day. I also join the areca nut tree climbing contest. You can get money or clothes or other things.
Although it's slippery, I usually can grab the prizes on top of the pole, because there are four of us in a group. We climb over one another to get to the top. Sometimes I drive my bajaj. I don't know yet whether I'm going to work on Tuesday.

Sr. Comr. Tjiptono is the Jakarta Police spokesman. He lives in Depok with his family: I will attend a ceremony at the Kalibata Memorial Grave in South Jakarta on Aug. 16 at midnight. President Megawati Soekarnoputri will attend the event. On Aug. 17, at 8 a.m. I will attend the Independence Day ceremony at the city police headquarters. Then, I will be at my office, just in case some reporters want to ask me something. I will also monitor the work of traffic police officers, lest something need to be announced to the media.
I don't know if there will be festivities in my neighborhood. But I won't be home until afternoon.

Indra Rizki, 29, is an employee at a private company in Kuningan, South Jakarta. He lives with his wife in Jl. Bungur, South Jakarta: I am not doing anything special to celebrate the Independence Day. However, as a good citizen, I will definitely hoist a flag at home. That's the least I can do. Maybe I'll join some competitions in my neighborhood to commemorate the day -- soccer or volleyball matches. There are also competitions for children such as cracker eating contests and sack races.
Other than that, I'll just enjoy the day and watch TV. There will probably be many programs and movies about how we struggled for our independence on TV.

Sri Sulansih Warsito, 50, is a shadow puppeteer. She lives with her family in Pancoran, South Jakarta: I won't do any performances this Independence Day because I have already asked to be the master of ceremonies in a tujuh bulanan (a Javanese ritual to celebrate and bless a mother in her seventh-month of pregnancy). But I do have shows prior to the day, like one I'm organizing today for a company.
There are many events in my neighborhood on Aug. 17. Usually I partake in sports, just for fun. I do that only to be involved in the community. This is the people's party, so it's good to take part.

Helmi, 22, is an ojek (motorcycle taxi) driver living in Setiabudi, Central Jakarta: There will be festivities at a vacant field nearby Mencos market, in Karet, on Tuesday. I think there will be some games like sack races, cracker eating contests and the like, mostly for children. As for young people like me, there will be an areca nut tree climbing contest.
I think I'll just watch those events. Besides, I will probably drive my ojek as usual. For me, Independence Day is not that special.

Merdeka!, a photoshoot by Jeroen van der Linde

Posted in History @ 17 August 2004 by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink

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