The Case of “Breeders”: An Attempt to Define Heterosexuality

One day, I logged onto Facebook. What was shown to me on the screen were pictures of weddings and newlyweds going to honeymoon. People, on their mid-twenties, were chattering about perfectly staged pre-weddings, out-of-town vacations, to toddlers being toddlers. Congratulating each other made up most of the conversations along with occasional religious expressions. The theatrics of it had been more pressurizing than inspiring and it occurred to me that it had been going on for a while. That was about seven years ago.

It was not until years after that I realized that I was no longer among friends, I was in a society of “breeders”. “Breeders” is a term popularized by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community to describe heterosexuals. Ever since there have been varying definitions on “breeders”. Wikipedia stated, “breeders” refers to people who “have children, particularly for parents who purportedly over focus on their children and allegedly abandon their previous friends and lifestyle; or to women who give birth to many children, often with the derisive implication that they have too many offspring.” An Urban Dictionary submission defines “breeders” as people who are “so inept the only possible way they can contribute anything to society is to produce offspring.”

What I can conclude from the definitions is that “breeders” is a society that bases its order and structure on the act of breeding. Every aspect of the society, our society, is primarily made to sustain it. Government policies, for instance, have been focused on developing safeguards to sustain the population. These policies concern fields from education, health, to jobs. The provincial government of Jakarta has introduced programs such as Kartu Jakarta Pintar (KJP) for education and Kartu Jakarta Sehat (KJS) for health. It is quite possibly an effort to anticipate the ever increasing population. It begs the question for how long, and for how many generations to come, these policies will continue.

The term “breeders” is considered derogatory at it is likening childbearing to animal husbandry. It depicts a cycle that is comparable to a cycle of cattle. The typical cycle goes from schooling to getting a job to getting married to having children. Especially for women, schooling and getting a job perhaps are even not as essential as getting married and having children. Sometimes we also see comments expressing negativity such as “People like them can only breed!” It is as though we are aware in the back of our minds that there so much more to the society than the act of breeding. This will lead us to the definition of heterosexuality.

According to American Psychological Association (APA), heterosexuality is an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and or sexual attractions to persons of the opposite sex. It also refers to a person’s sense of identity based on those attractions, related behaviors, and membership in a community of others who share those attractions. Isn’t it odd that the definition centers on attraction, and not “breeding”? The latter part of the definition also brings us to an understanding of identifying heterosexuality; to inquire the identification of heterosexuality is to inquire the socialization in our society.

Through socialization in our society, we are presented a cycle, a life cycle. As implied above, the cycle is characterized by the act of breeding and (gender) roles involved. It can occur through: social learning—receiving rewards for behavior appropriate to our sex and receive punishments for inappropriate behavior; cognitive development—acquiring roles through awareness of our own sex and perceptions of behavior appropriate to our own sex; and identification—adopting roles through identification with a role model. Affirmed by culture and tradition, the cycle assigned our sexes into roles.

It serves a purpose and the purpose is biological succession of generations. In “Sociological Study on the Transformation of Fertility and Childbearing Concept in Iran”, Zohreh Behjati-Ardakani, Mehrdad Navabakhsh, and Seyed Hassan Hosseini studied, “In human mind and instinct, the concept of evolution and immortality is intermingled with reproductive power and childbearing and thereby, the biological, psychological, and social success in life is contingent upon reproductive power of individuals and the fulfilment of societies’ expectations.” From sociological perspective, facing the environment and the means which are at disposal, society is making the decision to set structure—even if it involves heterosexuality being reduced to roles of “breeding”, providing a challenge of its own. In some parts of society, girls are being prepared for marriage at the earliest age, as early as first menstrual period. Giving birth to as many children as possible is also encouraged.

The current population of Indonesia is over 263 million based on the latest United Nations estimates. It is projected that by year 2020, population of Indonesia will reach over 271 million. With the median of about 28 years of age, the present generation is ripe to continue the centuries-old cycle. Issues concerning population may not be “felt” on individual level. However, when the increasing population is disproportional to resources, inadequacies of resources occur in every aspect. It undoubtedly leads to various issues. Vast and extensive analysis in disciplines such as environmental studies, social and developmental studies, economic studies, and feminist studies has been called for regarding the issue.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a heterosexual. I had the possibility of getting married and bear children, and quite of young age, but it was not going to be with somebody I love. Sense of identity, quest for fulfillment, and ultimately, happiness, are what I would be compromising. Reflecting on it, I question if life leading me to experiences other than bearing children suggests that I am not aligned with the sexuality I identify with. The life cycle can be seen as the succession of roles and a certain order and predictability occurs over time as we move through a given succession of roles. I am bound to a life cycle. We are all bound to a life cycle. The question is whether our values and norms designate us to a constellation of roles enriching us with greater wisdom of life, our essence as human beings.

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Gender Roles: Empowerment or Entrapment?

First, the commentary will start with gender roles instead of gender. From gender roles, we acknowledge what is acceptable, appropriate, or desirable for the society, in the society. Gender roles are sets of societal norms dictating the types of behaviors for people based on their actual or perceived sex or sexuality. From the definition, we are aware that it relies heavily on societal norms. To understand the notion, we must explore our society. To which society do the norms apply?

In Indonesia, among conservative societies, even liberal ones, traditional gender roles are the most common. Since prehistoric age, Paleolithic men went to hunt prey such as mammoths, as the women were left behind to gather seeds and berries and care for the young. Nevertheless, anthropologist Olga Soffer discovered that the women spent much of their time inventing the tools—foundations of future society. Predominantly influenced by culture of ethnics, societies in Indonesia are familiarized with gender roles regardless what is exhibited in the West. Nearly in every ethnic, gender roles emphasize men as community leaders, decision makers, and mediators, while women are the backbone of the home and family values. The gender roles are then recognized as sets of societal norms.

Gender roles also originate from labor divisions. In the book “Husbands and Wives: The Dynamics of Married Living”, Robert. O. Blood, Jr. and Donald M. Wolfe noted that there are two divisions of labor in the household: traditional and contemporary. Traditional labor division involves women having tasks centering on household chores such as cooking, washing, and ironing. Women are seen as child bearers; pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding determine the role of women at home as much as in the society. Contemporary labor division states both labor of men and women in the household are complementary.

Based on observation, gender roles are rooted in the socialization process. Are we raising boys and girls the same way? Are we raising boys to be superheroes? And girls to be princesses? Such socialization occurs first during childhood until we thoroughly acknowledged what gender is prescribed to us. Erving Goffman, in “The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life”, elaborated dramaturgical analysis. It describes theatrical performances occurring in face-to-face interactions. When an individual comes in contact with another person, he or she attempts to control or guide the impression that the other person will form of him or her, by altering his or her own setting, appearance, and manner. Our society, with its socialization of gender, equip us for “theatrical performance”.

Let’s get on to gender. Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between, masculinity and femininity. Gender differentiates from sex. It also differentiates from sexual orientation. While heterosexuality and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) are common in Indonesia, the gender spectrum is virtually unknown. The gender spectrum includes agender, bigender, cisgender, and transgender. There are also androgyne and genderfluid. Everything that falls outside of the societal norm is referred to as gender queer.

Agender is a term which can be translated as ‘without gender’. It can be seen either as a non-binary gender identity or as a statement of not having a gender identity. Bigender is a gender identity which can be translated as ‘two genders’ or ‘double gender’. Bigender people experience two gender identities, either simultaneously or varying between the two. Cisgender is a term for people whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth. Transgender is a term for people whose gender identity or gender expression differs from the sex that they were assigned at birth.

Gender is more socially and culturally defined rather than biologically defined. As Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, a novel writer, stated during a TED talk, “The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be, rather than recognizing how we are.” Nature theorists perceive the psychological differences between men and women were caused by biological factors, while nurture theorists argue that the differences were developed through a learning process in the environment. From the notion, we can assume that genders are developed through a learning process. Even so, there is an interaction between biological factors and sociocultural factors.

Question is, what sociocultural factors determine gender roles in the society? There is a myriad of factors from the immediate environment, such as the family, to the media. The interaction with such factors can involve acceptance or opposition, compliance or refusal. However it may be, it contributes to the process of socialization and consequently, it shapes us who we are. Discovering our gender identity suggests discovering our experiences of our own gender. Such experiences are unique as they are diverse.

Progressives also believe gender roles are “outdated” and “damaging”. When is a gender role seen as outdated and damaging? As an example, in a society that forbids women from going to school and getting a job for their gender role. It can cause disadvantages to the society, especially concerning women’s rights. In result, women miss out on the education—and opportunities—of the political, economic, to health, which can better their lives and the society at large.

To conclude the commentary, we must keep in mind that, as how it is with cisgender, genders in general are shaped through socialization. Gender roles have been already prescribed to us since dawn of men. However, we’re not of the prehistoric age. We have evolved. What is acceptable, appropriate, or desirable in the society should not be established by complacency, but by critical view. The Internet age allows us to be exposed to various sociocultural influences, such that can develop unique learning process for each of us all, our children, and our children’s children. There are women feeling entrapped by household chores, but there are also women feeling empowered by them. Are gender roles an empowerment or entrapment? It solely depends on the path we choose.

Gardening in the City

It’s time of the year to celebrate blossoming flowers, fruitful trees, chirping birds and fluttering butterflies. Living in this day and age, these are wonders of nature one may only find in a garden. To the Japanese monks, a garden is a sanctuary of profound stillness. To the French royals, it is an aesthetic manifestation of nobility. However way you look at it, having a garden in your home lets you revel in the tropics for seasons to come. Read on for a guide on gardening in the city.

Urban Gardening

What distinguish urban gardening are landscaping factors such as size of lawn and housing design. Houses in the densely populated Jakarta have smaller space of lawn that requires management of space. The stacks-like housing order with dividers such as fences and cement walls also suggest less flexibility during landscaping a garden. What seems like a problem, these factors on contrary emphasize the natural, adaptable elements of a garden.

Ida Amal from Jakarta Berkebun suggested VertiCulture for the typical urban residence. VertiCulture gardening is a space managing method implementing vertical installation using containers, drain pipes, bamboos, even tin cans as planting ground. For apartments residents, you may find Bosco Verticale in Milan as one of the most advanced implementations of vertical planting to be an inspiration. Bosco Verticale is a twin apartment built with cantilevered balconies grown with oak and amelanchier trees, in other words, “a vertical forest”. If you’re not sure growing an oak tree on the balcony would work out well with the landlord, arrange generous amount of shrubs of a particular variant, accentuate with a choice of floral plants on an integrating container panel.

Another factor to be taken to account is time of maintenance. Urban dwellers may have less time pruning and sprucing their garden, thus getting familiar with cultivating seasons of specific plants, commonly referred to as annuals and perennials, is advised.

Design and Landscaping

The essence of garden design and landscaping lies in the usage hard material, such as cement and cobble stones. As H.E. Bates noted, gardens should be in shape of “all curves, secret corners, unexpected deviations, seductive surprises and then still more curves.”. That being said, hard materials surface the garden in a way that it provides not only distinctive texture but also shape. For instance, patio flooring made of water-resistant camphor wood, cement tiles for the stepping path and cobble stones defining patches for ornamental plants.

For home gardeners living in apartments or in houses with less space to garden, containers can be used for improvising planting placements, a method referred to as “container gardening”. Containers can be in form of pot containers, woven baskets, and window boxes, positioned hanging on the trellis or wall, by the windowsills, placed on terrace steps, or corners of either interiors or exteriors of the house. Selection of containers varied from plastic containers, ceramic containers, glazed containers, to clay containers, also decorative containers made of coral and andesite stones as alternative to conventional clay containers.

Businesses also embraces garden landscaping as part of service as much part of structure. Luxurious and intimate, Rumah Alexandra braces a stone-tiled Javanese shrine garden, embroidered by purple-streaked leaves of croton, jeweled by blossoming frangipani and coconut palm trees, with checkered stepping path escorting house guests to a Javanese joglo. The Phoenix employ rustic gray cement as material for containers and terrace steps, a minimalistic element balancing the monochromatic extravagance of the interior. A lush jackfruit tree greets the eatery visitors upon entering the garden and provides a cool shading especially during the day.

Planting and Harvesting

Trees, ornamental plants, flowering plants, and fruit plants are primary types of garden plants. While from the growth characteristics, garden plants are categorized into shrubs, bulbs, climbers, and creepers. Each category consists of plants of various shapes and colors. Important to note that each plant may require specific cultivating method.

Elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum schumach) and manila grass (Zoysia matrella) are most recommended grass for house lawns. Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), soka (Ixora coccinea), bougainvillea (Bougainvillea spectabilis), flamingo lily (Anthurium andraeanum), lobster claw (Heliconia rostrata), red ginger (Alpinia purpurata), mandeville (Mandevilla sanderi), frangipani (Plumeria sp.), shoe flower (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis), and amaryllis (Hippeastrum) promise picturesque blooms throughout season for the garden or as houseplants. Ornamental trees, such as banyan (Ficus benjamina), korean banyan (Ficus coreana), coconut palm (Cocos nucifera), bali pandanus (Pandanus tectona), teak (Tectona grandis), acacia (Acacia gerggi), fern leaf bamboo (Bambusa glaucescens) and decorative palms such as the lady palm (Rhapis excelsa) can function as border hedges or as shading curtain.

Selecting vegetation to grow is similar to the process of design and landscaping of garden. Ideally,  plants enhance the shape and texture of the garden. Conventional house gardens employ the basic combination for gardeners to begin with, consisting of palm tree, teh-tehan pagar, and soka shrubs, planted on a grass lawn. Preparing a color palette for the garden helps determine plants to grow–whether a burst of radiant red of poinsettia, or an omni-elegance of a white flamingo lily. You may also grow productive ornamental plants such as aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis Milleer), sansevieria (Sansevieria ehrenbergii), and croton (Codiaeum variegatum).

Speaking of productive plants, vegetable-and-fruits gardening and herbal gardening are most common forms of productive gardening. Vegetations commonly cultivated for vegetable-and-fruits gardens are chili (Capsicum spp), tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum), eggplants, parai, pumpkin, papaya, and lemon. Seeds can be purchased from gardening markets or by placing order through local suppliers. Ida added that vegetable plants most practical to cultivate are spinach (Amaranthus spp.) and kangkoong (Ipomoea reptana) considering the relatively brief period of 21 to 30 days from plant until harvest.

Most fruits plants can be grown using tambulampot method, short for “tanaman buah dalam pot”, meaning planting fruits in containers, a method suitable for smaller lawns. Suggested fruit plants are soursops (Annona muricata), starfruits (Averrhoa carambola), lemon (Citrus limon), rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum), and water apples (Syzygium aqueum). For herbal gardening, Ida recommends saffron (Curcuma longa), ginger (Zingiber officinale), kencur (Kaempferia galangal), and galangal (Alpinia galangal), also grown in containers.

Markets and Community

Stroll down Jl. Dharmawangsa and Jl. Asia Afrika flower markets for grown plants. Shop for gardening tools and appliances at the nearest retail hardware shops or supermarkets. Get social with fellow gardening enthusiasts by visiting Jakarta Berkebun official website at indonesiaberkebun.org and Twitter page at @IDBerkebun.

“Wear a Hijab, You’d Look Prettier”: How One Christian Woman Perceives Hijab

“Wear a hijab, you’d look prettier.”

It was said to me once, even though I’m a Christian. It is, of course, a subtle gesture of saying that I’m more preferable, sexually preferable, if I’m a mualaf. It may be once, but it was enough to affect how I view hijabis from then on. If I, a Christian, can receive such comment, let alone Muslim women. Not only by men, but by fellow Muslim women. The effect grew more and more significant during the hijab trend over the past decade. Hijabis are not only to be seen at religious settings, such as the mosque, but in schools and campuses, cafes and malls.

When a Christian woman inquire why Muslim women wear hijab, usually the answer is simple as it is obvious: “Because our religion said so.” That is understandable. The Quran stated: “And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their khimār over their breasts and not display their beauty except to their husband, their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments.”

Over the course of time, the concept of modesty has evolved. The society has come to accept hijab as a representation of femininity. As how a woman with long hair and high heels expresses femininity, so does a woman wearing hijabs. The society does not only accept it, it accommodates it. The media, from sinetrons to commercials, exhibits hijab-clad women to gain appeal. Women wearing hijabs are said to acquire feminine characteristics—gentle, compassionate, vulnerable, submissive, prude, and so on. The characteristics also involve the sanctimonious, one that is exclusively female, the shalihah character. Shalihah is an Arabic word meaning “pious female”.

Hijabs, in this regard, are closely associated to gender roles. In the media, women wearing hijabs are commonly depicted as mothers and wives, and not as individuals. The term darabat al-hijab or “taking the veil” itself was used interchangeably with “becoming Prophet Muhammad’s wife”, and that during Muhammad’s life, no other Muslim woman wore the hijab. From the notion, we can assume the mandate of the Quran to wear hijab applied to the wives of Muhammad. What it impacts most is our socialization of gender. We are socialized in such a way the idea of womanhood is confined to being mothers and wives—hijabi mothers and wives. Our socialization can easily be misinterpreted as compulsion. It has become oriented in religion, one religion above all, not founded upon universal values and morals.

In result to such gender roles, hijabis also have a risk of falling into the trap of gender stereotyping. Gender stereotyping is a generalization according to gender attributes, differences, and roles of individuals or groups. Gender stereotyping can lead to gender subordination, and worse, gender marginalization. To begin with, wearing hijab itself reinforces the belief that women are inherently under the command of men. Wearing the hijab is commanded to prevent sexual harassment, neglecting the fact that, also in Quran, men are told to lower their gaze and guard their modesty. It is not ineffective, in “Wearing the Hijab in Contemporary Morocco: Choice and Identity”, written by Leila Hessini, women find men have more respect for them and bother them less when they wear hijab.

It is, nevertheless, a wrong approach in eradicating sexual harassment. It affirms the notion that men, as sexual aggressors, have dominance over women. Randall Collins, Janet Saltzman Chafetz, Rae Lesser Blumberg, Scott Coltrane, Jonathan H. Turner, in “Toward an Integrated Theory of Gender Stratification”, wrote “When this is combined with high degrees of social stratification, males acquire status as controllers and protectors of female sexual property; women’s status honor is identified with their sexual purity. The status system upholds a dual standard; males acquire honor by the amount of sexual property they control, women acquire honor by being restricted and protected sexual property.” Exposure of hijabis in the society and culture extends such dominance of men. It does not only affect hijabis, but women in the society in general.

Such exposure is also an assertion that we are living in a religious conservative society, a society that not all of us identify with. Hijab is viewed differently in the West such as in United States, of course, as Muslims are minorities. In the liberal narrative, rights of minorities are championed. In Indonesia, however, there is a message conveyed in hijab. It is no longer only of the religious, but also social, economic, and political. Hijab represents a society that reinforces homogeneity and consequently discourages heterogeneity. It is no coincidence that along the time the numbers of hijabi grew in Indonesia, religious conservatism also grew.

“It is a choice, not oppression.”, some hijabis say. However, it does not change the fact that hijabs—so do burqas and niqabs—correlate with regimes of oppression. Afghans, for instance, prior to the Taliban ruling, the women did not wear burqas. They donned miniskirts and sleeveless tops. In Iran, even, there were protests against forced hijab. I, nevertheless, refute the notion that hijabis should be liberated from oppression of men. Women across religions, race, and class live in cultures that are patriarchal and under the dominance of men. Women of other cultures are not exempted from it. The challenges faced have more to do with our construct in regard to gender rather than each of our faith.

It was not until later in life that I found out that hijabs are not obliged in Islam. At the very least, it is not a directive in sharia law. Hijab is a product of its time, but many religious teachings have found their relevance even though they are products of their time. Hijab may have found its relevance in the modern, heterogeneous society. However, in the heterogeneous society, hijabis are represented. Are the rest of us represented in the society hijabis personify? It is of importance to note that hijabis live in a heterogeneous society, and not the other way around—the heterogeneous society living among hijabis.

If anything, fulfil the commands of God, but not of men. If indeed wearing a hijab makes me look prettier, I’d most certainly be wearing it on the outside. It is on the exterior. And as the Bible stated, in 1 Peter 3:3-4, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

Note: I personally would prefer “one Sociology scholar” instead of “one Christian woman” in the title, but it all returns to context.

Featured image source.

Sifat yang tercitra dari sektor ekonomi kreatif di Indonesia terbentuk dari bagaimana jaringan serta kegiatan organisasional yang terlaksana dengan melibatkan peran pewacana, perancang dan penggubah suatu narrative identity, yakni pemikiran ataupun pemaknaan dalam upaya membentuk ikatan-ikatan budaya kemasyarakatan. Ikatan budaya kemasyarakatan dan sumber daya tersebut memungkinkan pula bertumbuhkembangnya wadah-wadah pengalaman bersama dalam berkarya dan juga memberikan wajah industri ekonomi kreatif Indonesia masa kini.

Featured image source.

Want a job in sustainability – what’s next?

Discussion on Pulse: Want a job in sustainability – what’s next?

And it’s worth remembering that sustainability means different things to different companies. At a global drinks group, you might be working with village leaders on conserving community water supplies in India. At a US bank, you might be focusing on micro-lending or promoting financial literacy. At a car manufacturer, cutting energy use could be the goal.

What you probably don’t want is to end up in a company that thinks sustainability means writing a check to a local non-profit or replacing the light bulbs with energy efficient alternatives. “There are still hundreds of executives walking around Davos patting themselves on the back saying: ‘We got rid of plastic bottles in our operations’,” says Stewart. “And they actually think they’ve done something.

Sustainability, CSR, ESG, GCG, SV, and “green”. The job role. The method, or technicality, which I consider where ‘sustainability’ falls into. The value, associated most with corporate external activities, with customers, suppliers, stakeholders. The ethic, policy in result.

A Talk With Eric Santosa

Born 26th November 1968, Eric Santosa, father of two and researcher, has been bridging applied sciences that has taken practical economics to another level. Presently working for a marketing and business consultant firm, the University of Indonesia graduate went from field of academics to entrepreneurship while pursuing a passion for marketing. After returning from Germany, the literary buff started out as an academic lecturer that led him to develop an arts and crafts business in Kemang. Even though his business is soon to be relocated from the area, Eric Santosa shares a lesson or two on living with an added value.

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Kemang Now and Then

“I remember riding bikes down these lanes”, Fauzi Arief, business owner and resident pondered, “nothing in sight, nothing that Kemang has now, but a landscape of rice paddies.”. His family runs a Sundanese eatery since the 1970ies, opening their first lembur kuring at Senayan, a second one at Kemang afterwards. Similar response given by also an elderly resident, Haji Nursit, “Back then, I farmed here, nyawah, then I worked for the hotel, first hotel around here.”. Haji Nursit, a Betawi native, is among the residents still remaining in the area over the years. The hotel he referred to is Hotel Kemang, now the Grand Kemang, a hotel built around 40 years ago.

As early as year 1959, construction of roads from Thamrin, Sudirman, Slipi, to Mampang had already begun, opening access from the central, where most civic activities taken place, to the southern part of Jakarta. Building constructions were scattered over main areas of the city. Two of the city’s most ambitious buildings constructed nearby were the Conference of New Emerging Forces (CONEFO) building complex, now the Parliamentary complex where House of Representatives is located, and Gelanggang Olahraga Bung Karno. Ali Sadikin, 1966-elected governor, soon brought in the buzz of economic and commercial trade in the capital, taking a firm step towards market-centered urbanity. This also has drawn in more urban dwellers to the southern part of the city, where one of the city’s busiest market, Pasar Melawai, is located.

It was the expansion of Kotabaru Kebajoran, now referred to as Kebayoran, shortly after the nation declared independence that has place Kemang on the map, quite literally. The expansion of 18th century suburban neighbourhood Weltevreden has just undergone its later stages at the time. Just as how Weltevreden was, Kebajoran is a satellietstad, a satellite town, originally intended for Europeans inhabitants during the Stadsgementee Batavia era, around late 1930ies. The concept was introduced by Prof. Ir. V. R. van Romondt, senior lecturer at the Technische Hogeschool at Bandung, and administratively governed by the Kebajoran Commissie.

World War II interrupted the ongoing project. By year 1949, the local government, which was then referred as the Kotapradja, under the command of Suwirjo as mayor or wedana, decided to bring the project back on the ground. Only at the time, Kotabaru Kebajoran was meant to anticipate and solve housing issues arising during the post-colonial era. It was also as far as 8 kilometres away from Koningsplein, considered the downtown during the era, which made it more strategic as residence for government employees.

Roads spanning from Thamrin, Sudirman, Slipi, to Mampang have created a linear development across the city from central point to the south, until it reached a lush, green village, Kampung Kebon. Kampung Kebon is a 600-hectares wide region, vast with vegetations, rice fields, fruits orchards, and farms. Later on, it had a change of name to Kemang.

Whilst Kebayoran was at large considered a suburb for the government elites, where diplomatic parties and terrace politics were the norm, Kemang was more as an accession to Kebajoran. Thus, local businesses spawned, mainly to provide basic needs of nearby residents. Hasyim Ning, an automotive industry entrepreneur, ran a hotel business, Hotel Kemang, to serve the increasing numbers of domestic and international visitors. Another well known entrepreneur, Bob Sadino, also bought a land in the area and established a farming business, Kemchick, started off by selling eggs door-to-door.

“It’s not the businesses. It’s not the expatriates. It’s the army.”, a loyal assistant for the family of Gen. S. E. Martadinata said, while flicking through the family’s old photo album. The general’s eldest daughter and her family lived in a house located at a marine force housing facility in Kemang. The exterior of the house seen as if it has never been renovated since the 1960ies—its striped summer canopy and marble-floored terrace portrays the old California influence, indicating the tightening of political bond between Indonesia and United States of America during the era, a change from the classic European style from its preceding colonial era.

The house used to be a medical clinic facility for army patients the eldest daughter inherited. There, in the family photo album, Soeharto was pictured visiting injured army patients. The marine force housing estate itself was built during the transitional period from Soekarno to Soeharto presidency. A certain top rank army general has been said to have invested quite much in the area as well. He was also a resident, and used to live at the site where now La Codefin is situated. The main Kemang road lining from Bangka to Prapanca was told to be paved under his favor and facilitation.

Expatriates residing in the neighbourhood also played a great part in Kemang’s socio-cultural refining. It is especially so back in early 1980ies when the area had been gentrified into an expatriate residential. A housing facility owned by a Dutch manufacturing company for executive level employees, which were then mostly Dutch and European expatriates, was one of its very first expatriate residential estate. Though most expatriated moved in only temporarily, some decided to become permanent residents. “Expatriates came, married local girls, opened businesses.”, Fauzi Arief explained. He also noted several pubs and discotheque he used to spend his nights out during his younger Poppy Lane days. Along the way, precisely beginning year 1982, Soeprapto, set a policy to propel more infrastructural development to the southern Jakarta more intensively. In effect, there was also a rise in demand for recreational and leisure services close by.

Monetary crisis hit the country during the late 1990ies to early 2000, initiating a stronger shift to the entertainment and culinary industries considered least likely to suffer its impact. Housing arrangements between locals and expatriates became less segregated and multicultural dialogues were encouraged. Governor from year 1997 to 2007, Sutiyoso, at the time presented the concept of Modern Kampong. It coincided along with the conceptualization of Jakarta as a “service city”, focusing travel and tourism in respond to its trade and commercial aspects. Book shops, cafes, art galleries, hobby stores to fashion boutiques soon flourished, adding a Parisian hint to the pedestrianized Kemang.

Kemang of the present day may still have to face numerous urban that consequently occur, such as traffic jam and excessive private land use. In regards to its socio-economic aspect, Kemang has become a self-sustaining neighbourhood. Perhaps that is why some, one to mention is Jeremy Allan, in his book “Jakarta Jive”, notes the seclusion of Kemang from mainstream Jakarta. Others regard Kemang exactly the contrary, that it’s the capital city in smaller scale–a melting pot of cultures, from the traditional to the sophisticated, from the retrospective to the visionary.

Dare to Care

“Kindness is the golden chain by which the society is bound together”, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once stated. Along with the increase of population in the capital city, societal issues varying from environment to children rights are becoming in greater demand of sufficient yet sustainable act of kindness. Extending the chain of kindness from our own backyard, Kemang Buzz takes an inside look at charitable foundations within the community, and ways to support through each.

The Foundation for Mother and Child Health

In year 2001, The Foundation for Mother and Child Health (FMCH) first established as mother-and-child care centre situated in Kemang. The Kemang-based care centre developed into a community-supported charitable foundation, welcoming mothers and malnourished toddlers at Cipete and Cilandak disadvantaged areas. The foundation’s core mission is to improve health, education, and sustainable skills of mothers and children with outreach programs reaching to West Timor, India and Azerbaijan. FMCH has also published an award-winning recipe book, “Gado Gado ala Bule”, of which all proceeds of sale directed to fund medical aid of post-tsunami Aceh.

How to support? If you are skilled in child nursing and midwifery, computing, writing or sewing, or knowledgeable in nutrition and kindergarten to primary school teaching, you can begin volunteering by registering through the site or email at fmchjakarta@gmail.com. Online donation box is available on the official website.

The Foundation for Mother and Child Health
Jl. H. Naim II no. 10 RT 03/RW 11
Cipete Utara, Kebayoran Baru
Phone: (+62) 21 723-2119
Email fmchjakarta@gmail.com
Website: www.motherandchildhealth.org

Indonesia Heritage Society

Indonesia Heritage Society (IHS) is a not-for-profit foundation aiming to promote interest and knowledge of the traditional cultures of Indonesia. Evening lectures, heritage tours, and are some of the programs offered by the foundation for cultural enthusiasts from all walks of life. The main part of the foundation is The Library, a home to vast collection of books and slides of subjects from history, arts, to ethnography. Coming from multinational backgrounds, IHS staffs and volunteers, or the Heritage Society Friends, altogether create an adequate cultural learning atmosphere combined with activities conducted in English, French, Japanese and Korean.

How to support? Contributing to IHS can be as exciting as educating especially for scholars. It offers volunteering opportunities in fields of library-keeping, public relations and event organizing, media and publishing, to information technology. Volunteer activities include becoming museum tour guides, library keepers, and providing assistance to study groups and language classes.

Indonesia Heritage Society
17th Floor, Sentral Senayan 1
Jl. Asia-Afrika 8
Phone: (+62) 21 572-5870
Email: info@heritagejkt.org
Website: www.heritagejkt.org

Jakarta Animal Aid Network

Located at Jakarta Animal Clinic, Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN) commits to improve protection and welfare of animals in Indonesia since its establishment in 2008.  Activities include rescuing, providing veterinary care, training for animals and owners, rehabilitating and re-homing animals. Collaborating with the local government, the animal aid network seeks to rescue wildlife animals from captivity, extinction, and exploitation. As for domesticated animals, JAAN aims to educate the mass on ethical treatment of animals. Since year 2009, JAAN has also been organizing PAWDAY walks, fund-raising event gathering pet owners to take their dogs for a day out in the park.

How to support? You can register online to join the support team. JAAN is also currently on the lookout for flight volunteers. Flight volunteers are travelers escorting rescued animals to new families. In addition, you can either adopt or sponsor an animal. Merchandises such as t-shirts and mugs are available for purchase as a way to help fund the network.

Jakarta Animal Aid Network
Jl. Kemang Timur no. 17
Phone: (+62) 21 719 9917
Email: info@jakartaanimalaid.com
Website: www.jakartaanimalaid.com

Rumah Yatim Foundation

Headquartered in West Java, Rumah Yatim Foundation is an orphanage house distinguished for presenting the idea of doing charity in a religious theme. Rumah Yatim also offers services in facilitating managing charities. The Kemang orphanage house is the sixth branch and presently sheltering 25 foster children. Counting to more than 300 orphans and dhuafas living in Rumah Yatim houses spread across nation, the wakaf program include the construction of a 450 m2-wide orphanage dormitory in Bandung, West Java.

How to support? Rumah Yatim accepts deeds through donation. It is categorized into wakaf, zakat, infaq, and shodaqoh donation. Consulting with the administrator is advised in setting up an appropriate charity plan or child sponsorship. Having the orphans to come over for open-house festivities can also be a good idea of sharing the joy.

Kampung Kids Foundation

For more than a decade, Kampung Kids Foundation has been playing a significant role in improving the livelihood of underprivileged community of Pejaten and neighbouring areas. Now sponsoring almost a thousand of children, Kampung Kids started off humbly by serving food, fruits and milk from a founder’s garage. Then it began opening English classes for children aged 8 to 10 every once a week, with college students as volunteering tutors. The foundation’s mission gradually manifested into what is referred to as the 3-Phase Program, consisted of basic nutrition, health care, and education.

How to support? Facilitated by a community center in Pejaten, volunteers’ work mainly in running the playgroup for children aged 4 to 6 years old. Kampung Kids is most suitable for eduvolunteers as most tasks are educational, from teaching the alphabet song to using a computer. Donation in form of food, clothes, computers, and stationery tools is accepted as an alternative to money donation.

Kampung Kids Foundation
Jl. Pejaten Barat IV No. 22
Phone: (+62) 21 719 4787
Mobile: 0812 954 0527
Email: info@kampungkids.org
Website: www.kampungkids.org