Jakarta, The Capital Of Indonesia

Jakarta, also Djakarta, formerly Batavia, capital and largest city of the Republic of Indonesia, centrally located within the country on the northwest coast of Java Island at the mouth of the Liwung River. Batavia, as the city was called by the Dutch, was the capital of the Netherlands Indies for most of the 17th through early 20th centuries. Jakarta dominates Indonesia's administrative, economic, and cultural activities, and is a major commercial and transportation hub within Asia. The climate is hot and humid year-round. Rainfall occurs throughout the year, although it is heaviest from November to May. The average annual precipitation in Jakarta is 1,790 mm (71 in). The city lies on a flat, low alluvial plain and is prone to flooding during periods of heavy rainfall. There is little seasonal variation in temperature; the average high in January is 29° C (84° F and in July 30° C (86° F).

Jakarta And Its Metropolitan Area

In 1966 the government declared Jakarta a special metropolitan district with a status and administration similar to that of a province. For these purposes it is called Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta Raya, often shortened to DKI Jakarta. It has a total area of 661 sq km (255 sq mi). Since the early 1970s the urban sprawl of Jakarta has grown into the adjacent province of West Java. For development and planning purposes, this large urban area is known as Jabotabek, an acronym for Jakarta and its West Java satellite towns of Bogor, Tangerang, and Bekasi.

Jakarta is aligned along a north-south orientation from the old harbor of Sunda Kelapa and the original site of European settlement on the north, to the city's southern suburbs. Kota, the city's oldest commercial area, is located south of Sunda Kelapa. Just south of Kota is Glodok, a banking, retail, and residential neighborhood with a large ethnic Chinese population.

Merdeka Square, with Monas, or Monumen Nasional (National Monument) at its center, dominates the city's central district. Surrounding the square are the presidential palace, the National Museum, and the Istiqlal Mosque. Just south of Merdeka Square, along the connected arteries of Jalan Thamrin and Jendral Sudirman, are major hotels, financial institutions, and the headquarters of domestic and multinational corporations.

This main corridor continues south to connect with Kebayoran Baru, a residential suburb and important shopping area built after 1945. Other residential areas are the Grogol, Taman Sari, and Senen neighborhoods near the central area of the city. The southern suburbs of Cikini, Menteng, and Gondongdia developed as exclusive Dutch residential areas; they are now fashionable neighborhoods for wealthy Indonesians and foreigners.

Housing is one of Jakarta's most serious problems. The quality of the buildings varies widely; more than half the structures are temporary or only semipermanent. The most common types are single-story structures made from wood and, occasionally, bamboo mats. Also common are single-family detached or semidetached houses made from brick, cement, and wood, with tile roofs. The government has made some effort to construct low-cost housing. Luxury houses in limited-access neighborhoods, such as Kemang, are increasingly common on the southern fringes of the city.

Electricity supply has expanded to meet the city's needs and most houses have electricity for lighting. However, water supply and sewage disposal are still inadequate. Less than half the households use piped water for drinking. Fewer still use piped water for bathing and washing. Only a small part of Jakarta is served by piped sewers and many homes lack septic tanks.

Education And Culture

Jakarta has more than 100 private and public institutions of higher learning, including the University of Indonesia, founded in 1950, the nation's oldest university. Despite the large number of institutions, there are more students than these schools can accommodate. There is also an insufficient number of vocational institutions to meet the demand for training.
Jakarta's cultural institutions showcase a variety of Indonesian art, including textiles, batik cloth (cloth that is dyed by a technique using wax), wayang orang (traditional theater with human actors), and wayang kulit (traditional puppet theater), painting, and Javanese and Balinese gamelan (drum-and-gong ensemble) music. See Indonesian Music; Indonesian Dance.
Important museums include the Jakarta History Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the National Museum.

Point Of Interest
Notable landmarks include the former Dutch city hall (Stadhuis), which now houses the Jakarta History Museum; Istana Merdeka, the presidential palace; and Istiqlal Mosque, with space for more than 10,000 worshipers.
Among the city's parks, Medan Merdeka is the most well known. The park features the Monas (Monumen Nasional, or National Monument), a pinnacle towering nearly 140 m (nearly 460 ft).
The Jabotabek region offers many recreational opportunities. Kebun Raya, a world-renowned botanical garden located in Bogor, was laid out during the 19th century. The Ragunan Zoo is located south of the center of Jakarta.

Taman Mini Indonesia, located southeast of the city, is a large cultural theme park depicting the arts, customs, and lifestyle of each of Indonesia's 27 provinces and districts. Sporting facilities include the Senayan Sports Complex. The Ancol complex on Jakarta Bay includes an oceanarium and Southeast Asia's largest amusement park. A variety of open-air markets are located throughout the city.

The History

Jakarta's origin can be traced to a Hindu settlement on Jakarta Bay as early as the 5th century ad. By the 12th century, Sunda Kelapa served as a port for the Hindu Pajajaran Kingdom in the interior of Java. A Hindu king granted Portuguese traders permission to build a fort at Sunda Kelapa in the early 16th century, but in 1527 Fatillah, a Muslim leader from the north, conquered Sunda Kelapa and renamed the settlement Jayakarta.

Dutch traders captured the city in 1619 and renamed it Batavia, which became the capital of the Netherlands Indies. They rebuilt the settlement to resemble a Dutch city with canals. Activities centered around a walled fortress and the warehouses of the Dutch East India Company. The humid climate and the fort's location on a low-lying swampy area contributed to a high incidence of disease. In the early 1800s the city expanded as the Dutch began moving to the south, where the ground was higher and less prone to breed diseases.

The British captured Java in 1811 and ruled the island until 1816, when it was returned to Dutch control. Between 1920 and 1940, the city expanded further and gradually became modernized. Japan took possession of the city in 1942 during World War II and renamed it Jakarta. Following the Japanese defeat in 1945, the Dutch again took control, despite the demands of Indonesian nationalists who declared independence on August 17, 1945. The Dutch remained in Jakarta until 1949 when they formally transferred sovereignty to the new Republic of Indonesia.

During the Sukarno presidency (1945-1968), many buildings and monuments were added to the city's skyline. The country's second president, Suharto, restructured the government and energized the economy. As a result, Jakarta became the recipient of considerable investment.
In the mid-1970s Jakarta's physical and economic planners began addressing the needs of the Jabotabek region. The plans aimed to restrict growth along the coast, consolidate urban expansion into alternative growth centers, and provide better accessibility to employment and services. Planners have achieved considerable success in expanding the availability of urban services and the Kampung Improvement Program has had a dramatic effect in improving the most depressed neighborhoods of the city.

See Also Badminton In Indonesia
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Source: Jakarta, The Capital Of Indonesia

Badminton in Indonesia

In the city of Solo on the Indonesian island of Java, the town square is a smooth dirt surface illuminated by blue fluorescent lights hanging from electrical cords. Every day, from morning to midnight, townspeople sit on easy chairs and watch players whack a small object made of cork, goat leather, and goose feathers back and forth with flimsy-looking rackets made of wood. The game they play is bulutangkis, and it is a national obsession. Outside of Indonesia the game is known as badminton.

Badminton was invented in the 1860s by the daughters of the Duke of Beaufort, who entertained themselves with a version of the children's game known as battledore and shuttlecock. The game they derived for themselves soon became known for the house in which they played it, the duke's Badminton House in Gloustershire, England.

Before long, badminton societies and clubs were sprouting throughout England. In 1893 the first Badminton Association was formed. Six years later the All-England Badminton Championship was played. Eventually, the sport migrated to continental Europe. From there it reached India via British military officers and Indonesia by way of Dutch colonists. The far-flung expansion necessitated the formation of the International Badminton Federation (IBF) in 1934.

Badminton took root in many countries, including Australia, China, Denmark, Indonesia, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa, and the United States. But nowhere did it catch on as it did in Indonesia, which ultimately became a global badminton superpower. In 1992, badminton's inaugural year as an official Olympic sport, Indonesians brought home the country's first gold medals.

Indonesia's tropical climate permits year-round outdoor play. The sport's low equipment cost makes it affordable to almost anyone. Two rackets, a shuttlecock, a long piece of string, and an empty piece of ground are all that is needed. Courts are often placed next to houses or apartment buildings because the structures serve as windbreaks. Fences covered with sheets of canvas also do the trick. In the absence of windbreaks, courts are oriented with prevailing winds blowing parallel to the court, not perpendicular.

Indonesian dominance of the sport began in the 1950s. In 1957 Indonesia competed in its first Thomas Cup, an international tournament named for IBF cofounder Sir George Thomas, a renowned badminton, tennis, and chess champion. Indonesia's stunning victory earned the country immediate entrance into the IBF.

Indonesia went on to win the triennial competition seven times in nine attempts from 1961 to 1984. The country also made its mark in other international tournaments, including the World Championship, the World Grand Prix, and the World Cup. Indonesia's best player during this stretch was also regarded as the best player in the world—Rudy Kurniawan Hartono, winner of a record eight All-England titles from 1968 to 1976. Hartono's victory at the 1980 World Championships before a home-country crowd in Jakarta keyed a dominant performance by the Indonesians, who won four of five events.

Starring on Indonesia's talent-rich delegation to the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain, was Susi Susanti, winner of the World Junior Championships in 1990, 1991, and 1992 (and ultimately 1993 and 1994). Susanti won the women's singles competition, becoming the first Indonesian athlete to earn an Olympic gold medal since the country gained its independence 43 years earlier. “It was something very precious for Indonesia,” she remarked later, according to Sports Illustrated. Meanwhile, the Indonesian men produced a medal sweep in the singles competition, with Allan Kusuma capturing the gold, Ardy Wiranata the silver, and Hermawan Susanto the bronze. Indonesia also earned the silver and bronze in the men's doubles.

The badminton team returned home as heroes. Their achievements had the effect of piling additional pressure onto the squad heading for the 1996 games in Atlanta, Georgia. “Because we won two gold medals in '92, the government wants some more in Atlanta,” Kusuma told Sports Illustrated a few weeks before the Atlanta competition. “Well, it is easy to say but not so easy to do.”

Kusuma and the national team's 80-odd other members lived at a cramped training center on the outskirts of Jakarta where, according to Sports Illustrated, words of inspiration were painted on a wall: “Badminton is my soul. Sportsmanship is my breath. Red and white [the national colors] is the symbol of my fate.” The players were also motivated by material incentives. Their gold-medal efforts earned Kusuma and Susanti each a $200,000 bonus—about 200 times the country's annual per capita income. The stars also reaped handsome incomes by promoting cars, shampoo, and other consumer products.

All the words and money, however, didn't help Indonesia improve on its Olympic medal count in Atlanta. The only gold medal was brought home by the men's doubles duo of Rexy Mainaky and Ricky Subagja, the reigning world champions. The two narrowly defeated a Malaysian pair who ignored a fortune-teller's advice to take green bananas onto the court. After the victory Mainaky sobbed as the Indonesian faithful among the crowd sang and waved flags. “I thank God for giving us the power to win this game,” he told the ESPNET Sportszone Web site afterwards.

Despite their performance at the 1996 Olympics, Indonesians have maintained their first-class rank in the sport. As for badminton in general, the future looks bright. See Also Indonesian Customs

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Source: Badminton in Indonesia
Customs of Indonesia

Customs of Indonesia

Marriage and Family

Women in rural areas of Indonesia are often married by the time they are 20 years old. Although people throughout the country have more freedom to choose their own marriage partners than they had in the past, rural families are generally more involved than urban families are in the choice of their children's spouses, and men generally have somewhat more freedom in choosing their spouses than women have. Engagement is more than an agreement between the future bride and groom; it binds the two families. Members of the extended family often live under the same roof or near one another. Older people are shown special respect.

In most regions, the home is traditionally dominated by the father, and the mother is responsible for raising children and caring for the household. In urban areas, however, the trend today is for many women to work outside the home, and women now make up 40.8 percent (2000) of the labor force. Women occupy 12 percent of the seats in parliament and generally have as much access to education as men do. Indonesian women have more rights than women in other predominantly Muslim countries, including rights in property settlements, inheritance, and divorce. Among the Minangkabau ethnic group, the mother is the dominant figure in the household, and extended families group together according to matrilineal descent.


Rice is the staple and is eaten at every meal in Indonesia. Vegetables, fish, and hot sauces are often served with the rice; specific dishes vary according to the region. Tea and coffee are the most common drinks. Fresh fruit is widely available and is often eaten as dessert. Popular meats include beef and chicken. Observant Muslims do not eat pork. Chilies are often used (sometimes in large quantities) in cooking, as are other spices. Coconut milk is used to cook particularly spicy food known as padang food, named after the city on Sumatra where it originated. In the capital, Jakarta, restaurants serve a variety of different cuisines, although the range is not as extensive as in some other Southeast Asian capitals.

Many Indonesians eat with a spoon and fork, but more traditional families eat with their hands. Generally, the fork is held in the left hand and the spoon in the right, and both hands are kept above the table while eating. It is impolite to eat or drink until invited to do so by the host. Finishing a drink implies the desire for the glass to be refilled. There are many street vendors selling food, but people who purchase food should always sit to eat because it is considered inappropriate to eat while standing or walking on the street.


Indonesian culture is based on honor and respect for the individual. Letters begin with Dengan hormat, meaning “With respect,” and respect is important in greeting others. Status is also important; the most senior person or the host should be greeted first, and special deference should be shown to older people. A nod or slight bow is the usual form of greeting, although when meeting someone for the first time it is normal to shake hands as well. Handshakes are also used when congratulating someone or when saying goodbye before a long trip. Titles are very important and should be used when greeting and in general conversation. The most formal introduction would include, in roughly this order, Bapak (“Sir”) or Ibu (“Madam”), an academic or professional title (if applicable), the noble title (if the person uses it), and the person’s given and family names. Many Indonesians, especially the Javanese, have only one name and are therefore addressed both formally and casually by that name. Business representatives often exchange cards when greeting each other.

When socializing, one never touches the head of another person. Unless married or engaged to her, a man usually does not touch a woman in public, except to shake hands. The left hand is not used to shake hands, touch others, point, eat, or give or receive objects.

Indonesians believe that visits bring honor to the host, and they warmly welcome all guests. Unannounced visits are common. When a visit has been prearranged it is usual to arrive half an hour after the appointed time. Visitors sit when invited to, but will also rise when the host or hostess enters the room, because deference to one’s host is very important. A drink is often served, but a guest does not drink until invited to. A person may cause offense by refusing when food or drink is offered. Blunt talk should be avoided. If the host or hostess is not wearing footwear, it is polite for visitors to remove theirs. Shoes are removed before entering carpeted rooms, feasting places, places of funeral viewings, mosques, and other holy places. Gifts are not opened in the giver’s presence.


Badminton and soccer are the most popular sports in Indonesia, and many people play volleyball and tennis. Shadow-puppet theater is a traditional art, and performances are particularly common in rural areas and on special occasions. Other recreational activities include watching television and going to the cinema. Censorship is strict.

Holidays and Celebrations

Indonesians celebrate the International New Year on 1 January. Muslims celebrate Idul-Fitri, a three-day feast at the end of Ramadan. Idul-Adha is a three-day festival for those not on the pilgrimage to Mecca (Makkah); it honors Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son at Allah’s behest. The birthday of the Prophet Muhammad is commemorated in July or August, according to the lunar calendar.

In Bali, a festival called Pengrupukan celebrates the New Year and the arrival of spring in March or April. The festival’s aim is to roust out the devils that, having been swept out of Hades following the rainy season, have gone into hiding on the island. The Balinese make elaborate offerings to lure the devils out and then run through the streets, their bodies painted, bearing torches and making noise to drive them off the island. The following day is Nyepí, when the emphasis is on silence and introspection; businesses are closed and people stay at home.

Christian holidays include Good Friday and Christmas (25 December), which are both public holidays. Easter Sunday and Ascension Day are also observed. The latter, 40 days after Easter, marks the day when Jesus Christ is said to have ascended to Heaven.

A pioneer for women’s rights in Indonesia is honored on Kartini Day (21 April). Raden Ajeng Kartini, or Lady Kartini, was the daughter of a Javanese nobleman and studied at a Dutch school. A foundation established in her name after her early death at age 25 opened the first girls’ school in Java in 1916. Independence Day is celebrated on 17 August and is considered the most important holiday in Indonesia. There are also hundreds of holidays related to other regional, religious, and cultural groups. See Also Prambanan Temple

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Source: Customs of Indonesia

Loro Jonggrang, Prambanan Temple

Temple of Prambanan (also called the Temple of Loro Jonggrang) stands in Jogjakarta. It is actually not one temple, but a complex of temples, made around the 9th century. The complex is for the Shiva Hindu people and had about 200 temples. This is the myth and fact about the making of the temple.

Loro Jonggrang was a daughter of a giant king called Ratu Baka (King of Death), and she had a proposal from a young noble, Bandung Bandawasa. He was handsome, wealthy and powerful, but Loro Jonggrang didn't want to marry him. Ratu Baka gave a task to Bandung Bandawasa. He had to make 1000 temples in one night, to prepare his marriage to Loro Jonggrang. Bandung Bandawasa used his supernatural force to call the genies, and they made the temples in unbelieveable speed. Loro Jonggrang, seeing that the task was almost completed, ordered her servants to help her hit the rice punchers, and made the sound of cooking, so the genies thought morning had come and they ran away. Bandung Bandawasa was angry with her act. He already finished 999 temples and when he built the 1000th, he cursed Loro Jonggrang into it.

The largest temple in Prambanan complex is the Shiva temple, and inside the temple, there is a Durga (Goddess of Darkness, wife of Shiva, God of Destruction) believed as the body of Loro Jonggrang.

Historians said the myth is based on the true story. In 9th century, Rakai Patapan Pu Palar, a member of Sanjaya Dynasty in Central Java, started a rebellion againts the ruling Syailendra Dynasty. Scared by his threat, King Samaratungga had his daughter Pramodawarddhani marry Rakai Patapan's son, Rakai Pitapan. Rakai Pitapan then became the King of Central and East Java and started making Prambanan complex, which completed at 915 AD.
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Source: Loro Jonggrang, Prambanan Temple

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