In August Tully Hambridge had the amazing opportunity to attend the Jakarta International Youth Program. You may have met Tully in class, she is a current Bachelor of Social Science/Bachelor of Laws (Honours) student majoring in Human Geography and the Environment. She has often studied alongside Development Studies students as part of her degree (and would have loved to study the combined Bachelor of Development Studies/Bachelor of Laws (Honours) program that’s having its first intake in 2018).
Tully was chosen as one of two Australian domestic students studying at a NSW educational institution to participate in strengthening the relationship with Jakarta as a Sister State. NSW and Jakarta have been in a Sister State agreement since 1994. The mutually beneficial agreement helps to build understanding as well as cultural and economic connections between our two cities.
This year the theme of the program that Tully was involved in was ‘Reinventing Social Engagement for a Better Jakarta’. Tully has kindly written to us to share her experiences and encourage other students that may be interested in applying for the 2018 program.
In the winter break, I wrote an essay on the topic “Reinventing Social Engagement for a Better Jakarta”, focussing on street vitality, walkability and environmental and social sustainability. This essay was chosen by the Premier’s Office to represent New South Wales at the Jakarta International Youth Program (JIYP). The JIYP was a week-long exploration of Jakarta’s infrastructure, culture, history, government and the issues that the city is facing in the future. Attendees came from sister cities across the world including: Beijing, Berlin, Budapest, Rotterdam, Shanghai and Moscow, among others.
Jakarta is riding the digital wave – public services and systems are integrated into easily accessible apps. We visited the Jakarta Smart City Centre, it’s digital hub, to view how these systems operated and were able to ask questions. They have one centralised app that directs and issues to the appropriate avenue. For example, if there was a build-up of rubbish on the street, a person could take a picture of it and send it through the app to be cleaned up by waste management, who would use the GPS co-ordinates of the photo to locate the rubbish. We then visited their Integrated One-Stop Service Department, which administered most public services like development applications and driving licences. They even have mobile vans with paperwork and motorbike delivery drivers who go out and get people to sign papers.
While Jakarta is very forward-looking in terms of technology, they also have a strong sense of tradition and culture, exemplified by their love of batik cloth. We visited the Textile Museum where we learned about the history and traditional method of making batik. Then, we were able to try our hand at it – which was very hard! You have to continually dip the nib of a pen into hot wax to trace a design on fabric, trying not to burn yourself or drip hot wax onto the fabric. We also visited the Old Town of Jakarta, which had buildings and artefacts from the Dutch colonial era. The Wayang Museum exhibits all different kinds of puppets from Indonesia and abroad. They have a strong tradition of shadow puppetry and storylines that link back thousands of years with influences from India, Thailand and beyond.
We took a 2-hour speedboat ride to Pramuka Island and were welcomed by a traditional dance before meeting Administratif Kepulauan Seribu, or the Regent of Thousand Islands. He gave a presentation about what he wanted for the future of the island, and then we participated in a discussion panel, asking questions and giving suggestions. With the 2018 Asian Games being held in Jakarta, the hope is that the Thousand Islands will gain popularity with tourists and become a hot new destination, like Bali. However, there are issues to do with waste management and pollution of the ocean that still need to be addressed. We also went to Tidung Island for snorkelling and participated in coral transfer. We also had the opportunity to see their sea turtle conservation area and to plant a tree around the local sports field.
We were able to participate in local indigenous Betawi acivities at Setu Babakan, including a culinary demonstration making keraktelor (traditional omelette) and birple tok (ginger beer). We dressed in traditional clothing and had a photoshoot – which was so hot! 30 degree heat with full undershirt, long sleeve shirt, long shirt and head scarf was a challenge. I don’t know how the locals do it!
Jakarta has recently implemented a new public transport system to attempt to address the traffic crisis that is gripping the city. Their main issue is the sheer volume of traffic on their roads and lack of other available or viable public transport. They’ve sectioned off one lane of traffic for public buses only, and are phasing out the small van-style bus services. Using a new transport card (much like New South Wales’ Opal cards) we took the Transjakarta bus to the underground construction of the MRT Tunnels, another initiative to reduce traffic. MRT means “mass rapid transport” and is essentially like an underground subway/train system. We got to visit the tunnel construction which was scary, having to go so far underground. As Jakarta is a commuter city, with around a million people entering and leaving each day, such a system is necessary to avoid complete traffic gridlock – which is forecast for only a few years away in 2020. During our visit, our coach had to be escorted by police through traffic so we would make it to venues on time!
We visited the Jakarta Creative Hub, which is an initiative to foster start-up companies and creative industries in Jakarta. They provide work spaces and technologies to help get businesses off the ground, and create dialogue and entrepreneurship. Again, this space was all about the latest technology and innovation. They’ve even got a 3D printer which we got printed key rings from.
On the final day, each participant gave a presentation of their conclusion of their essay and experiences in Jakarta to the Jakarta Capital City Government official and youth representatives of Jakarta. Questions and dialogue were encouraged at the end. It was really interesting to see the ideas that each of the participants had focussed on, there was such a broad range.
I got to see and experience so many different things on this trip, but I think the best part was the relationships and connections I have made with the people I met from Jakarta and across the world. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for Jakarta and how their new infrastructure ventures work.
To find out more or apply, you can find further information here.
To read more stories about what our graduates are doing in their careers, please see here.