Living in the Bubbles

Gated prospect, by moriza
Gated prospect, by moriza

Last week’s news on Jakarta has been quite encouraging. Community initiatives such as greenlifestyle, greenmap, Indonesian Folding Bike Community, and even rujak.org received media coverage. Media were also eager to get a glimpse of the upcoming masterplan of Jakarta, which is said to be transit oriented development, and experts were enthusiastic to respond.

Among all the good news, there’s hidden a small report about a growing number of religion-based housing estate for sale in the suburbs, high in demand. And this is not just talking about the architecture style, but it goes as far as the selection of buyers and even renters.

“To ensure the implementation of Islamic values, all developers seek out Muslim buyers exclusively, and ask that if they decide to sell or rent out their house, that they only choose other Muslims to sell or rent to.”

Is this a clear sign that our society is become more segregated than before?

In Jakarta, we’re working really hard to stay within our herds. People are working hard to stay segregated from other social class.

The cars are no longer a mode of transportation – they are bubbles that isolate the passengers from the harsh reality of Jakarta street life, keeping them in comfort despite Jakarta’s scorching sun. It brings the passenger from a secure, gated house, to a secure gated office or shopping center. Houses race to build higher and higher concrete fences. A person living from bubbles to bubbles. It’s really hard work, costly, and inefficient. It is a social illness.

Meanwhile, the other segment of the society is excluded from those spaces. The delineation is clear.

Why the push for bubbles and segregation? Perhaps, there is this illusion of, “If everything is uniform, then everything is going to be allright”. But history proves that civilization actually thrives with diversity.

What is your thought on this? We should do something, don’t you think?  Tell us your ideas.

3 thoughts on “Living in the Bubbles

  1. rangrang says:

    There are people taking advantage of social divide. There need to be more activities where people of different communities interact. Also, I think individualism is a consequence of materialism. People believe wealth brings absolute happiness, and other people are mere hindrance to that pursuit of happiness.

  2. Kamil says:

    This situation is very very unfortunate and regretful. Just when many parts of the world have realized the detrimental effects of gated communities (or “living in the bubbles” and its many variations), Indonesia is really slow to catch up. Must we reach the plateau of capitalism, of total uniformity, blind obedience and destruction, to finally realize that we serve our civilization no service by doing so?

    This happens less in a more “open” society, where encouragement of diversity and cultural interactions are not only through slogans and the occasional billboards, but through the active actions by various organizations and individual initiatives, and (perhaps more importantly) a strong push AGAINST polarization of people. Diversity also requires tolerance (you don’t always have to embrace differences… ), but unfortunately what I see (at least when I go back to Jakarta) is the constant propagation of “superiority” i.e. this skin color, this type of job, this type of income, this type of religion is superior than such and such.

    I think we have to do more in having activities that is much more inclusive, and definitely appeal (and fight) to put a stop to the rampant racism and segregation.

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