A Birthday Wish for DKI Jakarta

How should cities “develop”? And what can we do to ensure it is done correctly? Those are probably the questions that many people inside – and outside – the city government are asking. What do we have to do to ensure a good future for the citizens of the city of Jakarta, especially when it

Alistair Speirs

Can Surabaya Become a Sustainable City?

Surabaya is probably not the first place you would have chosen as the preferred model for sustainability – its hot, busy, industrial and very developed… but as you will see when we examine all the reasons and criteria, it has an excellent chance of indeed becoming the first Indonesian city to be at least on

The Evolution of Chinese-Indonesian Rights and the Sign of a New Indonesia 

In the Indonesia we see today, one might take for granted the freedoms and liberties we currently have. However, older generation Chinese-Indonesians are one group that certainly do not take this lightly, many of whom continue to live with the mental and emotional scars of the country’s darker, discriminatory past. The open cultural celebrations of

From Fantasy to Fact: The Making of the New Capital IKN

The debate over the transfer of the national capital from Java to Kalimantan ended with the passage of Law Number 3 of 2022 concerning the National Capital (IKN Law). This law was signed and officially published on 15 February 2022, which established the Nusantara Capital Authority, a ministry-level organization that oversees the Special Capital Region

The Evolution of Jakarta’s Transport

Oh! We are all such suckers for nostalgia, but as they say ‘Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be!” Sometimes looking back, we tend to romanticise our memories. I will try not to do that, especially about transport, but you never know! Let’s start with the demise of the simplest, non-polluting, form of transport you

Jakarta Today

Jakarta Today: A Tentative Love Letter

Those who have spent most of their lives in Jakarta may feel the changes around them to be gradual, a slow and perhaps even unnoticeable evolution of their environment. One may have a myopic perspective to these changes, focusing on the immediate inconveniences such developments may cause to day-to-day life, rather than noticing the macro-transformation

Jakarta's past

Jakarta Then & Now: A Personal Recollection of 44 Years in the Capital

Arriving in Jakarta in December 1978 to start work in the rather undeveloped Indonesia insurance industry was an absolute culture shock, especially after the refined and gentrified world of Lloyds of London and a flat in New Kings Road. The plane arrived in Kemayoran Airport, which is now a centre for business and conventions (but


Reflecting on 15 Years of NOW! Jakarta

I perhaps should not tell you this, but I didn’t really want to start NOW! Jakarta! I was perfectly happy publishing a marvellous magazine called Jakarta Java Kini, or JJK, but my partner at the time had other ideas and took over the company, leaving me with a bit of a dilemma since I had enjoyed


Learning from Japan

Four things struck me as I returned from a trip to Japan. The first was a car, well nearly. I was crossing the street between Plaza Indonesia and Kempinski on a zebra crossing and it never entered my mind that a car, in clear sight of me, would not stop, having spent a week under


Jakarta’s Bulk Stores, A Battle for Survival

In 2018, bulk stores began to mushroom across the city, many established by young, hopeful entrepreneurs. With a growing awareness of plastic pollution, and a collective mission to reduce single-use plastic products (grocery bags, straws, sachets, product packaging), bulk stores seemed to be the perfect business trend, set to ride the swell of this new


Jakarta Air Quality: Smoke and Mirrors in the City of Smog

Over the last few months, Jakarta residents have once again come face-to-face with difficulties posed by intensifying air pollution. On 13 August 2023, the ranking of Jakarta air quality was statistically the worst in the world according to data from organisations like IQAir, sparking serious concern among citizens. Whilst the smog itself is quite visible

Making Bali an International Dining Destination

With so many reasons to come to Bali, the local food and beverage industry believes that they should certainly be high on that list. Does the now thriving restaurant scene have what it takes to attract visitors to the island in its own right? The recently formed Bali Restaurant and Café Association believes that it


As you drive about most cities, or better still walk, you can get the feeling of how it was planned. There are really different feelings evoked by different districts, through their design & layout, through the type of shops and restaurants that are housed there, the offices, the apartments, the houses, the schools and of

Now Bali