Bekasi, A Patriot City.
The City as A Buffering Zone.
I'm telling you about a city where I live. It's called Bekasi and located at the eastern suburb area of capital city, Jakarta. Having position as Jakarta's buffer zone in the east, Bekasi accommodates urban people who commute to and fro between Jakarta and Bekasi. This condition has made the city populated with around 2.4 million people and becomes the fourth biggest city in the country.
The city is devided into 12 subdistricts named West Bekasi, East Bekasi, South Bbekasi, North Bekasi, Medan Satria, Bantar Gebang, Pondok Gede, Jakasampurna, Jatiasih, Pondok Melati and Mustika Jaya. I myself live in the east part of this city.
Bekasi is like a small melting pot, people from different parts of the country come and live in this city. Thanks to "comely Jakarta" which keeps on tempting outsiders to come although for unskilled comers all they find in it just the hard life and misery.
Population growth in Bekasi showed uniqueness. As I mentioned earlier urbanization brings people from other parts of the country to enter and live in Bekasi. They come mostly for one main reason: luring job opportunities available in Jakarta and they choose Bekasi which is located just a throwing stone from that metropolitan city. Buffer zone like Bekasi is the right destination for them to stay since Jakarta authority rejects people to settle unless they have permanent jobs. At the other side native Jakartans who are called Betawinese "swept away" from their original place and moved to suburban areas around Jakarta including to Bekasi. It happened as a consequence of rapid development inside Jakarta which needed a lot of lands to be developed into new properties and infrastructures.
Those Batawineses who inherited plots of lands from their ancestors were willing to sell for very attractive prices and decided to buy cheaper lands at other areas in buffer zones. It shows that Jakarta's buffer zones which has popular acronym : Jabodetabek, stands for Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, Bekasi are favorite areas for urban people to live based on some reasons:
-The prices of houses (either purchasing or rental prices) in Jakarta are much higher than those at buffer zones.
- Buffer zones offer cost of living relatively cheaper than Jakarta.
- Local governments at buffer zones have programs in increasing their incomes from economic activities and taxes. thanks to those new residents that make this program implementable.
- Jakarta doesn't welcome unskilled comers, so job seekers of this qualifications prefer to living at buffer zones.
The City known as a Patriot City.
Bekasi is also known a Patriot city. This name was given dating back to the history when the nation struggled for gaining independence from foreign occupations.
Thousands of fighters sacrificed their lives at the front lines of the battles. At least there were threebig heroic battles which took many victims :
Bekasi the ocean of fire. It happened in November 1945 when more than 8 villages in Bekasi were torched made the skies so dark covered with billowing black smokes and killed thousand of people.
Rawa Gede massacre, it took place on December 9, 1947 when enemy forces tried to search Rawa Gede village to find a commander named captain Lukas Kustario but ended up in vain. They were furious and put the blame on local people. The villagers, mainly men and male youngsters, were slaughtered and resulted more than 400 innocent people killed.
Sasak Kapuk battle. This is another big battle led by the hero KH Noer Alie. The battle took place on 29 November 1945 between two cities Karawang -Bekasi. Thousand of people died in this war so that touched a famous poet's heart and mind Chairil Anwar to write his well known poem "Antara Karawang Bekasi" (Between Karawang-Bekasi) in that era.
Tributes were poured to their heroism in the forms of monuments built at several spots of Bekasi : The Revolution Monument of Bekasi People at city square, Revolution Monument of People Struggle in Bekasi, Flat House Monument, Pointed Bamboos Monument and many more.
Yes, the monument proved that pointed bamboos were the most common weapons to be used during the revolution wars (1945-1949) by the warriors against enemy troops who were armed with modern weaponry.
Rapid Development of the City.
I moved to Bekasi in 1992. It used to be a small and quiet with ordinary or rural faces dominated the city. There were only few storied buildings found. Streets were rough, some even didn't exist yet or still under planning in blue prints. I still remember my experience around 1995 when I tried to enter the city from one of the main streets called Jl. KH. Noer Alie or Kali Malang street from Jakarta, I wasn't able to reach Bekasi as near the end of the street, near which lies a big mall "Metropolitan Mall" today, wasn't completely built yet.
Bekasi today has change a lot as the result of rapid development. It has developed into a big, crowded urban area. Cars and motorcycles have significantly occupy the streets and make traffic jams at some areas as daily scenes. Housing complexes are mushrooming, malls and shopping centers are found at many parts and going to increase in number in the years to come. Those shopping centers offer comfort in shopping and intensify promotion so that their presence also become a potential menace to traditional markets which seem to have no power to compete although they also offer advantages to shoppers in terms the the prices are generally cheaper and always negotiable.
Another terrible side effect of development is the number of vehicles in the street, specially motorcycles and cars. There are moments like peak hours in the morning, in the evening or on feast days when most of vehicles are operated and outnumber the capacity of the streets so that severe traffic problems occur. The effects are predictable: traffic congestion, air pollution, depressing waste of time and energy are some to be mentioned.
Constructions of new housing complexes are intensive and extensive too in line with increasing population. A lot of open spaces which used to be water catchments have been hardened with cement and asphalt. The development is indeed necessary for us to live more decently, but on the other side It brings unwanted consequences like accumulation of garbage that pollutes sewerage, floods, and trig more social problems.
We all believe that development always has two faces which bring goodness and badness. My comprehensive view about the city is still positive anyway since the city has provided its inhabitants with important conveniences like growing numbers of quality schools, hospitals and the increasing number of malls and shopping centers also benefit us in offering more competitive products. I always hope that my city gives more positive values than the negative sides.