Category Archives: Menteng Jakarta

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THR Appreciation Dinner With Kel. Guntur RW 02 Sanitation Team (4 Aug. 2012)

The pics below are from the second benefit/appreciation event the Sharehouse has done for the Guntur sanitation team. In truth, the idea was inspired by the BBC video feature: Jakarta, toughest place to be a bin man.

Aside from being one of the few houses in this area that puts rubbish in bins (true innovators, huh),  I don’t think our efforts to make the team’s work easier have succeeded. However, we communicate better with them now and continue to learn about Jakarta garbage challenges through this channel. If you’re like to compare notes, please contact us.

One benefit of our feeble garbage activism, for us, has been the opportunity to connect with like-minded Jakarta greenies and other stakeholders including the local level of the Jakarta administration, our neighborhood  Garbage Bank and Hidden Park.

Historic Guntur Theater — then and now

I snapped the “now” shot a few months ago, a few blocks from the Sharehouse.

It’s the historic Guntur theater (same link but in Indonesian).  The Indies Art Deco building designed by Ir. FJL. Chijsels  (of AIA Bureau) was built from 1923-27. The flood canal (from the waterworks in Manggarai) had just been completed. So this would have been a prominent country crossroads (Jl. JP Coenweg and Jl. Goentoer) .

Meanwhile, the black-and-white “then” photo is an old postcard belonging to Tokek Belanda on Flickr.  The structure has deteriorated  rapidly.  I did a double take after seeing it on Flickr. I could access my own “geo-stamped” memories of it after more than five years transiting Jl Guntur.  But I couldn’t find it — or see it, rather — when I rocked up to where it was supposed to be. Turns out that, as it crumbles, less and less is visible from the street. Photos of Batavia Jakarta

Long before this was the movies, it housed the Jan Pieterszoon Foundation (Stitchting) — and a boarding school.  We don’t hear much about JP these days, but he’d be shocked by the photo of women  (below) in full multicultural mingle mode.

Thanks to original poster (unknown)

During WWII the Dutch used the property for military purposes, as does the police or “MP” branch of the Indonesian armed forces today.

But there’s a couple mysteries.   So please COMMENT BELOW if you  know: Was the theater famous or just the old building? Was it in fact a rowdy place where drinking was allowed?  Also, scarier then or now?

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Expate, outsource, automate and disappear: how to spend less and live more in Indonesia

Here’s what we’ve heard over the years about why single expats find that sharing a house near the business district with other expats makes sense in a city like Jakarta.

“I like the fact they’ve got a micro-brewery on board. It’s social, but in a focused way. The Jakarta serviced apartment thing was convenient, but ultimately alienating and boring. There’s just not that much going on in Jakarta on the 26th floor.”

— Development consultant, Madrid

“The kost thing was fun for a while. Sure you meet a lot of people, including Indonesians. It’s almost like a family experience. But then if your boyfriend comes to Indonesia or something . . . or you want to throw a Halloween  party, you may as well be in a hotel . ”

— Tech journalist, Palo Alto 


“My company offered me a big kontrakan [rental house]. But there were a lot of questions about who was going to look  after it. I’d just as soon not have a pool if I have to clean it.”

— Expatriate GM, Melbourne 

“I’m having enough trouble with my driver so I wasn’t really keen on having more people [maid] to manage.”

— Hydro engineer, Montreal

“Once I got the gym membership and located a few good swimming pools, there was really no reason to stay in the apartment.”

— Intern, Helsinki 

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Sharehouse Garbage Team Featured in BBC’s “Toughest Place to be a Bin Man” Docu

Remarkable: a UK journalist moves into a rubbish heap on the corner (the exact spot where I shot a few pictures of the tukang sampa or garbage guys couple months ago) and we don’t notice.  We didn’t notice him. We notice the garbage at the end of Guntur. That’s why we never go there. It’s a massive civilizational failure. (Technically he’s not a journalist, but a London bin man. No matter, he’s doing research in Jakarta — comparative garbology in fact.)
The report is well researched and well timed — coming just now as the Bakrie’s and Rothschilds’s team up to mine coal,  Indo prospers generally and Jak grows filthy rich.
We’ve got super high-quality poverty here and it makes life so easy — the garbage gondoliers unclogging the river, petrol vendors that bring subsidized fuel into the ‘hood so we don’t ever have to queue at the pump, fishmongers at the filthy market where the maid shops , and cheaper than Carrefour . . . . what would we do without them?

Guntur Halimun Jakarta photo update

Pictured, are houses with characters located on the border between South and Central Jakarta in the Guntur/Pasar Manggis residential area. Dig the greens. They come with the territory. Buy the cheapest paint and you’re guaranteed a funky color.

According to a neighbor, if it hadn’t been for cris-mon (the 1998 Asian economic crisis), the Guntur area would be just a footnote to Kuningan. The pace of change in Jakarta is dizzying.   He said that some of the first houses in Menteng (the part near Taman Suropati which is newer than the part closer to Monas) were actually over here in “New Menteng” — and they were the ones built for the builders of the other (old?) Menteng over by Taman Suropati.

What were the streets in this area called in Dutch times. That’s an important question for anyone doing Jakarta history work and I got a special request for a reader which I’m following up on. “What were the names of Jakarta streets when it was Batavia?” No easy answer, Mr Bart would be a good guy to ask. He sent me a text from Japan but said I could catch him at Bartele Gallery (in Kemang) in a week or so.

He’s the guy who wrote Bugils, Eastern Promise and several other expat bars. I don’t think he grew up in Indonesia. But he knows his way very well (pictured  below at one of the houses where Obama lived (O. said his favorite was Meester Cornelius (now we’d call it Jatinegara). That’s one or two train stations down from Manggarai (not the one in E. Indonesia) where the Sharehouse is supposedly located.

Barele Santema and lieutenant at Obama's old white house

The streets were the same as now — named after mountains he said. Pasar Manggis has obviously been around along time. The street (a narrow one for sure) to the east of the pasar is an older one. And then going past Pasar Manggis and coming out — for example — where they sell all the toilets near Pasar Raya Manggarai. That’s and older part of town. Keyword is Westerslokkan (Saluran Minangkabau). But the original bridge, he says, was at the intersection of Guntur and Sultan Agung (where it is now).