Yesterday was a quite important day for me. As part of my permanent residency process in the UK, I have to take (and pass) the test called “Life in The UK”. To be able to pass this test I need to answer 75% questions correctly, or 18 out 24. I have spent almost two weeks studying and remembering all the facts, and spent the last 4 days intensely just to practice on the questions & answers simulations.
I went to bed mentally prepared for the test the next day.
But when I woke up, and checked on my iPhone as usual, there were lots of text messages from my friends. All of them informed me the same thing: there were fatal bombs hit two hotels in Jakarta. Lots of rumours going around as well, that there were actually 8 targets, that Senayan City would be the next one, or there was another blast in Muara Angke. My ex-colleagues were all sent home. Some friends were mad because Manchester United cancels their trip to Indonesia.
Of course the news is devastating. The moment Indonesia recovering from from economic and political disasters, this tragedy hit. Again. Sounds too familiar.
The two targeted hotels, JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton, are located in the heart of Jakarta, in the area called Mega Kuningan. The area is filled with high profile companies, hotels, embassies, residences of high-rank Indonesian government officers, and lately, nice restaurants and lounges, and considered as one of the most prominent areas in Jakarta. Both hotels are our usual places for Sunday brunch. Both serve excellent, beautiful buffet, from seafood, roast, cheese, Japanese, salad, and dessert, which are professionally presented in gigantic dining rooms.
I was in the area when JW Marriott was hit by a carbomb in 2003, and I lived in the apartment complex behind the Australian embassy when the building was hit by bomb in 2004 (read the timeline here). But since then I could see the security is tightened all around the city (up to the point of becoming annoying) and I couldn’t feel more safer. Mr.mck and I used to live in the apartment across JW Marriott, and once in a bluemoon, when there was a security threat alert, we would have seen our security guards armed with deadly guns outside. Our most favourite bar, Cazbar, is located practically a mere 30 seconds away from Ritz-Carlton. Mega Kuningan is (was?) probably the only area I am willing to walk around without having to worry about pickpockets or catcalling. For the past few years we lived in Mega Kuningan, the “threats” were just threats and nothing happened.
But the bombs yesterday totally wrecked my idea and hopes about safer Indonesia. My condolences go out to those who have lost loved ones and my prayers go out to those who had injured and their families in the tragedy.
When I checked on twitter, hundreds of messages were pouring in, and one struck me the most. In her message, a famous twitterlady was upset because one American TV reported that Friday is a muslim holiday in Indonesia. Of course it isn’t true. Friday is not a holiday; people do go for their Friday prayers at lunch time, which in result makes the lunch time longer than the rest of four days, but the business is open as usual. If this American TV cannot get this easy information right, imagine what kind of news they have broadcast through the entire nation!
But her twit got me curious on what others media say about the tragedy, especially the UK media. And I was glad yet surprised that they gave quite balance reportage so far. You would see that I did not include the blast reportage itself, as you would find it everywhere, but rather positive points the UK media sees about Indonesia. Looks like they’ve got Indonesia quite right.
Here is what I have found:
From The Telegraph
Another news from BBC
From Sky News
From The Times
From Daily Mail