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A Face in the Crowd

Do they go unnoticed?

Jakarta (Indonesia)


Jakarta (Indonesia) is my hometown. It is a city with 10.4 million people and 3.7 percent of them are living in poverty. Its nickname, the Big Durian, originated from a stinky fruit, a favorite fruit to many Jakartans. Some who haven’t tried durians might have hated it to the bone by dint of its stinky smell, but for those who have tried the fruit might have loved it and even get addicted to the fruit. In my analogy, Jakarta is truly a durian, its thorny outer skins are not easy to break to get into its delicious flesh.

It’s a hard life surviving the city.

Jakarta (Indonesia)



  1. Every city has a character of its own. The smell of durian is somewhat similar to ripe jackfruit, at least what I get as durian here in the market smells like that. I like the smell but yes, some people just hate it. Nice analogy of the city with the durian. The pictures speak a lot, silently…

    • Thank you, Sue! I haven’t visited Jakarta since moving to the US. I can’t stand the long flight – but Dutchie has been there 4 times! (because of work related). It is different living compare to the US but the politics-wise, I would say the US politics are as chaotic as the Indonesian’s 😀

  2. Two thought-provoking pictures, Indah – and a timely post for me seeing that I’ve been living in Jakarta for almost two years! On returning from my latest trip abroad, I took the new airport train into the city, and the contrast of being cocooned in a bright, air-conditioned carriage and seeing the slums on either side of the train tracks was deeply unsettling. It made me think about how I could contribute to raising these people’s standard of living and relocating them to actual houses or apartments with electricity and plumbing instead of jerry-built shacks.

    • Hi James, thank you! I hope Jakarta treats you well! There are a lot to be done in Jakarta and I do hope it is improving in the next coming years. The economic gap and inequality in Jakarta are certainly challenges that stay existed. I wish I could do more from here too. Maybe by raising the awareness through images of the people and the inequality that people have experienced? The firsthand stories are matter and it will take courage to do so. Best wishes for your stay in Jakarta!

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