Keliling Jakarta, dari TPS ke TPS

April 9, 2009

As election observers we toured the city today from polling station to polling station. It was the third time in 10 years that I did this. As always it was a wonderful opportunity to get to know the locals. We were warmly welcomed at every place with open arms and smiles; we were invited to join and see what was happening. People were so proud of their democracy and rightly so. Indonesia is a beacon of democracy in Asia.

We also visited the neighbourhood were I had lived during my time in Indonesia. When the neighbourhood chief saw me, he ushered my “in” (the voting booth is in front of the mesjid) and I had to sit with him on the steps of the little mosque for a long chat. It was as if I had not been away. He invited me to join the polling station team for lunch which I had to decline because of other commitments.

Only much later did I have time for a coffee, my favourite: “kopi tubruk”, a thick sweet brew. In addition a kretek (clove) cigarette, and I felt as a “wong cilik” (normal or ordinary person) again. It is so good to be back. And the parliamentary elections will certainly be a success. Hidup demokrasi.