Tuesday, March 06, 2007


SHOCK HORROR!!! The Jakarta Post has a story about Indonesian football on page 4

Of course it's wholly negative!

In fact, even as an opinion piece it is so poorly thought out and so ill researched you'd wonder how anyone could even print it. But they did. As ever with the Jakarta Post this story will soon fall off the site so I have copied and pasted it here. My comments are in Block after the writers!

It wouldn't be Jakarta without The Jaks
Don't be deceived by the boys on the streets wearing shocking orange court jester hats or orange T-shirts bearing funny statements. Trust me, they are absolutely not cute or funny. (What, all of them? Nothing like a sweeping generalisation to set the tone.)
With the Indonesian Soccer League on its way, some weekends here will be different. Jakmania will turn the streets orange and we'd all better be careful.
So, here are some tips. If you happen to be driving and see one or two on the street, that's all right, but if there are more than three then you have to be extra careful. (Yeap, lock up your daughters, the Jak are on their way!)
The good thing about them is that if they come in a group, there's always some sort of warning noise -- yells, drums and car horns signal their arrival to other motorists. If you don't want to get hurt or your to get car scratched, you'd better give them right of way.
Many motorists have learned this unconventional special code and will slacken their speed to give way to the orange entourage. One, two, three, four, five motorists will do the same thing and there they are, stuck in a jam of their own creation.
A few months ago, a mikrolet driver driving along Jl. Arteri Pondok Indah in South Jakarta was chased by several angry boys -- all wearing the orange touch. They took advantage of a traffic jam and ran faster than the mikrolet.
The minivan wobbled and tried to escape, but the boys caught up with its wheels.
Other motorists watched as the minivan driver caved and allowed the boys onto the roof of the car -- their favorite spot. Inside the van, the seats remained empty. What a view. (Does this only happen with football fans? What point is being made here? One of menace or football fans catching a bus?)
That represents just a small part of the ugly behavior of soccer fans in public. (If you think this is ugly then really you need to get out more. What about people puching in at ATM's, boorish behaviour from people and their handphones?) Last year one of them was hit by a truck and killed while chasing a minibus in North Jakarta. (Ugly behaviour being hit by a truck? Does this only apply to football fans?)
Don't get me wrong. This is not a fear or smear campaign. (And it's not a well researched article either.) Most of them are teenagers, and many are small children, and they are part of a mighty force, the die-hard fans of Jakarta's Persija soccer club.
The official name of the club is Jakmania (find them online at (well done!!!)) but on their orange shirts and shawls you'll also see them identified as The Jaks, Pasukan Oranye or "Orange Troop", Persija Lovers and many more.
The spirit and solidarity of this fan club reminds one of the film Green Street Hooligans, which starred Elijah Wood and which was described as portraying the "boyish, childlike sides of men" when it comes to something they're really fond of.
One character in the film stops being a hooligan after an accident.
So the problem is not specific to Jakarta, or any other city. It's a universal thought. It's human nature, or, to be precise, male nature.
Boys get carried away by peer pressure, which raises their confidence and identity by becoming part of something bigger than themselves. The Jaks are here. Other cities have their own versions.
But how can boys risk their priceless young lives in struggles just to reach Lebak Bulus stadium?
Hanging half out of a speeding Metro Mini is not a nice way to travel (Again, this doesn't only apply to football fans. Has the writer seen buses and trains in the rush hour?) Chasing cars down the middle of busy streets is a good way to cause a traffic jam, or, worse, get hit by a driver who is too slow to hit the brakes.
Sitting casually and precariously on the tops of minibuses and trains, the boys sing and yell, as warming up for the soccer match.
It might be their business to sit on the roof of a moving vehicle, but the safety of other motorists and passengers is definitely not.
Despite the traffic jams that they cause -- thank God most soccer matches are on the weekends (Again do some research!!! Many games are played midweek!!!) -- they are interesting to watch on the street. Flags and ornaments are hung from the roofs of buses, and if you're close enough, you'll hear them make some rather funny catcalls about Persija and Jakarta.
With their fearlessness and "creative" performances, the members of Jakmania have their charms for motorists who had enough bad traffic and dull roads. As long as we know how to treat them, the boys are "fun" enough to entertain us.
But deep down we hope that this fanaticism is just a fad that will fade away as soon as the boys grow up and find something useful to do. (Oh dear! It just get worse doesn't it? I mean, as these lads get older, don't you think others will come along to replace them? Check the lyrics later)
It's probably just wishful thinking to imagine a Jakarta free of soccer hooligans (Hooligans??? What the...the writer doesn't mention fighting, just high jinx and rowdyism now we're on to fighting???), at least as long as Persija exists and the city has a lack of places for high-spirited boys (Wow the best point made but again showing naiviety. There's heaps to do in Rome, Berlin and London but they still have rowdy young lads.).
--Emmy Fitri

This is a rant despite how the writer tries to qualify it. I'll go further. It sounds like the rant of some poor soul who had an important appointment to keep at some Starbucks or Bread Talk one weekend. They were late and got stuck in traffic round CITOS, Pondok Indah way and looked on aghast at these young kids on their way to football, holding up the traffic! That's the crux of it. Check how often the writer refers to traffic, cars and traffic jams! Do you think the article would have been written if Persija Jakarta played far from a mall? Course it wouldn't! NIMBYism...

There's no denying there are problems with Indonesian football. Poor facilities, poor ability are topics I've frequently covered on this site. The problems the writer refers to, indiscipline mostly, are society's problems. The fact that kids can ride unfettered on the top of buses is one of law enforcement. (It also of course happens at demos when the great unwashed are bused in to vent the puppet master's spleen.) But then these same indisciplined kids are also choroeograhed on the terraces so like many kids they're looking for leadership. On the terraces they get the mateship that the writer so evidently despises and the feeling of belonging.

There is also another layer to this. Football in Indonesia appeals to the working class folk. Kampung kids if you like. Middle class folk look down at the local scene, sneer at it while keeping up with the news of Manchester United.

Given a choice where would you like to spend a Sunday afternoon? At the football with these 'die hard fans' or at some mall with people like the writer looking down on all around them?

War on the Terraces - Cockney Rejects

It's a dark place over there
the seats, and the stands are bear,
but you remember not long ago, all the times that we battled there.
The sun, it shines right on the gutter
And you remember that he was there,
And you should know, right there in the fold, that you grabbed him by his hair.

War on the terraces
(War on the terraces!)
It was war on the terraces
(War on the terraces)

The local pub, it stands silent
And all of this town, will be soon
and you remember the pints we would sink
and sing "the fuzz is watching you"
The youth remember them wagons that took us straight down the nick
when we would sing back to them, don't it make you feel like a prick?


So you're looking up, at the terrace
and smile, yeah it breaks your face.
And to the younger generation, we'll be here to take your place!


which indonesia team do u support? sounds like The Jaks.
Don't really support anyone. Jakarta are the local team and the one I get to see most. They are also possibly the highest profile club in the country or i that because I live in Jakarta??!!
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