Monday, April 26, 2010


No one told me

So there I was yesterday, looking forward to a rare Persija game I could get to. I set off suitably early thinking if the traffic don't get me I could get me a few cold beers. In the end I got nothing.

I had assumed the game kicked off at 7pm. Persija games at the weekend normally do. Anyways, it was what the paper said.

5pm I get stuck in the mother of all traffic jams at the Jakarta Convention Centre, right next to the Bung Karno Stadium. Nothing is moving save for a few orange clad scamps heading away from the stadium.

Thinking the game had been cancelled at the last minute I called the top guy at the Jakmania, Danang who tells me the game has 15 minutes to go and Persija are winning 3-0. Oh, he adds helpfully, there's about 10,000 fans locked out the ground. And I'm in the middle of them.

The game had kicked off at 3.30 and obviously everyone knew about it except for me. So we sat in the traffic and didn't move. The game ended and more fans spilled out into the streets causing more congestion. Buses were trying to U turn, fans were crossing the road and the sun was setting.

It takes two hours to fly from Jakarta to Lombok or Kuala Lumpur. Or drive from JCC to Plaza Senayan!

Now despite what the English language media might have you believe here in Jakarta, wherever two or three football fans are gathered does not guarantee violence. Fans locked out the stadium were singing and dancing on the buses, sitting on the central reservation and generally waiting patiently to go home.

Contrast this with the middle class burghers of this here town who sit safely ensconsed in their air conditioned SUVs, playing with their latest mobile phones and tooting their horns angrily. I know which way I'd rather spend a traffic jam but hey! Percieved status means jack shit to me.

It's worth pointing out amid the stationary traffic there were a few hardy souls from the Persija Supporters Club who were doing their best to help the traffic at least inch forward as well as telling kids to get down off the roofs of their adopted traffic.

There's an idea. Why don't the 'pwoper' journalists, the ones that do it for a living, the ones who should be looking for stories and not just pandering to prejudices, why don't they spend a day with the Jakmania. Talk with the people at the top, see how the Korlaps and Korwils try to keep passions in check and focussed on their team. You know, I believe they used to call it 'investigative journalism' as opposed to the usual regurtitation.

Anyway if you wanna party your way through a traffic jam, here's how the Jakmania do it!

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