As Jakarta Turns 485, Few Know How the Date Was Chosen

By webadmin on 06:19 pm Jun 24, 2012
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Lenny Tristia Tambun

While they celebrate Jakarta’s anniversary every year, many Jakartans know nothing about why June 22 marks its birthday.

“Yeah, I know today is Jakarta’s birthday, but I forget what we’re celebrating,” said Amara, an employee at Plaza Senayan, South Jakarta, on Friday.

Amara, who was born in Jakarta, said she had never thought about it.

Hanna, a sixth-grader who lives in Karet Tensin, Central Jakarta, when asked about Jakarta’s anniversary, was similarly in the dark.

“Do you know why?” the 11-year-old girl asked back.

Juliana, a employee at a private firm who lives in Lenteng Agung, South Jakarta, did not even know that Jakarta celebrated its birthday on Friday.

“Isn’t that next month?” she asked.

To remind Jakartans of the history of their city, a ceremony held on Friday at the National Monument (Monas) in Central Jakarta, included readings of the city’s founding and history.

Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo led the ceremony while Shahnaz Haque, an actress, did the history reading.

“On June 22, 1527, Fatahillah, the Demak king, defeated the Portuguese forces who wanted to rule the area,” she told the thousands of onlookers.

“The king named the small city Jayakarta, meaning ‘city full of glory.’ That’s why we celebrate it as the capital’s birthday,” Shahnaz added.

During the ceremony, Fauzi handed out 1,387 awards to civil servants who had served for 15-30 years.

“The challenge and development of Jakarta in all sectors leaves various complex tasks to all of the city’s offices and the residents. We are grateful that although we face challenges, we can still finish big and fundamental projects,” Fauzi said.

Earlier in the day, he told administration officials and city councilors in an address at City Hall what the city had achieved during his term as governor.

“We achieved a lot,” the governor said. “I congratulate all of you for working hard for the city.”

Fauzi is seeking re-election in the July 11 gubernatorial election.

The event turned into a musical show when Fauzi presented two popular singers, Rossa and Afghan, who performed for the civil servants.

The civil servants sang along as each of the singers performed their hits.

“Although I was born in Sumedang [West Java], I am proud to be a resident of Jakarta,” Rossa said. “This is the city that has raised me.”