My Jakarta: Mister Maker, TV Host
For children’s TV host Mister Maker, visiting Jakarta has become the highlight of his year. After a surprise turnout of 8,000 people at his first performance here in 2010, he has returned to the city twice, attracting a crowd of 12,000 kids and carers to a performance last weekend at Gandaria City in South Jakarta.
Mister Maker has a large following in Indonesia, where his show is screened six times daily on Indovision channel CBeebies. With a focus on creativity and recycling, the arts and crafts show “Mister Maker” has been a hit with kids of all ages. My Jakarta caught up with Mister Maker to find out why he loves coming to Jakarta, who he has met, and what he would make if he got stuck in one of the city’s traffic jams.
This is your third visit to Indonesia. What was the first visit like?
Amazing, in one word. It was a real surprise for us that first day in Jakarta. We flew in and went straight off to Pejatan Village [South Jakarta] for our first appearance. Eight thousand people — it was something we will never forget.
Last year, we had 16,000 people in Jakarta and Surabaya and that was a huge step up from the year before, so we’re hopeful that the Gandaria show is going to be another really great day in Jakarta.
And did you come here in your hand-crafted Makermobile, as seen in the new show ‘Mister Maker Comes to Town?’
Oh, I would have loved to! One of the questions that kids and parents often ask is, ‘Come on, is the car real?’ Well it is, it’s completely real and yep, it drives around and it’s really good fun. The reaction we get is hysterical — people waving, shouting, tooting their horns. And that’s why I’d love to drive it here. One day if we do more filming around the world I would love nothing more than to bring the Makermobile with us.
In Jakarta, kids often spend lots of time in the car. If you were stuck in traffic, what would you make?
Wow, that’s a very good question! It depends what you have in the car, I suppose. One of our ‘Mini Makes’ on the show was a very good ice-cream cone game. It was a cone of paper that was rolled up with a piece of sticky tape, and we made a ball of ice-cream made out of scrunched up paper.
Then there was a piece of string that connected the ‘ice-cream’ to the cone. It’s one of those old traditional games where you have to kind of catch the ice-cream in the cone. That’s quite a good game for the car, you see, because the ball has a piece of string on it so it can’t go too far. I would advise none of our messy ‘makes’ with paint. Or glitter, for that matter. Glitter everywhere in the back of the car seat wouldn’t be good. I don’t think the parents would thank us for that!
Another problem Jakarta faces is pollution. How can kids here help to clean up their city?
We try to encourage all children who watch the show to be mindful of things like recycling, and we do it in very simple terms. I have a set of ‘Doodle Drawers’ that I collect my arty materials in. But we encourage the children to maybe keep a shoebox, a bag, or a drawer where they can collect things that people would normally discard or throw away. Because one day, those scraps might be useful for making things.
Apart from the big crowds that have come out to see you, what has been the best thing about Jakarta?
I think meeting the school children. Over the last three years we’ve been to many different schools and met lots of ‘Mini Makers,’ as we call them. Yesterday the school we visited had beautiful paintings that the children made themselves, which were quite rightly hung like works of art on the wall. Of course, we really look forward to the big shows because we can say hello to thousands of people at once. But it’s also just as amazing to go into one classroom and to connect with a smaller group of children and hopefully inspire them. Today we made it to an orphanage as well, which was a very humbling and amazing thing for us to be able to do, and a real privilege.
So how have the smaller crowds been?
Today in the orphanage it was wonderful. I did a performance for the children and it was really, really great to see that they enjoyed the fun of the performance, but they were learning as well. And [producer Nic Ayling] was wonderful because he very thoughtfully put together a pack of everything that we used to make the ‘make’ on the show and presented it to the orphanage at the end of the day. As we were leaving, they were getting excited about making their wristbands as well. And that’s been the case with all the schools that we visited. That they’ve also joined us in making all the ‘makes’ as well, which is really, really nice.
Finally, if you could make one thing to make Jakarta a better city, what would it be?
Oh, I don’t know. I already think it’s a fantastic city. More ‘Mister Maker’ shows next year, I think that will be really good! No, I absolutely love Jakarta. We absolutely love it. And that’s why we come back.
Mister Maker was speaking to Catriona Richards.