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EVERY DAY, the Jakarta Globe newspaper publishes a column with a deceptively simple premise — we interview someone living in Jakarta and ask: what's.
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Ali Reza, a year-old Afghan man who has been in Indonesia for four years, said he fled from his home country because he almost got killed by the Taliban.

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Ali, a former IT student dreaming to be a web designer, left Afghanistan but his family had to stay behind because they did not have enough money to pay the people smugglers. The highway connecting the two cities is so dangerous because it's controlled by the Taliban. Ali never met the smuggler before he boarded his boat and all communication was done on the phone. He had transited in India, Bangladesh and Malaysia before arriving illegally on a boat in Indonesia. I was thinking maybe I could come here first before I can go to Australia.

But then the border was closed.

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I was forced to stay here. Now I'm waiting for my case to be processed and go somewhere — I don't know, maybe Australia, the US or other countries," he said.

Delays For The Jakarta-Bandung Railway

However, after three years of living in Cisarua near Bogor in West Java under the care of the International Organization for Migration IOM and around a year living on the streets in Kebon Sirih, he is still yet to be given a permanent home. But he has not heard any other good news since then.

My Jakarta :stories of life in the city, from the pages of the Jakarta Globe. – National Library

Whenever he makes inquiries to a resettlement officer at the UNCHR office, the answer is always the same, "be patient. My family knows about my condition here but they can't do anything," he added. Ali now lives on the sidewalks along with other asylum seekers in poor condition, forced to do all their activities — including eating and sleeping, with no roof above their heads — on the street. The asylum seekers on the streets of Kebon Sirih now rely on the generosity of locals, passersby or anyone who feels moved to help them with their everyday needs.

When they have money, they would use it for food or use the public bathroom that costs Rp 15 cents -Rp every visit.

Muni, a local food tent owner who often gives the asylum seekers food or water, said donations for these unfortunate people come from all sources: During the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, the asylum seekers also benefit from the nearby mosque which offers free iftar dinner. We just like to remind them to keep the area clean and tidy because we are surrounded by corporate offices," she said.

Living unsheltered on the streets has exposed the asylum seekers to many illnesses. Fever, headaches and nosebleeds are nothing unusual due to prolonged exposure to cold and pollution. Reza Bahadoiri, who has been living in and around Kebon Sirih for three years, has been prone to headaches ever since he arrived.


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His niece, Zahra, has suffered from frequent nosebleeds recently. I often longed to hear more from certain interviewees for others, however, the length was quite enough. View all 4 comments.


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Jun 18, Ariane rated it really liked it Shelves: It feels very different reading My Jakarta in the form of book than reading the column in the website the book is much better. I love how it exposes the stories that humanize people who are otherwise often seen as nuisance of the city. It is heartening and funny often darkly. The wide range of people professions included in the book represents fascinating layers that make Jakarta. Feb 11, Bill rated it liked it Shelves: An interesting way to look at a new city, interviews with such a wide cross-section of Jakartas population about their city.

My Jakarta: Stories of Life in the City, From the Pages of the Jakarta Globe

Phil Neko rated it really liked it Oct 02, Harry Lesmana rated it really liked it Oct 13, Steven Leibo rated it really liked it May 24, Vincent Navetat rated it liked it Nov 15, Odi Akhyarsi rated it really liked it Jan 14, Georgie Penn rated it really liked it Apr 22, Lauren marked it as to-read Oct 21, Erik added it Dec 24, Nadine Aprillia marked it as to-read Oct 11, Billy Laurence marked it as to-read Oct 17, Kami Jakmania marked it as to-read Jan 12, There are no discussion topics on this book yet. About The Jakarta Globe.

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