Wednesday, January 01, 2014

National Monument in Jakarta

I SPENT New Year Day at the National Monument park in Jakarta, driving my brother-in-law to see around the park. He has never visited Jakarta. This is his very first visit. My wife and I drove him to the National Monument or Monumen Nasional (Monas). It seems like a must-see site among many Indonesians who visit the capital.

My brother-in-law lives in Madura Island.
It's basically a 132-meter tower established at the heart of Merdeka Square, probably Jakarta's largest public park. Its shape resembles a lingga (penis) and a yoni (vagina), symbolizing masculinity and femininity. In 1954, four years after the transfer of power from the Netherlands to Indonesia, President Sukarno had this idea of building a national monument, to commemorate the struggle of Indonesian independence.

A lift on the southern side carries visitors to the viewing platform at a height of 115 metres above ground level. The capacity of the elevator is about 11 people. The top platform can accommodate about 50 people.

My wife at the National Monument park.
The construction began in 1961. But it was opened to the public in 1975. It is topped by a golden flame covered with gold foil. The flame is made by a 14.5-ton bronze. It's called the 'flame of independence."

My wife usually refused to go into the monument museum, located inside the base of the tower, as well as the top of the monument. The line up is usually pretty long. On New Year Day, it might be two hours just to line up. The lift of the monument is located inside the tower.

My wife with her two siblings and her mother.  
MY WIFE has a half-brother, two half-sisters and a sister. Her half-brother lives in a village near Bangkalan, Madura Island. Meanwhile, all of her sisters live in Pontianak in western Borneo. It's quire rare for these sisters to meet their half-brother. Obviously we wanted to show him around. We also celebrated the New Year Eve in my apartment.

My niece joined us at the visit. 
My wife's niece is also joining us. She is now studying in a college in Jakarta. It's quite a family reunion. Our niece wears her black Rolling Stone T-shirt. She said that the park is pretty packed. Thousands of visitors and probably more than a hundred street vendors were in the park. It was also littered pretty badly.

Me with my Human Rights Watch T-shirt in Jakarta's National Monument! 

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