THE city is an experience that can make you half startled, half stunned.
At least if we are talking about Jakarta. From the 1950s, and even more noticeably from the 1970s (not even a century ago), Jakarta entered a period of urban development that was exciting, fascinating and worrying.
This was an experience unknown to the generation before Indonesia’s independence, the generation of Si Doel Anak Betawi, as Aman (Datuk Madjoindo) depicted in his famous book. Doel Hamid, a nine-year-old boy who se...