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An Ambiguous Face

We know the road from Anyer to Panarukan linking various cities in Java which eventually became the northern coast line. Daendels road construction done at the expense of tens of thousands of human lives has led to the emergence of the towns along this road. This road is the main Java island economic line which if disturbed would lead to disruption of the economic pulse of the whole country. We also know the Banteng Square, the Presidential and Vice Presidential Palaces, Immanuel Church, and various buildings around Monas, the national park. It is the work of Daendels who moved the capital from Old Batavia to New Batavia, or now Jakarta.

Ironically Daendels which has a face as a builder, he is also a destroyer of the old city of Batavia. In addition to the town walls, he also destroyed the Castle of Batavia and important buildings in old Batavia.  The material of demolished buildings is to build a new city. There were location of the demolished building rebuilt with new art-deco buildings in the first half of the 20th century.

Destroyer and at the same time builders was Daendels who in a short time not only changed the face of Jakarta but also the island of Java. In the amendment he left the memories of the cruelty of forced labor at the time to build a road from Anyer to Panarukan.

In contrast to Raffles who left a good name remembered by the people of his colony, Daendels left bitter memories in the colonies so that no single memorial to him. Construction of the new Batavia can not afford to pay his sin in destroying the Old Batavia. Imagine if the Old Batavia is still intact with the castle, city walls, as well as other buildings, certainly will easily get UNESCO recognition as a historic old town that should be preserved. But in the Internet age where tourism continues to grow, so too should be appointed Daendels Name of hatred so that the tourists know the history of Jakarta and Java Island as a whole.

In contrast to the relationships between England and its colonies that tend to be good so Raffles name is always renowned in Asia, the overall relationship between the Dutch as colonizers and colonized Indonesia tend to be bad. However, to give a full picture of the history of Indonesia, the traveler should be presented a complete Netherlands Indies history.

For that, we recommend Daendels monumental sculpture and the museum built in the old city of Jakarta apart from Daendels’ ambiguous face between a destroyer and builder. Old stories brought back in line with historical and artistic value. The name of the Governor General in the Age of the Dutch East Indies, which sounds very strange in the ears, presented again so that the whole history of Jakarta dangling not falter as it is today. Similarly, the names of streets in the Age of the Dutch East Indies should be returned along with the restoration of the building. For example, Jalan Cengkeh should be returned to Prinsestraat, Jalan Teh is  returned to Hereestraat, would it be more elite?

The foreign tourists will be interested in visiting Jakarta if the statues and pictures of Dutch people who used to live in this city are brought back. For us may be the presence of the Dutch history in Jakarta is very painful, but if that is the way to bring the travelers, why not?

History is the part that attracts tourists. They come to Jakarta is not for shopping or ride the Transjakarta bus, but to get to know its history more closely. That is why they always visit the Jakarta Museum, Toko Merah and Pasar Ayam Bridge. Why do not we open more widely on the history of white people in the Old City of Jakarta as a whole?

History is the story of good and bad being one charging the present. The present becomes significant if the history was accessible and acquire a good place. The old city of Jakarta honestly it must be recognized as the Dutch city in Asia. Its uniqueness is what we can sell to the tourists. We should be proud that Jakarta's old town is a Dutch city so full of classic and unique building.

Daendels’ face of such ambiguity between builders, destroyers, cruelty and hateful is always in history. Not that hatred that always we remember, but the good and bad memories of a balanced place. The existence of the Dutch in Indonesia's history is not only presented as cruel invaders and cause bitterness. But the Dutch presence we apointed as part of the urban space that also taste sweet. It is part of an attractive tourism to replenish and revive the old city of Jakarta.