Last night during New Year’s Eve of 2008, I stood by the fence of my apartment balcony in Rasuna. I just got back from my brother’s house and started typing as I had something in my mind. I had been busily typing until fifteen minutes before midnight when my husband called me out from the balcony. I saw the cloudy sky was glowing by the brilliance of fireworks. Even the rains could not prevent people from burning the fireworks. For a moment I was charmed by the beauty of fireworks. They were every where. From the balcony, I could see some fireworks in the directions of Jl. Saharjo, Cempaka Putih, Tebet and East of Jakarta. I just realized that so many fireworks spots, let alone the residence of apartments as well as residence of Menteng Atas. Some of them lit the fireworks at their balcony and someone lit the fireworks at the roof of Tower 9 of Taman Rasuna Apartment. I was also enchanted by the color and shape of fireworks. They were like shooting fireworks to each other.
Despite my being amused by the complimentary show, I still felt uneasy. How much money they had burnt just to present a few seconds entertainment? It was very fast that I could not take photograph of them via my cell phone. In spite of my concern, I wanted to show the photo to my little girl, who was already asleep, to tell her how beautiful the fireworks were.
Taking into account fireworks in every direction of South and East parts of
Somehow, I just felt the timing was not right. We knew that there had been natural disasters happened to our brothers and sisters throughout
I did not mean to be unthankful to be entertained for a while. I just could not get my troubled feeling away. If one billion was spent for 10 to 30 minute show, how many cows or goats could be bought by that amount. I made a rough calculation. There would be 140 cows or almost 1,000 goats. How many families could be satisfied for one or two days, many I believed.
Let us contemplate for a while. Was it the right way to entertain people if not ourselves? I would by lying if I said I never lit any fireworks during my childhood, I did. My father bought me boxes of 10 cm-long fireworks. We were very excited to lit the fireworks at the portico of our home. Well, it was 70s-80s, when generally, our economic condition was not as bad as at this moment. I felt such period as the golden years, just like our fathers or grand fathers referred to ‘jaman normal’’ of their version. Even during that days, not many fireworks show presented throughout
I thought we were living in a difficult era, the era in which so many people were so poor and penniless. Ironically, at this moment we still had nerve to celebrate one night in an overexerting way. I felt disturbed that I wished I would not familiarize my daughter with that kind of celebration. I would not initiate such tradition in our family.
Perhaps this reflected that actually there were many unexposed rich people living in this country. Probably, it was the country that was poor, not the people including its officials. I thought the government should lead the action to change the manner of celebration in the coming years, so that people would follow. There should be feeling of sensitivity. Some of us might think that the celebration would not weaken our economy or on the contrary, the prevention the money from being burnt in one single night would not fortify our economy either. To me, any good and justifiable spending of money would always make difference, especially to the developing country like
The government should be seriously taking action on this. If possible, the government could issue some kind of regulations that control if not prevent fireworks. Not because it was illegal thing, but because it was not acceptable to the general condition of
Rasuna, 2 January 2008
Gusnelia Tartiningsih (Nela Dusan)