Here we go again! It seems the usual traffic chaos we suffer on a daily basis is not enough. Now we have to play "hide and seek" with the supporters of political parties. Party campaign schedules have become required knowledge, along with the information supplied by traffic reports .
Friday was a test run for Jakartans, a chance to prepare for the worse over the next two weeks, as supporters of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's Democratic Party gathered at Bung Karno Stadium, creating long queues both on the toll road and in the regular lanes.
In other parts of the city, Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) supporters also gathered, to throw their support behind the party's leaders.
The convoys of these party supporters are just the same as they were five years ago. Motorcyclists fail to wear helmets; public buses are seen packed with mothers carrying their toddlers (despite earlier warnings); car drivers flying giant party flags drive recklessly, as if they were the only ones who deserve to use the infrastructure built with our tax dollars.
The lack of outdoor space in Jakarta has prompted the parties to use sports fields for their campaigns. The frequent use of Bung Karno Stadium in Senayan, Central Jakarta, for this purpose is most regretful because, as an Indonesian landmark, the stadium should be well treated, just like England and its Wembley.
The 100,000 supporters at a time that gather in the stadium never fail to leave a mess of plastic bottles and snack boxes here, there and everywhere. The scavengers are the ones who gain from such a mess, as they can collect huge amounts of "valuable" waste from such huge crowds.
Cleanliness is not the only issue here. The use of the Stadium for outdoor campaigning by parties destroys the pitch, which requires intensive maintenance to maintain quality - so the stadium can host international-level matches.
What a pity it is that the grounds are ruined just to satisfy those elite politicians wishing to grab one of the 560 seats in the nearby House of Representatives! The stadiums management will have just three months to fix the pitch before welcoming red-hot-favorite English club Manchester United to the country on July 24. The elections also forced the Soccer Association of Indonesia (PSSI) to freeze competition, as the police said that soccer matches are prone to brawls.
One may argue that sports are less important than politics, that it is the responsibility of all voters to decide the country's fate for the next five years. But one should not forget that sports help build character, and teach mutual respect, demonstrated when rivals shaking hands before and after a game.
Have those politicians set a good example for their voters? Just hours after declaring a "peace campaign", lawmaker Abdul Hadi Djamal of the National Mandate Party (PAN) was arrested by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) for alleged embezzlement, bringing to nine the number of arrested legislators campaigning in the elections.
Have they "fought" in the political arena fair and square? Though it is not proven, the recently disclosed information on potential voter list fraud has brought scrutiny to a certain party that might benefit from it. That does not include the potential for vote buying nearing the April 9 polls where candidates - who, thanks to the existing law, do not need to face auditors - pour out cash and trinkets to secure the votes of their so-called constituents.
Have the legislators "finished" their matches? After the elections, they still have six months to deliberate 35 priority bills. Will they do that - as nearly half of them are not listed as candidates in the election?
Have the "judges" in the election be fair and objective? Doubt has already been cast as to the General Elections Commission's (KPU) ability to manage such a huge event. Can they handle the 170 million voters, 11,200 candidates of 38 parties competing for 560 House seats?
There are still many issues yet to be disclosed by the media. There are potential violations waiting to be uncovered. In the mean time, we have to keep monitoring traffic reports and try to sneak our cars between buses carrying party supporters.