Improvements greet visitors at Jakarta Fair
Visitors will see improvements at this year’s Jakarta Fair in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta, marked by better decorations, security and cleanliness, while modern touches are a worrying trend to some.
“I like this year’s decorations and layout,” says regular visitor Hidayatullah, 31, recalling that last year’s fair was not as festive as this year’s.
He was one of thousands of Jakartans visiting the fair, which was officially opened by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Thursday evening. Hidayatullah, a father of four, claimed to be a faithful visitor, boasting that he had not missed the fair since 1986, when it was still held at the National Monument Park (Monas) in Central Jakarta.
He applauded the fair’s organizer, PT Jakarta International Expo (JIExpo), which had tried to improve cleanliness at this year’s event as well as the management of parking areas. Last year, he said, many visitors became victims of thugs forcing those who parked their vehicles outside the compound to pay additional fees.
JIExpo marketing director Ralph Scheunemann said that it had expanded the parking area inside the fairground to accommodate up to 10,000 motorcycles and 20,000 cars. It had also prepared parking lots outside the fairground capable of handling more than 2,000 motorized vehicles.
“Police officers are ready to guard the parking areas inside and outside the fairground,” he said.
Despite the improvements in decorations, security and cleanliness, Hidayatullah regretted that modern influences were more dominant in this year’s fair. Instead of promoting Jakarta’s native, original and traditional heritage and culture, this year’s fair developed a more modern face and culture, he said.
“We can see a lot of vendors selling kerak telor [Betawi pancakes]. What about other cuisines? The fair needs to introduce Betawi dishes that are close to extinction,” Hidayatullah said, adding that the fair’s organizer should also feature other forms of Betawi culture.
Since its opening on Thursday, thousands have thronged to the fairground. Last year, the organizer recorded more than 200,000 visitors attending the month-long fair on weekends.
The Jakarta Fair has indeed always become a magnet for many as it offers plenty of discounted goods. But many also came to the fair without long shopping lists.
M. Rifai, 31, for instance, only strolled around the fairground with his three family members on Thursday, looking at things they could not afford to buy.
“We do not want to buy anything here. We came to this fair every year just to look around,” said Rifai, who works as a vendor at the Pasar Senen traditional market in Central Jakarta.
Besides offering discounted goods, the fair also features 32 days of musical performances on its two main stages. “With an entry ticket of just Rp 20,000 on weekdays, we can enjoy music shows from this country’s top musicians. We are pleased with that,” he said. (riz)