Wanted: a nice public reading spot in the capital


Where else can I read in front of these pretty yellow flowers?

As Alessandro Del Piero no longer trains at the Macquarie University sports complex, the only place in Sydney that tops my list if I revisit the city is the Royal Botanic Garden. Not only the city park is such a paradise for a nature lover like me, but also it becomes the place where I eventually have a chance to read a book while laying on clean grass. For a bookworm living in a very hectic crowded city like Jakarta, what I have experienced in the garden is truly an enjoyment.


I go to the park three times during the six-days staying in the heart of Sydney. I firstly come to the Hyde Park but I prefer the Royal because it is across the sea, has very large green fields, more various flowers, and best of all it is a little bit secluded. On the other hand, the Hyde is right in the center of the city where you can view city buses encircle the place hence it’s a bit noisy to spend hours reading in it.

Some of you readers who can enjoy pure blue sky all around the places you currently live will say what I have felt there is a bit too much. But if you have visited Jakarta you will fully understand that my statements are understandable.

According to the Gardening and Cemetery Agency of the Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia has 1,178 gardens which for me, becomes rather useless because most of them serve as mere ornament, green refreshment for passers-by. Some famous parks, such as Taman Menteng and Taman Suropati, stands out among the huge number as they are commonly used as public space where people gather, do exercises or simply hang around during spare time.

But given rowdy atmosphere in those parks, I believe bookworms will find it difficult to concentrate reading. In short words, they are not convenient enough as reading spots. Despite the chattering situation in the parks I have a salute both for public and local administration who have made use of the parks as public area for I am really disappointed with the ‘ineffectual’ existence of the Taman Semanggi or Semanggi park.


The fantastic view of Taman Semanggi from above. Thank you for http://www.ahok.org for this picture.

As you see from the below picture, the garden is really beautiful, very spacious and definitely, trees are all around it. The design is completely adorable where the park is divided into several parts that surrounds the city’s historical bridge, Jembatan Semanggi. It’s too bad, completely useless for the park is a mere garnish because barely no people visit the place for interaction. Usually, policemen or gardening staff who are seen in the park either for doing their jobs or taking some breaks.

taman semanggi (www.voraale.com)

Inside the garden. credit for http://www.voraale.com for the picture.

Aside from the fact that the park is in the centre of the busy Jakarta where it is normally treated as an eyeshot from the rear-view mirrors of vehicles, Indonesians don’t get used to use the parks, including the Semanggi park, as a reading spot because most Indonesians don’t read.

taman semanggi (www.nationalgeographic.co.id)

The picture is from http://www.nationalgeographic.co.id.

Even during Car Free Day, the garden remains empty. People, who run or bike around the place, keep their feet out of it. They only jog or walk around it. Sometimes, I really want to grab a book, a mattress then go to the park. I’d love to do what I have done in the Royal in the Semanggi park; reading while laying on the grass. I would be so happy if I could do that despite not being able to breathe fresh air in the park. But I believe people would stare at me while thinking I am a weird person should I execute the idea because, again, the very low reading habit in Indonesia and the location of the garden in the capital.

Although I still enjoy reading in my room, inside the bus or bus shelter, sometimes I want to do my hobby in an open area just like in Sydney but it’s almost impossible to have that kind of experience in Jakarta. If not because of noisy, pollution, the idea of reading in a garden already sounds silly.

The number of the public park mentioned in the article is taken from this link: http://megapolitan.kompas.com/read/2013/09/02/0820322/Berharap.Wajah.Jakarta.Lebih.Hijau


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