Public Imagination

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Today is general election day in the Netherlands. Blogger Nadya Karimasari writes a commentary from her hometown in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

As a Dutch resident, I am more interested in the upcoming Dutch general election than the previous U.S. election, which ignited wide global attention. Both have quite an intense process leading up to the election, with figures such as Donald Trump and Geert Wilders occupying public discourse with controversial stances and questionable reasoning.

Today reminds me of how living in the Netherlands has taught me what ‘public’ means. Writing from my provincial hometown in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, with very limited manifestation of the ‘public’, I must say that the ‘public’ is not something to be taken for granted. Public parks, very safe public roads with bicycle lanes, public transport, public education for four-year-olds and above, public healthcare, and other public mechanisms are considered ’basics’ in the Netherlands. Hence, it is quite easy to forget that these are actually quite an awesome public achievement. Different individuals with public imagination have been demanding and working together to realise a better quality of life, not only for the benefit of each individual, but also for the greater good of the general public.

But what constitutes the ‘public’ in the dynamic situation of contemporary Dutch? This is where the matter gets a bit more complicated. The public system in the Netherlands taught me that no matter where I come from, no matter what my religion is, no matter how long I have been living in the Netherlands, as long as I pay taxes, I am part of the Dutch public. It is clear, sensible, and reasonable. But it implies that in order to pay taxes, one must have an income, a job. It means that better job provision for people in the working age should be the next agenda point of the public fight.

We will see whether the Dutch opt to have someone like me join and be part of that fight or not. Would they be strategic and adaptive, as the Dutch are famously known to be, will they embrace and take advantage of the current situation in which the Dutch public is becoming merrier, more diverse and colourful? Or will it be the opposite?

picture source: wikimedia

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Count down

A lot of things are going on my mind right now. I’m counting down the days before we’re finally back for good! Well, at least, me and baby, we’re heading back to Indonesia next week. Meanwhile, Darmanto (my husband) has to extend his stay in Perth until the end of January 2016 to finalize his thesis revision. We’ve just got the final decision today, so pardon my silence for the last couple of days. To extend is actually never in our plan, but alas, things happen. Usually I prefer to be silent when facing uncertainty. Now that everything is certain, I have no better way but to say it plain and straightforwardly. Good luck, D, do your best for the final revision! We’ll look forward to meet you again in Indo.

On the brighter side, we finally have a family portrait in Perth. Thanks to Abdil Mughis, our short-term housemate, who took our picture several weeks ago. We took it a couple of hours before he flied back to Indonesia. The first location was Sir James Mitchell Park, or better known as Mill Point. In here, you can see Perth’s famous landscape of skyscrapers before the Swan River. The second location is King’s Park. I bet it is the most famous park in Perth. I am happy and glad to take these pics before we leave. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have any and baby would not see the memories of us together in Perth. Here’s for the globe-trotting baby:

Smile:

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Row row row your boat:

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“I’m free!” said baby:

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King’s Park:

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We’ll surely miss crawling on the well-trimmed green grass:

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Bye for now, Perth:

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