Hong Kong based Herald Van Der Linde talked about his latest book titled Jakarta: History of a Misunderstood City which explores the evolution of this settlement through the eyes of its Sundanese, Chinese, Indian, Arab and European inhabitants into the world’s fourth largest megacity with an urban area of some 30 million inhabitants today. This event was moderated by Lesley Pullen, Post-Doctoral Research Associate, History of Art, SOAS University of London.
Jakarta for most people, conjured up scenes of sultry, dusty air, nightmarish traffic jams, shopping malls selling identical ware and, of course, floods. Yet there is so much more to the Indonesian capital than meets the eye. Inspired by a vibrant mix of people who have arrived over the centuries and made this place their home and the labyrinthine kampung that criss-cross this megacity, Herald vand der Linde casts a unique look at the history of the city through the eyes of the individuals who have walked its streets through the ages and, as far as history allows, tries to follow their life stories.
Tracing the evolution of this Javanese city from pre-colonial times to the bustling metropolis that it is today, Jakarta reveals how the new set of challenges that the city confronts today-congestions, poverty, floods and land subsidence- mirror the struggles it has had to face in the past.