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                All my life I’d never dreamed about being inside a prison, or any facilities of that sort. Well maybe once, when I for the first time stole my friend’s allowance when I was still at elementary school, but old story remains old. And last week I found myself inside one, changing what had been my thoughts about jail and criminals, from shadows of terror into reality.

Caged Beauty

                Tangerang Youth Detention Center is a law institution categorized into Class IIA, which means that the institution is designed to contain felons branded with Class II felony, based on judge’s decision. Assault by using weapon which caused serious injury, having narcotics more than 50 pounds, robbery, and any action under the influence of alcoholic beverage or drugs which caused the loss of others’ life are examples of action that can be classified as Class II felony. The punishment varies between 2 to 20 years of confinement, along with some cash penalty to be paid. Other limitations to people with record of Class II felony including stripped of rights to have firearm in possession, vote, and the most notable is limitations to certain degree of career opportunities.

I was asked by my friend to become a volunteer for teaching IT to delinquents there, as a part of corporate social responsibility campaign to introduce internet service and the corporation itself to the people. It was the greatest goal of the campaign to introduce people, especially juveniles under strict surveillance by the nation, still have the rights to know and create something that is useful to others. We start our trip from the heart of Jakarta City to the facility, located just at Daan Mogot street, and finally arrived after an hour-long journey.

The building itself was nothing like prison, like what I’d been expecting before. Tangerang Youth Detention Center had its wall painted with pearl white color, along with neatly assembled roof above it, and front roof supported by strong, ivory colored pillars. Windows reinforced with orange bars made it clear what had this building been made for. Indonesian flag was hanging on a white pole, waving above a small garden made beautifully, and pretty clean road signifying that the facility is well-kept, showing Indonesian government’s care to the place.

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The more I walked inside to the building, the more astonished myself was, because I found that the place is in no way similar with ones I usually see on TV, or even worse, the Holocaust. The place was filled with green plants, complete with sports facility like soccer field, and a computer room, where they can learn and do many things even under detention. Alongside my way to the hall are classes that will be used later for teaching the juvies about IT. Each of the classroom is equipped with double door mechanism, with both wooden door and iron fence installed into the mechanism. Safety, without doubt, is one of the most important aspects that are taken to consideration by the government. And of course that made us feel safer in doing our job there.

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Crime and Punishment

                Before I started to teach IT to the juvies there, I spent some of my time there to explore the detention center deeper, to the place where the juvies spend most of their confinement period with their friends who have the same fate as they do. That place, unlike what might people had imagined, was a complex of wards surrounding a garden, which many juvies were tending it. The building where the young felons spend their nights in cold and loneliness was surrounded by iron fence. Guarded only by few officers, the place was very far from what I would call ‘Shadows of Felony’. Moreover, what made me surprised was that the juvies are in charge of doing all the labor work, maintaining everything within in order and running, which is for me a sign of discipline and care to the environment. A thing we rarely encounter even in place closest to us, our own neighborhood.

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Poor quality of food, far-below-par resting time, and untended health quality are few reasons why felons located within this facility usually won’t be there for the second time. This tactic that police officers considered as effective ways to make the felons get their lessons from their crimes in fact draw many problems such as disease, poor nutrition quality, even ultimately leading few of the juvies to death. Aside from those things, physical assault performed by the wardens still became a common tradition, especially when routine assembly is held to check whether the juvies are still at their places doing their things or not. Commonly juvie fights broke between them, making Gilang, one of the new juvie there, admit that it was very hard to adapt, and made him miss his parents and friends very much. Despite all that, Gilang and his friends keep smiling, and few times played a joke on me – a good one actually – on my visit to Enau Ward, where he and his friend Randi sleep together.

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“Heck, we are all miss our friends out there. Here we often being punished for something we didn’t do”, said Gilang when I asked whether he wants to get out of here as soon as possible or what. “In this place we all have all the facilities, but still we prefer being outside. And it’s going to be a long wait for us.” We walked together towards the hall, passing by other juvies doing their duty to tend the garden and maintaining the place’s cleanliness. Punishment for a crime, come and go in many forms.

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Letter to the World

                I am a person who’s not too fond of teaching abstract things to others. And doing something without proper preparations is somewhat disastrous. When I was asked to become one of the volunteers, doubt crossed my mind, will they understand what I’m going to teach? But thanks to Mr. Ivan and Jessie, which were in the same class as mine, teaching became something with less hassle.

The campaign was started by a little speech from representatives of IBM, Woman Entrepreneur Foundation, and head of Tangerang Youth Detention Center. They tried to convince us, both juvies and volunteers, that by teaching IT to them, we are actually securing our own future, because they will be our leaders in the future. And really, they convinced us with enjoyable, yet memorable way.

Enthusiasm of the juvies in learning IT astonished me in a way that I didn’t imagine before, in fact they have way higher level of enthusiasm if compared with friends of their age who had higher degree of education out there. Even though time given to teach them was far from enough to share what I have, they expressed their satisfaction with what they’d learned, and the want to be taught again in near future. Their spirit to keep learning is what makes me love this job.

Jakarta, 25 Februari 2012

Kepada Yth.

Dr. H. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

Presiden Republik Indonesia

Di tempat

Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh

 

            Kami –Gilang, Putra, Yana, Amar, Randi, dan Dias- selaku Anak Didik Lembaga Pemasyarakatan (ANDIKPAS) Anak Pria Tangerang sebelumnya ingin mengungkapkan kekaguman kami atas kepemimpinan Bapak. Kami percaya bahwa Bapak adalah presiden yang adil dan bijaksana, dan memiliki kinerja yang dinilai memuaskan oleh masyarakat. Pada tahun sebelumnya, yaitu tahun 2011, Bapak pernah berkunjung ke Lapas kami, dan kami merasa mendapat kehormatan yang besar atas kunjungan Bapak tersebut.

Dengan surat ini, kami, sebagai anak bangsa Indonesia dan sebagai penghuni Lapas Anak Pria Tangerang ini, berharap dan meminta agar:

  1. diadakan remisi pada Hari Anak Sedunia yaitu potongan masa tahanan selama 5 bulan
  2. NARKOBA dimusnahkan dari bangsa Indonesia, karena barang tersebut terbukti merusak masa depan anak bangsa
  3. KKN, khususnya Korupsi, diberantas dari negara Indonesia, karena hal tersebut hanyalah menguntungkan pejabat yang melakukan hal tersebut, sementara rakyat semakin menderita.

Sebelum dan sesudahnya kami ucapkan banyak terima kasih atas perhatian bapak Presiden dalam menangani 3 hal di atas.

Anakmu,

Yana Suryana

That’s just one example of letter they made after the learning session. Here’s another one, and we’ll be seeing each other again on my next post.

Jakarta, 25 Februari 2012

Kepada Yth.

Dr. H. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

Presiden Republik Indonesia

Di tempat

Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh

 

            Di sini kami bersama teman – teman menghabiskan waktu seharian tanpa dapat melanjuktan sekolah karena kami terkurung dalam penjara. Kami terkadang bahagia di sini, namun terkadang juga sedih. Kami bahagia karena kami dapat tinggal dengan damai di penjara, dan sedih karena jauh dari orang tua dan tidak dapat melanjutkan sekolah.

Kepada bapak Presiden yang terhormat kami berharap agar kami dibebaskan secepatnya karena kami mau melanjutkan sekolah. Kami juga berharap agar di lapas ini kami semua mendapatkan remisi Hari Anak Sedunia, khususnya untuk anak – anak. Kami meminta ini semua karena masa depan kami masih panjang; karena menegakkan keadilan bagi bangsa Indonesia adalah cita – cita kami, dan kami ingin berbakti kepada orang tua.

Atas perhatian bapak, sebelumnya kami haturkan terima kasih.

Hormat kami,

Imron

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Karma Kandara – A Heaven Hidden

Posted: February 26, 2012 in Travel

 

 

 

 

If you ever visited Kuta beach with all the comfort it has, and you like it, then you can expect much more from what you will find in Karma Kandara. Except that this beach doesn’t have those crazy merchants trying to sell you things, or the horrible traffic noise that haunts you when you’re expecting a romantic sunset with your most loved one. It’s just about you and the greatness of Karma Kandara beach.

A Heaven Hidden

                This beach is one beach that suits the title ‘Virgin Beach’, based on the fact that this beach has very little connections with the civilization, and you can still enjoy the most intimate experience with nature without any annoyance that might ruin your trip. Feel free to enjoy each and every beauty Karma Kandara has to offer; clean, translucent sea that is seldomly passed by ships, calm tides that allows you to indulge yourself with the serenity of its sound and touch, and wind that blows with grace below cliff covered with beautiful green trees. All that, you can find and enjoy below the vast blue sky.

The beach, which is located below Karma Kandara Hotel, has the distance of 16 miles from the heart of Denpasar city, located away from the glamorous entertainment and commercial facilities. What you will find there when you see this place for the first time is a heaven hidden.

For you who harbors passion to swimming, feel the extraordinary sensation of pleasure when your skin touches the warm water of Karma Kandara ocean. Corral formations that barricaded all around Karma Kandara beach break the rushing waves from faraway ocean, giving you this heavenly feeling the moment you swims through the beauty of its ocean. Or for you who just want to enjoy some quality time of relaxation, enjoy the sunshine that’s just there above the beach, very promising for they who want to tan their skin, and expect excellent result in the end.

Stairways to Heaven

                If you’re one of those many people who believe that Heaven is somewhere up there, then you better start to rethink of what you’ve been believing all this time after you see Karma Kandara beach. The end of 16-miles long road and Karma Kandara beach are connected by 150 stairs heading down, made of rock and paved beautifully above the marvelous cliff very close to the beach. And the heaven thing is clearly not a hyperbole to they who seek pleasure from their vacation to Bali.

2.5 hours of riding from Ngurah Rai Airport to the beach can be done by renting family car such as Avanza, that can carry as much as 7 people. Along with a driver for you to drive the car from morning ‘till dawn, you can rent this car for only about US$ 35. After a long ride you will finally arrive at the end of the road, which serves as entrance to Karma Kandara Hotel itself.

In order to get to the beach, you may choose yo walk down the stairs located just beside the hotel entrance, but get ready to climb all the way up to get back. And what can I tell you is that the climb is, in no way, heavenly. It even could ruin all the fun you had down there. Of course we don’t want the experience turned ugly, whilst luckily the hotel provides elevator to get to the beach and return back up after you finished enjoy yourself on the beach, with a fee about US$ 28 per person. And the luck doesn’t stop there, for every purchase of the ticket to ride the elevator you get a US$ 11 voucher from Karma Kandara Hotel to enjoy luxurious meal of your choice.

It is no secret that in order to achieve something you have to let something go, be it your stamina or your money. What you let go, you decide.

A Heaven Too Much

                Like the moon that shines beautifully, yet is dark and cold at the other side, Karma Kandara has its minuses despite all the astounding display of beauty it offers to anyone who came across it. Clearly these downsides don’t pierce the beauty value it has, but still have to be known in order to prepare for the worst.

  1. the distance of this place to basic facilities makes you might find difficulties when you are in this place, such as when you’re hungry, thirsty, or even worse, having physical urge to go to the toilet
  2. the unforgiving weather makes anything could happen when you are enjoying this paradise. Strong wind, scorching heat wave, or even drastic monsoon could obliterate your fun in an instant
  3. long, taxing trip that has to be taken, might it be your stamina or your cash, insists you to struggle before getting to this place.

In summary, this beach is extremely perfect for you who wants to spend a beautiful moment with the ones dear to you, for this place offers the best Bali beach could have. With well-done preparations you will get unforgettable moment in this place, and you won’t have the patience to get back to this place again, again, and again.