Part 2 of 3
(Editor’s Note: this article which I wrote first came out on CNN iReport, which has since been discontinued.)
Merdeka Square, Jakarta, Indonesia. National Monument, Monas, center. (Image: iStock)
It was past noon time when I went to Merdeka Square to see Monas (National Monument) at Merdeka Square, site of the iconic Monas commemorating Indonesia’s struggle for independence. The square has become a favorite for jogging, flying kites, and having picnic.
After getting through Merdeka Square’s gate, I looked around and straight ahead I saw Monas. Gardens surround Monas, adding character to the concrete structure. “So, that’s Monas,” I quipped, admiring the structure and its meaning to Indonesians.
While I was talking to a vendor of souvenirs, a freelance tourist guide probably noticed I am not an Indonesian.
So, M. Syariffudin approached us and started giving details on Monas. He sold me the idea of having a guide and said he was willing (to show me around) for 500,000 rupiyah. I haggled with him and got 350,000 rupiyah (about $39 dollar) for the day tour.
At the time I was haggling with the guide I reckoned it was better to have a guide rather than go on a little adventure not knowing where best to go. “It was worth the price, though,” I muttered to myself.
My tourist guide and and other sources on the internet, such as the all-knowing Wikipedia (no offense to the Great All-Knowing One up there), and other just-as-Jakarta smitten tourists like me, narrated that after the Dutch colonialists granted Indonesia’s independence in 1949, founding President Soekarno wanted a structure that would be the symbol of his new-born country’s independence and struggle against the Dutch.
(Later in 2005, the Netherlands accepted August 17, 1945 as Indonesia’s date of independence.)
To be continued.