open the pages, read the words, savor the magic

The Official Map Of Jakarta: Are You Kidding Me?

This is the official map of Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, created by the PT. Media Wisata Indonesia.

(Note: Click on all the photos to enlarge them.)

It can be obtained for free from various pick-up points in “more than 120 hotels, more than 60 malls & dept. store, more than 50 embassies, commerce of chambers and others.” (My friend, however, found it at the Starbucks store in Sogo 1st Fl. Plaza Senayan when we had coffee there this afternoon.)

…wait, “commerce of chambers”? Shouldn’t that be CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE?


The map makes Jakarta out to be “the shopping center of Indonesia”, highlighting places to shop, eat and hang out. It’s very lifestyle-minded in that it really doesn’t show you roads, streets and general directions in detail, but it shows you which mall you should stop in. So forget about finding your way through the city with this map; the best way you can use this map is to plan your shopping.

And find out how you can travel by the Transjakarta Busway system.

For your information, Transjakarta is not a system of subway trains. Transjakarta operates buses in several ‘corridors’ (basically, routes) that connect all parts of the city. I’m not sure that at this point all the corridors are fully functional (or even built) but it’s one of the ways Jakartans can travel relatively fast because the traffic is just plain horrible (eat your heart out, Los Angeles!)

The routes can be very confusing so it’s very good of the official Jakarta map to show the proper layout of the Transjakarta routes. Unfortunately, the map has trouble EXPLAINING the system’s route map legend.

I’m sorry but even I, a citizen of Jakarta-born and -bred, could not explain to you what the heck “shelter which has more than one coridor the last shelter” mean. (Shelter probably means “bus stops” or “halte”, in Indonesian.)

Also, I can only guess what “(passenger cannot move to reverse side)” mean. I think it means that the side you get on the bus (it has 2 doors) will be the side you come out of.

Perhaps a regular user of the Transjakarta system can explain better what the description is trying to say (I’m sorry I have a car; I’m one of the victims of our city’s very homicidal thoughts-inducing traffic). If you’re a visitor in Jakarta and have never been on the Transjakarta before, let me know. I’ll introduce you to my friends who are regular users of the system.

Meanwhile, the editor in me just want to add another R in the word “coridor”. I also apologize for the misspelling of “separetad” to the creators of the English language. I assure you it was an honest typo on the part of the copywriter.

(Yeah, right.) NO.

The more I read this map, particularly the route map section, I became increasingly aware of the SPaG errors that exist on this huge piece of paper. This worries me because how can the city of Jakarta impress the visitors if we can’t even come up with comprehensible English?

So, alternative routes.

TB Pulogadung – Kalideres (via Roxy)

TB Pulogadung Kalideres (lewat Tomang) (working days) not stoped in Harmoni ( way to Kalideres)

In case anyone is wondering, no, I don’t know where these areas are. All I know is that they are not in the part of Jakarta I live at, which makes me the wrong person to criticize the route. But I’m a magazine editor who has a degree in languages so I’m the right person to comment on the messiness of the description’s grammar, both in Indonesian and English.

1. Why use “via” in the first sentence and “lewat” in the second? “Lewat” means “via” in Indonesian but this is not very consistent at all. Obviously, this map is intended for non-Indonesian speaking visitors so it should just stick to “via”. But may the copywriter was sleepy when they wrote this so they forgot to be consistent.

2. What is up with the use of brackets? It’s (…) everywhere!

3. Kalideres and Pulogadung are names of places so they should not be written as “kalideres” and “pulogadung” with small initial letters.

4. Hey, have you ever been STOPED by the police? Was your bus STOPED on the way to Ragunan? Do you know what STOPED is at all?


Proper spelling. Learn it, copywriters.

5. “Via and stoped”. I’ll let you figure that one on your own because I am tired of nitpicking.

Ha! Who am I kidding? I’m a Virgo. I nitpick all the time.

A little story here: I was sitting at Starbucks when I read the route map. I was giggling all over the place, waiting for my friend (who’d originally picked up the map) to return from the toilet. There were other people around me and I wasn’t exactly subtle in making snorting sounds as I guffawed my heart out. It was embarrassing but I couldn’t help it. The SPaG errors were too hilarious! After my friend returned, I flipped the map over and saw another side of it. (I hadn’t noticed it before because this map was huge.) There was a section called WELCOME TO JAKARTA that I discovered on the other side and what I read made me laugh even more hysterically.

Here, I’ll let you read it on your own…

Was that clear enough for you to read? Did you notice what I was laughing at?

To be honest, the entire greeting is laughable. But one thing in particular in the first paragraph had me going like nothing else could.

As a city of lifestyle, tourism, and culture Jakarta offers a wide various of entertainments, metropolis-socialite, dinings and shoppings. Who never been slept as the most popolous city in southeast asia and provide the experiences that never-ending to be explored.

1. Jakarta *is* a metropolis and Jakarta *does* have a number of socialites (rich, beautiful people who spend money on expensive branded goods and Preston Bailey-designed weddings) but, contrary to what this map suggests, they are NOT on offer. As in, they are NOT for sale. They are NOT merchandise or souvenirs. Get my drift?

2. Also, this city does sleep. Businesses generally open from 10 AM to 10 PM all year round. (Only one mall – Plaza Indonesia – stops its operations one day of the year, that is during Eid-ul Fitri holiday. First day only. Second day, it opens as usual.) Some government offices usually sleep longer than retail shops. Banks, too. So, really, it’s not like Jakarta is New York or anything.

3. Did you know that the phrase “never been slept” in Indonesian can also be translated as “tidak pernah ditiduri”, which can also mean “never got laid” in English? Going by this, I say we should have a new slogan for the city: JAKARTA, THE VIRGIN CITY.

4. I’m not even going to comment on the second paragraph. If you find any weird sentences there, blame it on the copywriters. (I’ll show you their email address later.)

Here I heave another sigh. Because:

1. Of course Mercure Hotel is going to name their third branch in TB Simatupang “Mercure Jakarta Simatupang”. What did you think they were going to name it? “Mercure Jakarta Ancol”?

2. Has anyone from Jakarta recommended to you where to breakfast? I mean, in the past, before this map was printed? Despite the chummy tone of this paragraph, I really dislike the way they mess up the use of past and present tenses in the greeting. Sorry if that ruins the illusion of friendliness the map is exuding.

3. There are 11 dots (I think; I did count but I could be mistaken) after the words “Enjoy Jakarta”. My grammar Nazi friends in the USA and UK who usually beta-read my Harry Potter fanfictions might have something to say about that. I bet they want to have words with the copywriter as they had words with me when I use one to many dots in my stories…………..

You know what, now I feel somewhat obligated to write a proper greeting for visitors and guests who are coming to Jakarta.

Welcome to Jakarta!

You have arrived in the capital city of Indonesia (yes, this is the capital city. Not Bali, mind you. By the way, Bali is also not a country. It’s an island and a province in Indonesia. Hollywood often gets it wrong.) I hope you enjoy the variety of shopping, dining, entertainment and lifestyle choices that we have here. But allow me to warn you: the traffic in this city is bad.

If you want to get around the city, take the Transjakarta buses for faster travel. But if that’s too confusing, take the taxi. Remember to pick Blue Bird and Express taxis – they are the most trustworthy taxis in town and can be found at most malls in Jakarta. If you’re the more adventurous type, though, take ojek. This method of transportation will make you feel like Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz in The Bourne Legacy film (minus the assassin trying to kill you, I swear). But don’t walk. Just don’t. Jakarta is fun but dangerous, with speeding motorcycles and unruly non-Transjakarta bus drivers doing whatever they want on the road. We also don’t have pedestrian walks. Sorry.

Because of that, I suggest you book a ticket as soon as possible to other, more touristy and panoramic destinations in Indonesia: West Sumatra (Padang is quite exotic), Central Java and Yogyakarta (Solo and Yogyakarta are ALWAYS nice all year round) and Bali and Lombok (do you need me to explain?) It’s quite easy to get tickets. We have a lot of budget airlines – they shouldn’t hurt your pocket too much.

So that’s it! Enjoy Jakarta for a day and have fun in Padang/Solo/Yogya/Bali!

My greeting is better, right? At least, grammatically?

If you find yourself unable to contain your embarrassment (particularly if you’re an Indonesian who’s fluent in English) and want to complain, or if you wish to apply for a copywriting job so you can fix this mess of a map, below is the email address you can contact:

And lastly, this:

Freaky Monday on Hotel Bidakara? If I didn’t know any better, I’d be warning visitors away from this hotel because who would want to experienced freakiness on a Monday? (It’s bad enough on a Friday, let alone Monday.) But I do know better and the hotel is fine. I’ve been there and it was OK. Of course, if I were this hotel’s owner, I’d be finding out who designed the advertisement. Tsk.

I think I speak for the entire city of Jakarta that we need a better official map. The only problem is how I can make that happen. There seems to be little hope for that happening right now so I guess we’re all stuck with this dodgy one from PT. Media Wisata Indonesia.


3 comments on “The Official Map Of Jakarta: Are You Kidding Me?

  1. Ervina Martha
    December 3, 2012

    Thank you for criticism, suggestions, feedback, and opinions to improve and enhance the quality of the map of Jakarta.

    As a beginner of this business we are aware of a lot of mistakes and misspelling in the writing.

    Sorry I use Bahasa. Karena Anda lahir di Jakarta, tentunya Anda bisa membaca tanggapan saya. Peta ini lahir dari kepedulian kami terhadap pariwisata yang kurang memberikan informasi yang sesuai standar pariwisata internasional yaitu setiap kota atau daerah wisata memiliki standar layanan minimum berupa PETA WISATA. Terlepas begitu banyaknya kekurangan yang ada di dalam peta Jakarta, setidaknya kami sudah mencoba memberikan layanan ini. Semoga Anda bisa memberikan tanggapan, input, atau saran di lain kesempatan.

    • mavieenlair18
      December 5, 2012

      Terima kasih atas tanggapannya pada kritik saya. Akhirnya kritik saya terdengar juga oleh orang-orang yang menangani langsung peta ini. Tapi maaf, kalau boleh saya ingin melanjutkan diskusi mengenai peta ini.

      Saya memahami maksud baik Anda dan tim Anda untuk bersikap peduli terhadap kondisi pariwisata di Indonesia yang masih jauh di bawah standar minimum. Usaha Anda untuk memberi layanan ini saya hargai. Tapi saya tidak bisa menerima alasan “setidaknya kami sudah mencoba”.

      Bukannya saya meremehkan upaya Anda ini – jujur, saya pun tidak tahu siapa yang akan menerbitkan peta semacam ini kalau bukan perusahaan Anda – tapi saya tidak bisa menerima alasan Anda bahwa sebagai pemula di bisnis ini, Anda diperbolehkan untuk melakukan kesalahan dalam penulisan dan ejaan peta Anda. Saya bisa menghitung kesalahan tata bahasa Inggris yang ada di sana dan jumlah kesalahan yang Anda terlalu banyak untuk bisa ditoleransi dan akhirnya bisa diterbitkan. SETIDAKNYA Anda bisa menyewa editor yang bisa memperbaiki kesalahan tersebut. Kalau hanya ada 1-2 saja, itu tidak masalah, tapi kesalahan yang ada di sini terlalu banyak.

      Jakarta ini sudah menjadi kota yang tidak ramah kepada turis, baik dari luar kota maupun dari negara lain. Dalam waktu 2 bulan terakhir ini, sering sekali saya mendengar keluhan tentang Jakarta dari orang-orang asing yang berkunjung ke sini. Bahkan dua orang di antara mereka sampai ‘kabur’ ke Singapura karena tidak betah ada di Jakarta. Seandainya mereka melihat peta Jakarta dengan kesalahan sebanyak itu, apakah respek mereka terhadap Jakarta jadi semakin berkurang? Sulit sekali memberi kesan baik pada tamu kalau kita sendiri di rumah tidak berusaha sebaik mungkin. Ya, sudah berusaha saja memang bagus, tapi kita tidak bisa menyalahkan orang kalau akhirnya usaha dengan hasil yang pas-pasan (bahkan buruk sekali) itu tidak memuaskan mereka.

      Saya ingin usul Anda melakukan revisi total pada peta Jakarta itu. SETIDAKNYA dengan memperbaiki kesalahan yang ada dan merapikan layout peta itu, dan menambah informasi dengan bahasa yang jelas dan tidak membingungkan, Anda akan memberi kesan yang lebih baik pada tamu dari luar Jakarta. Semoga hal ini bisa dipertimbangkan.

      Satu hal lagi, saya menerima komentar dari rekan Anda dalam bahasa Inggris. Saya memutuskan untuk tidak menampilkan komentar tersebut di blog saya karena bahasanya yang aneh, seakan-akan tidak rela menerima kritik saya. Daripada nama perusahaan Anda jadi buruk, saya hapus saja.

      Terima kasih sekali lagi atas perhatian Anda terhadap masalah ini. Semoga Anda, tim Anda dan map Jakarta bisa menjadi lebih baik di masa yang akan datang.

  2. wisata bali
    February 3, 2013

    Helpful information. Lucky me I found your site unintentionally, and I’m surprised why this twist of fate did not happened earlier! I bookmarked it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on September 22, 2012 by in language, non-fiction, social observations and tagged , , .
%d bloggers like this: