My Jakarta: Boki Ratu Nita Budhi Susanti, Legislator and Queen

Beautiful and smart, that is the first impression when you meet Boki Ratu Nita Budhi Susanti, which means ‘Her Majesty the Queen.’ There are still numerous traditional monarchies in Indonesia, but only a few have modernized and now participate in the political system. Boki is not only the queen of Ternate in North Maluku, she was also elected to the House of Representatives as a Democrat. Today, she tells us what it’s like being a queen in politics, her current stands on issues and what Jakarta means to her.

Let’s start with the obvious. How did you become a queen?

Well, I am the wife of the 48th sultan of Ternate. I was originally from Java and was crowned sultana, or queen, of Ternate in 2000.

How do you cope with the cultural differences between Java and North Maluku?

I experienced culture shock when I first moved to Ternate because it was so different. However, thank God, I was able to adjust quickly and soon felt at home in North Maluku. I’m Javanese, and traditionally we are raised more gently and to be soft spoken. But I was brought up under two cultures, Javanese and European, because my grandfather had Dutch and French heritage. So this affected the way that I think.

There are many sultanates in Indonesia. Do they still have any power?

Many of the other kingdoms no longer have any real power primarily because they are not willing to change with the times. The only way to survive is to use politics to make your voice heard. Without that it’s difficult to maintain both a monarchy and democracy.

Has politics always been your passion?

At first, I was just a housewife, but then the sultan told me that I had the ability to be in politics. It was tough for me because I’m not originally from North Maluku, but the sultan believed in me. I wasn’t in favor at first, but then I asked him a question: Why us? Why do we have to be in politics? Shouldn’t a sultanate be neutral and act like an umbrella to protect its people? But the sultan said that our role was to maintain harmony, that we had to participate in politics so we could be part of the central government system. So I took it upon myself to become a part of it to influence our traditional values.

Being a queen is already an honor, so why lower yourself to become part of the government?

In politics, one plus one doesn’t equal two. I had to become part of it to play a role in the decision-making process. That way, I can try and make one plus one almost equal two.

How long have you been in politics?

First, I spent five years on the Regional Representatives Council [DPD] and then I became a member of the House of Representatives [DPR] two years ago.

Do you agree that the House needs a new Rp 1 trillion building?

I agree that we should build a new DPR/MPR building to improve the performance of the top state institutions. Imagine the elevator suddenly stopping while there are House members inside? How can we work if we have to constantly think about safety? The current building is not able to accommodate members anymore.

What changes have you made since you came to office?

I’m not going to talk about changes for the nation, but for my people I have made the palace more accessible, more transparent. The palace has to act like parents toward the people, we are not their masters. I have also built a mosque for the women, improved banking and the economy in Ternate, and I have I established a center to act as a base for all the women’s organizations in North Maluku.

What’s so great about Ternate?

When I’m in Ternate, I love being around my people. Another great thing about Ternate is the spices. They are the main commodity and made us famous hundreds of years ago. In fact, Columbus was originally looking for Ternate, one of the Spice Islands, when he found America. America wouldn’t exist if it hadn’t been for Ternate [laughs].

What’s so great about Jakarta?

I like being here because my voice can be heard, in contrast to when I’m sitting in the palace. In Jakarta, I can enjoy the music scene, jazz and blues. There’s also the malls, which are so convenient. Everything you need in one place.

You’re obviously very busy, so how do you manage your time?

No one’s perfect, but I try to manage it the best I can. I have to be able to know when it’s time to be the queen, mother, sister or friend. I really enjoy being with my children here in Jakarta. I teach them how to be independent; but I also play video games with my little one, pick dresses for my teenage daughter and do her makeup, and just enjoy being a mother.

What else do you like to do besides being a queen, mother and DPR member?

I like to have fun and relax too; just because I’m a queen doesn’t mean I have to be uptight. I pick up my kids from school, go shopping at the mall, I wear jeans and I hang out with college students. I enjoy designing my own clothes, I choreograph traditional dances and I also teach politics and communication. I’m quite an artistic person; I believe there’s art in everything you do.

What about the future?

In the near future, I’m planning to run for governor.

Boki was talking to Iwan Putuhena

Original interview was published in The Jakarta Globe

My Jakarta: Boki Ratu Nita Budhi Susanti, Legislator and Queen

Pictures by Iwan Putuhena & Yanti Junani

My Kemang: Dhiah, Clubber

Dhiah, 21, spends several nights a week clubbing in Kemang and is a regular guest at a number of venues. We caught up with Dhiah at Venue, one of her favorite clubs in South Kemang. She talked about what she loves about the nightlife in Kemang, the hottest places to party and her resolution for the new year.

How often do you hang out in Kemang?
I started coming here around four years ago. Back then I hung out in this area almost every day; lately I’ve cut it down to about three times a week (laughs).

What do you normally do around Kemang?
My night usually starts at Shisha Café, dinner at KFF (Kemang Food Fest), then off to Triple Nine, Venue, Nu China, or wherever the party’s at.

Where do you go most often?
I like to go to Venue, it’s one of my favorite places, because on Mondays it’s 50 percent off for drinks, and Wednesdays is ladies night with R&B music. I feel like I’m promoting the place now (laughs).

Do you get privileges as a regular?
Of course, but I already get special privileges just for being a lady; I’m talking about free drinks and entry on ladies night. I normally get invitations and guest list to places almost every day. And almost everywhere I go, there are people who also party as much as I do. We know each other from hanging out, so we join tables and party together.

Do you call yourself a ‘clubber’?
I don’t go clubbing to get that title or recognition. I just happen to really enjoy going out, being with friends, being around people, talking and drinking. So I think it’s an accidental status (laughs).

What’s the hottest nightclub right now?
I would say Second Floor, because they recently renovated the club and it’s packed almost every night.

Do you live in Kemang?
No, I live in Central Jakarta, behind Grand Indonesia, because it’s closer to my work place. But I would love to be in Kemang. I used to live here a few years back. It was comfortable because everything is in the area. But being away doesn’t stop me from partying here.

Why do you choose to party here, it’s so far from where you live?
It’s my second home. When you’re in the area, everything is near and convenient; the clubs, restaurants, boutiques and lounges. Everything is within a walking distance, so it’s easy to hop around.

Where do you work?
I work in public relations at After Hour Sarinah, a billiard bar in Central Jakarta. Before that I was an SPG (sales promotion girl) for a variety of products and brands.

Where are you originally from?
I’m originally from South Jakarta, born and raised, so I’m comfortable with the area and I’m not scared to go places by myself or to walk in the street.

Do you think Kemang is affordable?
Well, it depends. There are expensive places and fine restaurants, but I think there are many more places for young people and professionals that are affordable.

What do you drink when you go out?
I would like to drink my favorite liquor, Johnny Walker Blue Label, but since I can only afford Black Label, anything mixed with that will do just fine. My friends and I usually buy bottles, because it’s much cheaper at the end of the night than buying drinks by the glass.

Do you have a boyfriend?
Yes, he is a DJ at one of the clubs in the area. But I don’t go to Kemang because of him, because he plays classic disco, and I’m not really into that (laughs).

What don’t you like about Kemang?
Not being able to get a table especially when you really looking forward to go to that particular place whether it’s at the club or restaurant. Kemang is always crowded, and it happens a lot, particularly over the weekend, some places don’t take reservations.

What is your New Year resolution?
I will try to quit smoking, because lately I’m starting to feel like I’m getting short of breath. But I’m not ready to quit drinking just yet (laughs). In the beginning I wasn’t a smoker but when I’m drinking it makes me want to smoke, so it will be a challenge.

Recently the government banned smoking inside public buildings. Do you think they should regulate that for clubs?
Well it would be nice to provide an outdoor space for smokers, like a balcony or roof top. I think it’s a good idea to enforce the non-smoking law in the club, because sometimes when everyone smokes in a packed room with bad circulation, my eyes gets watery and my clothes and hair will smell like smoke when I get home.

Do you think there will ever be a “last call” for partying?
Not anytime soon (laughs). Only when I’m in mourning, like recently when my father passed away. I was sad and stopped going out for 10 days, but then I couldn’t resist wanting to go out again. I guess I can say partying is kind of like a healing process for me.

Dhiah was talking to Iwan Putuhena

Original interview was published in Kemang Buzz

My Kemang: Dhiah, Clubber

Picture by Iwan Putuhena

Saving Lives : Medic One Indonesia

We can only wish that dialing 911 for an emergency worked internationally, because that seems to be a number that gets worldwide recognition, even though it’s only relevant in the United States. The number to dial for emergency services here in Jakarta — 118 — is listed in any directory. But have you actually tried it? When you call that number, you may as well leave your fate to luck.

“I think Bluebird is the ambulance of Jakarta. It’s much faster if you call them instead,” said Ronny Adhipurna, 41, former director of Medikaloka Health Care and co-founder of Medic One Indonesia.

An internationally accredited medical organization formed in 2008, Medic One is the first of its kind to provide 24-hour emergency and medical services in Indonesia. Located on Jl. Prapanca Raya, Medic One is serviced by a team of primary care and emergency physicians, as well as surgeons and public health specialists that operate throughout the Asia Pacific region.

In Malaysia, when you call the government emergency number the response time is about 15 minutes, in Tokyo it’s four minutes, in Los Angeles nine minutes, and if you live in Singapore it’s seven minutes. But if you live in Jakarta, it could take as long as an hour, or more in rush hour traffic.

When Ronny’s brother Andy died of a heart attack at the age of 28, it took the ambulance nearly one hour to arrive at his house. Ronny decided to take matters into his own hands. He and co-founder Savitri Wirahadikusumah (Vivi), who also had a bitter experience with Indonesia’s poor emergency services, opened Medic One in 2008 with Ronny as director and Vivi as operations manager. Vivi had started developing the idea to open an emergency service in 2001, after completing her studies in hospital management and international health at George Washington University. During her research she met Ronny, who shared the same vision, and together they began planning Medic One.

Quick response

Those of us who have never experienced an emergency situation may not realize the importance of being prepared until it is too late. Each passing second during an emergency is precious. Medic One is trying to educate the public on basic first aid skills and procedures. “We are prone to face an emergency situation at one time or another. It’s best to prepare and focus on at least knowing how to save your family in the event of an emergency,” said Ronny.

Medic One works with hospitals, companies, building management staff, and schools around Jakarta to share knowledge and lessons on first aid. “I advise building management teams and small businesses in the area to give us a call to train their employees in first aid,” Ronny said. Medic One also provides first-aid training to drivers, assistants, security guards, maids and other household staff.

One of Medic One’s primary missions is to recruit well-trained volunteer first-aiders who can provide immediate aid or extra support for its SALT (Save a Life Team) response group. Medic One also trains teachers and schoolchildren on basic first aid skills to safeguard their schools. Medic One hopes they will become first-aid “ambassadors” and pass on their lifesaving skills to their communities. There are presently more than 3000 SALT first aiders and Medic One hopes to recruit an additional 2,000 first-aiders in the next year.

“Remember what happened to the expat at the Marriott? He died not because of the bomb, but because no one, not even the police, knew how to stop the bleeding! He was just there at the curb being filmed by journalists, but no one came to help until 40 minutes later! The bleeding was so severe that when he arrived at the hospital it was too late,” said Ronny.
Medic One team not only focuses on medical training, but also has medical emergency assistants, and a concierge medical service that tracks its patients’ medical records. A patient’s medical information is essential to preventing a wrong diagnosis or other complications. Medical details, such as blood type or allergies to certain medications, can be critical factors in saving a life. Each call and medical questions to Medic One Team are recorded to assist the doctors and nurses in providing proper care in the case of an emergency.

Medic One Team regularly drills its team to shorten response times. “Within metropolitan Jakarta, Medic One’s response time is 16 to 21 minutes,” said Ronny. “We conduct site surveys so we know the quickest route to your house or office. And we know that traffic is always a problem for Jakarta, so we also have a motorcycle paramedic responder who can assist immediately.”

Iwan Putuhena Reports

Original article was published in Kemang Buzz

Saving Lives: Medic One Indonesia

Pictures Courtesy of Medic One Indonesia and Iwan Putuhena

Medic One Indonesia
Jl. Prapanca Raya No. 6A,
Tel: 021 7215 9100; Fax: 021 739 9303;