New Kid's View

Family lured Jerrianne and her husband to South Milwaukee in 2002 from Southern California where she worked as, first, a journalist, then, as a court information officer. She now stays busy with media-relations consulting, playing with her three grandchildren (part of the lure), writing, discovering her new environs, and hoping her garden will produce before the first fall frost.

May Day in Jakarta

May Day in Indonesia is a national holiday, but not so people can admire flowers or dance around May poles. Here, May 1 is called Labor Day. It’s a holiday honoring workers. As with many special days in Jakarta, today was occasion for gathering around the traffic circle/fountain outside the Grand Hyatt Jakarta.

Dozens of yellow stake-bed trucks loaded with people dressed bright blue garb drove in about 9 a.m. Shortly after dozens more drove in with people dressed in bright red outfits. The red-clad people gathered on the near side of the circle – kind of clumped in a loose form of organization. The blue-clad gathered on the far side of the circle, in equal organized disorganization – or disorganized organization.

The trucks pulled out of the circle and parked along the sides of the street that spokes out from the circle and runs in front of the hotel toward the building that houses the project I work with here.

Flat bed trucks laden with sound equipment – loud speakers and amplifiers – were parked near the circle. Banners and flags were unfurled. Some of the colorfully clad people held white banners 10-15 feet long. Others held large white flags with colorful designs on tall flag poles. All the others waved tiny white flags.

Before long the loudspeakers were put to use by people who were "enthusing" the crowd. Photographers roamed the streets taking pictures. Camera tripods were set up atop SUVs with their operators peering through their lenses.

This general milling, formation forming, unforming, regrouping went on for at least a couple of hours. At one point a white and blue helicopter with red trim flew into my view. It swooped down so low I was looking down on it from my 16th floor window. The first time it came by it flew down the street a ways then turned and came back, stopping and hovering at one point. I thought it was going to land right in the middle of the street. But it didn’t. It flew back past my window and out of sight.

A half hour or so it came back, flying even lower. It wheeled around the circle so tight I thought it was going to crash into the monument in the middle of the fountain. It flew between buildings, coming so close, I was sure it was going to clip something. But it didn’t. It made several other passes during the morning, although none as close or as low as the first couple of times.

Finally, the two huge groups moved around the circle, again in a rather disorganized fashion, and then lined up. After another half hour of just waiting they finally began to march down the street and out of sight. I learned later that they were marching to the National Monument several blocks away, and that the little hotdogging chopper was a police helicopter.

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