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Series EN 015

on Fri, 04/17/2015 - 09:53
The Fish Market in Batavia

                                                                       3. Batavia

Batavia, in March 1737. The Chinese called this city Ye Cheng or the town of palm for palm trees everywhere. The city was beautiful. Well designed by the Dutch and built by the Chinese carefully. For the sailors who had just come into this city would definitely impress with the canals and the building of high architectural value. The location of Batavia was in a bay, at the mouth of the Ciliwung River, that once famous for crystal clear waters, and in front were small islands. Behind it was a mountainous area lining the island of Java.

Ciliwung and Batavia like twin brothers were always together. If Batavia wailed because the city life was sick, Ciliwung gave consolation. Ciliwung was the backbone of Batavia. The water flowing in the river was a source of livelihood. In the 17th century Ciliwung water was crystal clear so that the city was famous for healthy and clean, away from the disease. In the 18th century the Ciliwung water become dirty because outside the city of Batavia people threw garbage of sugarcane plantations into the river, then the living water becomes dirty and the city became ill. From the living water the Batavian had the drinking water. But human greed made life out of balance. Greed is reflected in the resulting turbid of Ciliwung River that made the urban space uncomfortable. Batavia was a very unhealthy city.

So it was not an exaggeration to say that the social relationships between people was inextricably linked with ecological issues, social relationships always had an impact on ecology. The shining city with excitement would not have problems that impact on various aspects of life. But the dirty city, a nest of malaria and dysentery, showing human arbitrariness factory owners to dispose of their waste into the river. Worse yet if all these was traced reaching a corrupt bureaucracy as in Batavia. During Jan Pieterszoon Coen era Batavia was famous as a clean city with clear and deep canals. It was due to the corrupt bureaucracy problem had not been existed yet. However, in the 18th century the city became dirty and unhealthy because there were corruption and the rules were violated. The tax of wine and sugar mills was supposed to be expensive. However, just pay a quarter as the mills owner could bribe the examiner. Since the governor general Diederik Durven (in office 1729-1732) issued regulation of Sugar mill waste disposal that should not be thrown into the Ciliwung river so that the city remains clean, now it was violated as long as there was money for the examiner and baljuw - Police in VOC era .

The city became a meeting place between greed, self-interest without taking into account the interests of the people and finally the Ciliwung dirty water as its reflection. Not the fault of the city and the river but human. The city and the river had been destroyed by the residents who rely on them. It is ironic for Ciliwung and Batavia.

But outside the city walls, in the Ciliwung River had slaves without hesitation undressing to shower. Many girls showed their sheer beauty on the canal so that the Dutch meneers and Chinese  tauwkay fell in love. They seemed not to care about the busy street; the important thing was to bathe in water and release of hot city air. That was why many slaves who suffer from skin diseases and difficult to be cure. All those enrich the lives of Batavia city filled with various nations.

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