It is a bit late past Bandung’s birthday, but I feel obligated anyway to write a post about Bandung.
I remember noticing a kind of drink that is popular in Singapore and Malaysia, it has pink colour and served as cold drink. It is made of condensed milk and rose syrup mixed with water and added ice. It bugged me why this drink is called Bandung. Bandung in the Malay language means “pairs” others translates it as mixture of something. Which is what Bandung is in some ways, it has cold weather, sweet place and mixture of many things.
As someone who spent more than half of her lifetime in Bandung, I just had to refer to the quieter old days, when Bandung is not as crowded as it is today. My family lived with my fathers’ parents for few years after returning from Berlin. My grandfather works with PT. KAI and has a house near the railway (Jalan Natuna). I remember we would have our afternoon snacks while watching the train gone by.
I went to TK Ade Irma Suryani Nasution (now more commonly known as TK Taman Lalu Lintas) which I thought was the best kindergarten on earth. I still think so. The kindergarten was owned by the Indonesian Army and located at military complex. Ade Irma was the daughter of General AH Nasution who was accidentally killed during ’65 kudeta. I suppose General Nasution built the kindergarten and the park around it (which was huge and amazing) in commemoration of his daughter. Oh I had to tear a bit every single time I remember this.
Back in the 90s, as a youngster we don’t have as many place to hang out as we have now in Bandung. What we do have is GOR Saparua, where music stuff is going on and Bandung Indah Plaza and Regent where we would go and watch cinema. Other things that I would do is visit friend’s house and hang out there. Oh! Well, okay we do have night clubs and such, but those activities never really interest me that much. I remember having a walking trip all the way up to THR Juanda where at the end we have peers who plays music in the middle of the forest. I thought that was pretty cool.
Another place would be Gedung Sate, which has been an icon for Bandung since it erected. I learned driving and cycling there, I remember it was a popular place for couples to take wedding photos. No, no pre-wedding photos, because it was still the 90s okay. Not even selfies existed, nor 3G.
So, the 90s were the simpler days really. And then all the cellphones, computer games and internet came about. Bandung was, as I remember, quieter and there were no issues of traffic. After the Cipularang opens up – well things started to change rapidly. Suddenly there is flyover of Pasupati and several shopping malls showed up and just more people. Food & clothing became a sought after products when visiting Bandung, those who came from far away cities to study stayed longer and become a resident. All sorts of innovation with food especially came about in Bandung and from around Bandung.
Today, after a decade of stagnation with Dada Rosada, we have a new young Mayor who seems to be the ‘it’ person these days in Bandung. He is such a fresh air for Bandung. Plenty of city parks are revived, Bandung hosted plenty of activities from a large one like Asian African Commemoration to regular activities like Bandung Culinary Night. I mean I think we can do more as a city and not everything is ideal at the moment ( but what is ideal anyway?) So, I can’t say I hate what is happening in Bandung these days despite critics that has been going around, I really like the fact that younger generations are doing stuff (what stuff is another matter all together, haha) but the fact that the fluidity within younger generation is inevitable does opens up better possibilities for future living.