Category Archives: Jawa Barat

Puncak in Ruins

A photographic tour of the modern ruins of Villa Kota Gardenia at Puncak with evocations of Dieng and the ancient world.

“there is no document of civilization which is not at the same time a document of barbarism.” —  Walter Benjamin

Villa Kota Gardenia entrance sign

Villa Kota Gardenia entrance sign

Driving through Puncak Pass in the mountain resort area of Cianjur in West Java, Dezant and I pulled over into a large abandoned lot with broken oddly-shaped buildings to wait for the other cars in the family caravan to catch up. The family of Dezant’s brother-in-law owns a Puncak villa, and they let Dezant’s entire family use it for the weekend to celebrate his sister’s birthday.  We called his brother-in-law to confirm the location—a development called “Villa Kota Gardenia”—only to discover that the apparently abandoned lot where we parked was Villa Kota Gardenia’s main entrance.

Villa Kota Gardenia Main Entrance

Villa Kota Gardenia Main Entrance

.

The entire complex—overgrown, desolate, wrecked—looks like it was built in the late 1970s and without any maintenance since the early 1980s. I don’t actually think Kota Gardenia was built in the 1970s, but the security post—a swirling abstract two-story catastrophe—and the administrative and recreational buildings behind and off to the side have a tasteless grandeur reminiscent of the era. A wide and weedy circular boulevard leads up to a dense patchwork grid of villas, but from the entrance the villas remains entirely hidden behind a line of trees, leaving nothing to suggest signs of habitation.

Villa Kota Gardenia:  Administrative or Recreational Building Villa Kota Gardenia: Administrative or Recreational Building Entrance

Villa Kota Gardenia:  ???

I’m writing about the architectural ruins we found at Villa Kota Gardenia because I found myself gripped by their terrible eeriness. I explored the whole complex; Dezant took pictures. I will describe in a future post (“Puncak in Ruins, Part 4”) what we found among the actual residential villas behind the trees—an absolute show-stopper—because that deserves a separate discussion of its own. For the final images in this arrival scene near Villa Kota Gardenia’s main entrance, here is the stagnant scummy swimming pool we discovered next to the recreation building:

Villa Kota Gardenia:  Swimming Pool with Sunken Bar

Villa Kota Gardenia: Swimming Pool with Sunken Bar

Villa Kota Gardenia: Overgrown Archway Entrance to Pool

Villa Kota Gardenia: Overgrown Archway Entrance to Pool

Although the ruins we “discovered” at Kota Gardenia felt disturbing and even a little menacing, I was compelled to explore them with the same interest that I would explore the ancient Hindu shrines at Dieng Plateau or the Greek and Roman temples at Paestum. Ruins are good to think with, material fragments that signify loss and evoke absence. Aestheticized objects for contemplation, ruins stimulate the imagination to fabricate histories and memories, monumental achievements and colossal failures, inspirations for living and whispers of death, to fill in the blanks.** Ruins generate nostalgia, an uncanny sense, for something one has never known. There is something incredibly uncanny about the Kota Gardenia ruins that itches me. So far, I only have recourse to two associative resemblances from popular film with which to scratch it.

To be continued:

“Puncak in Ruins, Part 2:  Lost Detour” (coming soon)

“Puncak in Ruins, Part 3:  The Year of Living Dangerously” (coming soon)

“Puncak in Ruins, Part 4:  Return to Villa Kota Gardenia” (coming soon)

** Dirks, N.B. 1998, In Near Ruins: Cultural Theory at the End of the Century, in In Near Ruins: Cultural Theory at the End of the Century, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, pp. 1-18.

Puncak in Ruins is brought to you by Indonesia Matters, where you can book flights in Indonesia, and features listings of Indonesian hotels, like Kuta hotels, Sanur hotels, hotels in Jakarta and near Jakarta airport, and more.

Puncak in Ruins

A photographic tour of the modern ruins of Villa Kota Gardenia at Puncak with evocations of Dieng and the ancient world.

“there is no document of civilization which is not at the same time a document of barbarism.” —  Walter Benjamin

Villa Kota Gardenia entrance sign

Villa Kota Gardenia entrance sign

Driving through Puncak Pass in the mountain resort area of Cianjur in West Java, Dezant and I pulled over into a large abandoned lot with broken oddly-shaped buildings to wait for the other cars in the family caravan to catch up. The family of Dezant’s brother-in-law owns a Puncak villa, and they let Dezant’s entire family use it for the weekend to celebrate his sister’s birthday.  We called his brother-in-law to confirm the location—a development called “Villa Kota Gardenia”—only to discover that the apparently abandoned lot where we parked was Villa Kota Gardenia’s main entrance.

Villa Kota Gardenia Main Entrance

Villa Kota Gardenia Main Entrance

.

The entire complex—overgrown, desolate, wrecked—looks like it was built in the late 1970s and without any maintenance since the early 1980s. I don’t actually think Kota Gardenia was built in the 1970s, but the security post—a swirling abstract two-story catastrophe—and the administrative and recreational buildings behind and off to the side have a tasteless grandeur reminiscent of the era. A wide and weedy circular boulevard leads up to a dense patchwork grid of villas, but from the entrance the villas remains entirely hidden behind a line of trees, leaving nothing to suggest signs of habitation.

Villa Kota Gardenia:  Administrative or Recreational Building Villa Kota Gardenia: Administrative or Recreational Building Entrance

Villa Kota Gardenia:  ???

I’m writing about the architectural ruins we found at Villa Kota Gardenia because I found myself gripped by their terrible eeriness. I explored the whole complex; Dezant took pictures. I will describe in a future post (“Puncak in Ruins, Part 4”) what we found among the actual residential villas behind the trees—an absolute show-stopper—because that deserves a separate discussion of its own. For the final images in this arrival scene near Villa Kota Gardenia’s main entrance, here is the stagnant scummy swimming pool we discovered next to the recreation building:

Villa Kota Gardenia:  Swimming Pool with Sunken Bar

Villa Kota Gardenia: Swimming Pool with Sunken Bar

Villa Kota Gardenia: Overgrown Archway Entrance to Pool

Villa Kota Gardenia: Overgrown Archway Entrance to Pool

Although the ruins we “discovered” at Kota Gardenia felt disturbing and even a little menacing, I was compelled to explore them with the same interest that I would explore the ancient Hindu shrines at Dieng Plateau or the Greek and Roman temples at Paestum. Ruins are good to think with, material fragments that signify loss and evoke absence. Aestheticized objects for contemplation, ruins stimulate the imagination to fabricate histories and memories, monumental achievements and colossal failures, inspirations for living and whispers of death, to fill in the blanks.** Ruins generate nostalgia, an uncanny sense, for something one has never known. There is something incredibly uncanny about the Kota Gardenia ruins that itches me. So far, I only have recourse to two associative resemblances from popular film with which to scratch it.

To be continued:

“Puncak in Ruins, Part 2:  Lost Detour” (coming soon)

“Puncak in Ruins, Part 3:  The Year of Living Dangerously” (coming soon)

“Puncak in Ruins, Part 4:  Return to Villa Kota Gardenia” (coming soon)

** Dirks, N.B. 1998, In Near Ruins: Cultural Theory at the End of the Century, in In Near Ruins: Cultural Theory at the End of the Century, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, pp. 1-18.

Puncak in Ruins is brought to you by Indonesia Matters, where you can book flights in Indonesia, and features listings of Indonesian hotels, like Kuta hotels, Sanur hotels, hotels in Jakarta and near Jakarta airport, and more.

West Java representatives reported to KPK for bribery

Yuli Tri Suwarni, The Jakarta Post, Bandung | Sat, 08/14/2010 10:35 AM | The Archipelago
A parliamentary watchdog said it reported five West Java provincial legislative leaders to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) for allegedly accepting bribes from regency and mayoralty administrations.
West Java Parliament Watch chief Asep Hadian Permana said Friday that the officials were bribed to influence their decision on the amount of cash assistance administrations would receive from the 2009 and 2010 provincial budgets.
West Java Parliament Watch had obtained evidence to support the bribery allegations from documents detailing cash transfers to the West Java legislative leaders, he said.
The amount of the bribes was from 5 to 10 percent of the total cash value of assistance allocated by the provincial budget to each regency and mayoralty administration, he added.
Regencies and mayoralty administrations typically receive between Rp 15 billion (US$1.66 million) and Rp 30 billion from provincial budgets.
Asep said that Bekasi mayoralty and Bogor regency administration officials said that they were willing to testify in the case out of concern of being pressured by the West Java representatives.
“We reported the case to the KPK on Aug. 9 and were accompanied by the Indonesian Corruption Watch,” Asep told The Jakarta Post in Bandung, West Java, on Friday.
“Such illegal practices should not take place now, in the reform era,” he added.
The group also urged the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK), as the state’s official auditor, to be involved in investigating the allegations.
The BPK could help audit the bank accounts of the five West Java legislators, which include the council’s speaker, who is from the Democrat Party, and his four deputies, Asep said.
The deputies are from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, the Golkar Party, the Justice Prosperous Party and the United Development Party.
Asep said the legislative leaders had allegedly approached the regency and mayoralty administrations and promised to facilitate cash disbursements if the regional leaders paid them a fee.
“The bigger the fee, the bigger the amount of assistance [regional leaders] would get,” he said.
Asep said he had proof of a Rp 1.4 billion bribe paid by the Bogor regency administration, which eventually received Rp 15 billion from the provincial budget, adding that there was also proof that Subang regency officials paid Rp 3.4 billion to obtain Rp 30 billion in assistance.
“We have handed over all the evidence to the KPK, which immediately started to investigate the case.”
West Java legislative speaker Irfan Suryanagara said his council absolutely did not understand the
accusation because the report filed with KPK alleged bribery when all funds were accounted for.
“There’s no imbalanced in funds from the province. Don’t simply report [allegations to the KPK] and not have the guts to tell it to the media,” said Irfan.
The amount of assistance funds cannot be influenced because the percentages and amounts were set by law, he said.
“The rules are clear. If someone receives more than is allowed, the central government will know about it and it would be a problem,” said Irfan.