Jalan Panjang, a Long Road, Aptly Named – Why Change It!


Jalan Panjang, the thoroughfare I often use on my journeys from West Jakarta into town, actually runs from somewhere up north all the way via Kebayoran Lama to Pondok Indah, which is definitely south.

It means ‘Long Road,’ an accurate name. But suddenly we have a demand that it be changed!



Jalan Bang Pitung – that’s what they want it changed to – would honour a Betawi folk hero. The Betawi are – so they claim – the original Jakartans.

What Pitung did I’m not sure, though friends tell me he was an 19th Century Indonesian version of Robin Hood, who, Samson-like, was powerful if his hair went uncut.

No doubt he was a dashed fine chap! Here’s a link if you’re interested.

http://tjimandepuger.blogspot.com/2012/07/kisah-si-pitung-jagoan-betawi_30.html  , (translation required)

Bang is just a friendly form of address to a man, as when one tells the angkot driver, ‘Kiri, Bang.’ Stop here, on the left, mate!’

But surely there are other places he could be appropriately commemorated. It’s not a particularly outstanding road, except for its length.

And changing a name formally does not mean that it will really be called something different.

Jalan Sabang, in Menteng, a street full of eateries, which sometimes floods (here’s the picture I took a year or so ago)



runs parallel to that street of cheap expat hangouts, Jalan Jaksa,and has long had its official name altered, to Jalan Agus Salim, but nobody calls it anything but Sabang.