behind the immaculate pillars and marble entry halls, past the shaded driveways and groomed flower beds, lies the press office of the governor of jakarta. the office, like all other things in the city, serves to contradict the glittering extravagance which greets its visitors.
the office is in a separate building and has an unmarked, tinted glass door. inside three plain tables and a worn couch decorates the battered room. on a busy day, journalists fill the office, teeming with laughter and familiar banter. open food cartons and laptops line the table, and cigarette smoke wafts through the heavy air. on a slow day, one or two journalists lazily type on their laptops, and the room seems dull and empty.
there is a certain respected hierarchy among the room’s occupants, distinguished by one’s tenure to the office. a woman sits at the head of the far table, affectionately called “ebu” or mother. you want an interview with the governor? ebu will take you to the proper contacts in the main building. you want to know where the governor takes his lunch on fridays? ebu can tell you.
for an outsider, it might be nearly impossible to get that prized interview with the governor of one of the most fascinating cities in the world. but for friends of ebu? no problem.
...post script: i later learned "ebu" is spelled "ibu"