Abundant Floral Tributes to Thanking Ahok-Djarot from Jakarta Citizens

Abundant Floral Tributes to Thanking Ahok-Djarot from Jakarta Citizens

Indonesia’s newest tourist attraction is part celebration, part wake: thousands of elaborate floral tributes to Jakarta’s defeated governor “Ahok” line the crowded streets around City Hall.

Jakarta has never seen anything like it.

At last count there’s about 3,000 “bunga papan” — or flower boards — carrying dedications of praise, grief and anger. Scores more arrive by the hour.

Workers help to deliver and arrange the flower boards for display. Photo: Workers help to deliver and arrange the flower boards for display. (ABC News: Ari Wu)

“Go To Hell Munafikun (hypocrites),” is directed at the political opponents who contributed to his overwhelming election defeat last week.

The “Ahokers” in Perth, Western Australia, declare “You are precious to us”.

The signs are littered with references to popular culture.

A purple board reads "Ahok Djarot may the force be with you - The empire" Photo: One of the tribute flower boards was an ode to the Star Wars film franchise. (ABC News: Ari Wu)

And “Just Keep Swimming” refers to Ahok’s comments during his own blasphemy trial last week, when he said that he was “a small fish, like Nemo, in the middle of Jakarta”.

Some of the tributes might be of concern to Mrs Ahok, Veronica Tan — like “Governor is Job, Hero is A Title” from the “Prettiest Mom” at a local school, and another from Anita Subarno, Ahok’s “Die Hard Lover”.

A red and green sign adorned with yellow flowers reads: 'Governor is job, hero is a title' 'thankyou mr ahok, mr djarot" Photo: A sign from a woman claiming to be the “prettiest mum” at a pep rally. (ABC News: Ari Wu)

There are tributes from Switzerland, California, and Leonardo DiCaprio — well, that’s what it says on the board, anyway, along with a Titanic quote: “You jump, I jump”.

Every morning this week hundreds of Ahok supporters arrive at City Hall before 7:00am to catch a glimpse of their hero.

Ahok is guided through a crowd by his handlers near the wall of floral tributes Photo: Ahok was greeted by hundreds of supporters near the floral tributes. (ABC News: Ari Wu)

Ina, from Cipinang, said she was there to thank Ahok for the education subsidies for her grandchildren.

“I want to say thank you, also that I got the benefit from the healthcare program for my eye operation,” she said.

“I want to thank him, though I [didn’t] bring flowers, I really want to give him my bible. I hope he’s willing to accept it.”

Supporters came armed with orange Nemo plush toys of various sizes Photo: Supporters came armed with Nemo plush toys. (ABC News: Ari Wu)

Ahok is seen as an effective, if brash, leader of a broken city.

The Chinese Christian politician had soaring approval ratings and would have won re-election before he was attacked by religious conservatives and political opponents for allegedly insulting Islam.

Muslim woman Mazaya was in the crowd to greet Ahok. She is a commuter who says the governor’s projects made her life easier.

“I feel sad. He’s built and planned a better Jakarta. He [built] many parks for the children, he’s built better public transport, and new roads. It does not matter that he is not a Muslim,” Mazaya said.

Another fan, Restu Saraswati, brought some stuffed Nemo toys.

A woman waves a large Nemo plush toy Photo: Supporters brought plush toys after Ahok compared himself to the little fish Nemo, “swimming upstream”. (ABC News: Ari Wu)

“We are here because we love the personality of Ahok. He might not win in the election but he has certainly won our heart.

“I bring the Nemos with the hopes there will be more Nemos like Ahok, born in this city, in this country.”

Ahok’s has six months left as governor. A verdict in his blasphemy trial is due on May 9.

A black and white sign reads: "Dear pak ahok if black is your brightest colour, if hurt is your only lover...i will stand by you Photo: Ahok’s supporters see him as an effective, if brash, leader of a broken city. (ABC News: Ari Wu)
Source: ABC.net


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