Under The Pluit Bridge
The next time you travel along a highway in Jakarta, bear in mind there may be families living right beneath you. As someone who grew up in Singapore where extreme poverty is terribly rare and virtually never mentioned in domestic mass media, shooting this series had an incredibly profound impact on me. While living in Jakarta for five years, it was impossible to ignore the vast disparity between the wealthy and...well...everyone else. But what truly saddened me was the realization that millions (barely) survive beneath the lowest national income margin.
Indonesia is the largest economy in Southeast Asia with an average annual GDP growth of 5.36% between 2000 and 2015. The number of middle-income and affluent Indonesian households is projected to reach 140 million over the next decade. While 268,000 people from 13 provinces were lifted from poverty between September 2014 and September 2015, 1.1 million people were recorded under new poverty in the same period, indicating a growth by 2.8% and bringing the absolute number of people in poverty to 28.6 million. The national poverty line currently stands at US$22.59 per capita per month.
By no means do these images portray the worst cases of poverty around the world, nor are they intended to push any political agenda upon the viewer. I merely wish to bring to light a tremendously resilient community, one of myriad counts throughout Indonesia, that consists of about 30 families driven to establish their homes under a highway with pieces of wood and cardboard scavenged from trash. They now face the inevitability of being forcefully evicted when the Indonesian government reclaims the land as on ongoing operation to eliminate slum areas from the city.