A vast, 120-hectare moonscape of toxic, foul-smelling and suppurating waste; this huge dump (the largest uncovered landfill in Southeast Asia) serves the 32 million-strong Jakarta conurbation. Estimated to contain over 39 million tons of garbage, (7000 tons are being added daily) it should reach its full capacity of 49 million tons by 2021—if not sooner.
Historians deal with the past. As the architects of our collective memory; they record, document and preserve. History can never be objective because like any form of storytelling, there’s always a writer or narrator who selects, edits and crafts the source material. Biases are therefore to be expected. The best we can do is to be aware of their existence.
For well over half a century, Washington SyCip, a sprightly, nonagenarian professional (who passed away in 2017) was the key to the Philippines. Straight-talking, warm, funny and enormously curious – he read voraciously – “Wash” (as he was called) left a huge, enduring legacy in the region’s fastest-growing economy.
“Our freedom and our rights are fast-disappearing. This wasn’t like the “Occupy” movement back in 2014. Back then, the general public weren’t so convinced. This time, it’s very different. Many people feel they have no choice; that they have to demonstrate in order to preserve our current way of life and our autonomy.”