When I first moved to West Sumatra,I was amazed by this province’s identity, since I grew up in Bandar Lampung. At that time, Bandar Lampung was still just another Jakarta-wannabe, it just followed what buzzed in Jakarta, we did not speak Lampung language and since many of Lampung citizens are immigrants from other parts of Indonesia, the pure tradition of Lampung was blurred. Analogically, Lampung was just like a little sister who liked to copycat whatever her older sister (Jakarta)’s doing/ wearing. I used to say that Lampung’s identity is no identity. So, I was amazed by West Sumatra’s pride of its Rumah Gadang roof that we still can find some Minangkabau traditional roof on modern buildings, many Minang proverbs can be found printed in public places like schools, hospitals, etc. While in Lampung—7 years ago—that was as rare as Dinosaurs.
Last June, while my friends were busy focusing on thesis, I took a vacation to Bandar Lampung instead.*tengilfacedotcom,hehehe… it has been two years since my last visit, and just like before, Lampung always wows me. The city grows rapidly. And if back then I said that Lampung is just another city dreaming to be other Jakarta, now Lampung has put its focus on calling back its own cultural identity to make itself not just another big city’s clone but ‘Other Next Big Thing’ instead. This can’t be separated from the former Mayor, Herman H.M, who not only develops the city economically but also culturally. This is the first time I saw Lampung’s Siger (the traditional headpiece ) flooding the city scheme. Seeing that many immigrants taking chances in Lampung, the Mayor obliges every kind of business to put Siger sign on the buildings, otherwise it will be fined. Now, every store in Lampung has Siger on it, from malls to small street kiosks. Padang may have Minangkabau-roofed modern houses, but I’ve never seen a western-franchised business like KFC and McDonald’s with traditional trademark like what I found in Lampung.
Five years ago, to take public buses is a fear-factor thing. Moreover, most transportation was too old to still get on tracks. The air was not just polluted outside but also inside the bus since people were tightened like canned fishes. But now, the old wheels perhaps already rest in peace since being replaced by TransLampung. Lampung now seems to be smarter in copycatting Jakarta that it takes the good side of it not only the bad sides. TransLampung is transportation system like busway system in Jakarta. Though in Lampung, each bus stop still has no shelter like in Jakarta, at least it provides the same security and comfort. It eases people to get to their destination, surprisingly, to get to Natar and Metro is not as difficult as before since Lampung adapted TransLampung.
I prefer to use TransLampung rather than angkot/metromini for comfort consideration, and it’s also cheaper in cost. The outside performance of TransLampung also performs Lampung’s heritage; Tapis. So far, there are only 3 regions in Indonesia that adapt the busway system; Jakarta, Palembang and Lampung. If back then I’d say, culturally, Padang defeated Lampung, now I’ve to say that Lampung today makes Padang like nothing *sorry,I’m just being honest, hehe (because nowadays, even famous Minang restaurants do not sell the Minang-experience in their business. Since Bumi Minang Hotel was torn by the earthquake, we do not have hotels with Minang identity anymore, the new-built ones prefer to be western-like and leaves the culture behind). Hopefully in the future, every part of Indonesia will start this movement because our country is very rich of cultures that we need to embrace.