The thumping sound of horse shoes hitting the asphalt reminded me to an old song in Indonesian, a kid song. Its title is "Naik Delman". It was created by an extra ordinary person "Ibu Soed" (1908-1993) that during her life, created more than 200 songs. Most of the songs are for children. The songs that until now are still taught in kindergarten.

I heard the thumping sound again last Sunday , November the 3rd, 2014 when I walked among the crowd in the Car Free Day area in Bogor. Several Delmans , hauled by horse carts passed in front of the gate of Bogor Palace. They run slowly and many times were overtaken by cars or motorcycles. For few moment , it was like seeing an old Bogor returning. It's been quite sometimes, quite long time actually since I was that close to Delmans. It can be tracked to 8 years ago when my son , 4 years old at that time was very fond of riding it. He used to sit next to the coachman. He could ride delman 5-6 times a day.
My son now, is not attracted by delman any longer. He is 12 years old now. At the same time, his once favorite delman have been marginalized and also reduced in number. They have been struggling to keep its pace with the modernization of the city. The growth of the population in Bogor needs more land and it can only be fulfilled at the expense of the land used to grow grass. Many land have changed into housing and almost nothing is left for grass to grow . Consequently it is getting more and more difficult to find food for the horses.

Another reason contributing to the decrease of delman quantity is its slowness that makes delman uncompetitive compared to modern transportation. This has made the income of a coachman getting less. Eventually it cause the younger generation consider being a coachman is not a promising job. Many of the sons of the current delman's coachman prefer to work in factories than be a coachman as their father. The decision can not be blamed as it is the nature of human being but it forces delmans near to their extinction in Bogor.

The time for delman is already near but it may be postponed a little longer by the plan of Bogor government to keep delman in their directory of transportation. Of course , delman will not be once again the main transportation. It will only be emphasized for tourism.

It is glad to hear the plan because I have a dream that someday , in future , I will still have a chance to bring my grandchildren encircling the Bogor Botanical Garden by delman. I am hoping to be able to tell them the story of the good old days of Bogor while listening to the thumping sound of horse shoes and singing "Naik Delman" song with them.

I hope that it can come true ...

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About Anton Ardyanto

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