Don’t Decide Something Because of Fear

Sivia (center) on one of MRT's construction field (doc.of MRT)

One of persons responsible for the construction of MRT Jakarta is Silvia Halim. As Director of Construction, she oversees five divisions in charge of guarding and ensuring that all MRT Jakarta construction works are running according to plan in terms of quality, cost and target time. Prior to joining the position of Director of Construction PT MRT Jakarta, Silvia recorded her career for 12 years at Land Transport Authority (LTA) Singapore. LTA is a government agency that deals with land transportation in Singapore. Her step to join PT MRT Jakarta is the answer to Silvia's heart call to work and worship in Indonesia.

Bureaucratic Challenges

Her career in LTA as a civil engineer made Silvia feel her work could be used by many people and the community. But she also thought a lot when she can do the same contribution for her homeland. Finally, the opportunity came. Basuki Tjahja Purnama or commonly called Ahok, the governor of Jakarta at that time, called on all the professionals in Singapore to return to Jakarta and work for Indonesia. "So, I try and eventually occupy this position. Obviously, this is an opportunity I can’t miss," Silvia said.

When she started her work on the Jakarta MRT project, the biggest challenge facing Silvia was a more procedural licensing system than in Singapore. She compared in Singapore where the licensing arrangements for construction projects is done through one agency. While in Indonesia, Silvia must go to various government agencies. So, she also hopes the licensing system in Indonesia can continue to be improved. Silvia expressed her belief that if it were done then the impact would be enormous. "All construction projects in Indonesia can be completed more quickly," she said.

Discrimination Trigger Work Harder

Leading and moving a predominantly male-dominated team far enough is another challenge for Silvia at the start of managing the Jakarta MRT project. But the provision of a similar experience when she started her career in the world of construction in Singapore made Silvia successfully overcome these challenges. When she graduated from Nanyang Technological University and worked in LTA, Silvia had to lead a project undertaken by middle-aged male contractors with dozens of years of construction experience. Working hard and showing ability, Silvia managed to gain their trust. The same thing he applied when in MRT. According to Silvia, attitude shows the ability, among others, by respecting those who first plunge and be in the post because it has more knowledge and experience than himself.

However, Silvia claimed to have experienced discrimination as a woman because of the appraisal system applicable in Singapore. One time the company declared there would be a job promotion offer on Silvia and one male colleague who both started working time and performance achievements. The final judgment deciding who got it was a male colleague of Silvia.

The main balance of choice makes Silvia disappointed. "He's in the army. If you have compulsory military service, calculated to have (additional) working period of two years. So, he is considered more senior than me, ".

The incident spurred Silvia to work harder and show her achievements. She felt not enough just to work well and should be better and harder than her male counterparts. Thus, when there is promotion then the gender factor need not be an obstacle anymore because on paper performance she has proved better.

Women Are Not Frail Persons

"As women, we are not fragile persons. If you treat us with different manner, you will also treat us differently in other aspects. Do not let them use the same justification to treat us like that in another aspect, "said Silvia. This view makes her never feel different from her male counterparts even Silvia always asks her colleagues to treat herself just like any other co-worker. She never made her womanhood an ex