On a recent Monday afternoon at the Ruang Carlo sexual health clinic at Carolus Hospital in central 
Jakarta, Dr Vero had an especially busy shift. The only doctor on duty that day she worked six hours until 8pm. She saw 10 patients, all of them arriving for their first HIV test. All of them were gay. Eight tested positive.  

With each positive test result comes the counseling afterward and the emphasis on encouraging partners to get tested, too. In my one-hour conversation with Dr Vero endearingly reaches for a metaphor in English to make plain her worries she expects more days like that one she had in mid December.

"Still many people don't know about their health," Dr Vero explains. "It's just the tip of the ice cube."

Jakarta shopping malls

Life in Jakarta revolves around shopping malls. Gyms, cafes, bars, nightclubs are tucked away in gleaming, frigid monstrosities where the "no-smoking" signs should end in a question mark. They're more of a suggestion than an instruction. 

Lately I've been interested in the idea of public amenity -- free space that offers refuge like a park or a sidewalk. I've been interested in them because, here – in Jakarta -- there aren't any. So, I started wondering: when do people demand more from their cities than a place to work? When do they begin thinking of quality of life?

Jakarta monorail pillars

They stand like colossal dominos for about 13 kilometers through the middle of Jakarta's busiest streets. Cement pylons to support a planned monorail started sprouting after its start in 2004.

But by 2008 the state owned construction company overseeing the project walked away. The money had run out and land speculators made acquisitions tough. 

"That's a sort of monument to failed planning," says Pak Tiko, who heads up one of the new government agencies charged with taking projects out of the hands of bureaucrats and seeking private investors.