Jakarta

Live porn aboard an economy
train?

One day last week I took the train, economy-class, from Sawah Besar in Central Jakarta to Depok in West Java. It was 11:30 a.m., the sun was beating down and it was hot, all the train passengers were sweating heavily in the airless carriage.

I was standing near two mothers sat with their babies aged about 12-18 months old, who were enjoying the breeze coming in through the carriage windows.

Twenty minutes went by, it was getting hotter, and one of the toddlers, looking tired, started crying. The wailing baby grasped her mother*s shirt and tugged, fussing and wriggling, throwing her body from right to left in her mother's arms. Maybe because of the hot weather, or due to hunger, or tiredness.

Standing around the mother were several male passengers. Endless minutes later, the howling baby was still struggling and grasping at her mother*s shirt. I watched the mother and child; the baby's anguish, the mother's anxiety and her countless efforts to console her baby, all to no avail. Passengers started to feel irritated by the wailing.

As the crying became even louder, the mother gave up and slowly opened her shirt a little and offered her breast to the baby. Within a half second, the baby stopped crying and looked content. That, then, was the reason she had been crying for more than 20 minutes. I couldn't ignore the temptation of watching them, so I continue to look, marveling at how the baby became so calm after getting what she wanted, and how the male passengers were enjoying looking at a woman with her breast showing. There were six men around her, and they were avidly watching the breast-feeding process.

As a woman, I felt embarrassed. Really. However, for me, this was not the first time, 10 years ago, when I used to take the train every day, I was always coming across similar situations to today's. How can a baby exploit their own mother*s privacy just to satisfy their hunger or thirst? Yes, I know, little babies have not learned yet how to be reasonable. They cry to get what they need. If, at the time, you had been in my position, I bet you wouldn*t have stopped looking at them either, just like the group of men, who all enjoyed free porn that hot day. You would not only have felt amused, but astonished, at the fact that little babies have such great power to control their mothers and get what they want.

After this baby had calmed down, the second baby, about the same age as the first, watching her little friend suckling her mother's breast, perhaps, felt envious. So this baby then began to wail, with the same volume as had the first. But this baby's mother was wearing Muslim attire, which meant according to Islamic law she ought not show any part of the body forbidden to be seen by the opposite sex (aurat) and it would have been very awkward for her if she had opened part of her clothing to feed her baby. Therefore, she did not, she ignored the baby*s tantrum, even when the baby began to pull at her mother*s shirt with all her strength. Fifteen minutes later, the baby was still screaming, but her mother still did not offer her her breast.

That baby must have been very puzzled, upset and then distraught at not getting what she wanted. Why could her little companion get her needs met so easily, and yet she just had to accept that her mother wouldn't fulfill her needs?

The train scene became an amazing drama, a live performance from the mothers and babies. The first mother gave in to her baby's demands, while the second mother decided not to show her breast in public.

What would I do if I had a baby forcing me to open my shirt in front of a hundred strangers on the train? Frankly speaking, I have no idea, but for mothers who have experienced this situation, they have only two choices: offer the breast and see their baby content, or refuse and ignore the baby*s tantrum.

Porn is one of the most popular issues in society, as every time porn appears on television, many people and organizations are ready to demonstrate, but do they even know what has been happening on the trains all these years?

I realize I haven't got concrete empirical research data yet on how many mothers have ever opened their blouses and revealed their breasts to men in order to fulfill their babies' needs. It would be funny, and controversial, if this was treated and legalized as normal - and not porn.

- Mayasari Oey

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