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Jakarta Post

By The Way: Safety in numbers -- or fear of the mob?

  • The Jakarta Post

  /   Sun, May 18 2008   /  10:48 am

Is there a transportation system anywhere in the world more efficient than Indonesia's? Sure it's shambolic, uncomfortable and unsafe. But it's also cheap, flexible and ever-present. Getting to work in Malang is a breeze; no need to study timetables and ransack the piggy bank for the fare as in New Zealand. The bald-tired bemo (minibus) will be waiting ready to zip from end to end of the city for Rp 2,000 (US 20 cents) Don't run -- he'll wait, unless he has double the legal load. Another will be along in two ticks. Bending a bule (Westerner) frame into a hairpin to get through the door while watching the wallet, squeezing a 40 centimeter bottom into a 20 cm bench space, snagging nails on rusting rails and sucking carcinogens from motorbikes and Marlboros are the downsides. The service is almost door-to-door. Just a short stride to the job. It's past Klojen m...