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Jakarta Post

‘Surfing’, ‘Bowling’ and other deadly games

  • Julia Suryakusuma

Jakarta   /   Wed, January 25 2012   /  10:38 am

Surfing” has many meanings. In the good ol’ Beachboy days, it just meant riding the waves on a surfboard. After the World Wide Web (WWW) was invented in November 1990 and the Internet exploded into our lives, it also came to mean browsing online.

Now the term is also used in Indonesia for people who ride train rooftops. These are “train surfers” or “atapers” (roofers), as they call themselves.

Why do they do it? Are they inspired by Indian heartthrob, Shah Rukh Khan, who sings the mega-popular song “Chaiyya Chaiyya” on top of a moving train? (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOYN9qNXmAw). If only.

In fact, most train surfers in Indonesia (and India) don’t do it by choice, but simply because the carriages are too full. Others are poor and want to avoid paying for a ticket.

There are, however, some who, like Khan, do it because they think ...