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Jakarta Post

Gallows humor: How Indonesians cope with flood

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, January 3, 2020   /   06:30 pm
Gallows humor: How Indonesians cope with flood A motorcyclist rides through a flood on Jl. S. Parman in West Jakarta on Jan. 1. (JP/Dhoni Setiawan)

Indonesians are no strangers to disaster, both natural and manmade. But in the face of such trials, the people of the archipelago are known to tap into their unique brand of quirky humor to cope and bring light to even the grimmest of circumstances.

Since the start of widespread flooding across Greater Jakarta, Banten and other parts of Indonesia on Tuesday, videos and memes have been circulating online showing people choosing to find the funny side of grappling with rising water levels.

One video shows a red angkot (public minivan) barreling through the 1-meter floodwaters of an inundated street in Banten, with a laughing crowd cheering its driver on. The clip has been viewed more than 780,000 times on Twitter over the last two days.

To the crowd’s surprise, the angkot managed to cross the flooded road and continue on its daily route – passengers grinning and clapping in the back.

In another video, a man can be seen sitting on his motorcycle on the side of yet another inundated road. An orange truck comes into view and passes him at a relatively high speed, causing roll after roll of brown waves that crashed into him. The motorcyclist was unable to keep his balance and fell into floodwater.

In yet a different video, a girl was shown “rescuing” a life-sized cardboard cutout of Canadian singer Justin Bieber from her flooded house.

"Rescuing @justinbieber from Jakarta's flood," the caption read.

A young man was also recorded kayaking in front of the flooded Trisaksti University, West Jakarta, in a video posted on Dec. 31.

Some residents chose to take advantage of the floods by fishing in front of their house, their kitchen or even from their bed.

One father decided to record his son as he was fishing in front of their home.

"Pull, come on pull son, come on," he laughed and shouted as his son reeled in an orange fish with his fishing rod.

"Yeay [...] we caught a fish," the father yelled. "Thank you, Jakarta, for the water so we could fish in front of our house, right son?"

Another video shows a woman trying to catch two huge catfish that had been carried into her house by floodwaters.

"Wohoo, we got fish!" she said while trying to nudge them out from underneath a shelf using a broomstick.

In another viral video, a man wearing a blue shirt and shorts is seen fishing in his bedroom and continuing to lie on his bed as a fish struggled at the end of his fishing rod. (nal)