Me old mate Jakartass thinks the roads in Jakarta are totally manic. And I do as well.
In fact, in the space of just two days I once saw three ridiculous traffic accidents take place.
Actually, in the first one, on the busy main thoroughfare of Jalan Gatot Subroto, I didn’t actually see the accident - but just its aftermath: a downed motorcyclist moaning in agony as he was removed from the battlefield to be dumped unceremoniously on the side of the street by the gutter. Poor bastard. And I bet he was there for some time before the ambulance arrived (actually, do they even have public ambulances in Jakarta? Or are they all private?)
The second one was utterly surreal, and seemed to happen in slow motion. A traffic junction in Menteng and the lights turn red. A Merc goes through anyway, and, at the same time, a motorcyclist has shot out of the blocks from the other side of the road doing a right-hand turn. At the last moment he tries to brake but it’s too late. He zig zags all over the place before the machine slams into the side of the shiny Merc. CRUNCH!!!!! A few Indonesian dudes provide some vocal support and let out some hearty cheers.
The third one was the most impressive of the three in numerical terms, as there must have been about seven or eight motorcycles and at least two cars in what seemed to be the classic pile-up scenario: Indonesians think that only woozies leave a gap between themselves and the vehicle in front, so the available braking time is only about 0.0005 of a second. If they’re lucky. So if anything happens in front of them, well, basically, they’re f__ed.
But despite the anarchy, chaos and total insanity of Jakarta’s roads, Indonesians ARE capable of showing a little discipline. In fact a lot of discipline. Cos during the month of Ramadan, many of them will exert great willpower to avoid food, drink, fags and sex (as well as a few other unmentionable enjoyable activities as well) during the daylight hours.
So how can this be? How is it possible for Indonesians to show great discipline during Ramadan yet turn into a bunch of undisciplined psychotics when they have control over a modern combustion engine?
Well, God only knows...