Indonesia Anonymus

We are a group of Indonesians, ranting about our beloved country. This blog is a result of many people grumbling about many things in many ways.
Feedback: indonesia.anonymus at gmail dot com


Anonymus is the Latin word for anonymous, the correct English spelling. The Latin spelling, however, is traditionally used by scholars in the humanities to refer to an ancient writer whose name is not known, or to a manuscript of their work. Read more at Wikipedia.

Our blog in Bahasa Indonesia (but rarely updated) can be found here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Is that a bomb or you are just happy to see me

Christmas and new year is coming. And the police is busy: 17.000 police will secure Jakarta for this Christmas and new year [1]. With 23 churches in Jakarta are vulnerable from bomb attack [2], 3 policemen will be assigned to each church [3]. Even so, the police cannot guarantee there will be no terror attack during Christmas [4].

Ah, there is nothing like Jakarta's living-on the-edge holiday atmosphere...

Such precaution and fear have become part of our lives now. We endure it. Wherever we go these days, we have to go through security checks. Driving up to a parking lot of a shopping mall or office building, you will have security guards checking the car trunk, while the other going around your car with the 'mirror on a stick' thing making sure you don't have anything funny underneath your car. Once you parked your car and going to enter the building, you have another checkpoint where security guards will check your bag (if you carry any) or simply wave his metal detector reluctantly around you before they let you in.

We don't mind, of course. You can never be too safe.

But it made us think:
Do you think those security guards know what they are looking for?
When they are checking underneath your car, your trunk, your bags, do you think they will recognize an explosive when they see one? Have they ever seen anything remotely resemble a real bomb?

We have our doubt sometimes. Like when we see security guards waving metal detector while checking car trunks. Aren't cars mostly metal? What do you get when you wave your metal detector near a car?
Maybe one of you can enlighten us on this matter.

Anyway, we thought we should do a little research here. We thought we should go around and ask security guards, just to see whether they really know what they are doing.

We started with one of the security guards in our building. The one who stands around at the front lobby with his metal detector. One of us went and asked him whether he has been trained to recognize if something resembles an explosive, and whether he knows what to do if he found one.
The answer is not very encouraging. He has no clue! When we asked what he looks for when he checks on people, he said "anything out of the ordinary".
Well. The definition of 'something out of ordinary' can be really wide, don't you think? Bad haircut can be out of ordinary. Or Britney Spears.

So we thought, we should do more research. We decided to spread out and go to shopping malls and office buildings around our office in the evening. While entering the premises, we'll have a little chat with the security guards, to see if they know what they are doing.

Are you curious about what we found out? Well, here it is. Bear in mind that there are only a few of us, and this is done in just one day, so we did not get what you would call a 'statistically acceptable' number of samples. We could only manage to ask 18 security guards of shopping malls and office buildings.

Out of 18 security guards we talked to, we found out that:

  • 4 have had at least one training session with the local police regarding explosives and what action to take in case they found one.
  • 7 have never been trained to recognize an explosive or something of that sort, but are given a briefing and shown photos of what to look for.
  • 4 do not have a clue
  • 3 refused to answer

Well, there you go.

Do you feel safer? Well, we do. Somehow we expected the worst, so knowing that at least some of them have some kind of training, is a relieve.
But then again, those security guards could have lied. Maybe they just said that because they are embarassed to tell us the truth. What now?

Ah, the Jakarta's living-on-the-edge holiday atmosphere...

[1] Media Indonesia - 17.000 Polisi Akan Amankan Jakarta
[2] Media Indonesia - 23 Gereja di Jakarta Rawan Teror Bom
[3] Tempointeraktif - Setiap Gereja Dijaga Tiga Polisi.
[4] Tempointeraktif - Polisi Tidak Bisa Menjamin Tak Ada Teror Saat Natal

Feedback: indonesia.anonymus at gmail dot com


Blogger Jakartass said...

Is that a bomb or a Kosti Jaya taxi?

PS. Congrats on working out how to enable comments.

1:13 PM  
Blogger Indonesia Anonymus said...

Thank you Jakartass.

Took us a while to figure it out, to be honest. We are not that savvy with blogging.

Luckily we got an email from Enda, with a direction on how to switch that thing on.

Thank you, Enda. Very helpful email indeed.

3:52 PM  
Blogger Admin said...

Very true what you're writing...I was in Indonesia for 2 weeks and I was experiencing what you're describing, being searched wherever I go esp. Jakarta and Malls. Unfortunately, I also believe that it costs them, government, a fortune to really train people who are supposed to protect us from any threats, or to train anybody working for government to do their jobs best. I'm afraid that this happens also in developed country like the US where they just play Bullies: looking scary, barking loud, seeming to have procedures to complicate our lives, etc, where in fact often it's all just for the SHOW. They put the less fortunate group of people, the minority, in the force because they know if they die for the country it's not so bad. It works a lot of time, the mass is afraid. They instill FEAR in costs less and it's effective for all they care. So unfortunate. It's man-made...a big challenge for humanity. What can we do about this? The issues are bigger than all of us...

2:45 PM  

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