Called macet (sounds like the first part of “machete”) in local patois, Jakarta is now considered one of the worst cities in the world for traffic.
I drive here everyday on a little Honda Vario scooter, but I’ve never seen anything like this…
That’s a four way junction of two four-lane roads. The car trying to turn right is about mid-way through the junction. The tailback of motobikes on my side–which completely filled the oncoming lane–was at least a kilometer.
This goat-fuck went on for about 20 minutes. I turned off my motor and so did most other riders.
Then ONE GUY fixed this mess. He was a big burly dude with a jacket and a do-rag (under that broiling sun!), and he waded into the middle of his thing and by swearing and shoving and generally being a boss-man, got the motorbikes moving and unclogged the passage. This dude wasn’t a cop (there was none to be seen) but just a neighborhood guy with some balls and brawn and a short fuse…also a good sense of spatial geometry.
Whatever your commute, it’s probably PLAIN VANILLA compared to a daily run in Indonesia’s megacity!
The publisher of my hard-boiled Malaya trilogy, Monsoon Books, published an interiview with me on their website awhile back and I only now realized it!
Spotted on the shelf at Changi airport terminal two this past weekend…
Get your copy here: http://www.monsoonbooks.co.uk/books/singapore-red-by-william-l-gibson/
My pal and fellow Monsoon Books author Rosie Milne runs a nifty blog called Asian Books and she was kind enough to post this puff piece about my scholarly translation with Paul Bruthiaux of Alfred Raquez’s travelogue In the Land of Pagodas which was recently published by NIAS Press.
Check it out and support Rosie’s blog…then buy a copy and support me!
Our friend Alfred Raquez visited Java in 1898 and wrote about it in an obscure article published in 1902. Paul and I translated and edited Raquez’s piece and our work has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed journal Archipel, which is forthcoming.
Ahead of that debut, an excerpt that doesn’t include any of the scholarly work but mostly Paul’s English translation has now been published on the website of Indonesia Expat magazine. Now you can enjoy Raquez’s insightful observations and wry humor without our foonotes!
Feel free to buy our translation of Raquez’s In the Land of Pagodas, his book of travels through China in 1899, published by NIAS Press. That has lots of footnotes!
Here’s my latest Opium Traces article, a meditation on the book and film The Year of Living Dangerously, set in Indonesia on the eve of the 1965 coup.
Check it out along with all the other great material on popmatters and support independent media by sharing with your like-minded friends.