a day in the life

pirated cd's
“Arghh…” That’s right, it’s the pirate, the multimedia pirate. I guess I won’t venture an opinion about the whole pirated cd, dvd and vcd thing that is so prominent in all the places that I’ve lived in South East Asia, including Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. The opinions amongst my friends and colleagues on the issue range from passionately opposed to the free distribution of media to passionate supporters and practicers of the free-flow of information and entertainment. Who am I to start ruccus? There is the occasional police crackdown, of course; the governments of Malaysia and Indonesia, apparently eager to please international commercial organizations and to cooperate with the foreign governments (the USA) that get really angry with the piracy, order the occasional sweep of street vendors and mall kiosks. The stalls on the street, like this fellow at Pasar Minggu, disappear for a while, but seem to spring up once again in a relatively short time. It’s pretty openly recognized that the actions are largely just for show – governments don’t like bad press, but the occasional story in the international press makes everything seem “all right.” Even if the intentions of the governments are genuine, there is still the problem that local police enforcers make a pretty penny from looking the other way so that the sellers can continue to operate. The law will still make their sweeps, and the vendors will still all pack up and flee in a hurry, but a mysterious call is received on one of the multiple hand phones of the pirates before anything happens, and it seems that no one is ever really caught.

a full train

I took the train into town the other day, to buy my ticket for my little excursion to Jogyakarta. It was the fullest I have ever experienced on the Depok-Jakarta line. I feel so justified after sweating my way through the urban landscape, suffering together with all my fellow human beings. Solidarity!

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