I haven’t been blogging lately because I was very busy with schoolwork. Two weeks ago I was in Jakarta to conduct my research and after spending quite a bit of time back home, I realize that the city has become worse, not for the better, ever since I left for Singapore more than a year ago.
If I had a lot of money to make inventions, as a policymaker I would invest on these three things before I settle back in Jakarta: a baseball bat, white paint, and a vacuum cleaner.
1. Baseball Bat
I know that the campaign to wear the Indonesian National Standard-certified helmets have been going around for quite a while, but one would question the effectiveness of such efforts (see picture above). I would go for a more totalitarian approach by investing on a baseball bat that can be hit towards motorcyclists who goes around without a helmet. Would it hurt? Yes. But crashing your head against the road would hurt even more.
2. White Paint
Notice the white paints fading away in the roads that is often ignored by cars and motorcycles? Well, it’s there for a reason. Automobiles just can’t cross them because you’re supposed to make way for pedestrians, and they’re also there to divide the road between the traffic – you’re not supposed to go against the opposite traffic.
I would invest on a magic permanent white paint. It stays on the road, but whenever there’s a non-compliant user of the road, the paint sticks to their tires and it’s not washable. It’s only gone if an officer from the law enforcement agencies cleans it up, but after they have paid the official fines for breaking the traffic rules.
3. Vacuum Cleaner
I was on my way to the airport through the Cawang toll road, and I’ve noticed the thick smog hovering around the city skyline. So yes, I would invest on a humongous vacuum cleaner that is able to suck the air pollution out of Jakarta.
Of course, I’m halfheartedly joking on the choice of “inventions”, but I’m 100% serious about the issues Jakarta is facing at the moment.
Bad traffic and air pollution is among the two that I highlighted here, and unless there is a radical approach of cutting down the volume of private automobiles on the road, the 2014 gridlock prediction might actually come true.