Sun, 04 Jun 2000

Clean up your act, PT KAI

We all know PT Kereta Api Indonesia (PT KAI) is beset by criticism about its sliding safety record as the number of collisions and crashes mount.

Still, apart from setting straight the missed signals and stopping the fatal accidents, PT KAI also needs to do something to clean up the entertainment offered during the journeys, particularly on the Bandung-Jakarta route.

On a 9 a.m. Parahyangan trip last week, passengers were a captive audience for a low-budget Hollywood blood n' guts fest. In addition to the throat-slittings, disembowelments and sundry decapitations, the passengers, including at least three children under the age of 10, were treated to the sight of the female heroine strung up bare-breasted on a cross. It was not a fleeting shot, but lasted several minutes to keep all the voyeurs among us happy.

Captive audience we were; we did not have the choice to switch off the video or walk away (the dining car perchance, or PT KAI's oh-so attractive bathrooms?) at the increasingly shocking images. The biggest irony of all was that the film was sandwiched between showings of Tom and Jerry and Mr. Bean.

The public relations department of PT KAI needs to think a little harder about its passengers and appropriate fare for all of them, unless its entertainment is aimed at keeping happy the various workers who seem to do nothing but sit around at the end of the train cars.

I would not watch such trash in the privacy of my home, and I certainly do not want to have it forced on me as part of a train service.