Sat, 02 Dec 2000

Dilemma of taxi drivers

People in Jakarta are facing a new and strange phenomenon. There are people going around asking taxi drivers for money when they pick up passengers in areas that are supposedly their "territory". Usually the drivers grant their requests by giving them about one thousand or two thousand rupiah. Some taxi drivers have told me that they give in to this extortion so as to avoid having their vehicles scratched or damaged when in those areas in the future. Other taxi drivers said they consider it a donation to the poor and jobless.

Beyond those reasons, I feel society is simply condoning this unfair treatment of taxi drivers. I think we should not tolerate such kinds of activities as they are not healthy for the community in the long run. The younger generation would only feel that such behavior is acceptable and might follow the footsteps of their older money-extorting members of society. By allowing these things to happen, we are contributing to the failure of social development.