Thu, 13 Apr 2000

Smoking at the airport

I have just completed an extended business trip which brought me to some 12 major cities throughout Europe, South East Asia and North America.

After spending a lot of time in airports, I was appalled to return to Jakarta to be reminded that the internationally accepted norm of not smoking in airports has yet to reach this beautiful country, despite claims of "reform".

Not only were passengers lighting up, but immigration officials, airport employees and even security guards routinely and blatantly disregarded clearly posted "no smoking" signs and recorded voice messages further stating that smoking was not allowed in the airport building. Having lived and worked in Indonesia for over seven years, I am wondering when the inconsiderate minority is going to finally recognize that there are international standards of behavior which cut across ethnic, religious and cultural grounds and stop smoking in airports, restaurants and other public places.

A suggested first step would be for the airport authorities and Indonesian government to start with their own employees and have them set a good example by refraining from smoking. Perhaps if they led the way, passengers would be more willing to follow the rules.