Not Worth A Tinker's Damn
The drive for pre-packaged, pre-digested items with built in obsolescence for consumption by the masses in 'developed' countries has seen the passing of tinkers
, those "itinerant person(s) who make minor repairs (originally pots and pans) and are jack-of-all-trades." The notion is of an amateur, as in my father who's always enjoyed tinkering with his car.
Thankfully, here in Indonesia there is still a class of underemployed who advertise their respective skills with their street cries: the shoe repairman, the disposable lighter refill man, the watch repairer, the patching tailor with his pedal operated sewing machine on a becak
(pedicab), and the pairs of blacksmiths with their cylinder of oxy-acetylene.
According to my Websters, a tinker can also be a "bungler" and "to tinker" can mean "to fuss or putter aimlessly or uselessly", and these are the connotations I am referring to in this post, rather than the itinerants who I have nothing but the utmost respect for.
Every resident in Jakarta knows who Fuddy Bozo is because several of those monstrous 15-storey high advertising hoardings aligning main thoroughfares are adorned with his likeness exhorting us to pay our taxes, presumably so we can help him add to his art collection
He apparently has a Deputy Governor to assist him, but until he decides he ought to do something, few know who he is, or can remember his name in the interim. Yesterday, however, he poked his head above the parapets of City Hall.
On the frontpage of the Jakarta Post is an article alerting parents to the latest wheeze from Deputy Governor Prijanto.Schoolchildren may have to start their days earlier next year with the administration considering arranging school and office hours to reduce traffic congestion.A new regulation could see schoolchildren commence classes at 6.30 am. Most schools in Jakarta start classes at 7am.Under the scheme, private offices' working hours would be determined by zones. Offices located in North and Central Jakarta would start at 7.30am, those in West and East Jakarta at 8am, and those in South Jakarta at 9am.
Working hours for civil servants would remain unchanged at 7.30am.Deputy Governor Prijanto said yesterday the proposed regulation was aimed at reducing traffic snarls, cutting fuel consumption and travel times and at the same time "improving life quality".
There is nothing in the article about improving public transport by, say, purchasing buses and opening the three unused Busway corridors, or about offices operating flexitime so that workers can adapt their hours to family needs. And there is nothing about removing those premen
(street thugs) and traffic police who override traffic lights and cause immense snarl ups.
Above all, there is nothing about the potential risks of such a policy. Offhand, I've come up with the following.
Whilst most schoolchildren walk to their neighbourhood schools, that many would have to leave home before sun up and traverse ill-lit streets with no sidewalks, there is the increased danger of pedestrian wipeouts.
Teachers often live way across the city from the school they are appointed to serve in. Will public transport be available to meet their needs, bearing in mind that there are few wealthy teachers? If they do have transport of their own, it will invariably be a motorcycle. Thanks to the potholes in Jakarta's streets and the lack of discipline among seemingly all motorists, the death toll among motorcyclists, currently at an average of three per day, can be expected to increase if more are expected to drive at night.
Many parents drop their children off at school before making their way to their respective offices. Synchronisation is also needed for return journeys home. So, what will happen if children go to school in South Jakarta, where one parent is scheduled to start and finish work two and a half hours later than the children?
It's obvious that this is another bit of unenforceable wishful thinking. It's on a par with the notion that Deputy Governors are capable of doing something useful such as serving the public interest.
The current one isn't worth a damn.