When I was hitching a ride with a friend and her husband on the way to theatre rehearsal, we passed a policeman pulling over another vehicle and my friend jokingly said, “Well, there goes Rp. 50.000.” We laughed and then swapped stories of traffic tickets, either those that happened to us or people we know.
As a Jakartan, I’ve often observed the public attitude towards figures of authority known as members of the Police force. It’s a combination of fear and scepticism as opposed to the ideal respect and trust. Personally, it’s a disheartening observation indeed to know that we are afraid and wary of those in whose service we are relying for security and protection. And it’s a shame that something that is noble and respectable in essence is tainted by the irresponsibility and corrupt character of some – or perhaps even most – of its agents.
It is generally known that people in a position of power often abuse it. However, simply because it’s a known fact, doesn’t mean that it can never change. Does it?