Carma strikes again … and again

Only in Indonesia would the hero and heroine of a sappy love song get run over by cars — not once but THREE times.

Some enterprising scholar could definitely earn his or her Visual Anthropology PhD by writing about the Indonesian pop culture obsession with vehicle-versus-pedestrian accidents. They are such a staple of soap operas and teen movies, Chad and I will sometimes play the ‘who’s going to get hit by a car’ game when we’re flipping around the TV channels. It’s not too difficult, because there are generally two kinds of people it happens to: the very good, and the very bad.

If you’re bad, you drink alcohol, slobber and stagger around as if you have a serious neurological condition, beat people up, steal, gamble and curse like a sailor. When you are finally struck down, everyone understands it’s the Hand of God.

If you’re good, you’re a cute teenager — usually a girl, but it can happen to boys too. You could be troubled or impoverished or a bit of an outsider; you could be the idol of all your friends. When you get run over, everyone knows it’s Fate, but they’re left to puzzle out What It All Means. Possibly your donated organs save someone else’s life; possibly you come back to haunt your friends and remind them to Make Every Moment Count.

Why cars? I’m not sure, except that of course Indonesian traffic is crazy and there are no concessions to pedestrian safety, so we all find ourselves wading out into busy roads on a daily basis. I don’t find Indonesians particularly reckless behind the wheel; in fact, they’re more attentive than American drivers. But there’s a certain leap of faith involved in crossing the street. You’re flowing around the traffic, and trusting the traffic to flow around you, and at that moment you’re painfully aware of how large and dangerous cars are.

The lyrics of the song are so simplistic they’re hardly worth translating, but here they are:

Betapa hati rindu pada dirimu, duhai kekasihku
Segeralah kembali pada diriku, duhai kekasihku

Aku juga rindu lincah manja sikapmu
Aku sudah rindu kasih sayang darimu

Semoga kita dapat bertemu lagi seperti dahulu
Supaya kita dapat bercinta lagi seperti dahulu

Gelisah, hati gelisah, sejak kepergianmu
Tak sabar, hati tak sabar, menanti kedatanganmu

Tenangkanlah hatimu, jangan gelisah
Aku tahu kau menanti
Sabarkanlah hatimu, sabarlah sayang
Aku segera kembali

How my heart longs for you, my darling
Come back to me now, my darling

I miss your naughty attitude
I miss your sweet love

I hope we’ll meet again like before
So we can love again like before

Anxious, my heart is anxious since you left
Impatient, my heart is impatient, awaiting your return

Calm your heart, don’t be nervous
I know you’re waiting
Make your heart patient, be patient my darling
I’m coming back now

The note on the pad of paper is kind of interesting: “Opportunity doesn’t come just once.” This is a clear contradiction of the American “opportunity doesn’t knock twice.” But it still leads back to the same conclusion: Make Every Moment Count.

Nothing says it better than a speeding automobile!


Author: Trish Anderton

I am a nonprofit communicator, Red Sox fan and amateur streetfoodologist. Once upon a time I worked for the Jakarta Globe & Jakarta Post.

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