Monday, February 27, 2012

Motorcyclist Masks, Gloves, and Rain Jackets

A street vendor selling masks, gloves, and rain jackets for motorcyclists on the road side of Jalan Supratman Street.

You can find this scene in many parts of the city. Street vendors (or the Kaki Lima as we call them) are an important part of the city's economy. They provide livelihood for those who would otherwise be left unemployed because they could not find a job in the formal sector. As such, they become a significant social and economic safety valve against potential social unrest. However, their existence can also be a threat to the pedestrians' safety because they occupy the sidewalks and prevent pedestrians from using them. Pedestrians are often forced to use the body of the street to get around because of their existence.

Regulations and law enforcement dealing with the kaki lima are generally week weak in the city. I really wish that the government could be more responsive about this issue. They should find a way to balance the need of providing employment and livelihood to those who can not make it to the formal sector and the convenience and safety interests of pedestrians.

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