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Konser Kereta Kelas Kambing (K4) - Part 3

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Uploaded on Aug 17, 2010

We travel once again on the cheerful, relaxed, broken-down trains running from Jakarta to Bogor, Buitenzorg, "the carefree city" of Dutch colonial times.

The poor are peddling cigarettes, candy, soft drinks and trinkets to other poor folks, roaming trains crowded as well with beggars, blind, the crippled and the destitute -- including children. Take care as you travel, as there are more than a few pickpockets, cutpurses and other thieves. People here are especially alarmed by "hypnotists".

Now the video documentation, the craft of the bald foreigner with the monkey perched on his shoulder, often balancing a bicycle as he videotapes the musicians (explaining the frequently wobbly camera action -- sorry, sorry). Local folk, mystified by the bule ("gringo, honky, white devil", actually means "albino", so it's a tiny bit insulting) with the digital camera and simian accomplice, respond with cheerful tolerance and a few jokes of their own.

Musicians practice hour after hour in an extremely noisy, windy, dusty and crowded environment, where people are continually getting on and off -- most of the passengers lacking spare moneys for this entertainment. Some of the players are very skilled and touching.

We do enjoy this humble popular culture, playing for survival, in the daily commute to work in Jakarta. What I wonder is how in the world do people survive on the dribs and drabs of money they earn from roaming the trains? Only God knows.

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