City News – October 26, 2004

Following the vandalizing of several nightspots in Greater Jakarta during Ramadhan by militant groups, the U.S. Embassy has warned its citizens to take precautions by avoiding stand-alone bars, clubs and nightclubs. Despite criticism of such violent raids, no legal action has been taken against the groups. The Jakarta Post asked some residents about their views on the issue.

Glenn Marsalim, 31, is a creative director at an ads agency on Jl. Sudirman, Central Jakarta. He lives in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta:

I see that recurring vandalism every Ramadhan has become a tradition. It happens every year, and, therefore, the businesspeople should have been prepared for it.

Do you notice that the night spots raided are the same as in previous years’?

The businesspeople should have closed their premises as required by law. They should have been aware that this would have happened.

I myself do not go to any entertainment spots during Ramadhan to avoid the predictable vandalism. There’s nothing wrong with taking a one-month break from visiting entertainment venues. I expect my friends to do the same.

Paulina, 30, is a civil engineer who works with a contractor in South Jakarta. She lives with his husband and daughter in Cinere, also in South Jakarta:

These incidents reflect that the authority of the police is not acknowledged by these militant groups.

They argue that they take these actions because the police have done nothing about nightspots which violate the regulations on opening hours. But, we can see that these people picked their targets subjectively as they also smashed up restaurants that were closed.

I also read in the newspapers that the police were actually there watching the raids, but did nothing. Are they afraid of these people, who are blatantly violating the law by disturbing the peace and damaging the property of others. Or, are they all in cahoots?

So, whatever the police do now, it’s too late. They have become a laughing stock at the hands of these groups.

–The Jakarta Post