I have been meaning for aaaaaaaaages to write a blog post about the ineffective security staff at Jakarta's malls. Cursory bag searches, metal detectors that beep because you obviously have house keys and coins in your bag and full body metal detectors that are used in a way that is about as useful as a normal doorway are all meant to make us feel safe and protected from terrorism.
But, someone else has gotten in before me. Marmalade, over at Jalan-Jalan Jakarta, had written up a wonderfully cheeky post about the stupidity of it all.
I guess I have gotten so used to being routinely searched to enter a mall that I just forgot I was going to write about it… the joke has gotten old.
But I'm still going to make a few points.
1. White people can be terrorists too. So often they don't even bother checking my bag! I mean, those Americans love guns…
2. Why are the mall security guards so lazy about checking for bombs, but go mental if you try to take photographs inside a mall? Most of the malls here have some bizarre "No Photography" rule, which of course I try and flout regularly. I often get away with it but I have seen heaps of people told off by security guards for taking happy snaps for their MySpaces in the malls! Once I got told I wasn't allowed to, so I just kept on shooting while saying "kenapa? Saya tidak mengerti." (why, I don't understand?). While the security guard gave me a lengthy explanation in Indonesian that I couldn't understand, I finished off the photos I was taking and then said "ok, ma'af" and walked off. I guess this is some kind of security thing as well… in case people are taking photos to pass on top secret information to terrorists about what is inside these top secret buildings that anybody can freely enter….
3. When they "search your car for bombs" when going into a shopping center, they don't look in the glovebox, underneath the seats…. it's just stupid. If you were really going to go to all the effort to blow something up, it wouldn't be that hard to conceal your bomb.
4. When metal detectors beep, it means there are metal things on the person or in their bag. That's supposed to mean you investigate further to check it's not a weapon or a bomb. It doesn't mean you just move on to the next person's bag without a thought, waving your metal detector like it's a fairy wand spreading magic dust.
I suppose it's all a show to let the public know malls are Serious About Security. But the actions of the security guards are so laughable, it's like a sketch from a comedy show….