Darwin Awards 4 Indonesia

Aug 18th, 2010, in Society, by

Celebrating Indonesians’ contributions to natural selection by way of careless deaths.

Is it just me, or does it seem some Indonesians are perpetually on a death wish?

Every time I look through the newspaper, I see stories and pictures of people doing highly unusual/dangerous things.

Perhaps you may have already read about Bonek taking the train to/from Bandung:

Bonek taking the train

Bonek prefer a/c alam

But not to be outdone are Jakmania, fans of Persija in Jakarta:

JakMania taking the bus

JakMania taking the bus

Fourteen fans died on the way to matches last season, reports the Jakarta Post. For example:

“There was a guy, who tried to wave a heavy flagpole on top of a bus. He could not lift it, lost his balance and fell, just as a huge container truck passed by,” Riko said.

Police also recently seized 104 home-made weapons from fans before an Indonesian Super League game.

You might be surprised to know that Indonesia’s biggest killers are not earthquakes, tsunamis or volcanoes.

Yes, Indonesia has more active volcanoes (129) and historically has had more volcanic eruptions causing death than any other country. But there are other lethal activities that do not make the news as much.

1. Smoking: approx. 400 000 per year:

2. Road toll (people killed while driving): Approx. 15 000 – 30 000 per year

This latter statistic really doesn’t surprise me. Looking out the window, I increasingly see people riding motorcycles also doing things like using their mobiles and even writing sms-es while driving with one hand. Thanks to Benny the Great for these pictures:

Calls while driving, one hand
Indonesian policemen using mobile while driving

Then there are other common practices, like:

Packing all the family on to a motorcycle.

Family Travelling By Motorcycle

Using busway lanes and overtaking the buses when they are at stops.

Motorbikes in busway lanes

So these frequent occurrences make me wonder if Indonesia should give up trying to curb these practices and just recognise them, using a vehicle like The Darwin Awards.

As the Darwin Awards website says:

Named in honor of Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, the Darwin Awards commemorate those who improve our gene pool by removing themselves from it in an idiotic fashion.

Every year, it produces a short list of winners, usually stories that readers submitted. It is widely read and has produced a number of spin-off books and even a movie:

darwin awards books
Darwin Awards Movie

As such, I feel Indonesia is somewhat under-represented in the Darwin Awards. A search for “Indonesia” reveals only five matches.

How does this compare to its regional neighbours? It is only one more than the much smaller Malaysia, the even smaller “little red dot” Singapore and the Philippines, and two more than Vietnam. It is the same as Thailand. Curiously, its far less populous southern neighbour, Australia, has many more matches: 30.

So if you agree with the concept, please send in your suggestions for:

1. Stories of Indonesians involved in Careless Deaths

E.g. Defecating man eaten by crocodile in Kalimantan:

2. A suitable name for an Indonesian Darwin Awards Ceremony

Captain Marwoto Komar

I personally would call them the Marwoto Komar Awards (after the pilot of Garuda flight GA200 who ignored 15 automated warnings before crashing the plane), except he didn’t die. However, he did subsequently become the first pilot to be jailed for negligence while flying a commercial aeroplane.

38 Comments on “Darwin Awards 4 Indonesia”

  1. Jon Elliott says:

    I have an entry into this worthy competition. It is a picture. How can I send it to you for inclusion on this website.

  2. David says:

    Jon, you can email it to webmaster[at]indonesiamatters.com

    Replace [at] with @

  3. David says:

    Here are Jon’s pics, from the Kemang part of Jakarta:

  4. ET says:

    One thing is missing in the pictures to make it complete. The guy who’s driving should be texting on his cellphone.

  5. Chris says:

    If this guy gets the death penalty for drug offences, he would surely be a Darwin Awards winner:

    Busway shooter’s arrest leads to drug stash
    Hans David Tampubolon, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Tue, 01/18/2011 10:32 AM

    Frustrated with worsening traffic congestion, a motorist in North Jakarta fired shots at a TransJakarta bus. No casualties were reported.

    The man, identified only by the initials N.I., fired five shots at a TransJakarta bus that had blocked his passage while breaking at a bus stop in Pluit, North Jakarta.

    The motorist was driving on the TransJakarta busway lane when the bus made a stop to drop passengers at the busway shelter.

    “The suspect got out of his car and yelled at the bus driver,” City Transportation Agency chief Udar Pristono told reporters.

    The terrified TransJakarta driver drove off after dropping the passengers, but the angry man proceeded to chase the bus.

    “The bus driver stopped and told the man that he was wrong to be using the busway lane, but the man then fired shots into the air and at the gas tank of the bus,” Udar said, adding that the bus could have exploded.

    Udar said that the suspect should be given the harshest punishment possible for endangering the public.

    Police quickly pursued the suspect after the shooting was reported, and in an unsuspected twist found illegal drugs at the suspect’s private residence in North Jakarta.

    Police said that it was not difficult to track the suspect down as several eye witnesses noted his license plate number.

    The police arrested the suspect at his home on Jl. Kenari Golf Raya 15, Pantai Indah Kapuk, North Jakarta, on Sunday night and confiscated the weapon he used in the road rage incident.

    “The weapon was a 38-caliber Colt, and it is an illegal weapon,” North Jakarta Police chief detective Adj. Comr. Irwan Anwar.

    The gun, however, was not the only illegal possession police confiscated from the trigger-happy suspect. During the search at the suspect’s home, police found a significant amount of illegal drugs.

    “We found 11,693 ecstasy pills, 2,738 Happy Five pills and 965.2 grams of shabu-shabu [metamphetamine] in one of the rooms in his house,” Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Baharuddin Djafar told reporters at the Jakarta Police Headquarters.

    Baharuddin said the police are now intensively investigating the case as in the suspect’s home they also found tools and materials allegedly used for the production of ecstasy pills.

    “Is the suspect a member of a drug syndicate? We are investigating the possibility,” Baharuddin said. Police are expected to charge the man for violating the 2009 Traffic Law, the 1951 Emergency Law on Illegal Gun Possession and Law No.35/2009 on Drugs.

    Penjaringan Precinct chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Achmad Ibrahim said the suspect was reported to be a trouble maker in the area.

    “Our record says that he’s a repeat offender in the area,” Achmad Ibrahim said, as quoted by detik.com.

  6. Chris says:

    I read the prosecutors will only seek a 16-year sentence for the guy in the story above.

    Never mind, here are some other worthy nominees for 2011:

    1. Flight mechanics learn the hard way the need to do a good job

    Taken from: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/02/12/3137276.htm

    Five killed in Indonesia plane crash

    Posted Sat Feb 12, 2011 9:12pm AEDT

    All five people onboard a test flight were killed in Indonesia when their small plane crashed after having one of its engines changed, a transportation ministry spokesman said.

    The CASA aircraft of Sabang Merauke Raya Air Charter left Batam island and crashed on Bintan Island, both in Riau Islands province.

    “The pilot, co-pilot and three technicians died in the accident. They were on a flight test after they changed one of the engines for the aircraft,” transportation ministry spokesman Bambang Ervan said.

    Five police on a mission to help flood victims in eastern Indonesia were killed in October when their plane crashed into a tree during an emergency landing.

    2. Schoolboy learns too late the benefits of pedestrian bridge

    Taken from: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/02/10/residents-block-busway-after-accident.html

    Funny how a mob tried to attack the driver, when it was clearly not her fault.

    Residents block busway after accident
    Hans David Tampubolon, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 02/10/2011 11:22 AM | City
    A | A | A |

    Dozens of people in Mampang, South Jakarta, took to the street Wednesday and mantled a road block after a fourth-grader was killed in an accident involving a TransJakarta bus.

    The City Police said that the fatal accident happened when the student, identified as M. Rizki Firmansyah, was trying to cross the street apparently unaware of an oncoming TransJakarta bus.

    Eye witnesses in the location said that Rizki was thrown about 3 meters before his head hit asphalt.

    Nearby residents tried to save Rizki by taking him to a nearby hospital but he died on the way to Asri Hospital in Duren Tiga, South Jakarta.

    After learning of Rizki’s death, local residents formed a road block on the TransJakarta busway lane and tried to mob the bus driver.

    Police from the Mampang Police quickly apprehended the bus driver to prevent him from being attacked by locals.

    TransJakarta busway said it regretted the incident and that the company would provide financial compensation for Rizki’s family.

    TransJakarta spokesman Bona Yoga Swara said that as a precautionary measure, drivers are now required to slow down at every intersection.

    Meanwhile, transportation expert Darmaningtyas, who was at the scene when the accident happened, deplored the resident’s decision to block the busway lanes, which disrupted the TransJakarta service along the Dukuh Atas-Ragunan line.

    He witnessed a 1-kilometer queue of TransJakarta buses form soon after locals erected the road blocks.

    “The residents here put down pots and yellow flags to prevent buses from traveling,” he was quoted by kompas.com as saying.

    Darmaningtyas said that the accident could have been prevented if Rizki had used the nearby crossing bridge.

    “People must use crossing bridges for safety reasons. And this blockade is a reckless act. But I also regret the fact that the officials and the police responded slowly to the incident,” he said.

    TransJakarta busway lanes should at all times remain clear from private vehicles and pedestrians trespassers, as it was designed specifically to accommodate TransJakarta buses.

    However, accidents reoccur from motorists, motorcyle riders and drivers of regular buses trying to use the busway lanes to avoid traffic snarls.

    In 2010, 430 accidents happened involving TransJakarta buses. In 2009, the city police recorded 303.

    TransJakarta corridor 3, connecting Kalideres in West Jakarta and Pasar Baru in Central Jakarta, recorded the most accidents in 2010 with 69 cases. Corridor 8, running from Harmoni in West Jakarta and Lebak Bulus in South Jakarta, came in second with 67 cases.

    Corridor 5, connecting Ancol in North Jakarta and Kampung Melayu in East Jakarta, and corridor 7, linking Kampung Melayu and Kampung Rambutan, each recorded 64 accidents in 2010.

    The safest line in 2010 was corridor 6, connecting Dukuh Atas in Central Jakarta and Ragunan in South Jakarta, with 36 accidents, but it was this line that saw another death on Wednesday.

  7. Chris says:

    Indonesia has another chance at winning the Darwin Awards this year, courtesy of a motorcyclist in Jakarta. (The perpetrator also happened to be a company director, otherwise it might have gone unreported and relatively unnoticed, and the report might have presented a less sympathetic portrayal of the deceased’s culpable driving):

    The latest accident claimed the life of coal miner PT Adaro Energy’s corporate affairs director Andre Mamuaya, who was killed in a motorcycle accident on Jl. Sudirman, Central Jakarta, on Tuesday.

    Andre was allegedly speeding on his Ducati motorbike at 9:45 a.m. when a Kijang Innova van tried to turn left, according to the Jakarta Police’s law enforcement sub-directorate chief, Adj. Sr. Comr. Sudarmanto.

    “The van was about to turn left to enter the Plaza Central building, and its driver claimed to have turned on an indicator to do so. But Andre attempted to overtake it,” Sudarmanto said.

    Andre, who was also a motorcycle racer, allegedly made an error in judgment in overtaking the Innova, and hit the bumper. He was allegedly thrown from his bike and hit his head on the pavement.


    Actually, I think we should give an honorary Darwin Award to all the Indonesian motorcyclists who drive at night without their headlight on. When I asked a neighbour why he did it, he said “the bulb wasn’t working”. A new bulb doesn’t cost that much…

  8. Chris says:

    Funny Youtube video on a related theme: careless behaviour around trains.

    Apparently, this animated video originally from a train operator in Melbourne, Australia has gone viral in Taiwan, Singapore and Vietnam, with 11 million views in a week.

    I hope it catches on in Indonesia too.

    Maybe someone clever out there could do an alternate lyrics version for Indonesia incorporating dangerous local habits, e.g.:

    – Riding a motorcycle at night without a helmet and the headlight switched off/broken,
    – Sitting on top of an electric train,
    – Crossing the road at street level instead of using the flyover pedestrian bridge,
    – Using formalin as a preservative for fish (yes, seriously),
    – Bleaching rice so it looks extra white

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