The Ballad of LP Cipinang

Posted: August 8, 2011 in Expat foibles, Pak Polisi

So with curious eyes and sick surmise
We watched him day by day,
And wondered if each one of us
Would end the self-same way,
For none can tell to what red Hell
His sightless soul may stray.

The Northern Universities Joint Matriculation Board forced Wilde’s words from The Ballad of Reading Gaol (sic) upon me more than forty years ago and, uninvited and unwanted, they returned this morning as I lay awake in my third level bunk bed in Jakarta’s latter day equivalent, listening to the sounds of a jail waking from its slumbers.

The sounds of jails are the same everywhere I guess, locks turning, iron doors slamming, piss pots being emptied and countless throats hawking. Here this morning they are overlaid by the sounds of the faithful taking their pre-dawn sahur ahead of their devotions.

As I don’t do pray, I concentrated instead on the rather more temporal issues of “how did I get in here” and, more importantly, “how the fuck do I get out?”. With hindsight it seems that I was a little precipitate in not engaging  the services of  Menggugat, Merebut dan Lari during my arraignment on Friday and I told Mas Budi, when he brought my Red Cross parcel yesterday afternoon, to get them over here to see me on Monday, maybe they can sort something out with the Prison Govenor; that bastard Gayus (NtJP passim) seemed to spend most of his incarceration watching tennis tournaments in Bali and taking jolly meals out in Singapore.

Had a chat with the commander of our section last evening, when he was kind enough to explain to me the structure of the place while he smoked an entire packet of my newly acquired Marlboro.

The jail is set out as blocks in two concentric circles with the blocks named alphabetically clockwise and from the inside to out. I very nearly pissed myself laughing when he told me I was in Blok-M. It took a little time to explain my mirth to him.

Blok-M contains about 150 prisoners, all non-violent allegedly and being held for various political crimes and corruption. Decent lot by and large I have to say and even recognised a few of them from the fine golf courses of this city, PDI-P and Provincial Governors mainly with a sprinkling of Demokrats and they were kind enough to share a few tinctures with me as we watched the Golf Channel on their 54″ OLED TV with Indovision and even let me put the cans of Bintang that Mas Budi brought for me in their fridge.

Starting to get into the rhythm of the place when, shortly after a particularly disgusting Soto Ayam for lunch which I was to share with a number of small things that crawled, the peace was disturbed by the arrival of prisoner 294844, no other than one Alex McLeish, known to many of you as the man with the TaylorMade(tm) R11s. Small world indeed.

Looking really rather well, possibly as a result of his having had his credit cut off in all his favourite Blok-M bars for the last couple of weeks, Alex was to blame Menggugat, Merebut dan Lari as being the immediate cause of his latest incarceration, “they wanted their firkin money noo, and ah didnae have it, ye ken” adding that they were unwilling to wait for his July commission cheque which “wiz in the post”.

They tell me I will get out before Maghrib on Friday. Isch’allah

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