Thursday, July 06, 2006


It would appear some people have enjoyed my slide down the slippery slope of
high principles. With a theme emerging in the comments section, that I should have gone to court and paid the fine.

Ok I have to confess some ignorance here, during my time in-country I have managed to avoid the legal process (more due to good luck than good management some would say). Seriously, what is the official process for a fine for not wearing a seatbelt? Surely not court as 'Anon' says in comments to the post? If court the only way, then previous experience with any kind of Indonesian Officialdom scares me. It is bound to be a long, drawn out, expensive experience. Anyway I will leave that to others to advise me on what the official process is?

Then Indonesia Anon was concerned that my use of the term "TAX KULIT" (skin tax) inferred that Indonesians are racists.

In fact, that was not the intention (by the use of this term) at all. It is fairly common term amongst expatriates to explain a common Indonesian free market principle to charge what the market will bear (As does the rest of the free market world). Naturally a "bule" with his supposedly (?) higher income can afford to pay more than the day to day national customer. The Tax Kulit Principle is also applied to Indonesian Chinese as well, who again are viewed rightly or wrongly with having a higher disposable income.

On the flip side, those of us with KITAS (Work, Long term stays permits etc) can get fansastic discounts are virtually all hotel and motels across Indonesia.

As for the dark and potentially dynamite side of the question are Indonesians Racists? In my experience towards outsiders, the answer is generally no. However and I am not sure if the best term to use is racism ..internally towards each other..that is certainly debatable.


treespotter said...

did i just miss a chance to accuse of racism???? damn!!! that was a perfect moment, really...

that's kay, i'm sure you'll slip again sometime.

i'm not sure what the process is, not really as complicated as it used to be, that much i know.

i don't think it's skin tax. if you're indonesian, and drive flash new car, tint window or otherwise, these days, you'll be paying more or less the same amount. i know.

oigal said...

Sorry T/s too late..

Besides I am not racist, I hate everyone equally...oh ok maybe hate Melbourne, geelong and collingwood supporters a little bit more than most but they deserve it..))

Thats the point I was trying to make about skin tax, its not a racist term just a easy term to explain a system..maybe if I was chinese..I would call it the china kaya..i dunno..

Anyway helps every time someone say idiot you paid too much for save face ..shug shoulders and say

Indonesia Anonymus said...

honest to God, I didn't mean to accuse you of anything, really.
I just wrote that 'it is sad that it exists'... (and because it exists, it brings up the question of racism..)

Sincere apology if there is any misunderstanding.

After some discussion here, me and colleagues conclude 'skin tax' is not really racism. If you are indonesians but you go to a 'pasar' well-dressed, you will be slapped with higher price just the same.
So maybe it's more like a 'status tax'...

About the official process, according to a 'reliable resource' (read: he had done it few years back) yes, you have to go to court. But it's a quick process (although the queue is horrendous): They call your name, tell you how much the fine is, you go to cashier to pay and get your license back. So not a court as in 'must-hire-a-lawyer' court.

this however, is years-old info. May have changed now.


oigal said...


No offence taken I assure you, more a misunderstanding probably due to my poor writing skills than anything else.

It fact it has it advantages. I am banned from the shopping trips from hell as the Princess says "If they see you I must pay more" shucks I guess I will have to stay home and watch the footy

I agree the extra price is a "STATUS" thing...but the name I know it as was Skin Tax but many others would do.

oigal said...

Oops thanks also on the Official process.. Sounds simple but again time consuming.

I actually support the "on the spot" fine principle, you know you were wrong, pay and on your way. System just needs some adjustment to ensure money collected actually goes to the government.

Can you imagine how fast the traffic displine would improve.

Jakartass said...

On-the-spot fines would be a good idea if there were clear rules and penalties. How often have we witnessed, or heard of, traffic signs obscured by trees behind which lurked traffic cops?

Or turned right whilst following traffic only to be pulled over because we (alone??) missed the No Right Turn sign.

Incidentally, whilst I agree that there does seem to be a pajak kulit, I can bargain better than 'Er Indoors. But why should I spoil her fun?

oigal said...

Hi Jakartass,

Whilst it can be a pain, the way it works in OZ. Is the local cop issues you a ticket with all common traffic infringements on it along with prescribed penalties. You then 14 days to post or deliver the cash to a registered office..However if they have been sneaky or still have the option to mark box not guilty on the ticket and have your day in court..