Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Indonesian Island's WALK OF SHAME

When one thinks of exotic vacation getaways in Southeast Asia, one can easily name places in Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia for instance. One doesn’t have to look hard to find tourist spots in this massive archipelagic country. Aside from the easily remember and highly recommended island of Bali, there are other smaller and more exciting locations to be found such as the three Gili Isles off the northwestern coast of the larger island of Lombok. Although definitely a beachgoer’s paradise, foreign tourists still need to be extra careful with their behavior while there. Lest anyone forget, Indonesia can be very much a stickler for ordinances and can cook up some very nasty penalties for caught lawbreakers.

One instance of this imaginative means of punishment in the Indonesian islands was covered recently by BBC. It started with photos surfacing online since the third week of December, showing two Western tourists, a man and a woman, who were allegedly caught for theft. Thus they were subjected to a penalty called the “Walk of Shame”, where local authorities have them marching in the streets with placards around their necks describing their crime. Both read a misspelled condemnation: "I am thieve. Don't do what I did...!!!"

The incident took place on Gili Trawangan, the largest of the Gili islands and the most developed for tourism. Small enough to be circuited by a 7-kilometer boat ride, the isle is tiny enough that Indonesian Police don’t even have some much as a regularly manned outpost there, needing to travel from Lombok in the event that they’re needed. Thus whatever resorts and businesses there are on the island would employ private security personnel. Inspection of the “walk of shame” photos pegs only one possible Indonesian cop among the countless security guards escorting the guilty tourists.

So far there has been no legal basis found on the practice of subjecting perpetrators to the ordeal of public humiliation. However, if the accused has endured the walk, then that’s it with regards to answering for his crimes. They no longer have to pay a fine, or be formally arrested and have to appear in court. At least that’s the idea. BBC has been unable to find the erring tourists in order to hear their side of the case, if they were indeed guilty of stealing a bicycle as purported from security camerafootage, or if they had any other means of defending themselves if they pleaded innocent.

Locals on the Gili isles swear that the Walk of Shame penalty is effective in curbing crime on their neighborhood, both against local criminals and against drunk and unruly foreign tourists who would take advantage of their national hospitality to mess around.

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