It was just a few hours a go as I made my way to the studio. At an intersection, the traffic light went red for my direction. But since the field from different stream was still full of immobile vehicles, a number of vehicles from mine took advantage and joined the crowd as if they were coming from that other stream. Of course, this instigated a worse traffic jam. This was a profound display of “two wrongs make a right” mentality.

As expected. Come weekend, I always want to complain about traffic. I would like to think I complain because I care. But The Cool Kid may have said it best, “complaining about traffic is too mainstream…”.

So let’s turn this unbearable traffic into a useful tool, more so since the nation will go trough a round of local elections.

Complementary to public debate, I propose a sort of reality show, an uncut real time coverage, in which the candidates  go through the city, each driving on their own —no driver or chauffeur—  or by public transportation at rush hour, trying to get from point A to point B and completing tasks (a la Amazing Race) in their constituency.

From this test, we would be able to see which one has the best problem solving skill with the best temperament for the job. Who has the shortest fuse and who is the most patient. And the most important part is that they get to experience the painfully sad condition of traffic and public transportation in our cities today. By doing so, hopefully they will think and work hard to rectify these issues.

Because traffic, most of the time, exposes one’s true colours. Other than the qualities mentioned above, traffic tests one’s endurance in observing rules, both written and unwritten.

Traffic is the vein of a city. A civilised city would treat its citizens with their best interests in mind, including a healthy traffic and transportation system. Quite correctly, I think, traffic is described as a jungle in a society, like ours, in which the strong tramples the weak, and the knowledgeable deceives and deludes the ignorance. On a larger scale, traffic serves as mirror of the public psyche.

Currently we have a mayor whose love for the city is well reflected in his work. However, I find it increasingly hard to be optimistic about traffic getting better. The shows and operations gear towards attracting as many visitors as possible, for shopping, studying, and working. This means more vehicles entering the town. And, with Bandung’s limited capacity to contain them all, traffic jam has become the norm. Parking spaces become rarity and the air polution causes health problem. Part of me speculates whether we have passed that point of no return, a point at which the rate of destruction has overtaken the rate of recovery.

I long for the day when I do not have to complain about the city’s traffic ever again. Hopefully they will still come in my lifetime. And soon.