Saturday, 5 March 2011

TOM JONES: "Sex Bomb"

“Do you have any laptop?” That’s what they ask when you are at the security screening of an airport nowadays, just before entering the gate where you will be boarding the plane. The same here in Jakarta. The girl in front of me answers negatively: “No, I don’t have a laptop”. But she definitely wears another, less sophisticated “top”…

In countries with a colder climate, passengers are requested to take off their jacket for security screening. In hot and humid Indonesia, they don’t need to ask that, since people seldom wear one. Orchards don’t have fence here, to put it with a plastic comparison. No wonder that the security officer can’t keep his eyes off her chest, where some overripe fruits scream for help, desperate for fresh air in their all too tight wrapping. Do some girls really think that they do nature a favour by using less fabric than what they actually need to cover up properly? And what’s his scrutiny for? Does he suspect that she’s smuggling silicone bags out of the country? He seems puzzled. Does he need to call the squat team to detonate these bombs? The only potentially hazardous items she’s carrying are clearly visible, but until further notice they are not on the list of items that are prohibited on board. And where to hide any other lethal item in this skimpy, flashy-pink dress of hers? The long heels of her shoes in even colour clearly do not help him to focus.

She walks through the metal detector. This must be his lucky day: the buzzer goes off. His female and male colleague who are monitoring the screen of the X-ray machine giggle like teenagers, and you don’t need to understand a single word of Bahasa to understand why all of a sudden they become so excited. In many airports, you have a male security officer to perform a body search on the male passengers and a female security officer to search the female passengers. But this country is known to be a very liberal society where they don’t bother so much about this kind of petty privacy considerations. Female emancipation and gender equality are no hollow words here: female passengers are treated in exactly the same manner like men...So the male officer starts doing what he’s supposed to do: he moves around her; touches her; he sniffles like a dog while wagging his security stick eagerly all over her body. Front and back, and vice-versa. Yet all good things come to an end. He has no choice but to tell her she can go in. She walks further, and he glances at his colleagues with a smile that tells it all.

Then it’s my turn. “Do you have any laptop?” Is this a trick question? Unlike my predecessor, I don’t have any impressive top. But he’s not going to stare at my lap, is he? I take my laptop out of my bag, put it through the X-ray machine and walk through the gate of the metal detector. This must be my unlucky day: the buzzer goes off. But no drooling on his part this time. He’s searching my body in a very efficient and definitely faster manner than the way he did with the previous passenger. And I can be mistaken, but I sincerely have the impression that my search is far less thorough also…

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