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A Floating City – Part 5: The Transporter

by on December 30, 2009

This was the last and the most unexpected part of this cruiser. It apparently contained hundreds of crates of money which was distributed by Bank Indonesia, from the central bank to local branches. I realized that the black uniform policemen roaming around the whole decks were not the marine corps or a hitchhiker. “There are 11 Brimob personnel, special unit who was deployed to secure the travel of those money”, said the informant. Those money crates were stored inside a special storage area and guard it in rotation. In the crates, there was zinc as the first coating and semi-synthetic material as the second coating which covered and protected the money from damages and decay.

The informant gave more explanation. “I am from the Money Distribution Division which physically transferred the money that being printed in Jakarta to every corner of Indonesia. The farthest destination was when I accompanied megabucks travel in trillion rupiahs scale to Jayapura, the capital of Papua, during the local election period”. The geographical features of Indonesian islands posed a physical constraint. Due to the sea in between, regions outside of Java island had to accept the intermittency of physical money transfer. It was different with cities on Java island which daily circulated larger amount of money or Medan in Sumatera island and Makassar in Sulawesi island which acted as the primacy cities.

The risk of such transportation was high. Security measures therefore absolutely compulsory to safely sent the money to the destination. The specific money packaging, handling, and volume, especially during high demand, required particular mode of transportation such as cruiser. Cities on Java island, again, were more auspicious since it received physical money transfer by truck and container. Today distribution, to Pontianak, could not carried in a container since the amount did not reach the break even volume of 10-ft container. “There are 550 money crates inside. The crane will transfer 50 crates in 10 minutes so that it would took around two hours to finish the transfer process to two trucks below. As for the number of rupiahs inside each crate, I can not tell you that since it is a national secret. I am being silent even for the special police unit”, the informant told me in soft voice.

KM Leuser docked to Pontianak port and the special police unit who always uphold their rifles started to monitor people movements. The crane came to the dockside and ready to transfer the money crates to two trucks that had been parked right beside it. When I descended the cruiser stair, a black police SUV with blue light siren came in hurry together with military and police personnel who cautiously keep an eye – the very same experience when I firstly came in front of this cruiser in Jakarta.

This cruiser was not only for people who was looking for money. The money itself, the capitalistic medium of exchange, was transferred as well which in turn would be contested by the people themselves.

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