Since buses in Indonesia especially those in Jakarta does not have a coin box for passengers to put the money for paying for the fare. Therefore the driver obviously need an assistant, known here as "kenek"
Kenek functioned as someone who collect fares from passengers. Sometimes I wonders how in the heck he is able to remember which passengers who have paid and which who have not. This question finally answered with confirmation: NO, kenek do not remember anything at all. Probably he used the reflexes from passengers whenever he started to walk around with money in his hand and not to mention the noisy coins. Hearing the coins, all of us usually automatically reach our pocket or wallet to find small changes for the fare. One of my friends said I could try to test kenek by giving him blank expression when he asked for the fare. Or I could just said that I have paid earlier. The risk that I would get probably by being stared by other passengers who know that in reality I have not paid the fare. LOL. But relax, I am still have my sanity.
Aside from collecting fares from passengers, kenek also need to yell a lot about the destination or route that the buses takes to attract passengers on the street. This is also useful in order not to let people taking a wrong bus. All those buses may have the same destination but they all takes different routes.
Another function of kenek is to arrange the passengers so that tiny space inside the bus could be filled with more people. Try to imagine, there are no room for you to move around then you can feel the kenek move behind you in the middle of those passengers. Not to mention when the kenek pushes us around to keep on moving to the back area of the bus. Then after we are already standing at the back area of the bus he told us to move again headed to the front area. Once I snapped over this and I heard he grumbled about me better takes taxi if do not wish to be told.
It is a rare opportunity to bump with friendly kenek as I suppose after being on the bus whole day long through heat and rains...not so sure they can be friendly with passengers. We already considered as nothing more than comodity to be upload on the bus with a price. After taking the fare, well just throw us out from the bus. Don't care.
Which is why I was a bit surprise to meet with a friendly kenek in the middle of crowded passengers on the bus. Since the bus is fully overloaded, me and another woman passengers could only standing near the door as we could not get in. The kenek keep on reminding us to grip onto something really hard. Seeing our standing position that could be easily thrown out, I could see the sincere concern on his face. Well, he was probably not truly concern on us as if we did get fall from the bus they could faces charges. And they would not be able to work to find decent and honest money for living.
Just like any other people that I have met on the bus, often we could see nice person but more likely we will bumping into with jerks. Same thing with us who can afford to be nice to others in the morning or when we have good mood.
It's up to us how to handle it (me and my wisecracks...while in reality...well, take a guess)