The orange mini commuter seen move at a slow speed near Karet flyover on Friday (07/12). It was driven by Sutino 'Kinong' Hadi, a 50 years old bemo library driver. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Books on a Bemo
DECEMBER 17, 2018
Bemo, or three-wheeled taxis, used to be ubiquitous on the streets of Jakarta before the government banned them in 2017 to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution.
However, one remains. This orange-and-blue auto rickshaw, which can often be seen on some of the Jakarta's backstreets, is driven by 50-year-old Sutino Hadi, better known as Kinong, who has official permission to operate his bemo in the city because its carries books instead of passengers.
Kinong, who became a bemo driver in 1976, got the idea to turn his vehicle into a mobile library in 2010 from his friend, who is a lecturer at Tarumanagara University.
Three years later, the father of seven started doing his rounds at preschools and elementary schools in some of the capital's poorest neighborhoods near his home in Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta, to give disadvantaged children access to books. This has since become part of his daily routine.
When he was no longer allowed to carry passengers with his old bemo last year, he started visiting schools in the mornings and selling food under the Karet overpass in the afternoons.
Kinong's bemo library caught the attention of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, who invited him to the State Palace for the commemoration of National Education Day on May 2 last year.
Despite never having finished school himself, Kinong hopes the children visiting his little mobile library will develop a love for reading and one day build a brighter future.