Celebrating self-expression as a basic human right essential for the

healthy growth of youth, individuals and communities


Stephen H. Baird, Founder and Executive Director

PO Box 300112, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130-0030

Email: info@communityartsadvocates.org

Web site: http://www.communityartsadvocates.org  

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by Stephen Baird Stephen Baird 2000-2021


The following little historical references are just a glimpse of the depth and breadth of the creative spirit of the human race that blossoms on the street corners, market places, subway platforms and any other place people gather.

I was called on September 11, 2007 by BBC's World Have Your Say news program to comment live on this new law being enacted that would actually ban giving donations to buskers.  Silly concept. All the laws in the world can not ban poverty...  Will the city police arrest tourists, children, religious leaders who give to the poor?...   Expect more order in city can be obtained if donations to politicians are banned.


Jakarta, Indonesia

Jakarta bans beggars and buskers on 11 September 2007

Jakarta officials want images like this to become a thing of the past. The Indonesian authorities have approved a new law banning people from giving money to buskers, beggars and hawkers in Jakarta.

Offenders could face up to six months in jail and $5,000 (2,500) fines.

Jakarta's outgoing Governor Sutiyoso urged residents to follow the new rules, saying they would bring order to the city of 10 million people.

But critics fear the new laws are ill thought out, with little understanding about the realities of the city's poor.

The new law - which replaces a 19-year-old bylaw - are expected to come into force later this week.

Sprawling city

As well as banning donations to beggars and buskers, the new law regulates other aspects of public order.

This ranges from banning squatter settlements on river banks and highways, to spitting and smoking on public transportation. Unauthorised people cleaning car windscreens and managing traffic at busy intersections will also be penalised.

"This is to put order into things of common interest," Governor Sutiyoso told reporters.

One city politician said Jakarta should aim to emulate nearby Singapore, which strictly enforces public order regulations.

But critics fear it will be a difficult law to enforce in such a sprawling and congested city, which has seen an influx of poor migrants from the countryside.

Some politicians urged the government to allow time for the public to learn about the new rules.

Street Arts and Buskers Advocates