A raised motorway snakes away from my building through treetops, toward a volcano that looms like Brigadoon when the haze clears. During peak periods—which is to say most of the day—the motorway resembles horizontal fly paper marooning passing vehicles. I work from home, and in my less than generous moods the scene affords me some sense of schadenfreude.
Piercing my reverie though are police sirens, rarely atop marked police cars rushing to an emergency, but on blacked out Toyota Land Cruisers and other flashy models whose well-connected owners simply don’t want to wait with everyone else. Blue lights flashing in the grille and the relentless wailing, gurgling, and honking works. People let them through.

Rounding the circular drive to my apartment building on my scooter recently, two members of the building’s small army of security sprinted out the sliding glass doors toward me. As one stood athwart my path, arms waving overhead, the other with the urgency of a medieval messenger boy thrust into my hands a receipt stapled to some rupiah notes.