In sweet sounding if heavily accented English, the cabin announcement on one airline here metaphorically kills me every time I hear it.

“The possession and trafficking of illegal drugs is a serious crime and carries the maximum penalty of death. Thank-You!”

It’s the “thank you” that gets me. Bright sounding and happy, it’s not far off the how you might react to someone who just paid for your latte.

Neil Bantleman and Ferdi Tjiong

By about 2:30 in the afternoon his face had a look of anguish. Seated on a bit of orange tarpaulin Neil Bantleman and his colleague, Ferdi Tjiong, both teachers at Jakarta International School, had been detained by police for more than two months previous on suspicion they had participated in the rapes of three kindergarten aged students at the school.

On a recent Monday afternoon at the Ruang Carlo sexual health clinic at Carolus Hospital in central 
Jakarta, Dr Vero had an especially busy shift. The only doctor on duty that day she worked six hours until 8pm. She saw 10 patients, all of them arriving for their first HIV test. All of them were gay. Eight tested positive.  

With each positive test result comes the counseling afterward and the emphasis on encouraging partners to get tested, too. In my one-hour conversation with Dr Vero endearingly reaches for a metaphor in English to make plain her worries she expects more days like that one she had in mid December.

"Still many people don't know about their health," Dr Vero explains. "It's just the tip of the ice cube."