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Unique Papuan Customs; the Steep Cost of Crashing Into a Pig

RINI KUSTIANI   TEMPO.CO  Fri, February 19, 2021

JAKARTA – Tourists visiting Papua must pay extra attention to look out for pigs – which can be spotted roaming village streets. The local custom suggests that this animal is highly valued by the society in the province. 

Local Papuans view pigs not only as pets or livestock, but also as savings, dowry payment instruments, a main menu in the bakar batu tradition, up to being used as animals to plow fields. A plethora of local customary issues and tribal conflicts have been solved with the use of pigs. 

Despite high-in-value, Papuans do not domesticate the pigs and let them freely roam the areas. It is common there to see pigs leave their owner’s property as the sun rises and return once the sun sets. 

“Drivers of both cars and motorcycles must keep an eye not to end up crashing into the pigs by accident,” said Hari Suroto, a researcher at Papua Archeology Center on Thursday, February 18. His warning is justified as accidentally killing the animal on the road would cost a hefty amount of fines. 

Every pig is valued as what an adult pig would be valued – which is sold between Rp15 million up to Rp30 million. It would be worse if someone accidentally crash into a female pig as local rules state that those behind the wheel would have to pay accordingly to the rules but multiplied with the number of the pig’s mammary glands.

It is also said that vehicles that pass the road where the accident happened – which may coincidently share the same feature with the vehicle involved in such a crash – would likely be subjected to this local custom too.

“Because it is difficult to memorize the number plate of the actual hit-and-run perpetrator, so [locals] would lash out on a car that has the same paint,” said the lecturer in archeology at Papua’s Cendrawasih University.

SOURCE: TEMPO.CO, INDONESIA  Fri, February 19, 2021

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