the Indonesian Becak

 
Speeding its passengers home before an impending tropical downpour, these are the beautiful sensuous lines of the 'Becaks' of Jogjakarta, Central Java. With a small petite hood, fulsome rounded fenders, their proportions rather remind me of a curvaceous large-hipped woman.
These machines would otherwise glide silently past but for a piece of gut stretched tight beneath their carriage. It produces a distinctive pretty modulated buzzing sound to alert pedestrians of the Becak's presence. There is also usually an old bolt tied to the handle bar with an elastic band. The driver uses this device to demand a clear passage in crowded conditions. The resulting metallic 'clackety, clack clack' sound resonates around the frame of the Becak. The Becaks of Solo use large gongs to forge their way in traffic.
There are many different designs of Becak in Java which vary from region to region. Some of them are elaborately painted works of art on wheels.

an Indonesian song about a becak driver

Abang beca, abang beca di tengah jalan,
Cari muatan untuk mencari makan,
Putar putar, putar putar kaki mengayuh,
Pergi jauh teringat pun lalu jatuh,
Dari pagi hingga matahari terbenam,
Barat timur selatan serta utara,
Hujan panas tiada melintangi nya,
Abang beca, abang beca, abang beca,
ca,ca,ca.

Beca driver, beca driver in the middle of the street,
Looking for passengers so that you can eat,
Around and around your legs cycle,
You daydream and you fall,
From dawn till sunset,
West, East, South and North,
Whether rainy or hot, nothing can stop you,
Beca driver, beca driver, beca driver
cha, cha, cha.
(a shockingly rough translation)

or a Thai Samlor
© david.atkinson@rmit.edu.au
created 22 february 1998