Indonesian policeman’s magic trick goes viral amid protests

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RipperJack

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Last week I reported on what many are describing as Indonesia’s worst political violence in decades.

Eight killed, more than 700 injured, and more than 300 arrested as rioters clashed with police on Jakarta streets – the fallout from the country’s election result announcement.

During my coverage my social media followers began to dramatically increase and didn’t stop. My inboxes were jammed.

The video showed the moment a riot squad policeman from West Sumatra captured my attention and awe – not with his crime-fighting skills but instead with a playful magic trick. (9News)
I was between live crosses when Ridho Vernando and some of his other squad members struck up a conversation, politely trying with broken English to ask where I was from and whether I liked Indonesia. (9News)
I’d like to say it was comprehensive storytelling that attracted the attention and perhaps some of it was.

But the main reason was a 52-second clip I posted to Twitter.

The video showed the moment a riot squad policeman from West Sumatra captured my attention and awe – not with his crime-fighting skills but instead with a playful magic trick.

It was the day after a second night of wild clashes and thankfully tensions were seeming to ease.

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Still, like most other media, I along with 9News camera operator Erwin Johanes and producer Komang Suriadi were positioned where we felt safest: with the police, behind their barricades.

Many officers were clearly exhausted, some trying to get a bit of sleep on flattened cardboard boxes between patrols.

As it turned out, the video was what hundreds of thousands of social media users – mostly concerned Indonesians following developments – most needed. (9News)
I was between live crosses when Ridho Vernando and some of his other squad members struck up a conversation, politely trying with broken English to ask where I was from and whether I liked Indonesia.

“I’ll show you a magic trick,” Ridho offered.

And just like that, he launched into his spontaneous show, asking for a tissue which he tore up to use for props, as his excited colleagues and other media lined up as spectators, and Erwin began filming like the true cameraman he is.

Ridho, who turned out to be quite the performer, managed to make a ball of tissue vanish from his hand and appear in mine, as a round of applause and cheers broke out.

You’ll see from the look on my face that I was truly perplexed and impressed, all at once.

After days of unease, I think that moment of lightness and small demonstration of strangers being kind to one another was exactly what everyone there needed.

And as it turned out, it was also what hundreds of thousands of social media users – mostly concerned Indonesians following developments – needed as well.

Watch in slow-motion at around the 16 second mark, and you'll see the secret to his trick. (9News)
“Thank you for helping to make our day brighter,” posted one man, with plenty more messages sharing the same sentiment.

Also in abundance were responses like “Respect to the policemen, they are awesome!! Thank you sir policemen”.

The video made its way onto several Indonesian news channels and I believe Ridho is also experiencing a bit of newfound fame.

For the record, I now know the secret to his trick, thanks to some tips from friends.

Watch in slow-motion at around the 16 second mark, and you might too.

© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2019

https://www.9news.com.au/world/world-news-indonesia-west-sumatra-jakarta-election-protests-policeman-magic-trick/7bb9ad55-e8e8-4b7d-9254-5c404d9a0ab8
 

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