Montag, 12. November 2007

striking poses

travelling across the country i've been getting a chance to see a lot of men in uniforms and brandishing weapons. on occasion, you might see the occasional woman in unifrom, but their numbers are far smaller, so i'll concentrate on the men here.

you've got the local police (pntl) with its various sub-units, the local armed forces (f-fdtl), the un police (unpol) and the international stabilisation force (isf) just to give you the main categories. many of their number, though by far not all, do seem to enjoy showing off their military gear, especially the ones who are in the more "special" units, such as the unpol's formed police units (fpu) or the pntl's rapid reaction force (uir). the average street cops tend to be the least intrusive of the lot.

each one of these units tends to have its own way of showing off its militarised masculinity. while the average pntl cop walks around in a simple uniform with a handgun, the uir riot squad members seem to take a special delight in wearing as much body armour as possible even when there are only little kids and old ladies around. compared to the street cops, they also have a lot more gadgets attached to their webbing - pepper spray, torches, a baton, handcuffs, etc. a further step up from this in terms of displaying muscular machismo and military gadgetry is the special "bodyguard" unit of the pntl. their uniform consists of black t-shirts, black combat trousers, a black bandana, shades and headsets. they carry numerous gadgets which i could not figure out the purpose of on their webbing gear, have a handgun plus a brand new steyr assault rifle and often a jungle knife on their belt.

in comparison, the f-fdtl members look like the poor rural cousins of these decked out cops. no extra gadgets, baggy unifroms and assault rifles from the 1970s. some of them don't even have designer shades, a faux pas unheard of in the cooler units.

the international forces tend to also have their own sub-cultures of displaying their military masculinity. the aussies tend to go for the "matey"-look (baggy uniforms, floppy hats, slouch, designer shades) mixed in with military gadgetry (headsets, techy assault rifles with all sorts of stuff on them). the portuguese gnr, on the other hand, tend to prefer the buff mediterranean macho look: biceps bulging from beneath tight t-shirts, designer shades (of course), swagger. the malaysian fpu is more into the "malaysian idol"-pop star type of look: fingerless gloves, bandanas, black t-shirts, the occasional necklace and yes, designer shades. sporting a more old-school approach are some of the older south asian officers: moustaches, ram-rod straight backs, even the occasional british colonial-style baton, though i havent seen them around here this time...

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