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‘I have to do this to survive’: a night with Jakarta’s silvermen

Indonesian men, women and children are risking their health wearing metallic paint to earn money as the economic impact of coronavirus worsens

It was 8pm on one of the busiest intersections in western Jakarta. Three men in metallic paint from head to toe stood on the footpath. Each was holding a silver can.

Alfan, 25, was one. When the light turned red, he walked in silence, barefoot, and stood in front of the stopped traffic. He bowed deeply for a few seconds and then struck a pose like a statue: standing straight, he raised his right hand to his temple and gave a salute in silence for about a minute without blinking.

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