Pramoedya Ananta Toer on Jakarta streets, 1951 / tentang jalanan Jakarta, 1951

Banyakkah perubahan sejak tahun 1951?

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Panas waktu itu. Dan mobil yang berpuluh ribu banyaknya itu menyemburkan debu pada badan yang berkeringat. Dan debu yang merupakan berbagai macam campuran: reak kering, tahi kuda, hancuran ban mobil, hancuran ban sepeda dan becak dan barangkali juga hancuran ban sepedaku sendiri yang kemarin meluncuri jalan-jalan yang kulalui kini. Dan debu yang berpancaragam itu melengket bersama keringat seperti lem pada badan. Ini membuat aku memaki sedikit – sedikit saja – dalam hati.

Ya, sekiranya aku punya mobil – sekiranya, kataku – semua ini mungkin takkan terjadi. Di kala itu juga aku berpendapat; bahwa orang yang punya itu banyak menimbulkan kesusahan pada yang tak punya. Dan mereka tak merasai ini.

Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Bukan Pasar Malam

How much has changed since 1951?

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It was hot then. And cars in their tens of thousands sprayed dust onto sweating bodies. And the dust was a mixture: dried spit, horse shit, tiny crumbs of car tyre, pieces of bike and bejak tyres and maybe even the powdered tyres of my own bike, which only yesterday sped along the very streets I passed through now. And this mixed dust stuck to my sweat and covered my body like glue. This made me curse a little – just a little – in my heart.

Yes, if only I had a car – if only, I said – all this might never have happened. At that time too, I thought: people who have cars cause many problems for those who don’t. And they don’t feel it.

Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Bukan Pasar Malam, It’s Not an All Night Fair

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