Right at his cutest / Masa lucu-lucunya

We didn’t know

Pak Iwan said, “I have four children. My youngest died, so three are left – two girls, and one boy. My youngest was a boy too.

“The oldest has already married – she’s given me two grandchildren. The second has just finished high-school – she’s looking for work. The third is in junior high.

“My youngest was two years and two months old when he died – right at his cutest. He’d caught dengue fever, and we didn’t know.”

Tidak ketahuan

Kata Pak Iwan, “Anak saya empat. Yang satu yang paling kecil tidak ada lagi. Tinggal tiga – dua cewek, satu lelaki. Yang paling kecil lelaki juga.

“Anak saya yang paling besar sudah menikah, dapat cucu dua. Yang kedua baru lulus SMA, cari kerja. Yang ketiga SMP.

Yang paling kecil ketika meninggal, usianya dua tahun dua bulan, masa lucu-lucunya. Kena demam berdarah – tidak ketahuan.”

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The Great Escape / Tanah Menjadi Marmer – tiga rahasia menjadi kaya

Lihat ke bawah untuk membaca versi Bahasa Indonesia

Starting Small

Pak Andi grew up in a Jakarta slum, in a house with a dirt floor and walls of woven bamboo. His mum made their living sewing garments in a small factory, and he barely knew his dad.

“I’d peek through the gaps in the walls and watch our neighbours making love,” – Pak Andi throws his head back and laughs at the memory – “If they saw me they’d throw things and hit the walls and yell ‘Go to hell, China!'”

Pak Andi and his friends were born poor, and most of them still are. He tells stories of the guys who became gangsters and drug-dealers. The friends who went to prison. The friends who are dead.

Pak Andi is the one that got away. He built a business from nothing, selling cigarettes and other essentials on Indonesia’s outer islands, and now he owns a shopping mall in Jakarta, lives in a marbled mansion in an exclusive gated community.

Three Steps to the Epiphany

How did he do it? As he tells it, it was simple, really: he watched TV.

“My success all came from the films I used to watch as a kid. I’d watch American movies and see how rich people lived. They’d come home to beautiful houses with servants who opened the door for them and bought them drinks,  and I thought, ‘I’d like someone to open the door for me when I come home.’ So I decided I wanted to get rich, and I was ready to work hard to do it.

“I used to watch old Japanese war films and I learned from the fighting spirit of the Japanese soldiers – they achieve their mission, or they die trying. Failure is not an option for them. So I took this attitude in life and in business. If you want something, you’ve got to make it happen – no excuses, you have to succeed. Tidak boleh tidak – not allowed to not.

“And I loved MacGuyver! He taught me creativity – whatever problem he was facing, he found a way around it – McGuyver could get out of anywhere by building something from paperclips and bits of old rubbish.”

Like building a mansion from dirt and bamboo.

 

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Tanah menjadi marmer

Pak Andi besar di permukiman kumuh di DKI Jakarta. Rumah keluarganya berlantai tanah, berdinding anyaman bambu. Ibunya bekerja di konveksi, dan ayahnya tidak ada dari waktu Pak Andi kecil.

“Kami miskin benar saat itu. Pada malam hari saya mengintip tetangga saya bersetubuh melalui celah-celah anyaman rumah,” tutur Andi, sambil tertawa berbahak-bahak. “Kalau terlihat, marahlah mereka – saya dilempari barang dan diteriaki ‘Hai Cina! Enyahlah!'”

Pak Andi dan temannya sekampung terlahir dalam kemiskinan, dan kebanyakan dari mereka tetap miskin. Dia bercerita tentang temannya yang menjadi preman dan pedagang narkoba. Teman yang dipenjarakan. Teman yang mati.

Pak Andi satu-satunya yang lepas dari latar belakangnya. Sedikit demi sedikit dia membangun bisnisnya, mulai dengan jual-beli barang di Jakarta, dan setelah itu dia menjual rokok dan barang elektronik di pulau-pulau lain, sehingga menjadi kaya. Sekarang Pak Andi memiliki sebuah mall di Jakarta, dan rumah berlantai tanah itu ditukar dengan sebuah istana berlantai marmer di perumahan elit.

Tiga rahasia menjadi kaya

Apa sih, rahasianya menjadi kaya? Menurut Pak Andi, rahasia menjadi kaya adalah… menonton TV.

“Cikal bakal kesuksesan saya dari film yang saya tonton pada masa kecilku. Saya doyan nonton film Amerika yang tokohnya orang kaya. Saya kagum dengan gaya hidup mereka – pulang malam ke rumah yang mewah-mewah, dilayani pembantu yang menyiapkan minuman bagi bossnya. Dan saya pikir, ‘Betapa indahnya kalau nanti saya punya pembantu yang membuka pintu rumah bagi saya ketika saya pulang kerja.’ Jadi saya putuskan – saya akan menjadi kaya, dan saya siap berjuang untuk menjadi orang sukses.

“Saya juga suka nonton film Jepang yang lama, film perang. Saya belajar dari jiwa prajurit tentara jepang, yang tidak pernah mengalah. Bagi tentara Jepang, hanya ada dua pilihan: sukses, atau mati. Tidak boleh gagal. Saya ambil sikap ini dalam kehidupan saya, dan khususnya dalam bisnis. Kalau kita ingin sukses, kita harus berjuang mati-matian. Jangan kasih alasan kenapa kamu gagal. Harus sukses – tidak boleh tidak.

“Dan pengaruh terakhir… MacGuyverI love MacGuyver. Orangnya hebat – dari dia saya belajar kreatifitas untuk mengatasi masalah. Seburuk apapun situasi yang dia hadapi, MacGuyver bisa menanganinya dengan kreativitas dan kecerdasannya yang luar biasa. Menggunakan penjepit kertas dan sampah pun, apa saja dia bisa.”

Ibarat membangun istana dari tanah dan anyaman bambu.

Pak Tomo’s Tub / Bak mandinya Pak Tomo

Plumbing Business

I asked Pak Tomo how business was at his cafe.

Alhamdulillah.” (Praise God)

“So it’s busy in the warung? Lots of people eating?”

He smiled gently, shook his head. “Not busy, really, but it’s like filling a bak mandi (the tub that holds water for bathing). The tap drips all day, and by evening – alhamdulillah – it’s full.”

Ibarat bak mandi

Saya bertanya kepada Pak Tomo bagaimana bisnis di warungnya.

“Alhamdulillah.”

“Syukurlah Pak, kalau lagi ramai, ” jawabku.

“Ramai sih, nggak,” kata Pak Tomo dengan senyum pelan-pelan sambil menggelengkan kepalanya.

“Ibarat air mengisi bak mandi. Sepanjang hari mengalir dikit… Nanti magrib – alhamdulillah – baknya penuh.”

Guerrilla taxis and the revolution in your pocket / Ojek gerilya dan revolusi dalam kantongmu

Lihat ke bawah untuk versi Bahasa Indonesia

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Guerillas in our midst

It took a phone call and a short walk to find Mas Fauzy. He’d responded to my order for a Grabbike on arriving at Bandung station, but when I got to the street there was no sign of him. In fact, there no green helmets at all, and no branded jackets, despite a fair amount of traffic on the streets.  Eventually I spotted him, waving gingerly from the side of the road, and jumped onto the back of his bike.

“Why aren’t you wearing your jacket?” I asked, half grumpy from the effort of finding him, half concerned I’d been picked up by the wrong bike.

“We don’t use them here, Mas,” he replied, grinning as he shook his head. “Online taxis aren’t really accepted here yet, so we don’t wear the branding – we work guerrilla style.”

As we wove across Bandung Mas Fauzy told me a couple of stories – about ojek online being attacked by old style motorbike taxi drivers, having their smart phones or branded helmets taken and vandalised, and some getting beaten up.

“That’s why I wear my bag on my front like this,” he told me, gesturing to his open backpack. “So that I look like a commuter – and I can check the app on my phone inside it. We need to be careful – I’ve heard of people putting in fake orders to try and trap ojek online.”

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The revolution in our pockets

There’s a lot to say about the benefits of ojek (motorbike taxi) online. Because of GRUBERJEK (Grab, Uber and Gojek, the Big Three online taxi firms in Indonesia), consumers are far more likely to use an ojek: partly because it’s so much easier to find and order one (and all from the comfort of your home); partly because they’re cheaper than old-style ojek, and there’s a clear price system; partly because the quality of service is guaranteed (okay, almost guaranteed) by the training provided to drivers working for the Big Three, and because of the built-in feedback system that means that poor drivers must improve, or lose access to the service.

In the old days two or three years ago, a customer looking for an ojek late at night might get passed from driver to driver, looking for someone who’d give them a lift while the prices went up and up… I was put off ojek by a driver who turned out to be drunk, and drove like a madman through traffic jams and flooded roads until we finally crashed, leaving me to limp home with a bloody foot.

But to my mind by far the biggest and most important change in this new era of online transportation happens in the pockets of the drivers. The old-style ojeks in Bandung resist change because their income has dropped for single journeys – and they’re right, for single journeys. But without exception ojek online tell me that they make a lot more money since they’ve joined one of the Big Three. From 15,000 (US$1.15) to 50,000 rupiah ($3.75) a day operating independently on a street corner to 150, 200, 250 thousand rupiah per day – their average income has increased five fold. From 450 thousand rupiah a month to 4.5 million, to as much as seven-and-a-half million. Minimum wage in Jakarta is about 3.4 million rupiah per month ($260, give or take).

From waiting at coffee stalls on street corners all day, dependent on who might pass by, a driver can have customers all day, everyday. From living below the poverty line – like my neighbour, who often came home to his wife and kids with 15,000 rupiah in his hand after twelve hours waiting – I’ve met tukang ojek who are not only able to feed their families and pay the rent, but are putting their daughters through university.

Playing monopoly

So who loses? Of course, if a person can’t use a smartphone (like Pak Enjon, here), they’re left behind by this opportunity. Apart from that – it’s clear from the news that the owners and workers in other modes of transportation are feeling the competition. Angkot, buses, and especially the taxi companies, who have long profited from the paucity of good public transport services in Jakarta – are all losing out. Some take political steps to defend their monopolies, agitating for online taxis to be outlawed, or for unrealistic constraints to be imposed on their operations… while others bring their opposition violently to the streets, so that ojek online in Bandung and Jogjakarta and Surabaya fear conceal their identities, guerrilla style, and fight for their survival.

Points of friction as an economy shifts gears.

 

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Ojek Gerilya

“Kok tidak pakai jasnya?” saya tanya ke Mas Fauzy, jengkel karena dia susah ditemukan di Jalan Kebun Kawung, dekat ke Stasiun Bandung. Anehnya, helm hijau dan jas berlogo ojek online tidak kelihatan sama sekali di jalanan, walaupun lalu lintas ramai. Akhirnya kami ketemu setelah dia telepon, dan saya melihatnya, diam-diam melambai dari pinggiran jalan.

“Nggak pakai, mas,” dia tangkis, cengar-cengir. “Online masih kurang diterima di sini, jadi nggak pakai branding – harus gerilya.”

Mas Fauzy menceritakan perlawanan dari opang (ojek pangkalan), yang pernah mengeroyok ojek online yang masuk wilayah pangkalan, merusak HP dan memukul orangnya.

“Makanya saya pakai ransel di depan, gaya pegawai kantor, biar ngak kelihatan mengecek app di HP di dalamnya. Harus hati-hati. Kadang juga ada panggilan tapi itu tipuan buat menjebak ojek online.

Tidak jauh dari Jakarta, tapi beda jauh juga.

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Revolusi di Kantong Kita

Banyak yang bisa dikatakan tentang kelebihan sistem ojek online. Berkat GRUBERJEK, konsumen jauh lebih sering memakai ojek karena mudahnya mencari transportasi lewat app, karena lebih murah, dengan sistem harga yang jelas (information problem telah dipecahkan), dan karena mutu pelayanan juga terjamin (okey, hampir terjamin) dari training perusahaan online dan sistem umpan balik (ranking).

Zaman dulu, bisa jadi pelanggan dioper dari ojek ke ojek pada malam hari, mencari pengemudi yang siap membawanya pulang, bertanya-tanya apakah ada yang mau, seketika harga yang diminta ojek dimahalin terus. Pernah juga saya naik ojek dengan pengemudi yang ternyata mabuk – ngebut gila-gilaan, selap-selip di jalan sehingga akhirnya kami kecelakaan, jatuh di jalan, dan saya pulang dengan kaki berdarah.

Tetapi perubahan terpenting dari zaman online ini terjadi di kantong pengemudi. Opang di daerah melawan karena pendapatan mereka turun kalau sekali jalan. Benar itu, buat satu kali jalan. Tetapi tanpa pengecualian ojek online bilang ke saya, pendapatan mereka naik drastis setelah mulai memakai app. Dari 15 sampai 50 ribu rupiah per hari menjadi 150, 200, 250 ribu rupiah per hari, bahkan bisa di atas itu. Dari 450 ribu sampai 1,5 juta per bulan menjadi …. 4,5 sampai 7,5 juta. Bayangkan, seorang ojek online bisa dapat dua kali UMR.

Dari opang yang menunggu di warung sepanjang hari, bergantung pada siapa saja yang lewat, sekarang seorang pengemudi dengan Gojek, Grab atau Uber bisa proaktif mendapatkan pelanggan sepanjang hari. Dari keadaan susah – seperti tetangga saya yang dulu sering kali pulang malu, menghadapi anak isteri dengan 15 ribu di tangannya… sekarang ada tukang ojek yang tidak hanya bisa menafkahi keluarga, tetapi mampu juga membiayai kuliah putrinya.

Yuk, main Monopoli

Jadi siapa yang rugi? Kalau sesorang tidak tahu cara mengunakan smartphone (seperti Pak Enjon, di artikel ini), mereka tidak bisa memanfaatkan peluang ini, ketinggalan zaman. Selain itu – jelas dari berita bahwa pemilik perusahaan jenis transportasi lain rugi. Angkot, bis, dan secara khusus taksi, yang sudah lama diperkaya oleh karena buruknya transportasi umum di Jakarta  – semua rugi karena saingan yang baru ini. Ada yang ambil tindakan politik untuk mempertahan monopoli mereka, berusaha supaya taxi online dilarang, atau dipersusah… dan ada juga yang memakai kekerasan di jalan, sehingga ojek online di Bandung dan kota lain tidak pakai branding perusahaan online

Demikianlah, gesekan dari perUBERan zaman.

Bemo – Eye of the Tiger / Mimpi jadi Nyata

Lihat ke bawa untuk versi Bahasa Indonesia / Scroll down for Indonesian

Eye of the Tiger

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Judging by its battered skin, this Bemo has lived a full Jakarta life: through years and over broken roads, taking traffic, crashes, dry-season heat, floods, and riots in its stride… Its face reminds me of a World War Two bomber, limping home after another mission to be patched up, reloaded, and sent again into the maelstrom.

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source: ww2day.com

The Bemo is almost extinct in Jakarta. I photographed the old soldier above near Grogol station in West Jakarta, and I gather there are still a few working routes around Blok M and Cililitan.

Not a lot of people know that the bemo‘s secret identity is the Daihatsu Midget. They were produced in Japan from 1957, with the model popular in Jakarta (the MP) realised in 1959. There’s an example in the Museum Transportasi at Taman Mini Indonesia, where you can read about the connection between the arrival of the Bemo, the Asian Games (held in Tokyo in 1958 and Jakarta in 1962), and GANEFO (Games of New Emerging Forces – Sukarno’s post-colonial, non-aligned bloc that stood apart from both Warsaw Pact countries and the Soviet bloc).

Apart from its unusual shape, two things strike me about the bemo: the first is that the petrol tank in the early versions was simply a jerrycan located between the driver’s legs, with a straw through the cap to feed the engine – easy enough to remove and take to the petrol station on foot. The second is how small the space in the rear is for its six passengers – perhaps more viable a generation ago when people were smaller. Apparently the bemo was never intended to transport humans, but Jakartans have always been inventive…

So I tip my hat and emote “thumbs up” to you, Bemofaithful servant of the megapolis:


Don’t lose your grip on the dreams of the past
You must fight just to keep them alive

It’s the eye of the tiger
It’s the thrill of the fight
Rising up to the challenge of our rival
And the last known survivor
Stalks his prey in the night
And he’s watching us all with the eye of the tiger

Face to face, out in the heat
Hanging tough, staying hungry
They stack the odds still we take to the street
For the kill with the skill to survive

Survivor, Eye of the Tiger

Mimpi Jadi Nyata

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Lihat wajah bemo ini, yang seribu kali menempuh jalanan Jakarta, gigih memikul bebannya menghadapi kemacetan, ketabrakan, terik matahari, banjir, kerusuhan… mengingatkan saya akan muka pesawat pengebom era Perang Dunia II, untuk sekian kali pulang terpincang-pincang untuk ditambal, dimuatin ulang, dan berjibaku lagi ke medan pertempuran…

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sumber: ww2day.com

Bemo merupakan jenis kendaraan umum yang hampir punah di Jakarta – saya memotret prajurit tua ini dekat Stasiun Grogol, Jakarta Barat, dan sepertinya masih ada beberapa di sekitar Blok M dan Cililitan.

Tidak banyak orang yang ketahui nama asli sang bemo adalah “Daihatsu Midget” (atau “kerdil”), buatan Jepang yang mulai diproduksi pada tahun 1957. Model yang umum di Jakarta adalah versi kedua, model MP, diproduksi dari tahun 1959. Ada contoh di Museum Transportasi di Taman Mini dan disitu terdapat informasi bahwa kedatangan Bemo ke Indonesia ada kaitan dengan Asian Games dan GANEFO.

Selain dari bentuk yang menarik, hal kedua yang menonjol bagi saya adalah tanki bensin versi awal, yang merupakan jerikan di kokpit yang gampang diangkat, dibawa jalan kaki ke pompa besin untuk diisi ulang… hal ketiga yang menonjol adalah sempitnya bagian penumpang, tempat beradu lutut bagi enam penumpangnya. Tentu saja, di Jepang kendaraan ini tidak dimaksud menjadi kendaraan angkut manusia, tapi tidak apa-apa kok, di Jakarta dari dulu mimpi bisa jadi nyata…

Saya angkat topi dan kedua jempol kepadamu Bemo, abdi negara yang setia – “janganlah berhenti percaya, engkau pasti akan ke sana…” (boleh juga coba menyanyikan  Eye of the Tiger).

UberX: Pak Ade and the new economy / Pak Ade dan ekonomi baru

Scroll down for Indonesian / Lihat ke bawah untuk membaca versi Bahasa Indonesia

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A steady job? UBERrated

From a tale of two Bluebird Taxi drivers, to the experience of an old-style ojek left behind by the new economy, to this: the story of a brand new Uber driver.

Yesterday I took an UberX (a car, rather than motorbike taxi) driven by Pak Ade. He was a friendly guy, enjoying his day and happy to chat about his experience since becoming an Uber driver a short time ago. He told me:

“I’ve been online for four months, and alhamdulillah (praise God), it’s been good so far. Before, I worked in a bank. The work was fine, but to be honest, the salary wasn’t much. I got about three million rupiah a month, plus a few allowances and some overtime. My wife earned more than I did selling mobile phone accessories at Roxy – just for minding a kiosk! Yeah, even though it was a ‘good job’  I sometimes felt ashamed, earning less than my wife.

“So it’s like this: I’d heard about online taxis – people said you could make good money driving for them, but I wasn’t sure that I believed it. Then one of my friends at the bank quit his job, and took the risk of borrowing money to buy a Toyota Avanza and go online. He seemed happy enough, but what convinced me was when he came back after three or four months with another new car. He put someone to work in the old one and kept the new one to drive himself. I’ve got a wife and kids, and usually I avoid risk – but that was the day I decided that I’d leave the bank and go online.

“Alhamdulillah, so far it looks like the right decision. After paying for my loan on the car – six million rupiah per month – I have ten million left, gross. After petrol – a hundred and fifty thousand rupiah per day – after my family’s needs, jajan (snacks) for my kid and my own food, I have about two million a month, net, to save.”

Several of Pak Ade’s colleagues left the bank at the same time after seeing the success of that same friend. Now they make about five times what they made as employees – although Pak Ade is quick to remind me that “you have to stay focused and work hard.” At the moment he’s working far longer hours than he did at the bank: about fourteen hours a day, seven days a week. “It’s my choice. I’m my own boss, and I’m the one who profits from my hard work. I might slow down a bit later once I’ve paid off the car.”

In the last few years the competition between online ojek and taxi services and non-connected public transport has been in and out of the news.  Plenty of bus, taxi, angkot and ojek drivers feel they’re losing out because of competition from the online model. I compare the impact of GRUBERJEK to the introduction of Bluebird Taxi in the seventies: it’s easy to imagine the complaints of other taxi drivers angry at losing out because of Bluebird‘s ‘unfair’ technological and organisational advantages – radios, reliable meters and consistently good service.

For me, the interesting thing about the story of Pak Ade and his former colleagues is this: these aren’t taxi drivers moving from one business model to another, but bank employees with what are usually regarded as good, ‘middle class’ jobs leaving stable employment for greater rewards as online taxi drivers. How big is the exodus, and will it be felt across Jakarta’s labour market? Is it too much to hope that before long employees who stay in their jobs will not only benefit directly from the services of online taxis, but also enjoy rising salaries and retention bonuses – an unexpected blessing of efek GRUBERJEK.

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Zaman perUBERan

Dari kisah dua orang sopir Bluebird Taxi, ke pengalaman seorang Ojek tradisional, ke sini: pengalaman seorang sopir Uber.

Kemarin saya sempat naik Uber(yang pakai mobil), dikemudi Pak Ade. Orangnya ramah, dan senang bercerita tentang pengalaman dia sejak bergabung dengan Uber tidak lama yang lalu. Kata Pak Ade:

“Saya baru tiga bulan ini menjadi online… bagus juga selama ini, alhamdulillah. Dulu saya pegawai bank – pekerjaannya okey, tapi sebenarnya gaji tidak begitu bagus – dapat tiga jutaan, tambah tunjuangan sedikit, kadang tambah lembur. Isteri saya jualan asesoris HP di Roxy, jaga kios saja, dapatnya lebih banyak daripada saya di bank. Kadang malu sendiri, kalah sama isteri.

“Nah, begini ceritanya: saya pernah dengar tentang online, orang bilang dapatnya lumayan, cuman saya nggak begitu percaya, takut nggak benar itu. Tapi salah satu rekan saya di bank berani memundurkan diri, meminjam uang dan beli mobil Avanza, jadi online. Kayaknya dia senang juga, tapi saya jadi yakin ketika habis tiga, empat bulan dia kembali dengan mobil baru lagi. Mobil pertama dia kasih ke orang, dan dia beli lagi. Saya punya anak, punya isteri, bisanya nggak berani ambil risiko, tetapi saat itu saya putuskan daripada tetap di bank saya coba juga masuk online.

“Alhamdulillah, sejauh ini saya lihat keputusan itu benar. Sekarang setelah nyicil buat mobil – setoran enam juta setiap bulan –  masih tinggal sepuluh juta, kotor. Habis bensin – seratus lima puluh ribu rupiah per hari – habis harian keluarga, jajan anak saya dan harian saya buat makan, tinggal dua juta per bulan, bersih, buat tabungan.”

Kata Pak Ade, beberapa di antara mantan rekan dia di bank juga keluar setelah melihat teman mereka yang terlebih dahulu keluar dan berhasil. Pendapatan bulanan mereka kurang lebih lima kali lebih besar daripada gaji di bank dulu, walaupun memang menurut Pak Ade “Harus fokus, harus rajin,” – dia mengakui jam kerjanya sekarang lebih lama, kira-kira empat belas jam per hari, tujuh hari per minggu. “Tetapi enaknya, saya menjadi bos sendiri, dan saya sendiri yang dapat hasilnya dari kerja keras saya. Mungkin nanti saya bekerja lebih sedikit kalau mobil sudah lunas.”

Selama ini saingan ojek dan taxi online dengan angkutan umum biasa cukup nyata. Banyak pengemudi taxi, bis, angkot dan ojek merasa rugi oleh karena adanya yang online. Saya rasa dampak GRUBERJEK bisa dibandingkan dengan dampak Bluebird Taxi ketika baru mulai pada tahun 70an. Gampang dibayangkan saat itu juga ada taxi biasa yang naik pitam merasa rugi karena Bluebird memanfaatkan teknologi dan budaya perusahaan (radio, argo, standar pelayanan yang unggul dan konsisten) yang dianggap ‘tidak adil’ terhadap taxi lain.

Yang menarik dari kisahnya Pak Ade dan mantan rekannya ialah: dulu mereka bukan sopir taxi biasa, tetapi pegawai bank dengan pekerjaan ‘kelas menengah’ yang selama ini dianggap bagus. Walaupun demikian, mereka rela keluar dari pekerjaan yang stabil untuk mendapat keuntungan lebih besar di dunia taxi online. Pertanyaan saya, apakah dampak kecenderungan ini akan terasa di pasar pekerjaan secara umum?

Ada kemungkinan pegawai biasa tidak hanya akan merasa manfaat secara langsung dari jasa taxi online, tetapi nanti dapat juga menikmati kenaikan gaji ketika perusahaan terpaksa menaikkan gaji untuk mempertahankan tenaga kerja mereka. Demikianlah efek tak terduga GRUBERJEK.

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Call me / Ojek Katolik

Versi Bahasa Indonesia di bawah.

Pak Enjon: On Driving, the Big Three, and a better life

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This afternoon I stopped in my tracks when I saw this ojek – motorbike taxi. It stands out a mile from the average ojek, especially in the GRUBERJEK era – Grab, Uber, Go-Jek, the Big Three app based taxi (including motorbike taxi) and liftsharing companies that have turned public transport in Jakarta upside down in the few years.

I got chatting with its owner, Pak Enjon, who was from Maluku, which at least partly explains its styling – apparently the Catholic church in (what is now) Indonesia started there in 1534. Pak Enjon didn’t want to me to take his photo, but he was happy to talk about life as a tukang ojek. He’s only just got into the game, having worked as a driver for a private employer until the middle of 2016. He says driving an ojek is a much better gig:

“Now, life is a lot more peaceful. Before, when I was a driver, my boss could bother me at any time. He’d call any time and I had to go. If I was just sitting down to eat and he’d call – I had to walk out and leave my food. He’d call me early morning with no warning – I might be in bed, tired or feeling under the weather, but if I got the call, I had to go. If I was just about to go for a pee and the boss said “Let’s go!”, that was it – I had to hold it. So nowadays things are better – much calmer.”

I got so into this side of the conversation that I forgot to ask about the decorations on his bike, but I did ask how business was for independent ojeks these days. Pak Enjon said that some days he brings home nothing at all – “If you’re an ojek and no one calls, you get nothing, right?”. On a good day he brings in about Rp50,000, about US$4, but it’s usually less.

When I asked him why he doesn’t join one of the Big Three to boost his income he smiled, a little bit malu:

“Yeah, it’s like this… I don’t know how to use a smartphone. I’m old! But no problem – I can sit here reading the paper, waiting for a call.”

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Pak Enjon: Kehidupan Sopir, GRUBERJEK dan saat teduh

Tadi siang saya berhenti di jalan melihat motor ini yang cukup istimewa, berbeda sekali dari ojek rata-rata, apa lagi pada zaman GRUBERJEK sekarang ini (yaitu Grab-Uber-GoJek, tiga start-up besar yang telah menjungkirbalikkan transportasi umum di Jakarta selama tiga tahun ini) . Saya ngobrol sebentar dengan pemiliknya, tukang ojek bernama Pak Enjon, dari Maluku. Tempat asalnya Pak Enjon membuat saya lebih paham hiasan Katolik motornya – Gereja Katolik pertama di nusantara dimulai di Maluku pada tahun 1534…

Pak Enjon keluar dari pekerjaan dia sebagai sopir pribadi pada tahun 2016, dan baru satu tahun menjadi ojek. Kata Pak Enjon, lebih enak jadi ojek:

“Sekarang, jauh lebih tenang. Dulu, saya sopir, kapan saja bisa diganggu dipanggil bos. Lagi makan, dipanggil – langsung pergi, meninggalkan nasinya. Pagi-pagi, tidur masih ngantuk, capek, ngak enak badan, di panggil bos – harus berangkat, mau ngak mau. Iya, kita kebelet, tapi bos bilang ‘Yuk! Jalan!’, harus menahan. Maka sekarang saya lebih enak, lebih tenang.”

Sebenarnya, ngak banyak yang dia ceritakan mengenai hiasan ojeknya, tapi saya sempat tanya mengenai ekonomi ojek ‘mandiri’ masa kini. Kata Pak Enjon, kadang dia tidak dapat apa-apa – “Kalau tidak ada panggilan, tidak dapat, kan?”. Keuntungan paling besar dia dapat sekitar lima puluh ribu rupiah, dengan rata-rata di bawah itu. Saat ditanya mengapa dia tidak bergabung dengan salah satu dari tiga besar GRUBERJEK supaya pendapatan lebih tinggi dia jawab dengan senyum sedikit malu: 

“Ya, gini, saya tidak bisa main smartphone, ngak tahu cara memakainya. Tidak apa-apa. Saya baca koran sambil menunggu panggilan.”

On inequality: Drivers of Progress / Kisah dua orang sopir

Scroll down for Indonesian / Lihat ke bawah untuk versi Bahasa Indonesia

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Once upon a time…

Cast your mind back to Jakarta’s distant past, two or three years ago, when Go-Jek, Grab and Uber were novelties and Bluebird Taxi was really the only show in town. Sometime back then I happened to have two long chats with Bluebird drivers within the space of a week. These two men, both in their fifties, told me about their lives – stories that started a mere breath apart, but ended with miles between them.

Pak Yusuf

The first driver, Pak Yusuf, came to Jakarta fresh out of middle-school 30 years ago. He left his village in central Java, and arrived in the capital with nothing in his pockets but holes. He slept under bridges, working as an unskilled buruh on building sites, doing anything he could to earn money for food.

Pak Yusuf transitioned to working on local buses as a kenek, a cross between bus conductor and ticket-tout. The kenek is a Jakarta institution – hanging in the bus doorway, shouting for trade, running along beside the bus as they whisk passengers in and out of the doorway, communicating with the driver by rapping morse-code on the windows with a fistful of coins… They’re tough, sipping alternately on cigarettes and diesel fumes. And they’re tired –  I’ve seen keneks asleep on their perches in the doorways of their buses as their drivers wove maniacally through the traffic…

Slowly, Pak Yusuf built a life. Eventually he learned to drive and started working an angkot (minibus) route, which he did for years before switching to taxis and ending up with Bluebird. I asked him how he found it.

“It’s hard, Pak. I take home sixty-, ninety-, a hundred and fifty thousand rupiah (US$11) on a good day – it’s like minimum wage, and it’s not enough. I earn enough for rent and cigarettes, sure, but I’ve got three kids in school and it’s expensive. Money is always tight. Maybe it’ll be better when my oldest finishes high-school and starts working, but for now – continuous work.”

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Construction labourers today – the equipment changes, but not the story…

Om Hendra

The second Bluebird driver, Om Hendra, started out the same way. He, too, arrived from his village with an old t-shirt and a pair of jeans to his name, slept under flyovers and started off as a day-labourer. He would sit at the roadside waiting for someone to call him to jump into the back of a truck and go along to dig a foundation, or to carry bricks, cement and steel barefoot and bareheaded to wherever they were needed.

Slowly, he built a life. He drove a becak (bicycle-taxi) for a while – but as he did, he saved up money and sent it back to his brother in the kampung. The brother bought some goats, then sold them, and they bought a cow. When they sold the cow, Om Hendra used the money to learn to drive, and with his new wages they did it again, in time selling their cows to buy a bit of land. Eventually he got married, and his wife ran a little warung while they built a house, laid out with a spare room at the side that they rent out. He told me:

“Praise God, things are comfortable now. Bluebird pays a good wage. One of my kids has just graduated from university our youngest is studying for a degree in mathematics. We have the house, and land in our kampung. With this job I’m my own boss – I can work when I want, and I always meet interesting people. I like driving – the only downside is a sore backside!”

Both Pak Yusuf and Om Hendra have struggled up from zero, and if we visited them in their communities, I suspect we might not see a huge difference between their lifestyles – but one has relative comfort and security while the other remains just one shock from real poverty. Om Hendra’s kids will probably be middle class, while Pak Yusuf’s children – leaving school at 16 or 18 – are likely to get low-paid jobs and struggle on in their father’s footsteps.

It seems to me that the difference between these two men is the thirty-years-in-the-making fruit of a difference in vision and will, the presence or absence of the “first sight and second thoughts” that allowed Om Hendra to really see what he had, imagine a better future, work out how to get there and work steadily to build it.

Look: here are people. Here is inequality.

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“New Resident: there are no words as beautiful as prayer”

 

Pada masa silam…

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Melayangkan pikiranmu, mengingat masa silam Ibu Kota, entah dua apa tiga tahun yang lalu… Saat Go-Jek, Grab dan Uber baru mulai populer, dan Bluebird Taxi tetap berjabat sebagai mode transportasi umum unggulan. Pada masa itu, dalam jangka waktu satu minggu kebetulan saya ngobrol lama dengan dua orang sopir Bluebird. Kedua laki-laki ini, dua-duanya berumur lima puluhan, menceritakan pengalaman hidupnya – dua kisah nyata yang pada mulanya sangat mirip – beda kumis doang – tetapi berakhir terpisah jauh.

Pak Yusuf

Sopir pertama, Pak Yusuf, berasal dari Jawa Tengah, dan datang ke Jakarta saat baru lulus SMP, tiga puluh tahun yang lalu. Dia sampai ke Jakarta dengan kantong kering, terpaksa tidur di kolong jembatan dan bekerja sebagai buruh bangunan, apa saja asal dapat uang buat makan.

Lama-lama, Pak Yusuf menjadi kenek – hinggap di pintu metromini, berseru-seru merayu penumpang, lari di samping bis sambil menaikkan dan menurunkan orang dan barang, mengetuk sandi morse di jendela dengan gengaman uang logam – ketok magicnya sang Kenek! Mereka kuat, para kenek – menghisap asap dari rokok, dari knalpot. Mereka juga capek – saya pernah melihat bis-bis selip-selap melaju di jalan raya, membawa kenek berdiri di pintu ketiduran, bergoyang pelan-pelan ke kanan, ke kiri…

Langkah demi langkah, Pak Yusuf membangun hidup yang lebih makmur. Dia belajar menyetir dan membawa angkot selama beberapa tahun dan akhirnya menjadi sopir Bluebird. Saya bertanya kepada dia tentang pengalamannya.

“Susah, Pak. Sehari dapatnya enam puluh-, sembilan puluh-, seratus lima puluh rupiah per hari. Iya, kaya UMR doang, ngak cukup. Uang kontrakkan bisa, rokok bisa, tapi anak saya tiga, lagi di sekolah semua! Sekolah itu mahal – tapi mau gimana lagi? Selalu susah. Mudah-mudahan nanti, setelah yang pertama lulus SMA, dia bekerja, Insyallah lebih gampang jadinya.”

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Pekerja bangunan – perlengkapan lebih maju, kisahnya tetap sama…

Om Hendra

Sopir Bluebird yang kedua, Om Hendra, pada mulanya sama ceritanya. Dia datang dari kampung hanya membawa kaos luntur dan celana jeans, tidur di kolong flyover dan bekerja sebagai buruh lepas. Setiap hari dia jongkok di pinggir jalan menunggu panggilan untuk naik truk nyeker, dan pergi untuk menggali fondasi bangunan, angkat batu bata, semen dan besi.

Langkah demi langkah, Om Hendra membangun hidup yang lebih makmur. Dia menjadi tukang becak, dan setiap bulan dia mengirim uang kepada adiknya di kampung. Adik itu beli kambing, lalu menjualnya untuk beli sapi. Ketika sapi itu dijual, Om Hendra memakai uangnya untuk belajar mengemudi. Dia terus mengirim sebagian dari gaji ke adik: mereka beli sapi lagi, tapi kali ini sapi di jual untuk membeli tanah. Lama-lama Om Hendra menikah, dan istrinya jaga warung selama mereka membangun rumah – dengan kamar sebelah yang bisa disewakan kepada orang. Kata dia:

“Alhamdulillah, sekarang kami nyaman. Gaji dari Bluebird lumayan, sih. Anak pertama saya baru lulus kuliah, dan yang paling kecil sekarang kuliah matematika di UI. Kami punya rumah, punya tanah juga di kampung. Saya sopir, jadi bos sendiri – kerja semaunya, kalau capek ngak usah masuk. Setiap hari ketemu dengan orang baru. Saya suka mengemudi – masalahnya hanya pantat doang yang sakit…”

Pak Yusuf dan Om Hendra sama-sama memperjuangkan hidup mereka dari nol, dan kalau kita mampir ke rumah mereka, mungkin tidak ada perbedaan yang begitu nyata – padahal yang satu lumayan makmur, dan yang kedua selalu rawan jatuh miskin lagi. Kemungkinan besar, anak-anak Om Hendra akan masuk kelas menengah, jadi lebih makmur lagi dari orang tuanya. Anaknya Pak Yusuf, yang keluar dari dunia pendikan saat lulus SMA atau SMP, jauh lebih mungkin mengikuti jejak langkah ayah mereka, dan mengalami perjuangan – dan kesulitan – yang sama.

Menurut saya, perbedaan di antara kedua laki-laki ini merupakan buah dari perbedaan visi dan kehendak, yang bertumbuh besar selama tiga puluh tahun. Om Hendra memiliki kemampuan untuk melihat keadaan dia, membayangkan masa depan yang lebih cerah, membuat rencana untuk mencapai visinya, dan bekerja dengan gigih sehingga visi itu diwujudkan.

Lihatlah: di sini ada manusia. Di sini ketidaksetaraan.

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Pull’s Ferry: Jakarta, Norwich / Geteknya Pak Tarik: Jakarta, Norwich

Jakarta time machine

“You know this, then” – the branch, which she drew out
From her clothes’ folds… neither spoke.
The hallowed gift amazed him,
The branch of fate – so long since he had seen it!

A sybil pays Charon, ferryman of the Styx
Virgil, Aeneid, 6.406-9

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Pak Tarik’s Ferry, West Jakarta flood canal, and Temple

Open your mouth and pay the ferryman. Two thousand rupiah – a little less than twenty U.S. cents, a trifle more than ten U.K. pence – will see you safely across.

Pak Tarik’s been working this stretch of the canal for eighteen years, using current and cable to guide his ferry. Every time I see him – and the others like him across Jakarta’s rivers and canals – I’m reminded of Pull’s Ferry, Norwich, and I wonder how much longer they’ll be around.

Pull’s Ferry is named for John Pull, who lived and worked here carrying people and goods across the river Wensum from 1796 to 1841. The last of the ferrymen retired in 1943.

Pull’s Ferry, Norwich, and Cathedral

Time Travel di Jakarta

“Inilah, kamu kenal”- sebuah ranting, yang dia keluarkan
dari lipatan jubahnya… keduanya diam.
Persembahan suci itu membuat dia takjub,
Rantai Pohon Nasib – betapa lama sejak dia melihatnya!

Seorang sybil membayar Charon, tukang getek di sungai Styx
Virgil, Aeneid, 6.406-9

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Pull’s Ferry, Norwich, c.1890

Bukalah mulutmu; membayar sang tukang getik. Dua ribu perak buat menyeberang.

Pak Tarik telah bekerja di sini selama delapan belas tahun, memakai arus air dan kabel baja untuk mengemudikan geteknya. Setiap kali saya melihatnya – dan tukang getek lain di sungai dan kanal Jakarta – saya teringat akan Pull’s Ferry, di kota Norwich, Inggris. Dan saya bertanya dalam hati – berapa lama lagi akan ada tukang getek seperti ini di Jakarta?

Pull’s Ferry dinamai untuk John Pull, yang mengangkut barang dan orang menyeberangi sungai Wensum selama empat puluh lima tahun dari tahun 1796 sampai tahun 1841, tukang getek atau ferryman yang paling lama karirnya. Dia bukan yang terakhir – Ferryman terakhir di Norwich pensiun pada tahun 1943 – baru sekejap mata yang lalu.

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Job done