Pak Yudi, Parking Attendant / Pak Yudi, Tukang parkir

Pak Yudi

This morning I met Pak Yudi, who used to help people park in front of a petrol station near one of Jakarta’s major universities. He was a friendly guy and happy to chat about his work.

“It was great: the manager of the petrol station let me have the spot and didn’t ask for anything. I was busy all day with cars coming and going: lecturers and dentistry students mainly. I earned pretty well – they’d give two, or five, or even twenty thousand each time. I could make more than three-hundred thousand rupiah on a good day, and at least a hundred-and-fifty if it was slow. That’s about the same as the guys that direct traffic on street junctions, but I was relaxed – people always pay for parking, right?

“I used to pay a guy from the Department of Transport – every week I’d buy a book of parking tickets for eighty-thousand, which I never used. The tickets were only fifteen hundred rupiah, and if I’d used them, that was all I’d get!

“The police would come by a few times a day but they were fine and didn’t ask for money. From time to time they’d stop and hoot and I’d take them a cigarette or two, maybe a cup of coffee. There was no-one else to pay – no gangsters.

The Price of Progress

“But I don’t work there anymore – I’ve been unemployed for six months. Things are changing – the Transport Department has tightened up, and cars that park there get towed. There was a boss from Shell too – a Dutchman – who banned parking on their petrol stations. That’s how it goes – if there isn’t any work, I can’t work.”

Pak Yudi

Tadi siang saya ketemu Pak Yudi, mantan tukang parkir di depan SPBU dekat ke salah satu universitas terbesar di Jakarta. Orangnya ramah, senang bercerita tentang pekerjaannya di situ.

“Enak di situ – dikasih sama manajer pompa bensin, orangnya baik, tidak minta apa-apa. Saya sibuuuk, sibuk sepanjang hari, ada mobil keluar masuk, ada dosen, ada mahasiswa dokter gigi. Dapatnya lumayan – bisa kasih dua ribu, tapi biasa lima ribu, sampai ada yang kasih dua puluh. Dalam satu hari bisa sampai tiga ratusan lebih, kalau kurang, paling seratus lima puluhan. Kira-kira sama dengan yang Pak Ogah, tapi saya santai – selalu dibayar, kan, kalau buat parkiran.

“Saya bayar ke petugas DISHUB – setiap minggu delapan puluh ribu untuk membeli satu buku karcis, tapi saya tidak pakai: karcisnya seribu lima ratus doang, kalau dipakai yang kami dapat hanya segitu.

“Ada juga polisi yang datang setiap hari beberapa kali. Mereka baik-baik saja, tidak minta duit. Paling sewaktu-waktu kalau lewat, ‘iiiiiiii’ diklakson, ada pemahaman, saya datang kasih rokok sebatang dua batang, kasih kopi. Tidak ada preman yang harus dibayar.

Pengangguran

“Sekarang mah, saya tidak di situ lagi – sudah enam bulan menganggur. Zaman ini berbeda, DISHUB jadi tegas, mobil yang diparkir disitu diderek, dan juga ada boss dari Shell – orang Belanda – yang bilang tidak boleh lagi parkir mobil di situ. Ya udahlah, kalau tidak ada pekerjaan, saya tidak bekerja lagi.”

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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).

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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