On the Metro Mini This Evening

14 November 2014

On the Metro Mini (Jakarta’s city bus) this evening, a street singer told a story. He said he couldn’t continue going to school for he had no money.

He said we are lucky. Literate, educated, employed. Unlike him, his friends, and his surroundings whom have to “work on the streets, sell their pride, and sleep on the shops’ front doors”. Unable to go to school due to their limitations.

I wish, said he, for positive changes by the new government.

Our new president is highly popular among the lower-class society. An inspiration for the uneducated and the poor, in a way. Not to say he is uneducated. No, he is among the small 32% of the global society whom are able to finish tertiary education (university/college/and such). However, millions of the less fortunate people seem able to relate to him.

For this street singer at the face of the bus, for the becak drivers I spoke to in Yogyakarta, the new president represents a fresh hope. Not just fresh, but also huge. Hope for an independent nation, for subsidized fertilizer, for a public health insurance. For an accessible education.

To us the street singer protested, “9 years of mandatory education was said to be guaranteed by the government. But reality shows, education has long become a business commodity of the government and the irresponsible people.”

“Such cliché”, you may think? We, the passengers, maybe you, too, often shut our ears and minds to political debaucheries, split-ups, and confrontations. But I hope this street singer helped us realize that his cry is not one to avoid. Healthy politics and good governance and quality education are the rights of each and every one of us.

I think I need a reminder from time to time. Maybe everyone needs one, just like they need justification? Before riding their motorcycle on the sidewalk carelessly, before quarreling with drivers who went through the red traffic light. Before “only” thinking about mortgage and newest gadgets and our child’s clothing. Before our souls are sold to daily routines of jobs and life and all other temporary things and forget that each of us was born to do something good, something better for our societies and maybe beyond.

I’m tired right now. But thanks to this guy, my spirit has arisen above a little bit.

New leader, new hope.

The motivated us, the contributing us.

As the singer starts singing “Senandung Istri Bromocorah” by Iwan Fals, my mind starts to wander…


Chant of a Fallen Angel’s Wife
(free translation of “Senandung Istri Bromocorah” in Bahasa Indonesia)


My child, retire

Don’t go to school, your father’s out of job

Oh my child, don’t cry

It is only how it is


Corners where he collects

At the stores and the parking lots

Those places are no longer his


My child, let us say our prayer

So he can escape the shootings

News are fierce

In each page of the newspapers

Killings of the bandits


My child, forgive your father

His lack of paternity

Don’t hate your father

For your future is a blur

Your days ahead are demur


My child,

Don’t walk in his shadow

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