Friday, December 09, 2005

How valuable is Rp. 800,- to us nowdays. It doesnt take a genius to say nothing. However, this mathematical concept doesnt really apply to every condition. In fact there is a huge gap between a concept and the reality that it creates.
I was queuing behind a 7 year old boy, wearing a ragged clothes in a fast food restaurant. As the lady gave him an ice cream - apparently that was his order- he received the Rp. 600 change and dashed off to the door. I had the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the display on the register, Rp. 1400,- for an ice cream.
I hold my baby in front of the restaurant, waiting for my husband. I saw the boy again, but this time he was with his sister. She looked healthy with two rosy chubby cheeks covered with melted ice cream. Her eyes was fully focused on her ice cream until my baby cried and pointed his finger to her ice cream. She ran to her brother shoving the ice cream into his hand asking for protection. He was not really ready, though he tried to grip it with his tiny fingers. The cone was wobbly and the scoop of vanilla ice cream fell onto the dusty paving blocks. We all stood in silence for a second. His sister's cry alerted us. She wanted to grab the melted ice crea. but her brother held her hand. Her tears were rolling down on her cheek. The little boy put his hand inside his pocket and took Rp. 600 out. He hold it in the open palm of his hand and gave his sister a blank look. Another Rp. 800,- was desperately needed. He only needs Rp. 800 to express his love for his sister. If only I had the opportunity to infiltrate his mind, I probably will be able to read the various scenarios twirling inside his mind. Will he beg, will he steal, will he soothe his sister, or will he ask for a free replacement to the restaurant??? His decision and choices depends on the values that have been implanted in his mind. Any alternative will be possible. It all depend on us since a value is nothing but a social consensus, part of a culture that we create and that create us in return. In a culture where instant solution such as corruption is tolerated, he will most probably steal some money or beg to get the ice cream. Is it nurture or torture, sometimes I dont see much of the difference.

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