Saturday, April 01, 2006


The barber is located on the side of a small dusty street, next to a small passageway beside a tiny warung tegal. It’s a nine square meters room, divided into two by a not too clean wooden board. The room is cramped with a television set placed on the table next to the two big mirrors attached to the wall. Two chairs with leather-like covered are placed in front of the mirrors, and a far from comfortable bamboo sofa is positioned behind those chairs. The price list is glued on the rusty wall between the two mirrors: Dewasa = Rp. 6000,-, Anak = Rp. 5000,- Jenggot = Rp. 2000,-.

Despite the disturbing odor that strikes your nostrils and the hissing sound of the television set that hit your eardrums, clients from neigbouring areas drop in to this place. They must be his longlasting clients for they use the silent language to communicate. He nods his head every time he notices the arrival of his clients and the clients sit on the wooden sofa patiently waiting for their turn to arrive.
After my second visit I noticed that his name is "Ucup". He’s a quiet man in his thirties , a simple looking guy, far from being invaded by the modern culture. I dont know if he had ever dreamed of becoming a barber . It seems to me that being a barber is not just the way he earns his living, but it seems like it's part of his destiny. He scrutinized every single inch of the clients hair just to make sure that they are properly cut. He checked it from a distance, and trimmed the unwanted parts. A glaze in his eyes will give us a sign that he's almost done. A few seconds to admire his work will end the whole proces and he will then continue with the next client.

One day while he was cutting my son’s hair, I tried to fill the gap of silence and asked him a couple of question. Then I arrived to the average number of his clients. To my amazement Pak Ucup humbly explained that his clients reach up to the average of 50 people a day. My head worked like a digital calculator and my brain almost jumped out of my skull when I realized that he earns more than a university graduate employee. I mentioned the number just to make sure that it was the right number. He shyly nodded his head and smiled cordially demonstrating his two big brown teeth.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

LIFE IS SIMPLE (to some people)

One of the basic nature calls has been buried in the shadowy darkness of reality for so long under the name of values. In the world of etymology, the word “Toilet” is one of the most vivid examples.. The dictionary of etymology has recorded so many words to express toilet, such as John, Lavatory, Privy, Loo, Throne, Privy, Can, Rest Room and many, many others. This concept has undergone so many semantic changes. Once the unwritten social consensus has recorded deterioration or a change in the semantic value of a word, the word will be classified as taboo and a new word will emerge.
In the grotesque houses in Pondok Indah, the word “toilet” refers to rooms which occupy areas as large as my house and are equipped with luxury and comfort such as carpet, paintings, air condition etc. On the opposite side, for the street children, the word toilet refers to any gutter available on the street such as the gutter that runs underneath the pedestrian path.
Last Sunday drive has added another picture of reality, far beyond those images which have been crushed into our mind through the television or newspaper. As the traffic turns green, the crowd of cars stopped in front of the traffic. A little boy of six, half naked from middle to bottom, ran across the street and jumped onto the pavement. He installed himself comfortably above a gap between the pavement blocks. His back is facing the solemn Sunday traffic of Jakarta, ignoring or being ignorance of the fact that almost every person in the cars were watching his gestures. He rested his fingers on the wall and used the gap as his private toilet to respond to the nature call. I assume most of the passengers would move on to the next question: how is he going to clean his behind. ?
As soon as he had finished it, he moved to the big pot with plants in it. He sat on the curb of the pot covered by the left over rain drops and shook his Behind around to clean it up. To make sure that he was clean enough, he touched his behind with his fingers. As many other ordinary kids would do, he jumped into the middle of the street and ran happily among the cars. Again like many other ordinary kids of his age would do, he put his fingers into his mouth when he got tensed or depressed.
Life is complicated to some whereas it is simple and natural for the street children. It is as simple and as natural as the first snow in winter or the morning dew in spring or the color of leaves in autumn.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Growing up is the biggest unidentified mystery of life ever. It’s there yet it’s not there. Not until you are exposed to a particular uncomfortable situation will you then realize that things have changed and the person in front of you is not the same person anymore.
Driving home is one of the particular magical moments that makes me realize that life is not the same anymore.
Mom : "Oo no....not again, it's coming again?" (I pointed to the headlines of a newspaper shoved into our window on a traffic light) "The flood is the same problem every year!"
Girl : “If the Government knows that it’s gonna happen, why didn’t they take any measures now to avoid it? If it is caused by all the garbage that has been thrown to the river, make sure everybody give a hand to clean it.”
Mom : “It not as easy as it sounds. It has got to do with people’s behavior. No matter how much effort you spend on cleaning it up, some other will again dump their garbage into the river.”
Girl : “Why don’t the Government provide the troops of police to be on guard of the river?”
Mom : “They are not meant to do that particular job. They have other important thing to do such as keeping the country secure.”
Girl : “It also concerns national security. Imagine what’s going to happen if the capital city is inundated.”
Mom : “It’s not as simple as that ” (Silence filled the air inside the car).
Girl : “Adults are really complicated!!!”
Mom : (Is she still my baby??)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Im on a Truman Show!!! Im inside an illusionary landscape, that isolates me from the reality. However, Im too scared to break this symbiotic situation. I know that everything is fake, but I dont know how wide is the fake area. The producer of the show hides behind the curtain of reality and gaze upon his masterpiece. I dream of finding the truth outside my world though I know that the existence of a genuine truth is just another dream that I built inside my stage set world.