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Jan 14, 2012

10/1/12 MyColorfullFootSteps Week III


14 Jan., 2012 was a fine cool day. The night before was a real long heavy cold rainfall night. The sky opened up. I could feel the nice warm sun breaking through some dark cloud hovering above. Windy though. It has been a real cold rain the last three days. I felt my mind is dumb. I have not been able to stay out of the home. Thus, today, I decided to take a walk to the east of CiJinjing. As I walked down the hill, I met a group of school kids going through the paddy path to the concrete pavement. Interestingly, among them were two girls, they walked with their shoes wrapped in the plastic beg to avoid from being dirtied by the mud. Upon reaching the concrete path, they cleanup themselves with the running water by the side drain. It took me a moment to recollect and move on, as those was the scene and life that I had gone through when I went for my Primary School in Simunjan in the mid 1960s. My kid’s days memories flashing fast in my head.

(2) I took the left turn as I reached the main road. Kids were on their way to school. In Indonesia, the kids firstly attend attend kindy at the age of 4-6 years old, then SD or Sekolah Dasar till they aged 12, then SMP, Sekolah Menengah Pertengahan till age 15, then only they will attend their SMA or Sekolah Menengah Atas before going to College or University. At SMP level, they had to pay about Rp70,000/month, and sure they are lots who can’t afford it. One of them is a young lady next door, who every day I saw her sorrow face, tending shooing to those birds stealing from her family farm. I would believe she must be crying deep in the heart, daily watching all those kids at her age proudly going to school, and she has to face her dark life under the small hut by her paddy field.

(3) What I observed, young girls seem are very eager to go to school. On the other hand, the boys seem to walk to school with all their laziness and hopeless pace. Probably, the girls want to get away from doing all those routine household works. Even coming to learn to recite the Al Quran, there are more young girls then the boys. They seem more excited to be away from home, and be among friends. Nice to see them walking in groups, like the sheep ready to graze. The boys, my assumption, they see no future, even though they are qualified. Unemployment among the boys or young men is rampant as compared to the girls or ladies. Surely if one makes a survey, there would be more ladies in any big cities in Indonesia as compared to men. The same is happening in Kuala Lumpur, Malacca, Penang, and Johore Baharu. The production and service sectors provide more job opportunities to the ladies.

(4) This is a scenario that the Government and those social planners should be well alert, if we don’t want our future generation to be living in full of distress and social illness. We, in the near future will be facing a phenomena where ladies has income and employed yet the men are jobless and useless. If this happen and becoming very severe, definitely the ladies will be the victims of circumstances and that would not be healthy to the long term survival of the nation. In Indonesia, we have now a phenomena where the wives are oversea, yet the husbands are left in the Villages. This, makan hasil bini is a common norm now in Indonesia. What next, as I began to discover, polygamy and divorce became the next issue in the pipeline.

(5) The paths at the paddy field, the concrete feeder paths and the main road at this time of the year, in fact make no different. All are muddy with lots of potholes. I have to carefully avoid the incoming motorbike or trucks, or I’ll get the free muddy bath.

(6) Later I met those farmers transplanting their paddy fields. Most of the works are done by the women. They are knee-level suck into those muddy soft paddy field. Some distance away, a group of men, they ploughed their field either by cangkul or by a buffalo. They pulled out those paddy stumps and with their strong feet pushed or buried those stumps into the mud. I believe, this way, they are preparing a good compost, the natural fertilizer, for the newly transplant paddy. Further up the hill, I also met some other men and women tending to the weeds. They pulled all those weeds and stepped on them, burying them into the mud. All works are done manually. The cold wind blew across the field and I can really smell the freshness of the earth, but more, the smell of sustained poverty and marginalization.

(7) As I turned back into another path, I met a lady with her kid, thrashing, more of smashing the harvested paddy onto a bamboo cage-structure. All these works, ploughing, transplanting, tending to the weed, shooing the birds, harvesting, thrashing, and of course taking all those harvested seed onto their shoulder home, are all done, luckily in this opened air-conditioned environment. I can’t imagine, those farmers in Kedah, Kelantan, Trengganu, and Selangor, they did all these under the hot sun. Those are the very reason, I would figure, every year lots of paddy land are now converted into housing or even sold out for cash. In Thailand, I could see more and more paddy areas are been converted into oil palm, rubber with intercrop into fish and cattle farming.

(8) Readers, how fortunate you guys are. Working, sitting in aircon room, rain or shine, at the end of the month got your full salary, and yet here, as I noticed today, not only the birds and those insects sucked their faith, the strong wind had also caused some of the paddy to collapse and sure their take home yield become vulnerably uncertain. Farmers, the poor, their lives have never been certain. Can you not think, feel and take stand, on what should be your roles and responsibilities?

(9) Later I went up to another hill. There I saw a group of six men carrying sand begs onto their shoulders. They were transporting those sand for a small dam construction on top of a hill. Today, in fact is a very touchy day for me. Seeing all these hard labor work, just to get about Rp10,000-50,000/day or RM4.00-20.00/day for their household survival.

(10) As I walked back, I stop by to talk to a man whom was doing construction of his house. It looks interesting to me. After laying the bricks, he sieved those earth that he collect from the nearby hill, and mixed with some cement and used those to smoothen his wall. Checking the earth, in fact it is 50-60 percent sand mixed naturally with small gravels. The Indonesian volcanic soil seem the perfect cheap construction for the local, except the cement is a bit expensive, at Rp65,000/beg ie RM30.00/beg.

(11) In front of his new built home, across the road, a lady was working on fibre list(?). The method seem to be very simple. What needed is the mold, acuan, the fibre and those gypsum powder. After seeing all these, and those brick works in Kelantan, I believe I would want to start a small Workshop back home later to create small enterprising rural folks. She sell Rp16,000.00 per piece of about 6 feets.

(12) In the late afternoon, in order to keep my mind remain active, I went down hill and have Bakso and Kopi Cap Kapal Api. I have a chat with the lady whom operates the Warung. She got four kids. Two daughters had been married and migrated to Bandung. The son is an architect, finished his job from Palembang, and now working on a Project in Cimahi, halfway down to Jakarta. Her other young daughter is still in SD. She has a farm, which she contracted out to others to main.

(13) The Bakso instead, is not the normal Bakso as used being sold by the road side in Jakarta. It is an Indomee shocked in boiled water, added with fermented sambal cabek and a piece of meat ball. The sambal cabek makes it taste real good in this cold climate. It felt hot and tasty. Though, I love to have another one more, I need to hold myself to one, to keep the taste nice and just enough.

(14) Later I went over to visit those workers doing the renovation of the Mosque. They are badly short of fund to buy the needed cements ie at least another 150 begs, plus the material for the ceiling which to their quick calculation would need at least 120 pieces of 4 x 8 fibre board. All in all, they would immediately need about Rp15,000,000.00 or RM6,000.00. I hope by Monday, I could go down to Bandung to get those organized.

(15) 15 Jan., 2012 the day was real great. Mas Jajak arrived very early, at 0630 hours to take me to the Pasar Minggu at CiBojong, about 15 km away. We rode there and` reached the place by 07.30 hours. The last nigh rain had turned the street into dam muddy. People are packed. The bikes had to squeezed between the hawkers and customers in a very uncivilized manner.

(16) I hardly can move. Firstly the mud and` the slippery shoes really constraint me. Secondly, the crowd. They really keep coming and pushing hard to make their way. They really can maneuver within those muddy path and crowded space. I can’t figure out when did I come across this scene back home in Malaysia. I believe, in my life time I have never had one. Even in trhe 1960s, in Simunjan, we never have this kind of real uncivilized Pasar Minggu. I wonder, the local council, they really have the appetite to see all these happening week-in-week-out. To me, the matter could easily be resolved even if the whole areas just being gravel on phase by phase basis. The trading areas, I would say is only about 1-2 km. It won’t take a decade to get it fix. As I passed my remark to Mas Jajak: You guys Indonesian, you really have the first class patience to accept this as a norm.

(17) Walking through this Pasar Minggu, one of the biggest challenge that I face was to avoid all those smokers. The Indonesian males, young or old, they are really heavy smokers. They smoke like kids taking the ice cream in the hot day. They are chained smokers. In their mind, they never have the thought that there are people who can’t stand the smoke. I wonder, how their women and kids take all these unhealthy habit. My health is badly affected by all these smokers since setting my feet over here. If the Indonesian stop smoking, I believe, all those cost could be sufficiently used to finance their kids to school or even invest in a much productive sectors such as rearing feedlots cattle or sheep. Interesting, the poor they love to remain poor by keeping those habit that will sustained their poverty!

(18) This Pasar Minggu is just like the present Pasar Tani in Malaysia except that there just organized by the people rather by the authortity. The most interesting items that I found here is the Ikan Bandeng, a crispy soft dried salt water fish. The taste of the fish is real good, like sardine, but it is not sardine and the price is Rp6,000/piece.

(19) I then went over to see the local trade their goats, sheep, cattle and buffaloes. Interesting, some breeders who have good variety of male goat, will provide natural insemination for the she sheep or goats. It really interesting that each male goat or sheep could serve 10-15 she sheep or goats. I didn’t enquire the price for each service, but seem the male goat or sheep are looking forward to this Pasar Minggu. May they should called this Pasar as Pasar Kambing Berkasih at least to attract more toursits to this muddy fiesta.

(20) Later I bought two kilo of nice fresh goat meat. The only problem, as Mas Promoedya Anan Toer said, the sundanese lady, they don’t know how to cook. They just fried the meat. Nonetheless, since it was fresh, the taste was nice.

(21) In the late afternoon and evening, I just read the Memoir of Muhammad Hatta, written by himself from his kids days to until he and Sukarno work to form the Gerakan Indonesia Merdeka. To me Bandung is a place where the whole Indonesia honored most. While other places such as Surabaya, Yodjakarta, Solo, Medan, Palembang, etc, the struggle for the Independence Indonesia was pushed by the religious groups, but here in Bandung, it was a City where most of the Political Independence Heroes were imprisoned. Among them, were Sukarno and Hatta. Digul had produced lots of writing by both Hatta and Sukarno.

(22) 16 Jan., 2012 at 0700 hours I took Chang Nana, his son Asep, and Mas Jajak to Kota Bandung. We hired a Avanza which cost me Rp500,000. Asep and his father Chang Nana had never been to the City before. Not long before we drove in such a winding and bumpy road, Asep start to vomit. I instructed him just to sleep on his father lap.

(23) We reached Kota Bandung at about 10.00 hours. I treated the whole group to nice Pizza Hut. Surely it is nothing great, but to these guys that was the first in their live. I just want them to have a taste of Pizza Hut they normally only see in the TV. I then left them to roam around Bandung Endah Plaza as I have to do a bit of errant work to cash some fund, do money changing, and booking for my hotel stay for the next week.

(24) By 1400 hours I then fetched and took them to the Gramedia. I let Asep to pick up books as he wish, and he chose those Bed Time Stories and some on Biology. I later took for a treated at KFC. Asep really enjoy the KFC. We returned back to CiJinJing by 20.00 hours. I bought a box each of KFC for An-An and Shanda family plus one for Chang Nana’s wife.

(25) 17 Jan., 2012 I went over to Rongga to purchase all those construction materials for the Mosque. They need about 150 begs of cement, 90 pieces of Soft Board for the ceiling, 15 X 20 liters of undercoat and finishing paints. Later I have to add on another 10 boxes of 12 X 12 inches tiles for the toilet and ablution areas. All those I dedicated as Wakaf to my parents and grandparents. I pray, I rewarded them well for making my existence and surely had dedicatedly taught me to where I’m now. I have no chance to reward them when they were still alive, and I do pray, in this faraway among this poor simple community, I could bring much pahala for them to cherish in the hereafter.

(26) I also made an agreement with Chang Nana, since that I contributed for the finishing of the Mosque where he is the keeper, I then requested him to allow me to work on his bedroom and kitchen. I feel deep pity with the wife, whom I believe is the most syukur lady realizing his husband earning nothing from his Pasentren, and being poor who can’t effort to give her comfort.

(27) Firstly I worked on the bedroom. It is the most simple sleeping place. There is nothing in there. No bedding material, and even the clothing are not well organized. I could feel, the wife look hopeless. They have only an old torn mattress, old pillows, with that two wool-liked blanket that I just bought. The wall of the bedroom is made of bamboo weaving and sure as the night fall, those cold air will just rush in. I really can’t take what I seen. Alhamdullillah, within a day, I made the Tukang kayu to really work hard, and the room was then well remodeled, nicely painted with pink and soft orange color.

(28) 18 Jan., 2012 at 0630 hours I went out for a walk. I took the main Road and head for the West. I took the left turn then and head for CiLangsari and CiAnjur. I took me about an hour walk up to the nice rolling tea plantation. I then spent about 30 minutes getting myself lost in the Plantation. It is really green. Fresh. Splendid. Rolling. Far reaching into the mountain in the interior. Sea of green tea.

(29) Later I called for Mas Jajak to accompany me to buy all those material to remodeled Chang Nana kitchen. Well, the kitchen, really basic. There is no shelving, no washing basin, nothing to place all those kitchen wares. Things are lying all over on the floor, not hygienic to my judgment. The floor is just a cement screed. Aida Rohiba, the wife, I assume had spent at least 50 percent of her life in such a situation, and I believe due to her dedication to teach all those young boys and girls reciting the Al Quran, I felt oblige to reward her honesty, sincerity and passion service to her communities.

(30) We visited a hardware shop at Rongga, where I ordered for the cement, plywood, cement board, some timbers, and all those piping accessories for the kitchen remodeling work. Later we went over to Gununghalu to the furniture shop of Hj Dundung to buy the complete bedding material, cooking facilities, and a dining table. I do hope, my stay with this family really bring them to their never dreamt new life-style. I hope and pray, all these will be treated as gift of Illahi for their dedication to serve Him and His people well, my role is just an intermediator.

(31) 19 Jan., 2012, 0630 hours I took two banana with cream milk. Then I have two pieces of laba-laba, flour baked with red bean just as cukur udang or sayur back home. Equiped with my full set of my photography equipment, I then walked back to the Tea Plantation. This time I really walked up to those workers tending to the Tea.

(32) The day was real fine. Bright sky. Breezing cool. I really want to sweat, but not a drop came out of my pores. I need to take the hills and slopes real slow. My hard back jogging shoes don’t fit to the slippery tracks. I reached a group of women working on the fields. I trailed some of them as they were busy harvesting. I queried on their yield. Each person could harvest about 50-100 Kg. For good harvest, ie not more than three young leaves per shout, they will be paid Rp800.00/kg, meaning they would get about Rp40,000-80,000/day or about RM15.00-25.00/day. They worked from 0700 to 1500 hours daily. Each person could take care about two hectares and harvesting is done once in every 10 days.

(33) I also passed by a group of ladies who do, I thought weeding. To my surprise, they were doing free weeding ie taking those weed back for their goat farm. It seem there is a good symbiosis between the Plantation and the local ie the local not only benefited from the employment, but they also could have free grazing for their animals.

(34) I really walked to the ridge. Then I went down, to go through Desa Legokbolang and Pasir panjang before reaching back to CiJinJing. The walked through Legokbolang really a good insight into the rural lives of these Gununghalu. The people are very friendly. They even invited me to have tea with them. I took my real leisure time to talk to few. Most seem to be just happy with what they have.

(35) In the evening, I went to the furniture dealer, Hj Dudung and Ibu Lilis, at Gununghalu, This was just a social visit since Ibu Lilis is known as the most successful entrepreneur within the region. She deals from hardware, to furniture, electrical and electronic and groceries. She also deal with the supplies of TKI especially to Saudi. I took the opportunities to explore on the possible to make future arrangement on this with my new career later. The only problem the way I look at her management is very traditional. One women show, even the husband who is a pensioner just be there to sit around. The daughter who is still studying for her BBA also can’t say much. Ibu Lilis is a real iron lady. I was then invited by Hj Dundung to his home and we chat for long into the Indfonesian politic and the management of the Pesantren within his area.

(36) 20 Jan, 2012, by 0700 hours I took a walk to the south of CiJinjing ie toward CiBojong. After taking the main road, then I decent to the downhill, and walked through the paddy fields following the irrigation system. From the distance I could clearly see the other day tea plantation walking trail on the opposite site paddy field. I can’t cross over since there is a fast running stream diving the region into two equal green valley.

(37) After about an hour walking in the paddy field, seeing all those old and middle age farmers attending to their farm, I climbed back to the main road. I reached Desa CiBedug and really spent my time appreciating all those flowers planted by the neighborhood surrounding the compound. Roses bloom in red, pinkish, and white, Chrysanthemum, orchid, hibiscus, and so many others that I can’t remember their names. Most are new to me. Accordingly I’m amazed with varieties of fruit trees planted within the neighborhood. From a glance, they are self-sufficient, probably at the subsistence basis.

(38) I really enjoy the walk but I usually had to get back home since the family used to have their lunch by 0900 hours daily. I just don’t feel nice to break such a schedule.

(39) In the late afternoon ie after Dzohor, the Pesantren organized the haul ie the annual praying to remember the death of the Pioneer of the Pesantren. In fact I observed a very interesting way how the haul was celebrated. The whole week, beginning on Monday 16 Jan., stream of people came and have their pray at the graveyard which is located by the side of the Pesantren. A special tent was built by the graveyard to accommodate about 30-40 people. People just came from as far as 30-50 kilometers away, and most are relatives or the ex-students of the Pesantren. They normally came in group, mostly organized based on villages. Kid, youth, adult they dressed smartly and sometimes in uniform. They performed the pray as they wish and later pay a visit to the home of Mas Chang Nana.

(40) There are times, even as late as 0100 hours in the morning, people just knocked on the door to drop by to say hallow. Since my bedroom is by the main door, I normally act as the door man and sometimes has to take the host role especially when I knew Mas Chang Nana had long gone to sleep. I felt not nice waking him up in the very late or too early morning. To my usual annoyance, since it is cold up here in the late night, they smoke to non-stop. They seem didn’t realize I cough alots as they began to burn the small guestroom. My cough had not stopped since my arrival on the 7 Jan., 2012. That’s part of the reason I just need to withdraw to Kota Bandung by the 21 Jan., 2012 where I then want to visit Lembang the Vegetable and Cattle Farming areas.

(41) The haul itself reached to the peak by Dzohor on 20 Jan., 2012. Kids, young, and adult, men and women came from all over the place. What really interest me was seeing the kids, once the packed food was distributed, all rush home with joys. To them, haul is a fieasta. Every attending person was given the share, and mine I just passed over to a kid next to me.

(42) The renovation to Mas Chang Nana home had not finished. The woodman just managed to complete my bedroom, which will be handed over to Asep, the son, once I leave, the couple bedroom, and the Family Room. The wife really act very happy ever since the working on the bedroom began. I made the room just as a newly wed bedroom and sure that mean too much for this couple whom used to sleep only on the floor. Well you guys can guess, definitely they are re-enjoying their honeymoon. The mood up here is superb. Cold and fresh, even better than in Puncak Jakarta or even Bandung. Much better than in Bukit Tinggi and Tanah Rata Cameroon Highland!

(43) Since yesterday, the woodman had been working on her kitchen. The whole kitchen had to be revamped. Proper wiring had to be done. She soon will have a proper place to put all her simple kitchenware and` all those stuffs. A real proper kitchen modeled along all those restaurants that I have developed` in Kuching is on the way. I believe in the next two day, she will have a nice green-orange and purplish-tiled singing place. I do believe she will have a better half of her life there.

(44) I inspected the upper deck of the house where the lady kids learn their Al Quran recital. Well, before the haul I have a chat with those young kids. I asked about their schooling, and the Al Quran recital classes. One of them than asked: ”Om nanti mau robah tempat kita ngaji ya? Kasi warna yang cantik seperti kamar Pak Nana sama Ibu Aida. Kami seneng warna gitu”. It is nice though to inspire these young kids. They are cute. They are enthusiastic. They are honest. They said what they felt and want. I just love to have that nurtured well to their adulthood. I decided to get the Al Quran Recital Place at the upper deck of the house to be properly attended.

(45) 21 Jan., 2012, at 0630 hours I left to conquer the north site of CiJinjing. The day was bright. It has not been raining for the last two days. The walk up the hill to the north seem dry and good. Nobody accompany me. I don’t bother to asked the way to go up there. I just followed those foot trail and landed into a lalang area. I just pushed through exhaustively and itchy. Then I met those farming areas along the trenches by the hill side. Slowly I pushed my way up into those agro-forestry area. I reached to the peak about 90 minutes later, with sweat all over my body. I felt real fresh being blown by the fresh cold air at the peak. I then proceed to another peak just nearby. That is the Gunung Nangka Peak, where the local built three kincir angin, the bamboo windmill. This part of the hill is planted with tea. I really enjoy the scene from this highest point of CiJinJing. I presume the peak is about 2,000-3,000 meter above the mean sea level and is about 1,000-1,500 meters above the village itself. The panoramic up here is real superb. I really regret only to discover this place on the last day of my stay. I then get myself lost in the tea plantation for another half an hours before descending down.

(46) To my shocking, after walking for about another hours, through steep winding paths, I then emerged just about 200 meters from the home. I passed kampong Pasir Panjang, and what a lovely gesture I got. Everybody seem want me to drop by their home to have a drink. The reason I believe because they knew, I have settled their worries together with the rest of the nearby villages about the fund to really finish off the renovation work of the Masjid. Since last week, lots of people had come to invite me to pay them a visit. Some even offer me to have a sleep at their home. Nonetheless I just keep myself to the low profile as not to attract too much attention especially among the authorities.

(47) Before my bath, I climbed up to join those workers doing the Mosque renovation on the roof deck. I just want to see their Kampong Style of building those pre-concrete structures. Then I was approached by the development Head indicating that they need another 3 trucks of sand, one trucks of gravel, and another one cubic metters of timber to really get the job done. I promised to look into the matter once I could have access to my banking system in Bandung by Sunday.

(48) At lunch time, we had a visitor from Bojong. He looked like the local big man. He talked about his nine kids, and the poverty of the local. But since he opened his mouth to my dear subject ie community development, I just of telling him off that three things made the Indonesian poor becaming poorer ie firstly the smoking habit odf the males population. They burned Rp8,000-24,000/day in smoke. Secondly, almost everybody have handphone and busy to the handphone, yet there are poor. What business are they dealing. How much income do they generate for each call or sms? Thirdly, As I keep observing, they school going population really good spender. They spent on all those items that doesn’t give them good healt or even better fortune. The spent good money on tikam, sort of kid gambling. I believe, if they could managed well each household would be able to save Rp15,000-30,000/day. Which mean Rp450,000-900,000/month or Rp54,000,000-108,000,000/year. That is real good money. So a subject of poverty is just a matter of Financial Management and in fact is the want management.

(49) My judgment based on the cost of renovation of Chang Nana home, I may need just to spent about Rp30,000,000 to get all the basic in place. That amount of money could be well organized if all those unhealthy expenditure are seriously controlled. I would say, a saving of a year or worst two years, he could rebuild his house into a much better one. Well, he is just Guru Al Quran he never thought of and accounting matters, but I was happy indeed, my suffering of cough and continuous talking of my left brain thought had made him abandoned his smoking ever since I arrived. At least, I have made an Ustaz to realize what ilmu he doesn’t have!

(50) We have barbeque to mark my departure. I’m happy indeed, not only I met my Al Quran reading skill, but most important, I began to conceptualize a new though about roh and jasad, the green and red insaniah development thinking that I may want to expand further soon. I do hope and pray, Allah will give me the great strength to come along with a better paradigm in infusing the development that all race in the State will enjoy better. InsyaAllah, SubhanaAllah.

CiJinjing, Bandung Barat, Indonesia
14-21 Jan., 2012

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