Living on the opposite side of the world had many advantages. As I covered in previous blogs, having domestic help is amazing. It is not slavery; it is not done by force. While there are plenty of terrible bosses, I hope most are decent.
Many of the workers come from outside the city. Referred to as “kampung” or villages the workers are often uneducated or not well-educated people. They may finish grade 8 and know very little about the rest of the world. They come to the city from various exotic places around Indonesia to work in Jakarta. It is far from a glamorous life and most women end up ad helpers or nannies while the men as drivers or construction workers.
Many others will find fruitful employment in their fields if they happened to get into better schools or universities. The gap between the rich and the poor is evident but not visible at first glance. At first look the office staff or staff in general, no one would stand out as…
“Oh, that one there, yah a village person for sure”
The incredible part is that they come to the city from places that are green, lush areas or farms. Places we may think of as paradise or exotic are normal to them. They grew up in a jungle or a farm and seek jobs in the city so they can earn money and send it back home. This is very common and not only done in Indonesia but with many workers that travel abroad for work.
Indonesians take care of the elderly themselves. Old-age homes are non-existent. The old are taken care of by the young and care will depend on how much they can afford. Taking care of the elderly is very different from what it has become in North America. This is somewhat of a foreign concept to a Canadian. In Canada, older people hope to have saved up enough to be able to afford a good retirement. Maybe go to an old age home and so on. Though this too depends on the individual circumstances.
In Indonesia, a small moderate house may have been in the family for generations and even with one or two members of the family working the family can get by. I feel there is plenty to learn about the way people live. Family is slightly different from the typical North American family. Some of this must be seen, felt and experienced to get the true sense of being Indonesian.
Working with and being around Indonesians is… Shall I say “fun”? These people that I have grown to like, understand and work with are different. They are quick to laugh and joke around and while many lack the education that we pride ourselves with they are amazing people. Many are very well-educated and often go abroad to universities and further secondary education somehow, they always remain “Indonesian”
The food, the lifestyle and the way of living need to be seen felt and experienced. From the small vendors to the big malls, the modest men and women who call Indonesia home make Indonesia an exciting place to be. The most intriguing part of Indonesia though is the wealth of the country in general and the gap between the rich and poor.
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