A Jobless Society


Let me tell you the story from the link objectively.

The link is about how a beggar boss was caught at Tugu Pancoran, South Jakarta, Indonesia. He was illegally begging for money in a supposed to be a neutral area. He got caught by social worker officers.

Apparently, he was carrying 25 million Rupiah with him. Together with his friend, both of them had generated that income in just 15 days. He told the officers that the money was for his pilgrimage. His people in the rural gave him nickname "Haji Walang" while he wasn't done the pilgrimage yet.

There, that's the most objectively written story that I can come up with. There is so many negative sentiment about these kind of people. They makes money by roleplaying as sick person and old people. In this case, he is old. He is 55.

Walang is his name and Haji is the title to men and women that had completed Islamic pilgrimage. It is a tough life for many people like Walang. Called with such name sometimes a joke for others and himself. But, in the depth of his heart, he was forced to live by the name.

Pressure by society often makes people waver. As a part of they instinct, they deny those pressure. But, down inside they conform with it.
"I wish I could do this."
Then what hold you back?

If you could count one reason, I think it is because you hesitate. You are pressed with the way society will look upon you. You need that confirmation even though you're rebelling. It's just a complex form of juvenile activity; not the bad vibe, but the need to have attention from others.

Given that situation, what would you do?

Some people give up their dreams and some try to succeed or die trying. This man tries the later with his own knowledge. Not everyone can be in the university. Heck, not even anyone can have the most basic education.

I remember in the 2012 I had a visit to Pontianak. They told me that children in Kalimantan (Borneo) have their elementary school in the village. To have more education, they have to go to boarding house in the city because their village doesn't have one.

These boarding house is a lot for most of people. Many of them decided to not have that luxury. Instead, they take their parents job on an early age.

I remember that there was a village with so many potential children near Pontianak. They were blessed with rich proteins. Unfortunately, they are traditional fishermen. Here in Indonesia, traditional fishermen is poor in knowledge and fortune.

Amartya Sen once said, the enhancement of freedoms that allow people to lead lives that they have reason to live. Poverty is not about the absence of money, but it also the presence of helplessness, powerlessness, voicelessness and social exclusion. One of the freedoms he describe is the opportunity to have a better live. 1

So, yeah,  a Poor Person by that definition indeed stripped away from the person's chance to have a better life.

As a nation, we have stripped both these traditional fishermen and Mr. Walang from the chance to have greater lives. They have to get by with the lives that struggling day by day while the environment getting harsher and harsher. Global economy put them down little by little and they have to fight giants.

We contend with it. We blind ourselves about it. We think we are not the one that should think about it. We don't speak about it because we have our own rat race. Until, one day Mr. Walang decided to pursue his dream. He got a new formulae  for having a better chance, that is acting.

By doing that, he got himself money that most of people trying to get that in years. And, he got it not just a month, but just half of that time. By knowing this, other people who yearned blow their minds. It angered them.

When Jean Claude Van Damme doing Volvo split, many react negatively. They would said this and that. The most part of the insults is that people would say, "everybody can do it!"

Similar to that, we often judge these beggars as lazy people: They won't be going to work on something. All they have to do is only sit there. They deceive people by being what they aren't. Everyboody can do that!

But, I can't!  And I'm sure neither most of us.  Go ahead, try for a day or week to become a real beggar.

I can't picture myself role playing as a disabled person in the street of Jakarta. I would embarrass myself to death. I even couldn't act straight to get attention to people. They practice their roleplay.

How many of us deceiving our Boss just to get something? How many of our coworkers done the stabbing just to get promotion? I think we did that deceiving part also in our workplace.

What makes us think that begging is a holy job? Even preacher done scandalous things can get off from it. An actor got his Grammy for deceiving the audience into thinking that he is what the script said.

Mr Walang learn to act. Researching the most potential spot. Taking the risk to have greater income; going into a foreign land and take the glory home. He invests his life in begging for mercy.

Did he have to kill a person because of his job? He might be killing so many Jakartans heart. But, like New Yorker and so on, many Jakartans heart already left cold and died. Even if there are people that not dead, they won't be affected by this fellow here.

From what I see, his sin was making us look bad at ourselves. He made more than many of us. He made us envy.

In the past I was taught to understand this: "If you don't like it, just do the right thing to fix it. If not, STFU!"

I have no interest of doing something for them. I don't have resources to educate villages and any other remote area. I have no willing to do political career so that I could push the bureaucracy and make a different. All I do is IT and that's the career I pursue.

The best thing I can do is promoting FOSS. But, that's a different story to tell. Still, I can't help Mr. Awang and others like him. The centralization of power and wealth made other area than Jakarta left behind.

So, what can I do to help them?

I can only think them as street performer. In that way, I can ease my mind from discriminating them. I can also bring my peace when I see them. It's not optimal, but that's the result that I can think of without making me a worst person.

May be, just may be, if there are movements to tackle this, I would like  to participate in those. But, before that happens, I would like to think them as a human too. A human that deserve a better life just like me.

1 I omitted the other freedoms so that this writing will going complex. 


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