Indonesia Anonymus

We are a group of Indonesians, ranting about our beloved country. This blog is a result of many people grumbling about many things in many ways.
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Anonymus is the Latin word for anonymous, the correct English spelling. The Latin spelling, however, is traditionally used by scholars in the humanities to refer to an ancient writer whose name is not known, or to a manuscript of their work. Read more at Wikipedia.

Our blog in Bahasa Indonesia (but rarely updated) can be found here.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Learn from the asongan boy, Grasshopper

Flood. Traffic jam. You're stuck in your car for hours. What can you do. Maybe it is time to learn a thing or two from an asongan boy*?

One colleague, B, got stressed out in a middle of traffic jam. The radio said many places got flooded. Hence traffic can't move.
Can't stand it, B looked around for a fix (he's been trying to quit smoking, but stuck in traffic for hours after a very tiring meeting was not a good time to quit - or so he said).

"I''ll quit tomorrow..." he said to himself and signaled at one cigarette seller boy who has been walking around the cars in front. The boy came.

B asked for his brand of cigarette and gave the boy the money. One pack changed hand.
"Mineral water too, sir? It's going to be a long jam. You may get thirsty."
Wow, thought B. This boy understands the concept of cross-selling. Sure, why not. One water in a flimsy plastic cup changed hand.

While the boy was busy preparing the change to give to B, one beggar came between the boy and B's car, mumbled something incomprehensible with his hand out. Begging for money.

The boy protested:
"Hey, I am in the middle of selling over here. Try other cars, will you?"

The beggar, still mumbling, did not put up a fight. He left, walking with a limp.

"Damn, " the boy said, "so annoying, that guy..."
"And he makes more money than I do, you know that?"

"What? Really?"

"Yes. And he does not even have to carry this heavy box all day..." the boy tapping on the box full of cigarettes and candy that he has hanging on his chest.
"All he has to do is fake a limp, and he makes more money."

"Oh. That's bad.."
said B. "That will make more people prefer begging than selling.."

"Naaaaah.." said the boy. "Not really. Look at me. I am still selling."
The boy gave B the change.

"He may make more money. But he's a beggar.
Me, nobody can call me a beggar...."

The boy walked away.

How many times do you hear corrupt officials justifying what they did by saying 'everybody else does it too', or 'if I don't play along I won't get anything...' ?
Way too often, for sure.

Apparently, an asongan boy has more dignity than those losers.

*asongan: sellers / street peddlers, selling merchandise ranging from cigarettes, candy, mineral water, newspapers to basically anything imaginable, usually at intersections or during traffic jam.