Reality of Life in Indonesia (Social Gap)

By | March 19, 2022

2 years ago, at 2:30 p.m.

That day the weather was very hot.

At that time I was sitting relaxing in front of my toy shop.

When I turned to the left, suddenly my eyes fell on a middle-aged man who was standing pensive.

The man turned out to be an agate ringer whose stall is located on the left side of the road. The stall position is not too far from my shop.

I’m not sure what that person was thinking.

His face was pale.

At that time I had time to think: “Hmmm,,,, maybe this person again think the problem of turnover and agate making services which has been decreasing in recent times.”.

Indeed, at that time the glory of the agate business had begun to fade. The trend has started to run out.

This seasonal business phenomenon is like a vast and barren basin of land on the African continent. When the rainy season arrives, the water floods the basin of the land, and then turns into a small lake. All the animals and plants that are around it also live, thrive and reproduce.

But when a long, fierce and dry drought came, all the animals and plants around the lake died too. Until the next rainy season comes, they can live again. Such is the cycle. And so is the parable of this agate business.

Actually the above phenomenon is a natural thing, because agate is included in the seasonal business category. If it is at the peak of the boom (season), the price of this agate can be exorbitant. Even sometimes the price can be beyond the logic of common sense (more expensive than the price of gold). Usually this happens because there is a mystical spice and a certain belief in the agate. However, when the trending period was over, suddenly the price of the agate dropped and it was sold cheaply with a selling value of no more than the price of a pack of candy.

When the trending period is over, agate craftsmen usually switch to other types of business. So when the trending period for agate comes back, they will go back to hunting and doing jewelry business from this natural stone.

However,,,, somehow with the man who was pensive agate stone earlier. He persisted in the agate business, even though almost no one else bought and used his services to make the stone ring.

I don’t know why he didn’t switch his business to another type of business.

And why did his reflection look so serious? His eyes looked so distant and empty. His face was pale.

I’m still watching that person closely.

Suddenly the man fell!

He fell right in front of the clothing store which is next to my toy shop.

And it turns out he fainted!


Everyone who saw immediately rushed over to help him.

My wife (and I) also came rushing to help him.

After a bit of consciousness, the person spoke softly with his hands still shaking while holding his stomach.

“Please,,,, I’m not strong anymore,,,,,,,”.

I then asked him: “What’s wrong brother?”

He replied: “I can’t stand it anymore,,,, since this morning I haven’t eaten at all”.

I also asked again: “Why don’t you buy food, bro?”

He replied: “I don’t have money to buy food, my agate is not a seller yet.” he answered.

I continued to ask: “Didn’t your wife come here to bring food?” Isn’t your son here too?”

He replied: “No one delivered food, my wife died a year ago, while my son was in the village”. “I’m alone here.”

Oh Allah,,,,,,, (everyone who was surrounding the agate carpenter suddenly fell silent for a moment).

Such is the trial of living in the world.

So many people are in trouble.

So many people are being tested by life.


Therefore, we should always be grateful if we have obtained the ease of the door of sustenance. And help people like this agate brother. Don’t ignore them. When we get used to helping others, God willing, we will be able to grow our sensitivity and sense of concern for fellow human beings.

My wife then told me. Apparently, before this agate fell unconscious, Ms. Asih (the owner of the warteg next door) had ordered him to have lunch (immediately). But the agate maker would not eat.

“I think he’s already embarrassed to be in debt again, because his food debt (previously) is a lot in arrears. “The total debt is 131,000,” said the lady, the owner of the warteg.

Finally, my wife took the initiative to pay off all her debts at the warteg. Then bought him a packet of rice for lunch.

I then gave advice to the agate carpenter to look for and try other types of business. I also tried to explain nicely to him, that his business at this time (agate) had expired (because it was seasonal).

I can only be stunned.

It turns out that at this time there are still people who only buy food, they can’t afford it.

This reminds me of the past, when I was a teenager (during the ’97 – ’98 monetary crisis). I have written the full story in this article: DO ECONOMIC DIFFICULTIES MAKE PARENTS (Forced) to EXPLOIT THEIR CHILDREN?

At that time, to be able to buy rice, my father had to wait for the sewing order to arrive. (My father is a tailor). If the order arrives at 14:00 pm, then at 15.30 pm our family can eat. What if the order/sewing order doesn’t come? Yes, automatically during the day our family couldn’t eat!

Exactly the same life experience as that of the agate mason!

In this country the reality of life is very difficult for most people, and (perhaps) too easy for a few others. Such is the reality of life in Indonesia, social inequality still looks so real.

At the same second (when the agate maker is starving, how many other places do people waste food?

I once watched a news program on a national private TV, which reported about quite a lot of catering food leftovers for celebration parties (weddings, birthdays, etc.). All the rest of the food was wasted, complete with rice and side dishes.

Indeed, that is the reality that happens a lot, almost every party event there must be a lot of wasted food scraps. Whether it’s because of the bad taste of the food (the catering) or some other reason, I don’t know for sure. Only one thing is for sure ==>> a lot of rice and side dishes are wasted.

I often notice (when I go to weddings) the majority of invited guests leave the food they took, Rarely among them eat it to the end. I think that kind of thing is a waste of time.

But I also do not have the power to rebuke them.

What I can do is start with myself. If I’m taking food at the buffet table, then I will measure approximately the portion that I take will be eaten or not? If I believe it can be finished, then I take the food in quite a lot (Usually it’s because I’m really hungry). But if I doubt I can finish the food, then I will only take it in moderation. Thus, no food will be wasted from my leftovers.

Imagine,,,, how many parties are held every week for the Jakarta area only? Especially in certain months that many people hold a celebration (usually around the month of Hajj). If you collect the leftover party food from the city of Jakarta, how much is that? Obviously a lot! And wouldn’t it be a shame if all that food had to be wasted? While on the other hand there are people who are hungry because they cannot afford food like the agate carpenter’s brother above.

I don’t know, maybe I’m the one who thinks too deep and far. I can only think / dream ===>> than the food being wasted like that, it would be better if the leftovers were reprocessed (of course in a hygienic way), and the processed food products were donated to poor people or orphanages.

Of course, there must be a related party who has the expertise/authority/authority, so that they can be trusted to take care of this problem. I think if this can be realized, it will be very useful. At least it can be useful for the agate carpenter above, so that he doesn’t have to fall unconscious again from hunger.

All of this is actually about awareness and concern for others. If we have excess sustenance, help the poor with alms as much as we can. Don’t let us become people who lose sensitivity and are blind to the eyes of the heart to help others.

Let us not be extravagant and stingy! Namely people who are blessed with excess wealth by God, and like to splurge/squander their money. But when someone advised him to give alms to the needy, his brows furrowed! It was very difficult for him to give charity to others, even if only a little!


That is the dynamics of life in this world.

And so is the reality of life in Indonesia (social inequality).

Therefore, my friends and companions. If we have excess sustenance, always remember our friends and relatives who can’t afford it.

Even though there is little we can do (to help), it means a lot to them.

Why do we hoard a lot of treasure, but all will be left just like that (not taken to death). The property we leave behind will become the property of the heirs. And sometimes between siblings can be hostile to each other because of fighting over inheritance. That is slander of property.

Therefore, take advantage of our wealth to meet the needs of life in this world, and should not be excessive (not extravagant). And don’t forget the rights/parts of people who can’t afford it (don’t be stingy).

And multiply charity, hopefully we can be lucky people in this world and the hereafter!

If you liked this article, then share it. Hopefully from sharing what you do, making this article can also be useful for your other colleagues. Regards.

#As Reminder. Written and told by : Bang izal.

Notes : The agate brother finally died about a year ago due to illness (may Allah forgive his sins). I got the news from a relative who came to my toy shop (to tell him the news). The relative also thanked my wife for paying off the agate brother’s debt.