Thursday, February 4, 2010

February, I'm In Love!

It's February and almost every part of the town is gearing up for the Chinese New Year and Valentine's Day, both to fall on Feb. 14 this year. Flowers, chocolates, candle lit dinners, ahh, love is in the air! And also on the media as well.

I have to write an article about Indonesia's love tradition and treatments, and let me tell you something: it's really an education, an eye-opener and a colleague said,"It's like hearing the Pope preaching about having children." Ouch. Yes, I have absolutely no idea what Valentine or love celebration means. I guess I'm just a girl without a slight hint of romance.

However, while I don't celebrate that V-Day, I do have a sweet memory on Feb. 14, 2008. On that day, I was assigned to a comic exhibition held by teen delinquents imprisoned at Tangerang Penitentiary. (Yes, it is a sad fact that children who make mistakes are imprisoned here). There were former teen delinquents coming to event as well. Aged between 10 and 17 years old, most of them work as buskers. 

Comic auction. An inmate holds a comic, drawn by one of Tangerang penitentiary's juvenile inmates, during an auction Thursday at Taman Ismail Marzuki, Central Jakarta. (Source: www.thejakartapost.com) 

After the exhibition, I tried to catch the bus but to no avail. It was almost 10 p.m. Standing at Jl. Cikini, the buskers, their mentor and I wondered what to do. We could not afford to take a taxi. (Well, I could just take a taxi, but I didn't have the heart to leave them there.)

"Hey, how about if we walk to Megaria theatre and catch the 213 bus (route: Kampung Melayu-Grogol, it usually runs until 10 p.m.) there?" I said.

The others accepted my idea and so off we walked. While we were walking along the road, the buskers noticed that the roadside eateries were filled with late-night customers. 

"Hey guys, let's try our luck here, shall we?" one of the buskers said.

And they belted a song or two. Oh dear, it was a bit touching but funny at the same time. I mean, the time they did in prison should have made them more cruel (and I should be afraid of them), but it actually did not. They were just lost souls who needed a chance to get back on track.

I let them did their job as I continued walking to the designated place. We met again after they were done.When we got on the bus, the buskers started to sang again. It was really the most memorable V-Day ever.

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