Sunday, February 22, 2009


According to the US's Library of Congress, Pribumi means:

Literally, an indigene, or native. In the colonial era, the great majority of the population of the archipelago came to regard themselves as indigenous, in contrast to the nonindigenous Dutch and Chinese (and, to a degree, Arab) communities. After independence the distinction persisted, expressed as a dichotomy between elements that were pribumi and those that were not. The distinction has had significant implications for economic development policy.
In daily life when one uses the term Pribumi, most of the time it refers only to those non Chinese decendent.

However, in Lampung people uses the term Pribumi when they talk about Lampungese, sometimes also about those who are from other native tribe of Sumatra, such as Ogan. It's understandable since around 60% out of its almost 7 million inhabitans are Javanese.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Pi'il is one of the first Lampungese words that I learnt. It means Pride, and it's a huge thing in the culture. And also kinda confusing concept for me.

I was told that Lampungese women are great, if not the best, because they put up with everything in a marriage. The man can cheat, beat them up, unemployed, but the woman would not divorced him. It's down to pi'il. Apparently if a couple split up, the whole clans would not talk to one or the other.

I happen to come to contact to one Lampungese that drive me nuts. This unemployed guy, named Mustafa, is 'helping' us with a project. I dont really know exactly how, but that's another story. Anyway, he sulks with every single thing. I thing he has constant PMS. He calls or texts every two days asking for this and that. So about two days ago he called asking for cell credit around 7 PM while we were having a big meeting in Jakarta. Two hours passed, and the meeting still going on, he called asking where's the credit, in not so polite way. I told him politely that we are still in the middle of a meeting, that transfering from my cell wont work due to server problem, so I need to go out and get a voucher later. The meeting ended at 11:15 PM. We were all dead tired since we started our day at 5 AM in Lampung, travelled by land and sea and as soon as we reached Jakarta we had that meeting. On our way home Mustafa called again angry that he still had no credit.

The next day he texted complaining about we make him ashame because he promised his people that he will give them cell credit. I texted him back, asking his people's numbers so I can transfer it directly. He replied he still has about 100k from us that he's going to use, no need to send the credit, but not giving his people's numbers. So, I didnt send him any credit.

The next day he called early in the morning 3 times after each other when I didnt pick it up. Then he texted our driver asking if I want to send him credit or not. I finally sent him some in the afternoon.

That's ladies and gentlemen is an example of Pi'il, he wanted that credit for himself, he just use his people for an excuse.

But there's this phenomena that I do not get.

Lampungese is rather be unemployed than working as a buruh tani (working for someone else's land). I heard (from a Lampungese), that they rather steal (cow & motorcycle are favorite targets). I found it strange that someone with such huge pride would rather steal than work. I was told it's because working for someone else is like being a slave, while stealing is showing others that he is the man.

Rubber Plantation

I've been up and down Lampung visiting rural areas. it's been years since my last visit to Indonesian rural area.

I stayed at an old rubber plantation house. it was built by the Dutch in 1935 and most of the features are still original. It reminded me of Holland. The design is very much Nieuw Bouw (New Building), which was very trendy back in that era. You can see directly to the back garden from the front veranda, just like in NL, not fengshui approved.

It's a place, I think, where colonialist style still thriving. Ladies of the management board have a lifestyle of the haves, with vacationing trips to abroad, while a lot of their workers live in shacks. The gap is so huge.

I always belief that a company should invest in their workers well-being. As their workers (and their families) are well, they are more able to work diligently. Therefore I found it strange that such a big plantation didnt invest more on the road in and around its area, or building up more facilities such as schooling.

There are 2 roads going in and out to the plantation that we travelled. The twenty minutes trip from Hulu sungkai was pretty bad, while the one going to the north was really bad, very rocky, and it took us 50 minutes to reach an asphalt road!

Mind you these workers start their day collecting rubber at 4:00 in the morning and finish their day between 4 and 5 in the afternoon. Should something happen to these people, it's very difficult to get them to the neighboring town.

There is only one elementry school in the area. Judging by the fact those who are well off educating their children else where, it's not a good one. To further their education children have to go to the neighboring kampongs/town. One can only wonder the journey that those kids need to take each day to reach their school.

Apparently there's no market in the area, there is a small supermarket and some tiny shops, but to sell their produce, people need to go else where.

There's however a tiny health center with a doctor. I doubt they have enough equipment, and supply tho.

It is heart breaking seeing the shacks for the workers, they called it bedeng. A dutch garden shed looks much better and sturdier than that.

How come in 2009 we still live in such condition?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Then i saw it...

Back in July we sold my father's car a week after his passing to some dealer in Jakarta. Dad was planning to sell it and get a new car, but he wanted to keep the customized license plate. But during the process he got a heart attack that killed him. So, we decided to just sell the car just as he planned.

Sometimes, during traffic jams, I wonder if I ever saw that car again...

On the third day in Lampung, we were hurrying for a meeting, when I was talking to my aunt in the back of the car about my father. Oblivious that we were taking the wrong road to the meeting. As I was talking, the car slowed down since a car in front of us wouldnt let us pass. I looked up, and saw that license plate. Dad's license plate.

I started to sob.

Our driver over took the car, and we stopped him. As it turns out, he just bought the car 2 days earlier in Tanjung Karang. He was kinda freaked out seeing me still crying.. maybe he thought he bought a stolen car or something and I want it back. So I explained to him, that I finally located my dad's car, and asked if we ever bought another car that he would let us get the license plate back. After hearing my story he agreed and gave me his number.

It is such a nice coincidence

Sunday, February 01, 2009

There's Such a Thing as Patient's Privacy

I've been to a lot of hospitals in Indonesia, the USA and The Netherlands. It is a common thing to go up to the receptionist and ask where mr X stays in the hospital. If we ask the nurse station at the wards where he stays we probably can catch a glimpse of the nurse's board with both patient's and the treating doctor's names on it, which room does he stay. some board includes the ailment(s), some also put the insurance's name.

But I've never seen one just like the one that Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital's building A has.

On its ground floor lobby, there's a plasma TV broadcasting not only the name of patients and which rooms they stay, but it also broadcasting the surgery schedules of patients with name of patient, start of surgery, and general info of the surgery (internal, obgyn, etc).

I was curious, so I asked someone who is knowledgable about Medical Record, in fact, she was the first Indonesian who studied that subject. She said surgery schedule is part of patient's medical record privacy, it is not supposed to be for public knowledge like what happens at Cipto.

Respect for patient's privacy is something that I feel Indonesian medical community lack of. I get the feeling everyone can go up to your doctor and discuss about your health matter. I've seen plenty of examples that it happened. Ok, I'm exaggerating by saying 'everyone', but if you compare it with Dutch's medical community with regards to patient's privacy, then the Indonesian counterpart has a lot to learn.

No wonder that patients are not always telling the truth to their doctors, eventho it could create a problem with the treatment. After all you need to be able to trust that that person is going to respect your privacy.