Labour Demonstration at North Sumatra Governor Office
Last week I attended the workshop of Participatory Poverty Analysis. It was very interesting. I got a lot new ideas. Yes, for sure!. The interesting point was that how to see the poverty on the Poor’s perspective instead of the 'not Poor’s perspective. Scholars, researchers draw the standards (quantitative methodology) and when people do not fit the standard, the scholars then come to put them for the poverty index. That one issue. Another issue then is many programs created for the poor are programs 'according to their (scholars & researchers) perspective how to decrease the poverty. If the question then is "Do the programs are the real need of the poor to be out of the poverty line?" God helps! See, hundreds programs created but still the poor is the poor.
That workshop really revealed how to listen to the poor although many programs very often claimed for them but in many cases, it’s not there.
What co-incidence, I again joined the labor’s demonstration today. I actually wanted to meet Bang Job, the Director of Walhi Sumut (an environmental NGOs). One of the vows of the labors was simple that is to increase the regional wages minimum for 60 bucks from 700 - 800 bucks monthly.
Sometimes, I can't believe that. Well, I mean in this rich in nature country, people are fighting for living.
I am not saying that my life is 'good'. But at least my life is better than the farmers', the poor' and the labors'. At least, my income can fulfill my daily need. Earning 500 to 600 bucks which 1/3 of it shared with my parents in this country is okay.
Another thing couldn’t stop me to keep thinking is this one. On my way to go to JM though, I stopped for a mineral box for 5 cents. I heard one guy there saying something that "The NGO workers whose got the benefit from the labors issues. They are rich, having fancy houses, cars, etc." I was about to talk to him, asked him to repeat what he said just to make sure I was not miss-hearing until suddenly there was a kind of stopping me to come to talk and to argue with him. I mean that was not true. I knew the guys who organized the demonstrations. I knew their life. We once were on the same street, same places, a lot street demonstration, same fighting. I know how they live.
I think the things stopping me would like to talk and argue with him was when suddenly the portraits of NGOs in Nias and Aceh especially INGOs and UN Agencies staffs flashing in my mind. In that case, he might be right. Yes, with fancy cars, spectacular salary, beautiful office with full aircon, and so on.. I often find them were about to leave the island because of the ‘day off ‘and wanted to go travel to Bali or Jakarta for fun. Well..,, that's good! lol
Well., but that's life. I don't complain! It is about choice. I choose to be like that and they choose to be like that. And there's nothing wrong with that. I know that my choice is okay perhaps because I'm still single. I know it will be different when I have spouse or kids to feed for. And until then, I know that earning 500 bucks from the NGO thing will not be enough. It could be, but it couldn't help. Sometimes, it came across into my mind to work for UN agencies with 3000 bucks monthly or working for INGOs especially funding agencies. I don't know. Sometimes, it came across in my mind.
However, on the way, I also think of having my own little coffee shop or maybe a printing shop. I could get additional income from that and at the same time, I could keep working for LPAM (NGO). For me, working on this field (serving the people in NGO) is still a moral calling if not to say a 'fighting'. It is not as a 'job' in industrial point of view. Then at the same I know that I need to earn good income in future for supporting my life and I know that I could not get it from LPAM or NGO that working directly to the people. I was thinking of that. Or perhaps, I could be a better farmer while at the same time being an activist. Who knows? I mean I could manage my own land and helping other farmers as well and at the same time, I could get additional income. Hm... that sounds cool, heh...!
But really, seeing the poverty around can't stop me to keep thinking though. Hmmm.. I don't know...