1 Girl, 1 Public Transport, A Whole Nation

The public transport took a stop, and a passenger hop in and I scooted aside. She sat beside me. I frowned right away, not to be rude, but she stinks.

Well, it’s not like I have a right to complain, I thought, covering my nose with my jacket sleeve, pretending to be asleep, this is a public transport overall. 

You think I was in a city bus? Or else, subway? Think again…and no, I wasn’t in a taxi. I was in a public transport called ‘Angkot’. ‘Ang’ as we say ‘Ong’, not the avatar main character named ‘Aang’, no. You say ‘Kot’ as in ‘Cod’ fish. Try it yourself, you’ll get the closest pronounce for ‘Angkot’. Anyway, this ‘Angkot’ is just a name from ‘Angkutan Umum’. That’s how Indonesian say Public Transport. We like to make things easier to do and say. We have a test, we cheat; we don’t like to reveal the truth, we lies easily, that just human. We have a public transportation with long name, so we make abbreviations, sometimes we don’t understand what our abbreviations mean.

This public transport is a small car, in my town it was painted blue with a combination of alphabet shown in the outside, so people will know the route of the public transport. Roughly speaking, we have 20 or so combination, wrong combination and direction you got in, be ready to be lost. Despite its name, this public transport theoretically can only hold for almost 12 person in one go, but in fact, I can be crushed in there others, 14 people or so.

So today, as my usual Friday, I was on my way home from my religion lecture, and this (not to be rude) woman whose smell not really good got in, and sat next to me. I pretended to be asleep until some boys from Catholic Junior High get in the car. I took a peek from under my eyelid and saw one of them brought a guitar with a broken string. Not that I care.

They started to talking. They’re loud, and I hate to be in a cramped place with loud people and my mood swing. Now I hid my face in my palms, pretend not to be there for a moment. After awhile, I noticed that these boys don’t speak Indonesian. Maybe they’re some immigration from the South East Island, since that wasn’t my first time hearing the language.  They have their own accent I can’t translated them into English. It was indeed loud, but not entirely disturbing, in fact I found my self enjoy listening to their junior-high-level conversation. The bad sweat smelled woman next to be aside.

I still have a half route to go until I reach my home when a group of woman from a nearby cigarette factory joined us. I never liked the reek of tobacco that always wrap around them wherever they go, and in this small place with only two small windows, it got worse. But today I found my self take a glad, small sniffs at them. At least it smelled better than sweat.

The journey continue.

Thanks to my sensitive ear, I thought this factory women were as talkative as the junior high boys. The difference was they speak in another language, they gossiping about their family, children, and neighbor and stuffs in Javanese. I noticed this once right away because I use this language everyday. You must be surprise if I tell you how much my country has traditional language, some discovered, the rest untouched by knowledge, only used by the people who hold the tradition it self.

Indonesian say that the closer you live with the Center Java Province, the softer your accent will be, and vice versa. That explain a lot why the junior high boys who talk a little but can filled the whole car with only their loudness, and on the other side, the Javanese women can shake the wheels by their talkativeness. If you by chance come to Indonesia, make sure you visit Java, any province will do since Java is like the center point of Indonesia. People come to Java to gamble with their lives, some succeed, some just not. Make sure you listen to their accent, you’ll notice the differences.

Only a little more and I can got off this sweat smelled (yes, the woman still sat beside me), cramped, loud car. I just decided to take a small nap when some university girls hop in. See? The drivers violated the maximum passenger rule again! I didn’t dare to count how many the person in the car that time. I kind of have a claustrophobia and I was scared that I would suffocate if I know how cramped the car was.

Just kidding.

Friday always gives me surprises, this day I found that there’s so many people from different side of Indonesia, who speaks in a whole different language with one another, crushed in a same place: This collage girls speak in Maduranese! [I’m not sure if it’s the right term, the red underline keep shown whenever I try to make it right]

FYI, Madura people is like Talkative Javanese, Loud South East Island Boys, bland to be one. They’re loud, they’re talkative, and you can’t understand their language at all. For a moment I was dumbstruck with the speed of their talk. They talk so damn fast! And is it just me or the other passengers just don’t care? They kept talking with each other just like usual, left me the one who didn’t talk at all dumbfounded.

Who say differences will break us, it prefect each other just fine. And differences make us Indonesians.

Maybe you’ve heard this some where, one of Indonesia slogan is “Bhineka Tunggal Eka” which means, “Though we are different, but we are one.”

I just found my small piece of my Indonesia in a small and cramped Angkot. Still, it reeks of tobacco and sweat to boot. Not that I’m complaining. I don’t have the right to do that, I was in a public transport overall.

-Saved in Friday Journal Section-


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