The breakdancer letter


Good evening lover,

I went home at around 10 tonight. The grouch that is our dear friend dropped me off in front of your former nest on his way for drinks.

The rain had been reduced to a faint drizzle, and I hopped on the first bus in line – a big, newish, green one.

The first entertainer on board was a guy with a slightly out-of-tune guitar singing Indonesian ballads. I’ve seen a fair amount of that so I concentrated on reading the book with the lonesome fireworks artisan character who shared your name.

Then a few pages away from the end I was distracted by a distinctively early 90s hip-hop tune and looked up to see a man in his late 20s perhaps, carrying a stereo and breakdancing to the song.

He was wearing a cap, which he turned around at some parts of the dance, and a long-sleeved top over a tee promoting some sort of cigarette-sponsored music event. And he wore a black eye patch, which I assumed was part of the style.

At this hour, most of the passengers were nodding off and he was a somewhat sad sight, trying to dance in the limited space beside the driver’s seat. His hands kept bumping into the hand rails, and the lively tunes eerily contrasted with the lonely bus.

He danced for around two minutes, more machine than spirit, and then, at the end of the dance, he lifted his eye patch to reveal a fleshy cave where his right eye used to be. Even my sleepy eyes knew there was nothing in the socket now, the result of an operation.

I remembered seeing a picture of a man with a massive growth covering half of his face in one of the local papers. Could this man have once been like that? Or was he in an accident? Or was this the trace of something much worse, or was whatever it is still affecting him?

Well, he certainly had the attention of more passengers now, gaining himself a few seribus, dropped into his cap as he walked the aisle thanking the audience.

At one point I heard him mentioning the government and Jamkesmas, between his thank-yous. However, I did not quite get whether he was being sincere or cynical about the government’s troubled health scheme.

I have heard, too many times, rumors saying that some hospitals reject patients who ask to be exempt from payment (or ‘ask to be treated for free) because they hold Jamkemas cards.

Several regions,including Jakarta, want to run their own, independent health care program , which would leave people who do not have Jakarta ID cards out in the cold when they need help.

The country’s health scheme has also been criticized for being unnecessarily complicated, confusing, and bureaucratic and not providing reliable care.

The government is in the process of brewing up a national security system – the SJSN – which is supposed to provide the much-needed change, but this is still a long way off, and despite it being frequently seen as a cure-all for the system, threats of mismanagement and corruption still looms not far behind.

I kind of wished I had chatted with the man, but I was exhausted and it was my stop by the time he was finished.

He danced fine.


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3 Responses to “The breakdancer letter”

  1. bellesbits Says:

    beautiful. welcome back ombak, welcome penamalam

  2. anandaayu Says:

    You write beautifully. Love it.

  3. Lovelli Says:

    This is quite a comeback.

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