Indonesian Women's Phenomena: To Be Or Not To Be

Monday, May 24, 2010 Jo Hanniffy 0 Comments

My flight was going to transit in Abu Dhabi, a place where the grievous panorama of Indonesian workers normally seen by other Indonesian; note: only for Indonesian, not for expatriats, whom according to Indonesian workers their main purpose to work abroad is because wanting to get a better life --- a general reason that most of us usually heard if someone asks you: "Why do you work?", or "Why are you away from your family?" --- Does anyone able to give an exact answer apart of the former reason?  Perhaps there are, but as most of us know behind the two questions above there must be thousand reasons that likely encourage the purpose.

For long enough I hesitate myself to write as to the panorama which have been annoying me since the past of couple years, if not because of an annoying incident on the plane on my way to Jakarta which made me enrage; I would better just keep away from this discussion because TKW's phenomena is eternally about the same thing and the same story. What would expatriats or us think when they see a group of very young women aged between 15's to 20's something in an airport, leaving their country for not much salary, in fact only for a housemaid job? We (Indonesians) would say it's a normal phenomena, wouldn't we?

It's a normal phenomena when a 21-year-old married  girl with two children claimed herself is proud of being TKW in Arab. "Sudah jaman Mbak perempuan kerja keluar negeri dan suami yang urus anak" she said very proudly to me with naturalness. Siti has been working as a housemaid in Arab since the past of four years. She visits her family every two year once for no less than 1 month holiday. Her two children has taken care by her unemployee husband, and she's also responsible for the financial of their marriage. 

I tell you, listening of her hard story life with an anthusiastic and proudly tunes were better than listening a fairy tale story. Siti was just another story who attempts to cope her financial problems. Nyai who sat just beside Siti was much younger than Siti, aged 16, and still single. She seemed too young to me to put her lives on a risk ---- I guess therefore she became an easy target to harrassed by some arabian fella whom sat in the next seats. These fella became more attractive to her when she responded in thunk voice to their harrasments. "Ganteng ya mbak" she grinned at me as a sign of asking my tolerant to her behaviour.

Those story of the two women are normal phenomena in Indonesia. A normal phenomena to be seen and listened; in fact when a young girl is abused by her employer; most of us would angry, asking for worker's rights, the goverment begans to pay more attention to labours , and after all we just say : It's normal. Of course it's normal phenomena otherwise if it's been taken care by goverment there would be no young women leave the country.

In 2003, I did a little research in an agent in Jakarta. The agent has special people looking for young women (they prefer young women) to work abroad such as in Malaysia, Arab, Korea, Japan, etc. These special people has special tasks, they usually seek women who don't really have qualified, in fact no education at all. They offer a great promise such as bigger salary for a housemaid job or manufacture's jobs . It's well known that these people sometimes ask for money with an administration's reason i.e. the agent will make a passport for the candidate, health checking, etc. Some agents also have a place for candidates to stay until they're called or choosen by an agent in country that they want to work with --- the delay of waiting this would take 1 up to 6 months; some agents offer variety of educations such as English course, ethics on how to behave with their employer.

One question that cross on my mind when I see those young women: how could they stay with a hundred of candidates in a tiny house, doing the same activity and controlled by some arrogant people telling them what to do? Have they ever thought that's nothing more than living in a jail? Well, what else it could be; although I would say it's maron to put their lives on dangerous with no ideas at all about many things; do economic demands the only reason to make them  not to be a mother with their child, and prefer to take risks with being a worker?

And here we are, women with right abuse, out of any protection to women's lives. And it's just normal thing.

Central Of Java, 24.01-240510

Blogger since 2008, writing with a fresh perspective.

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