i see lavish here, i see poverty there

Too long I have been leaving this online journal dusty, stagnant without any news. I got too many things to write about, until I do not know how to convey them in words. I am scared they will end up like a formal school essay at the end. But until when I am going to wait until I am ready? What the heck, let me just get this done with.

Okay, that’s scary. The paragraph above sounds freaking formal already. Oh dear.

Anyway. On the Monday 19th, I followed dad and a few of his friends to Palembang, Indonesia. He has some of his work meetings over there, so I tagged along.

Access granted

The journey from KL to the airport was awesome. I got to drive my dad's new E-class Merc. Its sturdy design made me felt nothing as the meter accelerates. It felt huge, and scary too at the same time.

What I had there initially was a shocking experience.

Just a few hours after riding the old van towards the city, I started missing Damansara, PJ and KL already.

To say it in very short words, the whole city is like a massive Chowkit area. A huge flea market.

An old woman, sitting at the entrance of a huge market, selling strange plastic nets

Never in my life being surrounded by poverty, where everyone is striving to get some money for food and clothes.

The most lucky people are those working or owning the business in old worn shophouses, selling traditional kebaya dress, and linoleum rolls to pad the cement floor of most houses there in Palembang.


A very old shophouse, still being maintained and rescued; for it is valued


The economy hierarchy goes down to the people who sit on the streets in between the rows of shophouses. They sell vegetation, fresh meat, and cheap quality clothes.

But the most touching part is where it stretches towards the river bank, where the people here simply sit on the uneven, dirty ground, to sell literally the things that we would have thrown to the dustbin. They sell things that we label as trash.

Rusty old irons.
Torn worn clothes that we would use to wipe the stain on the floor.
Light bulbs that I wonder whether they still can light or not.

And since they are all poor, therefore there are sellers and there are buyers to. People sell and buy those stuff.

Don't expect nice looking cheap stuff being sold here.

In KL you can get a good imitation replica of a expensive branded watch that people might believe it’s real.

In Bangkok you can get a very nice shirt worth 25 ringgit where they would see hundreds of bucks at other cities.

We are so prosperous compared to them.

During my stay here, I observe the way of life of the people here, which is molded uniquely according to their living condition.

Once in the afternoon, we had our lunch by the jetty, near the huge bridge that connects two opposites of the huge backbone river of Palembang. Our lunch was unique, because we were eating inside one of the boats, where they put tables and you sit down on the wooden planks of the boat floor. Here they serve rice with assam gravy fish and fresh uncooked ulam vegetation.


The floating lunch place

I had the chance to go by the same jetty at night and went aboard this bigger boat that they see like what we would see a luxury cruise ship is.

Theirs is a humble huge boat, with formal dinner setting in it. For special occasions, the people would book the place for a special night gathering occasion, where they dine and have fun. While the boat goes slowly along the river, I could see the energy plant that they have at the end of the river, where it supplies power for Jakarta and other region of Indonesia.


This is the bridge at night, and the boat will go below it to the other end of the river

To maintain the peace and security of a city where its crowded with poor people, there will be officers everywhere. They will mingle around at the shophouses to monitor the area, or they would be controlling the traffic.

Business as usual

Scheduled to control the traffic


As I took the photo of this traffic officer, he came to me being curious with what I was doing there. I was a bit scared, but managed to convince him that I am a tourist.

There are things that they are happy to have which we would not see here in our city. Such as.



Bottled plain tea. This would be like our bottled/packet lemon tea



A food shop operating at night, for dinner and supper. Customers sit on the floor.



An ambulance van. Reminds me of the world war era.

Me being there made me feel like I am so wealthy and lucky. An experience like this would be good, it taught me to be thankful. I have more things to tell about my trip, in the next journal entry.

Till then.

2 comments:

cain & abel said...

gosh....i didnch know its THAT horror until i saw all those pics there. My gosh...there are actually people living in such places!

lyana said...

i'm glad that you had such an enriching experience. you should have taken gambar "live" ayam for cain though? hehehehhe laarrrriikkkkkk!