Movie, Maid, and A Concerned Citizen’s Rants

I tell you what, this piece of rubbish is quite long and I doubt there will be any fickle of moral value in it. Read it at your own expense or leave before you regret it.

Consider you’re warned.


common view of maid in Indo's mall. Image's property of
common view of maid in Indo’s malls. Image’s property of

I was just coming from cinema watching World War Z when I typed this. The movie was epic. Waaay much better than Man of Steroid, ooops, Steel, that I watched earlier this week. I’m not going to talk about the movie, but rather another experience I had when buying the ticket.

I am a BCA credit card holder and one of the privileges for that is I can get two movie tickets at the price of one. Well, knowing how expensive the ticket on Saturday night and we’d anticipated the movie for so long, we took the freebie in a heartbeat.

While I was standing in line to purchase my ticket, a security guard approached me, poked me with his security stick. He asked me: “mbak, bayar pake apa?” his exact word. “kartu.” And he left. Just like that. That’s it. There was line in front of and behind me. They were all the same card holders, I noticed. Why he asked that question to me, not to my hubby, and not to anyone else in that line somehow baffled me. My sudden suspicion was that because he didn’t think I belonged there. So I twitted: “… ah, wajah kere kali ya?” that means: “Ah, me and my proletariat face!” and of course in a jocular tone.

Reading the twit, hubby told me : “look around you. What do you see?” I looked around and I didn’t see anything different. Just normal stuff. Whatever did he mean! And he pointed out to me certain thing… holy cats! This cinema on the weekend is completely different place and population. The place was swarmed with mostly people of different skin color than mine, holding designer bags, high-end gadgets, and stuff like that…  I was not aware of that situation and was only made aware by then.

After getting the ticket, we went out to get some food at the same mall all the while having that social consciousness of my surrounding in my mind. Everywhere I looked, I used that scrutiny: what kind of people coming here on the weekend and I could distinguish them just so easily. The the-have, the middle-class, the wanna-look-cool-but-end-up-looking-nervous and so on and so forth. Suddenly, I was the minority as most of the people there at that time are those of Tionghoa descent. — Let it be on record that I NEVER EVER mind about races at all. I have lived in a heterogeneous community with people from different races, ethnicities and SES backgrounds and we’ve lived happily in harmony alongside each other. Perhaps, the reason I had not been previously aware of my surrounding was because I was totally okay with the diversity. I had never used that as a variable in treating others differently either.

For me, another sad part of that evening scene was many of them came with their family, kids, and brought along their maid or babysitter who were completely from different ethnicity. They were either Javanese or Sundanese. The maids were wearing this uniform, maid/baby sitter uniform. The way they look were so very much in extreme opposition to what their employers were wearing.

Why do they make them do that? To tell people that they were the maid? To show people that difference in social class? To make that socio-economic gap visible? Why did they need such kind of distinction? Why was the uniform still worn outside of their home in the crowd, on the weekend?

Well, for me, I could already tell the difference between the master and the maid with or without that uniform. That you were the one with money and the maid were just working for you was distinctive enough. (Though I still can’t figure it out why they need such distinction). The decision to make them wearing different clothing was just beyond me. Sadly enough though, this phenomenon is prevalent in many big cities in Indonesia.

Ah… my country. It’s not enough that the rich are so rich beyond the word rich itself and the poor are so poor, you still have to make that gap visible, too!

Now, back to my case.

There was a time when we had to count every penny and only watched movie on Monday (discount day) or weekdays, and avoid, at all cost, eating at café at the same day. Hell, there was even a time when we couldn’t even afford going to cinema at all. There was a time when we really had to struggle for money, a time when we decided to stop working, saving for school and a time when we had to live on Indomie for weeks. We’re still struggling now but at least we could watch movie whenever we like it and eat at a café without the need to look at the price on the menu (as smuggish as it sounds, please forgive me, I am just trying to make a point here). But somehow being once proletarian will always be/look like one, huh? D’uh.

I still don’t have any designer bag. The most expensive bag I have is Hornleen. My most expensive make up set is Revlon, which I’m reluctant to use because… because I’m not used to/because i don’t know how to apply them on my face without end up looking like a clown/because… well… just because, maybe. There was some part of me who want to yell out at those people who ‘subtly’ treat me differently saying I am paying with the same amount of money. There was also a time when I want to dress up better, spend more money on the look department just because I can.

… and there comes the sudden realization: just because I can spend more, doesn’t mean I have to, right? You don’t have to do that. You don’t need to spend more to look glam just to get that recognition from people that you don’t even know just for the sake of that fickle of self-validation. Because… since when do I measure my merit based on material stuff? Since when do I need that at all?

I like the way I dress. There is nothing wrong with it. I will not dress like hobos, obviously. I don’t like being or look so glamorous, let alone if it’s just to impress and I am not going to start changing it. I’m not going to dress up to the nines going to the cinema on weekend just to fit in. It is not because I can’t or that I want to be that — futile — force of resistance. No. This is my way of respecting myself: by not feeding and enabling the shallowness of this crooked society.

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