Song of a becak driver
if the price of kerosene goes up, mother will fight
more often with father
if kerosene goes up, so will chillies,
so will all basic necessities
and we'll be forced into the hands of the money-lenders.
who would not be angry when it gets harder and harder
to make ends meet, fiteen hundred rupiahs is the most
she can expect from father for the shopping
who could make that do when the needs keep growing and
and so she gets angry:
'how come we ended up with four kids!
there's school fees to be paid for all of them
Penceng's got dysentry, and my belly's filling
out again, then tomorrow there's more expense
when we have to contribute to Seblhoh's wedding'
if the price of fuel starts moving again, still under the name
of 'policy implementation'
I'll give up asking you my Lord, my God,
for a better life
because oru life will just be a pawn
in the game of power
lamps need to burn, burning needs kerosene
stomach need to be full, filling them needs food
but father's just a becak driver!
so when the family's treasured becak
comes home without money
mother will again start fighting with father
(Translation of Nyanyian Abang Becak)
English Translations from Bahasa Indonesia by
Rossi Von Der Borch, Poets Against Silent,
Inside Indonesia, No.12 (October, 1987), p.29-31