He must have referred to Soeharto the second president of Indonesia who had been ailing now and again since he stepped down of the presidency on May 21, 1998. But still I was a bit surprised to hear that.
“Soeharto, our ex president?” I mumbled, meaning to talk to Angie.
She shrugged her shoulders, showing disinterest.
Meanwhile, the seller, a man around in his mid thirties, didn’t show any shock or surprise. He smiled widely, somewhat laughed, saying, “Entar malem melek-melek nih?” (“We will stay awake tonight?”)
An adult man in the food stall showed his doubt with that news, so he quickly went out of the stall, entering a small house behind the stall, where there was a television set in the living room. I could see it clearly from where I was sitting.
The seller said again, jokingly, “Perlu layat ga nih?” (“Will we go visit to show condolence?”) without showing any mournful expression on his face.
Since I had poor eyesight, I couldn’t see clearly what I saw on the television set from my seat. Still almost disbelieved in what I heard, I told Angie, “Honey, please watch that television and sharpen your ears, is it right what that little child said? Soeharto, the ex president passed away? Eventually?”
Angie seemed astonished to hear me saying so. “Don’t you think that he will die anyway, Mama? He has been ailing for some time, right?”
“I know he will die anyway, honey. But I also always thought that he would still be alive for some more time, to protect his children. You know what I mean? People say that Indonesian government will not really daringly do any legal action towards his family as long as he is still alive. And he had sort of power, in my opinion, that he would protect his offspring.” I explained.
“He has passed away now Mama.” Shortly Angie commented.
“Yes, he has. And I will be waiting for what will happen to our beloved country after this. I sometimes think that you are luckier than me living in an era where you can ‘undergo’ to have different presidents. Since I was born, until more than 31 years afterward, there was only one president, Soeharto. When I was attending school, until I graduated, I only underwent under one president to rule this country.”
Angie smiled widely to hear that.
After we finished eating our meal, hurriedly Angie and I dropped by at our ex dwelling place, not far from the food stall. Once in a while we visit this house since no one lives there anymore.
After Angie turned on the television set, I watched clearly the report given by many television stations about the death of Soeharto, making me talk to myself, “He has really gone now. At last …”
“Apparently, the grass root people don’t find it a big event.” I talked to myself.
I looked at the sky which was cloudy. The weather seemed mourning but not all people showed the same thing.
Although listening to some songs from my MP, I still tried to listen to the television, while doing some exercise there. However, not long after that, someone talked to the clerk of the fitness center, “Mbak, please play some songs, house music, to accompany us to do exercise.”
It was complete then. Nobody seemed interested in watching the television. The sound from it couldn’t be heard either.
Although some television stations aired programs showing so many people mourned Soeharto’s death, from what I saw in my surrounding, no one seemed to care about it.
Anyway, all human beings will drift away to the following kind of life. No one can avoid it.
PT56 12.40 280108
P.S.: My workmates felt intimidated by the programs related to Soeharto all the time for these past two days, 27-28 January 2008. And they also said, "Why were we forced to raise the flag? Why were we forced to show that we were mourning while in fact we are not?" LOL.