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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Miss the generals' barber

"Bismi-llāhi r-raḥmāni r-raḥīm." 

For moslems, the words is a common phrase extensively used in everyday life, said as the opening of each action in order to receive blessing from God. (Wikipedia)

The phrase has a different meaning for a barbershop owner and also the worker namely Nunu Sudiatna. In almost every different move of cutting my hair, the white hair Sundanese grandpa said the prayer.

When enrobe towels, bismi-llāhi r-raḥmāni r-raḥīm. When changing scissors to the electric one, bismi-llāhi r-raḥmāni r-raḥīm. When rush hair crumbs, bismi-llāhi r-raḥmāni r-raḥīm. He almost never forget to repel the words.

After the afternoon, I tell my wife about the funny experience, even coz I'm also a moslem.

"He was so slow, until I sleep and even snore in several time."

The tiny room measuring 2 x 2 square meter he used to open his traditional barbershop is in the row of semi-illegal stalls in an one-way alley, located left side from the Capital Market and Financial Institution Supervisory Agency (Bapepam-LK).

In his senility age, Pak Nunu still have enough courage and also ability to struggle in the wild jungle of metropolitan city as Jakarta.

He told me, when I was wake up after a little nap under his working hands, a neighbor in the same micro-commercial area used to ask for money, for no reason at all.

"Their family is a general family, lived in a house belongs to the military. After their father died, they don't have anything else after they spend the giant amount of the general's heritages in a short time."

To tackle the problem, sometimes the son from the family offers motorbike-taxi (ojeg) services, but it was not last long because they not prefer to work hard as other hardworking people do.

Even one of the other family member already become a street hoodlum to the warung's owners to collect money. But the profession seemingly to be more fit to beggar definition than a thug.

"Let them do whatever the want, in a matter of days the will lose their house because the ABRI (Indonesia Military Forces) will ask them to leave."

His patience to the kind of actions of his neighbor didn't make him afraid. Even he mocking them even the real general don't act like the generals children.

"I know several general, since they are soldiers. They known for their kindness."

"Where did you know them?"

"I cut their hair since they located here."


"Yes. The ministry of finance office complex used to be military post. When the Gestapu (1965) happen, the minister of finance building was fulled by army tends. Nobody not important can go inside, except me coz I go there by request, he4."

No wonder, in the times, there are not much of barber in the area, even now. Yesterday, when I need my hair get cut, I miss him. I also meant to collect a promise from him about other stories.

His small booth that always decorated by a local newspaper, a mirror, a long bamboo bench-divan, not open again.

People said that he already go to his village in West Java, don't know for how long. His landmark barbershop still in my mind, especially when my hair turns into unwanted messy style.

I miss you pak Nunu.



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