As I walked down the alley in Glodok district of Jakarta, I saw an older man in a hat perched against a wall. Walking around the towns in Southeast Asia, there are many people sitting on the side of the road without meaning to, so I thought this person was one of them, but it wasn't. The man silently threaded the needle through the sandals he had placed on his lap. The man was a shoe repairman working on the side of the road.
He noticed me stopping in front of him. He stopped his hand for a moment and glanced up. But there wasn't anything particularly interesting about it, so he went right back to work. I understand that the job was more important than dealing with a foreigner who doesn't understand anyone or anywhere.
The fact that the custom of repairing these broken sandals and putting them back on is still alive and well does not end with the clean and righteous story of Indonesian people taking care of things. It shows that buying a new one will cost a lot more than having a person do the repair work. In other words, there is still room for such a business because human wages are low. Indonesia's nominal GDP per capita in 2017 was US$3,876, ranking 115th in the world. It certainly is not high.
June 5, 2020
SONY ALPHA 7R II
ZEISS BATIS 2/40 CF
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