Page 20

97 year old cigarette vendor His body is no longer upright, his feet is no longer strong, but he walks vibrantly through the crowd in Malioboro without doubt. Mbah Sis, that’s how people call him (Mbah is short for Simbah which is a greeting for the eldery in Java), is a 95 years old, the oldest cigerette seller in Malioboro. He walks around Malioboro for nearly 50 years, carrying a wooden box with straps worn around the neck containing a variety brands of cigerette. Tukiran Prapto Siswoyo is his fullname. A friendly old man who always smiles and laughs, was born on September 29th, 1918. The difficulties of financial situation and obligation to raise a grandchild encouraged him to keep working every night hawking cigarretes. He began selling cigarretes since Suharto became President in 1966, The New Order now has passed for 15 years, times have changed, but Mbah Sis is still selling cigarettes. Mbah Sis never wants to bother other people, he always sort everything out independently. Around 7-9pm he could be found near Tugu Train Station and Mangkubumi Street. After 9pm, he used walking around Malioboro-Sosrowijayan Street. He stops by for a moment at some cafes in Sosrowijayan to unwind and chat with the tourists. While occasionally exhaling cigarette from his lips, and punctuated with chuckled proudly showing his toothless grin, Mbah Sis is a delight person to talk to. He loves meeting and talking with new people even if he could not speak English. A good nature and kind-hearted is what makes Mbah Sis is well-known in Malioboro area. Everybody loves him and sympathized to him. He always takes life easy although he struggles all the way long. Before selling cigarrete, Mbah Sis was previously a telegraphist for General Post Office in Yogyakarta. One day, he got a highly secretive telegram to be conveyed directly to President Sukarno, who was then based in the Great House of Yogyakarta. At the early time of Indonesian independence, the state capital was moved to Yogyakarta (1946-1949) for security reason, eventhough in this city the Dutch army also kept pounding the Indonesian army. Mbah Sis was

in hurry to deliver an important telegram directly to President Sukarno. He was determined not to give the telegram to anyone except the President itself. His determination enabled him to persevere through the guard at the presidential palace. President Sukarno received immediate arrival of Mbah Sis and opened the telegram in front of him. Mbah Sis didn’t understand the contents of the telegram because everything was written in numbers. But apparently it is a secret message reported the attack plan of the Dutch army over Yogya within a few days ahead. After reading the telegram, the President asked Mbah Sis to take 3 days off. Apparently within 3 days, the Dutch troop invaded Yogyakarta. Yogyakarta is a witness to history, as well as Mbah Sis. His old eyes witnessed many changes along Malioboro, the legendary tourist area, from time to time. Through his lips flows smoothly story after story of how Malioboro changes. Although times change, Mbah Sis’s life remains the same. He believes each era has its own challenges, not to regret the past or worry about the future that has not come. Enjoy the present fully and live without worries is his main recipe of longevity. He says, everything depends on the heart and mind. If we are free ourselves from hate and anger and sad, all the entire body will work optimally. Perhaps in this modern era we have to humbly learn about life from him, to accept life as it is and always be grateful for all we get.

Jogja Mag April 2013 edition  

Waterfall, mystic cave, handicraft, here is what you will get inJogja Mag this month !

Jogja Mag April 2013 edition  

Waterfall, mystic cave, handicraft, here is what you will get inJogja Mag this month !

Advertisement