DEAR AUNTIE DWI, Thank you for asking if I’m safe following the 212 Big Protest. That’s what they have been calling it after the date and they say the numbers are sending us a sign, but they don’t say what they mean. On our street, the trash collector lives at number 212 and his house has a sign. Maybe that’s it.
Did Mom warn you I was going? I didn’t want to ’cause I had really important things to do, like buying new nail varnish. But they said everyone must go or our names would be given to the Political Actors.
Anyway the bus was real good and I got to sleep a lot while Ahmad was wagging his finger and sermonizing, which never stopped during the 12-hour journey. Then my friend Dwi, who gets motion sickness, threw up all over him and he went wild.
He said she must be possessed by a demon she’d swallowed. I told him she’d only eaten chocolate. “Must be Chinese,” he said. “Just like your smartphone,” I replied.
Or maybe you saw me on TV? Check the pictures on Metro — I’m in the seventh row on the nineteenth line on the left of Monas. Or maybe to the right — I can’t remember. It was so much fun.
I was wearing white, which really doesn’t suit my complexion.
For days I’ve eaten absolutely nothing — there was so much free food and all of it was too, too delicious. Every 10 minutes someone was giving me a lunch box or telling me to wave a poster. I don’t know what they said because the writing was all spooky and red with a picture of a prisoner shaking bars.
Someone said his name was Pak Ahok and he’s a bad man, but the cartoon just made him look like a sad man.
They also said he’s Chinese, but I thought he was born here, so doesn’t that make him Indonesian? He looks a bit like Uncle Julius who I think goes to a church. Anyway, who cares?
The really, really major moment was when we got to see the President. Well, he was rather far away, but people who were closer took pictures of him carrying an umbrella, as we could see on WhatsApp. I don’t know what he said — it might have been about a soccer game with Vietnam.
Only this time around, he did not wear the cool jacket that made him look like Tom Cruise in that old Top Gun movie I saw on TV last week, although I couldn’t understand what he was saying because the Indonesian captions made no sense.
”Oh, my God,” I said, but some gloomy guy said that was blasphemy and I might go to prison. So I told him to go to hell. He said this world’s already there, but I looked out and saw the sun was shining. Lovely.
He was a freak — not like this totally yummy cop who came along and told us to keep moving. “Polisi ganteng!” screamed Dwi who was OK once off the bus, although Ahmad was still trying to clean vomit off his clothes. It made me think he’d never washed anything in his life.
Anyway, back to the cop: so cute in his tight pants and mirror sunglasses. Gorgeous. And he noticed little me, particularly when I accidentally dropped my poster.
“Here you are Mbak,” he said. “Please take more care.” His voice was warm honey. His name badge said Antonius. “I think he’s Catholic,” whispered Dwi, who noticed my red face. “No problem,” I said as my knees turned to jelly. “I’ll convert. Where do I go?”
“Be serious,” she snapped. “We’re here to protest.” “Why not?” I replied. “Aren’t we all one — like, you know, unity in diversity?”