Sunday, March 01, 2009


Source of photo:
Sitting in the restaurant at the Meridien Hotel, I asked Sue what she thought about our conversation with Min’s mum.
"Wardi’s still living in their old home in North Jakarta," she said, "Aldi too. I reckon they don’t want to give that house up."
"It’s in an unhealthy area," I pointed out, as I cut into some sushi. "It’s a slum area, near the sea and the road to the airport."
"Does Wardi have a job in Teluk Gong?"
"I hadn’t thought about that," I confessed.
"He could have a job and a girl friend there. And Aldi will have all his school friends near their old house."
"Oh dear. I just thought it was good to get the family out of their slum and into a decent house. I was thinking also of Min being able to go to his school at Wisma Utara during the day, and being able to go home to his family in the afternoon."
"I’m sure it’ll all work out," said Sue sympathetically.
"Maybe I’ve been an idiot. I just hadn’t thought about things like Aldi’s schooling."
"They’re going to build a vegetable cart. That should help."
"I hope Min behaves himself," I said.
"One thing I noticed was that as we left Min’s house there was a woman near the corner shop who gave you a very hostile look." Sue emphasised the last three words.
"Worrying." And puzzling.
"Tomorrow," said Sue, "when I’m struggling through the streets of Manila in an old bus, I’ll be thinking of you being driven to the Meridien in your comfortable vehicle."
"I hope you’ve not minded meeting people like Min? And seeing lepers and rubbish tips?"
"No. I’ve loved it. I’m more excited by a shanty town than a museum." Sue gave me a sisterly smile.


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