Jakarta Street Vendors: The Means to Hold On, as appeared in the Jakarta Globe. Read the full story.
It is more than just textbook learning that informal sector was the saviour of Indonesian economy during 1998 financial crisis, where it became the hardest hit country among other Asian neighbors as it sustained a much longer period of monetary difficulties at the time when others had gradually recovered. In those period time of difficulty, the unemployed population struggled to make a living. Some opted an easy way out: begging. There was a time when beggars, either exploiting self-pity looks or the desperation that justify violent behavior, crowded busy intersections across Jakarta, living beneath elevated roads, taking economic refuge in every bit of space in the city. Many other chose to pull themselves together by struggling to sell goods on the streets. Fifteen years later, they still endured. On papers, the year-to-year numbers indicating the achieved economic growth has set the claim that the country has gone past the crisis and is currently at a better condition even compared to the pre-crisis era. But these people who carried the weight of pain since the past decade, or even long before the crisis, feels the same way about the way they carry on with lives.