The Old Times

Time, have surely change. If 20 years ago, when I was 13 years old, my parents got mad at me, it was because I didn’t come home straight after school, but went to my friend’s house instead, to hangout and play basketball until 6 or 7 PM. But yesterday, my nephew got into a terrible fight with his dad, because he came home at 9 PM, and admitted he had been at his friend’s house after school, browsing and playing games, on the internet.

Twenty years ago, instead of spending hours and hours staring at a computer screen pretend to carry a gun and shooting terrorists through an internet-connected games, I spent hours playing basketball under the hot sunshine, and fell down, hurt my legs under the rain. From hanging around in my friends’ house, I’ve made more new friends whom I know face to face and introduced myself through a handshake instead of sending a “buzz” or a “ping” in the messenger applications.

Apparently, for some people, “change” can not be embraced in a positive way, including my 22 year old nephew “Nina” who recently got her diploma degree in midwifery. Her mother, a principal for a public-elementary school in the village of Condong, Probolinggo, East Java, who is also a PNS (civil employee) insisted that Nina should become a PNS and start working as a midwife in the nearest village. Nina’s mother have already prepared IDR 125,000,000 to pay the local government officials to “secure” her daughter’s position in the PNS “industry.”

She was pretty angry when Nina refused this plan and wanted to continue  studying in Surabaya, to get a Bachelor Degree and joins a program to become a lecturer. Nina’s mother told me, “I don’t understand Nina, she has this dream to educate other people because Indonesia is very poor when it comes to education. While for me, her dream is useless because she lives in Indonesia!”

This particular clash between a mother and her daughter is very rare, especially in villages of East Java. Everyone “adores” PNS and will do everything they can to be one. They invested their money in cows, gold jewelries, rice fields, and plantation, just to sell them all one day in order to pay government officials and seal-the-deal for a PNS status. Nina’s parents have already done this 2 years ago, when Nina’s older sister graduated from college and became a midwife (with a PNS status) at a nearby Puskesmas (village hospital).

Some things from the old times were much better than today, but the great PNS status is definitely not one of them. As for Nina, she will have to keep fighting her own mother, and repeatedly saying, “I don’t care about the PNS status. I can find my own money which I earn with dignity” which should make a mother proud, although in her case it was completely the opposite.

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