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Daily Life

The Javanese carry out their life optimistically. The life as a divine gift should be accepted and executed accordingly. As a basic principle, they are 'nrimo' (means to accept; accepting divine wish and always pray for 'slamet' (to be safe). A parent blessing for their kids always begins with 'slamet'.

In order to be always in safety, avoiding troubles, one must always 'eling' (has to know what's right and wrong. So, he or she has to do only good and right things, by not breaking the rules of God (wewalering agama) and the rules of law (wewalering negoro).

Guided by those above principles, the Javanese has to work (mergawe) and dedicate (makarya) themselves to improve the quality of life. Working and dedicating one's life is an obligatory for a living human being. As in any other part of the world, there are a lot of choices of work fields in Java.

The 'dreaming period' that Java has a very fertile soil, good climate, rich nature, so that only by a little work one could easily get enough food, clothing and shelter is over. The people are fully conscious that they could get prosperity only by hard working.

As in the ancient time, the majority of the population lives in the country site. The farmers cultivate their lands seriously in order to have good harvest. Everyday, before sunrise when a lot of town's people are still asleep, the farmers are already in their rice and vegetables fields to water their plants. They have to take a good care of the plants by cleaning and fertilizing adequately, combating any plant diseases. Some of them have to feed their cattle, drive them to the grass terrain or just feed them in their cages.

Some of the villagers shall bring their fresh products to the traditional markets in the nearby towns, by walking on foot, bicycles, motor bikes, traditional carts drawn by ponies, or public transportation. The activities in the villages begin early in the morning, the farmers begin their daily life amidst the morning mist.

The traditional markets

It starts breaking the loneliness early in the morning too. Sellers and buyers with friendly faces exchange their needs, bargaining is a part of the game, it's spice in the traditional trade, where the price agreed give satisfaction to both sellers and buyers.

The Traditional Fishermen

At the coast of the sea, the traditional fishermen with their traditional sailing boats, equipped with some nets start sailing at night. The winds shall push the boats to the sea several kilometers from the shore. With their nets, the fishermen catch the fishes.

By morning, the wind shall send them back to the shore. Some fresh fishes are forwarded to the market, some are dried to be 'salty fishes' as a natural way of food preservation. It can be consumed or sold letter on.

Traditional Fast Food vendors

In the early hours, starting at 06.00 o'clock local time, in several places there are vendors of ready made food. Usually, they occupy a very small plot of place. In the corner of a street or in any strategic spot along the street, usually they offer a special warm dish, for instance :
Nasi gudeg : nasi is a boiled rice and gudeg is prepared from jack fruit cooked with coconut milk, sambel goreng, a boiled leather buffalo with spices and chili peppers, and other dishes upon choice : boiled eggs, chickens, tofu (tahu and tempe).
Nasi pecel : Nasi with vegetables. Nasi is basic food as bread for westerners.
Bubur ayam : Porridge of rice with chicken.
Bubur kacang ijo : sweet porridge of mung beans, cooked with coconut milk.

Excepts those traditional food vendors, there are also stalls selling susu sapi (fresh cow milk) and roti panggang (baked bread). These food stalls are of a great help for many people who have no times to cook their breakfast, and for those who have no time for breakfast at home.
The Office Workers

Thousands of people are working in the offices, public or private in many different sectors, five days or six days a week except holidays. The government officials start at 07.00 in the morning, the private enterprises usually start at 08.00 in the morning.

In the old days, the priyayi (court families) they prefer to work for the palace/Karaton or for the government institutions, but nowadays many of them work also in private enterprises. In fact, there are two types of priyayi :
The first : by birth, they are descendants from Sultan or king.
The second : by profession, holding high ranking position in the government offices.
Those who are working in private sectors consists of : the owners (small part), the executives and the staff or workers.

The shops, malls and shopping centers in the down town area open also at 08.00 o'clock local time.

Factory workers are also abundant, in various fields of products, for home consumption as well as for export purposes.

The Pupils, The Students

The youngsters are a big part of the community. So early in the morning a big column of pupils, students as well as teachers, fills the streets on the way to their respective schools and universities, private and public. The classes start at 07.00 0'clock in the morning. There are also some schools, which start in the afternoon, some courses and vocational training in the evening. Majority of a youth is aware, that education is a bridge for a better future.

Considering the huge participants in this field, schools and universities nowadays are not seen as merely educational institutions but also as a booming industry.

It is worth to note, that although local educational system is improving and to certain aspects have a good quality, some luckier parents send their children to study in the universities abroad such as in Australia, Europe, Japan and U.S.A. But do not be surprised that some foreign students, mostly postgraduate are studying in the Gajah Mada University in Yogyakarta in different subjects. It should give a positive result for a broad international cooperation in the era of globalization.

Gajah Mada University

The Role of Women

It goes without saying that Javanese as well as Indonesian women play an important role in this country. In every sector of live, just name it, women are involved.

Nyi Ageng Serang
In the farms, the offices, the factories and the arm forces, there are women workers, staff, executives, directors, experts, high ranking government officials, and members of parliament and even government ministers.

The women role dated back from the ancient time, there were several queens in power. There were some heroines, such as Nyi Ageng Serang, a brave fighter during Javanese war against Dutch colonialism led by Prince Diponegoro (1825 - 1830 AD), then Cut Nyak Dien from Aceh, Dewi Sartika from West Java and Kartini from Central Java, the mother of women emancipation in modern times.


Following the era of modernization, Central Java is in the period of transition. There are traditional means of transportation, such as bike, becak (three wheel rickshaw), dokar (two wheel cart) andong (four-wheel cart) drawn by ponies and sometimes gerobak sapi, a cart drawn by oxen, are still operating in the area. More Modern City transports are motor, bikes, cars, buses, and trucks. In the cities of Yogya and Central Java, those means of transport are mingled together everywhere, especially in the peak hours; in the morning, at noon during lunchtime and in the afternoon after office hours. But traffic in this region is far better than in Jakarta. One can still ride or drive more relax, but cautions is a good advice.

For transports in the city, regular small buses, buses, taxis and trains are available. For comfort, take the ones with air conditions. Flight to and from Yogya, Solo and Semarang are available on regular schedules.


The local and international communications by telephone, telex, fax, hand-phone and e-mail are available. Hotels, offices, most of them are provided with these facilities. There are also a lot of Wartel (Telephone stall) rendering service of communication. No one has to worry about it.


Foreign travelers bringing their own GSM hand-phones to Central Java might use them without any problem as long as their foreign operators have an agreement with one of the GSM operators in this country :

  • Telkomsel (Ind-TSEL)
  • Satelindo (Ind-SATC)
  • Excelcomindo (Ind-XL)
In Indonesia there are two systems of hand-phone namely AMPS (analog) and GSM (digital).

(Suryo S. Negoro)

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