Not The Ciptaker Law, Demos That Help Them: Reasons Why 'Brother Starling Is Always There In Any Situation'
Mang Engkus, a starling trader we met around the Horse Statue, Central Jakarta (Wardhany Tsa Tsia / VOI)

JAKARTA - Mass demonstrations against the Job Creation Law (UU) left many stories. Several highlighted the existence of starling, aka "starbak traveling". They said, "Brother Starling is always there in any situation." After the monitoring of the October 8 demonstration ended in chaos, we are again watching the follow-up demonstration on Monday, October 13. That day, we tried to dig the interesting side of starling's existence in many demonstrations. We are aware that in the context of the Job Creation Law, demonstrations are what help starling's life, not the Law itself.

[Click to Taste]

The sound of bicycle bells repeatedly passed in the ear, heard among the crowd of demonstrations dominated by the Anti-Communist National Alliance (ANAK NKRI). We are standing in the scorching sun. Efforts to avoid human overcrowding are nil. Thousands of people poured out where we stood in the area of the Arjuna Wiwaha Horse Statue, Jalan Medan Merdeka Barat, Central Jakarta.

The heat and congestion provoke our instinct for the main source of life: water. Our esophagus needs washing. And again by instinct, we knew that the bell sound we had heard many times before was the source of the water we were looking for.

"Coffee! Coffee!" exclaimed Mang Engkus, a mobile drink vendor. Mang Engkus and his friends are usually called starlings, even though they are not just selling coffee. Mang Engkus stopped his bicycle after realizing our call.

He is 50 years old. He admitted that he had come from far away: Tasikmalaya, West Java. He came to Jakarta with a capital of less than IDR 1 million. He allocated the money to buy a bicycle as initial capital to start a starling business.

Mang Engkus (Wardhany Tsa Tsia / VOI)

Mang Engkus' flexibility is extraordinary. He is able to reach many groups. From construction workers who work on urban projects in the Sudirman area, Grand Indonesia Mall employees, to creative employees at MNC Tower, even though he spends most of his time hanging around Taman Suropati, Menteng. Mang Engkus cruising range is extraordinary for a man of his age.

However, now he couldn't move too much. Not weakened. But the COVID-19 pandemic is limiting its exploration. Even if he had to move, Mang Engkus would not have been able to meet as many people as before the pandemic.

Mang Engkus could not do much in this situation, so that the demonstration of the Job Creation Law appeared like spring for him. He has harvested the results of his patience during the pandemic in one or two moments of mass gathering that occurred in the past two weeks.

"I usually trade in Menteng, Taman Suropati. It's just being locked down now. It's not being opened up," he said.

To us, Mang Engkus also answered the social media crowd that had occurred a few days ago, regarding the presence of starlings in various situations, including during the rioting on October 8. The first thing he told us was about the fear he actually felt of having to sell in the middle of demonstrations, let alone riots. However, what can I do?

Mang Engkus also responded to the narrative of many people regarding their sensitivity to situations. Starling is considered to have a strong instinct to predict mass dynamics. They can put themselves in the right situation and atmosphere. According to Mang Engkus, this happens naturally.

"Yes, I'm afraid, mah, afraid. But, yes as much as possible to be safe. So if there is a riot just run away. There is tear gas, run away," he said.

"In the past, I didn't go anywhere. Already in Taman Suropati even if there is a demonstration. So now here and there," he said in a thick Sundanese accent.

From Mang Engkus, we moved towards the barbed fence separating the demonstrators from the security forces. Looking for a way, in the end we who had been in the ranks of the demonstrators moved to the ranks of the apparatus near the Kemenko Polhukam Office. There, we met Hari, a traveling coffee trader who was chatting with several other traders.

Day (Wardhany Tsa Tsia / VOI)

In contrast to Engkus. The day doesn't seem that busy. Every now and then he even had a cigarette. We came to Hari and ordered cold drinks. While stirring a drink, Hari told me that today he missed the wrong day. The side of the police line did not give him as much money as he was hanging around the demonstrators' side, as usual.

"This has only been sold for 20 cups. A little count. It's just that we are surrounded by (the police), so we can't get out ... Don't lose. Because the important thing is we are safe," he said with a thin smile.

Hari had a reason why he was staying at the side of the security forces. At the October 8 demo, Hari had bad luck. Apart from being exposed to tear gas, Hari's merchandise was "robbed" by the rioters. "So when I looked back, it was gone. Ouch, where was it. I was confused," he said.

And the question of Starling's sensitivity to the dynamics of mass, Hari answers that question empirically. That second, the peaceful demonstration turned violent, just moments after Hari closed the conversation with us with the sentence: I'll go first, miss. Want to find a safe place.

Not the Job Creation Law but a demonstration

To Mang Engkus and Hari, we also explore their point of view regarding the Job Creation Law. Both admitted that they did not understand what the substance of the Job Creation Law was, let alone the anxiety of many people that triggered widespread protests. For them, the most important thing is money.

Engkus admitted that the demonstration could earn him a profit of up to Rp200 thousand per day. That figure was double what he got on the other days. Day too. He said the demonstrations gave him more income.

"If it's a demonstration like this. Anyway, thank God. There is more for eating," said Hari.

Both of them also agreed that the Law had never changed their lives much. Meanwhile, with all due respect, the demonstration was an immediate blessing for them. It's not Mang Engkus and Hari's fault. Because the Job Creation Law does not have a direct impact on ultramycro groups such as starling traders.

This was agreed by Core Indonesia Research Director Piter Abdullah. In substance, groups of traders such as starling do not benefit from the ease of licensing, the establishment of a PT or other matters contained in the Job Creation Law, which are said to be in favor of small entrepreneurs.

"Small traders or micro and ultramicro groups actually do not get direct benefits. They do not benefit from the ease of licensing, the ease of establishing a PT, and so on. They also have no potential to enter the supply chain with large companies," Piter told VOI, Thursday, 16 October.

Mang Engkus prepares a drink (Wardhany Tsa Tsia / VOI)

Piter's statement is in accordance with the study presented by the site. A study conducted by the Mobile People's Alliance, BEM FEB UI, and Indonesian for Global Justice (IGJ), concluded that the Job Creation Law did not answer the needs of the field.

The difficulties faced by MSMEs and the informal sector are not accommodated in the Job Creation Law. This is in contrast to the needs of formal sector entrepreneurs and large investors whose interests are regulated in such a thorough and comprehensive manner in various sectors.

"For MSMEs and the informal sector, the substance of the Job Creation Bill does not answer the needs in the field. For example, the issue of a single database, exploitative partnership patterns, and revision of cooperative rules ... It is clear that MSMEs and the informal sector are not the focus of drafters of the Job Creation Bill. , "written in the conclusion of the study.

However, Piter did detail the substance concerning the interests of MSMEs in the Job Creation Law. He said, although not directly affected, ultramicro groups such as starling received indirect benefits. "When the economy is booming due to a surge in investment, competition at the micro and ultramicro level will decrease because many of them will be absorbed into the formal sector," said Piter.

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