Ok, I will admit it right away. The above image is staged. I would love to be able to sleep this way, but I never could. One way or the other my upper and lower leg don’t want to come together close enough. In the same way I cannot sit jongkok. For Indonesians this squat position even is a relaxed way of sitting. They easily bend anyhow and that way they basically can sleep anywhere. Quite handy, I would say, because it's a major cut on hotel expenses.
I wanted to make a short documentary about the live at a Pasar Malam (night market). In Holland people are quite familiar with this concept, because of their colonial history with Indonesia. Although in Holland a Pasar Malam is more a revival of the old days and remembrance of the Dutch possession that has past away. In Indonesia a Pasar Malam is really a night market, including a fun fair.
My nephew works as a freelance controller at a Pasar Malam which travels through Central-Java. Together with a team of 30 boys they have to build up the fair every two weeks. At night they run the fair and try to make a profit. Because they're traveling all the time they can't make use of many facilities. With a little luck there’s a public bathroom. Sometimes even the bathroom isn’t there and people have to wash themselves in the river. Sleeping is done on the ground. And since I love the participating journalism, for me too, sleeping on the floor it is. The sleeping area in above photo is not staged.
Because of all the excitement it’s not so bad at all. In the beginning. But after a day or 3 my back seemed to become a piece of hardwood. Spoiled westerners back!
At the terrain there’s a little food stall which opens every morning for the people working there. Pak Pendek (small guy) is the friendly owner of the place. Together with his wife he bakes tofu, tempeh and... chickenheads. Although I’m a big chicken-fan, eating the heads is a step too far for me. “It’s the best part if the chicken”, they all said. "Why are you not eating it?" .Luckily there were a few chicken wings as well between all the heads.
After one week of shooting the documentary the whole fair was taken down and ready to leave for the next venue. Everything was loaded into a dozen trucks. Because there's not enough place to sit for the workers, they sit between all the fair gair.
What a wonderful experience it was to live with the Pasar Malam workers. Although they don't have much, the freedom they get is more than worth it.
Pasar Malam - 12 minutes - English and Dutch subtitles - 1080p
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