“Sepur Tumbuk’s” Driver (Part Five)




“Hands on”, exclaimed Mrs. Yati as she raised her hands above his head. My friends soon mimicked what was done by the teacher. I raised my hand with hesitation.

“Hands to the side”, so then Mrs. Yati ordered to children while giving an example. Deftly then my friends doing what the teacher ordered. Oh, the school is only so simple like this.. so anyway, I thought, if only so easy anyway. I also can. do it with ease.

“Hands down the front”. Soon many little hands outstretched. Ah it is so easy, I thought.

“Sitting sweet”, thus Mrs. Yati command. Friends soon folded hands on a bench and watched Mrs. Yati who was standing in front of the class. I did not get any significant difficulties on this lesson.

Classrooms TK-1 had a light green wall. There are two black chalkboard in front of the class. One for Small Zero and another for the Great Zero class. Colorful benches arranged encircling the class. Red, blue, brown, yellow and green. The pictures on the wall were the work of the students previously installed adorn the walls. Some of them are now sitting in the Great Zero class now. There were pictures of some fish were swimming. One of them had cross-eyed. I felt sorry for the fish.

“Now we learn to sing”, said Mrs. Yati.

“Imitate me, children”.

And we immediately imitate the singing teacher.

“Tell me O carpenter,

How do you hit a hammer?”

See see, my son

Here’s how to hit the hammer “

We all the classmates sing the new song happily. Class Zero Big sing with us. My friends are very happy, as happy as me. I had almost forgotten in my goal to be a crushed.gauge driver.

Then Mrs. Tutik took over the leadership of the class. She taught us Small Zero class another song. Great Zero class seems to have memorized the song, but inevitably they also listened Mrs. Tutik words which was hypnotic.

“Look at a distant point on the high seas

Increasingly clear form apparently

That steamer sailing

White smoke is billowing in the air “

We were singing happily again. Did not feel it was already noon, the sound of bells pinged from another class. Mrs. Yanizar who served to rang the bell to get in, break and disperse the class.

That afternoon I went home with a good cheer feeling. That is my first day of school.




pict by Emile Seno Aji

“Sepur Tumbuk’s” Driver (Part Four)




“Mimit, Mimit, what’s for you are climbing that tree?.”

“Come down and join your friends,” cried Mrs Yati from the front door of the class. Apparently she realized that had lost one of her students after a long time.

I said nothing and did not move from where I was perched on the tree. Mrs. Yati immediately back into the class. The door kept open. Not long after, she came out with a female student. My God, apparently she was a girl with so white skin and waist-length hair that caught my attention earlier.

“Come on Vita, go invite Mimit to class”, commanded the teacher at the little girl.

“Mit, let’s go to class”, exclaimed Vita from under the tree. His eyes were clear, though narrow, she had reddish lips. That rosy lips were smiling friendly.

Reluctantly I moved down from the tree. I’m happy to be friends with the Vita, but I’m sad being loss of my dream to be a sepur tumbuk’s driver.

“Please guide your friend to class, Vita” pleaded Mrs. Yati on Vita.

Vita was a good girl. She managed to follow the command of the teacher. She handed my wrist and clutched tightly. Then the waist-haired little girl led me to enter the classroom.

Bizarre. At that time, that I just was willing to betowed by Vita to enter the classroom. Really like buffalo led by it’s nose. Always so perhaps the effect of the girls on the boys. Even though for the girls and boys under the age.

I entered the classroom along with Vita. Mrs. Yati then told me to sit on a bench arranged in circle. I was sitting close to a beautiful little girl with short hair. Her eyes were round, it’s beautiful. It turned out that the girl was named Dewi. She wore a ribbon on her hair. The ribbon tied interestingly. There are beads bright red around his neck. It is so beautiful.

Next to me on another bench was also a little girl. Her eyes looked very fierce and unfriendly. His body seemed to be higher than most other little girls. She has long hair braided in two. At the base of the hair braids there were red ribbon tied in a simple way. Indeed, if her mouth was not pursed like it, she was really beautiful. At first glance, I thought about a picture of a witch in a fairy tale book belongs to my cousin. The witch was tall, thin and holding a broom. Hhiiii, …. I shudder.

“Little zero “, the sound of Mrs. Yati suddenly heard. We all listened as enchanted. Big zero great class was in Mrs. Tutik’s drawing lessons.

(to be continued)




(phothograph by Evy Sofia)

“Sepur Tumbuk’s” Driver (Part Three)




I held out my hand to Mrs. Tutik as I reached out my hand to shake hands with Yati earlier. Again, I cone my mouth in front of my mother.

“Dear me, you are very handsome,” said Mrs. Tutik and pinched my cheek.

“Just like his father,” she continued.

“My son is more handsome ,” my mother protested.

They all laughed uproariously. I do not understand what they were laughing about.

“Who is the eminent primacy sires,” said Mrs. Yati glancing at my mother. Again the three of them chuckled. I still do not understand what they were talking about.

In conversations and boisterous voices of children playing at the schoolyard, suddenly heard the bell was rung by a teacher dressed in black with a foliage pattern of dark blue and green. A few days later I learned that her name was Mrs. Yanizar.

Mrs. Yati and Mrs. Tutik said goodbye to my mother. They quickly gathered their young students to enter TK-1 classrooms. TK stands for Taman Kanak-Kanak in Bahasa which means Kindegarten in English. Bustling noise of children eagered to enter the classroom. Mom came over and looked down.

“When the time to go home come, Mom will waiting at Pak Slamet’s home “, she message me. She showed a cottage at the other end of a walkway leading to the school. There are two houses there. The house were for carers and the school janitor.

My mother immediately walked towards the house that had been designated herself. My number two’s sister followed her. My number three’s brother was still sleeping soundly in my mother’s arms.

School grounds immediately deserted. I did not move from where I stood. From a distance I saw her chatting with Mrs. Upik, she was Pak Slamet’s wife. Then they rushed into the house. Mother immediately vanished from my sight. And I was alone in the yard.

I looked at the school yard with curiousity, there are two great rounds to play turn-round. To complete it, there are three swings and two slides and a climbing frame of iron. At that time, probably my kindergarten was kindergarten with the best facilities on Malang City. To enter first grade of PPSP IKIP Malang, we should able to read. This condition were not found on other schools.

Most of schools gave lessons of reading at the first grade. English Lessons were given in the fourth grade of primary school. At that time English teaching was typically given for the students on first grade of Junior High. Science lessons were divided into Biology and Physics Lessons on the fourth grade also. And we have Trade Administration Lesson in the fourth grade again.

I’ve already told my mom that I did not go to school. I did not want my chance to be a sepur tumbuk driver will be disappeared. Therefore, I was unwilling to enter the class followed Mrs. Yati and Mrs. Tutik. I did not know what to do now in my loneliness, so I moved closer to a tree and climbed it.

From the top of the tree, I watched Pak Slamet’s home again from a distance. Breeze gently rubbed my little body. Noise of leaves and branches rustled the sound of breeze. Sunlight shadow on the leaves and stems of the trees I’d climbed forming sweet shadow-shaped circles. I did enjoyed it.

Suddenly I heard the sound of a hand-clap loudly patted.

(to be continued)




pict by Astungkara Wiguna

“Sepur Tumbuk’s” Driver (Part Two)




Row of shade trees in front and behind us chasing slowly. The trees were moving closer and away, we were riding in a rickshaw along the way yo my first school. Trees that shading the passers-by were mostly tamarind. There are also some accacia trees. After a while we’ve entered Jalan Jakarta. That is, we’ve almost reached our destination. Laboratory Kindergarten IKIP Malang.

The most interesting thing about my city’s pedicab is the bell mounted on the steering handlebars. The bell is made of an iron ring for three quarters of an adult fist. Attached to the steering handlebars using the rickshaw tire pieces cut out to form a ribbon. If pedicab driver want to ring the bell, he would pinch the metal ring that emits a vibration “therrr, … therrr” which was very typical. It was an incredible horn. Creativity of Indonesian, no other countries could imitate it.

After paying the cost, my mother took my sister and guided me to meet my first teachers. We walked slowly approached the classroom. There are two local places of learning in that school complex which belong to IKIP Malang. First local for kindergarten and another local for grade one elementary school students in PPSP IKIP Malang.

One local was for TK-1, TK-2 and TK-3, and another local which was located opposite to them was for the student of class 1A, 1B and 1C SD PPSP IKIP Malang. Higher class located on another complex in Jalan Magelang Number Four. Also owned by IKIP Malang.

I saw a lot of kids of my were playing in the school yard. I want to burst join to play with them. But I’m ashamed to my mother as already told her that I did not want to go to school. I want to be a sepur tumbuk driver. And being sepur tumbuk driver does not need school. I cone my mouth in front of my mother.

“Oooooh, … that’s Mimit come,” said a teacher. Her flawless sweet and petite. I wonder how come she knew my name.

“Come Mit, Give your hands to Mrs. Yati,” my mother commanded me sweetely. I cone my mouth in front of my mother again.

Ooooh,so her name was Mrs. Yati, I thought. Mrs. Yati approached us and chatted with my mother. Adult conversation. I had absolutely no interest.

I noticed my surroundings, my eyes glued to a little girl on my age. She has waist long hair. His eyes were narrow and had very white skin. The girl was really very charming. Finished playing swinging then she played a round with other friends. She laughed happily. I wanted to play with her, but I hesitated. I turned towards my mother who was talking with Mrs. Yati sadly and desperate. But my decision was obvious. I do not go to school because my goal was to be sepur tumbuk driver. And sepur tumbuk driver does not need school.

In the hubbub of children playing on the school yard, suddenly appeared another teacher from a classroom. The teacher was tall and beautiful, but her face looked a bit stiff. She was soon joined to my mother and Mrs. Yati.

“Mrs. Toha, how are you?,” she said to my mother.

“I’m fine, Mrs Tutik, I should get my child to go to school,” my mother replied.

“Here Mit, shake hands with Mrs. Tutik,” called my mother.

I immediately met the three of them. I already noticed in other place that many groups of mothers were hospitable. There are six teachers on Laboratory IKIP Malang. Two teachers handled a class. A teacher for the small zero class and another for big zero class. So the class room is shared for small and big zero. In TK-1, Mrs. Yati dutied for small zero class and her colleague, Mrs. Tutik teaching for big zero class. Thus the division of labor between them an the first year I’d entered school.




pict by Emile Seno Aji

“Sepur Tumbuk’s” Driver (Part One)

Chapter I

“Sepur Tumbuk’s” Driver




My mother hooking my red shorts rights carefully, then put a short-sleeved shirt over my sweatshirts. That’s my first uniform. My mother had sewed that shirt and pants herself with a sewing machine my father had bought , several days after their wedding. The shorts was dark red and my shirt had white based color with flowered with batik motifs matching with my pants. The smell of the wax was still adequate from the shirt.

“I don’t want to go to school,” I said to my mother.

“Why?,” she asked.

“My goal right into sepur tumbuk driver,” I replied.

“And sepur tumbuk driver does not need school.”

“As mother said,” I continued.

Sepur tumbuk is a term introduced by my mother to the heavy equipment used to surface on the work of transportation civil engineering. At the time the road in front of my parents rented house being paved. I often watched the cylinder back and fort the street to harden it. I admire the cylinder. What a dashing riding it.

“Yes,” she replied patiently.

“To be the driver of sepur tumbuk does not need to go to school,” she continued.

Then she took my hand and led me to the first school. Kindergarten Laboratorium IKIP Malang in Jalan Simpang Bogor Malang. To get to the school my mother asked for help on pedicab driver. IKIP Malang was the former name of UM. UM stands for Universitas Negeri Malang, a state university on East Java.

Mother covered my brothers’ face with jarik she used to carry. Jarik is a sheet of batik, it also could be used to hold a baby besides its primary function to cover lower part of the body. My brother fell asleep in my mother’s arms. She also holding my sisters’ arm, and was pregnant fourth sister. Already completed her suffering, she was pregnant, hold and holding. Fitting is a term used by neighboring countries for the maternity hospital in Indonesia. For the same purpose they use the term Rumah Sakit Korban Lelaki or in Bahasa means Male Victims Hospital. And it’s absolutely true.

After locking all the doors and windows of our rented house, my mother then took all her care to the junction near my house to meet rickshaw driver.

“We want to go to Jalan Simpang Bogor, Sir”, she said in a rickshaw driver who was lying on his pedicab. The man was immediately rose from his sleep and fix a tattered hat perched on his head.

“Yes Ma’am, please.”

“How much?,” Asked my mother to the rickshaw fare which will delivered us.

My mother was not a fussy person whith any bid, then after a brief conversation with the pedicab drivers, we immediately boarded his rickshaw down all the way to Jalan Simpang Bogor, my first school.

(to be continued)




pict by Iwan J Prasetyo