Near my dorm house or kost as we call it, I found a small spot in front of an elementary school where kids gather enthusiastically with some fishy friends. Kept in small boxes, these colorful fish are just waiting for a new home and it’s a delightful sight. After passing by many times, I thought the man will open up his little shop for a few days. It has been a little over two weeks.
So, I decided to stop by myself. While pouring some water for oxygen into a small aquarium, the man sends me a wash (see what I did there) of friendliness by telling me to take a look at his fish. Besides some goldfish, there were more of the Siamese fighting fish with their vibrant colors, glamorous fins and tail. Just like their name, the majority of their buyers are children who are excited not only to collect them, but to let two have a fishy battle.
Don’t worry though, that’s just a part of these feisty friends’ behavior. You could easily find one fighting its own reflection on the glass bottle.
One of the things I learned and still am learning here is to never be afraid in communicating. The man is actually from the seaport city of Merak in Cilegon, Banten, on the western coast of Java. He decides to step his foot in Jogja a few years ago to start a better living, and I do think he made a good choice. Jogja is also a place of hope, and everybody can find their own piece of happiness.
Life includes a series of efforts and I tip my hat to him for what he’s doing. He brings smiles to the faces of children, letting them have some fun without burying their face on playing a game in an iPad or a tv screen. Letting children be children where curiosity and fun is golden, and it makes me miss of the simple joys I experienced as a child.
By doing so, he’s also teaching us to never give up on a meaningful life. I didn’t pity him when I first saw him there, I respected him. He took action despite the adversities, and I could predict that there’s rarely a wrinkle of complaint coming across his face.