do not remember what his look likes. I do not even remember his name. Yet even though I do not remember the reason, I remember we gave him a nick name “John”.
One thing I still remember clearly about him is his friendship with my sister. He was one of my sister’s special friends because he was a man that did not afraid to break the wall that might prevent that friendship.
Their friendships began in the 80’s, the time when Chinese are not fully accepted as part of the citizen in my country. Time when almost all Chinese got difficulty to process anything bureaucratic, start from passport, citizenship, etc. It was also the time when making a real friendship between Chinese and other was difficult. There is invisible wall that separated Chinese and the other.
It was the first day in kindergarten. My sister as first born and first grandchild was having a beautiful day to start. With brand new shining shoes and brand new pink water jar, she was ready to conquer the world. Water jar was still commonly used in that time since there was no mineral water sold and we have to boil water first before we drank it.
Every thing was all right until class is finish. Some of the too much energy kids from her class push my sister until she felt to the ground. My sister got a few bruises. However worse of it the brand new pink water jar was broken. The only intact item was its cap.
My sister started to cry because she liked that water jar very much. She cried her heart out. Then my sister met this man.
Here he was waiting for any passenger who wanted to ride on his “becak”. One look at my crying sister, he did not care about passenger any more. He did not think about money. He did not think my sister is Chinese. He just saw a crying kid and simply took her home when others did not care.
From that day, he become my sister best friend and my sister school “becak”. Every morning from Monday to Saturday, he waited patiently in front of our door. When my sister late, it felt like it was him who was late. He would ride his “becak” fast enough so my sister would not be punished for being late.
They have a solid 10 years friendship until we moved to another city. When we moved, he brought us two big poultry. I knew those poultry were a luxury to him, but still he gave them to us happily.
A friendship without border that I will always remember. He taught me a lesson that no matter thick the wall is, we still can break it to make friends.
I do not know how he is now. My father has tried to locate him once but it failed. However I pray that God will always blessed him and his family forever.
Note: becak is one of traditional transportation vehicle. As I remember, I used to go around by becak, because there no bus there and car was luxury. However, in my opinion, for little town, becak is the best transportation tools. It cause no air pollution at all.