Monday, 5 December 2022
They are the ‘petite bourgeoisie’. Leftists mock them as fence-sitters. Rightists of feudal persuasion look down on them. In the Javanese poem the Wulangreh, cherished by aristocrats, they are described as having ‘merchant temperaments’.
ALMOST daily, the local market is like a beehive. It starts a few hours before it opens: towards midnight, on that 2000-meter square plot of earth, people and goods squeeze between ramshackle bamboo structures. Small traders, sacks, baskets, and of course all kinds of vegetables, fish, dried shrimp, tempeh and tofu, fruit, chilies, fermented fish paste, salt, textiles, rice, coconuts…all jostling for space.
Smells and colors compete for a...
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