Magerengan - Background

It was 10.15 at night and the sound of a motorbike entering the yard could be heard. Men Budi quickly peered through the window. She saw De Budi getting off the bike. “Meme, why are you still up? You don’t have to sell tomorrow so why are you making offerings?” “They are not for sale … I am making them for me for a ceremony tomorrow. Although we only have chilli plants I will nevertheless take part in the ceremony. I want to give thanks to God.” “Oh ... I see …. on the way home from the campus just now I called in at a bookshop. There is a book that I like. May I ask for Rp.50,000 of your savings?” “Buy it another time …. my savings have all been spent on the ceremony.” Budi didn’t respond and feeling annoyed he went into his room. Men Budi went to the kitchen and got a plate filled with rice, Moringa leaves and chilli shrimp. “Budi … come and eat.” Budi looked at what was on the plate and said “This is how I see it … we are poor because of ceremonies. I have already told you that mantra is enough. I have encouraged you to become more modern but you don’t want to. Every day we eat chilli shrimp. As soon as we get some money, it is used for ceremonies. When will we be able to fix up the house?” Hearing those words, Meme only smiled as she put the plate down. “It’s like this. There are many ways to have a religion. It’s true what you said ... that one can practise their religion just through mantra. Now I want to ask you … what is it that sustains us? Is it not from Meme selling small offerings?” “Yes … so?” “If everyone … as you say … thought in a modern way …. I wouldn’t have any income, would I?” “Then go and find other work, that’s easy enough!” “That’s not the point … there is no ceremony that makes us poor. On the other hand, it provides us Balinese with an income by selling the things to make offerings. From children who only finished Elementary School, older women have acquired the skills to survive. Money is not only for our own enjoyment but we are also obliged to assist others in need.”

Desak Made Yunda Ariesta