How do others live their lives as we shuttle about in our air conditioned cars from office to home to shopping malls and others decent, if not well appointed houses?
Here’s a moving story about a transgender Jakartan who was apparently Obama’s nanny when he was growing up.
For another account of how hard life is in Jakarta watch this excellent BBC program on the Toughest Place to be a bin man: Jakarta
If these glimpses of how others struggle for survival do not disturb you and give you pause on what you can do to make this city a better place then something’s wrong.
By AP News Mar 05, 2012 4:10PM UTC
Evie, also known as Turdi, the former nanny of U.S. President Barack Obama, stands at the doorway of her room at a boarding house in a slum in Jakarta, Indonesia. Pic: AP.
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Once, long ago, Evie looked after “Barry” Obama, the kid who would grow up to become the most powerful man on earth. Now, his transgender former nanny has given up her tight, flowery dresses, her brocade vest and her bras, and is living in fear on Indonesia’s streets.
Evie, who was born a man but believes she is really a woman, has endured a lifetime of taunts and beatings because of her identity. She describes how soldiers once shaved her long, black hair to the scalp and smashed out glowing cigarettes onto her hands and arms.
The turning point came when she found a transgender friend’s bloated body floating in a backed-up sewage canal two decades ago. She grabbed all her girlie clothes in her arms and stuffed them into two big boxes. Half-used lipstick, powder, eye makeup — she gave them all away.
“I knew in my heart I was a woman, but I didn’t want to die like that,” says Evie, now 66, her lips trembling slightly as the memories flood back. “So I decided to just accept it. … I’ve been living like this, a man, ever since.”
Indonesia’s attitude toward transgenders is complex.
Nobody knows how many of them live in the sprawling archipelagic nation of 240 million, but activists estimate 7 million. Because Indonesia is home to more Muslims than any other country in the world, the pervasiveness of men who live as women and vice versa often catches newcomers by surprise. They hold the occasional pageant, work as singers or at salons and include well-known celebrity talk show host Dorce Gamalama.