Global poverty is a serious issue. According to the United Nations Development Programme, nearly half of the world’s population, more than 3 billion people, live on less than $2.50 a day.
The Indonesia Statistics Central Agency (BPS) records the number of poor in Indonesia as about 28.51 million people, many gathered in Jakarta.
I visited a shantytown by train tracks in central Jakarta, Indonesia in June 2019. The dwellers mostly come from other rural areas of Indonesia, leaving hometowns for Jakarta and hoping to get a job and find some means of living for their families. As they can’t afford rent, this shantytown became their warm shelter.
Most of the houses here are built with recycled wood panels. With very limited space, each family lives in a “petak” (space) about 1.3m x 3m; they have no proper furnishing, no air conditioning, and all share a kitchen and toilet; residents face high risks and noise as this location has the heaviest train traffic from day to night in Jakarta, and their houses are just a few feet from the tracks.
I spent a few days here to talk to the dwellers. We never know what’s happening behind their closed doors; they are poor people suffering from illness and exposed to high risks, noise, and a dirty environment with insufficient water; some of them have no job, and many children lack proper education. Although they have little, they are not crying and shouting; they live one day at a time; they smile and live as best they can, even though they have little.
For them, every day is new. The lesson I learned from them is to live one day at a time. We never know what will happen tomorrow. No matter how rich and how happy we are, one day we may face difficulties. All the challenges will come to anyone, and everyone will face hard times, so we should be thankful, living happily today and living life to the fullest.
About Grace Ho Pui Wan
Grace graduated from National University of Malaysia and currently work as a general manager in Kuala Lumpur. She has picked up photography as a hobby in 2013 when her best friend Ujin bought her a hardcover photography book; She started her photo- graphy journey and learned to shoot in few genres including people, architecture, ma- cro, fine art, street photography, landscape and under water.
After years of shooting, her interest sharpe- ned and focused more on the captured peo- ples and issues related with human element. Grace enjoys the interaction of emotion, the humanity, and mode of feeling between the subjects and herself. As a passionate photo- grapher, she always considers photography a way to perpetuate a moment, with all the associated emotions and feeling. To Grace, a good image tells a story, It will inspires the spectator’s feeling and emotion and en- courages the viewers wanted to know more about the people, their cultures, or scene- ries in different places through her lens.