The Life of a Chinese family in the City

A Book Rental Business

Today I only got 12,000 rupiah. Only one girl rented a Sidney Sheldon’s novel, and six little boys and girls, that I thought Elementary and Junior High school students, rented comics. I came back to Singaraja three years ago from Bandar Lampung, Sumatera, after I lost my house because of fire and my father died and left my mother alone. The fire at the midnight burn two houses beside mine, and thanks God, I could manage the worth property and several books save from the fire. The books, which were mostly consisted of comics and novels, were worth for my family’s life. We opened book rental, we provided series of comics and international best seller novels written by famous authors in the world. We have a lot of customers; they are students, officers, and housewives.
After living in Bandar Lampung more than ten years, with several reasons, I decided to have new life in Singaraja, the place where I was born, with my wife and my only son, Kevin. At that time he was 3 years old. I brought many things including the books. Here, I could hardly get a job. I am the head of the family, and should earn money for my family’s life. With the money I have, I bought new comics and novels in Denpasar, because none here, and set up the living room to be the place of book rental. I used the same name with my previous book rental in Lampung, “Sanrio” book rental. It is located in the city on Jalan Patimura, Taman Lila area, Singaraja.
Sometimes, there were a lot of customers, but sometime a few, or even none. When the students have the examination period, usually, my income will decrease. But it cannot be used as the basic of prediction and measurement. Like today, the students have finished the examination, but only a few come here to rent books. Thinking about students, I remembered my only son, who will be an elementary student next education year, on July or August 2007.
He is still a student of Lab Kindergarten School now. He attended entrance test in the favorite state SD or elementary school, SD 347 Banjar Jawa Singaraja, but he failed. I registered him in SD Lab, the favorite private school, and pay 50,000 rupiah for the test registration, but he was not accepted. And my wife asked to register Kevin in SD Mutiara, private school again, but I refused, because I should pay 50,000 rupiah too as the registration. I considered that I have no connection with the staffs there. It made me difficult. And finally, I just registered Kevin in SD Karya, the private school where my brother, sister, cousins and I, studied when we were children. No payment for the registration test there.
I am Chinese. It is a tendency that most of the Chinese in Singaraja registered their children in private schools. I don’t know why, but it is the fact. For the school for Kevin, I thought I have made best choice. The registration school fee in SD Lab Singaraja is 900,000 rupiah and every month I should pay 100,000 rupiah, it is not including the books, and some other payments. I thought I cannot afford it. In SD Karya, the school fee that should be paid every month is arranged based on the financial ability of the parents of the students. It made me relieved. I am not rich person. Many people thought Chinese must be rich, but it is not really true. I am the proof. I am Chinese that now have small family, with my wife and son that try to earn money to continue the life in this rapid development and changes. Not different with other people, I thought. Sometimes, the Chinese are treated in different way by the neighborhood; we are a minority here. But I am glad it is not as strict as before. I always try to have a good relationship with them and I hope the people will have open mind and always treat me, a Chinese, the same in the neighborhood.

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