Kaki Gebuk Maling


There is a lady, who holds a constant grudge against me and without any particular reasons enjoys to attack my physical appearance though I have never met her.

She says my legs are ‘kaki gebuk maling‘ or KGM she calls me. My legs, they are indeed big and muscular. But these legs have brought me all around the world, walking down by riversides, in forests and parks, over hills and mountains, and along beautiful beaches. These legs have taken me everywhere, to see many things other people haven’t seen. She doesn’t know how I love walking. It helps me to think straight. She also doesn’t know that when I walk I meet interesting and lovely people, who even do not speak my language yet nicely smile at me. When I walked, several time I met kind people who are now become my closest friends, from all around the world.

I accept that I cannot make my legs slimmer. I don’t have any intention anyway because I don’t mind having these brave kaki gebuk maling. These legs are very strong and convenience for me to do what I love: long walking in the bush, long walking over the mountain so I can do caving, long walking in the rain along the beaches, long and silent walking in the city. Just walk because I cannot help, I love walking.

She also says my face is like “penjaga warung“, udik she said. I am glad it is my face that’s udik, not my attitude. I am lucky that my face looks udik so, people in slum areas see me as their friends. With these people I shared the most incredible time in my life. From these people I learnt gratitude. From these people I know how to hope, everyday. I am grateful for I have this ‘penjaga warung’ face so when I went doing my research in ‘pelosok desa’, farmers were not afraid to mingle and to chat with me and accepted me as part of their society, a commoner (I am a commoner). From these people I documented intimacy, vulnerability and the quiet moments that weave them together.

I understand I cannot change my udik face into a metropolitan face – a ‘menak‘ face. For this reason I embrace my good qualities from my thoughts, my attitudes, my emotion, my words and my point of views – I wouldn’t know – perhaps if I had noble facial features for I would pay attention more to looking after my outward appearance than what’s inside. What I am saying here is not a cliche that has become a truism people say to make myself feel better. I don’t think having a ‘penjaga warung’ face is a humiliation. By the way, what is wrong with penjaga warung’s face?

Yes, I want to tell her that my KGM and penjaga warung face are my blessings. Having them as part of my body has enriched my life🙂

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