According to MSN Money, inflation in Asia is out of control and the situation most likely will be getting worse in the coming months. For Malaysia, the 3% annual rate for April was a 15-month high, and Bank Negara is now predicting inflation will climb to 4.2% for all of 2008. *sigh*
But if we think our situation is bad, it looks like our neighbour country, Indonesia, is even worse. There's an article in NST today about Jakarta's urban poor that makes me realize how lucky our children are compared to some other children in other parts of the world.
The article reminds me of what happened during our recent trip to Bandung.
It was around 8pm. My husband wanted to alter the pants that he bought at one of the factory outlets. He asked our taxi driver who was waiting for us outside the shop and before the man could answer, there was this young girl about 8 years old who said "Pak, saya boleh tunjukkan" (Sir, I can show you"). So, my husband followed her.
After about 30 minutes, I saw my husband walking back and just slighly infront of him was the same girl who showed him the way just now. When he arrived at the place where I was waiting for him, I heard the girl kept saying "Terima kasih Pak" (Thank you sir) a few times. Then she left.
My husband was quite for a while during our journey back to the hotel. Then he told me what happened.
According to him, after the girl showed him the way, he gave her Rp2,000 which is equivalent to about 76sen. She was so happy and quickly she went to buy 2 pieces of bread. She ate one and she kept the other one. The way she ate it somehow showed that she was hungry and my husband asked her "lapar ya?" ("hungry?"). She answered "ya Pak. Ngak makan dari pagi" ("yes sir. I have not eaten since morning"). Later she said that the other piece was for her brother.
Anyway, my husband told her that she could go if she wanted to as he knew how to get back to where I was waiting but she continued to wait with my husband until the pants was ready.
My husband kept saying how lucky our daughter is. Imagine those children who have to do all sorts of odd jobs to survive. Rp2,000 which he gave to the girl may not mean much to us but to her it filled up her hungry stomach and maybe her brother's as well. And the Rp2,000 given to her was enough to make her waited for my husband to finish his errand.
This happened before the recent fuel hike. If life was difficult for them before, I'm sure it will be worse now.
We should count our blessings. At least our children are able to enjoy a much better life.