After graduating from elementary school, against the background of his family's economic struggles, Darmawan decided to relocate and find a job in Jakarta. At first he worked as a busker around Bakmi Naga and RS Kramat 128, also accepting offers for construction labour and newspaper delivery.
How did he finally decide to become an odong-odong operator?
After hearing his friend, who first worked as an odong-odong, talk about the profession, eventually he was tempted to try it for himself. He hired an odong-odong from a dealer in the Kawi-Kawi Johar Baru area of Central Jakarta for a daily rent of Rp. 30,000. Every day he still picks up his vessel around 08.00 WIB and returns it at 8:00 p.m. The working day starts from Paseban Market and the alleys around Kramat Lontar until 12.00 WIB, then continues until 3:00 p.m around Kramat Kwitang until maghreb. However, every Sunday he turns up for duty as a parking attendant for the Church in Kwitang. "It’s not bad work, mba; I can make 50 thousand in a day parking cars for the Church," he said.
On the days when he’s busy with the krucils (young children), then he can reap revenues of Rp. 85,000 gross, but on bad days he might only bring home Rp.25.000, not including operating and rental costs. That means he has to find Rp. 5,000 to cover the shortfall for rent, probably by borrowing his friend's money in advance or requesting credit from the machine’s owner.
Where does he live?
Mr. Darmawan lives in a mosque located in Kwitang with some of his friends, so he doesn't need to spend money on a place to live.
Pros and Cons of being an Odong-odong operator?
Mr. Darmawan received complaints from a mother of one of the krucil riding his odong-odong when they wouldn’t calm down while he was pedaling. While listening to the song some children who were playing around near the amplifier ended up getting caught in the gaps of Darmawan’s odong-odong. He was told-off by the mother:
“Sir, be careful with your odong-odong!” She complained.
“How can I be, bu? the children won’t calm down, but I’ve been pedalling just like this all day!” He replied to her.
Pak Darmawan’s hope is that he will have a chance to be entrusted with operating one of the electric odong-odong. He stated that he believes they are easier to operate and are likely to provide more income for him.