#Repost @sanifoo (@get_repost)
This is Haji Akhmari, a first generation migrant to Singapore from Bawean Island, Indonesia. Like many others from the little island (north of Surabaya), Hj Akhmari sailed (!) on the rough Java sea to seek fortune in Singapore - to build a better life for himself and his family. Like many others, he had little/no education, except life’s hard knocks topped with a mindset that things Will be better here in Singapore. It was a hard life but what kept him going was that regardless of the situation, this adopted homeland was still better than the island in his memory.
Hj Akhmari found a job as a driver. It was the best job he had. A job he held on until he retired. He raised many kids in Singapore. They attended good schools and had good jobs. And they become good Singaporeans.
Hj Akhmari was not just a “driver”. He was a chauffeur, who drove many post-colonial tycoons in Singapore. Name one famous tycoon in Singapore and highly likely Hj Akhmari had driven him
Hj Akhmari was a unique chauffeur because he belonged to a special breed (and much-sought after) of chauffeurs that dated back to the colonial days. You see, other than that famous tradition of working at the Turf Club, many first generation local Baweanese in Singapore worked as chauffeurs. They were special because they took their “jobs” very seriously. In fact, so seriously that the cars they drove became their second homes. To a Baweanese, a home reflects the state of his well-being. A happy home reflects a good family and a good family reflects good lineage. Baweanese are house proud. Thus a clean, welcoming car is like an inviting home. A boss needs an inviting home after a long day at work. A Baweanese driver took care of these needs Very well.
Hj Akhmari may not have realised much his esteemed profession contributed to Singapore’s nation-building. I am glad to know many, humble 1st generation Baweanese like Hj Akhmari who, regardless of the profession (there were hundreds of chauffeurs like him), worked proudly, professionally and became Very Good at it.
#bawean #baweanisland #baweantourism #pulaubawean #baweanese