I had met Jaka already previous time in Makassar. She had a pretty popular salon in downtown, pleasantly busy each day. Eka suggested we can stay at her salon and get to know her better. Eka was her junior.
On the way to Makassar, we met a party of warias around the area. We stopped and had a chat, I took a photo.
But Eka had to hurry, because she had an important meeting in one of the big hotels of the city. Makassar is the capital of Sulawesi, and its huge. There are big roads and colorful neighborhoods, something for everybody, including the rich fucks, as the anarchists would see it. Eka was sitting attentively behind the desk together with couple of other ladies from the village, who are running good in business and have some extras to invest. The hotel had some 20 floors, we all were served expensive fruit cocktails and chocolate cake – rarity in Sulawesi. There was young and smiling man explaining on a fake iPad how the money they give starts to grow. Like a tree. It’s growing. They could all see it in the graphics. The arrow moves up, more money is coming back. Especially when you give in bigger sum.
They never asked.
Eka has played with investing before – she has got already two cars. “From internet,” as she puts it. Maybe she’s been the lucky first one, or maybe this is the reality of Indonesia? Economic crash has not touched this base here, Indonesia is booming, but it still has a long way to rise.
Actually I was invited to come over to Makassar to screen “Wariazone”. Professor Halilintar Latief, the largest researcher on bissu on earth, and that’s true, invited people from various background and different religions to see the documentary and have an open discussion on the matter of the waria in Indonesia. Makassar is a well-known hub for warias, although lately they are crying more of the lack of basic economic needs. There is so many people, so many warias and competition is high. Even when you open a salon. It feels unsafe to work on the street. And again I can’t help of seeing the social reality that is behind this situation, that is creating it. This is because of the narrow zone for the waria that is left out there. This is exactly the socially constructed playground the warias are trapped in and which thus also shapes their identity. Zone, zone, wariazone.