Saturday, February 25, 2017

Boys WILL be boys sometimes. An Indonesian story that could be ANYWHERE!

Boys WILL be boys, no matter ‘where and when’ they are!
We can all relate to ‘yesterday’ stories. They ring a bell, tweak an emotion or just plain make us laugh. Take this one for example, as told to me by a special Indonesian guy. It took place in the early 1990s, in and---into the jungles close to Jakarta.
“I was about 16 years old and I was a pretty good kid. I attended school every day, behaved myself and generally did quite well in all my subjects. My parents were very strict and I guess they were typical of parents back then---they knew what I was up to and had a close relationship with the school.
I was in a class of about 35 kids and it was my senior year in the school. Most of the boys were from families that cared and in the majority of cases, there were few behavioural issues. BUT---sometimes ‘BOYS JUST GOTTA HAVE FUN,’ I guess Cindy Lauper’s song must have got to us a bit so we decided to have OUR version of FUN!
It took a few days to plan our EVENT, and after preparing suitable stories for our families, we launched the fun times. There were about fourteen boys involved and fourteen alibies to prepare, along with the food, clothing, tents and even a guitar. We were going ‘JUNGLE!’
On the morning of the great escape, the boys and I gathered at a Warung (a street café) near the school, then boarded one of the city trains, heading out towards Bogor and beyond. We were now in the hills and it was so much more comfortable than the crazy, sticky, hot streets of Jakarta. We purchased a few food items; the ubiquitous noodles and some tinned food. The boys all had water bottles and we figured on picking up a few more from some of the villages near to our target zone.
We climbed higher and higher and the jungle replaced the myriad of small farms. Many a villager cast curious glances at our little procession, but generally, they left us alone.
After walking for a few hours, we stopped for the night near a bubbling stream. The two tents we had lugged up the hills were soon set up and a fire lit as the sun sank below the horizon. The party began!
NO---there was no alcohol, just water and lots of other spirits—the exuberant kind that comes with being young and having fun. We sang, we laughed and played silly games. We told stories and the inevitable ghost stories began to dominate. Sure---we were very aware of the snakes, spiders, scorpions and centipedes---some of which could put one or all of us in jeopardy! To be honest---it was the ‘spirits and ghosts that we all believed in, that really bent our resolve to stay no more than a day or two.
We slept, if only for a few hours then on the next day we explored the river, swimming and having fun. No one got hurt----well not seriously. Another night passed and then it was back to the city---to face the music.
By the time, we arrived home---all hell had broken loose. The school had started the ‘reaction.’ Think about it. My class had 35 kids and all but one of the boys had not turned up to school that first day. He sat alone, looking ‘goody goody,’ while the girls muttered amongst themselves about where we ‘may’ have gone.
Our ‘home room’ teacher alerted the principal, who then began the massive task of ringing all of the parents. The parents began ringing one another and gathered together at various homes of the guilty kids. The police were not called at this stage.
The day passed and then another night. On the way, back from the jungle, we discussed what we were going to face back at home---and school. We were about to find out. Were we going to be beaten? Apparently, the principal had told the parents to ‘stay calm and leave it to him.’ They did as he had asked. Apart from a few words and lots of ‘looks,’ we were left alone to stew about the next day at school.
We went to class, whereupon a message came from the principal for us to go to the school field. Our anxiety levels ramped up somewhat as he quietly looked at our group. He preached, not religion, but how hard our parents had worked to get us to this good school and how they had sacrificed so much----for us.  Then----came the consequences.
He made us stand the whole school day in the hot sun. The other kids mocked us mercilessly. We were hot and thirsty. I remember the school nurse watched us, for the entire day. Finally, it was over and we were allowed to go home.’
Boys it seems will do what they have done for aeons---have fun, take risks and to hell with the consequences. Not much has changed, wherever we come from. Sure, the stories may differ, but there is a unifying human factor in this little story. It makes me smile, even if I disapprove---a bit---probably the snakes and spiders would have been my worry.
Thanks for sharing your adventure with me, Rio.

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