Tag Archives: Bangladesh

Notes: A Conscious Consumer 

I don’t know exactly how many clothes I have been purchasing in these last ten years. It must be hundreds or could have been thousands. And where are those clothes now? Most of them have been donated, given out or thrown away. Why? Those were either already washed out, destroyed or simply out of trend. Well you know….I was one of those consumers who “sees now, buys now” but I have been trying to change to be a conscious consumer in the past few years now. Why? Here is my story 
Back in 2011, I had an interesting conversation with the domestic assistant who worked in my apartment in Jakarta. She told me that she used to work in a garment factory. She also mentioned about her workload, about her salary as well as a heartbreaking incident story where she was pregnant but unfortunately she had miscarriage when she worked over-time in the factory. She lost her baby. I am not sure whether it was work-related or not. Since then, she decided to leave her job in the garment factory and worked as a domestic assistant in South Jakarta.

Few months later, I went to Canada for Christmas. I went for Christmas shopping in several shops including GAP, Zara and Timberland. As I was checking on the price tag, I found out that those products are made in Indonesia and the price was high. I must say that I was slightly shocked. Why? It was because I remembered my conversation with the domestic assistant of mine. “Wow! This is crazy! Why would I purchase this while the labour are not getting paid fairly,” I walked away and entered another shops. Again, I found many apparel are made in Indonesia. I then decided to look in the Internet.

As I looked in the internet, apparently many garment and foot wear products which are distributed and sold in North America are made in Indonesia or China. Although it got me proud to see those products are made in Indonesia, it somehow got me upset because many labour who made these products only earning peanuts. I understand that other costs are also added but still it got me sad. I decided to not purchase any that time.

Those events actually change the way I consume garment products.
Do I stop buying clothes? Not yet!
So how? I start to buy less and less.
Why? It is because I don’t need it. If I feel that I want or need a new clothes, I tend to have it made. At least, I know who makes my clothes and pay accordingly. Alternatively, I will get clothes from local designers who are transparent about its supply chain. Or sometimes, I purchase pre-loved collection which is still pristine. Otherwise, I only purchase new clothes in a couple of occasion in one year. Not just that, I am also pretty picky about the brand. I tend to look for information regarding how ethical the company is. Although I must admit that we cannot really trust those report 100%. Most importantly, I refuse to pay on full price. Why? If a brand can sell their products with 70% discount, it means that a brand still makes profit from that price and I don’t want to get ripped off ūüôā. Hence, it is very important for me to keep myself fit so I don’t have to purchase new clothes simply because it does not fit me any longer.

Other than that, these days, if i go out purchasing clothes, it must be for my seven months old baby boy. Yet, I don’t purchase it simply because it looks cute so I want to buy many but simply as we need it. For me, this is my way to train myself to be a conscious customer. It is not only good for the environment but also for my saving. As you can imagine, how much money I have been spending on clothes which are eventually not being worn and forgotten or thrown away.

At the end, I believe that the way the consumers consume garment products can eventually force the company to be more ethical in producing their products where it should be good for the society as well as the environment.

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Catatan: Tentang Identitas

Beberapa waktu yang lalu, saya bertanya pada supir saya mengenai etnisitasnya. Dia menjawab bahwa dia adalah seorang Muslim. Saya bertanya ulang. Dia tetap menjawab hal yang sama. Saya kembali bertanya sekali lagi dan menjelaskan pertanyaan saya. “No, I am not asking about your religion but your ethnicity. I mean, some people are Garo, some Chakma, what about you?” Dia masih memberikan jawaban yang sama. Saya pikir, mungkin hal tersebut dikarenakan keterbatasan pemahaman bahasa. Saya tidak meneruskan pertanyaan saya. Padahal saya sangat penasaran. Kenapa? Karena saya mengenal orang Bangladesh yang memiliki ciri fisik yang sama dengannya (berkulit hitam legam dan hidung mancung) tetapi dia beragama Hindu. Meskipun demikian, saya anggap jawabannya cukup menarik di mana dia lebih menidentifikasinya dirinya dengan aliran kepercayaanya atau agamanya, ketimbang suku atau pekerjaanya.

Bangladesh merupakan sebuah negara kecil yang terletak di antara India dan Myanmar. Bangladesh yang memiliki luas wilayah sebesar 130,168 km2 diperkirakan memiliki jumlah penduduk sebanyak 168 juta jiwa per  tahun 2015. Dari jumlah penduduk yang hampir mencapai 170 juta jiwa tersebut 98.5 persen berasal dari suku Bengali, sedangkan sisanya berasal dari suku Garo, Chakma, Santhal, Biharis, Mundas dan juga Kasi. Dari setiap suku tersebut, asosiasi terhadap aliran kepercayaan atau agama berbeda satu sama lain. Misalnya, mayoritas suku Bengali merupakan pemeluk agama Islam; sedangkan mayoritas suku Chakma merupakan pemeluk agama Buddha, mayoritas suku Manipuri beragama Hindu sedangkan mayoritas suku Garo merupakan pemeluk agama Kristiani

Sebenarnya, hal ini tidak jauh berbeda dengan Indonesia, salah satu agama cenderung menjadi mayoritas di suatu tempat. Di Bali misalnya, mayoritas penduduknya merupakan pemeluk agama Hindu sedangkan di Flores, mayoritas penduduknya merupakan pemeluk agama Katholik. Tetapi yang membedakan antara orang Indonesia dan Bangladesh adalah bagaimana masyarakat Indonesia mengidentifikasi diri mereka, di mana orang Indonesia  lebih cenderung mengidentifikasi dirinya dengan sukunya ketimbang agamanya.

Hal ini benar-benar menarik perhatian saya tentang bagaimana seorang warga negara menidentifikasi dirinya, apakah berdasarkan negara asalanya, agamanya, pekerjaanya atau kesukuannya. Dari semuanya itu, mana yang lebih berbahaya bagi kehidupan manusia? Lalu, siapa yang berperan besar dalam menanamkan identitas tersebut dalam diri seorang warga negara? Apakah pemerintah memiliki peran di dalamnya?

Menurut saya, tentu pemerintah memiliki andil yang cukup besar dalam membentuk identitas warga negaranya. Sebagai orang Indonesia, kita beruntung karena Bapak negara kita mengakui keberagaman suku, ras, agama dan budaya oleh karena itu kita memiliki slogan Bhinneka Tunggal Ika yang berarti “berbeda-beda tetapi tetap satu juga”. Meskipun tidak dapat dipungkiri bahwa akhir-akhir ini, banyak gerakan Islam transnasional yang mencoba menghasut masyarakat Indonesia untuk melupakan suku dan rasnya apalagi 85 persen penduduk Indonesia merupakan pemeluk agama Islam. Akan sangat disayangkan apabila masyarakat mulai cenderung mengidentifikasi dirinya sebagai seorang pemeluk agama tertentu ketimbang kesukuaanya.

Dan sayangnya, hal tersebut sudah mulai terjadi. Hal ini dapat dilihat dari sebuah ¬†blog berjudul “Membaca Persepsi Jurnalis terhadap Agama (Islam)”¬†oleh Suhadi Cholil, dosen Prodi Agama dan Lintas Budaya (CRCS) UGM. Suhadi menuliskan bahwa¬†hasil survei yang dilakukan Yayasan Pantau pada tahun 2012 terhadap 600 wartawan di 16 propinsi. Hasil survei tersebut menunjukkan kecenderungan wartawan Indonesia yang menidentifikasi diri sebagai Islam daripada sebagai Indonesia. Tentu saja, hal ini akan berimplikasi terhadap pemberitaan di media massa dan mampu mengiring opini publik.

Padahal, perlu diketahui bahwa banyak tokoh intelektual Bangladesh yang mengapresiasi Indonesia dalam menjaga keharmonisan masyarakat di tengah perbedaan latar belakang masyarakatnya. Hal tersebut dikarenakan masyarakat luar cenderung hanya melihat Indonesia dari kulitnya saja. Agaknya, pemerintah Indonesia perlu benar-benar bertindak tegas menangkal penyebaran ideologi radikal yang akan mengubah cara berpikir masyarakat kita serta citra Indonesia sebagai negara pluralis; sehingga apa yang selama ini dikampanyekan pada masyarakat internasional bukan hanya sekedar retorika belaka atau pencitraan dan benar-benar mampu menanamkan keharmonisan di antara masyarakat Indonesia sendiri.

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Photo: The Street of Bangladesh

One of the world creative entrepreneur, a street ear wax cleaner [2016:EO]

One of the world creative entrepreneur, a street ear wax cleaner [2016:EO]

Another little boy who is lost in the cruel world [2016: EO]

Another little boy who is lost in the cruel world [2016: EO]

Give no shit, take no bullshit and lice your life [2016:EO]

Give no shit, take no bullshit and lice your life [2016:EO]

 

It is ironic that Bangladesh is one of world garment manufacturing center for many of the global fashion brands and yet it is still extremely poor and under-developed [2016: EO]

It is ironic that Bangladesh is one of world garment manufacturing center for many of the global fashion brands and yet it is still extremely poor and under-developed [2016: EO]

He earns less than a glass of gin and tonic a day [2016:EO]

He earns less than a glass of gin and tonic a day [2016:EO]

Grateful [2016: EO]

Grateful [2016: EO]

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Photo: The People of Bangladesh

Take Me to Church  [2016:EO]

Take Me to Church [2016:EO]

"Friday morning,"

“Friday morning,”

"Amen" [2016: EO]

“Amen” [2016: EO]

Thoughtful [2016:EO]

Thoughtful [2016:EO]

A lifetime of poverty [2016:EO]

A lifetime of poverty [2016:EO]

Baby's Daddy [2016:EO]

Baby’s Daddy [2016:EO]

Mamma [2016:EO]

Mamma [2016:EO]

 

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