Notes: My Clothes, Your Clothes

Are you wearing fast fashion products either it is from Zara, Pull & Bear, H&M, Bershka and any other? How often do you buy a new outfit? And….have you ever wondered who makes your clothes, under what condition, how do they make it or where do they make it? Well, let me tell you a story.

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Yesterday, my friends and I went to an interesting yet eye-opening trip. We visited one  ready made garment factories in Bangladesh. This trip gave us the opportunity to see how our clothes are manufactured from the scratch. Located 35 kilometer from Dhaka, the factory is owned and run by Beximco Group, a Bangladeshi multinational company. The company manufactures products for a wide range of clients ranging from Zara, Pull&Bear, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger to DKNY. According to its official website, currently the company’s Textile & Apparel Division employs more than 5,150 people.

Bangladesh is known as the second largest ready made garment producer after China. The industry has become one of the largest export earning contribution to the country. According to Dhaka based newspaper The Daily Star, the industry has generated export earning up to USD 28.67 billion as of December 2016. The industry hopes to increase to USD 50 billion by 2021.

SONY DSCThe Bangladesh textile and garment industry employs approximately 4 million people. Most of the workers are women. Every month, they earn approximately 7,000 to 10,000 BDT, this figure is actually slightly higher than its minimum wage which is at 5,300 BDT. According to various local media report, the worker union is demanding that the minimum wage should be increased to 16,000 BDT.

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Some of you might remember the 2013 Rana Plaza incident which caused more than 1,100 killed and 2,500 injured; this incident is known as the deadliest industrial disaster ever. Since the incident, the Bangladesh’s textile and apparel industry claims that they have been making effort to improve the factory condition that meet the safety standard. Yet, as we walked around the factory and learnt about its production process, I noticed that many textile and apparel workers are exposed to high level of noise from the machines as well as chemical hazards without any protection which you can see from my pictures. This condition is feared to have a significant impact to the worker’s health. Not forget to mention that many of them spend hours to standing or sitting while doing their work. This made me wonder how much the 2013 Rana Plaza incident has really brought changes to the textile and garment’s industry in Bangladesh.

I must say that this trip has reflected upon me that despite the fact that Bangladesh has become a centre of ready-made garment manufacturing for many global fashion brands, the country is still severely underdeveloped. Additionally, workers tend to have terrible conditions while others get massive profits. Yet, without this sector millions would be unemployed.

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Review: Couchsurfing

La RepublicaFew years ago, I was introduced to courchsurfing.org by a friend of mine, a blogger from multiply.com (I was still active blogging with multiply.com platform back then, too bad that it has been shut down now because I love that platform so much as I have been blogging with that platform since 2005 : ( ).  I found that couchsurfing.org was interesting because I could meet many different kind of people with different kind of stories such as where they have been to, how they saved money for traveling, how much money they spent in certain country, where to stay, listen to their point of view about other cultures, etc. I would say that it is fun.

So in 2009, I decided to sign up and create a profile in couchsurfing.org to get new friends and meet new people from all over the world. Unfortunately, I was not particularly that active because I started my job in Jakarta and did not really have time for myself. My work and the Jakarta traffic made me lazy to attend some gatherings because I was too tired

However luckily, I had the opportunity to meet number of amazing people and young travelers, which opened my eyes about life. I met four European girls, who studied in Singapore in 2010; a 21 Australian boy who has been traveling to 70 countries after he managed to save for two or three years since he was 16 (he didn’t go to senior high school if I was not mistaken); an Italian photographer who stayed in hundreds of couch while he was traveling and many more. Most of them have great story and are very down to earth. 

I was amazed but jealous at the same time with their ability to travel around the world. So why am I jealous? It is not because of their financial flexibility but Indonesian citizen doesn’t really have an easy access visiting a country, especially European, American and also Australian country.

We have to apply for tourist visa, complete a bunch of document, pay a lot of money for the visa with the possibility of losing it if we were rejected. While most of Westerner (Lucky you people!) have the privilege to  come and go visiting the developing country very easy such Indonesia, India, Thailand, Vietnam, etc. Right?!

I actually have a hell lot of things to complain about but I will leave it there because I know that I am luckier than them, who comes from third world country or African country. I am grateful with what I got.

But anyway…. so here I was being profiled by an Italian couchsurfer in La Republica, an Italian newspaper on August 2010. I think I will activate my couchsurfing profile again to find a new activity in 2014.

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Notes: Back to Jakarta Baby

 

Bali story is over for the moment. I am back to Jakarta and back to real life where I have to deal with crazy traffic again. But what can I do? I gotta make some cash so I can get some more shoes no? Ooops!

Despite the fact I am complaining about Jakarta’s traffic, I would say that it is fun to be back to Jakarta because I am back to cover some stories again. I would meet new people again, I would get some new informations and I would write more stories again. Yay!

Kabut Jihad book launching in Hotel Borobudur, Jakarta [2012: Oktofani]

Khairul Ghazali, the author of Kabut Jihad, launched his 50th book in Jakarta [2012: Oktofani]

Today I attended a book launching, which was written by an Islamic fundamentalism figure, who was accused to involve in 2010 bank robbery at CIMB Niaga branch in Medan. It was very interesting because it was attended by many Islamic fundamentalism figures, Islamic scholars and also government officers.

Umar Patek, an accused bombmaker in the 2002 Bali attacks, was speaking to reporters in West Jakarta District Court [2012: Oktofani]

While tomorrow (Thursday), I would attend a Umar Patek’s verdict hearing. I really have to wake up early and leave early so I can get a front seat in the court room in West Jakarta District Court. It will be fun!

FYI, Umar Patek, 45, is accused of assembling explosives for twin suicide bombings on a bar and a nightclub in Bali that killed 202 people, and church attacks in Jakarta on Christmas Eve in 2000 that killed 19.

Anyway, I got a little problem here. I have been spending a week writing fiction and now I have to switch my brain to write news again. I found it super hard…. but what can I do? Little mamma needs to make some money.

And yay! I can go back to gym again… it has been a week that I did not work out at the gym.

Ride the bus