Saturday, June 9, 2007

The Literary Activist

In the sweltering heat of the metropolitan, Ucup Angke offers those trapped in Jakarta's traffic the freshest news. "People today don't read newspapers that much. They only do it in the morning. That is why I feel obligated to push their interest in reading the news even in the oddest hours," said Ucup, a young lad from Angke.

"It's not about business, I am just very disturbed to find our nation's awareness of technology that takes over the necessity of reading off what's printed. In the olden days, even the simplest form of paper with something written on it is already a form of entertainment in its own right. Nowadays people rely so much on television that they are somewhat ignorant to the printed media. What they forget is how our children are still taught with printed materials at schools. I'm just preserving what needs to be preserved," Ucup stated with a hint of fierce in his voice.

The soft-spoken gentleman is still in the process of finishing his elementary education. He chuckled when Indonesia Prattler questioned him about his academic background. "From what I believe, the streets of Jakarta offers more education than those offered at schools. I learned to read and write by myself. My advanced skill on martial arts, too, was acquired from my activities outdoors," he grinned, showing us a modest smile. Ucup is an Angke native, coming from the northern part of the city. He even performed some moves of the 'berantem jalanan' or 'street fight' style to Indonesian Prattler, "Growing up in Angke forced me to inherit the natives' hot temper, which is very good for my safety."

Ucup Angke, so he is recognized by his colleagues, is one of the city's rare gem. His passion for the literary world overwhelmed Indonesia Prattler. His love for the printed media has also influenced his sense of style. A 'Koran Tempo' printed fisherman-style cap covers his shoulder-length locks, and to complete the 'street' look, the fine gentleman go with 'Uber Bronx' short-sleeved over long-sleeved style. "It's important to protect my skin with the simplest means possible. I don't like fancy sunscreens. Too much hassle," he said when Indonesia Prattler praised his smart-casual attire.

Until today, Ucup still has no desire in settling down. "I'm not old yet. I revel in the adventure of advising Jakartans to read more. And I savor the joy of doing it straight to the target(s) right at the heart of the city."

A vehement ardor, indeed.

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