Talking about Yogyakarta is talking about places it has. To name one, we can mention Malioboro, its most well-known street. While walking along this street, we can find various things; foods, souvenirs, batik, and even art performances. Another must stop shopping spot is Beringharjo market. As the largest traditional market in Yogyakarta, it provides batik and souvenirs as well. In order to get a good price, we should be a good bargainer too. We can go along Beringharjo and do the window shopping by walking, because it is located inside one building.
Yogyakarta is identical to Malioboro. For everyone who took time to Yogyakarta will list Malioboro in their must-visit list. Until now, this place still survives as the trade center and becomes one icon of Yogyakarta. About the name, there are two versions of it. The first, it is taken from the name of an English gentleman, namely Marlborough, a resident of the United Kingdom in the city of Yogyakarta in 1811 AD to 1816 AD. The second one is taken from Sanskrit, Malio and Boro which means bouquet, since this place used to be filled with bouquet of flowers when the palace held celebration.
Our curiosity about Malioboro ended up by doing some observing to people who has been living around for quite long time. One of them is Pak Siswo, 66 year-old, a cabman who is devoted himself in Malioboro since the 70's on Sultan Hamengkubuwono X (HB X) period. He told us slightly about its story while sitting on his andong remembering the old Malioboro. He said, andong can only park in front of Beringharjo Market, so the street in front of it had become overcrowded, although no sidewalks and no many street vendors around. The road was used only for pedestrians. Since most vehicles were still dominated by pedicab and andong, he admitted that it was easier to earn money. Regarding the arrangement of the city, there were no attics, not too many hotels, and still many large trees on the roadside for preventing from air pollution. However, one-way street was already prevailed, and wider.
If we try to compare to nowadays Malioboro, there are already sidewalks, so andong and pedicab are allowed to park around it. Another good things, andong and pedicab are under the supervision of Sultan HB X, including licensing in putting attributes on it, or the provision of uniforms of those who want to promote the certain products. It aims to maintain the public order and also security. This rule abridges Sultan HB X to control and invite the cabman to participate in the palace celebrations.
Urban development around the street depends on mayor who served at that time, for example: previous mayor wants to put plant pots along the way, but the mayor now wants sidewalk planted with grass, so no more plant pots, to make the better view. Mostly large trees also have been cut down for safety. There are a lot of street vendors who sell batik or souvenirs. Life goes on, and the seasons kept changing. Now, Pak Siswo admitted that it is difficult to earn money as the cabman, so he considers his work not only as a way to earn money, but also as an entertainment, considering the increasing number of competitors such as Trans Jogja bus, taxi, etc.
Another Kind of Shopping Stop
To shop is not only to buy the goods. For those who look for another type of items, especially those who crave for sex, there is Pasar Kembang, known as Sarkem. Sarkem is located at the back of Tugu Station, only takes some minutes to walk there.
Sosrowijayan now, where Sarkem is located, has changed. Either it’s a matter of system or they way the prostitutes behave and dress up. For private reason, they are only given the HIV/AIDS vaccination twice a month. Skill building was even completely removed from agenda on 2010 so some of them were taken and the rest were stayed. Slow but sure, they are fully devoted themselves to be a prostitute and no longer rely on the attendant to earn money. So in short, they seek for men so the more visitors they served, the more money they get. This thing might lead them to dress up more vulgar, like wearing mini skirt and tank-top to attract.
Our interviewee is an old woman who has settled in Sosromenduran for almost 65 years. Her name is Mariyani, a widower who becomes the elder at Sosrowijayan Kulon RT 17 RW 03. She has five children working as a tailor and hairdresser. When we asked about the history of why people called this place as Sarkem, she gave us a very clear explanation that it is no more than just a name of street around Malioboro.
Back then, Sosrowijayan, which has three hundreds or something inhabitants, became a complex of kos-kosan –a place for temporary staying, usually for visitors-. When University of Proklamasi was established and inns for uptown-sellers, mostly from Bandung and Jakarta besides became the residence of the prostitutes to earn money. They themselves mainly come from Jepara, East Java and Cilacap so this place also gave lodging for temporary staying and should register themselves to Bunga Seroja and will be announced to others on the meeting. They were raised to get education like others by the local citizens and build their skill in cooking and sewing, also were given regular vaccination every week to avoid HIV/AIDS. The way they dress up formerly like commoners –wearing a jeans or midi-skirt combine with shirt or blouse-. They went to school in the morning and go working at night until predawn. This prostitution is already existed since colonial period. The visitors came from Indochinese people and artists. When they want to, let’s call it, be ‘served’, they must ask attendant first so the prostitute just stayed at inns and waited for visitors. Around the 60’s, some of the prostitutes were moved to place around Kotagede but they returned here due to the government’s plan to build Giwangan Station. The situation was uncontrolled and disorganized -so many drunken got into fight and mini nightclubs were opened nonstop-.
Sarkem, believe it or not, has became one of Jogja’s sex stop. Its existence since more than 100 years ago is hardly removed. The government’s policy even ‘legalized’ this place. For those who seek for pleasure can always choose what kind of entertainment this city provides.
-Creative Writing Class 3rd Assignment.