Third Perspective: The Story of Sarwo and Joko

the following story was a fantasy, trying to tell a message to the readers, that hopefully sooner or later is being digestable.

Sarwo and Joko are best friend. They used to spend most of their time together in the ground school until they were in high school. They had the same point of views in everything, like in a debate club of economy and politic, they always had one voice. It seemed that nothing could break their friendship that has been growed since long time.

The hardest thing was to say goodbye, because Sarwo had to continue his economic study in Italy. It was a sadness for Sarwo to not being with Joko all the time in Europe. And it was a heart break for Joko to have no Sarwo by his side, because Joko had no chance to study in Italy. Not only because of that. Joko was afraid that Sarwo would change himself through the western’s life-style. This pushed Joko to always keeping contact with Sarwo. Only WhatsApp and Skype who could connect them all the time. One day before Sarwo leaved, Joko wrote him a WhatsApp message:

“Remember: to take a bath everyday. And to iron all of your dresses. Have a safe flight, pal!”

On his life in Italy, he met so many things that are done different than in his hometown, including the taking-a-bath habit. Most people in Italy taking no bath everyday, they do it every two or three days. Exception is like an athlete, who do sport everyday and become sweaty everyday, so that they have to take a bath to clean up the sweat. Not only this habit, Sarwo was schocked that the people in Italy never iron their T-Shirts, pants, underwears, socks and towels, while most of the people in his home country iron every single thing that had been washed and dried. Sarwo thought those things were stupid. But after months, he done the taking-bath and iron habit the way the Italian does.

The first two years after their separation, Sarwo and Joko kept themselves in touch. They spent many hours on the weekend to have a video call in Skype. They used to write each other per WhatsApp so that they were keeping the mind-exchange between them. Third year was a little bit different. Sarwo had to work on the weekend for making money. Unfortunately, the amount of the monthly scholarship became different, so that he needed more income to fulfill his living-cost. Thats why he had no time to have a video call with Joko on the weekend. They used to wrote each other in WhatsApp, whenever they were finished with their daily activities. But that was no longer like that. The fourth year was a little bit bitter. Joko scrolled Sarwo’s Facebook site and found the reason why Sarwo was never replied his WhatsApp messages. Unfortunately, Sarwo has been far away with his new friendship in Italy. Joko felt very sad, that his afraidness was become a truth. Joko decided not to contact Sarwo anymore and letting Sarwo flowed with his new life.

Couple of years after Sarwo’s graduation in Italy, he decided to go back to his home country and start to ‘think’ about the economy development in his town. That is why he met his old pal again, Joko. But Joko, who now have a baby from his wedding, smoothly keeps a distance from Sarwo. “Your westernal way of life doesn’t fit us”, said Joko honestly, as Sarwo asked him openly why he passed Sarwo oftenly. “You didn’t do the dress ironing. And you didn’t shower yourself everyday…”

“But it should not be the way like that. You guys have too much time to do those unimportant thing. They live their life without ironing and showering all the time!”, replied Sarwo. “We can do more without being busy on those stuffs.”

Joko didn’t answer a lot, before he excused himself in front of Sarwo. “You left your childhood’s tradition for something stupid”, and then he gone. Sarwo was angry to hear that, and replied Joko’s statement, “And you passed something precious for holding stupid tradition!”

That was the first time Joko and Sarwo have offensively a different thought. Because of the conflict, Sarwo left his hometown and took a job in the neighbour country, Malaysia. He got a job there after 2 months searched for it. People in the country do almost the same habits like in his country. But Sarwo felt free to do different thing than his neighbourhood, because they respected people from other country. He do his daily activity with pleasure, altough his dream were to build his own hometown and his people in the town.. After several months facing his daily life in Malaysia, he found something precious to learn from the habits, which led him to leave his hometown. He know that he doesn’t have to blame Joko for his ironing and showering tradition. Because people iron their dresses not only in a purpose to lighten and tidy up their dresses, but also to let the bacteries and germs after the coldwash gone.

After he realized, how stupid he was for being angry at Joko because of unimportant theme, he decided to fly back to his hometown for a couple of weeks, and to meet his old pal and say sorry.


While Sarwo started his career in Malaysia, Joko was promoted into higher position in the company he works in. Therefore, he has to study in Holland for 3 Months. He was very surprised and happy to hear this from his own head office and decided to do the study far far away. One thing he remembered about flying far away to Europe: Sarwo. He was afraid that the same thing like Sarwo faced would happen this time to him. But he thought, it would be only 3 months, so that he would keep his traditions with him.

Joko left his family with a promise to come back again as ‘Joko’ and not someone else. As he arrived in Holland, he wrote his wife directly that he landed safely, and ready to start the days and weeks in Holland. He always picks his movement in Holland, watching out from a westernal friendship and looking for a friendship between people with the same backgrounds: asian people. But the truth surprised him, that also the asian people living in Holland took a shower every 2 days, which means not everyday. “This weather sweaten us less, we don’t need to spend lot of water only to wash our clean surface of body, right?” Joko cannot believe what he has heard about. What fascinated him the most was the answer of why asian people in Holland do not iron their dresses. “The thing is, when you have a washing machine that washes your laundry in a temperature of 30 until 60 Celcius, bacteries and germs are definitely gone. Ironing is then such an electricity-spending activity”, said a hollander-thailandish househusband, and then he laughed. “And if you wish to tidy up your clothes, people should not see your cleaned and tidied underwears and socks, right?”

Joko needed couple of weeks to realize, how logic those answers were. What brought him into sadness was, that he offensively broked the friendship with Sarwo only because of his don’t-know. He finally decided to went to Sarwo in Malaysia for couple of hours, on his way back to the homeland after his soon-finished study.


On the day Sarwo flied to his hometown to meet his old pal, he was surprised that Joko was in Holland. He didn’t know about that until Joko’s wife told him the whole job-promosion’s story of Joko, and that Joko would be finish with his study in couple of weeks. But Sarwo afraid that his vacation days would be ended when Joko arrived. That was a very sad moment for him. Therefore, Joko’s wife told Sarwo that she would write him a message when she knew already, when Joko would come. Sarwo agreed. He decided to stay only couple of days in the town and would continue his vacation to another cities in his homecountry.

At the end of his vacation, he had not forgotten the meeting with Joko in the town. Unfortunately, Sarwo got no message from Joko’s wife, which means, no one knows yet when Joko will arrived. Beneath his sadness and frustation that his main reason of vacation was unreached, he decided to fly back from the big city into Malaysia directly without flying to his hometown, and sent Joko a WhatsApp voicenote. It contains a deepful greeting and a big sorry for his bad attitude to Joko. That was the only way to say his feeling to his old pal, Joko. Unfortunately, only 5 seconds after Sarwo had sent Joko the voicenote, Sarwo got one voice message from Joko, and was very surprised to hear the things Joko wanted to tell.



On the day Joko’s final test ended, he flied to his homecountry through Malaysia as planed. He packed his baggage a day before he do the final test in the University, so that he could fly directly without waiting. He missed his old pal so much and cannot wait to say sorry to him. To make an appointment with Sarwo, Joko sent Sarwo a WhatsApp voicenote that contains his willingness to come to Sarwo and making a new friendship from beginning.

But not long after Joko sent his voicenote to Sarwo, Joko got one voice message from Sarwo, which was 4 Minutes long. Joko was very curious of what Sarwo tried to tell him, at the same time he wanted to tell Sarwo something. Before the plane flied away, and before his cellphone had to be deactivated during the flight, Joko had heard Sarwo’s message which led him into tears and happiness.

Dear Joko. It has been so long to not hearing from you. I am so sorry that I left our town suddenly without giving so much informations about my availability.That was a sudden decision too. But far away from that, I would like to say sorry for what I’ve said to you. You know, the life in Malaysia has told me to never judge a tradition as bad or negative, without willing to know why the tradition is being holded. I didn’t knew that those traditions that you guys, or even I, did since we were children, have a reason and meaning. My judgment was inacceptable, that is why, I would like to say sorry. I will go back to Malaysia tomorrow, to continue my working. Pardon me for having no chance to say my sorry in front of you and maybe inviting you and your family in a Restaurant near our home, eventhough I’ve planed it well. Have a nice day there in Holland and I’m hoping to see you again in my next vacation, as soon as possible. Your old pal, Sarwo”


Sarwo has been arrived in Malaysia. He waited for his baggage coming on the baggage claim machine, and hurried himself to catch the flight-arrival from Holland. He founded a flight from Holland on the screen hanged on the wall, and felt excited to wait until he saw Joko’s face coming to his direction. While waiting for Joko, Sarwo took some minutes to hear Joko’s voice message once again.

Dear Sarwo. It has been so long to not hearing from you. I am so sorry that I left our town without giving you informations about my availability. But I am now on my way back to our town, and I really want to went to Malaysia and meet you for couple of hours there. I mean it, you know how I am, old pal! Shame of me, for treated you so bad because of your habitual decision. But the life in Holland has taught me not to be hurried in judging a thing. I have been seeing things on the world as black and white, altough these would never be clear, because every single thing has it’s own reason. You might think that I am crazy now for saying complicated stuff like this in only a WhatsApp voice message. That’s why, I’m very hoping to see you in Malaysia, as soon as possible. Your old pal, Joko”

Sarwo cannot stop laughing to having this wonderful moment where both of the old friends writing each other on WhatsApp the same thing. And after a while, Sarwo saw Joko hurried his steps in the direction of him. That time, Sarwo showed his deepest smile, and that time too, Joko showed his deepest laugh too.


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