Employment & Produce


Paper Boys in Jambi

Paper boy at one of the most busiest intersections in Jambi (Simpang Jeletung).

Paper boy at one of the most busiest intersections in Jambi (Simpang Jeletung).

There are interesting differences between newspaper delivery in the USA and Indonesia. When I was a child we would deliver papers door-to-door, either walking or riding a bicycle (my brothers and I at times had paper routes). Today adults are delivering newspapers with their cars. And instead of throwing the papers up on the front porches, today the newspapers are placed in special “Newspaper Boxes,” just beneath the mailboxes in front of homes.

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Discrimination in Job Advertisements?

A young employee at the Matahari Department Store. All employees wear identical uniforms, and the hair is very neatly styled.

A young employee at the Matahari Department Store. All employees wear identical uniforms, and the hair is very neatly styled.

While scanning through a number of job advertisements pasted on windows outside of businesses, I was shocked to see the prerequisites for job openings. From the western viewpoint, the prerequisites are very discriminatory. When I asked Indonesians about it, they didn’t think it was discriminatory at all. They just said that if an employer wants the best person for the job, they should be able to be selective in whom they hire. This shows the vast difference between the Asian and western mindset.

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Palm Oil (sawit)

Palm oil plantations cover a huge part of the Jambi Province.

Palm oil trees are a common sight throughout the Jambi Province. In our travels around the province there have been times, that as far as the eye can see, in all directions, the entire region was a palm oil plantation.

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Trees, Harvesting & Processing Latex

This post gives an overview of rubber processing.

1/2 coconut shell is the commonly seen container used to catch the dripping latex from rubber trees.

Because there are a lot of coconuts in Jambi, a ½ shell is almost always used to collect the latex. The shell is either placed on the ground or propped against the tree with a 3-5’ branch that has a “Y” on the end of it.

The trees are cut diagonally, which opens the bark and allows the latex to flow down and out onto a metal spout that has been inserted into the tree’s bark. From there the latex drips into the coconut shell.

New cuts on trees usually take place during early morning hours. A good harvester can make a new cut in 20 seconds, and daily they can cut between 450-650 trees.

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Rubber Trees

This picture shows a rubber plantation with some younger trees. There is a home built in the center of it so workers don’t have to travel too far. The man in the picture is carrying a homemade gun. At that time he was hunting wild pigs and monkeys.

A common sight in the Jambi Province is rubber plantations. It’s also common to see people have their own private plot of rubber trees close to their homes. For outsiders, the sight of a tree that’s been tapped, and latex that’s in the process of being collected is very interesting. Locals are amused at the outsider’s curiosity with something that is so common to them.

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The Walet

S.E. Asia is filled with bird houses specifically built for the harvesting of nests that are made by the swiftlet. The “bird houses” are really buildings designed to house many hundreds of these birds. The buildings, which carry the same name as the bird (walet in Indonesia), can cost between $20,000-50,000 dollars (USD). Investors build these huge bird houses because the nests the birds make, uniquely from their own saliva, is harvested and sold for as much as $800.00-$1,600 dollars (USD) per kilogram (2.2 Lb). The price goes up tremendously as it passes through the middle-man.

Bird Nest Soup

The nests ultimately make their way to restaurants or individuals to be used in making bird nest soup. Asians believe the soup has medicinal value, specifically aiding digestion, raising libido, improving the voice, alleviating asthma, improving focus, and an overall benefit to the immune system. This soup is also believed to possess qualities that will balance out the “life energy” known as qi.

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Oil Wells

In the southern part of the City of Jambi there are a number of oil pumps in operation. It’s interesting to see them up close and observe how they function.

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