Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A rural angle on Ramadan

That headline may be a bit misleading because the New York Times story that prompted it is more about rural-urban migration in Indonesia and largess among the nation's elite than it is about Ramadan. The lede follows for Norimitsu Onishi's story, "Nannies Get Holiday. Rich Families Get a Suite."
Every year at the end of Ramadan, millions of maids, nannies and chauffeurs make their annual pilgrimages to their hometowns across Indonesia, leaving their pampered employers to fend for themselves.
The rural angle lies in the fact that many nannies' hometowns are in rural places. Here's a related quote:
In one of the world’s largest annual exoduses, tens of millions of Indonesians leave Jakarta and other cities to celebrate Id al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday at the end of Ramadan, with relatives in villages and towns across rural Indonesia. More than 27 million are believed to have made the trip home this year, according to the authorities.

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For many, compounding the holiday stress was the common fear that their maids — after getting their Id al-Fitr bonuses — would stay in their villages or look for better jobs elsewhere.
The wealthy urbanites' responses are off-putting, to say the least. One commented: “This is the most tiring time of the year.”

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