If the pandemic never halts, things will be probably awry or perhaps go better. It is undoubtedly terrible to live amidst pandemic. The Covid-19 virus is affecting all areas of life, including economy and social that we deal with every single day. Adaptation is to be made if we are to survive. Are we going to adapt or to complain about how to act?     

I personally think the plague hitting humanity has been a tremendous blessing in complete disguise. While we must fight the life-threatening virus, Covid-19 is not an enemy coming to defeat us purposefully. Javanese people who believe in God as Supreme Being understand this phenomenon as an opportunity to innovate and progress through the pandemic.

As pandemic subsides, we have not come to a complete halt. The vaccination is not a panacea that cures all diseases including Covid-19. However, it has been an eye-opening experience for us to learn a lot about and from the ongoing pandemic. We are making discoveries in pharmacy and generating energy to understand ourselves as human being that are interconnected.

The outbreak of Covid-19 has certainly never been anticipated. We are now in the middle of the ongoing pandemic without knowing when to end. While the case due to the hazardous virus has declined, economic impact and social implication has been inevitable. The two years' journey of unpredictable plague is either a warning that we are indeed weak or an implied suggestion that we are adaptive to radical change.

What do we have to be proud of while knowing we are somehow petty and collapsible any time?   


Climate change has been a hot issue that draws ongoing debate and frustration. I remember reading news that Bojonegoro, a regency bordering Lamongan, once experienced a 40-degree Celsius back in 2018 higher than the normal figure of 26-35 degrees Celsius. 

The head of the local Environmental Agency pointed out that an increase in the temperature has been inevitable one of which is due to the activities in the oil and gas industry. While trees decrease in number, exhaust emission from vehicles has contributed to the temperature hike. Diminishing water supply in relevant rivers has also been a key factor.

Water shortage during dry season and hot weather due to climate change

This reminds me of “pluruan” a garbage dump usually located behind the house of every villager. The mini dump belongs to local wisdom that needs revival. In most cases, two or three houses share the same dump where the households throw garbage away. The pluruan is said to accommodate massive garbage all over the village hence helping the temperature to decline. As people grow in number, the number of pluruan gets fewer and is even no longer found.

Another local wisdom in our village that helps save the planet is the practice of urup. It is giving away trash in exchange for valuable stuff. Inorganic trash including bottles, cardboard boxes, paper, and particular metals are usually weighed to measure the stuff in return we can get. The objects include spices like onion and garlic whose price may increase considerably without anticipation. 

“Thank God this handful of onion is so valuable when its price is hiking in the market,” said mom one day after trading trash with spices. 

I personally think that both pluruan and urup are local practices that are worth keeping. The form may not be precisely the same, but the spirit must be implemented to maintain the purpose of saving Planet Earth. Pluruan allows trash to be concentrated in mini dumps that prevent villagers from littering in the river like those found in Bojonegoro. With urup, local residents help with the rate of new garbage production as old trash goes recycled. More importantly, they collect instant advantage from the trade to support their family.

Ramadan is approaching and a lot of people, Muslims in particular, are getting more excited to welcome the Holy Month. While pandemic has not yet halted, it no longer drives people to panic. However, the impact of Covid-19 has been obvious that more employees or workers are now jobless. No wonder that economic consequences are inevitable that many people are currently struggling to make their ends meet. What an unbearable challenge

During the global pandemic, it is entirely our choice to despair in helpless complaint or to remain hopeful while doing our best. And M. Eddy Firdaus, also known as Edo, takes up the latter. He has decided to rise in the calamity by promoting a brand of his own from Pekalongan a city he currently resides.


Sarung Tentrem (ST) is the very brand he has chosen to represent both his passion and economic aspiration for the last seven months. Yes, ST has not even been a year in business. Edo clearly understands that Pekalongan has long been famous for its batik in addition to Yogyakarta. He builds strong confidence in his relatively new batik sarong due to Sarung Tentrem‘s batik pattern that looks fresh and dynamic.

He grows optimistic that during pandemic local products have gained positive sentiment in the global market. Local products across Indonesia have proven to be a huge potential success of economic value. His choice positively confirms his conviction as the batik sarong he produces has received a massive response from targeted consumers.

Preserving local treasures

Edo is driven to start up the business due to his concern of high prevalence of stamped batik craftsmen who were forced to lose their job down to the global pandemic. He wants to have their skill utilized to generate income. In addition to earning money, Edo wishes that Sarung Tentrem will be a vehicle to preserve highly-treasured tradition of unique Pekalongan batik passed down from generation to generation.

Sarung Tentrem appears in unique batik design and vivid color.

Targeting male consumers of upper middle-class, Sarung Tentrem appears special in the market as the stamped batik pattern carries an added value. It is the omission of pola sorot (highlight pattern) normally found in similar product made by competitors. The absence of pola sorot clearly makes the batik design more flexible and uniquely fresher. 

All-seasons outfit for male customers

Stamped on high quality fabric and coupled with dynamic batik pattern, Sarung Tentrem is expected to reach a larger scope of market other than Javanese consumers. This is to say that his batik sarong is possible for male customers regardless of their race, culture and faith.

Not only is Edo’s batik sarong unique in design, its dimension is relatively larger as compared to other batik sarongs available in the market. This makes the sarong ideal for daily use as well as important occasions including religious ceremonies. While women here in the country has long been pampered with batik lounging gown (known as daster), it is now men’s turn to grab fabulous picks of Sarung Tentrem for all seasons. Either casual or formal, the batik sarong will make any moment even more perfect as well as extraordinary.

In an interview Edo told that Sarung Tentrem may be the pioneer of modern batik sarong in Indonesia as it is done manually using batik stamp instead of automatic manufacturing machine. It is no coincidence that the market has become larger and larger. While the majority of customers are from Pekalongan, he cannot deny that other cities across Indonesia and even foreign countries like Malaysia and Singapore has been in the market breach. 

“All are local people, and very enthusiastic,” Edo confirms the involvement of local labors and craftsmen.  

He prefers local teams to handle the business to generate social empowerment that will contribute to people’s welfare in the neighborhood. Everyone in his teams are passionate to make Sarung Tentrem bigger recognizing that Pekalongan keeps a bounty of local treasures awaited for further exploration to be adopted into various products for national and global market.

Digital marketing trend has contributed positively to Sarung Tentrem’s sale. Edo points out his online batik sarong gains 90% of total sales. About 70% of the figure is made by transaction via the company’s official website on sarungtentrem.com. This is but the benefit of the IoT (Internet of Things) in which everything is interconnected to allow people interact easily, including making purchases despite their locations sparse around the globe.

Sarung Tentrem is all you need when it comes to special occasion you will cherish.

From Edo we learn that starting up business must not be in ideal situation where everything is well-established. Sarung Tentrem is rising when the world is being hit by a hazardous pandemic. The key to a successful start-up business is the ability to seize opportunities that arise without delaying any further in order to create products of high versatility and uniqueness in design generated from local treasures—just like Sarung Tentrem.

So if you gentlemen are seeking an all-seasons outfit, something you can combine with high versatility, then Sarung Tentrem is definitely yours to possess. All men from different backgrounds, including faith and nationality, will appear charming in this batik sarong due to its fabulous design and vivid color. 

Komber and Simin are best friends who enjoy each other's company for years. They have been friends since childhood and seem unseparated by any means. They would spend important moments together in most occasions. Not a day passes without them being unitedly that people say they resemble "tumbu oleh tutup". 

When two persons or objects seem unseparable, they are tumbu oleh tutup.  

Tumbu is a woven bamboo container that is designed in two pieces with one being the container and the other as the cover. When placed together, tumbu can hold objects normally found in the village. Traditionally vilalgers use tumbu to contain nasi berkat or rice package presented in an important feast. Tumbu is then used to carry fresh meat during Idul Adha as well as to keep herbs and spices for later use.


When two people or two objects are said to be like tumbu oleh tutup, the expression indicates that the two supplement each other. It is like when two lovers who have different characters but complete any flaws. It's not necessarily lovers, but any pairs that help sustain each other that other people see an impossibility of separation.

Are you and your best friend or couple like tumbu oleh tutup?

Another Javanese expression that has similar meaning to obah, mamah is ubet, ngliwet. Not only are they similar in meaning, but also presented in ngoko language. Ngoko is the lowest expression level in the three degrees of politeness in Javanese. Ngoko is the most widely used by peers or people with no social attributes that require veneration.

Ubet literally means to exert oneself, to make every possible effort that matters. The word involves hard work to the level one can no longer imagine. Ngliwet means to cook some rice simply by boiling it in water instead of steaming it. While the result is not exactly the same, ngliwet may be the most popular as it does not need further process or energy.

Getting more relevant

Cooked rice by liwet is always special among Javanese and this constitutes energy and optimism. 

During the pandemic ubet, ngliwet has become even more relevant. It is probably difficult to make a living today but one should be assured that one million opportunities are available out there. The economy may be collapsing, as shown by the imminent recession, but we cannot give in without doing our best. More people are laid off and forced to do odd jobs in order to feed their families. Competition is getting fiercer while needs remain unchanged. 

However, please do not underestimate yourself since you were born a victor and will always find a way out of the crisis. The Javanese expression sometimes appears in a different version with sopo preceding the word ubet: Sopo ubet, ngliwet!. The addition, however, does not change the fundamental meaning of the expression as sopo ubet, ngliwet means he who ubets, ngliwet

Still another version appears as ora ubet, ora ngliwet that clearly states: he who doesn't ubet won't be able to ngliwet! The three versions thus have a similar meaning in essence. They strongly imply that hard work (and optimism) is of vital importance. The words signify how mindset is actually a series of complex attitude. Javanese people have long recognized that there's always a way when you have a will, as evidently imprinted by ubet, ngliwet.

Pondering this in an apartment, I have come to realize that efforts need to be made to have the language spoken. Optimism is greatly relevant today when the economic crisis is said to be unavoidable and global food security is threatened. 

The pandemic has been going for seven months now, particularly here in Indonesia. The deathly virus has significantly impacted both health and economic sector of global scale. Not only have people been distressed at their endangered wellness but also by the likely collapsing economy. Making money is getting more difficult today. Things have been spinning around fugazi, making everyone to be uncertain of future that they make ends meet even more onerously.

However, people in Javanese villages have not seemed to be concerned about the hazardous virus as they have something to cling on. It is neither material belonging nor a matter of physical presence. It is a belief that is nurtured from a popular catchphrase. Obah, mamah is a prevalent expression among Javanese as it constitutes spiritual strength and confidence.

Obah, mamah literally means to move, to chew, that indicates a physical activity. Javanese believe that in times of crisis opportunities are still numerous. We live in a bountiful earth and so there's always a reason to live in great optimism. As long as we're willing to act and do something that exert ourselves -- coupled with determination -- we'll certainly find something to eat (mamah).

While threatening our life viciously, the pandemic has undoubtedly presented a major economic problem to us. Physical distancing and limited interaction have no wonder become hindrance that keeps economic activities jammed. This leads to several consequences that are somehow unparalleled to what we have faced before, with or without serious anticipation. 

So whenever you find yourself in impossible situations, be assured there's always a way to elevate your life with one condition: you must coerce (obah) yourself into doing whatever it takes to allow you to eat (mamah), for you and your family.