Mon, 03 Feb 2003

Global economic recession

A Japanese trading company, for which I had worked for 22 years, retired me at the age of 71. There is nothing unusual about this. Recently the company deemed it necessary to dismiss Effendi, the office boy, although he worked for the company for 27 years. Only three people remain employed.

It seems to me that Japan is not exempt from the present global recession. However, the company was humane enough to grant Effendi about Rp 40 million in severance pay.

One day he came to me and told me about his woes as an unemployed man. He said that his wife was very unhappy with his unemployment, although she had opened up a warung selling all sorts of daily necessities so that the family of four (the couple has two daughters) could have three decent meals a day.

Effendi's wife's mood became darker and darker as time went on. The presence of his husband loafing around the house without work became a "thorn in her eye", to borrow the Dutch expression een doorn in het oog. She loses her temper easily even about the most insignificant of things.

The husband related his difficulties to me (his former senior colleague). I tried to console him as best as I could, telling him about the global recession. Even Germany and the United States, which are considered the most affluent countries, are now reportedly facing an unemployment problem.

With this remark, off Effendi went feeling a little bit more cheerful. I guess, after two months have elapsed, Effendi and his family can put up with the present circumstances.

A. DJUANA, Jakarta