06 February 2015

Personalised Remedy

As I was sitting this morning at a temporary stall of a jamu seller in front of Pasar Nongko, I experienced something that I would not have known if I did not sit there this morning. The 'Mbok jamu' was rather a depiction of modern-day jamu seller. She carried her bottles of jamu on her motorcycle and would stand by in front of an unopened shop terrace from 6.30 - 10.30 am. Or, she explained to me, until the jamu is selling out. I would assume it had never been to long that she had to stay there. The wave of people who stopped by to get their early dose of super shot was overwhelming. They did not mind queuing without a very distinct waiting line formed. People just came non-stop for a duration only a little short of 1 minute.

What I witnessed was rather new to me as I listened to what the customers ordered. One would say, "Satu pegel linu, Mbak," and others would start talking about her daughter's illness, while some other simply talked about their early morning activities. It was a whole different jargons spoken between the customer and jamu seller. But in reality, they were actually ordering their personalised remedy.

Jamu was well-known to the Javanese society to be an alternative and natural enhancement for the body. It was believed that jamu can medicate various illnesses from diabetes to body odour. Jamu itself consisted of various liquids from (or at least the ones I encountered this morning):
A. Daun pepaya
B. Beras kencur
C. Adas
D. Daun sirih
E. Gula asem
F. Kunir asem
G. Temulawak
H. Cabe puyang
I. Galian
J. Gudukan
Each of these extracts has their own benefits for the body. They can be drank on their own or mixed according to your health issues, and that is when the jamu seller becomes handy. They would, on the spot, in a fairly fast manner, mix your shot consisting of the relevant extracts for you. It was like the have their own library of herbal medicine. Some examples are:
Batuk: C+F+D
Pegal linu: C+F
Cape: H
Gula: J+F
Lambung/liver: G+Kunyit putih
Datang bulan: F
Bau badan: D+Kunyit

Generally, the jamu seller would have a basic knowledge of who her customers were. Some have grown into a quite close acquaintance. This was resulted from the way of ordering, which required the customers to actually tell the jamu seller about their issues. In a way, the jamu seller became the customer's friend to talk about their complaints. An unplanned coincidence which turned into a deeper relationship of customer - seller.

After sitting on the plastic chair for some time, I decided to get off and pay my IDR 1.500 immune shot. I felt stronger throughout the day.

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