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The neglected ones

In Indonesia one thing I noticed clearly, the presence of neglected mentally ill people. There they are just simply called Orang Gila = Crazy People. It seemed like they were everywhere  where I came.

The neglected ones

For example during the 12 hours car trip from Jakarta – Yogyakarta, I tallied 14 crazy people en route! The neglected ones. Ones who hardly paid attention of personal hygiene, how they looked like even how they managed to eat! This fact hurted me in a way that those neglected ones had to have family somewhere, instead they just wandered they path, staring aimlessly, with torn clothes. While children from the neighbourhood would shout Orang Gila towards them.

Crazy people are cursed
Some villagers in Indonesia believe that mental illness is a curse from God. Some are convinced this is what they,  as family, deserve. Instead of bringing the neglected ones to a sanatorium or an institution for better care, the family would let them wander along the street. By doing this, the neglected ones won’t bring such damage anymore in the family’s reputation.

Some crazy people are locked up by their own family, in what is known as the heart wrenching Pasung or Physical restraint and confinement (please Google the pic yourself, type the word Pasung, the images will roll out on your screen). The neglected ones would stay where they are, with their legs locked into a wooden beam. It is actually against Human Rights to perform this treatment but unfortunately this still happens a lot in Indonesia.

Not a taboo
The reason I dedicate this post to neglected ones is for us to remember and for those who haven’t heard this before, to know that mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of. There are enough possibilities for the patients to live their life humanly for as much as it worth.

Keep  up the good work!
I’d also would like to express my admiration for researchers on Pasung, journalists who untiringly publish Pasung cases. May one day the neglected ones would be seen as sick people not a taboo. The difference between us and them is they are sick in their head.

My thoughts written in a gloomy autumn night


6 thoughts on “The neglected ones

  1. Kasian ya Kat. Gw ngebayangin kalo cuaca jelek, mereka tidur dimana ya? Belum lagi makan apa, apa yang ada dipikiran mereka dsb..dsb..miris deh gw ngeliatnya. Dan juga bukannya ditolong malah jadi atraksi kampung.

  2. A touching and worrying post. Another category of fellow human beings who are living a life of misery. Observing the world as it is there is a lot to fuel a gloomy moods and bad consciences. The terrible truth is that next moment I will try to forget about it because I don’t know to come up with any sensible solution.

    • There is no solution, at least not in a near future. As long as people there see it as a taboo or a curse from God, it is hard to make them aware of the faith of neglected ones. I was really amazed to have tallied approximately 1 neglected human being en route. They are seen as an attraction not as a human being. Very worrying and sad indeed.

  3. could be ‘orang gila’ (crazy people) or ‘gelandangan’ (homeless people). nonetheles, they are the neglested ones -not only by the government but also their own family. thank you to remind me how lucky i am. also my family back home, even though they’re not at all rich, but at least they’re more fortunate than orang gila and gelandangan.

    • Din,

      I believed they were orang gila cause they had that lost look in their eyes. Torn clothes and untidy hair. Kasian, I felt really sorry for them. As I responsed to Katadia above, I wonder where they sleep during bad weather, what they eat etc..etc..

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