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