A New Opportunity in Desparation #
Local fisherman claims “Bawal Putih” in the authorized sea, Dori South East, have gone out a two three months ago. This sea is just for signed fisherman and locals fish with high security guards sailing around to prevent unauthorized ships getting in. His name Edi said “The sea never turns out to be toxic since my entire days become fisherman” However, local fishermen also concern themselves, when I met Edi in a hidden restaurant Nasi Padang's aunty, we hang out with a black tea in the afternoon after getting lunch there, he also claims worrying make a mistake there
“You cannot believe this is gonna be weird, we might take too much Bawal Putih there, since we take many requests from markets, especially for Chinese food menu.”
“So most of them are from chinese restaurant?”
“No I didnt say that,we didn’t know which restaurant. But some of them might be called seller, third-parties, distributors, to deliver this special fish for some restaurants?”
“Have you heard one of them?”
“What I know, It’s a hotel, four or five stars hotel they deliver to..”
Edi Juanda, this fisherman have been doing these business eight years, supple one of the finest market in Pontianak, Flamboyan, the very first market began before the other small markets starting the morning. He arrived in usual fish harbour, where every sellers gather there to supply their showcase, Edi doesn’t sell Bawal Putih to them, he take it directly into his young brother, whose also seller in the Flamboyan, It recognize these brothers only sell Bawal Putih there and the price also family special.
When I arrived into young brother’s Edi named Alvan. Crowded with a bunch of old men, gathers there, wears glasses while their hands holding a cigarette. Spectators of gambling watching a chance for get lucky whose gonna get this Bawal Putih. Even Alvan have strict rules in his place, he knows how to control them, he can focus which man whose come first, that person gonna gets it, only max 2 pieces of fish, he gives the price around one hundred twenty thousands rupiah, fair price for customers, dilemma for markets. Alvan also knows which customers bring their associates, he observes the situations, while his assistant handle the customers, in his rule after all, he wont serve them. But he prioritize the very first customer whose never getting Bawal Putih from him after all, he does professional.
Not every day they bring Bawal Putih for the market, sometimes his stand like an abandon, no one cares beside Bawal Putih, they brought Tuna, Tenggiri, Bawal Hitam, Senangin. Everyone else also sells those essentials.
“This is a luxury of fisherman sometimes.” Alfa said
“Even classy than a meat. The price gotten big when It’s really rare to catch them. So the situation here, business also respect the fishermen works, what we catch, that’s gonna affect the price.”
Discussed with me, after finished his daily routine.
“We make a good cash here. As long as the sea have bring gold to us. Every day before my brother pirate, we wish to Allah.”
“So why Bawal Putih happening to wrong?”
“Those are requests from restaurants, they wanna our special route.
“I told them, don’t bring your business to us. Find the other sellers.”
I greets the other fishermen and some merchants in Flamboyan, mentioned Bawal Putih hype “The only thing I know, Alfa often sells it. We are really lucky if selling Bawal Putih, since we have to bid first in an early market from fishermen. His brother Alfa is local fisherman, so they doing business well. But we can’t be jealous of them, with their business. We and the others also selling good without Bawal Putih” One of the old woman, short hair said it, been in Flamboyan eight years.
“Did you ever sell it before in your market?”
“Maybe yes or no, we didn’t sell many, just two or three, only our loyal customers want it.”
Since now, every other fishermen and big fish sellers in Flamboyan claim confident, Bawal Putih have gone out in the sea, customers don’t care, food industries and hotel really care about it. This business also keeps depending for their success, when they can’t supply Bawal Putih to usual old men, they just like the others, they wanna stand out after all, only 60% take a chance and I don’t understand how this brother keeps getting it and the others pessimists about it.
Edi also gets famous in Flamboyan, everyone tries to be friend him and respect him, even he can try to looks greedy. So he took this chance with making a new business, he is offering guarantee bonds for every sellers. “Give me the cash monthly. You will be part of my system, getting fairs of premium fish for your needs.”
Big money, but he is playing risk, so he gathers his staff and his gangster group, meeting behind Nasi Padang’s restaurant, belong to his aunty, this is where he always discuss the business, not to be obvious.
“I have a cash can double your price for your golden catch, especially for digging Bawal Putih.”
He said confident in a meeting, while I’m just spectator here to get the purpose, what’s goal for Edi.
Then the thinking began
“You are offering the subscription to sellers? To get special access from our catch. What about our loyalty to the other sellers.”
“Please keep in mind. I’m doubling your normal price for getting your fresh pieces. First we do a normal business, buy from you and I hand to them whose pay us well.”
One of his staff concerns about the brother, Alva “Did you mention to your brother?’
“We keep business like usual. I have said to them we can’t guarantee Bawal Putih everyday, premium fish also includes in the deal.”
“How many you collect from your sellers?”
“Four million Rupiah per month”
“Quiet of you huh”
The associate agrees, but they can’t get responsible if this fails. Edi have calculated, this looks legit for their group. The bad news is their group doesn’t associate with commission or government here, so he must watch out his step, but he knew how to persuade the market. As long as, he gives them what It promised, Bawal Putih exchanged with cash subscription.
Trying a first month and every members paid full to Edi, the next day after he collected the cash, members looks excited in the morning, a mysterious box delivered to every sellers, Edi’s policy gives positive vibe for them.
Three months pursue the new chapter, Edi received an invitation letter from fishing commission of authorized sea about his subscription, since one of the members complained the situation about the market,, he assumed he doesn’t do something wrong, he just built a new business and for his group, Commission knew Edi since the long time, he have been good fisherman, the authority chief said to me
“We don’t know how Edi get motivated about his pursuing idea. Since the market reports to us, we have to make a case here.”
“Doesn’t he tell you about this before?”
“Did he tell you before us?”
“Yes, since I was curious about I.”
“Edi just making a risk in the biggest market, I have to make sure he doesn’t make a mistake here”
In the commission office, not far from the gateway of fish market harbor, I invited to get listened the hearing of Edi, in front of commissioners, a morning meeting with hang-out format, served with hot coffee and traditional cake inside palm sugar.
“Tell me about your new business, Edi?” Chief opened the question
“Its a bond subscription, guarantee getting Bawal Putih for every members in one week.”
“Buy they didn’t get most of the time.”
“We changed with a premium fish we got, we always prioritize Bawal Putih.”
“So It’s a guarantee bond, with a mysterious box every morning, how many inside?”
“Between four until eight pieces.”
“You know our sea only got 20% chances, getting Bawal Putih”
“It’s been my business getting Bawal Putih, you know that sir, so I want to make it fair for every members whose paid for my subscriptions.”
The commissioners wanna short the time, writing little a little in their notes, looks serious about this, since they never heard of the case, they only get common complaints like too high price, not fair between customers and they knew Edi well.
Then one of the inspectors in the field, Mrs. Maya opened the conversation
“It’s been clear, Bawal Putih is like digging gold in our sea together, but your business somehow like a building Casino in a fish market, you make a seller bet with your fixed price monthly, if they lost never got a chance of Bawal Putih weekly, that means you’re winning and if they get it 5 or six pieces, It means you’re losing. Right?
Edi hesitated with her opinion “We also pay double price for fishermen, since if I didn’t pay the price more, they will bid it in like usual, so It’s fair for me making money and fishermen too, that’s why they get special box every morning for members.”
Continued his statement “Let’s say we gathers 20 Bawal Putih, and I have ten members, to make it same, I divide it equals for two every members, If doesn’t enough . They’re not big sellers after all whose subscribe to me, they might be suppliers for Chinese restaurants, resells again in a small market.”
They discussed small again, looks like they can’t give sanction about Edi’s business, since Edi can gives his policy positive for authorized sea.
Here’s a final decision.
“Okay, we give you approve for this service. Since you have telling the sellers ‘a guarantee`. However, we can give you this license only a year. We don’t wanna this business scale bigger, Bawal Putih growth have become desparate. If you wanna renew your approval, ask us again in the year, lets see the situation of Bawal Putih in the sea.”
Chief approve it with the statement official letter and Edi happy with it.
Not everyone exciting with Edi. His young brother, Alva doesn’t get it, why Edi have to lives like this?, since Alva’s market always standing out if there are Bawal Putih available for him every morning, that’s why they have been so well making money between them. He changed it with weird scheme.
“I don’t understand. What’s been up to, why he have to gives solutions to every sellers. It’s their own way pursuing the fish, don’t let them get in our way. This is the first time I admitted he made a mistake. We wanna make a cash here, not to get respect from the others”. Alva complained to me his frustration, even he even disturbed with the business, the bunch of old men now going to the others, with the same price except the rules he have been making, only some new customers doesn’t know anything buy from Alva.
Black Market #
Edi doesn’t care, after three months, he have raised Rp 80,000,000. Now he have to decide where he operate the business, he wants the space behind kitchen his aunty Nasi Padang restaurants, It’s a easy access for truck getting in and my fishermen to places our members fish there and arrange the box, since the place big enough.
His aunty doesn’t want he owns it free, Edi have to pay monthly fee and keeps it private, don’t let any neighbors curious whats behind it, a simple rule for Edi, but the routine cause strange people get in and out, around small road in a crowded markets, that can’t happening people will look around. “We are legal. We don’t give guards around. My aunty just don’t wanna accept a new opportunity here.”
His young brother can’t bother, Edi puts the innocent face while he tried to supply Alva’s Bawal Putih. Sometimes the new one needs to sacrifice the old one, It’s opposing how Edi make this rule. He even pay double for some new fishermen he just introduced him, keeping target paces for Bawal.
“As long as I can pay full cash in front of them, they satisfied, even I have to depart their ships, watching them sailing, while my assistants keep the works operated.”
Now he was questioning himself, about the prediction of Bawal Putih gonna run out, his revenue in local markets keep surged, he take the next steps, Alva not to wanna be part of it, as long as he always receive Bawal Putih. Edi decided to expand his adventure to the neighbor sea, he almost betrays his associate fishermen, which he can keep silent from it. While Edi doubt about the run out Bawal Putih in authorized sea. “Yet, I’m still going to the black market sea, just drive around there, bring my cash and see the lucky ones will get it.”
If he continues to expand, It’s an illegal, hurts the other sellers, anybody can go in the black market, the fish never get in. What can he do about it?
He brings the clean man, a friend, without any associate matter, the border of sea assumed he shops for housewife, he doesn’t bring a big step into there, make sure he buys only five Bawal Putih, with a box inside of ice. Why the black market can gain the freedom for authorized city, since It has the freedom chance for fishermen gaining the productions, as a matter of fact, Black Market Sea is an international freedom, but the politics matter in Dori really highly complex, they said black market can hurt potentials the local, so they never opened for import raw resources, except for personal matters.
The border have agreed to watching the traders getting inside. Edi can have an access, sure he is in surveillance of borders, the message from fish commissioners have spread. I verify the list, Edi not only being blacklist person to trade from black market, he is in surveillance. I don’t tell Edi about his situation, what I sure he predicted the forecast, too good to be true.
The night I ended our road drive from black market, went back to my hotel and ahead sleep earlier, tomorrow morning I turned on the TV after woke up, breaking news in every broadcast, an explosion from the fisherman ship in authorized sea, the sea sudden spread on toxic with the junks and mass oil.
Reminds me of Edi, I went to breakfast in hotel’s restaurant, hang out alone with coffee, tried to call Edi, he’s unavailable, his phone is off, the best I can do wrote the email to him.
To: Edi Morning Edi, I watched the news. It’s terrible. I hope you’re going okay?, If you have pass this situation and going through, please reply this email and let’s talk again later. I decided to go home first, I will come back. Thanks for your story. That day, I decided not to extend my stay, I predicted It’s gonna be wrong, so I rest of myself not to curious the situation behind Flamboyan, like any mass media what’s happening in the fish harbour, effects of fish market, I decided to go home, books my flight to Batam. Miss my girlfriend.
Three weeks after back to home, leisure time in office, my email finally got replied.
Hi Yellow, Thanks for care. Indeed, It’s terrible, but everyone has under control. The authority have giving access again for fishermen. The bad news is we didn’t find Bawal Putih in local sea, even my friends also feel run out. The business going pain, the quality fish also affects, we tried to find the long-term solutions here, I will tell you more, if you going back.
Authorized sea is famous with authentic premium fish until this accident happened. Bunch of food cultures enthusiasts always going to Dori, for taste of this luxury and these japanese and chinese restaurants are very proud with their supply. This city is just a small, boring with the view, It’s not they’re looking for , they wanna their hangout places and essential seafood. Travelers found happiness there.
The next two days I decided to come back, I paid myself for the flight and hotel, Edi promised me to pick me up and pay me for dinner, have to catch up again about this story, following my deadline getting thigh.
“You don’t say goodbye to me after our adventure, huh?” He made a little joke to me
“I decided to get a rest first, the story not close yet, right?”
“It’s bleeding actually, we can’t going anywhere”
He is serious about his words, now he can’t pretend the business always going reached the moon, after arrived in a street food vendor, ordered for me a lemon soda and Kwe Tiau Meat goreng, I adores this simple food, added with soil sauce and chili, fresh with the smoke impression. I never going forget the first night on my relaxed second tour.
He opened the conversation, while It’s raining in the middle of night, I didn’t check in room yet , my bag still inside of his car, recorder not ready yet, used my phone note his words.
“Since that accident, authorized decided to open access into the black market for everyone”
“That means It’s good news for everyone, right?” I tried to be reasonable
“It’s a bad news for us, sellers”
“Indeed, I’m gonna lost business anyway”
He turned off his ambitions, pretended to be normal anyway, the good news is he can supply Bawal Putih in legal actions, bring the truck and wrapped for members with expected quantities, even for restaurants and Chinese people can consume them everyday. The market doesn’t get sensitive about the price and Edi doesn’t turn down the membership fee, he prefers being silence. Nobody cared about him anymore, the members seeing him just usual supplier.
The next day, I’m going to the black market. It’s crowded more than first time before, the question remind me, why black market so special with a premium fish? - Although travelers enjoy their happiness into the night from authorized sea, Is it black market, the violence village which doesn’t offer the peaces, most of people there are workers, even the restaurants crowds with local with their dress works, most of them works in field, no office workers, no bunch of fats men with staircase bag. I can see they are mechanics, sailors, fishermen and merchants.
I and Edi ever eat in the one of the hidden restaurants, served with Japanese bento like, miso soup and bowl rice, with a big portion anyway. The rest of customers, smiling with sweatness, talking bets, women, football and laughing so much, while the radio player tuned the protocol radio, segments of french language music.
One of old man mechanic curious on me, strange with his smile greeting
“What do you do, son?”
“Good for you son, I have a simple story about these people”
“What is it? Sir?”
“We never pay taxes here. Those are bunch of former villains worked for cartels, mafia, run from the debts, failures, in the end they found the path for the ending story”
“What about you?” I ask his own
“I spent my time created an engine for planes, not exactly commercial planes you always fly with, I made for outlaw peoples, wanna fly and engines for sails”
“The only master, then?”
“Yeah people spent big on me to make a sustain engine, I cared on my quality here, I didn’t wanna anything more, except hook some women, good sleep, good drinks and freedom.” Lol he laughed wide
End the conversation, he slurped the draft beer, I’m wondering how this small restaurant spent entire years for black market history. I decided to continue
“Did you know when this place this started?”
“Of course, I’m one of the earliest, It’s two generations now, the father of that old woman was sailor, also the founder of the black market city, fishing the exceptional fish, you cant found anywhere.”
I continued “That’s why Black Market cant export the fish until now”
“We lives in eccentric city with freedom culture, but people needs working hard to get sustained here, Its a small city and you cant go anywhere, except you know how to do dirty business”
“What about the government?”
“Although authorized knew about this city, they saw us invisible, their insiders doing illegal business here, people out there never knew, we really don’t care what they’re doing as long as they paid fair to us, tough workers just wanna cash”
“Is it included with fish business?”
“Black market is an international port for outlaws, of course yes, they even cut the fish just to supply acid into other republics, Salmon is the goddess here”
“Thanks for your short, a tip for your cigarettes and beer”
The mechanic old man smiled to us, Black Market matched with an Edi’s ambitions, not everyone can see the potentials from Bawal Putih, but their customers requests for it. Edi’s chance in black market can recover in authorized.
Different views with authorized, Black Market didn’t care much on Bawal Putih, they even giving lowest price for Edi, outlaw fishermen didnt know the hidden potentials there until someone yelling to them, since Edi established the business in authorized. What’s giving his benefits, not depends on local fishermen and their associate really hates it, he disrupted since that accident. What happen now, Edi is taking the golden chance after open access into black market.
Its been a year Edi crawling Bawal Putih in black market, they realized someone here pays the lowest without the edge from competitions, they raised the prices, the business is so dynamic, some resellers began to follow Edi’s invention, he just can’t pretend to get the lowest price between the others, he wants to get out. Now he retired.
Getting married with long-time girlfriend, been usual customer in the Rumah Makan Padang’s aunty, he looks happier than before, I also got invited, I brought my girlfriend also wanna-be my wife, we belongs together. The authorized sea have been recover, thanks to the black market sea also neighbor, some of their fish ecosystem may contribute the family for authorized, Edi pretended to be businessman right now, renting the sails for the next young fishermen and farmers, take the service fee.
He also keeps supply Bawal Putih for his brother. The Flamboyan never saw offering bond service, bet for the premium fish like before. It’s just a usual market selling and buying.
Since I can’t let my present into Edi’s new life, I have been into black market to check the place, where I talked to that old mechanic men. I curious about there, a second lucky to meet him again, his legend presence tell me the rich stories I should write.
He greets me first, “Nice to have you back, good to see you”
“I have a question”
“Why black market exists? Why the history never written before? The government never touch it?”
He drank his usual draft beer and watched empty in front of radio, streaming the world news service and answer my question.
“This country exists, because of black market exists. I don’t wanna said it twice, this country depends on black market. Did I mention it before?”
I remembered it, but It’s a glance, I want more. Not to mention the fish operations here, since I look it normal, but the entire city looks hiding the story here.
“How did it happen?’
“A freedom city where crime creators can do what they wants, the governments want take parts of it. They pretend so good in front of public, since public can’t pay the taxes what they wants. They decided need a quick scheme money, they work with us.”
“So, this is how government make money beside taxes?”
“I dont wanna make it twice. Make sure your listening splashed with your dumb toilet?” Okay, he looks disturbed.
“For next drink, on me?”
“Enough night for me, I’m going back to my office. If you want more, follow me.”
This story is an actual fiction writing. No intended to reflect characters and story in real life. Thanks for enjoying.
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