We take a closer look at the inspiring story of Rubiyem, a porter in Beringharjo market, Yogyakarta.

  10 November 2015 11:33

Brilio.net - Whether it’s markets, train stations or public places; porters are always on standby to help visitors and customers.

Beringharjo market, the biggest traditional market in Yogyakarta, is home to approximately 200 porters. Step foot into the market, and you will notice that the majority of them are actually female! 

Rubiyem (Left) and her friend, who holds the same profession

Rubiyem hails from a regency in Yogyakarta called Kulon Progo and she is one of the longest-serving female porters in Beringharjo market. Today, at the age of 65, she has already been working at the market for over 40 years!

For those of you who think being a porter is easy, you’re mistaken. Ask Rubiyem and she’ll tell you - it requires plenty of effort. Each day, she breaks her back to carry tens of kilograms of goods in exchange for wages. “I once carried 70 kilograms of sugar at one go,” Rubiyem told brilio.net/en, Tuesday (25/8).

And their jobs do not get any easier. Because of their experiences, porters are generally accustomed to carrying 25 - 50 kilograms of weight at once. Interestingly, porters do not have the right to set a price for their service. Instead, customers pay their wages solely based on the weight they are capable of carrying.

“The sellers pay Rp. 3,000 per load, but buyers or shoppers usually pay Rp. 10,000 - Rp. 20,000,” said Rubiyem.

Despite the daily challenges that porters face, she is determined to stay on. “I am happy to work here. I have a lot of friends and I want to earn money by myself.”

Rubiyem is one amongst hundreds of tough women in Beringharjo market who don’t give up easily. And she parted with some wise words. “No matter how much money we get, it will be enough if we always feel grateful.” At 40 years and counting, this is definitely some good advice to live by!


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