Students skip class to work as ‘ojek’ drivers during Games
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The National Games (PON) 2012 is bringing economic benefits to college students as they take up temporary jobs as motorcycle taxi drivers — locally known as ojek — but not without some academic sacrifice.
Fadli, a student of in the English department of the Islamic State University, obviously puts his studies first, but the chance to play a part in the Games was too good to miss.
“Study is still my number one. I’m skipping class only for a week. There will be no more skipping classes after the Games,” he told The Jakarta Post recently.
He is one of 100 university students in Pekanbaru hired by the organizers to shuttle the press from one venue to another on their bikes.
Fadli said that although the university had started a few days previously, some of the students are still hanging around hopefully, skipping class for a few more days until Thursday when the Games will end.
John Mart Ramadan, a student of Riau Islamic University, said while he could still find some time to go to campus, absence was unavoidable. He was sure he would not be away more than four times as allowed by the school.
“I could use up my absence limit of four days while I’m working here. But I’ll probably use only two because I don’t have class on Monday and Wednesday,” he said.
“My intention in working for PON is to help make the event a success. It’s a way of killing time as well. I don’t have anything of pressing urgency to do at home.”
The ojek drivers are based at venues where the media centers are located. Passengers, mostly journalists, use the services free of charge.
20-year-old John first registered with the PON committee to work as a liaison officer for contingents but was switched to ojek driving “perhaps due to the overwhelming number of LO registrations”.
He is paid Rp 200,000 (US$21) a day, subject to 11 percent tax.
Unlike the others, Eki Widodo does not need to skip class. He just finished his studies.
“I just finished my exams and now waiting to graduate,” said Eki, who will graduate cum laude.
“I can befriend journalists and chat to them while I drive wherever they want to go,” he said, adding that he enjoyed his work. He works from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m.
Eki, who is from Kuantan Singingi regency, said he will use the money to pay some of his graduation expenses, like hotels and transportation for his parents.
While some students have to skip class, Islamic State University student Asyef Hudairi turned down a job offer to be at the Games.
“I have received a call for a job teaching in a junior high schools in Pekanbaru, but I turned it down because I’m still working for PON,” said Asyef, who hails from Sungai Salak village in Tembilahan Regency, Riau.
Female driver Hasanah Batubara, has swapped roles with many of the passengers. She said she had taken both male and female on her motorcycle.
“I’ve taken much older men many times. It’s my duty. It’s not a problem. Even sometimes when I have a male passenger, he will drive for me,” she said.
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