Anggertimur Lanang Tinarbuko
Sutopo leaves his house every morning at 6 a.m., pedaling his becak (three-wheeled pedicab). His pedicab is not an ordinary one as the 71-year-old calls it a Becak Pustaka (library on pedicab).
On Thursday Pahing (one of the five Javanese week days), he wears surjan lurik (traditional striped shirt for men), complete with blangkon (traditional cap) as suggested by the Yogyakarta city administration.
Dozens of books are lined up neatly on the wooden shelves in his pink pedicab. The various titles and themes of the books attract people to read.
Sutopo said that through books, he could see a wider world.
“I am also studying English by myself through books,” he added.
The books at Becak Pustaka are free to borrow, without any conditions.
That morning, Rini and her son, 4-year-old Devan, approached Sutopo's pedicab, which was parked on the side of the road.
Devan wanted to return the picture book he had borrowed and get a new one.
Rini often borrows picture books for her son from Sutopo's library.
"Devan just happens to like animals. And here, we can borrow the books for free,” she said.
Sutopo started to spread the reading habit after he retired from his position as a civil servant. Himself a bookworm, Sutopo grew concerned seeing the younger generation, especially children, prefer to play with their mobile phones than reading.
Therefore, he created a library on a pedicab because by pedaling, he can also maintain his health.
Sutopo aims to encourage children to improve their reading habit. [yan]