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Jakarta Post

A little off the top: Traditional barbers thrive in Pasar Turi

Tue, December 3, 2019   /   12:33 pm
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    Suhardi waits for customers after preparing his hair-cutting kit at Pasar Turi in Bantul regency, Yogyakarta. JP/Anggertimur Lanang Tinarbuko

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    One of Suhardi's customers after getting a haircut. JP/Anggertimur Lanang Tinarbuko

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    The blue wooden box where Suhardi stores his hair-cutting tools. JP/Anggertimur Lanang Tinarbuko

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    Rows of traditional barbershops at Pasar Turi in Bantul regency, Yogyakarta. JP/Anggertimur Lanang Tinarbuko

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    Gray hair that has been trimmed. JP/Anggertimur Lanang Tinarbuko

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    A man observes his haircut from a mirror. JP/Anggertimur Lanang Tinarbuko

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    One of Suhardi’s customers waits in line to get a haircut. JP/Anggertimur Lanang Tinarbuko

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    The hair of a customer on Suhardi’s safari suit, his daily work “uniform”. JP/Anggertimur Lanang Tinarbuko

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    Suhardi focuses on the hair around the ear of a customer. JP/Anggertimur Lanang Tinarbuko

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    A razor always needs to be sharpened. JP/Anggertimur Lanang Tinarbuko

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    A barber sweeps away hairs on the barbershop floor. JP/Anggertimur Lanang Tinarbuko

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    How much am I getting today? JP/Anggertimur Lanang Tinarbuko

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    Suhardi gets ready to cycle home. JP/Anggertimur Lanang Tinarbuko

Anggertimur Lanang Tinarbuko

On the eastern side of Jl. Samas in Bantul regency, Yogyakarta, a crowd taking part in a variety of activities enlivened the atmosphere of Pasar Turi traditional market. It was the market day of Pahing, according to Javanese calendar, and traders and buyers are busy engaging in various transactions.

An interesting part of Turi market is a row of traditional barbershops on the west side, where barbers wait for men who want to restore their confidence with a new haircut.

Suhardi, a 76-year-old traditional barber, was among those with loyal customers waiting to get a haircut. “I don’t set prices,” Suhardi, who has been working as a barber since 1974, told The Jakarta Post.

The buzz of an old Wahl electric hair clipper started to fill the air. This clipper is more often in use than a manual haircutting kit.

According to Suhardi, he only uses a manual tool when the power goes out. “My friends and I use electricity from nearby residents’ houses,” he said, adding that he pays Rp 15,000 (US$ 1.06) them a week.

One of Suhardi’s clientele is 72-year-old Tukiman, who was lining up for his turn after going around the market and buying a sickle.

“It was really crowded here when I came earlier. I thought it was better to go around the market first to get this sickle than wait,” Tukiman said, laughing.

When it was his turn, he told the barber what he wanted. “Koyo biasane yo,” Tukiman asked in Javanese, instructing Suhardi to give him the usual.

When getting a haircut at a traditional market, not many options for hairstyles are available. Most customers only ask for a trim.

There are, however, options for lengths that could determine which blade the barber should use. There are no special requests that could possibly come from a young man who wants to keep up with the latest hair trend.

"No one asks for anything strange. My customers are mostly gentlemen, so the important thing for them is to look neat,” Suhardi said. (mut)