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Jakarta Post

Singing for their supper

  • Talia Shadwell

    The Jakarta Post

  /   Mon, February 13 2012   /  10:00 am

In urban centers throughout Java, street children cut familiar silhouettes. They weave in and out of gridlocked traffic to hawk cigarettes and souvenirs. Others haunt street corners cajoling harassed-looking animals into frenetic jigs as a pimp lurks nearby. Many more busk in warung, palming chump change from diners who pay them less out of pity than to shoo them away. But perhaps most confronting are the children who brazenly hop on and off vehicles, dangling from the open doors of angkot amid heavy traffic, playing ukuleles and hand-drums to commuters for want of a few thousand rupiah.

About 40 children and their boisterous pet monkey call Manggarai’s Yayasan Annur Muhiyam shelter home. The children, aged from 10 to 19, receive English lessons on the floor of a tiny room where stray cats roam around the single whiteboard. Some of them sleep at the shelter, Others stay with fa...