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Thursday, June 29, 2017

A Man Called Parno: Chapter 2 - Into The Society And Beyond

After reading the first part, what do you think about a man called Parno? For better or worse, he is really an interesting character, eh? Now that school days were done, what came next was a new phase for all of us. Things might be a bit hazy here for the fact that we weren't always together and, most of the time, we were worlds apart, literally. But you know what they said about a good friendship, it lasts! And I happened to be there when Parno began his working life so let's pick up where we left off.

Together with another guy called Jun Fui, the three of us took the first flight to Jakarta a day after my graduation ceremony in late 2002. Parno stayed at Kelapa Gading throughout his sojourn in Jakarta, the same place where Eday and I dropped him a few years earlier. He was employed by his relative, doing... alas, only God knows what he was doing. The only thing I remember about his work was how his Sundanese colleagues at work taught him some extremely naughty Sundanese words such as male ejaculation. That must be the highlight of his first job in Jakarta!

Parno and Soedjoko, posing at Gambir station.

Anyway, whatever the job was, it couldn't be that rosy, because Parno started dreaming of working in the USA. He could be quite adamant once he made up his mind on something and, for this particular moment, he kept muttering about this dodgy employment agency at Pasar Baru. In Parno's mind, he was convinced that he just had to be there, paid whatever amount that was requested and then got himself smuggled into America. My friend Soedjoko and I told him that it was too good to be true, but he wouldn't budge. Joko eventually gave up and drove him there. True enough, there wasn't any apparent result and his money was never to be seen again.

Wearing his Malpy uniform, the company he worked at in Brunei.

Realizing that he was going nowhere, Parno quit his job and left the capital city, ending his tenure in Jakarta. The next time he gave an update, he was already in Brunei, doing some menial jobs. A very hard working man, he lasted there for, perhaps, two years, surviving all oddities, including an accident where he got hit by a Mercedes-Benz.

By the time I migrated to Singapore in 2006, I heard him traveling to West Malaysia and Southernmost tip of Thailand. He was on another attempt to go to the USA, trying to fulfill his American dream. The trip itself was meant to be a camouflage and the passport stamps gathering was some sort of proof that he went places before he applied for his US visa. It was to become another failure and that, for all I know, was his last try.

Posing with Endrico at Kuching bus station.

Parno eventually settled in Pontianak, continuing the family business of selling salted fish and trading second hand oil containers. It was during this period he got to know his future wife. The wedding plan came afterwards and the four of us, Ardian, Endrico, Parno and I, spent time in Kuching for what was supposed to be our mild bachelor nights (Endrico was getting married, too, at that time).

He was a family man after that last trip together, but things would never be awfully quiet for Parno. There was a time when he protected his wife and got his neck chopped with a machete for his heroic act. He also had a near death experience when his boat capsized, almost drowning him in the process. Then I discovered the news (it was via BBM profile picture update, as he never told me until I asked) that his beloved younger brother had passed away due to a very rare viral infection.

Parno and Ardian at Melda.

Life was seldom easy for Parno, but he was stronger than anything that life threw at him. He always found his way to laugh, the best medicine to cast away all the sorrows. I remember that in the midst of all this, in one of my only handful visits to my hometown, he innocently blurted out a life lesson that I remember to this day. At that time, we were in Ardian's car and I was so pissed with the power failure that plagued Pontianak, so I asked them, why on earth they never thought of moving out from this horrible place.

Surianto, Endrico, Parno and Swiandy at Orchard.

His answer, said in a very calm tone that only Parno could, was because he already felt content. And I was stunned when I heard that. If it was said by other people, it could have meant anything, but I knew the man pretty well. Parno didn't mean to act smart. He was just being honest and his sincerity touched my heart. It got me thinking that it was never a matter of how far we went in life, because happiness came from within. Very zen, isn't it?

That is Parno for you, alright. He had his fair share of ups and downs, but for all the mistakes that he made, you'd end up laughing them off and forgive him instead, saying that, "well, it's only Parno." Of course he could be a pain in the ass, sometimes, like the time when he was again too stubborn to see that what he agreed to do in Hong Kong was wrong and, after we gave up persuading him, we actually wished to see him going to jail instead, haha.

Parno as Pakarporn in Hong Kong.

His shop had been demolished a while ago and he's into insurance these days. Out of sympathy, I bought the insurance for my parents from him. I'd say he was still going thru the learning curve at the moment, which could be troublesome for he was just too text book. There was at least one occasion where I lost my temper thanks to the difficulty in claiming and it was only resolved after our friend Andry, now his superior, stepped in.

Acting tough with Alvin, Muliady The and Muliady AW at the High School Reunion 2014.

By the end of the day, however, after all is said and done, there's no love lost between us. While I still fail to refrain from making him the butt of the jokes, I'm proud to say that he's a good friend of mine. More than that, he is a living reminder for our generation that life can actually be simple enough, so why complicates the matter? He had to be there at the High School Reunion 2014 because what kind of reunion would that be if our mascot wasn't there? Parno is well-loved not because of what he has, but simply because of who he is. Frankly speaking, not many people can achieve that in life...

Pria Bernama Parno: Bagian 2 - Terjun Ke Masyarakat

Setelah membaca bagian pertama, bagaimana pendapat anda tentang pria bernama Parno ini? Unik, bukan? Sekarang, setelah masa sekolah selesai, kita siap memasuki fase baru dalam kehidupan: dunia kerja. Ada beberapa bagian yang kurang jelas di masa ini karena saya dan Parno tidak lagi selalu bersama di satu daerah, melainkan berbeda kota dan negara. Akan tetapi persahabatan yang baik itu kekal adanya. Kebetulan saja saya juga bersama Parno ketika dia mulai terjun ke dunia kerja, jadi mari kita mulai kembali cerita kita.

Bersama seorang teman lain bernama Jun Fui, kita bertiga berangkat ke Jakarta dengan menaiki penerbangan pertama di pagi hari, sehari setelah saya diwisuda. Parno tinggal di rumah relasinya di Kelapa Gading, tempat yang sama dimana Eday dan saya mengantarnya beberapa tahun silam. Dia dipekerjakan oleh saudara ibunya. Entah apa pekerjaannya, yang saya ingat justru cerita Parno tentang bagaimana rekan kerjanya mengajari kata-kata kotor dalam bahasa Sunda. Hanya itu yang berkesan dari pekerjaan pertamanya di Jakarta!

Parno, Junaidi and Sudarman, di dalam kereta menuju Bandung.

Apa pun pekerjaan Parno saat itu, sepertinya ia tidak begitu berminat, sebab ia mulai bermimpi untuk kerja di Amerika. Parno bisa jadi kepala batu kalau dia sudah terpaku pada satu hal dan di kala itu, ia kerap kali berbicara tentang agen tenaga kerja di Pasar Baru. Di benaknya, ia cukup datang, bayar dan kemudian diberangkatkan ke Amerika. Soedjoko, seorang kenalan di Jakarta, dan saya sudah menasihatinya bahwa kenyataan tidaklah semulus itu, tapi Parno tetap bersikeras. Joko akhirnya menyerah dan mengantarnya ke sana. Benar saja, hasilnya tidak jelas dan uang pun tidak kembali.

Di kebun binatang Bandung.

Sadar bahwa karirnya tidak berkembang, Parno berhenti kerja dan mengakhiri perantauannya di Jakarta. Di kali berikutnya dia memberikan kabar, dia sudah bekerja di Brunei. Seorang pekerja keras, Parno berkelana di negeri orang kira-kira dua tahun lamanya dan mengalami berbagai cobaan hidup di sana, termasuk mengalami kecelakaan karena ditabrak oleh mobil Mercedes.

Ketika saya pindah ke Singapura di tahun 2006, terdengar kabar bahwa Parno berwisata ke Malaysia Barat dan Thailand Selatan. Setelah ditelusuri, ini adalah upayanya untuk hijrah ke Amerika. Sebelum ia memohon visa dari kedutaan Amerika, ia dinasehati untuk mengumpulkan beberapa cap paspor untuk menandakan bahwa dia sering berjalan-jalan sebelum ke Amerika. Upaya ini tidak berhasil dan, sejauh yang saya tahu, ini adalah kali terakhirnya mengadu nasib ke Amerika.

Parno akhirnya menetap di Pontianak dan melanjutkan bisnis keluarga. Ia berdagang ikan asin dan drum oli bekas. Di masa ini dia juga berkenalan dengan calon istrinya. Setelah ada rencana menikah, Parno, Endrico, Ardian dan saya berlibur ke Kuching sekaligus merayakan pelepasan masa lajang Parno dan Endrico.

Setelah menikah, kehidupan Parno sebagai kepala keluarga tetap saja diwarnai beraneka kejadian. Lehernya pernah dibacok dengan parang ketika melindungi istrinya dari penjambretan. Ia juga nyaris tenggelam ketika perahu yang ditumpanginya terbalik di sungai Kapuas. Sesudah itu, ada kabar bahwa adiknya meninggal karena terjangkit virus yang sangat langka.

Parno si pawang ular.

Hidup tidaklah mudah bagi Parno, tetapi dia lebih kuat dari segala macam terpaan hidup. Ia selalu bisa tertawa, cara terbaik untuk menghadapi kesulitan hidup. Di tengah berbagai kejadian ini, saya ingat pelajaran hidup yang tanpa sengaja ia ucapkan. Ini terjadi sewaktu saya pulang kampung. Saat itu kita berada di mobil Ardian dan saya sedang jengkel dengan kondisi Pontianak yang lagi-lagi mati lampu. Kemudian saya pun bertanya, kenapa mereka masih saja betah di tempat seperti ini.

Foto terakhir kunjungan Parno ke Singapura di tahun 2015.

Jawabannya, yang diucapkan dengan gaya khas Parno yang pelan dan polos, adalah karena dia sudah merasa bahagia dengan apa yang ada. Saya terpana saat mendengarnya. Jikalau diucapkan oleh orang lain, kalimat tersebut bisa berarti apa saja, tergantung penafsiran. Tapi ini Parno dan saya yakin dia tidak berpura-pura sok tahu. Dia hanya berkata dengan jujur dan kepolosannya sungguh menggugah. Perkataannya membuat saya merenung, bahwa hidup bukanlah tentang sejauh apa kita berada, sebab kegembiraan sebenarnya berasal dari dalam diri sendiri.

Bersama Lawrence Liew, orang Singapura, di A. Yani Mall.

Itulah Parno. Seperti halnya setiap orang, dia pun tidak luput dari masalah hidup. Kendati begitu, kesalahan apa pun yang ia lakukan, pada akhirnya kita akan tertawa dan memaafkannya sambil berkata, "ya, ini 'kan Parno. Mau bagaimana lagi?" Seringkali begitu, walau pun tidak dipungkiri bahwa ia terkadang benar-benar mengesalkan, misalnya saja ketika ia tetap berniat memberikan kesaksian palsu di Hong Kong, meski pun ia tahu bahwa itu perbuatan yang salah. Saat kita berhenti menasehatinya, sempat terpikir kalau mungkin sebaiknya dia masuk penjara saja, wahaha.

Oh ya, tokonya sudah dirobohkan beberapa waktu yang lalu dan dia sibuk dengan asuransi sekarang. Karena bersimpati, saya membeli asuransi darinya untuk kedua orang tua saya. Sebagai nasabah, saya merasa dia masih butuh banyak pengalaman karena terlalu kaku dalam sepak terjangnya sebagai agen. Paling tidak ada satu kejadian di mana saya dibuat marah karena merasa dipersulit dalam klaim. Hanya ketika teman kita Andry turun tangan, barulah masalah dapat ditangani.

Berpose lucu-lucuan bersama Endrico di Reuni 2014.

Pada akhirnya, setelah tawa, canda dan masalah yang datang silih berganti, teman tetaplah teman. Saya akui bahwa setelah puluhan tahun mengerjainya, tidak mudah bagi saya untuk berhenti begitu saja. Biar pun begitu, saya bangga bisa mengenal dan memanggilnya sebagai seorang sahabat. Lebih dari itu, Parno merupakan lambang bagi generasi kita yang akan selalu mengingatkan kita bahwa hidup sesungguhnya bisa dipermudah, lalu kenapa kita sering menyulitkan diri sendiri dengan hal-hal yang tidak perlu? Parno adalah maskot, karena itulah dia hadir di Reuni SMU 2014. Akhir kata, Parno disayang bukan karena apa yang dimilikinya, tetapi karena kelebihannya dalam menjadi diri sendiri. Dalam hidup ini, percayalah ketika saya berkata bahwa tidak banyak dari kita yang bisa tampil apa adanya seperti Parno...

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