National Geographic : 1971 Jan
feet, determined to shine my canvas shoes. Then a blind man approached, shepherded by a motherly little girl of perhaps 10 years. The man did not call out or reach out his hand. Perhaps he felt that people rich enough to eat meat would, seeing his con dition, give him a few rupiahs. No one did. The child marched the old man about with cheerful solicitude. Poor waif, I thought, slave to a blind pauper. She left her father behind a post, where he would not be jostled, and came back alone. She surveyed the diners shyly, then stood for a moment wringing her hands, desperate and ashamed. But she could not beg. She simply turned her back to us and stood still, asking nothing, a far more touching figure than she could have been with out stretched hands. I probably only imagined that I saw her shoulders shake. As I left, I went to her and took her hand and put money in it. She whispered thanks and ran to her father. I heard them laughing together over their good fortune as I climbed into a betjak, bound for the Hotel Indonesia where, at that moment, businessmen of a dozen nations talked million-dollar deals over New Zealand steaks and French burgundy. Stern Measures for a Strained City Before leaving the capital, I had a brief early-morning meeting with its hard driving governor, Ali Sadikin. Courage is required to cure Djakarta's ills, and Major General Sadikin has it. "You have seen what we have here," he said. "Intolerable crowding. Poor people coming from the country expecting jobs that don't exist. We have had to close the city to newcomers seeking work here, until we can solve our existing problems. "We have just finished repairing our streets. Now we need better medical care Big-eyed little girls learn the lessons of labor at a factory in Bandung, capital of West Java. The children, about 10 years old, transfer hanks of cotton yarn to bobbins used in handlooms. Paid on a piecework basis, they earn approximately 15 cents a day, roughly a third of what their older, faster colleagues receive. Javanese officials can rarely enforce school-attendance laws because of a shortage of classrooms and family de pendence on their children's earnings.