the donut man comes

A gray drizzly morning on the verandah at "Bunut Gardens" and the donut man makes his regular call. I'm not so partial to sweet sugary donuts as the first meal of the day. But the banana fritters and sticky rice cake were better fare. I preferred to have my breakfast at Nyoman's Warung.

This guy had tattoos all up and down his left arm. One was of a Western woman in a long slinky dress which you can barely make out in this photo. It looked as though it was crudely copied from a picture of Marilyn Munro. He amused me by making it wriggle.

A year or so after this picture was taken, the government in Jakarta had the police rounding up and jailing anybody who wore a tattoo in response to an outbreak of gang crime. Since all gang members have tattoos, anybody who has a tattoo must belong in a gang and is therefore a criminal. Simple, isn't it? Saves so much work over and beyond proving someone's guilt. The results of this campaign were attempts by many youths to remove their tattoos by chemicals, burning and cutting which left them with terrible scaring.

There is a great sadness in the young man's eyes. Comfortable and secure in my own wealthy country of countless choices, and connected to it by travelers checks and a passport out of poverty, I can't presume to ever 'know' what his life story has been.

or continue the journey