Ramadan offers seasonal work for students, entrepreneurs

Ironically, the fasting month is a time of festive food offerings. Students, housewives, and city officials see economic opportunity in the seasonal markets.

By Yudah Prakoso for Khabar Southeast Asia in Yogyakarta

August 08, 2012
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During Ramadan, Yogyakarta mushrooms with seasonal culinary markets, offering enterprising residents a chance to earn some extra cash, and patrons a vast array of tantalising fare.

  • Yogyakarta Mayor Haryadi Suyuti (centre, wearing a black cap) enjoys the atmosphere of the Ramadan seasonal market at Kampong Jogokaryan, Yogyakarta on July 20th. [Arunglantara/Khabar].

    Yogyakarta Mayor Haryadi Suyuti (centre, wearing a black cap) enjoys the atmosphere of the Ramadan seasonal market at Kampong Jogokaryan, Yogyakarta on July 20th. [Arunglantara/Khabar].

Ramadan is celebrated in almost every market in the city. And new stalls crop up in Muslim-majority neighbourhoods (Kampongs) such as Jogokaryan, and Nitikan, and in high-traffic areas like Bulaksumur, where Gajah Mada University is located, and near Syuhada Mosque, one of Yogyakarta's oldest.

Traditional food and snacks are on offer, but interestingly, the markets are quite diverse, with flavours from Sabang to Merauke – the eastern and westernmost cities of Indonesia -- and beyond, due to the large number of migrants, particularly students, in the region.

Mardiah, a vendor at Kampong Kauman, said that during Ramadan, the venerable evening market – a Yogya landmark since 1973 – is bursting with desserts, such as traditional Indonesian pastries and Western Indonesia treats like mud cake, known as Kue Lumpur.

"Mud cake is one of the favourites here. We are often overwhelmed with requests for mud cake," she told Khabar Southeast Asia.

Duman Pereira, a graduate student at Gadjah Mada University from Timor-Leste, says Ramadan is a good time to earn additional income while respecting the Muslim fasting month.

"We usually make some East Timorese dishes during Ramadan and sell it in front of Bulak Sumur Boulevard," in front of the university gates, he said. "It is a good opportunity to earn some money for the next holiday."

Duman stated, "I receive approximately 200,000 rupiah ($21) per day selling these foods. For students, this amount of money is quite a lot. Especially for me, a foreign student," Duman told Khabar.

He also noted that his efforts are supported by many of his Indonesian colleagues.

"This is not only a chance to earn money but also to maintain friendships. I am Catholic, but I respect and encourage my Muslim fellows to finish their fast."

According to the chairwoman of Yogyakarta Cultural Foundation, Widya Utaminingsih Widi, the seasonal markets attract a diverse clientele – and should be developed as a tourist attraction in the region, already a major tourist draw due to its wealth of traditional culture.

Widya noted that the Ramadan market is usually crowded in the afternoon before the time for breaking fast. Local and international tourists buy a variety of traditional snacks and culinary dishes.

"If the managers obtain guidance, especially in terms of structuring their business, the Ramadan markets can attract a large number of tourists," Widya told Khabar.

Haryadi Suyuti, the mayor of Yogyakarta, shares that view.

"These activities in many Kampongs in Yogyakarta can stimulate the tourism industry, and it can be an asset for Yogyakarta," he told Khabar after opening of the Ramadan market in Kampong Jogokaryan on July 20th.

The chairwoman of the event in Jogokaryan, Swasta Gustami, said this year's market is much bigger than last year's.

"All these activities are making for a more festive Ramadan," she said.

Reader Comments
CLICK HERE to Add a Comment
    • sahabat sejati
      September 12, 2012 @ 04:09:22AM
    • Come on, write in Indonesian...ugh, I hate you.
    • hatta larik
      September 10, 2012 @ 10:09:28AM
    • This is fine by me.
    • rahmat r
      September 10, 2012 @ 02:09:01AM
    • I approve.
    • rahmat r
      September 10, 2012 @ 02:09:26AM
    • I agree.
    • sutono
      September 10, 2012 @ 02:09:00AM
    • I am a lecturer at STAI Al Azhar, looking for anyone who can share tips or references on successful entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia that can light students' entrepreneurial spirit.
    • h.ade ahmad
      September 1, 2012 @ 10:09:27AM
    • It wasn't posted on Facebook.
    • satria
      September 1, 2012 @ 08:09:46AM
    • Yes, I believe it.
    • Abdul majid
      September 1, 2012 @ 02:09:28AM
    • I will make an effort to create a better Indonesia.
    • Lukman Nulhakim
      August 26, 2012 @ 05:08:52AM
    • I want to be successful because success is my goal. I want to be an artist because that is my ambition. I really want to make my parents happy.
    • romi hadrian
      August 21, 2012 @ 08:08:25AM
    • Praise be to Allah...we are thankful the month of Ramadan is here. In this blessed month poor people and beggars will receive better fortune than they do in any other month, and the proof is that they are able to break fast alongside many people.
    • ohnmyint
      August 21, 2012 @ 02:08:21AM
    • i like indonesia
    • sat_satiman
      August 20, 2012 @ 12:08:58AM
    • Major Haryadi...Yogyakarta is great!
    • Rumi Rachmawati
      August 19, 2012 @ 04:08:19AM
    • I am a senior high school teacher. I urge my students to sell those kind of snack (what Moslem call takjil) wherevere they live around their house. Some of them also sell accessories for kerudung during the ramadhan. The profit is used for themselves or for the class...fifty for themselves. By doing so, the students can go outbound or picnic. Isn't it nice? Being courageous is good to get selfconfidence. Move onwards!!
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