Purple Poem

A tribute to all woman domestic workers


In honour of International Women’s Day, Arista Devi, a poet and Hong Kong domestic worker from Indonesia wrote:

(Bahasa Indonesian version is below)

Purple Poem

how much I want you to read my stories
to understand what is really happening
to learn the truth that’s often contested
people do not care what the reality is
we were never promised justice
or victory
at least enough to understand
why purple poems come from women migrant workers like me

it’s not a secret anymore
there are many parts of our story
which are often not covered
nor is a fragment of the story told right
sad that it feels more painful than feature film or opera
about Sumiati and Kokom in Saudi Arabia
about Rohmini and Ester in Malaysia
about En En and Eka Yulianti in Singapore
about Kartika and Erwiana in Hong Kong
many stories of other women migrant workers
whose name escapes mentions in the news
their names are a blur with their bodies buried together

this month, on the day that’s ours
let me tell you
not one prayer is answered and God isn’t coming soon
when are our backs whipped, our fingers cut and skin ironed
we’re forced to wander and used to finding parts of the body
and our souls have been raped one by one

on the day they call women’s day
let me represent my community
and knock on the door of your hearts
and like the first time God
opened the gates of life
to make our baby figure
screaming and crying for a long time
just open your eyes, look in the mirror, and learn
learn to liberate yourselves from mirage
despite every body being wrapped with various ornaments
you are no different than me and my community
you are just human, like me!
when the heartbeat stops
death comes nevertheless.

Arista Devi

7 March, 2014

Indonesian domestic worker protesters seek justice for Erwiana at a recent protest outside Hong Kong government buildings

Sajak Perempuan Ungu
: TKW

betapa aku ingin kalian membaca
cerita yang kutuliskan
memahami apa yang sebenarnya
terjadi
tentang kebenaran yang sering kali
diperebutkan
tak peduli meski kenyataannya benar pun tak pernah menjanjikan keadilan dan kemenangan
setidaknya cukup kalian mengerti
kenapa terlahir sajak-sajak ungu dari rahim pemberontakan kaumku

sudah bukan rahasia lagi
ada banyak bagian dari cerita kami
yang kerap kali dihilangkan
tepat pada penggalan kisah
menyedihkan
yang rasanya lebih pedih dari skenario sinetron yang kalian tonton
kisah sumiati dan kokom di arab saudi
kisah rohmini dan ester ria di
malaysia
kisah en en dan eka yulianti di
singapura
kisah kartika dan erwiana di hong kong
pun kisah perempuan-perempuan
pekerja migran lainnya
yang namanya luput disebut dalam
berita
atau mungkin namanya telah blur
bersama jasad mereka yang dikubur

di bulan ini, pada hari yang katanya
milik kami
biarlah kutegaskan pada kalian
bukan salah doa dan tuhan yang tidak lekas datang
jika kami yang berkorban kemudian
justru dikorbankan
bukan salah kami pun kalian, ketika
kami terajam kekejaman
puggung tercambuk, jari dipotong
atau kulit disetrika bukan hal luar
biasa
sejak terpaksa merantau, kami
terbiasa mendapati bagian dari raga pun jiwa kami diperkosa satu persatu

pada hari yang katanya hari perempuan
biarkan aku mewakili kaumku,
mengetuk pintu hati kalian
dan seperti pertama kali tuhan
membuka gerbang kehidupan
yang membuat sosok bayi kita
menjerit dan menangis panjang
bukalah mata, belajarlah berkaca dan bebaskan diri kita dari fatamorgana
di balik pembungkus badan pun
bermacam hiasan itu
kalian semua tiada beda denganku
dan kaumku
sama-sama manusia
yang ketika detak jantungnya berhenti
berarti mati jua

Maret, 2014

Indonesian domestic workers in Hong Kong protest against the alleged torture of Erwiana outside Hong Kong government buildings