Saturday, November 28, 2009

Goat For Sale

Yesterday was the celebration Idul Adha for Muslims. It is the 2nd most important day on the Muslim calendar after the ending of Ramadan. Basically, people buy a goat (or a cow if they are rich) that is to be killed at the local mosque in the morning. The meat is then divided up and given out to people in the community who are less fortunate. This is to have empathy for those less fortunate than you. To the best of my knowledge, that is how it goes. The peculiar thing about this is the massive influx of goats.
About 2 weeks before Idul Adha, impromptu goat pens begin to appear on the streets. They are usually in empty lots or on a football field or at the mosque itself. It is quite a sight to behold, the whole city is suddenly filled with little goat farms. There's even the odd goat wandering the street. Aside from the occasional chicken, you NEVER see any farm animals in Jakarta. The only thing I've ever seen that even compares to this is when people start selling pumpkins in corners of parking lots or at gas stations back home before Halloween. This thought makes me wonder how much goat prices fluctuate. I assume they reach their peak the evening before (as would pumpkins) and then prices do a nosedive the next afternoon. This reminds me of Homer Simpson in March regretting not selling his pumpkin stocks in October.
The friends I asked said that a goat could be had for 1 million rupiah ($100) or less depending on the size and health of the goat. They advised me to let them buy the goat for me if I wanted one since I would be charged a higher price since I'm a foreigner. I started thinking that I could buy one and keep it as a pet and call it 'bing (kambing means goat in Indonesian). My lady quickly put an end to any thought of that happening. She said it would be rude. I never thought of it that way and quickly explained that I was only joking (or was I?). This got me wondering what would happen if people wanted to kill a bunch of goats back home. I'm sure that there would be legal and social problems what with all of the rights that animals have these days. I prefer no to dwell on it too much and instead look forward to having some goat kebabs or goat curry which people are giving to anybody who will take it.
For many years, I've meant to get up early in the morning to witness (and photograph) the animal sacrifices. Sadly, I always end up putting more value into sleeping in since the chanting from the mosques starts at 6 p.m the night before and doesn't stop until sunrise. I always end up missing it. By the time I stroll outside, the blood has been washed off the streets and there is a lot of cooking going on. Goat meat is always available in Jakarta but I only eat it a couple of times a year with the exception of Idul Adha when I end up eating way more than I should. I wonder how much laxative they sell the day after. This is one of the only times that people get backed up. Usually, with all of the spicy food and unsanitary conditions, the bowel problems are the opposite of needing a laxative. So have yourself a goat kebab if you can and enjoy the day off, I did.

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