Once upon a time, I asked my two children about what they want to be later on when they grew up, whether they wanted to become a doctor, engineer, pilot, teacher, entrepreneur or so on. My eldest child is still confused what she wanted to be someday. She said the most important was to study first. As for my second child, he did not want to be one of the professions mentioned above. “I want to be a soldier, sir,” he said.
“Don’t you want to be a doctor like mom, or journalist like father?” I asked. “No, I want to be a soldier,” he said with a laugh. He is still a child at the first grade of elementary school. Of course, he is still very early when asked about determination on their future ideal. Now, if he is asked again it can be answered that he wants to be a soldier, the next day to be a pilot and another day to be a doctor.
Other than to my children, similar question was also asked to my nephew and children of his age that I encountered. Similarly, I also asked similar question to high school and college students with whom I exchanged ideas.
The span of their future ideal is between becoming a doctor, engineer or civil servant. There were some who claimed to be a soldier, policeman, businessmen, professor, teacher and others. None of them claimed if they wanted to be a farmer. Yes, became a farmer. Why does this profession seem to be shunned? Don’t they love to hang out with mud, wet soil, grass and foliage?
“Being a farmer is not cool, sir,” said a young man told me frankly. Yes, among the young generation, they are no longer willing to engage in sweat, water and wet soil. They are now more interested in the work considered more promising such as working in tourism sector, such as becoming a hotel clerk, a bank clerk or even migrate overseas as employment on a cruise ship.
It’s true, becoming a farmer is no longer promising. This profession is getting more isolated amidst the bustles of Bali tourism that is increasingly sparkling. Indeed, foundation of tourism on this island is agriculture including its farmers. Moreover, subak organization has been recognized by the UNESCO as a World Heritage. Admittedly, being a farmer is not an easy thing because the government itself does not favor the farmers and especially the agriculture.
Being a farmer is very heavy. Fertilizer and seeds are expensive. During the harvest time, the price of grain drops. As a result, farmers are miserable, wailing, crying until their tears dry up. The government also raises its hands and gives a variety of reasons to show off its powerlessness. At the end, it imports rice. Where is the concern of the government to farmers? It’s only in the discourse and rhetoric.
So, who wants to be a farmer?