Gimme shelter

Every year thousands of poor people move to Jakarta from the countryside to look for work — only to discover that there IS none. So they invent work. Hence, the Umbrella Man.


Umbrella Men are usually just boys, really; more rarely they are girls or a grown man like this guy. They hang around popular destinations like shopping malls and offices during rainstorms, and as people approach or leave the building, the umbrella boys swoop in and majestically hold umbrellas over their heads. For this they generally get a thousand rupiah or about ten cents.

This guy was pretty dry but the boys always seem to get soaking wet, partly because they have to hold the umbrellas so high, and partly because they play in the puddles — even kids who work are just kids, after all.

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Author: Trish Anderton

I am a nonprofit communicator, Red Sox fan and amateur streetfoodologist. Once upon a time I worked for the Jakarta Globe & Jakarta Post.

3 thoughts on “Gimme shelter”

  1. Nice shot. Yeap, I couldn’t count the numerous times I’ve used their services. Although, I tried to be picky to only use kids’ service instead of adults’. They’re called ‘Ojek Payung’ in Bahasa and the kids used to smile when I give them 1,000 about 8 years ago. How much is it now?

  2. lol. When we went my hubby thought that they were paid by the establishment. His friend asks him so how much did you tip him? My hubbys replies with ooops..Poor umbrella man..

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