Tales of the Waria

A Secret Weapon

Our crew has been joined by two new members: Irfan, a young photographer from Makassar, and Pak Handi Ilfat, a professional sound man from Jakarta. It’s so good having them here. They’re both hard-working and good-natured—a great combination when you’re working long hours with subjects that can be somewhat demanding! I often joke with Handi that he is the consummate Handy Man. He has taken over the task of driving us around. And just the other day he changed a flat tire.

Handi and Irfan
Suharni and best friend Wanda sitting pretty as Handi changes the tire

And there’s an added bonus. Mami Ria has taken quite a liking to Pak Handi. Her entire attitude toward the film project has changed, and I think it’s partly because of Handi. Gone is her moodiness. She becomes more demure and feminine around Pak Handi and is constantly inviting him to eat. Today, when we were waiting to film a traditional Buginese wedding, Mami plopped herself down next to Handi on the sofa and nonchalantly put her hand on his leg. Handi was startled, but being the good sport he is, stayed put. I wickedly asked Handi if I could borrow his camera and snapped away.

Kathy attempts unsuccessfully to please Mami
Handi pleases Mami just by being himself!

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