SMK Negeri 2, Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan, Indonesia
Klotok Rental at the Floating Market (Tourism Industry)
Banjarmasin is the capital city of the province called South Kalimantan, which is famous for its many rivers, big and small, connecting city areas. Rivers are a part of Banjarmasin’s community and everything is based on water. Indigenous people of Banjarmasin, called Banjar People, live along the riverbanks. Although there are many newcomers from Hulu Sungai, (an area that includes Hulu Sungai Tengah and its capital Barabai, Hulu Sungai Selatan and its capital Kandangan, and Hulu Sungai Utara and its capital Amuntai), Banjar people welcome them warmly because they share the same river culture. Hulu sungai means “headwaters of rivers” and Banjar people conduct their daily activities on water. One of the activities is the floating market, which has played important role for the indigenous people of Banjarmasin.
The floating market on Barito River opens at dawn (around 5:00 am), and ends after the sun rises (about 8 am). The floating market is popular with tourists, and its unique and traditional way of transaction has attracted many people who want to come and see it. Tourism opened many business opportunities for local people. One such business is klotok rentals.
A klotok is a traditional, long, wooden, canoe-like boat, which has a small motor at the bottom. The boat gets its name from the “klok tok tok” noise it makes, and it is used in rivers as a taxi or to transport goods. Driving klotok on Barito River requires special skill, and this is the reason why business owners usually drive the boats themselves. Although now there are some big-capital owners who run businesses too, they do not have a high regard for the art of navigating the boats on Barito River. People who know about klotok choose it for transportation to the floating market.
One of the local owners of a klotok rental is Pak Amat. He has run the business for about 15 years. Every day he awaits his passengers at the dock, along with other drivers. People will come and negotiate the fee (usually about Rp. 100.000 – Rp. 250.000) depending on the route. Pak Amat will offer routes from which tourists can choose: floating market only, floating market plus sailing around Banjarmasin, floating market plus visiting the Flower Land, or the complete route which includes everything. Flower Land is a small land at the heart of Barito, and is the habitat for bekantan (a long-nose monkey). The land is full of monkeys and no people live there.
To attract tourists, while driving, Pak Amat will tell legends. He also offers a breakfast on the river, and the way he gets this is unique. Pak Amat will call one of the floating food-stalls, and then he helps the tourist hook their breakfast with a long bamboo stick. If the tourists want, they can try to hook their meal themselves. When buying fruits or any other goods, Pak Amat will help them bargain with the sellers.
There used to be a shortage of klotok rentals owned by locals. Most of them do not speak English, and some of them even do not speak Bahasa Indonesia. This is a challenge in expanding their business, and also in facing globalization, which has prompted more foreigners to come to Banjarmasin. How can the drivers tell their legends in the local Banjar language? They also lack promotion skills and even the Floating Market itself is diminishing. It used to attract hundreds of boats floating to the market, but now has only tens. The Indonesian government is promoting tourism, but it lacks sensitivity toward the local sellers who are the main actors of the floating market. The klotok rental and the floating market are mutually dependent in the face of these challenges. The klotok driver should be trained to modify his boat in a green way to the save the gas they use for their motors. They used to dispose the waste from their boats into the river.
This “Going Green” project was conducted by the students at SMK Negeri 2, a vocational high school in Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan (the Indonesian part of Borneo):
Tengku Novita Yuli Andika
Teacher supervisor: Ari Rahman