Years back we had the priviledge to meet one remarkable woman, and we would like you to know her too.
Meet Ibu Murni. A single mother, with one teenage son. Her husband left her not long after the son was born, and she never heard of him since.
Raising a kid on her own, she worked 3 jobs: Cleaning lady during the day, selling food to night-shift factory workers at night, and in the middle of those, selling snacks to office workers in our building. This was where we met her.
5 pm, 3rd floor, behind the elevator, near the pantry. There she was, everyday. And her arem-arem (steamed-rice, with stuffings inside, wrapped in banana leaves) was simply the best in the world.
From time to time, she had her son tagging along, helping out, sometimes still in his high-school uniform. We often had a chat with Ibu Murni while we enjoyed the hot snack in the pantry, and if the son was there, we would quiz him on whatever he learned at school that day, or simply forced him to practice his english. It was fun and certainly brighten up our otherwise a really boring day.
Really proud of her son, we could not forget what she always said every time we met her and talked about her son's education:"I will make sure my child receives the best education even if it kills me."
The hell she did.
Not only her son went to one of the best private school, he also took english course after school, and classical guitar lessons twice a week.
Ibu Murni made sure she has all the money to pay for them. Hence the 3 jobs.
(When we offered to share some of her burden and contribute to her son's education, she turned it down: "Give your money to those who need it more. I can take care of myself.")
"He must be able to speak english
", she insisted when we asked about her son's after school activities. "What can he do without english? The world is different now.
We all nodded like school kids in front of a teacher.
And the guitar lessons?
"He likes playing guitar. Maybe he has the talent. I don't know,
" said Ibu Murni, "And I will never know unless he takes the lessons
" she said, "Art will do him good. Life is not just about science and technology, you know
Wow. And this is coming from a woman who did not even finish her elementary school."I will make sure my child receives the best education even if it kills me."
Too bad we -- as a country -- cannot say the same. We cannot even commit 20% of our budget to education .
What percentage of Ibu Murni's income went to her son's education? We guessed more than 70%.
"I'd rather not eat than being late paying my son's tuition
". She said on one occasion.
We, as a country, cannot say the same.
We, as a country, don't know better.
We, as a country, have a lot to learn from Ibu Murni.
Now, the footnote:
why did we write about Ibu Murni in past tense?
That is because all the hard work and the crazy hours she had put in took its toll. Her frail body could only take so much, and after a while couldn't withstand anymore punishments. Her liver was the first to give up. She passed away not long after her son finished high school.
Her son now studies at one of the country's best university. He finances his study by working as a freelance translator in a small translation firm, and giving private english lesson to school children -- and still refused our scholarships offer.
He certainly inherited his mother's determination."I will make sure my child receives the best education even if it kills me."
Maybe we should put that in our constitution instead of the one we have below, that we don't even follow:
(1) Every citizen has the right to receive education.
(2) Every citizen has the obligation to undertake basic education, and the government has the obligation to fund this.
(3) The government shall manage and organise one system of national education, which shall increase the level of spiritual belief, devoutness and moral character in the context of developing the life of the nation and shall be regulated by law.
(4) The state shall prioritise the budget for education to a minimum of 20% of the State Budget and of the Regional Budgets to fulfil the needs of implementation of national education. 
Anggaran Pendidikan -- Pemerintah Tak Dapat Langsung Penuhi Keputusan MK
The 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia - As amended by the First Amendment of 1999, the Second Amendment of 2000, the Third Amendment of 2001 and the Fourth Amendment of 2002 - Unofficial translation