9 ‘Tukang’ That Make Life in Indonesia Waaaaay Easier


The huge population in Indonesia undoubtedly creates high unemployment rate as well. Only those who ‘win’ the competition in the job markets can work behind the desk in the office building and reputed companies. Besides blue collar jobs there is one profession that may only exist in Indonesia – which is that of “tukang” or (roughly translated) handyman.

And, there are more than one kinds of “tukang” in Indonesia. They have different skills, and these skills, surprisingly, are somehow make our life easier. You might not find these handymen in any other country outside Indonesia:

  1. Tukang tambal ban (tire repairmen)
    tambal ban

    This is probably one of the most needed handymen. That is why it is not surprising that there are many tire repairmen spread across roads in Indonesia. These tire repairmen will help you when you have problems with your vehicle’s tires. They even can help you to change the tires with the new one—all is done on the roadside!
    They are might also be creating more flat tires with nails strewn on the roads.
  2. Tukang Starling
    tukang starling
    “Starling” is the abbreviation of “Starbucks Keliling” or “Starbucks Peddler”. No, it is not Starbucks’ baristas peddling the coffees around. These Tukang Starling are selling coffee, teas, instant noodles, and other drinks on a bike. People often call them as “Starbucks Keliling” as they sell those beverages and move from one place to another. Well, you can’t compare the taste of their beverages to those from cafes, but those cheap and quick beverages somehow can be an emergency help when you’re thirsty and need some caffeine. This is my absolute favorite.
  3. Tukang Permak Levis (jeans repairmen)
    permak levis

    You have damaged or ripped jeans? Don’t throw them away just yet—just bring those jeans to Tukang Permak Levis! They can repair your ripped jeans, cut them, make them bigger, and repair the zipper or button, whatever your jeans’ problem is they can solve it right away. Just call them to stop and ask them to repair your jeans. In Jakarta, these hawking jeans repairmen usually offer the services at housing complex or on the roadside. In other cities, usually they will open the service at their home.
  4. Pawang Hujan
    pawang hujan
    Planning an outdoor party, golf tournament or outdoor event during the rainy season? You don’t have to worry about the rain if you call Pawang Hujan, and they ensure clear skies on the day you’re holding the event. No one knows how those Pawang Hujan work, and how they can ‘divert’ the clouds and rain to other places. Maybe some magic?
  5. Tukang Parkir (parking attendants)
    tukang parkir

    In the country where there are millions of vehicles, parking attendants really help drivers to park their cars or motorbike safely and neatly. In Indonesia, almost in all places (except parking lots with modern parking system), there is at least one parking attendants. They will help you to park your car as well as exiting the parking lot without hitting other vehicles. Not only helping you to park your vehicles, they also will make sure that your vehicles are safe when you leave them.
  6. Tukang sol sepatu (shoe repairmen)
    tukang sol sepatu

    Despite the existence of modern, well-equipped shoe repair shops in Indonesia, these cobblers still exist in Indonesia. They can sew the soles, change the soles, and even make your shoes look like new. Usually they only use simple implements such as needles, pins, nylon cords, and super glue. Nowadays, many shoe repairmen operate established stalls but compared to those well-equipped shoe repair shops at malls, the services Tukang Sol Sepatu offers are way, way cheaper!
  7. Ojek Payung
    ojek payung

    So its pouring heavily and you don’t have your umbrella? Step outside your office or home, and you will probably find these young teens and children offering an umbrella to you. They will hold the umbrella for you as you walk to your destination. Shivering little bodies, bare-footed kids with big smiles will lend their umbrella to you for small amount of money. They seem happy as they can walk with you under the rain to earn some money.
  8. Tukang Duplikat Kunci (key duplicating stalls)
    tukang duplikat kunci

    In other countries, key duplicating services are only found in licensed shopping centers. But in Indonesia, you can find it almost everywhere! You can duplicate your keys there. Even if you don’t bring the original key, you can press the key on the surface of a soap bar and bring the soap to the handymen. Some handymen also provide their phone number so when you need their help, you can call them and they will come to duplicate your keys. So be careful where you keep your keys.
  9. Joki 3 in 1 
    joki 3 in 1

    In several main roads in Jakarta, there is a rule where 1 car needs to carry at least 3 people, including the driver. The rule aims to reduce the traffic jam and the usage of private vehicles. Some people see this as a job opportunity—thus they become “joki 3 in one”. They stand on the roadside when 3 in 1 rule is applied, so cars with less than 3 passengers can ‘take’ them. The cars will drop them off where the 3 in 1 rule isn’t applied anymore and pay them some money for it. Sometimes you will need them when you’re in the situation where you are alone driving your car but need to go through 3 in 1 roads.
  10. Tukang Urut (masseuses)
    tukang urut

    Tired, need a massage but don’t feel like getting up from bed? In Indonesia, you have masseuses on call to come to your place and massage your aches and pains away. These masseuses usually use coconut oil to massage your body. Some masseuses in Indonesia have ability to cure muscular problem like keseleo (sprained muscle) and masuk angin (cold). There are also masseuses who specialized in giving massages to babies or pregnant women. But the point is, they can help you feeling better and are just a call away.

These “tukang” or handymen that exist in Indonesia with their specialized skills and abilities, help us in various problems or situations. They will make your life in Indonesia way easier!

What has been your experience in Indonesia???