Green tea. Everybody says we with prostate cancer
should drink green tea. Hard to find in France, hard
to miss here in Indonesia.
A few years ago in Southeast Asia there was a TV
commercial for a car -- The Car That Never Fails --
Toyota, I think. A young couple in love stand by their
car, she in a very wide-brimmed straw hat and
billowing dress, he in slacks and a bright shirt. They
wave at tea pickers in a field on a slope, women in
chic versions of a very wide-brimmed hat of a type
common here, serving as both umbrella and parasol,
brims about a yard across. The tea pickers wave back,
and we see their faces -- young, beautiful. They're
there, these pretty women, among the tea plants, in
gaily colored light blouses, happy.
The commercial ran for a couple of years on
Singapore television, but was taken off the air after
a week or two here in Indonesia. Why? Indonesians know
about tea and how it's picked. Nobody smiles.
On the road from Jakarta to Bandung, dangerous
road with huge busses overtaking huge busses and cars
swerving off onto the extra-wide shoulders, there are
mountain passes winding among volcanoes and ridges. It
is said that most Indonesians live and die within
sight of a volcano. There are 147 active volcanoes in
The first mountain pass beyond Jakarta is really
just a mild depression between two mountains at a
place called Puncak (pronounced Poon-chock), means
'summit' in Indonesian. Right there, at the summit,
there's a huge Chinese restaurant, with big windows
looking down the slope into the valleys beyond. That's
where my green tea comes from, those slopes. I can sit
there looking through those windows at the tea pickers
in their wide hats working their way through the rows
of tea plants, romantic, exotic scene.
On the way up the mountain, or on the way back
down, you see them up close, the tea pickers, drinking
tepid Coke at little wooden stands at the edge of the
tea field, just off the road. And you see the tea
The women are sitting, exhausted. No young
beautiful faces, no gaily colored light blouses, no
smiles. These women are wearing heavy canvas pants
tucked into tough knee-length construction boots,
heavy canvas vests over thick sweatshirts, and beside
them are heavy work gloves. Their hands are gnarled
and swollen, criss-crossed with slashes and scars.
They work in pain.
The tea plants are tough obdurate bushes, about
waist-high, planted in rows so close together there's
no open space, and the women have to force their way
through them, picking tea leaves (which may for all I
know be tender) and putting them over their shoulders
into big long baskets harnessed to their backs.
Without the canvas clothing and the boots and the
gloves, the women would have to be hospitalized with
multiple slashes and scrapes after one pass through
one row of bushes. No light lovely blouses, no long
slender Asian hands waving designer tea-picker hats,
no laughter -- just grim hard work in heavy clothing
in the heat day after day.
Now, don't boycott green tea, you American PCa
families. Appreciate it, use it in health, for those
women of Puncak are part of your support chain.
Adapted from: http://psa-rising.com