Policeman says he’d rather scavenge trash than accept bribes, wins nation’s hearts

There’s no denying that police officers in Indonesia have a reputation for being incredibly corrupt. But there are in fact some hardworking, honest law enforcers here as well, as evidenced by one officer from Malang, East Java, whose harrowing yet uplifting story is winning over the hearts of people across the country.

Bripka Seladi, 58, works two jobs. By day, he’s a traffic police officer, but by night, he scavenges trash to make ends meet.

Seladi, a father of three, has been a part of the force since 1977. But, for the past 8 years, he has also been picking up trash and selling it to make money on the side.

“I saw that many people were picking up trash around my office. I thought, there’s money in this. If it doesn’t get picked up, the trash will mount. So I started doing it myself,” Seladi said, as quoted by Kompas.

Seladi said he earns Rp 25K–50K ($1.80-3.67) a day from selling trash. He admitted that some people have mocked him, but he believes that it’s better to get his hands literally dirty by handling trash than getting them dirty by dealing in corruption.

“As long as what I do is halal and I’m serious about doing it, I don’t care about what people say. I know, there are those who mock me. In that case I’d say to them, ‘I can be like you (corrupt), but can you be like me?’” he said.

Seladi’s son, Rizal Dimas, said he also wants to be a police officer and doesn’t need to look anywhere beyond his father for a role model.

“I’m not ashamed that my father is a police officer and also a scavenger. It’s an honest job. I’m proud that my father taught us about honesty,” he said.

We have the utmost respect for Seladi and we hope that his new found fame will inspire other police officers in Indonesia to follow his lead.


A version of this article is also available in Bahasa Indonesia at our sister site Coconuts Indonesia.


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