Papa Jon, sickly pale complexion, only 67 years old but has been around the motorway a few rounds, he runs the circus which was his 6th attempt since his father made him in charge when he was mauled by one of their own tigers, the other five times, the circus went bankrupt and tragically most of the animals didn’t make it to the zoo on time. So he decided this time he will just have ‘weird and interesting people’ in his circus, they can take care of themselves and are easier to manage. He began to be called Papa Jon because everyone looked up to him. He could put any animals in their place when they were having a hissy fit. He would sort out everyone’s comfort with a passion of an older and wiser sage. So Jonni Lempeng* became Papa Jon. Papa Jon liked his rice, he can’t live without it, having grown up with it all his life, 'rice', he was heard to repeat, 'is the soil of which one grow fastidiously'. Papa Jon has had three heart attacks since he was 50, he smokes cigars and dreams of one day to stop being in a circus. Now at his 6th attempt and sans animals, Papa Jon has to distinguish his circus from the likes of Cirque Du Soleil, and all the other ones without animals. The old times are so much easier, and this is just one reality in life that Papa Jon just could not accept. He wanted to keep things romantic, the hand cranked metal music sheets, the dancing monkeys and the one-eyed piano player balancing on a stilt, the elephant with pink tutus balancing on a ball, the cyclop striper and ofcourse his many romances with Russian transexuals when the Circus were in Irkutsk for 6 months. One of his legendary Russian transexual name Irma was his Bearded Lady for a few years, until she finalized her post-op and couldn't grow any more facial hair. Let's just say Papa Jon is the circus’s Papa Smurf. There is nothing suggestive about that.
* Lempeng means Rice Crackers in Low Javanese
“ I am the descendant of Genghis Khan”, this might explain why Botak* has light brown eyes, even when a lazy left eye, those brown eyes are piercingly clear. You see honesty, determination, and basic human decency in those eyes. Botak has been with Papa Jon for more then 40 years, when they met, Papa Jon’s father was the head of the circus and Botak was the orphan kid he found crying in a Banana plantation. Botak says ‘ I am the descendant of Genghis Khan “ because he was convinced when he was born he was always cold, he was always shivering even under all the blankets he was wrapped in. He also thought he couldn’t be from around here because of his light eyes, for a while he thought there’s something wrong with him. He felt a sense of pride about his light eyes after he was given a book by his Circus School teacher Mrs Gruenwald. The book was about the life story of Genghis Khan. Since then he took the position that made him feel most proud, that he must have been the descendant of Genghis Khan, who lived in mountains with his Mongolian army and their horses. The fact that the mountain was freezing cold confirmed his one vivid childhood memories of being cold all the time. The Mongolians were fearless, and aggressive and confident in their warrior positions. Those are the characters that seem to define him, he thought. Botak’s other real vague recollection is that he couldn’t work out his mother to his father. He remembered them both to have looked similar, very gender unspecific. He didn’t remember how he ended up in that Banana plantation either, he just knew he was hungry, cold and was left alone. Botak Banana is the builder and the maker in the Circus, they have travelled with the animals from Greece, to Russian, and Poland by land, and he is the builder of tents and cages. Oh and yes he does have a thing, like most people have their thing, Botak's thing is he collects vintage Barbie dolls. He doesn’t have the funds to buy brand new ones, so he would scour flea markets in whatever country the Circus was in and would rescue broken, one legged, abused and used Barbie dolls that families would give away. He would find fantastically sad ones, with half their hair gone, and eyes poked in or burnt and he would restore them in between his building and taking down tents and cages. One would think what a dainty activity for someone who is the descendant of Genghis Khan, but let it be known that Botak is not gay. In that he does not have any feelings for other men. What Botak's 'thing' is about is no different then childless people adopting orphaned babies, or families adopting pets, its the caring and thoughtfulness that meaningful. So don't judge him, please!
*Botak means Bald in Malay/Indonesian
Defining characteristics? Wears a cracked antique monocle, a tender pout, wiry salt and pepper hair, an extremely perplexed expression at all times which normally means he is in a good mood. Mr Kubbult is the Circus’s accountant, he runs the magic number games, and the charity bingo once a while when the circus needs a little fund injections.
Kubbult is Half-Austrian but has never lived in Austria, he was another one of these misfits so easily fitting for the circus. One talent Kubbult has that is so under-estimated by the circus is that he can sing. His favorite tunes are sung under his breath, while he was doing the accounts on excel spreadsheets. His voice is a trembling kind like that of Louie Amstrong. This talent was discovered late, and by accident. Kubbult grew up listening to Pavarotti, but he loved to sing musical tunes. When he was young, Kubbult would be drawn to singing in a musical tunes without ever having heard it fully, often he would hear a faint song from the radio in one of the houses in his mother's neighbourhood, it played day and night so within a few days, he could sing bits of different songs. Kubbult could also harmonize naturally and his voice isn’t the kind of voice you’d expect from someone who looks like him. He was not a good looking child, he had a cherub-like cheeks, those cherub-cheek has continued to persist into his adult years that now resembles a pair of ball sacks. So now that he is almost 60, he looks a little like that cartoon dog Droopy. As far as disposition is concern, Kubbult’s is totally unlike Droopy, he is cheerful most days, except when it's tax time. Flexibility is also another great gift that Kubbult tend to keep to himself. He can do the splits, or kick his legs all the way over his head kung-fu style, without stretching first or warm ups. It’s so sad that Kubbult has never been in love. Maybe he thought that he has so much other things to offer, love is overrated. One thing for certain, Kubbult loved himself.
*Kubbult's last name Kolintang, means the bamboo musical instruments played as an orchestra or a small group. The sound is very typical of South East Asia, and is produced mainly by hand.