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Friday, April 20, 2018

The Change We Need



I suppressed a smile when I watched my date struggled to eat the Indian meal with a spoon. I found it incredibly endearing. And because I am an ass, it is exceptionally liberating, as I had my share of weird look when I struggled with fork and knife. 

World is a lot more diverse and way, way bigger than we can ever perceive. Even in Los Angeles where it is supposed to be a melting pot, you can still be surprised on what people do or think, of different cultures and tradition.

But changes do not come easy. Nor acceptance. As a species, change is bad because it can eradicate our way of living. In any change, there's always a question: "Can we adapt to it?" "Can we handle it?" "Should we just eliminate it?"

Having my feet firmly planted in two vastly different countries (Indonesia and USA), with friends from various race, religions, and social status allow me to see that resistance and fear for change can be found everywhere.

I saw the "no homo" in more rural place of US, and "yes homo" in places that are more diverse like Los Angeles. I saw the "Death to Infidels" in a more rural place of Indonesia, and glorified western culture in cities like Jakarta. Each side vehemently defends their life choices and attack those who disagree.

Is it wrong? Is it right? What if it is not about right or wrong? What if it's just about not getting used to things and fear of changes? What if, compassion and willingness to see from other people's perspective is the way to go?

But it's hard. Especially if you are surrounded by people who think like that. For the first few years, I lived in the USA, I was made to believe that black people are psychos, Hispanics can't be trusted, and burger flippers are bad. Free from that toxic influence, my life is so much better.

And if you put violence into the equation, it gets progressively harder. Why should we calm down and look at their perspective when they [read: people with opposing view] viciously attack us and disregard our perspective?

It then creates this endless cycle of "Well, they should go first", the refusal to back down or listen to what others have to say before the others back down and listen to us first. A giant messed-up catch-22, so to speak. Change is an impossibility.

Just like everything else, it can only start with ourselves. Each of us can learn to agree to disagree internally. Each of us can learn to see things objectively, and always ask: "How does the other person feel about this?"

Prejudice can only take us so far, we've established this. How we think and feel is not necessarily how others think and feel. In this divisive world, compassion and empathy is the answer: the cure and the shield from insanity, the agent of change.

I know it sounds so dreamy, so full of moral BS. There are bad guys out there, bad guys that will not be stopped by kind beautiful words. We need to stand up for ourselves, don't we? Yes. Yes, we do. But not with hatred and fear in our heart.

Given enough time and practice, my date will master the use of spoon and fork together. The next time he had to do it again, it won't feel as weird as the first time. This is what change is all about: the subtle transition into something new, the acceptance for what is previously unknown, the willingness to do what is unheard of.

It's an oversimplified analogy for such complex problems, but it is a start. We are more similar to one another than what we previously think, down to reaction and response to change regardless of where we stand. It's time that we unite.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Sun Is Gonna Shine Again



Fuck me I'm depressed.

No, no, no. Not asking you to really fuck me. Unless you are cute. Then hey boy, what's your number? Wait, no. That's not what I meant. I guess this is one of those times where punctuation matters.

One more time then. Fuck me. I'm depressed. Now, that's better.

I realized it as I wait on the bus stop, trying to tell myself to go home and sleep. And when I keep arguing I don't want to take the 30 min uphill walk to the office. And when not even chocolate can cheer me up.

The lazy bitch, so fat but she doesn't want to work it. The heinous slouch that won't do her work right. The disgusting drama queen that was all me, me, me. To say I hate myself right now is an understatement.

Maybe it's my period, the hormone raging inside me. Maybe it's my own disenchantment with life and human race. Maybe it's my frustration with people around me, all seemed full of lies and agendas.

Does the why actually matters, though? The fact is, I have no energy to do my things. I wasn't making it up when I said I don't want to, I actually felt like I physically can't. I do need that sleep. I do need to heal.

Inside my head the war commenced, masked with heavy fog of confusion. One part keep telling myself I am useless, which is the side that is winning; and the other keep saying "You did great!" Yeah. They're losing fast.

I want to curl up in my bed, no, under a bed. Because under the blanket is not a good enough protection for me, because the bad voices in my head will come and take me away and oh God please hide me.

But here I am, smiling as if nothing happened, laughing gaily as usual. Nobody cares. And I don't want them to care. It is too ugly to be seen. Go. Go away. Leave me alone. Don't come near. You're just gonna hurt me more.

Every excuse I came up to justify my condition was eliminated as quickly as it come. Others have been hurt too. It's my own fault that I got hurt. I am being a wuss. And why won't people hate me for that? I hate myself for that.

Can I just turn off the light and sat in the darkness right now? I don't even want to drink alcohol to drown my sorrow. It'll be back when I sobered up, anyway. I just want the world to leave me alone, forget about me.

"Stop it. You are being a wuss." I can hear my best friend saying it, even though he wasn't around. I know he'd care. I know he'd be worried. And I know he trust me enough to know I can get up by myself.

Having a friend, nay, knowing you are loved and accepted for who you are really makes a difference. It's like having a Patronus or good luck charm that will keep away the evil away. 

They're out there, you know. We just need to be ready to open ourselves and find them. Which is the scariest part, because trusting somebody is like handing over a part of our body to them. "Here, Gary, keep my spleen in which I will die if you crush it!"

Fuck. Maybe being depressed is better? Sadness is definite, anyway. You will be sad. You will feel helpless. You will feel meaningless and an absolute utter failure in which you will then hate everything.

God. What a way to live, though. I don't think anyone deserve to live like that. What an existence to live in negative emotion and feeling powerless against everything. I don't want that, not at all.

"Then don't," my best friend responded in my mind. Ughh…. I know! So hard, though! So very hard. I just want to give in. Fuck this life. Fuck this cold weather. Fuck these shitty humans. Let me be!

"Kay. Call me up when you're done," how he would reply to my tantrum. Fuck him too. Well, I can't. It'll be awkward and the gf will come after me. But he's right. I will be done soon. The sun is gonna shine again. I will be alright. I know I will. And so will you.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Fesbuk Nggak Tutup



Fesbuk nggak akan ditutup. Sekali lagi, Fesbuk nggak akan ditutup.

Jadi yang sudah galau dan panik, plus sudah merana syalala berpikir fesbuk akan ditutup, yuk mari baca penjelasan saya. Intinya sih 3 hal: besarnya fesbuk, pengetahuan penggunaan fesbuk, dan pemikiran kritis.

1. Besarnya Fesbuk
Fesbuk itu besar banget. BANGET. Kalau kita bandingkan jumlah akun fesbuk dengan total penduduk dunia, maka kasarnya 1 atau lebih dari 4 orang (28%) memiliki akun fesbuk. Memang banyak akun fesbuk yang palsu atau orang memiliki lebih dari satu akun fesbuk, tapi tetap jumlah yang sangat signifikan. 

Ini nggak terhitung China dengan populasi sekitar 18% penduduk dunia, yang memang tidak memiliki akses ke fesbuk. Atau orang tua dan anak-anak. Atau yang nggak punya akses internet, karena hanya sekitar 51% penduduk dunia memiliki akses internet.

Oh ya, dan Facebook itu pemilik aplikasi Instagram dan Whatsapp. Siapa sih yang nggak tahu Instagram? Dan berdasarkan data 2017, Whatsapp dianggap sumber informasi utama di beberapa negara. Yang kayak begini mau ditutup?

2. Cara Fesbuk dapat uang
Dari iklan. Mereka pasang iklan tapi iklannya yang cantik, yang nggak kelihatan kalau itu iklan. Jangan kira hanya brand ternama yang pasang iklan, blogger kere macam saya pun bisa. Saya bayar berdasarkan berapa banyak yang nge-klik.

Harga otomatis naik kalau saya terus bayar untuk mem-boost artikel/laman fesbuk saya. Dari yang $5 bisa dapat 1000 klik, mungkin berikutnya $5 hanya dapat 700 klik. Angka ini hanya contoh ya, bukan beneran. Dan ini hanya salah satu contoh darimana mereka dapat uang.

Apakah bermanfaat? Iya banget. Fesbuk itu terkenal perusahaan tajir mampus. Jadi segala "Fesbuk sudah nggak sanggup lagi beroperasi" itu bohong banget. Tahun lalu saya ditawari kerja di Whatsapp. Bo'…. Sumpah bikin ngiler. Sayang banget saya nggak tembus.

Jangan lupa, kalau kita lihat lagi betapa banyak orang di seluruh dunia menggunakan fesbuk, termasuk brand/merek ternama untuk menjangkau peminatnya, kalau fesbuk ditutup pasti semua kalang kabut. Terlalu banyak kepentingan disini.

3. Budaya berpikir kritis
Kalau fesbuk sampai ditutup, pasti akan keluar di berita dimana-mana. Berita yang bener yaaa… yang pemilik dan redaksinya bisa dipertanggungjawabkan, bukan cuma sharing dari watsap atau bahkan (ironisnya) dari status atau pesan berantai di fesbuk.

Nggak ada di berita Indonesia? Cari di berita luar negeri seperti Yahoo, CNN, Time dan sebagainya. Sekalian belajar Bahasa Inggris. Kalau kepepet banget, coba tanya sama orang yang terpercaya, yang rajin baca berita. Atau ke laman fesbuk model Indonesian Hoaxes.

Kadang nggak perlu cari sumbernya saja harusnya sudah berasa. Berapa kali sih pesan fesbuk ditutup itu muncul? Kayanya tiap berapa bulan sekali ada saja versi barunya. Atau yang video Mark bilang fesbuk ditutup, itu editan mulutnya si Mark jelek banget, ketahuan bohongnya.

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Di masa sekarang ini yang informasi bebas didapat, sedihnya kita justru harus selalu mempertanyakan informasi yang kita dapat: "Apa benar?". Terlalu banyak orang dengan agenda tersendiri di luar sana, baik yang hanya iseng atau memang ada niat memanipulasi.

Selalu bayangkan informasi seperti kue. Anda kalau ditawari kue dari orang nggak dikenal atau nggak tahu asalnya/siapa yang bikin, pasti enggan kan? Atau kalau dari teman tapi beberapa kali kue yang ditawarkan selalu basi atau bikin kita sakit.

Terlalu mudah untuk tidak bertanggung jawab. "Toh cuma sekedar sharing", "Yang penting pada waspada," dan sibuk ngeshare plus sibuk panik sendiri. Walhasil kita cuma jadi mainan orang yang berkepentingan. Males kan?

Kata orang information is power, informasi adalah sumber kekuatan. Anda dan saya yang pengguna internet memiliki akses informasi yang luar biasa. Yuk kita gunakan sebaiknya. Sudah cukup kita seperti domba yang digiring kanan kiri. Salam hari Senin dari Los Angeles.

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