AdSense Page Ads

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I Do

Coming from the man I love most, the loveliest phrase for me is not "I Love You". It is "Will you be my wife?". 

Within those words lies commitment and promises, and the vow to be together and support one another. It's a lifetime contract, but why not? I want to spend my life with someone I love most, and some one who love me most. I still believe in 'happily ever after', yet fully aware of the challenges in life. Marriage will not grant me solution to my woes, but knowing I have someone that will support and love me will. 

It is still a long way to go for me and my beloved. Yet I believe one day I will find myself with his ring ready to be slipped on my finger, while the priest asked do I take him as my husband. Yes, I do. With all my heart. 

I love you dearest...

Monday, December 10, 2012

Bonjour monsieur, comment allez-vous ?

My cousin took me to see Les Neiges du Kilimandjaro a couple of weeks ago, and we already arrange to go and see the French Film Festival tomorrow. Yes, I am officially infatuated with French.

This was not the first time I watch French movies, as I have attend similar festival a couple of years ago (my favorite was Delice Paloma, amazing!); however this is the first time I got really intrigued. It was not about the movies, although they are very well shot and scripted, and everybody looked so natural without over-makeup. For me it is about the language.  I love how they spoke their language, and how their pronounciation and intonation give life to the language. It is an embodiment of culture and way of thinking, not merely words and a jumble of letters. French fits the lady in the movie who went for a drink after working as a cleaner, it fits the man who enjoyed sunset on his retirement day, or an afternoon at the beach with their family. Given in another language, the exact same scene will have a different feel to it, a different life/soul. That is what language is all about. It is a way to communicate, thus it is only normal that a certain language will have a certain characteristic that mimic the characteristic of the said grup. It has to be that way else they can't communicate properly. 

For me, language and accents are my window to the world. American, South African, Javanese, Balinese, Celebes, Canadian, Australian, French, Spanish, Japanese, languages tell me more about the people that lived in that world/used that language and/or accent than any detailed information from Encyclopedia or NatGeo. I had my share with Spanish infatuation, and I still deeply attached to Japanese. I got my Russian period and also Germany, and now it is French. I don't think I will devoted myself to learn it properly (English being my one true love), but I do know I enjoyed it immensely, how the words form a much different world than what I knew. How it rolls through my mouth and tongue, vibrating my vocal sord; how it enters my ear and connect to images and senses within my brain. Ah words, magical words, open up your secrets to me and treasures and life within you!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Life Starts Here - Pelajaran dari Iklan

Saya bahagia melihat iklan Nutrilon Royal yang baru. Anak-anak yang bahagia, melakukan hal-hal yang biasa dilakukan oleh anak-anak dan bukan fake/palsu seperti iklan susu formula lainnya.

Dalam iklan Nutrilon Royal, anak-anak di shoot sedang melakukan hal hal yang biasa mereka lakukan namun dengan narasi yang bagus. Mereka dipanggil "Sang Pemimpi" (gadis kecil yang mendengarkan gramofon), "Sang Petualang" (anak laki-laki yang melompat untuk berenang), "Sang Penemu" (anak kecil yang menemukan cacing/serangga), dan seterusnya.

Bukankah ini yang paling berarti untuk anak-anak? Para penemu cilik kita, para pemimpi cilik kita, para petualang cilik kita? Hidup selalu menyenangkan untuk anak-anak, penuh dengan harapan dan angan-angan. Masa depan bagi mereka adalah konsep yang abstrak, sesuatu yang dipaksakan oleh orang dewasa di sekitar mereka. Bagi mereka, hidup adalah permainan, penemuan, kehidupan. Goal mereka bukan besok atau tahun depan atau 10 tahun lagi, tapi hari ini. Tiap hari adalah pencapaian, pembelajaran untuk masa depan mereka.

Inilah yang seharusnya diingat oleh para orangtua. Iklan-iklan lain menunjukkan anak-anak yang "pintar" karena bisa memakai baju sendiri, membawakan minuman untuk tamu, menyambut dan mengucapkan salam. Ini sesuatu yang diajarkan atau ditiru, tapi ini buat saya adalah versi orang dewasa mini. Begitu pula iklan susu yang menyatakan "anak yang berjiwa pemimpin. Satu, jiwa pemimpin itu bawaan. Dua, tidak bisakah anak-anak berkembang tanpa dilabeli nilai-nilai orang dewasa?

Satu iklan lagi yang saya suka adalah iklan Bebelac, dimana anak-anak menyanyikan potongan lagu "You Are My Everything" untuk ibu mereka. Ini sangat menyentuh, dan buat saya kehangatan/kasih sayang ini lebih menjanjikan untuk masa depan mereka daripada kemampuan dini untuk mengerjakan tugas sehari-hari. Mereka punya waktu seumur hidup untuk mengasah itu kok, namun kasih sayang dan impian harus ditanamkan dari kecil sebelum mereka menjadi pesimis oleh tekanan hidup seiring bertambahnya umur mereka. 

Saya bukan jualan susu lho, terserah anda mau memakai produk apa. Yang ingin saya tawarkan adalah perubahan pola pikir dan sudut pandang. Saya rasa saya memiliki sedikit "Peter Pan Syndrome". Saya tidak beranjak dewasa, atau setidaknya untuk hal-hal tertentu. Saya punya harapan, kepercayaan, antusiasme seorang anak kecil. Bagi saya hidup itu indah, hidup itu mudah. Saya percaya besok bisa lebih baik, saya percaya saya mampu menghadapi "Esok", dan saya mau belajar dan menikmati hal-hal baru. Inilah yang anak-anak anda rasakan. Inilah yang seharusnya mereka miliki di usia muda. Life starts here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Eating My Way Down The Memory Lane

The baked potato was placed on the cashier table. The smell of the melted cheese invoked my senses. After receiving the change, I took my baked potato and cheese to a quiet table facing the window, flooded by afternoon sunlight. I ate a spoonful of the soft potato, tasting the sweet starchy bulb and the savory cheese; and I was not in a mall in Bali anymore, I was miles away in BSD's Teraskota, waiting anxiously for my date to come.

Our memories correlate heavily with our senses. I still remember how I waited in an airport in Jakarta after a work trip just by touching the certain book I was reading back then: The weight, the texture and the smell of the paper. Wont a certain smell reminds you of someone? I had a friend who associate a certain perfume with his ex-girlfriend. In Agatha Christie's book Five Little Pigs, Hercule Poirot dug down past memories by using a certain smell. And what is a "Special song" but a certain ditty that reminds you of a special someone, thus attaching the person to the audio.

For me, among others, it's the food. The smell of it, the taste of it, it can make memory flooding in on an instant. I love eating, all my five senses are triggered and (if I'm lucky with getting amazingly good food) satiated. But it was not just about the food. As with the book, I anchored my memory to the food. Thus eating (or sometimes just seeing or smelling) a certain food will lead me to the memory I kept. You can say I'm eating my way down the memory lane.

I still remember the sweetness of the hazelnut coffee I had on my first date, and the crispness of the fries. Every time I smelled that coffee and fries, I remembered I was so excited yet nervous that night I couldn't eat a bite. In fact, I think the fries and coffee is the only thing I got for the whole night. And with that I remember my first kiss with him:  a bit salty from the fries with stubble scratching my chin; lots of nervousness which then followed by a total disbelieve that by sheer chance we found exactly what we have been dreaming of. And with that first kiss, the many more we share.

The list goes on and on: the Corona that we had on our beach date, the grilled corn cob he wanted in another beach date, the delicious margarita on our Mexican Siesta date, the tasty Brazilian Barbeque on his last night in Bali, jalapenos in our pizzas, the perfect crispy duck in a dinghy restaurant near my office. Every time I missed him, I ate whatever that suited the memory I wish to relive: the silly ones, the fun and exciting ones, one where my heart flutters in anticipation, or ones where I simply punch-drunk with love. Photos can only get me so far, I can imagine him more vividly with the smell and taste of food than a silent photo.

It sounds like an ode to gluttony isn't it? I don't think so though. It is where I anchor my memory. I stole his shirt once (yes, so typical girl!), but as I used it and washed it many times his scent faded away. I cling on to a love letter he wrote to me too, but again, it started to lose its scent and texture. With food, I can relive it any time with perfect clarity: Our silly High-Five date at the pizza place, our sensuous date in the Brazilian dining, our lazy siesta date at the Mexican eatery, anything I want basically provided the food does not change much. The food is the key to my memory trove, one that I use very selectively though as overusing it will delete my precious memory altogether.

I missed him too much today. I missed his smile and his gentle voice. I missed his soft caresses and loving touch. It was one of my "Emergency Case". So I went and get the baked potato. Each mouthful reminded me of my excitement that day, when I waited excitedly for him in the bright afternoon sunlight of Teraskota. It reminded me of my own fear and worry that day, questioning was it real because he was too good to be true. And he is indeed real. So I ate little by little. Each spoonful gave me strength, given me not only nourishment for my body but also for my soul, filling my loneliness and erasing my woes. It was not about the food, it was about the memory I had which correlates with the food.  There will be time when I no longer need to rely on food to remember him, when I simply can see him and touch him and hold him. There will be time when the food was only used to remember the good times we have together, when we are already in each other's arms. One day. One day… 

Monday, November 19, 2012


Here's to the most amazing man I know

Who loves me more than Romeo loves Juliet
Who protects me better than Superman protects Lois Lane
Who is sweeter than Orpheus to Eurydice
Who has more passion  for me than Mark Anthony to Cleopatra
Who has more swing than Spiderman to Mary Jane
Who is funner than Donald Duck to Daisy Duck
Who is truer than Odysseus to Penelope
Who adores me more than Kermit adores Ms. Piggy
Who offers more excitement than Clyde to Bonnie
Who trusts me more than Samson trusts Delilah
Who stands by me stronger than John Smith stands for Pocahontas
Who holds me dearer than Aragorn holds Arwen.

Cheers Love. Thank you for being mine.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sunset, Sea, Seclusion

Friend: Let's hit the beach.
Me: I'm Skype-dating! And it's too hot anyway.
Friend: Lol. Let's find some secluded beach with shades then.
Me: Dude, I'm still dating...
Friend: Kay. See you at my place!

True, my friend can be quite insisting, which is good as my only plan for the afternoon and evening was to play with my computer. I know, it was not really a good plan for a young pretty lively woman (yes, I'm talking about myself) to spend a Saturday night. 

At first we decide one of Nusa Dua beaches, but on the road we switched and decide to go to Dreamland Beach instead. To be honest, I hate both. I found that Nusa Dua beaches were too neatly manicured and kinda lost their natural charm. The last time I went to Dreamland Beach it was chock full of tourist and have the symptoms of an overdeveloped area, where you have to pass rows of merchants selling shirts and other items. But I was hoping Dreamland would still have its natural charm, so I choose the lesser of two evils and brace myself.

As we reach Dreamland my heart sank. It was filled with people. So much people in fact that you can take a picture and try to find Wally in the crowd. However my friend lead me to a more remote area of the beach. On and on we walked, through smooth stretched beach filled with sea shells and white coral, through big boulder of rocks that has sharp edges   and we have to carefully navigate our way in order to not cut ourself, until finally we arrived at the furthest strip of beach and it was stunning.

There were nobody there, except one or two couples who decided to be as adventurous like me and my friend. There are 3 unfinished buildings there, who look liked it might have been some sort of beach club or restaurant. The abandoned structure in the middle already has a viewing porch, so we climb through its unfinished steps and spend a few minutes in awe (see the middle picture on the right). The glowing golden sun matched perfectly with the green algae-covered rocks and the white bubbly sea foam. Bliss.

I could stay there all day (well ok, at least until the sun sets. No lights or lamps in that area!) indulging in the beauty of it, but my friend told me to take a dip in the ocean. My first thought was: with all these rocks?? I'd get shredded like a cheese! I followed my friend still though. To my surprise the rocks actually made a small pool for an adult or two to dip in. Like a nature-made bath tub, only with better view. These little dipping pools are everywhere but you need to come close to measure the depth. This is because the water was too clear and from afar one would assume that they were only puddles, not pools. 

Needless to say, I did what all life-loving girl will do in this situation: I dip myself in the nearest pool and let the sea wave bathed me while watching the beautiful sun slowly set on the horizon. Some seaweeds were washed to my pool by the waves as well as twigs and leaves, but they are quite natural so it enhances the seclusion effect instead. That massive orange thing still ruled the sky and I stretch lazily in my pool, already planning a great sunset rock-pool date with my boyfriend the next time he's in Bali. The wave stroke me gently, as I sat on the edge of my pool watching the then-nearly-dissapearing sunset, and I thought how much I love Bali and Indonesia. It was really Bali at one of her bests. Sorry Tahiti and Bermuda, did you say something?

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Woman at the Mall

I saw a woman at the mall today. I liked her a lot. Her skin complexion was almost flawless, and the chocolatey color of her skin was just perfect. I liked the way her hair fall on her shoulders, as if she just come out from those Salons who strive to make your hair look fall as natural as possible (with lots of hairspray though). 

I can't stop observing her. How she stand so erect, yet so lithe and joyful; it makes her chubbiness even more attractive. She went from store to store with a friend, moving gracefully and confidently. She was constantly smiling and laughing, and making jokes with her friends and various sales person in the stores she visited. But it wasn't the fake facade niceties, you can see her eyes were smiling too and she made the sales persons relaxed and laughed with her, even in stores that she actually couldn't afford to buy. 

If you look at her closely, you can vaguely see (very vaguely) traces of sleep deprivation in her eyebags, as if she didn't get enough sleep last night. But it wasn't visible except for very well trained eyes, and it appears she was not bothered by it. She was radiant, filled with confident and happiness to the brim. Apart from her boyish t-shirt and ragged jeans, she would be a great poster girl: young, confident, happy. Just what to expect from someone famous/rich heir/have an easy good life with unlimited amount of money. The kink is: she has none. All she has, and what attributes to her beautiful radiantness today are 3 words from her beloved boyfriend: "I love you".

That woman is me. I love who I am today and is feeling good about myself. Thank you for making me feel so very special and beautiful today honey. I love you too...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Confession of an (Ex) Homeless Woman

Romney, again, is making headlines with his comment: this time that Obama "give gifts" to his voter. I am not really interested in his remarks, but what really unnerves me was the comments to the story, so many of them (heck, almost all of them depends on which website you were reading the story at) called the benefit receiver with names and said they are lazy and free-loaders (yes, I only put the nice words in my blog, go check out the real stuff in the comments).

I live in Indonesia. I become homeless in the age of 20. Not actually homeless, I got a big house to live in but the over cost was so high and I can't afford to live there. My dad left us and my family had to move to Bali so my mum can work to support her 5 children, all in school-age and needs loads of money for school. You see, Indonesia doesn't have social safety net nor student loans. The situation was like a quagmire or quicksand, I got sucked deeper with any action I made. I can't go to Bali because I need to finish my school in Jakarta; the house's maintenance fee and transportation from my house to campus was higher than renting a room near the campus, but somebody got to manned the house;  I need to work because my mum can only send me half of what I really need and sometimes even none, but I can't work because my classes starts as early as 7 am and ends at 3, sometimes 5 pm (as expected from Medical program) and night time shifts start as early as 2 pm; I want to quit school and work, but quitting school will only makes me more vulnerable to unemployment in the future. I was stuck.

I tried my best to adapt in the situation though. I only turned on the light in my room and on the porch to save electricity. I started to couch crashing anytime I can on my friends' houses just to get a brief respite from my depressing house (and also, if lucky, some decent food). A handful of friends that know my current condition were skillfully invited me for dinner or buying me lunch, and my boyfriend that time make sure I always got enough to eat or to pay the bills and tuition fee. In a way, they provided my "unemployment benefit". There were times where I wish, I wish I found a huge fat wallet so I can eat to my heart's content or to sleep in a full-lit house; but I never did. I only have enough to live and no more. Should I need a surgery back then, or even a week of illness, I'm screwed.

I finally got a job a couple of years later. Technically, it is impossible for me to get a decent job as I was still in school. The way it works in Indonesia, you got paid based on your degree. My high school diploma worth nothing, and my undergraduate program was not finished yet. But I score a good well-paid job thanks to my English. I was on student leave and my classes weren't that many by then, thus I was able to work full time. I always thought getting a job will ensured me a good living. In a way it is true, as my salary was bigger than my comrades who already graduate from our University. But as I work I can no longer rely on my "unemployment benefit", and was expected to provide "unemployment benefit" instead to my brothers and sisters which are still in school. I wish I could say I provide a good deal for them to justify my loss, but Jakarta is an expensive city (as well as my undergraduate program) and I can't give much to them anyway, and I still find myself feeling totally screwed when I was ill for 3 whole days or looking envious to people who are eligible for free health care (I don't envy the poorness though).

Things, thankfully, gradually become better for me. When I was 24 as a teacher I earned enough per class that I can work half day instead and focus in my study. I finally graduate 1.5 years later and move back to Bali not long after. It took me another 2 years of adaptation period and a couple more to be in my current comfortable situation. The total time needed? About 10 years.

I understand the anger some feel towards the benefit for the poor. Be it health system, disability or unemployment benefit or whatever you called it, it really feels bad to know your money is used to paid for the poor, for a bunch a blokes that probably screwed themselves to poorness. I felt that anger when I had to give some for my family (although the truth is I can never repay my mum for all she has done for me), and I personally know a few people that will be all too happy to feed on charities and benefits. But at the same time I am deeply troubled by that stigma, that the receiver of such charity or government benefits must be a sleazy lazy good for nothing a**holes.

The sad fact is, [in some cases] they were probably right. Like I said, there are people who misused the system for their own personal gain. This people hurt the system, and most importantly other people who need the system. I remember yelling at my University Dean. I asked to be allowed to skip some classes as I was working, and she refuse harshly as she said numerous students has requested that and they were all lying. I half-screamed to her: stating that my parents were separated and I had to pay for the goddamn tuition myself plus my living cost. Eyes dead locked to hers, tears streaming on my cheeks, chin jutting; it was my pride she's hammering on. She went into a shock and relented. Another time I have to act like a frail-broken-damsel in front of a professor just to get a leeway on class schedules. I can provide job letters and even salary record to prove I'm working, but I have to resort to such low trick because so many before me have misused the system and it just stopped working.

I am where I am right now because of that "unemployment benefits", which helped me in a crucial moment of my life. The benefits provide me enough so I can live and finally get a good job and finish my school. But they were not the only cogs in the clock. My education, how I was raised, and my family socio-economical background allowed me to get that good job. I manage to convince them to see past "the poor woman with only high school diploma", and made them see a "confident woman who is socio-economically good standing with pleasant manner and great English". Where my family got those? Simple, both of them are educated. Dad has a master degree in Economy, mum got scholarship for Nurse School by a Netherland organization. Without their education, and in turn mine, I won't be writing to you now.

Sometimes the system is not perfect, sometimes it's the people who misuse the system. But yes, the social security net helped people a lot. Instead of resorting to name-calling and stigmatization I would encourage to see what we can do with the condition. Regardless of what your stance on this matter, I think all will agree that education is the key. Education will enable people to get better job, which in turns will enable people to get off the benefits and even give back instead, so push forward for better education for the society. I know hands on how difficult it is to give to others when you are cash strapped, or even to see others got free stuff just because they earn less than you. It is not fair. You have the option to sulk and pout and cuss and think them as free-loader, or you can move forward and hope whatever you gave them will help them. I will move forward. It worked for me, now it's my time to help others.

And yeah, my Dad returned last year and the family has been a complete one ever since :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Johnny Rockets in Bali!!

During our sunset session at the awesome Beachwalk my friend notice Johnny Rockets restaurant there and was adamant to try it. I have seen and noticed it for some time (it was my 3rd or 4th visit to the mall, and it was her first), but was never quite interested to try it. I mean, burgers are burgers right? Well not quite, and I am so happy that I was wrong. 

After the most beautiful sunset ever (check out my Facebook profile pic!) we headed up to the restaurant. The greeting was overwhelming and totally perk up my mood, as all the staff greet the patron in unison when they enter the restaurant. Turned out it was designed like 1950's American diner complete with the 1950s advertisement. I am a sucker for anything vintage, and vintage diners were a special thing for me. So yeah, we happy.

The menu came with a smile, and to be honest it wasn't your regular old macd's pricing. However, everything looked good on the menu. We decide on a Rocket Double (IDR 75k++) with 2 Hershey's chocolate milkshake (IDR 32k++ each). We were going to order a plate of fries with chilli and cheese (IDR 35k++), but the smiling waitress advise us to just add chilli and cheese (IDR 15k++) to the fries that came with the burger instead. We happily obliged. 

As we wait for our food to come the juke box kept on playing, and to our utter amazement suddenly all the staff were dancing and singing in unison to the music! It was really fun to see them laughing and dancing together, and it really brightened up my feeling. A 10 year old boy jump and dance together with the crew, while his parents laugh. It was so interesting that the mall patrons stop outside the restaurant just to take video of the dancing crew. They dance several times, and all was fun! Believe it or not, not all that ate there liked the commotion. A lady that sat next to us amazingly managed to keep a sneer on her face all the time, although her partner were all jolly and smiled all the time. Grouches are just everywhere.

Not long after our food came. The milkshake was so thick and yummy, and although I was never a fan of whipped cream, this one sure got me! And the burger came, and we were so relief that we decided to share as the portion was HUGE! What's better, the waitress already bring an extra set of plate and cutlery as she knew we were going to split it (not money issue, just worried about the size of the portion). And it was gooooood..... I especially like the fries and chili, but the burger was also to die for. It took us quite a while to finish them due to the portion, and the concerned manager swiftfully came and asked whether the food is ok when he saw my friend didn't finish her food (yet). We assured him that all is fine.

The bill comes up to the total of IDR 202k, but it was really worth it. The fun, the food, the service. I appreciate the suggestion to upgrade the fries, as other place most likely will just close their eyes and persuade you to buy more dish instead. The extra plate and the manager's warm welcome is also such a big thing for me. As for the food, amazingly the whopping 1000 cal milkshake didn't feel so bad, my body got worse reaction by a small caramel Starburp's; and the burger was filling without making me nauseated. The Bali restaurant was the first from the US restaurant chain that opened in Imdonesia, Jakarta to follow in mid 2012. Make sure to come over and try it if you are in Bali, or the Jakarta one once it is open. It is both fun and delicious!! 

Johnny Rockets official website:
Browse "Johnny Rockets Dancing Beachwalk" in Youtube to see more ;)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Negatif deh Loe Cyyyyyn....!!!

"Jadi, bila ada Gubernur yang baru dilantik dan Blusukan ke pelosok provinsi yang tak sebanding besarnya dengan Jabar, lalu booming jadi berita besar, sebenarnya belum apa-apa dibanding kang AHER yang telah lebih dulu melakukannya dalam 'diam'."

Ini caption foto yang saya temukan di Facebook, dan saya jadi berkata: well... oke... terus?????

Jujur, saya ga ngerti kenapa harus ngebandingin. Ini 2 gubernur yang berbeda toh, dari propinsi yang berbeda dan bukan dalam acara pemilukada. Taruhlah memang kang Aher ini keren abis, tetap ga ada kaitannya dengan Jokowi (asumsi saya ini yang mereka bicarakan). Desa dan pelosok itu buanyak kok, ga perlu rebutan. Saya pun ga yakin Jokowi ngincer jabatan Gubernur Jawa Barat. Jadi apa faedahnya ngebandingin?

Kalau dipikir positif, mungkin team ini cuma ingin memastikan agar kang Aher diakui media dan kerja keras beliau tak dilupakan begitu saja (dan syukur-syukur dipilih kembali). Tapi teuteup, ngapain bawa-bawa orang sih? Ada istilah: you can't make yourself pretty by saying someone else  is ugly; loe ga bisa jadi cantik dengan manggil orang lain jelek. Sure, tone/nada captionnya juga bisa diartikan kalau si akang ini seciamik Jokowi. Bila ini maksudnya, mbok ya diperhalus gitu lho. Kata-kata yang dipakai malah memicu debat kusir seperti saya dan si mbak ini. Saya komen kalau bukan Jokowi yang minta diliput, dan mempertanyakan kalau si akang segitu kerennya kenapa media ga ngeliput, dan si eneng menjawab:
"Kan qt smua tahu media pnya siapa..dan siapa berani membayar..ini fakta bkn fitnah.."

Ok, pertama fakta itu adalah kalau bisa membuktikan dengan bukti fisik bahwa media itu dibayar. Kalau ga bisa itu sebutannya rahasia umum (entah benar atau tidak). Yang kedua, saya tetep ga ngerti kenapa sensi banget Jokowi diliput. Kalau fair sebenarnya mungkin saja si Eneng ini ngomongin lawan politik si akang dan bukan Jokowi, namun kata "booming" di caption foto tersebut tetep bikin saya ngerasa kesensian tingkat tinggi dalam hal liput meliput. Jokowi gubernur Jakarta gitu lho. Mobil masuk kolam bundaran HI aja masuk berita, padahal kecelakaan beruntun di pelosok pedesaan digubris juga nggak, jadi jangan heran kalau Jokowi diliput habis-habisan. Apa ada yang tahu Jokowi saat jadi walikota Solo? Atau saat Ahok jadi Bupati Belitung Timur? Kalau mereka memang gila diliput seperti petinggi lainnya harusnya dari kapan tahu mereka sudah hilir mudik di layar tv. 

Jadi eneng dan team akang, salahkanlah ketimpangan media yang berat di Jakarta, jangan menuduh bapak gubernur lebay atau ngebayar buat diliput. Anda tahu tidak gubernur Bali siapa dan apa prestasinya? Nggak kan, padahal doi rutin di tv lokal. Cup cup cup jangan sensi lagi ya. Untuk team sukses erm maksud saya pendukung kang Aher, agak manis dikit lah mainnya. Faktanya adalah Jokowi sudah keluar masuk kampung saat dia jadi walikota Solo periode 2005-2012, dan kang Aher baru menjabat 2008. Siapa yang duluan yo...? Lagipula, bangsa ini tidak perlu tambahan konflik. Amerika yang sudah berusia 300+ tahun saja tahun ini sukses terpecah jadi 2 kubu karena kampanye yang saling menjelekkan dari kedua kandidat presidennya. Kalau berpikir (dan niat ngusahain agar) satu orang bisa naik dengan menjatuhkan yang lainnya, itu namanya egois. Dulu merdekanya bareng-bareng toh perangnya, berbagai suku daerah dan agama, jadi sekarang jangan main kasar ya anak-anak. Peace!

Tattoo, Choices, Child-making

[Photo from Eric Hartsburg in Facebook]

Dude. I mean, seriously??

A little recap, this guy tattooed Romney-Ryan logo (US presidential candidates in 2012) on his face. Yes, on his face; yes, before the election was over. The news said he was "rather disappointed that Romney-Ryan lost the race". Well, d'uh! Even if his preferred candidates won, it is still a case of (somewhat) not-so-sound judgment. I firmly believe that he is entitled to have any political views as he pleased, and he is entitled to do whatever he wants with his body; yet the tattoo will still be awkward if his candidates won but unable to deliver their promises. If it's for a lifetime, I would think people best stick with something safe like presidents or [political] figure that have been tried and tested (Abe Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Johnny Depp – yeah the last one is a bit biased ;)). Sorry, I've been too harsh. This guy made a bet and he lost, that is all what the story is. But wow, talking about carrying your mistake for the rest of your life.

The story makes me wonder, how do people made life-time choices (uand I mean LIFE TIME)? This dude said his wife was not really approving but his 15 years old son are cool with it. Umm… I thought I would be a mad scientist when I was 15, not to mention my utter fascination with death and everything gothic; instead I become a writer with a penchant for sexy colorful bikinis (do I just wrote bikinis? I meant colorful life. Yeah, that's it). Taking a 15 year old teenager opinion for a life time choice is not a very good idea. But it is not just about tattooing, it is also about other aspects like marriage, spouses, and most importantly child bearing. To me, these are life time choices as you will get stuck (and gotta stick) to it for the rest of your life. Of course, some would argue that spouses/partners or even sexual preferences can change over time, marriages can be dissolved any time it's convenient, and tattoo can be erased or overwrote. How do you change or dissolved or erased or overwrite a child though?

It is funny that for such a weighing and important (not to mention irrevocable) decision that one have to live with for the rest of his/her life, having a child is so much less (and even disproportionately) considered. I can't give you numbers or data that proof my theory, but it is so blatantly obvious with all the unwanted pregnancies and the number of male Homo Sapiens that refuse to take condoms/vasectomies/any other protection and so adamant on spreading their seeds everywhere. I'm all with "girls gotta be smart" ideas, but to be honest I sincerely believe that the population in this world can be drastically reduce if men can hold themselves and can be held responsible for the child. You can argue some women are slut but no homo sapiens can auto copulate, thus a child will always both the father and mother's responsibilities.

When I say responsibility, I do not mean a measly 4 dollar check that a guy in America provided for his children as he fathered 30 of them (and counting, they can't place charges just because he's making babies. Oh wait, can't he be charged with child endangerment? Having 30+ siblings will definitely nerve-wreck even the strongest child. IMHO). I mean a full support for the child: food, shelter, education, chance and ability to make a killing erm living, and love and affection. Lots of love and affection. Human is probably the only species with such an extended childhood time. If a human average life till 80 years old, it takes about a quarter of their life span to reach maturity (or even more. I often met 20 year olds that act like 12 years old). These early years, this process of maturity is very crucial in human, no human can ever live by his/herself. And in these early years too the human's character and basic knowledge/survival ability is set. Yes, 20 years of your time just to make sure your little tyke/angel grows and can live by him/herself. And that's not the end of it. You'd get to grow old with him/her, see his/her family, be a grandfather/grandmother, and perhaps even great-great-grandparents. Bearing a child is a real unspoken vow of "In sickness and in health, in poorness and in wealth, till death do us part" .

Sounds like a hard work after an innocent night of partying yeah? Well honey it is. But choices are only choices if people know they have it. That is why it is utmost important for women to properly know and understand their reproductive system, the proper names for organs and body parts and what each of it do in the reproductive process, and ultimately, the options for birth control. For those men (and women) that said birth control is against God's will I am going to argue that: a) I don't think God also want children to be abandoned and unloved by his parents nor living in severely harsh condition; and b) you can ALWAYS resort to abstinence to substitute the artificial birth control method, in like not having sex until you guys are ready emotionally and financially for a[nother] child. Sure, it will probably mean 3-5 years of no sex, or ever, but it is still an option ;).

Now now boys, don't go hating me already now. On the opposite, the women need your help. Regardless of how strong a woman is, it is actually very difficult to fend off unwanted sexual approaches. I'm not just talking in physical terms as some women are actually physically stronger than men; it's also about emotional terms. One of the dirtiest tricks I knew from high-school is the old "you-don't-love-me-if you-don't-have-sex-with-me". Joe Biden said "A no is a no". With this taken in to consideration, many women are actually "raped" as they are trapped in a situation where they can't say no or their "no" are not taken in consideration. We women need men to protect us, to be more careful when making life-time decision/choices like child-making, and to take active role and hold proper responsibility on your offspring. As with the harsh accusation that said pregnancy is a woman's fault for spreading her legs, if a man finds himself in a situation where he become a father (to-be) he can only blame himself for not taking protection and/or, erm, shooting in. Remember, auto copulate is not possible among human. Some lower animals can do that, but no matter how slimy a person is I would still think auto copulate is out of the questions.

Of course, it's only fair to discuss what happens if you don't make the decision to have a child but end up with having one (or several). Well move forward then. You may not make a decision to soberly make that child, or you may think you want one but then find yourself hiding in the closet and chant "omigod omigod omigod omigod omigod" while your child was yelling and screaming "Mummy/Daddy!!!! You said I would get a new iPhone NOWWWWW!" and wish the little monster, erm, dear can go puff and disappear like Barney magic cloud. Sorry, not gonna happen. Like I said before: "In sickness or in health, till death do us part". No court or judge or whatever can annul this relationship. You bring him/her to the world, now make the best of it. It's your call, you owe it to the child, you owe it to the world.


I myself have no children, and not planning on having one for quite a while (or ever) until the conditions are met or if God trusted me with one. But I have seen quite a few people (both whom I know personally or through stories and articles in the media) who manage to successfully wrecked their child[ren]'s life because they were not prepared and one (or both) sides refuse to take responsibility. Proper child-planning is a very important issue for me and I hope it can be an utmost priority for men and women everywhere. Not only because it is fair to the child as he/she has no choice but to born to a certain [set of] parent, but also because that little adorable bundle of joy can become either a dangerous person that wreck other's life or a joyous sunshine that made the world brighter. This is also a way more important issue than chain oneself to a tree to stop deforestation. With the current population rate, deforestation will definitely go up as people need more land to live, and more stomach to fill. Go figure.  

Diskriminasi TKI: Apa (Cuma) Salah Malaysia?

Yup, lagi-lagi soal TKI. Kali ini yang diperkosa dan yang di "sale" ria. Tapi ini bukan penghujatan terhadap Malaysia. Sebaliknya saya ingin bertanya, terutama kepada orang-orang yang mendemo dengan rusuh dan anarkis: apakah memang cuma salah Malaysia? Apakah kita benar-benar oke dan bersih sehingga "boleh" anarkis ria?

Sebelum anda memulai penghujatan terhadap saya, mari saya luruskan: 

1) Saya pun terganggu dengan iklan "Sale"itu. Tapi let's be honest, mari jujur-jujuran, bukankah kita pun biasa mencari si Mbok baru lewat penyalur pembantu? Walaupun tidak sevulgar iklan Malaysia, praktek "jual-beli" ini pun lazim di Indonesia. 

2) Perkosaan TKI: Jelas ini salah. Namun perkosaan tetaplah perkosaan, terlepas dari siapa yang melakukan. Bagaimana dengan anak-anak dibawah umur yang dipaksa menikah di Indonesia atas alasan ekonomi atau dengan dasar agama (hello Syekh Puji)? Ini menurut saya termasuk perkosaan karena tidak mungkin anak 12 tahun, apalagi yang belum terpapar media, bisa secara agresif meminta hubungan seksual. Bagaimana dengan 2 polisi Sharia Aceh yang memperkosa tahanan perempuan? Atau yang paling gress, nona Novi yang difoto-foto syur saat mabuk oleh polisi? Memang benar bahwa figur otoritas dimanapun harusnya melindungi, tapi otoritas juga manusia. Bukan seragamnya yang harus disalahkan dalam kasus-kasus seperti ini, tapi orang yang mengenakan seragam tersebut. 

3) Perlakuan merendahkan Malaysia: ini yang paling mendasar buat saya. Apakah memang hanya Malaysia yang merendahkan kita? Sudahkah kita mengambil tindakan untuk mencegah penghinaan ini?

Saya bekerja di Bali sudah hampir 5 tahun, dan di pusat pariwisata Indonesia ini saya sudah kenyang melihat dan mengalami diskriminasi. Jangan salah, yang lebih banyak melakukan diskriminasi adalah orang Indonesia sendiri. Serius. Di bidang kerja saya saya lebih sering mendapat perlakuan melecehkan dari staf/vendor orang Indonesia, apalagi bila kebetulan stafnya ini cuma bawahan si Bule, hmmpf…. Lebih rese dari bulenya sendiri! Padahal orang asingnya sendiri mayoritas justru lebih terbuka dan menghargai apa yang saya lakukan. Pengecualian untuk bule-bule yang punya staf rese, mereka hampir pasti juga rese seperti bawahannya. Entah karena mereka biasa memperbabu orang Indonesia jadi menganggap semua orang Indonesia babu, atau karena mereka biasa dianggap dan diperlakukan ala tuan tanah/majikan sama babu/staf mereka jadi berasa oke berat.

Contoh lain: diperlakukan kasar oleh satpam hotel, ditolak masuk ke café/restoran/bar oleh waiter/waitress nya, belum lagi cara guide-guide yang menuntut mereka diutamakan karena membawa klien/tamu asing. Saya pernah menonton pertunjukkan Kecak dimana seorang guide membawa tamu-tamunya saat pertunjukkan sudah berlangsung, dan pakai acara memfotokan mereka yang mana itu menghalangi view penonton lainnya. Ada juga saat-saat dimana seorang guide dengan kasar meminta pelayan di rumah makan agar mendahulukan pesanan tamunya (padahal mereka baru datang) disaat rumah makan tersebut amat-sangat ramai. Jangan heran kalau orang asing menganggap kita rendah, bagaimana tidak kalau bangsa kita sendiri memperlakukan sesamanya dengan buruk.

Ingat bahwa ada dua sisi dalam masalah diskriminasi ini: Yang pertama adalah kurangnya pendidikan dan kepercayaan diri sehingga mereka merasa wajar mengalami perlakuan yang buruk; yang kedua adalah kurangnya empati dari bangsa kita sendiri. Sebelum merobohkan pagar kedubes Malaysia, ada baiknya kita bertanya pada diri kita sendiri: apa yang sudah kita lakukan untuk mereka? Apakah anda pernah memikirkan bagaimana nasib anak si mbok di kampung? Atau apakah OB anda mendapatkan kesempatan untuk maju (kursus etc) sehingga bisa mencari pekerjaan yang lebih baik? Lihat disekeliling anda, sudahkah anda melakukan sesuatu untuk mereka? Saya sangat percaya dengan pendidikan, dan saya yakin dengan pendidikan yang benar acara diskriminasi ini bisa sangat dikurangi. Pendidikan akan memberikan pengetahuan, harga diri dan kesempatan.

 Anda bisa menjadi orang tua asuh, anda bisa menyalurkan sumbangan atau zakat anda, namun saya ingin mengajak anda melangkah lebih jauh dan sekaligus mengatasi sisi lain dari diskriminasi: bersikap baiklah kepada sesama. Pendidikan setinggi apapun tidak akan membantu bila seseorang terus direndahkan oleh sesamanya, namun sikap baik akan sangat membantu seseorang. Bila dua hal ini digabungkan hasilnya akan sangat dahsyat: Seseorang yang memiliki pengetahuan sehingga membuka kesempatan, dan punya kepercayaan diri/tahu dirinya cukup berharga untuk mengambil kesempatan tersebut dan tahu apa yang berhak mereka dapatkan. Diskriminasi? Apa itu?

Jangan terjebak dalam mental babu seperti oknum-oknum dalam cerita saya di Bali. Semua manusia dasarnya sama, cuma kulit dan pekerjaannya saja yang beda. Katakan terimakasih dengan tulus dan senyum manis pada mbak-mbak yang melayani anda di coffee shop, katakan permisi pada mas-mas yang sedang sibuk mengepel lantai di kantor anda, lambaikan tangan dengan gembira pada bapak parkir yang membantu mengeluarkan mobil anda di parkiran. Mereka sama seperti anda, lihat mereka sebagai manusia dan bukan label pekerjaan nya (tukang parkir, janitor, pelayan, etc). Ada saatnya dimana hierarki harus ditegakkan (tidak mungkin toh anda sebagai bos mengerjakan pekerjaan bawahan hanya karena dia mau nonton James Bond beserta yayangnya), namun bersikap ramah dan sopan pada siapapun haruslah menjadi prinsip utama anda. Jangan robohkan pagar kedubes Malaysia, tapi robohkanlah ke-arogansian kita sendiri serta penghalang dan ketidakpedulian terhadap pendidikan yang pantas. Tabik! 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Rise of the Geeks

Yes, geeks are coming to rule the world, and they are sexier than ever. From Nate Silver to Obama geeks got their field day last week, and it sure was fun!

Nate Silver correctly predicted the presidential winner in all 50
states, and almost all the Senate races — he'd been hailed as the election's "other winner," who'd silenced doubters and proved the value of a cool-headed, math-based approach (read more at: Obama won the election with his data-crunching-whiz-making team. Both rely heavily on math and data, both won big. 

There are also Malcolm Gladwell who change our way of thinking with his delightful research-based books and the late Steve Jobs for Apple-ing our life, and lest we forget that sexy mohawk dude at NASA. These guys definitely does not fit the "popular jock" description. To be fair, I have never met any of them and they probably are the life of parties; but associating their work with their life (albeit an imaginary one) it is hard to see people flocking over them as they describe math program, researches or whatever. Yet they are the ones that will outlast the blue eyed blonde hunk in Bachelor season 12 (or something like that).

Some of the reaction, as you can see, was not really nice: Homophobic or racial slurs, and general non-acceptance. The way people tried to demean or even degrade these geeks kinda puzzles me. There is nothing you say that will make them less sharp and successful, or making you better than them in that matter. Besides, what's wrong with so-called geeks anyway? The geeks I know play music and do sports, and a lot of fun to be with. Yes they may not be Prom King or Homecoming Queen, and may not follow trend as a general rule, but they are still awesome to be with.

I would guess that the reason why people feel discomfort over them is because: 
a) they are somewhat different or uncommon (and amazingly people become more and more terrified with differences these days. I personally celebrate differences, after all we are not just clones from Darth Vader's army)
b) we got a nagging feeling that they know something that we don't, or that they are just smarter than us (tough luck though, there is nothing that we can do to uneducated them or reducing their knowledge/brainiac level)
[While it is true that some of them might also be difficult to socialize with but I have yet to meet anyone that was not open and friendly after a healthy dose of warm sincere smile.] 

Well you know, here's the bomb: geeks are rising and they are taking over the world, or to be exact the world needs them at an indespensable level. 

At the era where information is prized above all else, these geeks deliver complete accurate readable data which is the base of any other important project, be it presidential campaign or a simple sales approach. And don't forget the diligent geeks who wired up or design [complex] machineries such as the phone/tablet you use to read this article or that DNA sequencer everyone craze about (oh, you don't know? But it's the new "IT", darling!). Considering that not many people even know how to set proper [and safe!] privacy settings in their Facebook, this speaks volumes of the geeks' ability. It is just stupid to disregard them or treat them like they are the "lesser ones".

One thing though, I would recommend to hit the library and starts educating yourself before aiming for the cute [and super promising] geeks this weekend. No matter how Beyonce-Hot or Daniel Craig-Sexy you are, without a smart mind and confident attitude chances are they will just smile and pass you by. You are, simply put, out of their league and they are smart enough to know it. Better start studying now ;)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

America From The (Non) American Eyes

"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide for those who have too little." ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt in his Second Inaugural Address

Like most people in my generation, I grew up with "America". I learn my English from Sesame Street, my puns and phrases from the ever delightful TV series (think Quantum Leap, Remington Steele, P.S. I Love You, Hart to Hart, LA Law, tv series that has real story in it and not just obscene shopping scenes and drunkness in various degree). I learn my wooing from US singers and songs, my jokes from Readers Digest and The Cosby Show, my sarcastic and witty humor from Garfield and Hollywood movies. I got my knowledge from National Geographic, and news from Yahoo, Time, and New York Times. Dean Koontz's Stranger mesmerize me, as well as Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles. I see things Malcolm Gladwell's way and still believe in kindness due to tender-age brainwash by reading plenty of Chicken Soup for the Soul. In some degree, America helped me define who I am. 

It is hard not to be fascinated with America. No, I am not talking about the good living condition or the so-called-prestige of visiting or even staying in US. These things do not attract me. What is so rich about America is the ever going strive to be better. The pilgrims of Mayweather, the Founding Fathers, the Civil War for the slaves' freedom, all the way to the recent years of race equality, women's rights, and even sexual preference's rights. And it is not just in politics. The roaring 20s, the jazz, the swing, the hip hop beat, they all bore the same characteristic of variation and attempt to be better. A country founded by it's own people (as opposed to be founded and governed by monarch) it is not hard to understand why Freedom is such a big issue in America, and why it permeates everything. America connote with Freedom.

The Freedom and basic mentality to be better (or best) allows US citizen to grow and expand their potentials, and more importantly, to have faith in their country. My boyfriend once explained that US goverment will never make rules that will hindrance their people. Opinions aside (there can never be one rule or even anything in this world that can please everyone), I can't imagine how nice it would be to be able to have faith in your own government. Coming from a developing country, the promise of clean dedicated government which I can have faith in is an obscene luxury; as well as hearing rhetoric like the above and actually moved by it and believe it wholeheartedly (which I actually did. Thanks for giving me cause, Mr. Roosevelt!).

[Of course at the risk of sounding bias and being subjective Indonesia is and will always be my pride and joy: the vast beautiful island country, rich in resources, breathtaking in view/to see, warm in her people's friendliness, elegant and radiant in her deeply rooted cultures. I would assume a British made the same patriotically-laced comment about UK, a Dutch about Netherland, and so in and so forth. Each country in the world has it's own uniqueness and positive side, and to say one is above others is as legitimate as saying dubstep trumps swing. Each to his/her own preference.] 

I gladly admit that my opinion here can be freely dismissed as inaccurate. I am a (non) American woman, and my opinion about America is as valid as opinion of a spectator in a football match. I am not the one who ran yards away, nor getting pinned by the massive hitman erm bulky opponent and got skull fracture. But it is worthy to note that despite all the hatred and troll commenting over the internet, despite the pre-election tension and lengthy economic crisis, Americans stand on their true value: freedom. It is now back to Americans to make America a great country, one that is envisioned by her founding fathers and believed for hundreds of years by her citizens. And beside, I could always use more delightful soul-lifting-swinging-jazz ;-).

NOTE: for a glimpse of what Indonesia is all about, feel free to read below.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Swan Princess

It was another family gathering with mum, and the situation can't be more different than 10 months ago.*

*Read my demise that time at:

Just like last January, I was bombarded with questions about my relationship status (which I happily unwilling to share, I have no desire to whet their thirst for hot juicy gossips). The difference is, this time I was also being showered with offers for eligible husband-to-be. Corporate owner, civil servant, pharmaceutical salesperson, wide variety of men with various age (Q: this man is slightly younger than you but he'd be perfect! Me: oh no thanks, I'm not interested in teenagers; Q: my long lost cousin is a bit mature, but he will take good care of you! Me: Does he has nurse from retirement home on call?). As my priest clan spread throughout Bali and we are interconnected with each other, the variety is unimaginable.


It is a stark difference compared with last time. I recall trying to helplessly to get someone from my clan (the women in my clan were obliged to marry a man from our clan else being kicked out of the family), but nobody was willing to introduce me even the slightest. Now, they are busy giving me offers and wanting me within their family. Something change in me, something that made me look, ah, better. Well, I am loved. And with that I grew stronger, become more beautiful, and shines brighter. The ugly duckling has turn into a pretty swan; and with a stroke of magic and love from her Prince, the swan will become a Princess.


Metaphores and childish fantasy aside, what's the logic behind my change? Is it because I am loved? Why is it being loved makes one grow and prosper? Why is it people who claimed they love each other end up in a worse state than before they are together? I believe love is important, but there I think there is one part of love that is more crucial than others: acceptance. Love is accepting someone for who they are, making them feel good about themselves, making them have more confidence and faith in themselves. Love and pampering will make a content ugly duckling; love, acceptance and proper endorsement will make her a swan.


I am very very lucky. I am lucky enough to be loved by a man who loves, accepts, and endorses me in the best possible way; but I am also very lucky to be able to acknowledge those things from him. I met so many women and men that lament how unsupportive their spouse is, even though to me I think their spouse has moved the mountain for them. Sure, it is easy for me. It's so happen that me and my partner have the same way of thinking, you can probably put half of my brain in his and vice versa and we can still live  our normal life (albeit strange tendency for me to peek cleavage and for him to devour chocolates). I know and appreciate his love and what he has done for me, and he know and appreciate my love and what I have done for him. We accept each other and this is, for me, what makes us a very strong team and differentiate us from most couple.


I will not argue that a man like him is hard to come by (and I definitely not trying to brag my luck here. I think I spent all my good karma to get him). However, acceptance is a choice. It is a commitment to find and see the good side of your partner, and to understand the bad side: what triggers it and how to ease it. Acceptance is a commitment to become "us". And as with all choices, it is yours to make. You probably can't make Johnny Depp/Mila Kunis in love with you, but you can choose to accept your partner for what he/she is even though he/she is not Johnny Depp/Mila Kunis/a hybrid of both (eerie!!!). After all, if you can't see the good side or can't (or unwilling) to understand the bad side of your partner then what is left in your relationship?


Back to the gathering, one of my distant aunt was reciting the cars that this certain potential-husband-to-be has (4 and counting. The bachelor is apparently rich). I cant help picturing a mental image of him with his car keys and my partner with his dobro. The poor bachelor doesn't stand a chance. Acceptance breeds comfort, comfort breeds trust, trust breeds loyalty. As if the prospect to be with someone who shines above the rest is not good enough, you'll get to keep him/her forever too. Acceptance is no small feat though, and my partner and I have spent arduous time to establish this. At the times where we just can't seem to accept each other, it was our commitment to become "us" (which, in a way, our acceptance of the concept "us") that keeps us in our track.


So fold your hankies and dry your tears. Throw that gin and tonic away, as well the mega triple bacon and steak cheese subway sandwich. Be joyous and hopeful as love and the joy of life is yours to keep. That is, if you choose to accept them.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Confession of a "Mistress"

"Once they saw you, they would think either I got a stint in a Southeast Asia country or getting a mail-order bride." - Boyfriend

Ouch. Not a very pleasant prospect.

I met and started dating my boyfriend a few months ago, and as much as I love him I found that people's reaction towards me quite annoying. From his side of the world I was labeled gold digger, from my side of the world I was labeled gold digger as well. We had Facebook comments that clearly accusing me of gold-digging activities (or to boyfriend's sarcastic retorts for the hater: greencard-digging activities); we had people calling me his "mistress" or even suggest that he's my John in Bali. It frustrates me because, well, I'm neither.

The "Mistress" labeling was disgracing for both of us. It implies I have very low goal and ability, and implies that my boyfriend was not good enough that the only one he can get is a "third-world country gold-digger" or a "green-card pursuer". As a matter of fact, I believe that we have a much better relationship than most people, albeit the 14000 km distance. We communicate daily, only interrupted if it's bed time. We would talk about our work and goals and ambitions. We encourage each other to pursue what we do best (he's an inventor, I'm a writer). We play Words with Friends constantly and actively trying to slay each other in it. We had discussions about Christianity and religious views at 7 in the morning, and Sumerian numerical base at 7 in the evening. We love each other in such a way that we compete on showing the others how much we really care and love. What's so gold-digging about that?

I can see the reason why people accusing me of using him to get a better life. Indonesia is notoriously well known for its corruptions, poor human rights equality, and low wage. The thing is (and this is what most people are not aware of, both on my side and his), Indonesia is the most beautiful and magical place to live. At least in my biased opinion. The people are friendly as we have learned to live with different sub-race and religions and beliefs for hundreds of years; I can go to the beach right after work; I can eat delicious Balinese Paella for only IDR 3000 (about 33 cents in USD); I can go praying and indulge in the exotic aroma of flowers and incense while hearing the beautiful gamelan playing. It is not a place that I would be happy to leave, and I would probably never think of leaving if Destiny didn't come calling. I have more to lose by leaving my country: my job, my family, my friends, basically every thing that I know in life. The only thing that kept me going is my desire to be with my boyfriend daily, creating a family and erase the agonizing physical distance we have now.

To be fair, the way some women act also give bad reputation. He told me about the tacky Southeast Asian women he met there with their vacant stares and ridiculous outfits who were more crass than class. Small wonder that there were slew of memes about Thai girls or other Asian, nor should I be surprised for the prospect of being thought as mail-order bride. In my part of the world I also seen so many women who, sadly, actively pursuing foreigners (especially Caucasian). Preference is preference, I have my own sets of physical preference which I hope to (and gleefully) find in a partner. It was the heavy flirting that disturbs me, the painful attempt to try to fit in in a western world (fashionably hanging at places where foreigners hang out, dressed like one, trying to look upscale and worth dating for). And when they got one, they'll try even more to fit in and be a foreigner, some even willing to go blind eye with the partners' obvious cheating or disrespect as long as they can present the foreign dude and says, "Yes, I'm with him!!"

It all boils down to ability to see a bigger picture. When the news broke that I am in a relationship with a foreigner some of the foreign-dude women reach out for me and welcome me to their "club", which I decline politely. I am not dating my boyfriend because he is white, I'm dating my boyfriend because he's wonderful (which, I hope, they will realize and follow suits. A loving respectful boyfriend of any race will make one a wife or partner instead of "mistress"). Me and my boyfriend are well educated, competent in our work, and smart enough to live a good life and make a living. You'll find a pair like us in America, a pair like us in Indonesia, in India, in Iceland, anywhere really. Two people in love, respecting others and ready to live our forever together. It's just that I'm Indonesian and he's American, I'm Malayan and he's Caucasian. Our race and nationality has nothing to do with feelings and dreams. It's about time people learn to see pass the skin [color] and tags. Well, one could hope.


10 minutes after I post this article I got a spam of book called "How To Get Many Pen Pals and the Woman of Your Dreams in the Philippines, Thailand, And China" (which oddly show 2 Caucasians on the cover). I rest my case. Foreigners, Asian women are NOT only for mistresses only and we can do with proper respect. Asian women, please stop giving the retarded people fodder to disgrace you. Rise and shine, lovelies.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Time to Get Civilized

"And I am thankful that you can speak English because without it this will be impossible!"- Boyfriend

I receive a report that a coworker was abusing our office helper. It wasn't the first time that I heard how bad certain people treated our office helpers, and I was beside myself, yelling and cussing and basically very angry. 2 reasons: 1) good workers are hard to find, and I hate to lose them just because some idiots think they're high and mighty; 2) it's just plain wrong.

Now, why is it wrong to treat your subordinate or someone with "lower rank" disrespectfully? Can you tell me how? Why is it wrong to be ignorant or harsh to a waiter, or a bus driver, or an office helper? I believe many of you that read this probably certain you have better social status than them. Why bother then? They wont play any role to advanced your career or social status, nor would they ever be associated with you (at least in your mind). Then why you should be nice?

Because they are fellow human, damnit.

I believe all humans are created equal, and I am qualified to say this thanks to 1 full year human anatomy lesson I had to endure in my undergraduate program. If given a kidney we might be able to diagnose the condition of the kidney, but in no way we can tell whether it comes from a waiter or a CEO. It goes the same with blood. When given transfusion can you really tell where it came from? Can you say, "Oh no, I'm allergic to anyone that live at the border of poverty line. Don't give me that.". We *might* feel we're doing the world a huge favor by denying the transfusion altogether (and favor for you! What happen if you are really allergic and can actively reject the blood from low income people just like Akin's women can reject sperms from rape?!). Alas, our Hippocrates oath forbid us to have that fun, erm to conduct in such irresponsible manner.

Cue: this is the part where you should get defiant and said, "I deserve to have what I have right now, because I'm not just a [put a negatively-linked verb here e.g. Lazy Useless Uneducated] like they are!"

To which I would reply: you just got lucky. No, our achievements and hard work is ours to brag. That is most certain. The thing is, there are so many other variables that we were born to, and we can't choose that. Some were born into good education, some were born into wealth, and some were born into hardships of life. A child in a median level family will have access to adequate education, enough affection (as the parents can afford more time to be with them), good self esteem, and definitely well nutrient food and vitamins; which all probably lacked by a child in poor family. I am among the lucky ones that were born into an ideal condition that helped me expand my potentials (English included), but there are others born in an even more or even less favorable condition. But can we really choose our parents? Or the level of income we were born to? We can't. Thus it is absurd to judge people based on the chances that they don't have, nor for the
opportunity that doesn't knock their door.

Cue: ok, altogether now: "but they ARE useless and brainless and just made me ick!"
Yes, I believe the @Queen_UK probably think that way too about you. The difference is, she'll be too classy to even care about you (gin o'clock everyone!)

In my life I found 2 type of people: The Knows (those who know they are rich/smart/etc) and The Thinks (those who think they are rich/smart/etc). The Thinks stink. They will be the ones that raise their nose so high, or see you so low. The problem is, they only think they are great, they don't know it for sure. Thus they need to ascertain themselves and their greatness by belittling others. I had clients that treat me like servant, and I have super powerful clients that treat me like equal. I met men who judge my carefree look and thin budget, I have a boyfriend who sees my quality and damn proud of me. The Knows and The Thinks are so easy to differentiate.

For whatever reason, it is just wrong to treat people in a degrading way just to assure your dominance or social status. You can't make yourself richer by deliberately make a harsh remark of how poor one is, or be smarter with rude remarks about uneducation. If any, your judgement towards others will not show the worth of the person you judged, it will show your worth instead. Nobody likes rude degrading comments towards other (true, some malicious personality will have a field day), but nobody will resent a warm sincere smile and nice words (except the malicious dudes and dudettes who will scattered like a group of cockroach under the flaslight).

It's the 21st century for Godsake, we human has been here for millenias. It's about time we get civilized.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

So This Is Goodbye

So this is goodbye. The coffee's getting cold, and your scone turns rock hard. But you wouldn't even look at me, we just sit here in silence. No forced last smile, no false sugary wishes that hope all will be well, nothing. Just silence. I would prefer your wrath honestly, instead of a cold degrading silence. Do I really deserve this?

Gone were the days of our laughters, the rosy view of tomorrow. Days of when we believe in each other, and rely in one another. Where did they go? Now they're merely fragment of dreams: melt away in the first sunlight, dripping loose from my memory. Even our photos cannot revive happy memories. I looked and I looked and all I can see are alien faces and surreal smiles. Were they really us? Were we ever this happy?

I can only remember days of bickering, of lost expectation and bitter dissapointment. You change, I change, and what used to be the perfect set of cogs in a machine become a wrong set of cogs, blocking each other. Were you wrong? Was I wrong? Maybe we both are. I remember crying for help but you won't listen, and I was so desperate to make us work. But did you cry for help too? Did I fail to listen as well?

I was hoping we can go through the separation in a civilized way, was hoping that this is not the end and we still can be friends. Such a romantic fool I was. Your hostility amazes me instead. Why can't we part in kindness? The others before me parted in lies and hatred and agony, why can't we start making a better ending? I still care. But the unpleasantness runs too deep. Whatever I say can not change your judgement towards me, and whatever you say cannot mend us. Like a shattered coffee cup, you can mend it but you can't use it anymore. That is why I have to go.

Goodbye then. Thank you for the exquisite years we had together. Thank you for the experiences and lessons you gave me. There is no point of speaking ill about each other or forcefully stated the other part held full responsibility for the breakup. None of them will bring us together, none of them will mend us. Would you look into my eyes once again, can I see you smile once again, just once? The silence. You still intently looking at the coffee, so determined that I wouldn't be surprise if it somehow boils under your fiery gaze. I guess it's a no. Don't worry, it's ok. I'll just be on my way. Wish you well my dearest. I will part with a smile. Wish you well.

Disclaimer: It is not about romance. Go figure ;)

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Day at The Park

I walked and I walked...

The morning sun shine through the trees
The cool morning breeze kiss my skin
The yogi do their yoga, twisting and stretching
The hawkers offer breakfast to the joggers
The little flipflop walked, one at a time
Left, right, left, right, left, right
And I thought of the day when yours were accompanying mine
The flipflop move forwards, alone
Left, right, left, right, left, right

The afternoon sun basked everything in golden yellow
The jogger, the juggler, the soccer players,
Lovers and families and friends and pets
Cacophony of traffic as people rush to go home
Laughter and excited yells of the soccer players
My hand open and clenched, yearning to hold yours
My fingers spread, wishing yours filling the void
The darkness come
The night fall
Still I walked and walked, the little flipflops move one at a time
Left, right, left, right, left, right

Tomorrow the sun will rise again
And then the night will fall
But you will not be there with me
Not yet
Many days will follow: many sun rises and night falls
The days where I still walk alone
But it wont be for eternity

One day the sun will rise and gleam upon your smiling face
One day the night will fall as you hold me close
And the two pair of flipflops, little and big, will walk together
Left left, right right, left left, right right
And we'll never be alone

One day...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ubud - Sept 23, 2012

The Peranda sat in silence. He closed his eyes and lost in his thought, in his prayer. He was oblivious to his surrounding, to fellow speakers that sat with him on the long table, to the speaker next to him that enthusiastically explain Vedic system. He slowly put his shirt on to cover his frail body, looking even more serene when contrasted with the praying flowers arrayed in front of him, with the priest crown and his other praying tools next to the flowers. He broke a big smile when the translator missed translating a part of his fellow speaker's speech. Finally dressed and have finished with his own speech, he sat and close his eyes still, listening intently to his fellow speaker's speech, nodding and smiling in agreement. Such a peaceful smile! The small incense in front of him burned slowly. He previously spoke about the role of Peranda in Balinese Hindu, and now the speaker next to him in his speech about Yoga said that Peranda and all priests
brings God in them, brings God to fellow human. Is it true? Is there God? Can we really be saved? But seeing the Peranda sit there, with his peaceful bearing and calming look, one can't help to just have positive feeling, to just have faith. Maybe we can be saved after all.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Innocence of Muslim: mari tetap innocent/tak bersalah!

Karena di Indonesia sedang "in" trailer Innocence of Muslim (walau sangat terlambat, karena di negara lain sudah tidak terlalu "in" alias mereda), mari kita lihat fakta dan fiksinya:

1. Film ini bukan dibuat oleh Amerika, tapi dibuat oleh ORANG Amerika, dan White House/pemerintah resmi Amerika sendiri tidak mengetahui apalagi mendukung film ini. A a a, jangan argumen kalau 1 orang Amerika = Amerika. Itu sama saja dengan berkata Indonesia negara bom bunuh diri atau pembuat video porno berisi (konon) 40 wanita. Perbuatan perseorangan bukan berarti perbuatan satu negara.

2. Pembuat film ini adalah seorang Kristen Coptic (Mesir) yang membuat film ini karena merasa Kristen Coptic ditekan oleh Muslim Mesir (walau pihak Coptic membantah, orang ini memang sableng saja). Sisi Amerikanya? Kebetulan Sam Bacile ini bekerja di Amerika dan menjadi warga negara sana. Amerika mengadakan naturalisasi imigran/masuk kewarganegaraan tiap tahunnya. Asia, Afrika, negara Persia, semua yang memenuhi syarat bisa menjadi warga negara Amerika. Sayangnya termasuk si Kacrut ini.

3. Para aktornya pun tidak mengetahui mereka membuat film tentang Nabi Muhammad. Mereka hanya diberi script satu dua paragraph tiap harinya. Dan setelah film ini selesai, ada pihak lain yang tanpa seijin si pembuat menerjemahkan ke bahasa arab/mesir dengan kata-kata yang lebih ekstrim.

4. Pemerintah Amerika sudah menangkap kacrut pembuat/produser film ini dan mempertimbangkan langkah hukum terhadapnya.

Sekarang, apakah ada alasan untuk mendemo kedubes Amerika?

Amerika memiliki "right for Free Speech" alias "hak kebebasan berbicara". Sangat disayangkan bahwa film Sam Bacile ini terlindungi oleh aturan ini. Tapi begitu pula film-film atau pendapat lain dari orang Amerika yang mendiskreditkan Gay, kaum minoritas, pemeluk Kristen lainnya, apapun bahkan didalam Amerika sendiri. Bahkan ada film yang mendiskreditkan presiden Obama serta kelompok yang berdemo memaki maki di pemakaman orang, dan mereka tidak bisa ditangkap atau dihukum. Tidak menyenangkan, tapi itu aturan mereka. Indonesia pun punya aturan sendiri, Pancasila misalnya. Apakah Cina atau Korea Utara boleh protes bahwa kita percaya Tuhan? Jelas tidak. Lagipula, bila anda mencermati berita luar negeri anda bisa melihat bahwa publik Amerika mengecam kebodohan si pembuat film. Sekian orang tewas dan terluka hanya karena seorang idiot yang bermain dengan api/mencari masalah.

Kenapa harus ada demo-demo anti Amerika? Kenapa harus ada tuntutan agar SBY menekan Amerika? Indonesia BUKAN negara Muslim bung. Kemerdekaan kita diraih dengan perjuangan dan nyawa pejuang Bali, Batak, Kalimantan, Cina, Betawi, semua suku di Indonesia yang notabene memeluk beragam agama. Silakan demo, tapi jangan bawa nama Indonesia. Kalau segitu pedulinya dengan film s!@l dari antah berantah itu sampai siap jihad dan mati merusuh di kedubes Amerika, kenapa ga ada yang siap membela Ahmadiyah? Atau konflik Sampang? Atau muslim di daerah terpencil Indonesia yang hidupnya teramat sangat kekurangan? Skala prioritas bung! Jangan mengurus konflik yang jauh tapi yang depan mata tidak ditoleh.

Apapula faedah merusuh? Stating your point alias menyatakan sikap? Ini bukan Islam yang saya kenal. Islam yang saya tahu itu adalah agama yang damai. Tangan-tangan ramah yang menggandeng saya selama ini, senyuman hangat yang saya lihat seusai sholat, bahkan teman saya seorang bule Amerika yang pernah ditugaskan di Sulawesi pun mengagumi keramahan pemeluk Islam disana. Ini Islam yang saya tahu. Kemarahan dan ajakan "setan" ala Al Qaeda (yang memuji penyerangan dan pembunuhan pasca film ini) hanya memperkuat vonis umat non-muslim bahwa film br*ngs*k itu benar adanya. Saya tidak mau itu terjadi. Islam terlalu indah dan berharga untuk dilecehkan seperti ini oleh umatnya sendiri.

Urusan anda kalau benci Amerika. Tapi ada cara yang lebih ciamik: jadi lebih hebat dari mereka. Kalau dulu ilmuwan Islam disegani karena kehebatan mereka, kalau dulu Indonesia sebegitu hebatnya sampai bangun Borobudur, kenapa sekarang puas cuma jadi perusuh dan maki-maki ga jelas? Saya yakin Islam lebih baik dari sekedar demo-demo yang terekspos di TV. Berani membuktikan? ;)

Friday, September 14, 2012

"Stick and stones can break my bones but words can really hurt me!"

I read about the world's ugliest woman. Yes, she isn't pretty; but the comments about her take ugliness to do the new level. In a Youtube clip about her, people called her "monster", "it", and even said she should kill herself. I mean, seriously?? She's no beauty queen, but why should she kill herself because of how she looked? And most importantly, what right do one has to talk in such gruesome way to her?

The rise of internet has unfortunately gave birth to trolls, who freely throw insult to others cloaked in anonymity. It is understandably more convenient to say bad things to other over the net, than to hurl it face to face with no backup or anonymity at all. Reading comments, say in the Yah**, would make you think that almost all the active internet users are either illiterate or a bunch of savages. Free speech? Maybe. But what about consequences?

The most damaging consequences in hate speech/verbal bullying/trolling is the emotional impact. Broken bones can be mended easily, but broken heart is not that easy. Nor can self confidence, in that matter. What seemed to be a harmless effortless insult can be something damaging instead. In Libya this week, it costs lives. In Tyler Clementi case, it costs life. In any bullying case, it costs life: a life where one has to live with destructed self confidence because of words of others is by all means no life at all.

A writing in ( stated: "Bacile is an idiot willing to toss fuel on smoldering embers – and then expresses surprise when it erupts into flames." This brings us to the other side of the consequences. Those who dare to speak must be willing to accept the results of their speech. Go and insult a man's momma in front of him and get ready for a good punch in the face. Tell a woman she look like a hag and get ready for a good sharp slap. Tell parents that their son/daughter is trash and get ready to see a gun pointing at your head (ok, I'm exaggerating. But you get my drift). If you pay consequences for your words which were spoken in public/person to person, why should words spoken in the internet (albeit in the cloak of anonymity) be different?

Some might argue that people need to stop being so sensitive and get offended easily; and bully victims deserve the terrible treatment because they are weak. But why blame others? Why not just restrain ourselves from saying hurtful things? What's the benefit of that anyway? You can't get prettier by calling someone ugly, nor becoming a rocket scientist by calling someone stupid. And if you can't resist the urge to say hurtful things, prepare to stand up and accept the consequence.

We live in a less than ideal world, a savage place where one might intentionally hurt other just for one's vile amusement. Which is odd because no other animal hurt their own species only for fun. But humans also have what other species don't have: kind words and warm smile. The world may be less than ideal, but we can make it a better place to live simply by respecting others. As The Queen in Lewis Carrol's Alice said: "Curtsey while you're thinking. It saves time." For all its worth, I hope one manage to speak something nice after thinking it first ;).

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dance the Sorrow Away

Teraskota, BSD

The night was quiet. It was a Thursday night and not many people crowded the mall. A group of musician was playing in the center of the mall, playing some Indonesian song and also English ones. Yet nobody was paying attention. The mall patrons looked so busy with their purchases and their business that night, nobody stopped to look. 

The man and the woman walked through the mall holding hands, with smile on their face and looked so obviously punch-drunk with love. The woman instinctively sway her body at the sound of the music. Her partner looked at her in amusement, and he stopped and point at the band, saying something to the woman. She bursted in laughter and shake her head while still laughing. He pulled her arm and dragged her to the front of the band, she was laughing and shaking her head all the way, happily protesting.  He laughed and hold her close as if he's going to dance with her right there, in the middle of the mall. The woman grin and hold him too, as if accepting his challenge. A split second later they burst into laughter and left the band immediately, apparently deciding against dancing in the mall.

I recalled the memory vividly, and grinned all the way to the office. It was a particularly difficult week for me, and I miss my boyfriend a lot. One thought lead to another, and I ended up recalling that night at Teraskota. Suddenly my days got a lot better, and all my fears were being washed away.

I've been hearing about the magic of memories for years, how "Happy Thought/Memory" was promoted as an all-ailment cure and how it could help increasing your quality of life. The key is, they say, to think Happy. Probably. I've been brainwashing myself with all "happy"thoughts I could muster, and still I found myself trapped in unhappiness. I would guess it's a matter of being content: some people felt content with their life, others for some reason can not. Yet.

For me, that's the catch. You can't just "think happy". You need to experience the happiness to really feel happy. How? Be open to new experience. Laugh and enjoy even the craziest that happened to you. Love someone. Love your life.

Logically, it would be almost impossible to feel happy when you think your life is terrible and you have no one, despite how hard you try to dispute/hide the fact and tell everyone: "I love being alone." Humans are social creature by default. Everybody needs somebody. And even if you still insist to be the lone wolf or something, your smile and kindness can still spark some happiness in people (though you wish they stayed at least 5 meters away from you). Misery loves company, but happiness demands a full-fledged crowd!

The day was waning and I slumped in front of my work desk, trying to shake the fatigue and get more work done. It has been a long day. But then I remember our almost-dancing escapade and I smiled. We will definitely dance there one day.

Search This Blog