Time and Chance

"Time and chance, happened to them all..." (Color Me Badd-Time and Chance the Album)
See the picture above, I was with my beloved friends from SSEAYP. Time and chance, I think we are the ones who are gifted by beautiful things in life. Alhamdulillaah..
Time and chance. By the end of the year, my thoughts are so much on them. Did I pass this year well? Am I happy? Will I be happier next year? Will I get thru more breathaking moments? Will I still be in love? Will I still be loved? Will I be given the chances?
Sometimes I feel ashamed towards my beloved God. He has given me so much, maybe too much for not-so-good me... Chances, chances, chances, million chances, and millions of seconds to breath in happiness. Like this week, like today.
This year I spent so much happy times for my personal life. I left all the hectic days at work and lived my life as a traveler, a gardener, a cook, a baby sitter for my cute nephew, and above all, a good student who tries to finish her thesis :p.
But many people asked where I have been. Feeling sorry that I left bright careers, while I felt happy. I felt agitated to have people's reactions when they know that I spent most of my time home and away, until I would like to get back the comfort of starting a career.
Somehow my mum is like a fortune teller. Follow what she says and everything will be ok. Once, 3 weeks ago, she told me, "get your graduation cerificate soon, and soon the jobs will come to you."
I was in lazy moments to go to my campus to take care of administration stuffs, but I then remembered that I had 3 times postphoning my graduation. So, I moved fast.
Just when I met one of my thesis examiners, he offered me to teach my juniors in my faculty. "How if some times in the future you help us to teach public speaking and MC techniques?"
Chance. A very good chance. So I said yes and gave him my business card.
Then yesterday. I went to a language school to have a TOEFL test. I just want to possess TOEFL score to support my CV. I finished 10 minutes before the time was up. Then, a woman corrected my answer sheet and came up with a question:
"Where do you study?"
"English Department"
"Look, you got very good score, and we still need a part time teacher. If you would, please join us and drop your CV tomorrow."
I was stunned. My TOEFL scored 603. Another good chance. I came back with BIG smile.
Then I went to my campus to get my temporary graduation certificate. I felt so relieved that finally I finished my study.
Then at home I got a call from the production house where I work part time. "We got new tape. Can you come for VO recording tomorrow?"
I thought it was the repetation of the offer. 3 days ago I started go get an offer to be the narrator for TV ads.
I was talking to my mum about that offer at home when my phone rang. It was a call from Aceh. A call from my dream working place, an international organization. I was asked to have interview for the next day. I was stunned. And told my mum. "Gosh, you're really a fortune teller!"
So, this morning I sat by my phone. I was all nervous. I was so excited to have chance to be interviewed for my dream job, where if I will be accepted, I will serve community development projects in Aceh...
Another chance, a very good chance.
But was surprised to find that there were 3 interviewers. I thought I would just get typical HR questions, but apparently this long distance interview was efficiently used as the general interview to find out my knowledges on project management, disaster risk reduction and sustainability of the projects.
Indeed, I was not ready. I should've read back my management books. I regretted some of my incomplete answers. "I should've mentioned the preliminary actions to prevent the risk..ah, I forgot to mention about urban planning, building construstions... I forgot this..that..."
Time and chance. I believe that God is planning something beautiful for me, no matter if I can or
cannot take that job...
Then I went to post office to post another application, for the post of International Program Staff in a well-recognized uni in Yogya. I dropped shortly at a fish market to relax, seeig beautiful fish and bought some more Kois, japanese gold fish. I felt thankful that I could still see those pretty fish swam in a little glass aquarium next to my mum's sanseveira pot.
Noon. I rushed to have my lunch then drove to my PH. It took 45 minutes as usual, and I after finishing my VO part, I was asked to record my voice for the bumper in. I remembered how I cried whenever I watch the reality show where I involve. I feel thankful to be part of that program, releasing nice people from debts, seeing happy people, giving them chances, moving the hearts of others to help... Even I would prefer to be the presenter, I still love my tiny participation in that program. :)
After recording session, I found that I got 25% higher salary. Wow. :) It was a bonus for contributing my voice for the bumper in. (makasih mas Chris! :p)
Another producer was waiting in theater room. He offered me to be the presenter of an educative national TV game show that will be produced soon, so I was casted shortly with 4 judges in. Only 25 minutes, lots of fun and laugh. Ah, another time, and a very good chance...
At 15:00 I sat in front of this computer to wait for the written test exam from that international orgaization. In my mind I imagine that one day I will write my post graduate thesis on "Communicating the Disaster"... then work more for the people in my country, in the world, wherever I will be needed...
I thought so much all the way. I am a very fortunate person. I have so many choices of life, and Godbless me. I am ashamed to remember when I cried and upset because of such little sadness and disappointments while He always gives me more happiness. More times, more chances...
I haven't decided yet where I would be, I don't even know whether I will be chosen, but I feel so fortunate to have given all those opportunities to chose.
I wish wathever it is, I will have a chance to share my happiness and luck with others who are unhappy and unfortunate.
Alhamdulillaahirabbil Alamiin...
Merciful, lovingful Allah, thank you.
Hope the happiness are yours too, my friends...

Life for Sell

I love gardening during my weekend. Yesterday I moved the water lilies into a new clay basin, and I needed some fish in the water to prevent the mosquitos from breeding there.

So, I went to an aquarium shop. Asking for "nila" fish, a kind of mini carpfish that likes to eat larvae. I asked the seller, how much should I pay for them.
"U can get 3 fish for Rp. 1000"
I was surprised. That cheap? For your information, US $ 1 is equal to Rp. 9300.
So with $ 1, you can get 27 fish? :-o

I don't know why, suddenly I was thinking of a funny idea: how would I feel if my life was for sell, and I only worth for Rp. 333,33 ? (it's not even a cent in US dollar rate!)

Will I feel insulted?
Will I be sad?
Will I be happy because it means that I can go in group with my buddies, as people would tend to buy us as a whole package?
Hum, what would my fish think?
blup-blup-blupppp....(*bubles in the water*, are they answering?)

Warna-Warni Asia

Banyak yang bertanya, kemana aja sih aku minggu-minggu lalu?
Jawabannya adalah, sepulang dari Jepang, melewati Idul Fitri, aku kembali lagi ke Jakarta, menyambut Nippon Maru, kapal yang membawa "budak-budak belia" :) dari Program Kapal Pemuda Asia Tenggara dan Jepang 2006, dalam bahasa Inggris, sebut saja sebagai Ship for South East Asian Youth Program, atau SSEAYP.

SSEAYP dan orang-orang yang kutemui di dalamnya mengajariku banyak hal, mulai dari melatih toleransi, membuka diri, sampai memberiku kesempatan mencoba kemampuan di tempat-tempat yang tak pernah terbayangkan sebelumnya. Di Semarang aku sudah belajar jadi MC buat acara bersama gubernur. Tapi di Jakarta, minggu lalu, buat pertama kalinya aku bertugas sebagai MC di istana Wakil Presiden, bersama seniorku, Teh Sita.

Hum, acaranyanya sih singkat, tapi sensasi saat berhasil mengalahkan "butterfly feeling" di perut kami terasa benar-benar seru! :) Terimakasih protokoler istana, yang telah dengan sangat baik menerima dan membimbing kami... (ngga seperti kata Ungu Band, protokoler istana ngga arogan sama sekali kok... salah mereka sendiri, ke istana kok pakai jeans...huh!)

Ngga ada program pertukaran pemuda yang pernah kuikuti, yang bisa mengalahkan serunya sensasi ikut program itu... Kupikir aku benar-benar jatuh cinta pada Si Cantik Nippon Maru, kabin-kabin mungilnya, bendera-bendera yang berkibaran di dalamnya, atau di pelabuhan-pelabuhan yang menyambutnya, dan terutama, selain sempurnanya pemandangan sunset dan sunrise di laut lepas, hidupnya suasana saat anak-anak muda dari 11 negara berbaur, saling mengajarkan sebagian kebudayaan mereka, mengajukan pertanyaan, dan membahas hal-hal yang tak terjawab saat kita membaca surat kabar atau buku manapun...

Hari selanjutnya kulewatkan bersama seniorku, Mas Amung dan 33 anak muda enerjik di SG-F, dengan Youth Leader Martin dari Filipina. Hauuu... serunya saat sepanjang perjalanan dari Tanjung Priok sampai mabes-nya Sariayu, perwakilan dari 11 negara Asia itu tampil di dlam bis...:)

Setelah itu, cerita perjalanan karir ibu Martha Tilaar benar-benar membuatku terjaga dan terinspirasi. Memulai karir di bidang kecantikan sebagai beautician keliling, sekarang beliau punya 4 anak perusahaan, lebih dari 4000 karyawan..."tekuni hobi kalian, lakukan segalanya dengan sungguh-sungguh..." dari itulah semua bermula. Terimakasih, ibu, I was invisible in that room for you, but I will always keep in my mind the inspiration, and one day I'll talk to you about how much you have inspired me....

Belajar tentang falsafah dan bisnis kecantikan dari Sariayu semakin membuatku mencintai warna-warni Asia. Suatu hari nanti, aku berharap mampu membuat semakin banyak orang mengenalnya, dari sisi lain yang aku mampu...

Malamnya, kembali warna-warni Asia memanjakan mata dan telingaku. Meski kakiku sakit gara-gara berdiri seharian dengan sepatu berhak tinggi berujung lancip, di sisi kanan panggung aku menikmati tarian, nyanyian dan cheers dari lebih 300 pemuda Asia... :)

Dua hari kemudian, saat peluit kapal berbunyi dan pita-pita perpisahan dilontarkan, aku duduk dan menangis terharu di tepian dermaga... Nippon Maru telah menjauh, dan segera akan berlabuh di Port Klang Malaysia, Bandar Seri Begawan Brunai, Manila Harbor di Filipina, dan akhirnya bersandar di Yokohama...

Cuma orang yang pernah ikut program ini yang bisa memahami yang aku rasakan, warna-warni Asia yang membuatku ingat, bahwa aku harus menjadi lebih baik lagi...lebih baik lagi...lebih baik lagi....


Have you ever said to yourself, "I've never thought that I could...."?
Almost everyday in my life, now I say that to myself. I feel blessed. I feel thankful. My childhood dreams come true, and I'm waiting for th other dreams to come true too...

the mugs that fit my life motivation. I found them in the production house where I record my voice for a reality show :)

Today you might hope for something that looks impossible, but I learned that when we keep the hopes and dreams, let them crystalized in my mind, the crystal will reflect all the lights around me to shine on my way, guiding me to my destination...

Idul Fitri...

Idul Fitri or Lebaran are the popular terms in Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian Language) that refer to Eid El Fitri. We celebrate this glorious day after we accomplish the (hard) duties of dealing with our passions during Ramadan.

Eid el Fitri is the biggest religious event in Indonesia, the country with more than 80% moslem population. Different tribes in Indonesia that spread in more than 17,000 islands of the archipelago celebrated this special day in various cultural events, and here I share a little story of the Eid El Fitri in my hometown, Semarang, Central Java.

Eid is the moment when families are reunited, when people comes back to their hometown, thus the roads in the big cities are empty, and villages become alive with the people who returns..

Early in the morning, as the praises to Allah, our beloved God filled the air, the moslems walked to the mosques or open spaces to have the Eid prayer. That is the view I always miss, when thousands of people bow, pray, in sincere devotion... the prayer then continued with the Eid message, mostly the message of peace, forgiveness and brotherhood.

listening to the Eid message in a part of women section in Central Java Grand Mosque...

Then, we come back home. The traditional food await us on the table. Ketupat, the rice that is wrapped in coconut leave shells then cooked for 3 hours, opor ayam or a kind of chicken curry and sambal goreng, a dish made of potato, meat and a lot of CHILI :p, and kerupuk udang or potato chips are the dishes that you can find in almost every home in Semarang on that day. If you asked me about the taste, I only have a word about it: "YUMMY"!

clockwise: kerupuk udang, opor ayam, sambal goreng, ketupat

Last Eid I prayed in a new beautiful place in Semarang: Masjid Agung Jawa Tengah, or Central Java Grand Mosque. Below is a shot I took from the third floor, the beautiful architecture and the prayers...

a corner of Central Java Grand Mosque, after the Eid prayer

Eid is the time for establishing better relations with others. It's the time when you meet people that you don't usually meet, time to admit the mistakes, and ask for forgiveness. In Java we call it silaturahmi, and silaturahmi is identical to "sungkeman" tradition, where "sungkem" is a type of very respectful hand-shaking with the people that we respect, to ask for the good wishes, forgiveness and to show our respect to them. Silaturahmi is everywhere in town, when neighbours visit the neighbors, or when the important people in government, including our president, offer the open house and welcome their people.

I let myself drawn in the crowd of journalists after my prayer, to get the pictures of the Governor of Central Java, in the queue where thousands of people were waiting for their turn to greet our Governor and do a little silaturahmi. I was lucky to spot a man doing "sungkeman" to the governor with all his respects...

sungkeman to Governor

There are still many facets of the Eid that I haven't covered in this simple story. For me there are just so many beutiful things about this glorious happy day, the free feeling of forgiveness, brotherhood and friendship.

I love that feeling, and I think, that is why I always miss Eid El Fitri... :)

Eid Mubarak!

Grab the veils, this morning I was ready for the Eid prayer. Felt a blue feeling... this year's Ramadan was not easy for me, world is just too full of sweet temptations...

Yet this morning my heart was moved to see the crowds heading to the grand mosque of Central Java. More than 50,000 muslims, in all colors devoted their morning to have the Eid prayer there...
crowds in Grand Mosque this morning

Morning was beautiful with tender sunshine. Clear sky. I wish I would be given the chance to clear up my life from cries, hatred, jealousy... Fill my life with love and tenderness. Live beautifully and peacefully as the bright sky in my hometown this morning.

Me, at the atrium of the Grand Mosque

Eid Mubarak, my beautiful universe... my brothers and sisters, my families... Selamat Idul Fitri... :) May forgiveness be the light to our heart...

Ada Saatnya, Hidupku Berwarna...

Hi, I'm back!
12 hari memang pendek, tapi hari-hari di Jepang kemarin adalah hari terindah yang pernah kulewatkan di sana. Mungkin karena aku sudah semakin dewasa, mungkin juga karena di sana aku bertemu teman-teman yang luar biasa, bicara dalam satu "bahasa", punya minat dan isi kepala yang serupa... Kami sangat serius saat berdiskusi atau menyiapkan presentasi tentang kegiatan-kegiatan sosial yang mungkin kami laksanakan setelah pulang, tapi juga kami menikmati hidup dan persahabatan. What a wonderful moment!
Tahun ini aku benar-benar bisa memanfaatkan waktu yang kupunya, diantara padatnya jadwal meeting, diskusi atau drafting, ternyata bisa juga aku menyelinap malam-malam buat menjelajah sisi lain dari Tokyo, Gifu dan Nagano.
Jepang, seperti yang telah banyak diceritakan, adalah melting pot kehidupan ultra modern dan penghargaan terhadap keselarasan alam dan kebudayaan. Di sudut-sudut kota megapolitan lampu-lampu neon di billboard ngga pernah berhenti menyala, seiring sesaknya trotoar oleh para fashionistas yang menikmati malam selepas sibuknya hari-hari kerja mereka. Aku selalu baru sempat keluar dari National Youth Center atau ANA Hotel Tokyo setelah jam sebelas malam, berlarian di subway, mengejar kereta yang berakhir jam operasionalnya jam 12 malam, untuk sekedar menikmati malam di Shinjuku...

Adriene (Malaysia), Asri (Indonesia dong..), Vien (Laos).. hum, ini jalan apa ya?

yang jelas ini tempat shopping anak-anak muda, jauh lebih murah dari Shinjuku, 4 stasiun dari Sangubashi gitu deh...

Di sana juga aku bertemu dengan teman-temanku, berjalan-jalan di tempat yang pernah kami kunjungi beberapa tahun yang lalu, dan mengenang tahun-tahun yang terlewat...

Ate (Laos), asri (Indonesia), Sue (Japan).. Tokyo Tower by 11 p.m.!

Di hari-hari yang lain, setelah gemerlapnya Tokyo, kami juga diajak ke akar budaya Jepang. Di bawah ini adalah rumah kuno di desa Shirakawa, Gifu Prefecture, sebuah desa kuno dengan rumah-rumah Wada dan Gassho yang berusia lebih dari 400 tahun. Desa ini dijadikan sebagai salah satu World Heritage oleh UNESCO, dan benar-benar dilindungi kelestariannya oleh masyarakat Jepang... Sebetulnya Indonesia juga punya banyak situs budaya seperti ini kan? lihat saja, pemukiman suku Baduy, atau Rumah Tradisional suku Sasak...

Asri dan Wada House, Shirakawa, Gifu.. Aku baru 27 tahun, dan rumah ini 450 tahun! hauuu... :))

Di hari yang lain, 30 menit sebelum pertemuan dengan local NPO yang dikelola oleh para manula di Takayama, Gifu, kami "menghilang" di sela ramainya arak-arakan pawai festival musim gugur...

Lost in Translation? :)

Di sepanjang jalan masih terlihat kuil-kuil yang dipenuhi sesaji, ucapan terimakasih para petani kepada Dewa Bumi dan dewa panen yang melimpahkan hasil panenan mereka...

Kuil Panen mungil di Takayama, Gifu

Di hari yang lain, kami belajar tentang "Wisdom of Nature", Kebijakan Alam, di sebuah hutan yang dikelola oleh NPO setempat, yang menyebutnya sebagai Healing Forest, atau Hutan yang menyembuhkan segala penyakit... Sedikit cerita, kami mendapat penjelasan mengapa saat berada di dalam hutan tubuh kita terasa segar. Ternyata ini karena jutaan tahun yang lalu nenek moyang kita hidup di hutan-hutan yang masih berudara murni, dan rantai-rantai DNA manusia merekam memori menyenangkan itu, mewariskannya kepada kita, menumbuhkan rasa keterikatan pada alam, sampai saat ini...

Di Healing Forest, Nagano

Melting pot yang sesungguhnya, yang menyatukanku dengan berbagai bangsa adalah tempat menginap favoritku: National Youth Center, alias Tokyo Memorial Olympic, penginapan buat atlet dan para pemuda, yang terbagi dalam berbagai blok, berisi kamar-kamar mungil, common rooms, public bathroom, kafetaria dan kafe dengan atmosfer yang bersahabat, dan puluhan ruang pertemuan dimana kami berdiskusi, atau merayakan pesta-pesta kecil...

NYC Tokyo

Di Reception Hall, Renaissance Cafe dan Rambadia Performance... NYC, the real melting pot.

Ada saatnya, hidupku berwarna, dan 12 hari kemarin adalah salah satu sequence paling berwarna buatku...

Ohayou Gozaimasu Tokyo!

Business Center, ANA Hotel Tokyo. (Internetnya mahal banget, 500 yen per 15 minutes! haouuu...)
Ohayou Gozaimasu, Tokyo!!!
Alhamdulillah, sudah sampai di Tokyo dengan selamat. :)
Today Tokyo is very warm, amazingly, while I anticipated myself for the chilling air. Autumn is supposed to be colorful, but today all leaves are still green :)
Ngga ada acara berarti hari ini selain kenalan dan jalan-jalan...sebelum mulai ketemu jadwal padat buat besok...
Blogger lagi ga bisa upload foto..haou..yawdah, menyusul yaa..:)

Big in Japan

Tiga tahun yang lalu aku berdiri di tempat ini, foto sundeck kapal Nippon Maru, lantai 8.

Tahun ini, aku ngga perlu mabuk laut lagi... hihihi...IYEO menyiapkan tiket JAL buatku berangkat ke sana tanggal 4 Oktober ini. :)

Jepang adalah negara asing pertama yang kudatangi, tepat 10 tahun yang lalu. :) Itu pengalaman pertamaku naik pesawat, masuk ke cockpit, pengalaman pertama ke luar negeri, pengalaman pertama ngobrol pakai bahasa inggris dalam kehidupan sehari-hari, pengalaman pertama mimpi pakai bahasa inggris, ikut international workshop, homestay... bengong melihat tingginya gedung-gedung di Tokyo, lalu merasakan sedihnya mengejar kereta tiap hari saat di Saitama, dan challenge walking di Yamanashi....lengkap dengan mandi furo di public bathroom..huiii...eroiiii...

Tiga tahun lalu aku kembali lagi. Berlabuh di Yokohama, tinggal di Tokyo lalu terbang ke Tokushima. Jadi moderator di sebuah forum besar, merasakan serunya kabur malam-malam buat hmmm... jalan-jalan sama (mantan) yayang. Ups. :">

Makanya setiap kembali ke sana, ada rasa trenyuh, senang, terharu... ingat saat belum bisa pakai seatbelt di kursi pesawat, saat masih bingung gimana cara mengisi disembarkation card atau gimana caranya ambil bagasi... :">

Anehnya, tiga kali ini aku selalu datang saat musim gugur, dan selalu dalam waktu ngga lebih dari dua minggu. Jadi jangan tanya, kaya apa jepang di musim semi ya...

Rasanya, Jepang adalah bagian penting langkah dan loncatanku ke harapan-harapan yang lebih besar. Kumulai 10 tahun yang lalu... dan waktu itu aku melihat ke halaman-halaman pasporku. Aku bertanya, "bisa nggak ya, suatu hari nanti pasporku ini penuh dengan visa?" Bukan cuma buat jalan-jalan, tapi buat belajar lebih banyak, melihat jendela yang lebih lebar, membuka mata, menjalani pengalaman...Alhamdulillaah... dalam 10 tahun ini banyak anugerah indah dari gusti Allah...

Aku kembali lagi, menjenguk jalan-jalan yang kulewati dengan takjub 10 tahun lalu. I grow up, Japan, and I know that I will still be back!

Democrazy, Bureaucrazy, Low Enforcement (2)

Now let’s talk about democrazy. Some international organizations include Indonesia into
“newly democratic country” criteria.

I have been living in the transitions of democratic system with full consideration. I remember how it felt to live in a country with only one TV channel, without bad news, then I lived the day when I got the questions about the human right violations in East Timor without ever knowing that it did happen, I remember how some seniors disappeared from my campus since they were suspected to be part of subversive movements, I still remember the day when the students rushed to the street and yelled for democracy, I worked for election observation missions to observe how the elections in 2004 were conducted in the standard of democracy, then nowadays I see people destroy things without accepting any blames in the name of democracy…

I felt fine to live in the first democracy concept that I knew. All I knew until I was 15 was that democracy means the freedom to practice what we believe. When the democratic countries at that time said that the Indonesians lived in dictatorship, I used to be proud of the freedom that we, the Indonesians had to practice our religions. I am still proud of it until now. I haven’t found any other country that provides public holidays for all religious feasts. In Indonesia we have many religious holidays, Eid El Fitri, Eid El Adha, Mauleed, or Isra’ Mi’raj for the moslems, Christmas and Easter for the Chirstians, Galungan for the Hindus, Vesak for the Buddhist…I believe that it’s great. I see that even the countries that always say that they are democratic don’t have this kind of respect.

I believe that some people might say that they don’t need those holidays because of their secularism principles. But hey, if those democratic countries would like to be 100% secular to be democratic, why do they have holidays for Easter and Christmas?

I remember how people from old democratic countries like to criticize how Indonesians deal with “minority groups”. They heard, I think impartial information about Indonesia, and they don’t mirror themselves to the minority groups exist in their own country. Somehow even I asked them to clarify the definitions of minority, discrimination and injustice when they started to judge. Somehow they countered back by mentioning that I don’t understand anything about the discrimination due to my tribe-which is the major tribe in Indonesia, and my religion, which is the major religion in Indonesia… but they can’t see it as black and white analogy… I had the experiences of being discriminated when I was in the community that the outsiders call as “minority”…

I was proud of the peaceful country where I lived when the world outside said that Indonesian military breached the human right concepts in some of their missions… In one side I feel ashamed and sorry of it. But in the other side, hello, world… is there any military institutions, or any government, that wouldn’t react frontally to beat the militias? Open up our eyes… and we can see that even some countries’ military institutions massacre the people in other countries to save their own nations….
Spies and intelligence agencies are everywhere even in more modern countries they are well-equipped with modern infrastructures to smell the possibilities of subversive actions…
So which one should we call as democratic countries now?

If democracy is considered only as the people’s voice… are we all being heard?
Do we all live in impartiality?
Do we all feel the freedom?
Do we obtain feel the fairness?
Do we all have access to the media?
Do we all get the universal franchise in any fields of life?
….. and many others questions to remind that democracy is actually an absurd concept. It is too narrow to derive democracy in several tiny (and sometimes insignificant) points.
Democracy is the system with conditional exceptions. There are always grey intersections in any ideal concepts, where they have to melt somehow in some values of other concepts, where even the right wings are not 100% right and the left wings are not 100% left. There is no place that can adopt 100% concept that can run well in other place. There must be exceptions. Above all, the most important thing is that the people feel comfortable with any concepts declared by the states.

Maybe I misunderstood the democracy. But what is pathetic in my eyes is when democracy becomes the excuses for undemocratic actions. I’m tired of the physical or white collar brutality performed in the name of democracy. So let me call it democrazy to represent the out of control, out of mind democracy…

And now, let’s talk about the LOW enforcement that replaces the LAW enforcement. It’s really tiring to figure it out again. Bribery, corruption, nepotism are everywhere. Some significant laws and regulations haven’t been made here, while the insignificant and hypocrite law is regulated. It’s confusing to see it, and I don’t feel secure in this state. I still see many corruptors who stole billions of people’s money live in wealth while people who just stole a bike lived in jail for months. I have no other comment: the law enforcement is still in the low standard.

I collected some books written when my country was in transitions that we call as reforms. I saw so many hopes there.

Now I have only three examples of minimum pairs, but they are already very complicated.
I just wish that I still alive when one day I would hear people say, “Indonesia is a FUNtastic country!”

Democrazy, Bureaucrazy, Low Enforcement 1

First of all, I must ensure you that there is nothing wrong with the three terms I wrote as the title.

Some many terms that sound similar to some certain terms are created to state the states in this country. In linguistic studies we call them as minimum pairs, where the sounds are similar but they have different meanings.

It would be good if the terms used to state the states in my country are the minimum pairs of “fantastic” and “FUNtastic” that sounds positive. Unfortunately, in contrary to that expectation, at the time being the most popular terms are “bureaucrazy” instead of “bureaucracy”, “democrazy” instead of “democracy”, and the latest term I discovered tonight was “low enforcement” instead of “law enforcement”.

Bureaucrazy represents the craziness of bureaucratic procedures that any people in Indonesia must experience to get any legality. Allow me to quote a report from Jakarta Post published in the first week of September: …Indonesia remains one of the most difficult places in the world to do business, and it may be getting worse, the latest report from the World Bank shows.
Indonesia was cited for reducing the time and cost needed to start a business, but progress on other issues -- registration and licensing, tax payment, employment, trade, financing and contract enforcement -- remained almost stagnant.

While it now takes only 97 days -- from 151 days -- to set up an enterprise in Indonesia, and at a reduced cost of 86.7 percent -- from 101.7 percent -- of the country's per capita income, it still takes almost a year to get through the tangle of licensing.

It also takes another month's time each for paying taxes and clearing customs, as well as almost two years to settle labor issues.

Hum, see, how long can it be to settle something up in Indonesia? Not only in business, even just to get married we must have a bunch of letters and submit another bunch of citizenship documents…

However, the government promises to cut off the long chain and reform the system into the simpler one. Hope it works well.

to be continued...


Boney M

It’s a hot evening, and I feel lazy. Something in my head said that I must do something groovy to lite up my mood. I must play “Sunny”.

I don’t know since when exactly I started to fall in love to the groove of classic disco. It has been a huge curiosity that tonight I try to recall my memory.

I try to look back to my past and I found that maybe it started since I was an unborn baby. My father loved to play Boney M in beautiful weekends since I haven’t been born, continued until I grew up as a little girl, and until some days before he passed away.

Whenever I listen to Boney M’s songs my head is filled with the image of warm sunshine, the days when I saw my father tapped his feet to the rhythm with smile on her face. :-)

I love Boney M, Quincy Jones, Earth Wind and Fire, and many other disco legends. However for me the most inspiring disco music is First Be a Woman by the Disco Queen, Gloria Gaynor. I feel that she says clearly how a woman should be.

As for Boney M that I’m listening now, I feel that Rasputin casts his spell on me to move and smile. I feel that when Sunny is played I see the brighter day. Ma Baker rhythm brought me to the dark but groovy sides of Chicago...

Most of the classic disco songs can bring the smile back on my face, in any moods. I used to escape to the production room when I felt exhausted after the long working hour just to play some pieces of disco, put the headphone on my ears, closed my eyes and danced to the music. What a perfect relieve!

I think classic disco is magic. The beat goes with my heart beat and fills my mind with passions. I feel warm, filled, moved, happy and above all, optimistic. Dance, on boogie wonderland...in this sunny day, and stayin' alive! :-)

Smoke Kills

"Smoke Kills."
This is the simple sentence that I like to utter whenever I see the people I know smokes around me. Not only when I saw a friend smoked on the balcony in chilling winter, but everytime I have the chance to say it.

No to be hypocryte, as some people might have seen me smoking some years ago, but really, I do hate smoking NOW.

I used to smoke when I worked in a smoking community, and my jobs required the tight deadlines and overtimes. The nicotin used to wake me up when I needed to prepare a program outline until late after midnights... even it felt horrible in my lung, my throat, and my body odor :p

Later in the last 2 years I learned that in my mother's family there is a strong tendency of getting the cancer. An auntie passed away in 2005 due to the lung cancer, another auntie had her uterus cut due to the uterus cancer, a cousin died due to the breast cancer, and my grandma left this beautiful world after 2 years suffered from leukimia...

So, I felt stupid as I realised how I gave the chance for that deadly disease to grow in my body when I was smoking.

Then finally, out of the reasons of horrible feeling in my lung, my throat, and at my body odor... I decided to quit smoking totally. I don't want to regret my life some years after now, and I don't want to feel the pains like what my relatives felt before their last day.

As a consequence some friends mocked at me.. but I don't care. I would mock at myself more bitterly if one day I got a cancer somewhere in my body. I started to remove the ash trays from my house, even I wouldn't prepare it for any guests.

I feel also the stronger rejection toward tobbaco products. I tried my best not to work for any events sponsored by tobacco products...

But... today.... I was involved in an event in my campus sponsored by a huge cigarette company...
I didn't know it at the beginning. All I know was that my professors asked me to be the co-host of a music event held by a TV station that was aimed to promote my faculty... But this morning as I arrived at the venue, I saw the huge sign of that company at the backdrop... :((

The worst of all was, the company opened a booth to sell their cigarette product in front of my campus!

I realized that they have big budget that might enhance the students' activities... but somehow my heart said that it's not ethical to bring the poisson in campus atmosphere... I was disappointed that today I worked with something that kills.

I am not an assertive person to say "no" frontally, especially because I knew that there was no other co-host prepared to change my position as the host that represented the campus...

I was about to yell at the audiences, "Hey ya, you know that this good event is sponsored by a cigarette company... But let me remind you an important thing: SMOKE KILLS!"

*wondering what would happen if I did that...:p*
But really, I mean it: SMOKE KILLS!

Be Punctual!

Belakangan ini aku lagi merasakan culture shock seputar ketepatan waktu alias punctuality. Padahal yang ada selama aku jauh dari Indonesia aku selalu jadi manusia paling telat... tapi baru-baru ini, ketika balik lagi, aku selalu jadi manusia yang datang paling awal... bingung deh. :(

Nih contohnya:
Technical Meeting.
Venue: the studio of a local TV channel
Scheduled at 14:00

The producer said that in 19 Sept morning he would re-confirm the time line. In fact I got no phone calls! I tried to call him, but his phone was off...

So, I arrived 15 minutes late because I took the wrong route. But, among 7 expected attendants, only 3 came on time...and the last meeting attendant arrived at... 15:40! tsk-tsk-tsk...

The Show
Venue: Faculty of Letters Diponegoro University
Scheduled to be started at 10:00
MC was expected to arrive at 09:30, the latest.
Wardrobe was expected to be ready at 09:30
Merchandise for games show was expected to be ready at 09:00

So, I arrived at 09:15.
But, the other MC arrived at... 10:20 !
Wardrobe arrived at 09:50
Merchandise hum... arrived at 10:15
Event started at 10:50...

Capek deh gueeeeee!!!! :((
It feels weird to be punctual here...


Siang ini hasil ujian skripsiku keluar juga. Dapat nilai AB... dan ini berarti IPK terakhirku adalah 3.43. Hiks... terharu...huhuhuhu....

Inget betapa lima tahun terakhir ini aku ngga bener-bener"ada" di Semarang, dan inget kalau skripsi ini kukerjakan dengan susah payah setelah lima kali penolakan judul, setelah melewati banyak perjalanan, dan empat kali pindah kerja.. Hidupku memang rada membingungkan, jadi jangan ikutan bingung ya?

Aku masih suka bengong membayangkan "ramai"nya hidupku selama kuliah di ekstensi ini. Kalau dihitung-hitung selama masa lima tahun kuliahku, buat urusan pekerjaan dan training saja total ada sekitar 8 bulan aku lewatkan di Jakarta (2001-2006), sekitar 3 minggu di Surabaya (2002 dan 2005), 2 bulanan di Yogya (2001-2006), 2,5 bulan di Banyumas (2004), dan 'pretilan' hari-hari lain di kota-kota di Jawa Tengah, sebulan di Bali (2004-2006), seminggu di Lombok (2006), berminggu-minggu di Jepara, 5,5 bulan di Perancis (2004 dan 2006), 3 minggu di Singapura (2003-2005), seminggu di Malaysia (2003 dan 2006), seminggu di Thailand (2003 dan 2004), lima hari di Filipina (2003), dan sepuluh hari di Jepang (2003)... What a life!

Sampai saat ini kalau ingat semuanya aku masih suka heran.. dan bersyukur... Alhamdulillaah... aku masih bisa ngerampungin kuliah, meski banyak juga yang sempat protes, "hidupmu mau dibawa kemana sih?" saat melihat aku lagi-lagi pergi dan pergi terus... kerja-kerja dan kerja terus...

Terimakasih semua dosenku, terutama dosen pembimbing skripsiku, semua staf di fakultas sastra UNDIP, untuk salah satu kesempatan terindah di hidupku. :-)

Terimakasih juga buat semua teman yang bersedia kutitipin buat ngurus KRS dan KHS saat aku sedang berada entah dimana... Aku berhutang banyak pada kalian!

Buat semua sahabatku, saudaraku, keluargaku dan terutama IBUKU, kelulusan ini bukti rasa sayangku... :-) Buat Bapak almarhum, semoga saat ini Bapak tersenyum melihatku dari atas sana. Bapak selalu bilang, setidaknya pendidikanku harus sedikit lebih tinggi dari Ibu... insya Allah sudah tercapai loh, Bapak... :-*

Hiks.. aku baru tahu, kalau lulus S1 bisa sebahagia ini...hiks-hiks..hikksss.... Alhamdulillaah...

She Thought Badly....

Yesterday I had my thesis exam.
The first exam in the morning was perfect. I was satisfied as there were no significant corrections but the changes of the capital letters that I used.
But, the second exam, with my own academic supervisor was a HELL.

I did not expect that horrible situation, and I was not ready for the heart-breaking statements. Everybody around me knows how hard it was for me to finish my thesis, and how I tried to work on it between my trips to different places, my jobs, and my personal problems....

I took my thesis VERY SERIOUSLY. It has been my baby for months, especially since I went back from France in May. I did my best, spending hours and hours to find the reading materials in internet, as well as buying a bunch of books to read.

Linguistics has been far away from my real life, but I tried to love it, as much as when I decided to take it as my major in my faculty.

I gained the progress on my thesis step by step under the very kind and serious guidance from my thesis supervisor, and we discussed what I wrote a lot. Not only once or twice, but it was really a lot, with the literatures around us during the discussion to prove that I used the correct theories and applied them well in my research... (thank you very much, Pak Agus...)

BUT, yesterday evening, someone who I trusted to be very supportive academic supervisor in the last five years dumped my hard work like a trash. She JUDGED, that as if the words and sentences I wrote in some parts of the thesis were NOT MY STYLE. It didn't represent MY PERSONALITY. And, the most striking statement was, "are you sure that these are your own words?"

She mentioned those prejudices only because she thought that I am a straight forward person when I talk!

For God's sake... she knew NOTHING about me and she said she was surprised to find that I wrote "flowery words"...

I might look like a straight forward person when I spoke in my talkshows, in the meetings, in my acquitances with the people I respect, e.g. lecturers.

But personally I am not exactly like that. It's just part of my journalistic profession...it was part of my politeness standard, where I even very hesitate to call my lecturers, worrying if I disturbed their time...

Her statement hurt me deeply. She doubted my quality, she doubted my honesty, she doubted my capability, and the worst of all, she doubted my personality.

Let's just ask my family, my bestfriends or my friends. They would all give the same testimonial that I am such a talkative person with many expressions. Yes, I am a very expressive person. Added with the fact that I love to write, not only in Indonesian but also in English, French and even Javanese, added that I was twice becoming the semi-finalist in an international poetry contest, that I have been hanging out with people from different nationalities and culture, that I spent many times working in international surroundings, plus the fact that I also write the fictions, published by teenage mags and tabloid... it's so ridiculous, but also so painful to hear her accusation... :-((

I cried a lot after my exam. Damn...

An academic work, as well as professional work, shouldn't be taken personally. Thus I think a subjective verbs of feeling are not appropriate to JUDGE the quality of a work.
But she DID use it, by saying, "It's really TIRING to read your thesis."

I said, "excuse me?" and hoped that she would change her statement. But no. She repeated the statement again. "It's tiring to read your thesis."
And I asked her why. She said, "because you talked too much about something that is NOT RELATED to your research".
But in my opinion, how would people understand what I wrote if they didn't have any idea about the organization and the missions that made them publishing political statements?

I wonder why someone who should have been a senior lecturer didn't use more appropriate statement for an academic project like "your thesis doesn't meet the standard of academic writing". I would be able to accept it much better than the statement of "it's tiring to read your thesis"...

Not only that... she also doubted the quality of younger lecturers. It was proven when she recommended me to meet lecturer from Indonesian language department, to clarify the quality of my analysis on English-Indonesian translation. I asked her whether I could discuss with a young lecturer I know well... but she said "no, not that young lecturer please. You know... I can't really believe that he could give you good information. I want you to meet the senior. And I will check whether you met him or not after you revise your thesis."

Again. The way she explained showed how she doubted someone's honesty...

And maybe the best statement that she made of all the examination process was, "I am a bit disappointed of your work."

I went out of the room, angry, sad, upset. And finally I cried after I had time to meet my thesis supervisor. He was the one who knew how I worked on my thesis, how it was corrected, how it progressed... And I feel thankful that he is such a positive person who understands the students well...

I am very disappointed that I had this horrible experience by the end of my academic year.
I am a person who respects the values of CREDIBILITY. I would like to shout at her, saying that I was not as bad as what she thought. I wanted to condemn her for humiliating me... yet, she is a person who has the power to decide the final result of my study...

It's not fair for me. It's not fair for me. It's not fair for me....!!!!!

She's Leaving for Paris....:-)

sepulang sekolah di taman Trocadero... lagi belajar ato narsis sih?

Lisa, si mbak asal Surabaya, teman baikku, teman sekelasku saat di Alliance Francais Paris telfon tadi pagi.

"BONJOUR!" serunya saat membuka obrolan. Hahaha... aku jadi geli... :-)) giliran dia lagi di Surabaya aja bahasa Perancisnya kedengaran heboh... padahal, selama kami melewatkan lebih dari dua bulan bersama di Paris, kami selalu ngobrol dalam Bahasa Jawa!

Kami "menaklukkan" musim dingin dan awal musim semi di Paris tahun ini dengan mengerjakan PR bersama, menjelajah centres commerciales-dari Bastille, Chatelet, Rivoli, Saint-Jacques, Champs Elyssee, Centre Ville... pokoknya bersama dia aku jadi tahu kemana kita bisa belanja, belanja dan belanja... maturnuwun yo mbak...
Sementara, aku mengajarinya membiasakan diri dengan peta-peta Metro dan RER... biar ngga naik bis melulu di sana... maturnuwun yo Asri...(halaahhh...)

Dia menghiburku saat aku sedih, membuatkan indomie, bakso kuah, tempe goreng atau sambel terong, saat kami lapar sepulang sekolah...hiks... aneh ngga sih, di Paris kok malah makan sambel terong? :-) hihihi... tapi bukan mbak Lisa namanya kalo ngga pernah kangen makanan Indonesia...

Kami melewatkan photo sessions bersama Unkay, fotografer seksi asal Mexico, melewatkan siang-siang melintasi taman-taman di Luxembourg, sekedar membeli pain aux cereales di boulangerie du Rue Val de Grace atau mencari pembalut wanita yang pas di monoprix...
Hauoooouuuu.... ah, roti keras bertabur cereal... dan tukang roti kiyut itu...
Hiks, kok inget roti kesukaan Jacques aja bikin aku mellow gini ya? :(

Dia menelfon untuk bilang kalau malam ini dia berangkat lagi ke Paris... dan hari-hari diAlliance Francais pasti akan terasa berbeda tanpa bocah Semarang yang suka bawel ini.... Tanpa manifestation yang berlangsung di sepanjang Quartier d'Etudiantes seperti April lalu... tanpa hujan rintik-rintik dan payung mungil kami di sepanjang boulevard Raspail...

Baru tersadar, aku kangen Jeng Lisa-ku. Aku juga jadi kangen Paris... Paris yang membingungkan kadang-kadang, tapi tak juga habis terjelajah dengan ratusan cerita yang berbeda meski aku telah melewatkan empat musim yang berbeda di sana... (dan sekarang mendekati musim gugur. Pasti cantik sekali di sana...)

Ati-ati ya jeng Lisa... dan...I'm sure I'll be back, Paris!:*

Delicious Loenpia

Loenpia, or the spring roll, ou roulleau de printemps, is definitely delicious. It's the famous typical food of Semarang, and I love it!

I discovered another delicious meaning of Loenpia here in my hometown. I found loenpia.net, Semarang bloggers community...

I encouraged myself to apply as one of "tukang loenpia" (our term for "member"- literally it means "loenpia maker") last month, and I found nice people there. ;-) They are very helpful, and they accept a totally amateur blogger like me :">

It always feel good when we meet people with similar interests. Not only that we love to blog, but we also have the same dream of popularize the internet based technology to the community.

Supported by tukang loenpia who have strong IT backgrounds, loenpia.net offers trainings and workshops for any groups of communities who would like to learn more about internet. Voluntary spirit is hihly required in this mission.

Funtastically enough, those IT experts in loenpia give us, the amateurs, chances to assist them in the trainings. :-) The positive atmosphere has been constructing nice relationship and friendship between us. Girls are also warmly welcomed in this community, and we, the girls feel comfortable here...

Not only that we work on our hobby, but we also share the knowledge, laughters, jokes, CDs, and very often, photos! :-) We love to be photographed, anywhere, anytime, anyhow. :"> Thanks to Fany, the sweet girl, who always brings her camera then shares all her pics with us... the photos here are her courtesy.

The muslim tukang loenpia always take time to pray together too, even we are in the middle of busy training sessions. Maybe we are inspired by the statement written on this banner: hahahaha... :-)

So, that was a little story of my new discovery. A "delicious" community named loenpia.net. :-)

(*thanks jeng Fany, for the pics!)

The Death of A Salesman

pic taken from www.adg-europe.com

Linguistics studies are my majors, yet to finalize my study I had to pass the comprehensive exams on English literatures too.

So I learned some old scripts of Oedipus Rex, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet to get ready to answers the questions on classic dramas. As for the contemporary drama, I picked the script of "The Death of A Salesman" written by Arthur Miller to learn at the beginning of this week since my examiner said that I must prepare myself for a discussion on contemporary drama. Thus I red also some analysis on it, but shortly I would just say that it touched me for the representations of human characters and life's ups and downs.

The flashbacks are also interesting. How men can't ever predict their future and how their life would be, and how in hypocracy man can be a perfect figure in front of the other's eyes... It is true that even Willy Loman, the salesman is just an ordinary man, unsuccesfull, even powerless figure, yet he is no less worthy than the tragic heroes in the other tragic scenes. He was a perfect father in the eyes of his sons, and the tragic flaw brought him misfortune.

At the end, the tragedy raised the pity, bittersweet feeling and the fear. Me, I was terrified too! Life is just so unpredictable. It would be a misfortune if life around us ends in tragedy, as the one happened in Loman's family...

Qui a 27 Ans? :-)

En Lundi le Septembre 11, j'ai eu un concours de presentateurs pour le telejournal en Anglais. J'ai pensee que je suis le plus agee de les autres participants, mais... a-ha, regardez les photos et repondez ce question: qui a 27 ans? ;-)

On Monday, September 11, I had an English Newscaster Competition. I thought that I was the oldest compared to the other participants, but...a-ha, take a look at the photos and answer the question: who is 27 year old?

Donc, je vous confirme : Les filles Indonesiennes sont jolie quand elles ont 27, 21, ou 22 ans... ou quand elles ont moins ou plus de ces ages!

Well, I just would like to tell you: Indonesian girls are pretty when they are 27,21, or 22...or even when they are younger or older than those ages!

So, my message is:


*thanks to my friend, Bintang, for the photos...

5 Ps

Prof. Eko Budihardjo was the rector of my university. Many students admired him, as he's such an easy-going personality in his smartness. :)

I always note down interesting part of his speech - where he always puts interesting advices that are easy to remember. So, 2 days ago I joined a newscaster competition, and he was invited to commence it by his opening remarks.

He said something that I will always remember about "5 Ps" that we should notice when we're preparing ourselves for a competition:

"perfect preparations prevent poor presentation"

He's 100% right! ;-)
*and I won the 1st prize* hehehe...

...tapi USB key-ku terinfeksi trojan setelah transfer foto-foto lomba dari laptop temanku..haouuu....tidaaakkkk.....:(("

songs that I miss

Brum-brum... I hit the road on my black honda. Extremely hot afternoon. But nice songs played in my head. Favorite songs that I love so much, the ones I love to play in the afternoon like this. Mundo Kane's "New York Afternoon"!

Then when I turned to a shady road, the song changed into Randy Crawford's "Look Who's Crying Now".. dunno why... but I've just realized how I miss that oh-so rarely played songs...

Then I also miss Ai No Corrida, Malibu, Twilight World, Lalala Means I Love You, Rio de Janeiro Blue... and regret myself: why didn't I record them when I was working in radio?

Hm, I think that was because I respect the intellectual rights..but.. gosh, it's so difficult to find some of those songs in store now. haou...:(( It's torturing me when I miss them like now...

Just wished that tonight I would find them in the radio. :**

"our love has come, started in a new york afternoon..."

Me and My Self-Esteem

When you are born as a star,
none could prevent you from shining
you are the star because that's the way you are,
none can change it

You remain the gorgeous energy
that crosses universe's atmosphere
brighten up the rest of the sky,
wherever you stay

(me and my self-esteem. when we move on)

9/11 Reflections

9/11-2001 to 9/11-2006...

Many people condemn when they mourn
Many people are in enormous anger when they are in grieve
Some people plan to revenge when they cry
Some people can turn into a cruel creature when their hearts are broken
Many people gain their unpredictable power when they feel powerless

The survivors always remember how it felt to be the victims,
murders took place in the name of the deceased,
and many wars start just right after the funerals...

(me, the survivor of many life coincidences: 9/11-2006)

Donor Yuks....

Asal tidak sakit, jarang sekali ada orang Indonesia yang memeriksakan diri dalam jangka waktu tertentu. Ketiadaaan waktu dan biaya sering jadi alasan kita.

Padahal, sebetulnya ada loh, cara sederhana untuk tahu kondisi kesehatan kita, sekaligus beramal. Donor darah aja di PMI.

Di Indonesia kita diperbolehkan donor darah tiga bulan sekali, selama berat badan kita minimal 45 kilogram, tekanan darah minimal 110/90 (untuk perempuan) atau 50 kilogram dan tekanan darah minimal 120/100 (untuk laki-laki. Ini berarti, tiga bulan sekali atau empat kali dalam setahun kita bakal tahu apakah kita cukup sehat atau nggak. Soalnya, kita harus melewati pemeriksaan tekanan darah dan kadar hemoglobin dalam darah kita sebelum darah bisa diambil dari tubuh. Hasilnya bisa langsung kita ketahui.

Contohnya, terakhir kali donor tanggal 7 Agustus lalu Hb-ku 12,7 dan tekanan darahku 110/70. Alhamdulillah deh, aku cukup sehat! Nah, darah kita kan juga diperiksa dengan cermat sebelum sampai ke tangan pasien… kalau ternyata PMI menemukan bahwa kita mengidap penyakit hepatitis, PMS (penyakit menular seksual) atau HIV/AIDS, PMI akan mengirimkan surat pemberitahuan yang bersifat sangat pribadi pada kita. Jadinya kebayang kan, kalau kita rutin donor tiga bulan sekali, segala pengobatan buat penyakit-penyakit itu bisa kita jalankan sesegera mungkin…

Sekarang, bicara soal ketakutan kalau-kalau kita kekurangan darah setelah mendonor,ada angka-angka yang diungkap majalah Gatra No. 32 tahun XII 28 Juni 2006: setelah 24 jam volume darah akan kembali normal. Sel-sel darah akan terbentuk dalam waktu 4 sampai 8 minggu. Sel-sel darah merah harus digunakan sebelum 42 hari. Platelet (keeping darah, untuk pembekuan) harus dipakai dalam 5 hari, dan plasma dapat dibekukan dan digunakan dalam jangka waktu 1 tahun.

Sayangnya sampai sekarang, jumlah darah yang terkumpul baru sekitar 0,47% dari jumlah penduduk Indonesia, yaitu cuma 1.137.278 kantong per hari, padahal idealnya jumlah darah yang tersedia berkisar 1% dari jumlah penduduk Indonesia, atau 2.419.739 kantong per hari. Ada 165 unit transfusi darah di seluruh Indonesia yang siap melayani para donor.

Jadi, tunggu apa lagi? Buat aku, bisa mendonorkan darah adalah kebahagiaan. Kenapa? Karena cuma orang sehat yang bisa diterima untuk mendonorkan darahnya. Buatku, mendengar pengakuan bahwa aku sehat adalah sesuatu yang sangat istimewa. Teman-teman pasti tahu, selama bertahun-tahun aku selalu dinyatakan “tidak cukup sehat” oleh para dokter. Sekarang aku kuat dan sehat, dan aku merayakan kebahagiaan ini dengan menjadi donor.

Aku juga senang dengan kenyataan bahwa saat ini aku nggak tampil lagi di TV. Saat aku masih tampil, pipiku yang berbakat chubby bikin aku harus bertahan di kisaran berat badan 42-43 kilogram kalau nggak mau keliatan terlalu “lebar” di layar kaca. Padahal menjaga berat segitu sama sekali nggak mudah. Jaga makan kadang terasa menyebalkan juga… yang lebih menyebalkan lagi, dengan berat badan segitu aku nggak akan diijinkan mendonorkan darahku, meski di Jepang berat badan minimal perempuan yang boleh menjadi donor adalah 40 kilogram (tapi ingat, kualitas asupan gizi kita kan beda…).

Nah, tujuh bulan ini aku benar-benar merayakan kesehatanku dan kebebasan berberat badan 45-46 kilogram… I feel happier with all the way I am: my chubby cheeks, me-still look beautiful, and the fact that I can give my blood!

Selanjutnya, ada catatan gado-gado seputar donor darah nih… - Setiap hari kebutuhan darah cukup tinggi. Jumlah pendonor dan stok darah yang ada seringkali tidak sebanding dengan jumlah permintaan darah yang masuk ke PMI. - Banyak yang mengeluh, “para pendonor memberikan darahnya dengan cuma-cuma, tapi kok untuk ambil darah di PMI kita harus bayar mahal*?”

Sebenarnya biaya yang dibebankan pada orang-orang yang membutuhkan darah adalah biaya operasional pengelolaan darah. Sebelum sampai ke tangan pasien, darah kan harus melewati proses pemeriksaan, dikemas dalam kantong-kantong berkualitas tinggi, disimpan dengan layak… nah, inilah yang menyebabkan PMI mematok “harga” yang sebetulnya bukan “harga”. -

Ngga perlu khawatir dengan kualitas sanitasi di PMI. Semua jarum yang dipakai, baik untuk pemeriksaan Hb atau untuk menyedot darah adalah jarum baru. - Kalau Anda takut jarum suntik, atau ngeri melihat besarnya jarum yang ditusukkan untuk menyedot darah, palingkan saja pendangan Anda saat jarum akan ditusukkan. Selanjutnya, se-mengerikan yang dibayangkan kok...
- Jangan begadang di malam sebelum Anda mendonorkan darah. Bisa lemes dan pusing loh…
- Untuk perempuan, pastikan bahwa menstruasi Anda sudah selesai minimal seminggu sebelum tanggal donor.
- Jangan paksakan diri kalau Anda sudah merasa pusing sebelum mendonorkan darah. Pastikan Anda benar-benar siap, supaya Anda merasa nyaman selama dan sesudah proses pengambilan darah.
- Di UTDC PMI kota Semarang ada ruang khusus untuk penderita thalassemia. Aku selalu merasa bersyukur bahwa aku cukup sehat untuk memberi sedikit sekali dari apa yang mereka butuhkan…
- Ada beberapa bentuk penghargaan yang diberikan PMI buat para pendonor. Di kota Semarang, kalau kita dalam setahun bisa donor tiga kali di UTDC, ada T-shirt cantik yang dihadiahkan buat kita! Selain itu ada juga penghargaan berupa pin yang diberikan buat orang yang sudah mendonor 10 kali, 25 kali, 50 kali sampai 100 kali!

Para pendonor keseratus dipertemukan dengan presiden RI, mendapat pin emas dan penghargaan. Meski penghargaan bukan tujuan utama kita jadi donor, tapi tetep aja, seru kan? -

Lebih dari semua itu, donor darah adalah cek kesehatan istimewaku! Buat yang tinggal di Semarang, ini alamat Unit Transfusi Darah cabang PMI Kota Semarang: Jl. Mgr. Sugiyopranoto No.35 Semarang 50141 Telp. 024-3542572 atau 3515050

Jadi, yuks donor yuuukss....;-)

Apa yang Perlu Dibicarakan?

Kata pak Mochtar Lubis di sebuah buku yang kubaca, tidak ada gunanya membawa-bawa keburukan negara kita ke luar negeri, apalagi sampai membahasnya bersama orang-orang asing yang nantinya memberi rapor merah buat negara kita tanpa memberikan solusi, atau justru memberikan solusi yang mencekik bangsa kita sendiri.

Dua tahun yang lalu, saat aku sedang berada di sebuah pelatihan presenter acara-acara seputar Pemilu, seorang peneliti politik dari Amerika mewawancaraiku. Dia bertanya konsep kerahasiaan dalam pemberitaan tentang suatu negara. Di bidang politik, tentunya. Tentang perlu tidaknya hal itu dibuka seluas-luasnya pada dunia luar, dan tentang perlu tidaknya negara lain "peduli" pada urusan itu. Dari jawabanku, dia berkomentar, "kamu seperti mahasiswa idealis".

Ada yang bilang, sikap ini hasil didikan orde baru: tidak mengumbar keburukan kita di mata bangsa lain. Kalau dulu, alasannya "demi stabilitas nasional". Tapi dalam kasusku sikap ini sebetulnya hasil didikan Bapak. Bapakku almarhum juga selalu mengajarkan hal yang sama. Masalah yang ada di dalam rumah tangga kita sebaiknya diselesaikan di dalam dinding rumah kita juga... tetangga, tukang sayur, apalagi pak lurah ngga perlu tahu, karena apa yang buruk akan lebih mudah diingat oleh manusia. Ingat aja, di dalam pemberitaan maupun drama, tragedi tetap jadi penarik perhatian utama.

Karena itulah, di blog ini aku berusaha menceritakan ketidak-nyamanan negara kita dengan bahasa Indonesia, dan keindahan bumi Indonesia dengan bahasa Inggris. Biarlah, orang Indonesia yang tahu membuka mata dan memahami. Dan biarlah, mereka yang ngga memahami bahasa kita hanya mengerti cerita indah untuk melihat Indonesia dari sisi lain, atau menggerakkan hati buat membantu seperti untuk kasus gempa bumi.

Sayangnya ada hukum yang berkata kalau yang namanya bangkai, serapi apapun kita menutupinya, tetap saja baunya tercium. Yah, kalau sudah begini sih sudah susah bin sulit sekali. Dan sayangnya, hukum ini benar-benar berlaku buat negara ini.

Negara ini tak berdinding. Dan dengan reputasi yang tidak menguntungkan yang telah terbangun, agak sulit membuat orang tak berprasangka.

Tanpa bicara pun kita jadi bahan pembicaraan. Dan sayangnya, sekali lagi, apa yang buruk, sangat mudah diingat manusia. Dan apa yang buruk membuat orang berprasangka. Sepuluh kebaikan saja kadang tak cukup untuk membuat orang melupakan, apalagi kalau negara (dan kita sebagai bagiannya) tak kunjung sadar bahwa kita jadi bahan pergunjingan... apalagi kalau kita ikut-ikutan menjelek-jelekkan nama bumi tempat rah ibu kita tetumpah saat mengantarkan kita ke kehidupan. Keburukan itu akan terus melekat, erat di nama bumi kita, pun nama kita sebagai penghuninya.

Orang Indonesia tidak disiplin, anarkis, miskin, tidak demokratis, hipokrit, korup, jam karet... dan status "orang Indonesia" melekat di KTP kita, paspor kita, visa kita, kartu kredit kita, rekening bank kita...

Tak mudah jadi orang Indonesia. Status membuat kita harus melewati prosedur berbelit buat mendapat visa di negara-negara Barat. Status membuat kita terus ditawari kredit yang mencekik, menciptakan hutang tujuh turunan. Status membuat kita ditanya, "apakah di indonesia ada mobil?". Status kewarganegaraan kita membuat kartu kredit kita tertolak, atau dicaci maki bidder di E-Bay...

Ah. Ah. Sudahlah. Apa lagi yang perlu dibicarakan?
Kenyataannya kita memang jauh dari sempurna. Tanpa bicara pun semua telah memahami ketidaksempurnaan kita. Tapi setidaknya, kita mestinya berusaha berbuat lebih baik saat mulut kita tak lagi dipercaya.


Merapi Seeker

Circa May-June 2006 mount Merapi at Central Java, Indonesia, seemed to get sick.
It "caughed" and got "cold" all the time, spilling out the red lava and hot clouds, as well as spreading out the volcanic ash to the cities around.
Some people said that the name of Merapi is derived from the old javanese words of "meru" (mountain) and "api" (fire). No wonder, it has been one of the most active volcano on earth. And I guess, I became a Merapi seeker...
view of Merapi, an evening at Wedi, Klaten
I found the thrilling sensation whenever I saw the active Merapi. That's why, I seek for the best views of Merapi everywhere.
I visited Ketep, a little village in Magelang that is located on the slope of the caughing mountain,
I visited Kemalang, another little village in Klaten regency, and whenever I passed through the route, I eagerly watched the glory of the power of nature...
Human are nothing but the fragile creatures... I saw thousands of people from the villages around the crater living in refugee camps everynight. Sad, but it reminds me that nature is still unbeatable power.

Ketep, Magelang. Trees were covered by volcanic ash.

With the Red Cross volunteers on volcanic sand and ash.

A chilling night at Kemalang, Klaten, where public vehicles were not allowed to pass, 8 km from the peak...

and that's what we witnessed from Kemalang: sparkling lava!

I still keep many other photos of Merapi in my PC. Some were taken from the air, when I flew from Jogja to Denpasar, Bali, and when I went back from Mataram to Jogja. In many weeks, Merapi had been a thrilling beauty. And again, I was lucky to have chances to see.

I Can't Swim, But I Did It! :-)

So, we had been so curious to see how the famous beautiful islands of Lombok look like. The islands that is said as heaven on earth, where the atolls are around, where the tourist partying from dusk til dawn.
That morning we started our journey at 9 a.m. from Senggigi Beach. We sailed in a private boat, which means that there were no other passengers but Jeff and me. It took 1 hour to sail in that wooden boat, with magnificent sceneries around.
I was amazed to see the beauty of the islands: coral reefs, white sand, clear water, and no car are allowed in that island. First we took a ride on a horse car called “Cidomo” to see around the first island, Gili Trawangan. Next we also visited the turtle hatchery, before we moved to the second island, Gili Meno.

People always said that when you come to Gili, you must see the beauty of underwater world. But how come, I can’t swim…But all my fears of getting drawn faded as I saw the crystal water. I finally decided to do that. YES, Snorkeling!

With the life jacket to keep me floating and snorkel that always went in wrong direction so I tasted the salty sea water, I managed to do that. Of course, I could only float well with the hands of Rizal, our boat captain and Jeff, my dear boyfriend around…

It was beautiful. I swam with the fish below, with the living corals… that later also wounded my knees. Ouch!

me and wooden boats, on the crystal clear water...

the northern beach of Gili Trawangan

no car, no motor! so here we are, with our Cidomo...


We didn’t stay longer to witness the famous all night beach parties, nor visiting the third island, Gili Air. But I guess am a lucky girl.
I witnessed another beauty of the earth…

Jalan-Jalan Lagi...

Liburan kali ini aku kembali belajar tentang negara kita tercinta. Thanks to my hubby wanna be, yang mau-maunya travelling dengan segala cara, mulai naik bis antar kota yang udah reot, ferry yang telatnya amit-amit sampai perahu kayu tanpa atap, atau lari-lari di tanjakan sekitar Malimbu Lombok saat aku gak kuat tancap gas dengan motor sewaanku. Dengan begitu aku melihat sisi lain Indonesiaku.

Dalam tiga minggu aku ada di Jakarta, Semarang, Klaten, Jogja, Solo, sebagian Bali dan sebagian Lombok. Sekarang sih baru terasa pegel-pegelnya, tapi aku beruntung banget, bisa menemukan banyak pengalaman baru.

Pertama, aku nggak menyangka kalau upaya fundraising dari karyawan Disneyland dan teman-teman kami di Perancis buat korban gempa mendapat sambutan hangat. Yang paling mengharukan adalah sampai-sampai anak-anak karyawan Disney ikut-ikutan nitip sebagian uang saku mereka ke orangtuanya, dengan pesan, "tolong belikan mainan atau alat-alat sekolah buat teman-temanku di Indonesia..." Mau tahu, berapa umur donatur termuda di "friends for java" network?

Umurnya 3 tahun. Namanya Arthur. Aku bertemu dengannya saat belanja di commercial centre Val d'Europe April lalu. Dia pemalu, tapi saat mamanya bercerita tentang anak-anak yang kehilangan rumah, dia ikut sedih dan menitipkan 60 sen buat project persahabatan ini...
Nah, sementara donatur tertua adalah Mamie, nenek Jeff dari pihak Papa. Umurnya sudah 94 tahun. Heuuu...umur 94 nanti kita masih bisa beramal gak ya?

Kedua, Minggu lalu saat teman-teman psychological healing dari PMI berbaik hati memberikan kesempatan buat melihat kegiatan mereka di kecamatan Wedi, Klaten, aku baru tersadar kalau ternyata aku lebih mengenal tanah kelahiran ayahku sekarang, dibandingkan saat semua bangunan masih berdiri tegak dan utuh.
Sekarang aku bisa bercerita, "itu dulunya SD Baturan 1 dan 2", atau, "itu dulunya balai desa"... setelah semua runtuh dan lebur bersama tanah yang mengering di kemarau ini.

Ada satu perasaan yang menyesak setiap kali aku datang ke daerah bencana: Rasanya apapun yang kita bawa tak pernah terasa cukup. Melihat rumah yang masih rubuh, melihat bekas-bekas jahitan di luka-luka para pengungsi, melihat anak-anak yang belajar dan bermain di bawah tenda... Rasanya aku ingin bisa membuat semuanya utuh seperti semula.
Maafkan kalau ini terdengar naif, tapi betul-betul, di saat-saat pemandangan itu terpampang di pelupuk mata, saat tanganku mampu meraba rekahan dinding yang terpuruk di bumi, sungguh aku ingin jadi manusia super power...I wish at least I was Bill Gates... not in the side of having Microsoft, but more to be with his foundation, of course.

Juga saat melihat tenda-tenda pengungsi Merapi. Sedihnya membayangkan perasaan was-was para penduduk di sana selama lebih dari sebulan ini. Siap mengungsi di sore hari, harap-harap cemas, berdoa biar tanah dan rumah nggak hancur dilalap sang wedhus gembel saat harus tidur berdesakan di tenda yang dingin. Hiks. Betul-betul, negeri kita lagi prihatin...

Ketiga, I found my old extacy back. Nikmatnya makan di dapur umum PMI, bermain bersama puluhan anak di desa-desa, ngobrol dan bobo bareng relawan lain di bawah tenda... kabur dari tenda dan pacaran diam-diam saat semua sudah tertidur.. (ups...) jalan bedua di sepanjang sawah desa jam 3 pagi cuma buat melihat Merapi yang melelehkan lavanya pelan-pelan dalam gelap, sampai melintasi batas larangan jalan menuju ke puncak Merapi, duduk berjam-jam di bekas lokasi penambangan pasir yang cuma 6 km jauhnya dari puncak, dan bermain dengan Nikon D-70nya Jeff untuk mengambil foto-foto lava pijar....

Keempat, semakin banyak travelling sebagai turis biasa (bukan sebagai luxurious tourist yang diantar-jemput dimana-mana) bikin aku melihat banyaknya "lubang" sekaligus keunggulan di dunia pariwisata kita.

Aku sedih dan malu saat menemukan banyaknya orang nggak jujur yang betul-betul menganggap turis (terutama turis asing) semata-mata sebagai sumber duit, bukan sebagai manusia biasa yang juga butuh liburan yang tenang dengan rasa aman. Aku sedih melihat mereka memakai alasan kemiskinan sebagai satu-satunya justifikasi mengapa mereka berusaha menarik untung sebanyak-banyaknya. Lucunya lagi, ada yang menawarkan komisi buat aku kalau aku bisa bikin Jeff beli paket yang mereka jual... lah, who did they think I am ya?

Banyak juga yang bilang, "mbak kan orang Indonesia, seharusnya mbak bantu kami dong, cari untung..."

Waduh. Padahal aku tuh orang yang paling ga bisa dan ngga suka nawar. Meski begitu, aku juga tahu dong, harga yang wajar dan nggak.... Orang asing, tanpa dikasih tau juga juga tahu duluan mana yang wajar dan nggak, bukankah ada Lonely Planet, Hatchette, dan buku-buku lain yang sejenis, yang menulis info lengkap dengan update situasi tahun demi tahun tentang apa yang ada di negara kita?
Gimana mau berharap turis mo balik lagi kalau begitu caranya?

Kebayang dong, misalnya saja saat naik ferry kita (dan turis-turis asing lainnya) di-charge Rp. 150.000 per orang, sementara saat sudah di kapal aku ngobrol bareng penumpang lain dan menemukan kalau penumpang lokal (yang sudah tahu) cuma membayar Rp. 30.000 per orang! Ironisnya lagi, ada polisi yang melihat semua transaksi itu di Padangbai, and, he said nothing!

Kebayang dong, betenya saat petugas hotel bilang kalau dengan Rp. 300.000 private boat yang telah menyediakan alat-alat snorkeling akan menjemput di dermaga belakang hotel, mengantar kita dari Senggigi ke pulau-pulau cantik Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno dan Gili Air, tapi ternyata kita harus jalan 1 km ke pelabuhan umum, membayar lagi sewa alat-alat snorkel, bahkan perahu pun nggak menyediakan life jacket sehingga kita harus sewa lagi.... dan selalu begitu, semua tidak dibicarakan di awal, tapi saat kita sudah dalam perjalanan, seperti jebakan. Dan hampir tiap hari aku menemukan hal-hal seperti itu.

Semua orang di sekitar hotel selalu memaksa kita naik travel service dengan embel-embel "sama kok, kaya naik taxi." Kenyataannya, sampai Selaparang aja mereka minta 50 ribu, padahal saat pergi bareng temanku, Lia, sampai ke Cakra (yang jauh lebih jauh dari Senggigi-Selaparang), argo taxi kita cuma menunjukkan angka 40 ribu...

It's not about the money. It's about the honesty. Ini juga masalah etika mengelola sebuah tempat dengan objek wisata potensial. Gimana kita mau merasa nyaman kalau kita tahu bahwa orang-orang di sekitar kita ngga jujur? Apalagi ditambah mereka memaksakan apa yang mereka mau, dan bukan apa yang kita mau.

Meski begitu, banyak foto indah yang berhasil kita ambil dari bumi Lombok yang cantik ini. I'll put it in pretty places page, tapi dalam seminggu lagi mungkin. Koneksi internetnya lagi payah nih...

Sejauh ini, Jogja adalah tempat yang kutemui PALING profesional dalam menjamin kenyamanan turis. Nggak cuma staf di hotel berbintang, tapi sampai ke tukang-tukang becak dan para pedagang di Beringharjo membuat kami merasa nyaman.

Mungkinkah daerah-daerah selain Jogja butuh pendidikan tentang etika pariwisata?
Ternyata negeri kita tak cuma kurang berpromosi, tapi juga tak sanggup membuat orang ingin kembali ke bumi yang indah ini...

Just to think. Maybe not too hard.
How can we start to overcome this problem?
Gimana caranya membuat para pendatang ini merindukan Indonesia?
Bagaimana caranya bikin mereka jadi pengunjung fanatik yang selalu ingin kembali ke Indonesia, tanpa takut ditipu orang, tanpa takut bom, tanpa takut dikerjai?
Hm... hope it's not too late to change.

Where Have I Been...

It's been oh-so long time not to write. Even just to check my blog and read the comments, the internet connection around me are fast enough to prevent me for finding blank pages.

Thank you very much for all comments and messages... it's also a big surprise to find my favorite french teacher, Beatrice, drop a message in my shoutbox! Merci beaucoup, Beatrice!

Where have I been so far...
Well, right after arriving at Sukarno-Hatta International Airport at the beginning of May, I fought some bad guys who tried to catch Indonesian Labours coming back from Abu Dhabi... I think it was my biggest fight in public space. I was very angry to see how they ran after 5 Indonesian workers, took control on their trolley and tried to fool those girls to follow them to "special door" for Indonesian labours, where they would be asked for money for nothing but horrible transport service by bus to central java and more money to have their meal on the way, and more money for every other little things...
Those girls were frightened. For them coming back to Indonesia is like a scary war to win, with too many bad guys welcoming them at the airport. And none powerful has ever overcame their problem. At that day, in front of my eyes, I saw illegal porters asked for Rp. 50.000 from each person just to carry their trolley from the ground to the first floor of the airport...

Just the first day back, and it's already so dramatic.
Another story follows. Soon, of course.

A Day in Gantiwarno

This is the pictures of the landscape. Notes for pictures clockwise:
1. The hills and ricefields. Klaten is a beautiful place with this typical view of hills and green lanscapes. Before the disaster, under the hills you could see many houses, but now there are only ruins.
2. The main road towards the districts of Gantiwarno and Wedi cracks due to the earthquake. The little girl sitting near the wall was a refugee who was on the way back from donation center. She was taking a rest after a long walk with heavy bags filled with foods and fresh water. The ruin next to her was a little house that collapsed during the earthquake.
3. The neighbourhood. This is the picture taken from the front yard of my grandmother's house. Even my motorbike couln't pass on the road. It was full of collapsed brick wall. See also the houses behind the trees. All fell down...
4. This ruin was two elementary schools and a kindergarten. Children couldn't go to school, they don't know until when.

27 May 2006, 05:56 a.m., Western Indonesia Time (GMT+7)
The earthquake in 5.9 Richter scale shocked three provinces in Java: Central Java, Yogyakarta and East Java.
The earthquake already took 5,196 lives, injured nearly 30,000 people and destroyed more than 200,000 houses and public facilities. (www.mediaindonesia-online.com, 29 May 29, 2006)
One of the most severed towns is Klaten, my father’s hometown. It is the 3rd town with most victims (685 died) and 75,000 people lost their homes. Most of the victims of the disaster are now homeless, with minimum health services, minimum food and clothes. The roads to go to disaster area are split by the tectonic cracks. The condition is worsened by the lower popularity, poorer access and less health services compared to the other severed area.

Aku Orang Indonesia

Banyak yang berpikir kalau aku telah jatuh cinta pada peradaban di luar tanah kelahiranku. Tidak, tidak sepenuhnya begitu. Ketika aku di sini, atau di negara lain aku selalu berpikir, kenapa ya, Indonesia nggak bisa begini, nggak bisa begitu, dan gimana ya, caranya biar Indonesia bisa begini atau begitu...

Sesungguhnya, sejak sepuluh tahun yang lalu, dalam perjalanan pertamaku, aku telah menyadari bahwa tinggal di luar negeri membuatku lebih mencintai tanah kelahiranku. Tinggal di belahan bumi yang lain membuatku ingin melihat bumi Indonesiaku jadi lebih baik dari waktu ke waktu. Aku selalu ingin pulang dan berharap bisa melakukan sesuatu. Banyak hal yang membuatku merasa begitu...

Di bumi eks-kolonialis ini kadang aku masih bertemu dengan sosok-sosok rasis yang berpikir bahwa manusia yang dilahirkan dengan kulit berwarna tak sebaik manusia berkulit putih. Aku bertemu dengan manusia-manusia ini di banyak kesempatan; dalam acara makan malam, di kereta, bahkan di ruang kelasku. Tak ada hal manis yang mereka sampaikan tentang negara kita, bahkan dari cara mereka memandang atau memperlakukanku, terasa benar bahwa mereka melihatku dengan "berbeda".

Seorang rasis di kelasku bahkan tak pernah menunjukkan sikap yang menyenangkan terhadap siapapun yang "berwarna". Saat dia harus bekerjasama dalam kelompok denganku, dengan seorang teman dari Peru keturunan Indian, atau dengan seorang warga Amerika Serikat keturunan Vietnam, dia tak pernah mau mendengarkan apapun yang kami katakan. Sialnya, dia bercita-cita jadi diplomat, atau politisi kenamaan!!! Waks. Seperti apa ya, nantinya, "kebijakan" yang dia buat? Pasti tidak akan bijak sama sekali untuk seluruh warga negaranya. Bukankah tidak mungkin, dalam suatu negara semua orang memiliki "warna" yang sama?

Masih banyak yang berpikir bahwa negara kita tak mungkin memiliki teknologi yang lebih maju, atau memiliki apapun yang lebih dari apa yang mereka miliki saat ini, termasuk dalam hal jumlah channel TV yang bisa diakses oleh publik. Banyak orang Perancis yang kukenal terlihat agak terganggu saat tahu bahwa Indonesia punya lebih banyak channel TV untuk umum daripada Perancis. Wah, padahal aku belum sempat cerita soal jumlah infotainment di negara kita...hehehe..bisa pingsan mereka! (btw, banyaknya infotainment di Indonesia patut dibanggakan ngga sih? :-p)

Aku sering geram dan sedih saat aku bertemu dengan orang-orang itu. Geram karena stigma yang mereka pasang tentang kita, dan sedih karena kenyataannya kita memang tak punya terlalu banyak hal yang bisa dibanggakan.

di kelas baruku memang lebih banyak yang putih daripada yang berwarna...

Masih banyak sekali orang-orang di Eropa yang tak tahu, dimana letak Indonesia, apalagi nama ibukotanya. Yang mereka tahu, Indonesia identik dengan korupsi besar-besaran, termasuk korupsi dana bantuan yang "mereka" berikan; termasuk bantuan untuk korban Tsunami. Hum, yang ini memang bikin muak dan malu. Indonesia identik dengan bom dan anarki. Indonesia identik dengan kemiskinan dan kesenjangan sosial... Soal terkenalnya kesenjangan sosial di Indonesia, aku punya cerita.

Ada seorang teman sekelasku yang ramah sekali. Dia perempuan asal Yunani, yang di negaranya memiliki sebuah hotel berbintang empat. Ngga heran kalau dia sudah berkunjung ke banyak negara, salah satunya Indonesia.

Suatu hari kami duduk bersama di cafetaria, dan dia berkata. "J'ai visité ton pay. C'est trés jolie." Aku pernah mengunjungi negaramu. Negara yang sangat indah.
Aku tersenyum lebar mendengar komentarnya. Aku senang sekali.
"Indonésie est un pay tres interessant aussi." Indonesia juga negara yang sangat menarik.

Hum, senyumku makin lebar, penuh kebanggaan.
"Pourquoi, tu pense?" Kenapa menurutmu (Indonesia adalah negara yang menarik)?

Di kepalaku, aku berpikir dia akan bicara tentang kebudayaan kita yang beragam. Dan ya, dia bicara tentang "budaya" di negara kita.
"C'est tres interessant parce qu'il y a une grande différence dans la classe sociale. Les riches sont tres riches, et le pouvres sont tres pouvres..." Indonesia sangat menarik karena adanya perbedaan yang besar dalam kelas sosialnya. Yang kaya sangat kaya, dan yang miskin sangat miskin..."

Gubrak. Wajahku serasa ditampar bolak-balik, sementara wajah Carita, temanku itu tetap penuh senyum tak berdosa. Dia benar. Dan aku, sekali lagi, sedih sekali. Kebenaran memang seringkali terasa pahit di hati...

Saat aku jauh dari Indonesia aku selalu mengikuti berbagai perkembangan di bumi kelahiranku. Kasus korupsi masih terus ada. Euh, by the way busway, tahukan kalian, kalau bahkan di buku panduan perjalanan terbitan Hachette ada bagian khusus tentang bagaimana korupsi merajalela di negara kita? Aku menemukan buku terbitan tahun 1996 ini di
pasar barang bekas di Gournay. Yang lebih pedih lagi, ada trik untuk para wisatawan asing yang berurusan dengan polisi di jalan. Pertama-tama, tunjukkan wajah tak berdosa. Kedua, teruslah bicara dalam bahasamu. Kalau hal ini tidak membuat polisi yang menghentikanmu menyerah, tawarkan uang. Biasanya dengan Rp. 10,000,- (jangan kaget dengan jumlah ini, sekali lagi, buku itu diterbitkan tahun 1996!).... kalian (para wisatawan) bisa bebas dari segala hukuman. Hal ini dianggap penting untuk diketahui oleh para wisatawan karena "penyelesaian di jalan" biasanya jauh lebih mudah daripada di pengadilan...

RUU APP juga jadi pertanyaan di sini. Perda tentang ciuman lima menit made in Tangerang masuk di Oddly Enough di berbagai media Eropa. Sekali lagi bangsa kita dianggap melakukan hal "aneh". Draft RUU APP membuat kebanyakan perempuan terlihat sebagai "mahluk porno". Atau tentang ciuman lima menit, atau tentang razia perempuan yang disangka pelacur. Please deh... semua orang juga tahu bahwa banyak PSK yang beroperasi di hotel berbintang dan ngga pernah tersentuh.

Semua orang juga tahu bahwa lewat internet kita bisa dapat gambaran tentang seks yang indah maupun yang tidak indah, yang mendidik ataupun tidak mendidik. Dengan represi ke"tabu"an yang ada di sekitar kita, hal ini bisa jadi membuat banyak orang nantinya tambah penasaran dengan cara yang tidak indah. Hellooouuuuu.... apa kabar para pembuat peraturan? Sudahkah hal-hal seperti ini dipikirkan?

Sudahkah dibayangkan bahwa besarnya represi seringkali memperbesar pula rasa penasaran dan penolakan terhadapnya? Apakah tidak lebih baik bila kami, warga negara Indonesia belajar tentang kesehatan reproduksi yang benar dan belajar tentang penghargaan terhadap gender yang ada? Biarlah kami belajar berpikir dan mengelola alam pikir, bukan hanya menghafalkan boleh dan tidak boleh, tapi juga memahami boleh dan tidak boleh secara rasional.

Yang kami butuhkan untuk berangkat menuju bangsa yang dikenal sebagai bangsa yang beradab adalah kail untuk menangkap kehidupan yang lebih baik. Jaring pengaman sosial yang sesungguhnya bukanlah roti dan komedi. C'est passé. Sudah lewat atuh, sejak ratusan tahun yang lalu. Manusia ber-evolusi dan be-revolusi. Bukan hanya tinggi badan kita yang bertambah, tapi juga tingkat intelektualitas kita telah berbeda.

Memikirkan sistem pendidikan yang layak, yang mendidik keahlian berpikir logis dari berbagai sisi, bukan yang mendidik kita untuk menghafalkan terasa lebih penting daripada semata-mata mengurusi apa yang disebut sebagai "moral". Kalau saja pendidikan yang baik itu tersampaikan ke seluruh pelosok negeri, pasti akan lebih banyak pemikir handal di bumi kita. Seandainya saja perlindungan dan rasa aman, kepercayaaan, perlindungan para saksi dan hukuman yang setimpal benar-benar ada, maka bandit-bandit kemaksiatan akan berpikir seribu kali sebelum beroperasi. Saat ini terjadi, negara tak perlu lagi bersusah payah menciptakan aturan yang berusaha menegakkan "moral" seperti saat ini. Ing ngarsa sung tuladha. Di depan memberi contoh. Suka atau tidak, itulah sistematika sederhana yang secara alami masih berlaku dalam pembentukan perilaku suatu bangsa.

Kulitku memang berwarna. Aku memang orang Indonesia. Aku telah menapakkan kaki di belahan bumi yang berbeda. Aku telah menanggung cap "bangsa yang bodoh" dan "bangsa yang tidak bisa dipercaya dan biadab (salah satunya karena 'memakan' dana bantuan kemanusiaan)". Mungkin tidak cuma aku, tapi juga teman-teman kulit berwarna lain pernah merasakan cap ini. Sungguh, aku berharap, negara tak akan berbuat lebih banyak untuk membuat Indonesia terlihat semakin bodoh lagi.

Sisi baiknya adalah, secara perseorangan atau berkelompok, kita jadi berusaha sebaik mungkin untuk menunjukkan bahwa kita tak seburuk yang mereka sangka. Selalu ada cahaya di balik awan kelabu. Setidaknya, kita jadi berharap Indonesia akan lebih baik di lain waktu, dan harapan menumbuhkan gerakan untuk membuatnya nyata.
Suatu hari nanti semoga orang Indonesia bisa berkata dengan bangga, Viva kosmetika Indonesia!... ups, maksudku, Viva Indonesia! :)