Anthology of Two Months

I have no idea how to construct a poem a real poetry for it has no formula but sense. It might be the closest and finest assumption, if justification is reluctantly unacceptable, of deterring myself from writing or sharing a bit of words. It was just too perfect of timing to observe how things have been happening. In the other hand, which might be an extraordinary case, I was busy with part-time jobs, rewrote final undergrad thesis with sizable time of reconstructing a computerized model of my research, and the most important one and I wish I deserve an exception, traveled back home. All of them kept me from voluntarily giving my blog a chance to be touched down.

I was just doing more on facebook instead, posting one or two phrases and some picts, giving comments, liked friends' status and did other facebook stuffs. A typical young Indonesian, a trait that I couldn't easily reject but more attached into it. Let me myself attempt to catch the derailed one. So, I would like to welcome myself to stick (again) on regular post.

Within these recent two months, were full of talks. Too many serious occasions, accidents, and events were out there. But when I looked down within my home country alone, I found out that something vibrantly was sounding as it spoke out loud. Discussing its vibes has inspired me to divide it into few headlines as I am going to phrase out as follows.

Election and Telenovela

Literally I don't definitely name Indonesia a country where mummies are living in. But an action of few of its citizen is just too ridiculous for I personally never thought of. It's all started when word for 'election' has been steadily aired and overheard. Yet, it is just  too captivating for me as a spectator of political game as it performs a show as dramatic as unending soap opera. Well, an elect-president based on official counting by legal commissioner as result of people's ballot was already announced,  but seems the announcement still should encounter challenge from the loser side. And the drama has yet ended up even until now.

Everything seems clear now, mega-delusional disease is escalating rampantly. It may top Ebola in terms of severity as it has no tangible vaccine to deal with. It is so funny if you happen to understand Bahasa and watching live what was going on in the court. Not because how the procedure took place but responses of every question by the judges to the losing president hopeful and his team were too immature for high-profile presidential election case. Some interviews conducted previously have shown how he disgraced his attitude himself. I personally supposed him a person with solid integrity as bold as his winning opponent. But my measurement has been kinda noised lately. I wish I am wrong. I do.

Despite of all of this stunning drama, I highlight Indonesia election of this season, to be frank, is very stiff. Smear campaign is subject of the talk. Unfortunately still many people grab the information just too immediate without trying to clarify.  On the other hand, number of people who put concern on 9th of July during power-transfer period is soaring. Almost every Indonesian I met down on the street profoundly voiced their choice with full of confidence based on their own unique consideration. I guess this is how democracy really works. I know it is not perfect but the process counts!

Escaping Away from City Crowd

Election result would be on Tuesday, the day that I finally opted to leave Bogor as highway that connects to the airport by system forced me to pass through capital Jakarta. Thus, I decided to take very morning flight, at 5 am the aircraft B737-900ER flew me to Lombok. As suggested on TV news, I anticipated mass rant that may pour down the street and paralyzed the city by cruising the highway where lights had yet dimmed. Fortunately all worries disappeared, at least it went on not as worse as it was predicted. 

As I arrived in Lombok, I felt nothing but more relaxing breeze. Well, I didn't let myself missing the very brief moment after few weeks I had been prevented from the warm sunshine for I was working much inside air conditioned room while outside full of rain.

I traveled eastern-ward to my home island, Sumbawa. The further I walked, the slower time throbs. I isolated myself from political vibe. I did really focus on how to enjoy quality family time, learned how to stop frowning and started to laugh out loud with childhood friends, and did business as usual as a native Sumbawanese, speaking the rumor in local language with its solid dialect.

To me personally, visiting my hometown where I was growing is a pilgrimage of my own version as others travel to Ganges river, Mecca, Jerussalem, Vatican or Nepal. A place where I was born has taught me on how to use a mirror. I stood right in front of it, in my mind, where I contemplated and interpreted a reflection.

It was the time that now has already helped me to grow fonder of what I have got and being more thankful. As I traced the town and tried to remind past memory, I spiritually felt more fulfilled. Not because on my ID card I still retain certain religion, instead I'm not a pious boy who visits praying place regularly, I remember I was there once during my stay, but because of life lesson in school at hometown in which I had opportunity to understand people from different background. It is pretty easy to find a church or pura stands just few miles from or on the doorstep of mosque. Or visiting my friend on occasion (s)he celebrated his/her religious festivity. The most simple one, at my school, we had special event on Friday when every believer regardless what kind of his/her belief, every student did spiritual class provided with at least one preacher for each religion by school authority. If you happen to be unbeliever, and when Indonesia officially legalizes no religion option, I guess my old school would matter nothing on your status. You would be welcome to be there.

It is also no surprise when you see a girl who wears hijab has a closest friend the girl that with short pant and a party-goer. Or a teacher wearing hijab works at Catholic school. Or the biggest fund for religious festivity in your neighborhood come from someone who holds different religion. Or taking religion paper test as it is still compulsory in our education curriculum, sitting next to friend whose different religion and happens to you to answer the question until few numbers before you realize that the paper test actually doesn't belong to you, then you are aware that many similarities in context of concept in it with what you believe.

I realized that this tiny town has became a laboratory for my real life as it teaches me to scrutiny more on similarity instead of stirring upheaval due to different stances. In here, between Lombok and Sumbawa, I become more accustomed to see kid nowadays mix blooded, Indo, they call it. Love and compassion have broken down geographical, cultural, and even religious barrier on establishing a noble relationship, called marriage. As result, a newborn offspring is delivered with brand new face in the upcoming years, the untold story. 


As final boarding call announced, I immediately approach the aircraft gate. This medium-haul narrow body airplane is going to take off within few minutes. but my memory of my hometown is indeed still calling. I never feel that so lucky. And for first time ever I'm suffering homesick fever. I do really miss my family and friends. They really made my day. The lesson I bring to fly with is so priceless, something that frankly I haven't gained yet much in where currently I study and work. Thanks folks!

Not Too Bad ...

Bogor Station in the morning

Whimsical depiction of extravaganza is perfectly conspicuous and too much captivating for passer-by at little slums area in Jakarta, if Chinatown is too high as comparison. Shared public toilet for no less than dozens of these happy settlements, yellowing river right next to the kitchen, children playing with lots of joy all through narrowing alley that divide every neighborhood, my notion of impression once I happened to lurk into communes of three hot spot areas within the capital city. I, since a couple week ago, who has been joining a research activity for megapolitan disaster management initiated by an university in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, will work on these fields for some weeks later on. Interviewing the settlement, translating the report, spending some hours to reach the location for I commute daily from Bogor, are kinds of my endeavor to run the project.

As an aficionado of aesthetic urban landscape, the contrary of living between highrise concrete building and outlier downtown is striking. It is a portray of contemporary artwork made by intangible social ego. The scenery is the body, the city's life is the soul. To me, the overlapped voice of grassroots down beneath vibrant city's noise is way more fascinating. As this research covers up interview with the slum settlements, I can barely recognize their voice is seamless and honest. Different study case yields different buzz. Slum area in North Jakarta has its own echo and sometimes similar point of interest as questioned is responded by varying perspective compared to that of fellow compatriot in Central and South Jakarta . The pro and con is common.

One highlight that I draw from the interviewee's perspective, is how their assessment on incumbent government. Although this part is minor of research inquiries and is avoidable in order to keep the scientific value of research objective, for I here write on a blog, the measurement is valid unconditionally. Some people voluntarily express their fulfilled satisfactory what the Governor has done to them, some others complain about for being excluded subject of blusukan. This account has suggested me that these people are wanting for being taken care of, seen, visited and recognized. Although the real problem is quite complex, even seems always more complex when some snobbish media extravagantly add glitter on news to spoil people's opinion. Let me alone to have my own assessment, and these settlements whose mirror is crystal clear have directed me to address my perspective goal: understanding the matter comprehensively.

Living at such slum, for some people, never look opulent instead too desperate. Bur for the kids I met through the alley, they never complain about despite of their fully informed account of blessed apartment right over there, to them, is no more than bird cage. The old ones, as life what they understand is not always fulfilling, are frankly aware that their existence would not last. Anytime the govt would demolish their settlement in favor of refurnishing city landscape. But what they expect is evacuation to appropriate decent housing complex. Though, it does not successfully work for a commune in North Jakarta, other areas are waiting to prove for more accomplished story.

The immense gap I captured at these areas has paid my inquisitiveness off as I have been wondering why Jakarta straddles this circumstance for that pretty long. However, I still have no sufficient answer to explain . I'm just too curious to return to these area again by this week and finding out more fun facts to share with.     

Un Petit Appel

It was not missing MH370's black box resonated alert but my dad's call at that night. For few days I was not in telephone line, he might be kinda anxious. Well, it had a reason, simply just because my mobile phone lost its buzz. When it got the vibe, my dad's voice was already there.

He then started the convo, deliberately asking "What happens, son?" gently. As always, he has no more words than an usual intro, a distinct voice compared to Mom's call in which she goes straight to the matter. No later than a minute, he tried, though kinda awkward yet still subtle, asking another questions. Some of it were just the same as he used to. But that night he added a quiz, "How's your choice?". Sounds vague, until then I got the point, he meant my vote belonging to whom.

This year's election is the second term of mine to celebrate the democratic euphoria as real. And my dad's curiosity about my vote is no big surprise. But not until I deliberated my ballot. He was still wondering the reason behind my cast, of course he would be fine to listen my explanation. Then I quested his voice in return. Claiming himself as silent supporter of those politicians, ranging from newcoming competitor to old-fashioned icon on TV, made me a little bit surprised. Knowing that mine and him is in opposite side, he offered me a chance to complain. But I refused, I chose to make a deal that we agree to 'disagree' on our own instead. Sounds fair right?

His point of view is mostly influenced by local newspaper, TV news but almost no internet. He is a maiden of buzzfeed. The only thing I know about him and his acquaintance with internet is Facebook. He might be overdue. He is a sort of bloke who still pertains traditional way of circulated accounts. Sitting with neighbors with local printed newspaper in hand, he is simply simple person of his own living at hometown where he was born, bred, grown up and is running daily job. To me, his life could be so boring, but frankly I do admire his determination is inspiring. He is the one who always teaches and trains me to think beyond his limitation, being critical, standing-out amongst talents, all things democratically he has inculcated in me even before this country transformed into what so-called recognized juvenile democratic nation. He is the first person who refused the idea of sending me to religious boarding school as many people around us would decide to. Instead he suggested me to run my education in public school where I could befriend many kind of people from different background, though I had to leave home and even until now.

My dad's view in some parts are though still conservative, much intrigued by traditional influence which in my measure is irrelevant. Perhaps I'm too naive, lost translation in his childhood. Thus I try hard to thread his past and my today experience, obviously contrast. But one thing I understand, his vision is solid. He barely knows I never ever live the way he was, how his dad trained him. He knows exactly I supposed to be who I am, not himself nor even his ancestor.

When his phone was offline, I realized that I had to recharge mine, almost running out of power. It has been an hour since we started the talk. Then I think, I would be better to give my vote to candidate who has similar trait with my dad, someone who is able to vision the future and in the mean time is adaptable to underground matter. And of course my vote only belongs to those whose political maturity is unquestionable with humble attitude. No matter what your party flag is. I and my dad would love to look forward what will happen. Coz we'll talk it up later ;-)

Hommage à père!

Loved-Yet-Hated Street

Street of Life

Street hustle of Bogor, near to Train Station

I have been more than curious to see people's way of life how they run things, from cooking to driving, from sleeping to riding. As a neophyte of neighborhood's bustling life, it is such a guilty pleasure when I desync myself out of the spin despite of my countless endeavours to match the rythm. And out of such livelihood, the 'street culture' is definitely the one I am at my utter inquisitiveness why I still have yet nodded.

Over last four and half years, it has always came relatively conquerable to me to adapt with new style of living. Moving from a dwarf town of an island you probably never ever see on screen to an outskirts of city well known for its long standing history and jardin-like visage at some stops, fellows at my arid yellowish origin land may think I'm blessed by the new place of lush green. But here I am not about upholding royal, folks. I'm just like other ordinary pedestrians who are fully sober we are not on too fascinating runway. Most of times we are like stepping on sherds with non-stop rushing fogs passing by next to us.

Here it is my current hut, few-meter-distant from circuit. Together with other disciples, at no distant we clearly are alarmed sometimes by distracting yet painful roar of failed racer. Pieces of glass, the blood stained, even conflicted argument on who is right among involved convicts, is face of street next door. When sorcery works out, out of sudden it turns into temporal hearse before ambulance cleans up the hot spot no stinks nor random things left. Then people forget it on the next day until the new scene comes over like deja vu, we are reminded. It is so magical!

 The circuit next door is our daily pathway, beautiful painted asphalt turning out two-way street divided by four lines borderlessly. It extends as long as miles away from somewhere out of sight to the heart of city which passes by our niche. Don't ever challenge yourself to drive or to ride during busy hours, or you'll be trapped in crazy hell traffic jam. Even though being a pedestrian has no guarantee to be always safe. I'm so jealous of strolling along the sidewalk of Solo city as far as I would, or of crossing the street the way I enjoy most at every crossroad of Yogyakarta with guaranteed traffic light accuration. I also miss to be drowned in the brisk walk of Ginza and to enjoying panoramic view by stepping on sidewalk of Makassar street competing with cars next to me to catch the sunset. But the reality is here and right now.

I remember one of past Fridays at sultry noon, this magical street was full of long queueing cabs and motos covered by unhappy face of sweating blokes, a police in the middle of jungle and was trying his best to ease off the crowd. I attempted to pass by the zebra cross as it is supposed to be, starting from right side to left side approaching a small mini store over there. Out of my glassed eyes, a helmet-covered ghost rider had his costly ride touching my leg and geez! Fortunately he was able to control his accelaration, just my leg chafed. A girl few meters from my standing also experienced the same. Sigh.

Another day perhaps was my another badluck. It was still fresh and the sun was so bright though. I planned that day to have early class. I expected it would be nicer to have myself bridging the two sides as that day was. Unfortunately, as I passed by through the appropriate way (Zebra Cross), out of sudden a happy couple riding moto commuted right in front of my move at crossing pace. I tried to keep a distance avoiding clash, instead of being thankful for in a state of safe, the boy shouted out loud at me with some f*cked spells and the girl who was covered by hijab looked happy innocently the way his boy screamed his mantra while she still stared at me after the plight as they were passing over. You both really scared me and I was still numb, speechless.

As a guest of this town, I expect nothing but please let us be more respectful. There should be no sense of superiority as we all are same, the tax payer and in the mean time altogether users of this highway, just for some miles long. Some of us are true not seating inside Jaguar nor Cadillac nor Valentino Rossi-like moto. Some of us are just daily pedestrians who sometimes should take longer road when it was blocked as few weeks ago when the President and teams crossed by.

This is the true street of ours, not very pretty nor too popular when you name it like most others, away narrower than LIE (Long Island Expressway) but as crowd as it is. And our street has some mentions you can beguile as it brings you to place you name it. Expect us.

Indonesia's Right Picks

Year 2014 is like no other, as it is associated with "Fire" and "Horse" in Chinese calender. Some Suhu and fortunetellers out of the blue appear on TV news in a hot talk to discuss about Indonesia(n)'s destiny within a year ahead. Name of public figures ranging from creepy politician to sensational celebrity highlights the tea time. Indeed, these two occupations may lead you to the peak of illuminating popularity either on good way or ending up in miserable news, being politician or celebrity. Media would love you when you are unusual, the sensational persona. 

Above all of it, year 2014 for some  after all is "The Game of Thrones" when everyone holds on the sword running into battle like Spartan. It is when every legal Indonesian by law elect their representative to be placed on hot seat who literally will work for the best of society, they say. From residential level to top-notch national scale the citizen will merge into cohort where vote is counted spread off over the country. The voting point is plethora, so is penny to fund the so-called democratic party. Here we legal resident shall take part in.

Election of this year will be held two times, separated by 3-month's distance.The first election which will be held next April is to vote for legislative representative, the second ones deemed as the most frantic event during past five years will pick a figure called as President of Indonesia until 2019 which later ends SBY's incumbency. The new life will start soon.

It is still fresh in my mind, dating back to 1999 when Indonesia's political situation was in transformation. It was the year when campaign surging. I was an elementary student by that time. Mass went down to the street to show off their support to certain party. It was the zero point of further milestone of being democratic country. I remember, there were three major parties competing at election. Red, yellow, and green, these colors that dominated the pouring mass perfectly like rainbow. It was also the time when I got my first candy, T-Shirt, lighter, and many kinds of souvenir covered by party symbol. All those items were given by random people who were on the street during the campaign days. I and other fellows as just other kids were so excited collecting such stuffs. TV news mostly aired the dramatic transformation of political life, we kids even had less choice for cartoon. Bear in mind, at that time private TV channel was not as bloomy as today, internet was not as tremendous as few years later. So, spending much of time as the way my dad used to: reading daily newspaper, watching news channel, collecting incumbent ministers and president poster (replacing it when the turn is over)discussing the current issues, but still we don't belong ourselves fanatically to certain party or group. To me and my dad, let God the only one knows what/who we vote for inside small voting chamber. Me myself even don't know to what/whom my dad's choice belongs to. We are much more comfort as political analyst during tea time by our own way, as an intermezzo in the mid of rushing life.

And today, much of things have changed, really changing. The political life significantly is turning (in my opinion) more mature and dynamic. Voices from grassroots are even so sounding. Thanks to the invention of internet and rapid growing online forum that today the citizens can express their notion. It is such surprising that think-tankers now are flourishing, though some of it with anonymous credit. 

It has been 15 years after my candy, what a time! Now my concern definitely is extending. As most recent I have been experiencing insomnia, I kill the night by watching live streaming news channel from many countries randomly. Last night my choice fell to Sarajevo based Aljazeera Balkans. There was an hour documentary about West Papua Freedom Movement aired to cover former Yugoslav countries. As, news enthusiast, I was so excited as the channel discussed about something that is familiar to me, nevertheless from outsider's perspective. It was about two reporters who traveled to West Papua Province lurking to interview and documented the West Papua Freedom Movement activities secretly, from the way how the movement undergoes the mission to traditional ceremony of independence. Once the leader was holding online conference in the middle of isolated area claimed as their base with the Guyanese fellows committed as loyal supporter of their independence. There was also a moment when the Aljazeera team and the movement leader passed by the police and army barrack by riding car without getting caught as they have some people working as intelligence. Short documentary was also displayed recorded at separated time series when the police and the movement activist clashed in riot. At the end of documentary, another separated video inserted to the whole 60-minute that broadcasted an interview with an Indonesian spokeswomen who claimed the movement is illegal and against the Indonesia's sovereignty and international law as West Papua is recognized a legal part of independent Indonesia.

Well, the two sides are insisting with their stance. One thing that I highlight from the movement side is the matter of social injustice which they claim discriminating their group, the clash involved in with police is the act of response. It is also claimed that they feel isolated and undergoing aliened life on their own land.

In commemorating with the 2014 election of Indonesia, the new leader (President) and legislative representative at hot spot area are expected to sit together with the freedom movement member discussing even much deeper the best solution. The sooner it is solved, the better life in West Papua comes into reality. I do really wish the voters not only considering to elect the leader by their capability at certain areas of expertise nor by illuminating promise/appearance, instead it should be well considered those who are associated with wholly prodigious leadership trait in much aspect.

Who's gonna be the next? 2014 is on fire :-)