Pages

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Sebuah Prosa Tentang Jilbab

 

Pada suatu hari aku melihat sehelai kain bebentuk segi empat yang sempurna. Aku melihat perempuan-perempuan membelinya di pasar, melipatnya menjadi segitiga sama sisi, lalu memakainya untuk menutupi rambut mereka. Kemudian orang-orang menyebut mereka “cantik” dan “suci”. Jadilah aku berpikir bahwa kain itu ajaib, seperti gaun dan sepatu kaca Cinderella yang diberikan Ibu Peri agar ia terlihat cantik.

Aku hendak menguji keajaibannya. Kusuruh ibu membelikan kain itu untukku. Yang berwarna putih, kataku. Karena putih itu warna yang paling suci dan bersih, bukan? Sedangkan aku tahu aku tidak putih.

Kukenakan kain putih itu menutupi rambutku, seperti perempuan-perempuan itu, dilengkapi bros cantik berwarna hijau. Hijau itu warna yang melambangkan keimanan, kata mereka. Sedangkan aku tahu aku tidak hijau.

Pada hari Jum’at, hari yang mereka pilih untuk beriman dan bertaqwa*, aku datang dengan penampilanku yang baru. Aku merasa seperti Cinderella. Mereka memujiku “cantik”. Mereka menganggap aku suci dan baik. Terbukti bahwa kain itu memang ajaib. Namun, aku yakin keajaibannya akan pudar jika dipakai terlalu lama. Bukankah sihir Ibu Peri hanya berlaku sampai jam 12 malam? Maka, aku menyimpan kain itu untuk dipakai lagi di lain waktu. Kapan-kapan saja, pikirku.

Hari berikutnya aku mendatangi mereka dengan penampilanku yang biasa. Mereka tidak memuji. Bahkan mereka memarahiku karena menanggalkan sesuatu yang suci. Seolah-olah aku menjadi buruk tanpa perlindungan kain itu.

Keesokan harinya aku kenakan kain itu lagi. Jadilah aku suci kembali, padahal aku masih aku yang biasa. Ada yang tak lazim dengan semua ini, pikirku.

Sejak itu aku tak pernah menanggalkannya. Aku tak pernah luput dari pujian yang lama-lama menjadikan aku tidak nyaman. Sampai suatu saat, aku melakukan kesalahan. Sepetak kain itu sebagai saksi, ketika aku mengotori diri, tersandung sana-sini, dan akhirnya jatuh. Tidak seperti Cinderella, tidak ada Ibu Peri yang menyelamatkan aku.

Mereka berubah, memaki-maki aku dan kain yang menutupi kepalaku. Mereka menyalahkan kain itu, menanggalkan kain-kain diatas kepala mereka sendiri. Itu “tipu daya”, ini “cuci otak”, kata mereka. Tak percaya lagi mereka bahwa kain itu cantik dan suci. Itu topeng belaka, sebuah alat untuk bersembunyi. Hingga mereka tak sudi lagi mencari-cari apa yang menjadi esensi. Yang ada hanya sensasi.

Aku masih percaya bahwa sepetak kain yang kumiliki ini ajaib. Kain ini dibeli ibuku seharga dua puluh ribu rupiah di pasar pinggir kota – kain putih dari bahan katun dengan bordir yang manis di ujung-ujungnya. Ada yang menamakannya “kerudung”. Lebih banyak yang menyebutnya sebagai “jilbab”. Ia seperti perisai, yang melindungi tubuhku dari tatapan-tatapan liar di jalanan. Karenanya, orang-orang senantiasa mendoakanku dengan untaian kalimat salam ketika berjumpa denganku.

Yang terpenting, kain ini memberikan aku asupan rasa malu. Aku malu karena telah salah dan keliru. Aku malu jika tak lagi mengikuti malu, tak menepati janji.

Apa yang terjadi bila Cinderella tak segera pergi ketika jam berdenting pukul dua belas malam?

Bukan sensasi yang patut ada. Bukan penilaian pragmatis yang mendahului dan akhirnya menghakimi. Kain ini tak pantas disalahkan atas kekeliruan aku, kamu atau mereka.

Tidak. Sehelai kain ini bukan sihir yang menjadikan aku cantik atau suci. Bukan topeng yang digunakan untuk bersembunyi atau menipu.

Semua kebaikan terletak pada esensi. Sehelai kain ini membantu kita semua menemukan kebenaran yang hakiki…

 

tentang apa itu cantik,

apa itu suci.

Profil-Muslimah-Ideal

 

****

 

“Jika aku berbuat salah, mohon jangan salahkan jilbabku, karena aku yang salah. Sebagaimana kau menganggap bahwa jilbab itu merupakan pakaian yang benar - bukan karena aku yang benar.”

 

*Di daerah aku, hari Jum’at di jadikan sebagain “Hari Imtaq” (hari iman dan taqwa). Sekolahku biasanya mengadakan ceramah umum di lapangan sekolah pada pagi hari sebelum jam masuk kelas.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

My Food Corner: A Cheesy Breakfast


Hello and good morning everyone! Wake up and smell the food!

I am going to write about another breakfast meal I made with one of my favorite ingredients: cheese. I love cheese, whether its cheddar, parmesan, mozzarella or even delicate and strong tasting Italian cheese. I wish I could go to Italy someday to pig-out on all the cheese.

Anyway, I was feeling especially “cheesy” today (mind the connotation) that I wanted to make a cheesy meal. Thus, I raided the fridge.

Sausages: check.
Cheese: check
Tomatoes: check

Then I raided the kitchen cabinet.

Bread: check
Chili sauce: check

I could make a mini pizza! I love mini pizza. So, I got some bread and spread chili sauce (I like it spicy, you could use tomato sauce) on one side. Then I chopped the sausages into small pieces and spread them evenly on the bread. I would then usually sprinkle a generous amount of grated cheese on top of it. However, we only had a small block of Kraft cheddar cheese in stock. We had a lot of Bega cheese singles though. Mom had bought the black pepper cheddar type. Because of that, I embarrassed myself that morning.

When I opened the plastic cheese packet and saw the cheese, I gasped out loud. There was mold on the cheese! Little black dots of mold! I was sure that this type of cheese wasn’t supposed to have any fungi on it’s surface. I thought mom had bought expired cheese. So I yelled out to mom: “Mama! Kejunya jamuran!” (which means, “mom, the cheese is moldy!”) However, as mom came rushing in, I saw the packet and it dawned on me. It was supposed to be speckled. It was “black pepper cheese”. Silly me.

I turned to my mom with a sheepish grin on my face. “Hehe… Black pepper-nya, Ma,” I told her. She just smiled and went on with her business. So, I continued with cooking.

I laid one cheese single on top of each slice of bread. Then I sliced the tomato into big, round, pieces and put one slice on top. I put the mini pizzas into the oven for 7-10 minutes at about 200 degrees.

I would always know if it was ready by the sizzling sounds of the cheese melting and boiling. I also like my crusts brown and crispy. That’s why I leave it in the oven a little bit longer sometimes and peek in repeatedly to see whether the crusts were brown enough.

While I was waiting for the pizzas to be ready, I prepared another meal. Dad had cooked some cassava fries earlier and I wanted to eat them for breakfast too – with a little twist. So I grated the small block of cheddar cheese and sprinkled it over some fries. Then, I put it on a tray and into the oven as well.

I usually make more than enough pizzas so that my brothers and sisters could eat it when they wake up later (I usually wake up the earliest in my family). I usually make four pizzas, one for each of us.

When the oven bell rang, I took out the pizza and fries and turned off the oven. Then I put two sizzling hot pizzas (I was greedy today) and some cheesy fries on a plate. Then I poured myself a cup of strawberry juice and dug into my breakfast happily. Alhamdulillah, it made my day!

09122011747

Try this at home, cheese lovers!

Monday, December 12, 2011

My School Homework

 

This is a task which was assigned by Icha about a month ago. It’s overdue so I must do it quickly and then assign it to other bloggers out there. Watch out, guys! I’ll be giving you homework too.

The purpose of this post is to tell you about my primary school years. I dreaded writing it because it’s too complicated for me to retell. I also worry myself that it might be too long and I’d even bore myself with writing it. I wonder how readers would feel reading it.

Anyway, here goes.

I have transferred schools 3 times during the period of my elementary school years. I had kindergarten at Gumnut PreSchool in Sydney, Australia. I spent my first 2 years in SD 10 Mataram, in Indonesia. Then a few months at Conniston Primary School in Wollongong, Australia. After that I spent the rest of my years in Gwynneville Public School, also in Wollongong, Australia.

1. Kindergarten

I don’t remember much about this time of my life except that I had a really cute uniform and that there was this pretty little girl I always played with. I forgot what her name was.

I loved my uniform then and still do. I’d wear it now if there was one in my size (laughs). It comprised of a yellow turtleneck sweater and brown overalls. My mom would always tie my hair in pigtails with yellow ribbons and put a pair of alice-in-wonderland shoes on my feet over white frilly socks. I wish I had a photo to show off to you, but I think I have misplaced it.

As for my little friend, she was a pretty little girl with long brown hair. I remember that we used to play together in the school grounds, tossing around the colorful autumn leaves. After school, i would go to her place or she would come to my place and we’d mess up our mom’s rooms by jumping on the bed. Sometimes, I would put my mom’s dressing gown and we would play “lets pretend”. There’s a hilarious picture for this too, but it’s too embarassing to upload.

8

*me playing with the leaves

2. SD 10 Mataram

I remember these years as “the years of the needles”. We had the needles every year and I was always so terrified of them. My name was always last to be called and it was always enough of a time for the apprehension and fear to build into a frenzy. When my turn came, I would always cry and refuse to be called up front. The teacher always had to chase me around the room and grab me forcefully to let the doctor inject me with the scary needles.

I also remember waiting for dad to pick me up after school. I would buy the small treats they sold outside the school grounds like “es-kado”, “es-lilin”, and “gula-gula”. I would also make jewelry and decorations out of the leaves of the palm trees growing in the school garden. Sometimes my friends and I would also help the school keepers sweep the school grounds which were always full of dry leaves at the end of the day. It was our idea of being “helpful”. So we were frequently seen crouched down on the grounds, sweeping the leaves with a few dry twigs and sticks. I always came home dusty and dirty.

3. Conniston Primary School, Wollongong, Australia

It wasn’t easy being a small kid who knew little English and looked different from everyone else. All the kids were tall giants with pale skin who spoke in a strange tongue. I remember this one time where the kids were so fascinated by my “shortness” they compared me with one of the kindergarten students. They made us stand side by side. I was shorter. They thought it was hilarious. Me? I enjoyed the attention.

I also remembered being followed around by another new girl. She was very sensitive and it got on my nerves a lot because I was rather blunt and stubborn. She once cried because I didn’t give her the pencil I was using. It was one of the rare pencils in class which had an eraser on the tip. I told her I got it first. My teacher told me to give it her anyway to make her stop crying. I gave in and rolled my eyes at them. Even as a kid I was sarcastic, LOL.

4. Gwynnevile Public School, Wollongong, Australia

Gwynneville wasn’t a large school, nor was it a famous one. Nevertheless, it was my favorite school of all. I spent about 4 years there, from year 3 until graduation in year 6. We had mixed classes like 2/3R, 4/5/6H, and 5/6D. The letters stood for the different teacher’s initials. My favorite teachers were Mr. Dwyer and Mrs. Hunt.

Mr. Dwyer was my year 5 teacher. He was a middle-aged man with white hair and kind eyes. He always encouraged us to be the best we could be by appreciating all our abilities. He was the one who really motivated me to write. Sometimes, he would read out my stories in class, however outrageous they were. Then, he would type out my drafts and print them for me because I never had enough time to rewrite them in class. They were always too long (old habit).

Mrs. Hunt was my year 6 teacher. I think she was the best teacher in my school in terms of teaching. She often taught Math and, boy, was she good at teaching it. Learning Math was a joy in her class. Mrs. Hunt liked to read to us from children’s novels, making brilliant expressions to match the stories. Sometimes she would let us choose what we wanted to do during free time as a class. We’d play volleyball, soccer, T-ball, bingo, or even skipping rope. I think the chant for the skipping game went something like this:

“Down the Mississippi, if you miss a loop you’re out…”

Two people would turn the rope, one at each hand. Then the kids would line up at one side. The first person would jump in and keep jumping until the end of the chant. Then the next person would have to jump in without missing a loop, jump once, then skip out and line up at the other side, and so on. If someone misses or gets tangled in the rope, they’d have to sit out. Then the next person would jump in for the chant and so on. It’s a fun game and required us to be alert and precise. The first time I played it I always missed. I was terrified getting whipped by the rope or falling down. After a few games I got the hang of it and enjoyed it very much. I even managed to win once. The person who won was the last person left in line. Sometimes Mrs. Hunt would let the final 5 win and give them prizes. Usually they were vouchers for the canteen, stickers, or stamps. However, it was very difficult to win. The more people out, the faster you had to skip in and out of the rope and run around the people turning it. I remember that certain people in my class often won. They were really athletic. Some were gymnasts with small and agile bodies. The others were sprinters with nice long legs (envy).

Anyway, back to Mrs. Hunt. The thing I also liked about her was her look. She was really stylish, in an executive sense. She always wore blazers and clean-cut pants with matching colors. They were usually maroon or brown. She also had really nice nails. She changed her nail polish frequently and I was always excited to see how they’d look the next day. Because of her, I decided to take care of my own nails, growing them and decorating them with multicolored nail polish. I was ecstatic when she complimented me for them instead of scolding me and let me keep them as a sign of my creativity and fashion sense (laughs). I can’t imagine what my teachers in Indonesia would say (no offense, we are much more conservative here).

I followed many extracurricular activities there. I joined the school choir and got to perform in a beautiful concert hall with other schools every year. My family would come to watch and take pictures of us. I haven’t found the pictures yet to upload here.

I also volunteered to help gather the organic rubbish to make compost at the school. Every day, after the school bell rang for home time, I’d gather all the compost buckets at each class which were usually filled with fruit and vegetable scraps from the students’ lunch. Then I’d dump it in the big compost bucket in the school garden. It was disgusting sometimes. The giant bucket in the garden was full of worms, flies, grubs, and other creepy crawlies. I always hesitated before opening the lid, anticipating the smell and sight inside. However, it felt good to contribute in helping the environment. Besides, the teacher gave me and the other kids involved lots of merit for it (hehe).

I made lots of friends at this school from many different backgrounds. We made a gang and did everything together. We would share our lunches, hold parties, visit each other after school, and go to the mall together. We weren’t exactly the popular kids in school. Most of us were from another country, striving to fit in in a foreign school. Some of us were the kids who were picked on by the bullies for their differences. That’s why we stuck together. Our number and solidarity for each other scared the bullies away.

13

*me and my friends at Gwynneville

There are so many things I’d like to write about my school years: my gang of friends, school field trips, camp Berry and Burrendong (I think that what it was called), my first crush, competitions, festivals, parades. I have them all in my diary so that I would not forget. Some things weren’t mentioned in my diary, so I cherish every time the memory comes to visit me because I can’t remember everything all at once. As usual, there are triggers to bring them back, like this blog assignment. I thank Icha a lot for assigning it to me.

So, go and visit your memory lane guys! Spread this assignment and share your school tales!

I will assign this project to:

1. Blue Spy

2. Mbak Rani

3. Mbak Ninit

4. Kiky

5. Dewi Kharisma

Can’t wait to read your stories!

My New Blog

 

I made another blog on wordpress yesterday (yaaaaay!). It’s called “la galerie” which is french for “the gallery”. Its a place to exhibit many kinds of artwork, like drawings, designs, crafts, and sculptures. I made it because I knew a lot of my friends are really good at art and I think they needed more coverage and extra appreciation for it. Some have businesses and needed advertising. Why is it in french? Because I think France is the king of art among other countries, considering its history and art galleries and museums. Besides, I just like how it sounded (laughs).

userlay168974

It is still in construction though I already have some posts there. You can have a look, please, and tell me what you think. You can also be a contributor and exhibit your art there. Just check out the site www.lagalerie.wordpress2011.com. The practical procedures still need work (I have a lot to learn about wordpress), but just let me know if you are interested Winking smile.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My Food Corner

You did not see wrong. There’s no “Mom” in that tittle. I did not write it wrong either. This is really MY food corner.

My friend, Ratri, asked me when I’d be thinking about making my own food corner. Honestly, I doubted I ever would. I can’t cook very well. I only know how to make very simple meals and most of them are western meals, since I spent most of my childhood in Australia. Thus, I got accustomed to the western taste buds. I love Eastern food just as much though, no kidding. However, it’s harder to make, with all the combinations of spices and long cooking methods. I fear making any mistakes because the food would go to waste. Thus, I haven’t ventured down the Eastern food road much.

Anyway, this morning I felt like making my own breakfast again. I opened the fridge and was delighted to see my favorite ingredients in abundance. Inside it were cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, eggs, and butter. Other than that, bread, fruit, orange juice, and whole wheat crackers were neatly arranged on the kitchen table. There was also something new: sour cream. I let myself have a taste. Not bad. It would go great with the whole wheat crackers.

I looked around again and couldn’t make up my mind what to make. I could make cheesy toast again, but I preferred something healthier. My acne has been going crazy lately and there are so many spots on my face. I look like a pale cheetah (laughs). I could resort to the crackers and a banana but it would not make me full enough. Then I thought of the eggs. I wanted eggs. I wanted cheese too, and my vegies. I also wanted to devour the crackers and sour cream. I had to have fruit too.

So in the end I made a sandwich with fried egg, tomatoes, lettuce, and cheese. Then I put it on a big plate with three crackers on the side. Instead of putting some sour cream in a little plate or cup for dip, i just spread it on the top of the crackers to avoid too much washing later (lazy). Then I poured myself some orange juice in a glass cup.

It still wasn’t enough. I felt like I had to have something sweet for breakfast too. So I sliced three pieces of some pudding I made last night. I felt sorry for the three pieces of bread left over on the table (mom wasn’t back from shopping yet). If it stayed there any longer, it would get expired. So I tried something I hadn’t before. I made pudding.

I had watched a cooking show in the morning called “Barefoot Contessa” on the Asian Food Channel. Ina Garten, the host, made yummy-looking bread pudding out of loaves of bread and a custard mixture. It was too hard to get the ingredients to make the custard though. Therefore, I couldn’t make it. So I made do with jelly instead. I had tasted a chocolate jelly and bread pudding before. It was good. However, we didn’t have any chocolate jelly. I found green and yellow jelly in our kitchen cupboard instead.

I wanted to try making the pudding with coconut essence, like how my mom usually does. So I mixed in the green jelly (I decided yellow would look weird) and the coconut essence in a cooking pot plus some sugar and water. I put it on the stove and waited for it to boil. After that, I poured the mixture in a Tupperware container (we didn’t have any jelly molds) filled with layers of the bread. I waited for it to cool and put it in the fridge. I tried some a few hours later and… it worked! I was surprised it didn’t taste funny (at least to me, LOL). It looked pretty too. There were three layers of color. The bottom was the white bread, then the light-green-tinted coconut essence, and lastly a thin strip of green jelly.

Anyway, I served my breakfast and tried to arrange the food artistically. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do much to make it look presentable, but I took a picture anyway. Here it is!

Photo0110 - edit

I’m sorry I didn’t use prettier plates or have a vase of flowers in the background to make the picture better. This is as good as it gets for now. Nevertheless, I enjoyed my breakfast very much. I think it is a healthy and balanced meal with plenty of nutrition for my body. It tastes pretty good too. ^-^

Now I am reasonably full and energized with high spirits to face the day!

Have a nice day, everyone!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

My Mom’s Food Corner: Squid and Bitter Melon

 

Here are more dishes from my mom! The first is a concoction from one of my favorite seafood: Squid. The Indonesian name for this dish is Tumis Cumi Asam Pedas dengan Saus Kecap. In English, it is roughly translated as “Sweet and Sour Squid Stir-Fry with Soy Sauce”. Because it is an Indonesian dish, and our family’s dish, it is a bit spicy, as usual. I think chili and squid are a great combination! Here’s the picture:

clip_image001

I enjoy eating this with warm rice and fresh raw vegetables such as slices of cucumber and lettuce. It is a tasty home-made meal for lunch and dinner.

The second dish is called Gulai Pare Isi Daging. In English it is roughly translated to “Beef-Stuffed Bitter Melon Curry” or “Bitter Melon Curry with Beef Filling”. Right now my family is having a discussion about the name, hehehe… So I am just putting both names in this post.

Anyway the bitter melon is an acquired taste, if I may say so. Even so, it needs to be prepared in a special way to get it right. I have no idea how. What’s for sure is the cooked bitter melon isn’t supposed to taste too bitter. It is supposed to be a bit bitter, but in a nice way. Here’s the picture:

DSC00205

Anyway, I enjoy eating bitter melon, especially in this dish. The beef tastes mildly sweet and spicy, which combats the bitterness well. In the end, this dish teases the taste buds with the different flavors. Care to try the experience?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My “Explosive” Fears

 

I have a most radical and crazy imagination sometimes. I don’t know if it’s because of my seasonal OCD and ADD or whether it is because of some kind of forgotten trauma in the past (drama queen).

How do I describe this nonsensical fear? Well, I guess I can through singular examples. Let’s see…

I once had a large TV in my old dorm. I used to watch soap operas on it after work, as I was having my dinner. It was a routine activity. After a while, I got bored of the soap opera (most Indonesian soap operas are so cliché sometimes, I don’t even know why I bother, LOL). I resorted to watching stuff on the internet from my laptop. So the TV was neglected. Dust covered it for many months. After a while, I wanted to watch it again but I was scared to turn it on. Why? I thought that the dust had coated the hardware beyond compare. I thought that it would get to the wiring and block the smooth flow of electrical current. Then the hardware would get hot and it would explode. So I never turned it on, not until my friend decided to turn it on. I was anxious all the while it was on and couldn’t wait to turn off.

I thought of the same result when my laptop had its first fit. I have written about it in my previous post. I thought that the internal hardware would get hot with the noise and then my laptop would explode.
You know what I fear most from the explosion? The object would break into a million pieces in the explosion and the sharp pieces would come flying at me and shoot into my eyes, stab my eardrums, and pierce my skin. Then I would bleed to death (honestly, I don’t know why I torture myself with such a horrific scenario).

exploding-tv-247x300

The same fear applies to many other cases. If I watch the TV for too long I am afraid it would get too hot and explode. If I leave the computer on standby for too many nights in a row I am afraid it would get too hot and explode. If I talk on the phone for too long I am afraid it would get too hot and explode.

My friends say that I am crazy and unreasonable. If it were to happen, there would be very little probability. However, I dote on that probability like a prick. i don’t know when I’ll get over it. I wonder if it’s some kind of phobia, like my mom’s fear of kittens, my sister’s fear of grown cats, my little brother’s fear of cockroaches, my dad’s fear of eating a chicken’s neck (that is weird). However, my fear seems so systematic compared to theirs which are solely based on the fear of the object for no special reason. I’m starting to think I’m psychotic. LOL.

I have other anxieties too, if not fears. I always blow everything before I use it. I blow my spoon before I use it to eat then I wipe it with a tissue. I always blow on my food before I eat it, even if it isn’t hot. I even blow on my tissue before I use it to blow my nose. Why? Because I don’t like dust. I don’t like germs. I don’t like dirt. Somehow, my brain is making me believe that I can banish them by blowing on everything before I use it. It’s already a habit and sometimes I don’t even realize that I do it until my friend looks at me as if I were an alien and asks me what the heck am I doing.

I am one of the most consumptive users of tissue and tissue products. I need tissues, mostly to wipe everything (yes, I also wipe my utensils before I use it. I also wipe the table with it before I eat at public places. You never know.). I can never feel comfortable eating something or using something if it isn’t clean. I don’t like handkerchiefs because you have to use them over and over again even before you wash them. Or you would just have to use the side A side B theory. That doesn’t assure that the germs or dirt haven’t switched sides before I used them, right?

Yes, maybe I am insane. Maybe I really do have OCD apart from my hypothetically strewn ADD. However, my habits give me comfort and I haven’t seen any detrimental effects from them just yet. So I won’t seek for any treatment or therapy. I don’t need it yet.

Or maybe it’s just my imagination.

Oh, well. Let the imagination run wild!

Scream 1: Attack Of The Microphone

 

My laptop is pretty new. I got it with my friend about half a year ago at Mangga 2. It’s an Asus Netbook, EeePC 1015PEM. I chose it for its durability, with a 10-hour-long battery, dual core CPU, and super-light weight. It’s pretty convenient to bring everywhere. It’s got a slick black design, part of the seashell series, so the material is kind of glossy and metallic but light. At first, I wanted to get the new and colorful Acer netbooks. They had a choice of blue, green, pink, and purple covers with white interiors. I wanted the green one. However, when we compared the prices and the specifications, Asus won.

Anyway, I usually use it for working, writing, and browsing. It doesn’t have to go through many ordeals. I don’t like playing computer games, I can’t code and make programs, I don’t fuss with the configurations, and I don’t have multiple user accounts. You get the point.

What I also like to do with my laptop when I have free time is make covers. I love downloading karaoke versions of my favorites songs on youtube and then sing along to them. I record it then just stash it up in my private collection. It’s not for public consumption. Just a hobby of mine.

In the meantime, I take care of my laptop pretty well. I update my anti-virus regularly. I pay attention to PC notifications. I clean it well. I’ve never had much trouble with it.

One day, as I was making a cover of Avril Lavigne’s “4 Real” (for the hundredth time because I could never get it right and I am a damn perfectionist), I noticed that the laptop microphone was picking up a lot of static. My bedroom fan wasn’t on and there was no other noise to be heard in the house. I recorded a few words to test it out and, yup, there was a lot of static in the recording results too.

So then I wanted to hear how I sounded while I was recording, just like how I could hear myself talking into the headset microphone sometimes, if I wanted. I never tried that with the laptop microphone. So this is what I did:

clip_image001

Then I clicked apply. That was the stupidest and most regretful thing that I have done in my entire life. It was the darkest moment of my life (exaggeration).

The laptop literally screamed at me. It was like the sound of a tortured animal, a combination of a howl and a screech. It was an ear-splitting and deafening high-pitched sound. I panicked.

The cursor froze. I couldn’t undo the settings. I couldn’t click anything. Then I couldn’t move the cursor. So I did what I always did with my last laptop when it decided to hang. I yanked out the battery. It shut up.

The next moments were scary and frustrating. I shoved the battery back in. I turned it on. SCREAM. Battery out. Scratch head. Battery in. Laptop on. SCREAM. Battery out.

I did the above several times in a row until I called it quits. I was afraid that if I let it scream for too long, it would explode. If not, I’d at least bust the speakers.

So I did what I usually did if I ever had a laptop error. I contacted Blue Spy. He is an IT whiz and I always ask him for free advice on IT stuff, which I mostly don’t understand, hehe…

I contacted him via chat and told him my laptop was having a fit. After a brief chat about the condition, he told me to try toggling the settings via safe mode. So I turned it back on and chose the safe mode, something I usually ignored as I turned on the laptop after a forced shut-down. Then I got to meet the simple and minimalist view of the safe mode for the first time. I searched the control panel for the recording settings but, alas, they weren’t there. I tried system restore too but I then realized I never made a restore point. There was no default restore point either. I tried my luck and turned it on again. It screamed at me again. I was devastated.

Then Blue Spy started talking gibberish, something about specific procedures in restoring the system. He was ready to give me a step-by-step by chat (bless him) but I couldn’t understand. So I tried something else I had just thought of. I didn’t want to bust my laptop speakers, but my headset speakers… would they be busted?

I plugged in my headset and turned on my laptop. Silence. Golden Silence. The cursor had decided to start moving on my command too. The first thing I did was turn down the volume. It was set on 100 before. No wonder. Then I unchecked the “listen to this device” box, clicked apply, and waited. After waiting a few moments, I unplugged the headset.

Silence.

Praise Allah! I sighed with relief. I abruptly and most unceremoniously told Blue Spy, in the middle of his chat, that I had fixed it and then thanked him for his help.

I checked my laptop speakers. Fine. I checked my headset speakers. Fine. A huge sigh of relief.

I promised myself that I’d use more common sense when changing any settings next time. I didn’t have any desire to continue doing my cover that day. However, I did find out what caused so much static in my laptop microphone.

clip_image003

I felt like an egg head. Haha… So simple. I cranked down the volume and boost and my microphone was fine again.

So, in the end, I found a rather simple but dumb way to solve my laptop problem, although sacrificing my headset in the process. Luckily, it proved to be immune to the attack.

Was it dumb luck? Oh, well. The point is, I was lucky this time. Knowing me, I am enough of a klutz to be a hazard to myself and my surroundings every day. I hope I have more luck to spare.


Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My Mom’s Food Corner

 

My mom is a great cook. I pride myself in having a mom that can cook really well – even if I can’t cook something as simple as rice to save my life. However, I reassure myself with the fact that she was as clueless as me before she married. So, I think I can catch-up. For now, I’ll take the liberty to share some of the pictures of the fabulous things she cooked today.

Here is the delicious Ayam Bakar Kayu Manis. In English, its cinammon-spiced roasted chicken.

Photo0076

I love roasted chicken, especially if it is spicy. However, this is a milder cuisine suited for a more general taste. It’s great for special occassions like wedding receptions, gatherings, and reunions.

Next is my family favorite: Chocolate Brownies. Here are the pictures to tease your tastebuds.


Photo0092

Photo0095Photo0094

These are brownies with chocolate icing and chocolate sprinkles. Its a triple chocolate feast. I love it. Wanna try? (hehe)

 

Photo0099

Photo0100Photo0101

These ones are brownies with melted dark chocolate icing and crushed almond topping. Simply a chocolate-lovers delight.

Both brownies are made from the same base. They just have different toppings. However, the topping does compliment the original taste exceptionally and different toppings give different nuances. I think the first one is more “party” and fun, while the second is elegant ad romantic.

Brownies are also great for parties. My mother went to a party and bought some samples for the guests and they were instantly a favorite for adults and kids alike. Orders from others came straight away. But the recipe is still a secret. Care to order too? ^-^

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Cure for Constipation

 

I am constipated. Yes, I am unable to flow at my usual rate because there’s something blocking the way.

This may sound disgusting. No, I am not having any trouble in the bathroom. I am having trouble executing my writing ideas. They’re crammed in my head, too much of them at the same time, yet I can’t execute any of them. So my blog is neglected, my stories unfinished, and who knows when I’m gonna write another poem or prose to add to my shabby collection. Let alone the freelance article-writing jobs that are in queue. Deadlines are looming, yet I can’t find a laxative for my thoughts.

So what did I do? Yes… I stared at my blank page and started to type anything – slowly, but sure. Then the ideas just came flowing through my fingers.

NOT (laughs).

You know what I really did? I opened my youtube account and checked the latest installment from the handsome and hilarious Shane Dawson. It was something about a Christmas treat, if I’m not mistaken. It wasn’t too interesting and didn’t feed my hunger for amusement.

shane

So, being quite disappointed in my Shane, I browsed for other options. I remember my sister showing me a video of a funny Canadian-Indian man named Russell Peters who did stand-up comedy. My internet connection was quite fast at that moment so I could load the videos easily. The first one I watched was entitled Russell Peters - Beating Your Kids. My first impression was: What kind of sadistic argument would he make fun of here? Beating kids? That was not the fashion anymore.

I watched the video anyway and found myself LOL-ing in at 2 am. This Indian is extra funny (don’t mean to be racist there, I like Bollywood). He starts by comparing the “white people’s” and the “Indian people’s” style of parenting. The victims who supplied his examples were his dad and a person referred to as “Paul’s Mother”. I don’t know who the heck Paul is. He said it was his childhood friend: an obnoxious kid who liked to swear at his parents.

Well, he argued that when he was a kid, a good beating was something he would get every time he did something wrong. His dad would stare down at him (he acted his out) and, with his distinct Indian accent, say, “Somebody’s gonna get a hurt real bad”. The audience thought this was really funny and laughed and clapped simultaneously.

Then Russell would argue more about how scared he would be and how he would never go against his father. Then he compared himself with Paul, who addresses his mother with a “f*** you, b**ch!” and rarely forgets to show off his middle finger. With a smile and shrug, his mother just says: “what am I gonna do with him?” (something like that, I forgot the exact words).

One day, Russell and Paul play together and Paul says that the way to reply to your parents was to say what he usually said to his mom. So Russell goes home and says “f*** you, b**ch!” to his dad with a hilariously gleeful and proud expression on his face. His dad’s answer was, “do I look like Paul’s mother?”.

He got another “somebody’s gonna get a hurt real bad” from his dad and got a beating. The audience loved it (what a sick audience we have here. I am included).

So he went to Paul again and told his story. Paul said that his Mom wouldn’t ever do it to him. The easiest way to scare her off was to say that he was going to call Child Services. She wouldn’t want to be put in jail because of that.

So Russell goes back home and does some mischief. I think he swears at his dad again. The dialogue went something like this:

Dad: “Somebody’s gonna get a hurt real bad.”

Russell: “I’ll call child services.” (Smugly)

Dad: “Oh really?” (Unbelieving)

Russell: “Yes.”

Dad: “Fine, I’ll go get the phone.”

Russell: (Panicking, not knowing the number) “But they’ll arrest you.”

Dad: “Yes, it’ll be trouble. But they would take 23 minutes to get here. In that time, somebody’s gonna get a hurt real bad.”

Russell was dumbstruck. His trick had backfired. The audience laughed all the way through and applauded.

So Russell kept saying, “White people, beat your kids” just to crack the audience up and then made more assertions towards his background and culture. It was really funny. People reading this should go check it out if they haven’t. It was an old video, uploaded in 2008, I think. Thus, he has been doing it for years. Where have I been all this time?

There are loads of videos about his shows. He has a tendency to make fun of all the races. However, he isn’t mean. They’re all honest and true facts, and he does it nicely with a kind sense of humor.

However, I do warn viewers who are more rigid about the racism issues. This isn’t for the faint of heart. Coarse language and sexual references are also used, so this is definitely for mature audiences.

 

russel

 

Anyway, Russell helped me cure the constipation by lifting my mood. Suddenly I had the will to write and out came the ideas. So I’m dedicating this blog entry to him.

Thanks, Russell! ;)

Monday, November 7, 2011

One: Vertigo

 

5554894498_980910050c

“Eyes and ears and mouth and nose,

mouth and nose,

mouth and nose.

Eyes and ears and mouth and nose.

We all clap hands together!”

The nursery song rang through Lisa’s ears very clearly as she stood in front of the mirror. She touched the contours of her dark eyes, full lips, and pointed nose. She mouthed the lyrics softly and closed her eyes.

Like a thick fog, a mild darkness surrounded her, forming a cocoon enclosing her body. Rays of early sunlight pushed their way into the walls of the cocoon. There were glimpses of faint light in that darkness, followed by splotches of color here and there. Dark lines rippled in and out of the dark, like sea snakes dancing in the black waters of the deepest oceans. The Ocean. Yes, that’s where she was. In a cocoon shaped underwater vehicle sinking through the trenches of the ocean.

She kept feeling her face. She saw something appear in her ocean. The two eyes. The mouth. The Nose. It was creating a face before her. Her face. There was a softness in her eyes. They were kind and calm and reserved. She looked back at the face she knew so well and smiled.

They said she had her mother’s eyes, pretty brown eyes that emanated warmth and compassion. They were eyes that sparkled when she laughed. They were eyes that were honest - and innocent, like those of a child. Age could not deprive them of youth, but supplied them with wisdom.

The two eyes stared back at her. Her mother stared back at her. There was a characteristic look upon them. It was the look she wore when Lisa had done something good, like the time she got straight A’s at school or when she won the talent competition. It was also the look she wore when she was listening to her story about how she fell in love with the boy next door. It was open and understanding.

The face smiled at her. It was her smile and her mother’s smile. A dimple dug itself into her left cheek. Then the mouth split open, revealing an array of white teeth, and it transformed into her father’s smile. This smile was wide and full of merriment.

Suddenly, the splotches of color around the cocoon started to move faster, appearing and disappearing rapidly. It was magenta, blue, and green all at once. Then they swirled into a frenzy while the snakes swum in and out of the walls, glowing like bright neon lights. It was chaos. The sea had gone. But the face remained, smiling widely at her.

A low rumble started to sound, shaking the inner walls of the cocoon. The sound waves bounced off the walls echoing the noise. It was cacophony and ecstasy at the same time. It was painful. But strangely, there was something exciting about the animated vertigo.

The face started to laugh. With its laugh, the cocoon shook uncontrollably, spinning wildly. It was both earthquake and cyclone at the same time. More color’s appeared from a volcanic eruption. The face disappeared in a whirl of color, but its laugh remained… and the song came back…

“Eyes and ears and mouth and nose, mouth and nose, mouth and nose…

The song repeated itself and the storm persisted. The tempo multiplied itself, peaking in a crescendo, while the volume increased. Amidst it all, a small voice uttered a plea for help. However, it was soon drowned by the sound of clapping. Then there was laughter. Who was it? Beneath the shelter of her eyelids, she could not recognize the high pitched and slightly sinister laugh that reverberated across the walls.

As the curiosity began to engulf her, a blinding light appeared amongst the chaos. It pierced the current of colors, forming a straight white line in the middle of the wall. The spinning came to a halt and everything exploded into a final burst of color. A thundering bang followed shortly afterwards.

Lisa opened her eyes.

She could see only white. She was in a bright mist.

The mist dissolved slowly. She could see the silhouettes of the objects in her room coming to focus. First, it was her bed. Then her desk. Her cupboard, coat stand, and the rest of the contents in her room followed soon after.

Lisa was sitting down on the floor of her room. Everything was back to normal. But it was also alien.

She knew she had just experienced another seizure. It was getting more frequent. It was real and definite, like falling asleep and eating. Thus the time in between the attacks were getting slimmer. It got difficult to determine what was supposed to be normal and what wasn’t.

They happened often, more so when she was alone. The self-therapy she had tried didn’t seem to work. Maybe it was because there was no sure reason of how it came to be.

“It could be stress,” they said.

“She’s too tired.”

“She just likes the attention.”

“There’s something terribly wrong with that girl.”

People didn’t know how to regard her illness. It was not a normal headache – she’d exchange it for that any day. She never saw a therapist. She knew she wasn’t crazy. It wasn’t an act. But some people doubted her.

She stood up and looked at herself in the mirror. There she was, same as ever. She was moderately tall for a twenty year old, but rather scrawny. Her skin was pale and looked even more ghostly beneath the black clothes that covered her body. She didn’t like her current reflection. They said she used to be prettier, healthier. She wanted to look away from the sight in front of her.

Instead, Lisa took a step forward, and another, until she was an inch from the 6-foot mirror. She could see her face very clearly now. Her lips were dry and chapped. Her cheeks were sunken pits resting on each side of her face. And her eyes… There was something new, something strange about her eyes. She leaned in closer towards the mirror…

Panic closed in on her. She couldn’t comprehend what she was seeing. How could it be? She rubbed her eyes and looked again. The reflection didn’t change.

Her heart raced and she took several staggering steps backwards, distancing herself from the mirror.

 

In the depths of her soul, a small voice cried out.

 

Those eyes. Those eyes aren’t mine!

 

 

- end of first segment -

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Breaking Point 1#

Frustration

It's not giving up...

Just tired of accomodating to the majority's perception of success and achievement.

Bored of the paradigm, and the bureaucracy, and the unwritten regulations that defines whether or not you've succeeded, whether or not you deserve to be prided and respected, whether or not you deserve to be credited for the small but meaningful things you do in life...

Who's to say whether or not you have the right to alleviate from the traditional expectancies, postmodern ways - that have even proved to be a failure of defining one's honor and dignity...

So it's not giving up.

It's just an ounce of resentment towards the "tolerance" that one has to deal with.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Coretan Kecil untuk Lomba Puisi


tema: kesetiaan


Sejumput Kata Sederhana: Kesetiaan


ada sebutir bening di matamu
saat ia katakan: "aku disini"
karena kau tak pernah tahu apa makna "ditemani"
atau "aku ada"

karena kesedihan itu bagai selimut
yang menggenggam erat setiap ruas ditubuhmu
hingga kau remuk, hilang bentuk
dan mereka tak mengenalimu lagi

karena amarah itu seperti bau
yang merampas baumu sendiri
hingga kau tak punya bau, mereka mencium baumu yang lain
dan mereka jijik padamu

akhirnya mereka pergi. mereka "tidak ada". "tidak menemani".

hanya dia yang tersisa
perlahan mengupas selimut yang menempel di tubuhmu
mengusir bau itu, membersihkan jiwamu
hingga kau kembali menjadi kamu yang semula
walau bekas-bekas dari sebuah peristiwa kapan hari itu masih tersisa
di rambutmu
di sela-sela kukumu
di kulitmu

tapi ia berkata "aku ada"
lalu ia berdiri disampingmu
sehingga kau mengerti apa itu "ditemani"

bening itu mengalir
melewati mata,
hidung,
pipi,
lalu jatuh pada
senyuman di bibirmu.

Kau tak sendiri lagi, kawan.
 
Loyalty2
 
*untuk kawanku yang spesial

Home

 

About 7 years ago, when I was in junior high school, I was forced to enter an English speech competition. I had a case of the nerves back then so I did not like the idea of speaking in front of so many people. Plus, it was about a week before the competition when they told me I had to enter. The combined force of my teachers and parents in the end made it clear that I couldn’t get out of this one.

The competition was held by a domestic furniture company that had opened a new branch in my hometown. The theme was, if I remember correctly, “My Dream House” (or was it my ideal house?). But I do really remember the house part. “House” not “Home”.

So there I was making a speech about wanting a house with 2 or 3 floors, elaborate interior designs, complete with a swimming pool. We were talking about a dream house, weren’t we? But in the end I stated that the most important thing about it was that it had to be comfortable and cozy. I had to enjoy living in it too.

So I went to the competition and… I didn’t win (haha). I wasn’t too surprised. My manner wasn’t great and I was still holding on to the text (I hadn’t had time to memorize it properly). However, I was shocked to find that the first and second winners had amazingly similar speeches and they were talking about a dream home, not a dream house. Their speeches talked about how their homes needn’t be big, but it should be filled with family love and care etc. A touching speech, yes, but predictable (LOL, I’m being harsh, I’m sorry).

Anyway, I got over the loss quite quickly, since I never wanted to compete in the first place. But I was annoyed at the theme’s choice of words. I don’t mean to be a sore loser but honestly, if they wanted a speech about the perfect home, my speech would’ve been so different.

frog-speech

 

***

To me, a house is different from a home. “House” is just a technical term for a place to stay. Just a structure symbolized with a triangle on top of a square. It could be made out of bricks or wood or even metal. It could be big or small, fancy or simple. It doesn’t emit any sense of emotions for me. I could say… it’s just a house.

But a “home” encloses a cacophony of emotions and feelings. It’s both shelter and sanctuary. It’s a place where you feel attached to and gives you a sense of belonging.

You can call a house yours once you buy it or when somebody gives it to you. But you can’t buy a home. Plus, the whole concept of its ownership is more complicated than a bunch of paperwork.

My family and I have moved to plenty of places throughout my life. We have moved both inside the country and outside of the country. So we have had to let go of our houses repeatedly. I used to think that we were letting go of our homes, my home.

I had a rough time getting over selling our house in Mataram. We had lived for nearly 10 years there. We had just finished renovating it from a small one-storied house to a medium sized two-storied house. We had a nice garden and a yard big enough for parties and gatherings. The house became a witness to many events: my childhood, my teenage life, my family feuds, my friendships, my relationships… So when we had to move and sell it, I felt like I was losing the history and the memories. I had lost my home.

It was hard to adjust to the new place. It was not only different, it was in another country. I felt like an alien. I thought I could never call it home. I missed my old house badly.

 

home_icon

 

Time went by and a lot of events took place. They were the kind of events that made you realize that family was so important, so vital in life. They were events that made you realize that in times of great trouble or despair there is nowhere better to be than where your family is. They are the beings that make up your sanctuary: a place where you can feel safe and calm.

So after one and a half years, I could finally call our new place my home. I can finally miss our new house, my new room, our petite garden, and the monochromatic walls. Everyone who makes it a home is there.

We haven’t lost the history or the memories. We’ve just brought them along to our new place. And we’re ready to add some more.

 

***

Special-Moments,-A-Lifetime-of-Memories

 

Philosophically, there is nothing wrong about something new. Change is needed sometimes. Dynamics in life make life itself interesting. Moving on is essential.

The best part is, we can look forward to the great chances and possibilities yet to come.

Savor it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Quote of the Day (3)

il_570xN.163888415

“Oh Allah… When I lose hope because my plans have come to nothing, please help me remember that your love is always greater than my disappointment and your plans for my life are always better than my dreams. Ya Allah, help me to remember more and more often. Amiin.” (ProudToBeMoslemSite)

Muse

conversations

 

Searching….

Result: Nothing.

I can’t find you. Its either you’re hiding. Or you’re lost. Or you’re avoiding me. Or maybe you don’t exist?

What is it you’re searching for, dear?

Answers.

What else?

Hope. Strength. Wisdom. Faith. Perseverance.

Of course they exist. You’ll find them.

Maybe they don’t. Not for me, anyway.

What makes you think so?

Because I’ve been searching for them all this time and I still haven’t found them.

Be patient.

Easy for you to say.

Why do you say that?

Because you don’t feel. You don’t know. And you don’t exist.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Confessions of a 22-Year-Old

On June, 18th I woke up feeling great. It was my birthday. It was just the normal childish feeling that engulfs you when you know you’ve passed another year, you are older, and in a few moments everyone is going to say their best wishes for you. You feel special.

On June, 19th, I couldn’t sleep because I was thinking about how on earth I could feel so great when I was turning older and my time was running out. My life just flashed in front of me: my failed ambitions, my square job, my deficit income. And I just cried my heart out, thinking about my choices and the time wasted, wishing that I could go back.

The truth is I almost hate my current occupation. I am still a trainee at the local government’s tax office. No much of anybody yet. My academic status is only from a diploma program (no offence guys). The monthly compensation I get from the government is just enough to cover my housing rent, but for food and expenses… well I’m still burdening my parents and family.

I stared into the future and saw the cramped possibilities. I could go to college again, two years later. An older me – that’s unappealing. But what about marriage? What about my family? Yes, I do have girlish fantasies. I always wanted to settle down at home and be a good wife. Unfortunately, the two ambitions were mutually exclusive for the projected period of time.

I always wanted to study my heart out in something I love and am passionate about, like literature and philosophy. I wanted to study abroad. I wanted to write and teach. Or go to law school and be a great judge. In the process, I wanted to keep inspiring people. But that night, I thought, “I am running out of time. And youth is escaping me”.

Back then, my school days were promising. I worked pretty hard. I got good grades. My teachers gave me support and plenty of assuring compliments. A kid like me thought innocently that they were the promises of a bright and exciting future.

Then my thoughts got back to the details of work. The mound of files. The untidy desks. The cramped workspace. And worst of all, the current institution forced upon me that was last on my choice list: the Tax Ministry. Dear God, I’m still not sure if tax is even legal in my religion. Worst of all is the unreliable system that is prone to so many atrocities. I don’t want to get stuck there. It’s already hard now. What would it be like in the future?

I was slightly ashamed of myself for the uncharacteristic complaining and pathetic crying. But I thought what the heck, yesterday was my birthday and I needed this time for myself. So there I was, sobbing to my best friend about my disappointment in my life and wanting to give up. I let myself be swallowed with the emotions. He tried to talk me out of the self-indulgence and gave me advices: “just live with it for a while”. “You can catch up later”. “Think of it as phase or stepping stone towards your dreams”. But you know what I ungratefully said? I told him to shut up. Haha… I already knew all those things. I told myself those things every day. Then I told him that at that moment I wanted to whine and be selfish, just for a while… And he let me (God bless him).

I continued thinking about how I desperately wanted to drop everything and start again with my ambitions. I could go to university again. I was sure I could do it. But on the other hand, I thought about how much time and money had been spent on my account and how much my parents had sacrificed. And it wasn’t just my parents; the government had been paying for my education, ensuring my job, and paying my salary from the taxpayer’s money. And I don’t think that anyone could guarantee that they were willing considering the fact that their money could’ve gone to other personal benefits.

I sighed. Why wasn’t the thought enough to console me? It only made me feel guilty. But it succeeded in shutting me up, at least.

***

A week later, I was sitting on my bed, sighing pathetically at the doctor’s bill from an appointment I just had the night before. I had been absent from work for almost a week because of a complication of illnesses (I prefer not to mention). I hated that I had to visit the doctor again. It was the fifth (sixth? I honestly forgot) time this year. The numbers on the bill were outrageous. But I had no choice since permission for an absence of more than 3 days required a note from the doctor in order to be valid. I also cursed silently to think about the current sanction for these absences: 5% of your monthly salary. Per day.

So folks, in Indonesia, the government punishes you for being sick with the same tariff whether you have a doctor’s note or not. They cut your salary when you might’ve been sick from working for their majesties butts and you have to pay for the doctor’s bills and the expensive unsubsidized meds in order to get well for the sake of working for them. Well okay, it is reasonable to not get paid for the days you don’t work for, but please cut us some slack.

Meanwhile, the rest of my beloved colleagues are talking about remuneration and how it is so grand and how they love the respected SMI for it (a strange reason to love her). And while some of us are trying to cope and be satisfied with the current conditions, they are busy posting in the social network, whining and rambling about how it’s so unfair that GAPOK hasn’t been given to them. That their housing costs 50-65% 0f the monthly compensation and the rest isn’t enough to cope with. And that they are sick of the false rumors of its arrival and so they’re sick of waiting… bla, bla, bla… We haven’t even been allegedly acknowledged as PNS but we’re already asking for a sooner payment for of our work. Go figure.

Hm…

Suddenly I felt ashamed of my own whining. Hey, I’ve been strong enough to cope. Why give up now?

I remembered all the good things. All the friends I made, STANEC, AKSARA… all the things that I couldn’t have had without this bumpy climb.

***

On June, 25th a text message appeared in my inbox from my junior:

“Mb..bsok final debate mnicomp nya.. we do really hope u’ll come. pagi kok..thanks a lot.

And that message made me spirited again. I remembered the valuable times adjudicating these spirited debaters, about what an honor it was to be asked for help by them. I remembered the “tumpeng” they made for my birthday last week. I remembered how they always listened attentively and gave me the overwhelming respect I’m not even sure I deserve.

Then there were the other marvelous hang-outs I had with the EXCOMIN, the late nights at McD’s, the heart-to-heart talks… priceless.

I also remembered all the competitions, the ceremonies, and the events I experienced during my time at STAN, between the school tasks and hard work I was obliged to complete to get me here now and I thought… things aren’t so bad at all.

Then I had a revelation of the things I used to see, not so long ago. About some things I had forgotten.

“There is more to life than meets the eye. We won’t always get what we want, but there are treats along the way. Enjoy the process. You might find that your dreams have already come true”.

There’s a saying that sometimes you can see an ant across the road, but you can’t see an elephant right in front of you (that’s not the exact transliteration but it’s something like that). The quoted words above have been written on a piece of colored paper, stuck on the wall by my bedside. I stuck them there months ago. Go figure.

***

I always wanted to be a teacher. In essence, I just wanted to help others learn. I realize I have done that and am still doing that at least in 30% of my time by giving lessons periodically and coaching for STANEC.

I opted to be a judge. In essence, I just wanted to be the one with the authority to judge. I realize I have done that and am still doing that in at least 15% of my time, every week, by adjudicating for STANEC. It’s totally rewarding (not entirely in the materialistic sense, of course).

I dreamed of inspiring people. I hope I have done that. And I still wish to do that, through the power of words that I am so fond of, in both speech and writing.

I just forgot how to be thankful. Lack of gratitude blinds you. Now that I remember, I can see that.

Everything is great again.

Everything is going to be okay.

***

“For you don’t have to be a musician to play music. You don’t have to be a teacher to help others to learn. Cherish the time you have, use it well, and achieve as much as you can.”

26th June 2010

4:06 am

My room.

 

nasi-tumpeng

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Quote of The Day (2)

“My religion is not a clothing that I can wear until I'm bored, mix and match it with other clothes, and throw it away when I'm done with it. It doesn't suddenly change style to adapt to the era, nor does it wear away and die. I can't wear it to just any party. So I'll proudly wear it for the "party" You created it for.”

26high

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

prosa: balada proletariat



6a01156e650ae8970c0134874e6ec1970c-800wi
sejenak kau pandangi langit yang membentang luas diatasmu. langit itu tak lagi biru. seketika kau ingin merasakan kedamaian itu sebentar saja. namun ada yang keliru dengan berita yang sampai padamu. entah keliru atau mereka sekedar merayumu, membuatmu percaya bahwa semuanya baik-baik saja.

kau lihat awan yang berwarna kelabu. bukan putih, seperti yang kau idam-idamkan, seperti yang mereka katakan. karena itu memang hanya bualan mereka tentang keadaan yang ada. atau setidaknya mereka memutarbalikkan fakta tentang apa yang seharusnya dan tidak seharusnya. agar kau merasa senang dan percaya bahwa semuanya baik-baik saja.

lalu hawa panas itu menyelimutimu. tidak seperti hangatnya pelukan dari keluarga yang berkumpul di antah berantah, sesuatu yang nyaris kau lupakan. sudah terlalu lama kau tak kembali. karena mereka menjamin bahwa apa yang dibutuhkan sudah ada buatmu dan keluargamu. maka dengan santainya kau pergi ke negeri orang, mencari sesuap nasi dan segenggam berlian untuk kau bawa pulang.

tapi kau pulang untuk menemukan bahwa tidak ada yang menyambutmu. langit tak lagi biru. nafasmu sesak dengan aroma-aroma yang tidak sedap. entah itu bau amis dari maksiat mereka yang mengaku wakil rakyat. atau bau keringat proletariat yang sudah sekian lama membanting tulang di pinggir jalan, atau kolong-kolong jembatan karena menara-menara tinggi itu tak mungkin diperuntukkan bagi mereka. belum lagi darah yang sudah tumpah. dan juga tangis yang sudah lama mengering.

kau tak mengerti lagi apa yang mereka sebut sebagai “keadilan sosial” atau “permusyawaratan perwakilan”. yang jelas bukan lagi seperti yang mereka ajarkan kepadamu saat kau masih menjadi anak ingusan yang sering tertidur di bangku paling belakang. saat pak guru menjelaskan tentang pancasila, kedaulatan negara, dan kesejahteraan rakyat. bahkan sekarang kau temukan bahwa pancasila sudah berubah. tak lagi diilhami bhinekka tunggal ika. mungkin tak lagi “panca”. dan tak lagi mengenal tuhan.

kau sadari bahwa sesuap nasi dan segenggam berlian yang kau bawa pulang tak cukup untuk impian sederhanamu untuk hidup bersama sanak saudara. karena makan 3 kali sehari pun menjadi barang mewah. kau harus menurunkan standar kemewahan yang semula berupa motor, mobil, dan rumah karena inflasi-deflasi yang tak karuan. padahal mereka bilang ekonomi sudah stabil. standar hidup sudah naik. dan kau tak perlu khawatir. karena langit itu akan semakin biru.

***

lama kau pandangi langit itu. menahan sesak di dadamu dan panas yang membakar kulitmu. disana langit itu berujung, menyentuh bumi yang sudah tak lagi hijau. namun sampai kini kau masih menaruh harapan pada janji-janji mereka. bahwa suatu saat nanti, langit akan kembali biru. awan akan kembali putih. dan kau dapat menghirup udara sejuk kedamaian.
 
kau akan menunggu detik-detik kemenangan itu. walau kemenangan itu hanya sesaat.