Archive for April, 2012

Update

Hello again.

Life has been hectically hectic in the last few weeks, but I don’t think I can/should tell much here, other than this involved me camping in the lab for a few days and reversing my active schedule, being active at night and dormant in the morning. My friend cum rival [Koh Eon] called this “creating one’s own jetlag”. Another thing, the word “[capalang]” has been very familiar to my ear. In Indonesia, we call it “seksi sibuk”.

For these reasons, among a few others, I have been quite inactive on Facebook. I have not been in a mood to have lengthy discussions about pointless, trivial stuffs, although admittedly, I have a number of questions as well as cynical remarks in my mind. This includes questions about another perspective about things which recently happened in the Indonesian embassy in Germany, about our vice president’s statement on loudspeakers in Indonesian mosques, about politics in campus, and many others. Albeit me stating things here, please do not bother to mention things about them, lest my ignoring your comments.

For leisure, I have gone to the city a few times in the last one week. I, Koh Eon, and two other labmates KMD and AC went to a [ramen championship] in Bugis. It says that the chefs are among the famous in Japan, coming from the corners of Hakata to Sapporo, so the taste of the meals must be authentic and of a high standard.  These chefs are competing with each other to find whose stalls are the most wanted. I tried spicy tsukemen, which, unlike ramen, has the noodle and the soup served separately. Well it was quite nice, but not in my best list. Certainly it must be quite hard for Indonesians to appreciate delicacies of other nations. At about 15 SGD per serving, it might be comparable to mid-range restaurants in Singapore. I don’t know how this compares to restaurants in Japan.

Two days ago I and Koh Eon had a kopdar with [Felicia] and her friend, initial F (?), in Chinatown, Singapore. You can see some photos of us in Koh Eon’s photo album.

Among the blogs I newly discover is [100 Reasons NOT to Go to Grad School]. Another demotivational blog. Some points in it pierce my heart so deep (the use of an adjective, instead of an adverb, is deliberate). Indeed the most elite universities are always mostly filled by those graduates of Ivy League and Oxbridge, so as an underperforning student of a young university, my inferiority complex and worry about my future raised again when I read it. [One commentator] even went as far as, “If you can’t get into a top grad program, what makes you think you can get a top job? Reality check, people!” Although, well, yes and no. This might be statistically true. However, having got their PhD degrees for arguably less internationally known universities, some professors, like Hiroshi Ishii and Pattie Maes, manage to teach and do research in globally famous universities, like MIT’s Media Lab in their case. At the end, it depends on what kind of paths you want to take. Let’s not discuss about my situation with respect to this idea. Anyway, there are two other things. One, I can’t help being confused when the writer argue about salary. Indeed if you want to earn much money, you work for bank or oil companies, not as a medieval English literature researcher. Two, I think everything there is mentioned from the point of view of an American, which might be applicable to other people from other developed countries. However, if you are unlucky enough to be born in third-world countries, it is very unlikely for you to list down Stanford or MIT or Cambridge as a university you realistically want to get enrolled at after your graduation from high school, let alone teaching in world class universities, and therefore teaching in a globally second or third class university is already good enough. We just didn’t have such luxury, which sucked. This also motivates me to go and settle in another country, so that my descendants, if I ever find my rare-breed soulmate, have better opportunities than me.

Enough of this rage.

Lastly, to end this post, here is a picture of Angela Gossow of Arch Enemy. Hot enough for a lady, I often imagine her hissing like a snake above me.

Angela Gossow (via Wikipedia)

Angela Gossow (via Wikipedia)

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Passion and Relation

Baru saja malam kemarin berita itu saya terima. Mana saya bakal tahu kalau [orang yang pernah saya salami tiga tahun lalu itu] akan mati. Matinya pun mati dibunuh. [Dibunuhnya pun dibunuh yang pakai disiksa dahulu].

Kabar dari kawan, beliau orang kritis terhadap pemerintahnya dan kaum ekstrimis. Memang belum ketahuan siapa penyiksanya. Tapi menjadi kritis tentu saja berarti cari musuh, karena bakal banyak orang yang tidak suka. Belum lagi isu bahwa karena beliau secara religius orang “mayoritas tapi minoritas”.

Beliau padam meninggalkan istri dan tiga anak. Saya jadi merefleksikannya ke diri saya yang masih sok nggalau secara ngeksistensialis ini. Konon kabarnya kalau sampeyan kawin dan beranak, fokus sampeyan harus kepada mereka? Bagaimana kalau passion kita membuat diri kita selalu dalam bahaya? Pikiran saya melayang ke beberapa orang. [Norbert Vollertsen], misalnya, seorang aktivis anti Korea Utara, diceraikan istrinya karena menurutnya anak mereka masih jauh lebih beruntung daripada jutaan anak di Korea Utara, dengan atau tanpa dia yang mendidiknya [link]. Dan siapa lagi contoh yang lebih familiar buat orang Indonesia ketimbang Almarhum [Munir Said Thalib]. Suka atau tidak suka dengannya, menurut saya beliau orang berpassion tinggi terhadap apa yang dipercayainya. Dan eh beneran, beliau pun mati diracun. Yang patut disyukuri adalah istri beliau, Suciwati, orang yang (tampaknya) tangguh dan pantang menyerah juga, melanjutkan (atau memang dari awalnya juga aktivis? Saya kurang paham) apa yang dilakukan Alm Munir.

Sarkasme: Jadi, pilih™ satu™: hasratmu™ atau keluargamu™.

Renungan Paskah

Baptism of Jesus

Baptism of Jesus (via Wikipedia)

Singkat aja.

Hari Sabtu kemarin adalah pertama kalinya saya lihat sadar sepenuhnya sakramen pembaptisan orang lain, bertepatan dengan perayaan Paskah tahun ini. Tentu saja itu bukan benar-benar pertama kali, tapi toh tidak ada yang saya ingat dari pembaptisan saya lebih dari dua puluh tahun lalu. Anyway, ada sekitar 10an orang yang dibaptis. Semua orang dewasa: ada yang terlihat seumuran saya, ada yang sudah kakek-kakek. Setelah pembaptisan mereka, kami menyanyikan lagu penyambutan, semacam “welcome to the family”, dan bertepuk tangan, sementara para baptisan baru berpelukan dengan anggota keluarga mereka. Semua tampak riang gembira, karena mustinya ini momen penting dalam hidup mereka. Namun saya malah terpikir ini.

Mengapa mereka menjadi Katholik?

Tentu saja pemikiran ini tak terhindarkan, mengingat mereka sudah dewasa. Buat saya, agama dan elemen ideologi lain itu macam sistem operasi komputer. Orang-orang yang dibaptis bayi (seperti saya) bisa diumpamakan fresh installation: masih kosong, belum ada sistem operasi lain. Sementara mereka yang dibaptis dewasa mustinya sudah pernah punya sistem operasi. Lalu apa yang membuat mereka menginstal sistem operasi baru ini? Apa yang terjadi dengan yang lama? Apa dulu cuma pakai versi trial (dalam artian Katholik yang belum dibaptis)? Atau mereka dulu punya sistem operasi yang berbeda? Kalau yang kedua, apakah karena mereka tidak cocok dengan yang lama? Atau ada kekecewaan? Bagaimana reaksi orang sekitar mereka? Apa mendukung (melihat perayaan pasca pembaptisan, mestinya ada yang mendukung)? Atau ada yang mengecam?

Jadi ya seperti begitu yang ada di pikiran saya.

Sekian. Selamat Paskah buat teman-teman sesama Kristiani.


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