Archive for the 'Culture' Category



Tentang Perjalanan Seorang Diri

讀萬卷書不如行萬里路

– ungkapan Tiongkok

Minggu kemarin saya kemari.

Fraunhofer IGD

Fraunhofer IGD

Perjalanan terjauh saya, ke negara yang sungguh asing buat saya. Saya ke sana sendiri. Jalan-jalan sendiri. Memang dua hari terakhir saya bertemu teman saya. Tapi secara umum saya jalan-jalan sendiri. Ke tempat dengan bahasa yang tidak saya ketahui. Jadi sebelumnya musti belajar frase-frase penting dulu. Setidaknya cukup untuk membawa saya muter-muter di dan ke beberapa kota. Selain itu, saya juga belajar tentang sistem angkutan umumnya dulu terlebih dahulu. Namun demikian, tetap aja banyak hal yang sempat buat saya kaget. Hari pertama, sudah nyaris bikin masalah karena ketidakfamilieran saya dengan sistem [proof-of-payment]. Lalu, menelepon hotel teman di kota lain karena teman yang dijadwalkan datang pada hari yang sama belum kontak keluarganya ataupun saya. Terus perjalanan antar kota sendiri juga. Di event yang saya kunjungi pun, secara praktis saya juga sendiri. Memang ada dosen dari kampus saya, tapi kami tidak saling mengenal. Tidak ada teman. Jadi saya musti aktif juga mendekati orang-orang asing itu. Ndak buruk sih. Hari pertama bisa dapat teman makan malam mahasiswa dari Swiss dan Liechtenstein (negara ini, bahkan teman saya yang orang Perancis belum pernah bertemu orang dari negara ini). Hari kedua teman makan malamnya dosen Inggris, Italia, dan Swedia. Hari ketiga makan siang bersama dosen dari Jepang dan Inggris. Musti aktif juga membangun jaringan. Agak kaget juga saya. Karena saya selalu menganggap saya ini pendiam *bah*, introvert, dan agak susah berkomunikasi. Tidak luwes dalam bersosialisasi. Tapi setidaknya saya ada bukti bahwa saya cukup multicultural. 😛

Menyenangkan berjalan-jalan seorang diri. Di satu sisi ada kepuasan tersendiri, karena ternyata tanpa bantuan praktis (ada bantuan finansial dan moral tentu saja) dari orang lain, saya bisa muter-muter sendiri di negara orang yang juauh dari kampung halaman saya. Walaupun di sana cuma sebentar, saya belajar banyak hal, baik tentang saya sendiri maupun orang sana. Musti berani tapi lihai, misalnya ketika mendekati orang asing. Belajar juga tentang keseharian orang sana. Tentang makanan dan perilakunya. Dan lain sebagainya.

Jika ada waktu dan dana, saya sarankan pembaca untuk berkelana sendiri sekali-sekali. Sendiri as in sendiri. Saya ingin melakukannya lagi sekali waktu. Semoga pada perjalanan berikutnya, ndak ada masalah yang cukup berarti.

Sekian aja, saya ngantuk. 😛

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Minder

*cuma copy paste + editan dari status Facebook saya*

Bener juga. Sering kali kalo ketemu orang India jadi minder.

Saya orang Jawa. Waktu kecil diajarin dikit-dikit tentang cerita pewayangan berdasar Mahabarata dan Ramayana. Ada banyak tokoh, banyak kerajaan, saya banyak ga hapal, bahkan ga tau itu tempat-tempat ada di mana. Apa itu tempat-tempat fiktif macam di Middle Earth?
Ternyata ada petanya. Dan tempatnya tentu di India.

Epic India

Epic India (dari Wikipedia, klik untuk menuju ke artikelnya)

Kalau seperti ini, adanya tokoh-tokoh khas macam punakawan pun jadi semacam fanfic saja.Nama belakang saya (Wardhana) itu dari Bahasa Sansekerta (Vardhan, salah satu avatar Shiva).

Dan banyak elemen bahasa-bahasa utama saya (Indonesia, Jawa) berasal dari Bahasa Sansekerta.

Diam-diam, makanan daerah saya banyak terpengaruh makanan India. Putu mayam dan martabak, misalnya. Bahkan banyak ga tahu kalau putu mayam aslinya dari India.

Apa yang bisa saya banggakan dari budaya saya? Modifikasi? 😕

*switch to English*

I meet a lot of Indians here. I mean Indian Indians (i.e. people associated to ethnics originally from India, and with Indian nationality). They learn Sanskrit at school. Mahabharata and Ramayana are their history (at least according to them). They believe that Sri Rama really attacked Ravana’s kingdom of Lanka (Alengka), which is now Sri Lanka, and saved Sita (Shinta) with a help from Hanuman and Jatayu. Some of them believe that the islets connecting mainland India and Sri Lanka were a bridge built by Sri Rama. They believe all these things really happened. It is their history. On the other hand, we, at least I, didn’t know about its status. I thought they were mere fairy tales. So after all these years, we were actually taught about somebody else’s history. I can’t argue with them about these things. 😆

Kiki’s Delivery Service, and How I Can Relate to It

Kiki's Delivery Service

Kiki’s Delivery Service (click for the Wikipedia article)

A few months ago, I started a new hobby: to watch Ghibli’s movies while folding my clothes. Before starting this, I watched their movies randomly, but I decided to do it chronologically, and thus started from Kaze no Tani no Nausicaa (yes yes I know it’s not Ghibli’s but somehow there is a connection via Hayao Miyazaki), and just now I arrived at Kiki’s Delivery Service (KDS).

I give this movie 4/5. I have to admit that it’s not quite memorable to me, compared to, let’s say, Grave of the Fireflies which depressed me. Being a journey-kid story, I feel it lacks something, or rather, someone: a person who will take advantage of the protagonist’s naivety. Everybody in the movie seems to be a nice person, whereas just in the evening before I read about Grace Quek, previously and widely known as [Annabel Chong], at that time a girl studying in London and already experienced among the harshest thing you can find in the world: being raped. Even [Sans Famille], also known in Indonesia as Remi, teaches you more, about family rejection, grief from death, starvation, and other psychologically-challenging hardness one can find on the street. I can list some more “complaints”: Kiki doesn’t seem to travel far enough, and everybody in Koriko even speaks the same language as Kiki’s (it is Japanese, although apparently Koriko resembles a European city). But anyway, KDS might not aim for the same audience, so it might not be a good idea to compare it with those stories.

Despite my criticisms, I can relate to KDS. Depression is no stranger to me, and I believe Kiki’s experience dealing with new environment, insecurity, and personal “quarter life crisis” will help her becoming a great witch in the future. I also praise the tradition of “merantau” or, loosely translated, adventuring among the witch diaspora. I always appreciate the idea of migration, as it helps us understanding foreign cultures and related clashes with our own ideology. It also mentally shapes us, so it is amazing that a girl as young as 13, as in the case of Kiki, was so eager to take her own journey away from her hometown. Ha, even she was concerned that if she were to stay to long in her town, she might bump into love too early and could not leave at all! The younger me also wrote this poem back in 2008, on the now-dead blog, but nevertheless still accessible through the Wayback Machine: [Love can Wait]. It was so raw and amateurish, yet it was purely baked from the deepest part of my heart. Ha!

Kudos to Kiki. Wish her luck in her journey.

Final note. Kiki was lucky as she was not born on this Earth. [Earthlings might burn her alive for performing witchcraft].

Seberang Lautan

Baru saja menemukan account Facebook seorang legenda semasa SMA. Bukan guru bukan siswa. Jaman dulu saja sudah sepuh. Apalagi sekarang. Kalau tidak salah sudah pensiun. Seorang Cina yang secara resmi tercatat dengan nama Jawanya, tapi biasa dipanggil dengan nama Cinanya. Seorang Cina yang lebih Jawa daripada orang Jawa sendiri. Sosok yang di sekolah yang (menurutku cenderung) egaliter ini dipandang setara, ketika murid-murid bisa bercengkerama dengannya dengan bahasa Jawa kasar/ngoko sarat pisuh-pisuhan. Harus kuakui bahwa waktu itu aku tidak banyak srawung dengannya, dan barangkali dia lebih kenal aku karena aku anaknya bapakku, yang pada waktu itu, tiga puluhan tahun lalu, sepertinya lebih banyak dikenal di sekolah. Tapi melihat alumni sekolahku, senior-senior yang tidak pernah kujumpai (karena sepertinya sudah lulus duluan sebelum aku masuk) jagongan di rumahnya, aku tak pelak jadi merindukan atmosfir SMA secara khusus dan kota Jogja secara umum yang (dalam sudut pandangku) laidback, dengan aktivitas sosialisasi yang murah meriah, bahwa dengan tiga piring gorengan (pisang goreng, tempe, mendoan, telo*, sukun), lalu kacang rebus (walaupun saya sebenernya ga suka), serta teh nasgithel**, asbak buat yang ngrokok plus kartu dan papan catur dan sengsu***, total seharga beberapa puluh ribu rupiah saja untuk memberi makan lima ribu beberapa orang, sudah tercipta rasa gayeng alias keakraban. Tidak seperti di sini, ketika saya melihat kawan-kawan entah orang asli sini atau imigran(tm) macam saya demi kegayengan pergi ke restoran kelas menengah lalu mengambil potret diri nan narsis lalu dimasukkan Facebook: terlihat absurd di mata saya yang dari keluarga menengah agak bawah ukuran Indonesia ini ya walaupun saya toh melakukannya juga kadang-kadang demi adaptasi(tm). Kegayengan kelas mendoan ironisnya menjadi barang mewah buat saya, karena saya musti menghabiskan jutaan rupiah buat beli tiket ke Jogja buat bertemu dengan kawan lama, dan waktu juga tidak bisa dibeli. Tapi ya, untuk kembali ke sana dalam jangka waktu lama dan mendapatkan keakraban kampung halaman pun tak mungkin. Dijadikan semata pengingat sajalah bahwa hidup bukan melulu soal kerja, perang ideologi, dan kegalauan para kebelet-kawin.

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* Ketela. Bilang telo di Jogja sudah biasa. Bilang telo di sini jadi perhatian. Dibilang medok. Ada sedikit perasaan ga nyaman, walaupun saya yaa take it easy sajalah. Halo teman-teman Jowo ngapak, saya jadi bisa merasakan “penderitaan” kalian. 😛

** Panas legi (manis) kenthel (kental)

*** Oseng-oseng asu (anjing).  Jadi simbol de facto orang Jawa (entah Jawa beneran atau Cina yang terkena pengaruh Jawa Jawa-jawaan) non-Muslim. Tapi sebelum konservatard dan libertard menyerang, saya sendiri sudah lama ga makan sengsu, dan beberapa waktu lalu memutuskan untuk tidak makan sengsu sampai mereka diternakkan secara pantas (sepertinya tidak mungkin terjadi). Sebenarnya saya masukkan di situ untuk tidak diseriusi.

Majority and Minority

1)

A: Hi, I’ve got some snacks for you guys. This one (pointing to one snack) is halal, but I don’t know about the other one. So it’s fine if you don’t—

B: (suddenly interrupts) Actually I don’t care 😆

A: …oh, OK 😆

***

2)

C: OK, so…where do you want me to bring you?

D: What about having lunch together? Do you know any good restaurant around here?

C: Hmmm…it depends; what kind of food do you want to have?

D: OK, let’s just go to your favourite restaurant. In which restaurant do you often have lunch?

C: Ah, I know a place. I’ll bring you there

(…after arriving there…)

C: I used to work there (pointing to a nearby shophouse), so during lunch time I usually went here.

D: Aha, I see. Let’s see what they have here…

C: Do you like pork?

D: (Wut 😯 ) Do you eat pork? You don’t, do you?

C: No I don’t

D: Hmmm…what is that?

C: Hmmm…I don’t know, maybe pig organs?

D: …oh, OK 😯 I think I’ll just eat fish.

Kodrat: An Accusation towards Evolution

I hope this will just be a short post.

Although this post is only initiated after reading a status and the following comments on Rukia‘s Facebook wall, I have thought about this for quite some time. About kodrat. Particularly of men and women. What is the kodrat of men? What is the kodrat of women? Are men better-suited as a family leader and breadwinner? Are women supposed to be the caretaker? Before writing about that further, I would firstly like to point out the culprit that I suspect.

Evolution.

Yes, the evolution process. People of the ancient times, including the prophets of our respective religions, might consider this inherited practice celestial, that it is God’s direct will that men and women were created to have different roles in life, but for me it is always evolution’s dirty hands (well you can still consider God’s indirect will if you believe in theistic evolution). Evolution, including its biological and the social aspects, can be hold responsible for everything which happens today, from social order to love affairs. This includes kodrat. Ever since our ancestors still dwell in caves and wore skinned bear furs, men might have been the primary hunter-gatherers, and women might have been the kid carers. This practice continues to dominate at least until the sexual revolution. Therefore, it seems to me now that civilisation has converged to this point, before it makes an abrupt turn. It is similar in other aspects of life. Sitting, for example. Our ancestors had to work relentlessly in the field. To hunt down sabretooths. To plow the farms. Now, the industrial society requires some of us to sit still on our seats all day long. Me included. It is not healthy for our body, as it is not designed, through evolutionary process, to sit for an extended period of time.

Back to the kodrat topic. Feminist proponents might want to argue that this practice is a gender discrimination. I think that makes sense up to certain points, noting that women were not allowed to drive automobiles and vote until the beginning of the 20th century (CMIIW). However, complete rejection might not be sensible too, considering the assumption that this is the pattern to which our bodies have got used. These stereotypes, for example that men are more logical and women are more emotional, might be true due to the evolution process, although the converse might not be true. These liberal bastards™ are definitely trying to oppose Mother Nature.

No, just kidding. That was a satire (I myself consider me as a social liberal and a personal conservative). Anyway, now, the question is whether this role taking pattern is valid  and has to be adhered all the time to begin with. I would like to disagree with this view on the basis of three points. Firstly, as I hinted in the previous paragraph, the converse of a stereotype is not always true. There are special cases which falsify the stereotype. Secondly, things might work even if we don’t follow the conforming way. A family might still work despite not adhering to the kodrat as the society dubs. Thirdly, I allege, it encourages discrimination. Even if it is not one, I would still resent, as the Cantonese call, “kay poh” people who would really love to talk about things which are not common in our society but do take place in their surroundings. If other people prefer to have uncanny ways of life, and they are fine with it, why bother?

To conclude, I would like to say that it might be true that depending on some factors, such as sex, our bodies are better suited for such and such tasks. But I do not like to adhere to kodrat as the sole correct way of loving our lives. I would prefer to deviate and create new branches.

Thank you for reading this rather un-academic post.

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PS: I don’t know the English term for “kodrat”. Is it fate? Destiny? Nature? Kismet? But it is related to what roles the society traditionally deems “normal” for men and women.

PPS: I study neither social sciences nor humanity studies. I do not refer to existing research when writing this post, so, again, this post is definitely not academic, and just contains my allegation. Please do not cite this post in your paper, for your own benefit. Now I need someone to verify this post.

PPPS: Damn, it’s long. And it takes much longer time for me to write the proposal I should complete on Friday. 😐

Some Thoughts On Political Correctness

To me, it remains a question, whether we should go with political correctness all the times, and whether it is good to begin with.

During our time in high school, we were almost totally politically incorrect. Racial jokes about the Javanese and the Chinese, the two ethnic majorities in the school, were  brought up everyday. “Jowo babu!” “Cino pokil!” There are many variations of it. “Kowe siji-sijine Jowo pokil ning sekolah”, etc. Not only the students did that, but the teachers sometimes did too. Did anybody get hurt with those jokes? Hardly. In fact, we laughed, and it strengthened the friendship. Another example, one Javanese guy would shout at two Chinese who were fighting with each other with “Wis podho Cinane ra sah kerengan.” Now, wasn’t that a good use? And these jokes weren’t only about race. One Christian friend intentionally teased a Muslim friend by eating some bread in front of the latter during one Ramadhan month. I think it was in our third year. Jokingly, yes. They laughed together, and the Christian friend left afterwards. That was probably not the most hardcore. I heard that in the 70s or 80s there was a student who was disabled (he lost a leg or something), so he used a prosthetic leg. After that, as a teacher retold the story, and if I remember correctly, another friend said to him, “wah kowe kuwi kurang ajar, wis ngerti bumi ki atos kok ya isih dites nganggo sikil palsu, kualat kowe.” The rule in our school seems to be like this: you get offended, you lose. You win if you can exchange mockeries. Well I definitely joined these kinds of jokes. But indeed, during our graduation, the then-vice-headmaster mentioned it in a speech that we should be careful in making these jokes especially outside the school, simply because not many could accept them.

It actually keeps me wondering. For what reasons do people bother about political correctness? I have an opinion in which some people who have been abused using politically incorrect words in the past are reminded of that particularly bad experience. That case, however, is reminiscent of people traumatised by other factors. Fire, for example. There was a friend of mine in primary school who was afraid of fire after he got some droplets of melting straw fall onto his leg and burnt his skin. Is fire bad? Yes. And it is good too. At that time, it was probably wiser for him to stay away from fire temporarily. However, at the end of the day, I believe he should re-approach fire again, to confront his fear. Another factor is misunderstanding about the intention, especially if you don’t know the person closely (I will discuss more on this in the next paragraph). Well these are two factors, so if any commentator knows about other factors, I would like to be enlightened please.

To me, the intention is what matters. You can always use political correctness to offend people (well in fact I always try to keep my politeness when trolling hahaha), and, likewise, political incorrectness to entertain. And this is my point of why I usually keep a derision towards political correctness. Political incorrectness is sometimes beneficial. Now if the intention is indeed to humiliate, I would love to see someone punch the person on his nose.

Well, our humble beginning of exchanging teases with friends brings me deeper into the more general social issue. In fact, I defended a Chinese friend from our hometown as being, well, native Jogjakartan, after he was mocked by a Batak friend who came from Pematang Siantar. “Hei kamu Batak, biarpun dia orang Cina, dia orang asli sini. Kamu tuh yang pendatang,” I said. Definitely that was also a joke. In another occasion, I defended the right of the general Chinese community to speak Hokkien, after a friend who had just gone to Medan alleging them for being un-nationalistic for speaking that “foreign language” on a daily basis. Hokkien is also their regional language, just like how Javanese people speak Javanese language and so on and so forth, I said to him.

Why so serious?


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You can write comments in any language that you want, but please bear in mind that I only understand 4 languages: English, Indonesian, Javanese and Malay.

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