Archive for the 'Culture' Category

Lighting Business

“Daddy!” I called him last week.

“Daddy, I found one lamp, one antique lamp, which looks wonderful, and may look good for our house. Take a look at this photo…*sending e-mail*…how do you find it?”

“Well, son,” he replied, “it indeed looks good…and indeed it is your right to choose a good lamp for you. But are you sure that it can match other lamps in our house? You know that our house is very old and have a very Javanese atmosphere.”

“Yeah, I know, Dad, that a Javanese-style lamp might fit better…but I am in Singapore, how can I find Javanese lamp sellers here? My network contains mostly locals–Chinese, Malay, Indian, you name it–and some more from other countries. If I should go for the ‘perfect fit’, I should just return home, right. And to be honest, I want to have some foreign touches to a little bit diversify our house. You can see that the houses in our neighbourhood; no, our hometown, are very local. We are not global enough, and in fact that is why I started my journey to go abroad.”

“No no no. Son, I am fine if you look for a foreign-style lamp. But you have to know that this lamp has to match our electricity configuration and house style. Our concern is still compatibility. The lamp does not need to be of Javanese style, but it has to fit a Javanese atmosphere here. You don’t want the lamp to explode or fall to our heads, right?” *laugh*

“…Hahaha, yes, I  agree with you on that thing Dad. That’s the scary thing. I don’t want our house to explode because of a single lamp…”

“…and I have to be honest with you: based on my experience, the style of the lamp in the photo is not generally suitable for a Javanese house like ours. Well, I am not saying that all lamps which fall under this category are not compatible, no. Some are compatible (I have seen some), but not all. Heh, even some Javanese kind of lamps are also not suitable for us. If you really want foreign style kind of lamps, why don’t you look for such and such styles?”

“…Dad, my network is limited, and lamp with those styles are very rare here…”

“Well, I understand that…”

“…Dad, I am scared now. Actually I have doubts as well about that lamp…*explaining such and such doubts*…and that’s why I haven’t made any enquiry.”

“It’s OK. It’s just an enquiry, so if you think the lamp looks good, go for it: contact the seller and ask things about the lamp. I just have to warn you: 1) do not, I repeat, do not say prematurely that you want to buy it, and 2) do look around as well. Take a look if there are actually lamps which actually are more suitable.”

“Yes Dad, I undestand that. The thing is this…if it turns out not to be compatible, it is easy. I can go to other sellers in my list,”—I do make a list!—“but what if it looks compatible? Can I proceed with the paperwork? Because I can’t help to think about it (I mean the above things), and if you don’t like the style at all then I better don’t enquire at all, right? Waste of energy.”



I forget the rest. Well I can just ask him though. Anyway, my hope is actually simple: to find one lamp which I can use not only to brighten my room, but also other rooms in my house. But given my journey, this turns out to be not so simple. I have been dreaming, since I was a kid (probably about 14 or so) to have my own lamp someday. But I always failed in the past. Now that I have gained some knowledge on electricity and lighting art as well as some skills in business negotiation, I want to try it again, but my past failures make me very very careful now. Doing lighting business is quite tricky (and I do speak in understatement): one day you might find a lamp is good, another day you don’t. You may suddenly decide that one lamp does not fit your house style, but the seller may think that you are a perfect buyer (well lamps are precious!), and ha! Drama. I have seen some friends’ lamps crack, fall, or even burn an entire house because of these things, and these add up the worry. On the other hand, I saw some friends—or competitors, depending on your point of view—find their lamps so easily, to the point that I wonder, are those lamps really fine for their households?

Anyway, if a good situation arises, I have to make my enquiry. I have concerns, a lot of concerns, but apart from being constantly tied to computers (because of my job), I think solving compatibility issues is another thing I am “trapped with” in my entire life, as I want to visit many countries and broaden my knowledge on different styles of lamps. I have to face them and solve them. For now, at least I am glad that I (think I) have been given a green light.

A Coptic Hymn

As an Indonesian, I automatically perceive Arabic chants as Islamic. Well I don’t speak Arabic, so when I listened the above hymn it is very very hard for me to accept that it is a part of Christian tradition. I have to listen very carefully for any word I am familiar with; I think I heard some “Kyrie”s there. Also, I live with a Protestant family, and the neighbour next door is a Muslim family, so I am wondering if they think I am listening to an Islamic prayer, as IMO Orthodox Christianity, let alone the Coptic rite, is not widely known in this part of the world. But I have loved Arabic chants for a few years already, and somehow listening to this song makes me want to attend a Coptic service someday.

Update: I played the video again and realised that the video actually begins in English (…and forgive us our sins)! Gosh, it does take time!

Another update: not only does the video begin in English, but the first half of the video seems to be entirely in English! So I can confirm that my Indonesian ears are more sensitive to the Arabic tone than the actual prayer.

Tentang Perjalanan Seorang Diri


– 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. 😛


*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].

lambrtz looks like this


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.



May 2022
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