Archive for the 'Politics' Category

I Read The News

I read the news yesterday oh boy
The mail’s readers are enraged for the slaughter of conscious animals
But as it happened far far away from me
I was rather amused that it is a non-issue here.

I read the news today oh boy
That the educated is holding a black mass
with non-consecrated hosts
And though it happened far far away from me
I’m rather sad that the fight has been going on
for hundreds, thousands of years

I read the news today oh boy
That a boy who came back from heaven
described one form of heaven that he saw
But I read somewhere else oh boy
Another boy who came back from heaven
described a different form of heaven that he saw
And though one of them is clearly a satire
(not so sure of the other),
I’m rather depressed seeing the extent of responses.

I read the news today oh boy
That someone who is running for presidency
is a minority ethnic, of minority religion, and is dead
and though the news is fake
I feel sad that this always happens before elections.

I read Facebook today oh boy
Online petitions are rampant for causes far far away from me
While I have my cynicism and skepticism,
I keep everything to myself,
as I hate to repeat myself.

I finished my meal and went out
through the door held open by a guy
who was apathetic to my gratitude.
It was raining outside
I looked around
Everybody was returning from lunch

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Under the Japanese Occupation

I have been watching the six of these episodes about the wartime food when Singapore was under the Japanese occupation. As fellow citizens of southeast Asian countries, I can definitely relate myself to the movie. My grandparents, most of whom have already passed away, as well as my parents, used to tell me how suffering it was under the Japanese occupation. Indonesian school textbooks say, despite occupying Indonesia only for 3.5 years, the Japanese brought us much much greater misery than what the Dutch gave in three hundred something years. Food was very scarce, and rice was a luxury. Clothing was rare, and a lot of people wore “bagor” or gunny sack. Another thing is, of course, the romusha, or the forced labourers, who are also featured in a later episode of the series. Some hundreds of thousands people from Java were sent to different parts of Indonesia as well as neighbouring countries, and received terrible treatment. I don’t remember my parents or grandparents telling me about any family member who became romusha, so I guess we were quite lucky with that. Instead, if I remember correctly, my paternal grandparent and his siblings and cousins participated in the war against the…I forget, whether against the Japanese or against the Dutch after we proclaimed our independence.

This situation did not end after Japan surrendered. I remember my father telling me about how common it was for toddlers to die because of some plague early in our independence. My mother also told me how when she was a kid, her family used to share a bowl of meatballs for their big family (she has 5 siblings), and this was well in the 1960s. There are other stories as well, but anyway nowadays it becomes so much more peaceful for the people in my generation that we often fail to appreciate the things we commonly have but were luxuries during their times.

During my period here in Singapore, I meet people of different nations. Among them are, of course, Singaporeans. They have their own share of the story, about how the Japanese would look for suspicious people, accuse them of being communists or treason, and execute them in front of the firing squads, in Changi, in Punggol, in Sentosa. I read somewhere (sorry I forget the link), that even until now people sometimes still find the skulls and bones of the people who were executed, especially in beaches at those places. I also meet Chinese nationals, and they told me also the Japanese atrocities during the wartime, and about the comfort women.

In spite of writing this here, I have one theoretical question. Are you able to tell these stories to Japanese people? I, of course, also meet some Japanese, and the only time I told a Japanese about this is about the then Japanese soldier who deserted from the army and took side with the locals in my hometown. After the war ended, he decided to become Indonesian and integrate to our culture. Again, if my memory doesn’t fail me, he lived in the highland in my province, was about 100 years old a few years ago, and one of his descendants is my father’s friend. There are a couple of other Japanese soldiers who did this. [Ando-kun] told me that during the war, Japanese civilians also suffered from lack of food and other basic necessities. It is my understanding as well that apart from that, a lot of boys and men in their families were also sent to war and never came back. So I guess it must be grievous moment as well for them.

I would love to see similar documentaries about Indonesia under the Japanese occupation.

Arah Hidup

Ini sebenarnya sudah terpikir sejak beberapa bulan yang lalu, walaupun secercah keinginan kecil untuk itu sudah ada sejak jauh di masa lampau bahkan sebelum saya mulai merantau. Hanya setelah nonton film pendek [Kony 2012] yang saya posting di Facebook, timbul niatan untuk nulis ini.

Postingan ini ada hubungannya dengan kegalauan hidup. Ya, galau. Galau dalam arti luas. Seluas langit atau samudera, entahlah. Yang jelas, berhubungan dengan [quarter-life crisis]. Lebih persisnya lagi, menurut penjelasan Erik Erikson [di sini], ini berkaitan dengan pertanyaan “What Can I Be?”

***

“Aku kan pergi jauh demi cita-citaku
Remi mohon doa restu darimu
Jangan bersedih teman-temanku
Hidup ini adalah perjuangan
[…] S’lamat berpisah semuanya
Aku ‘kan pergi untuk mengembara
Marilah kita mulai melangkah
Menuju cita-cita bahagia”

Opening “Remi” versi Indonesia

Dulu saya memutuskan untuk merantau dengan tujuan utama untuk membuat diri saya berguna. Adalah berkat yang luar biasa dari Tuhan buat saya lewat orang tua yang memotivasi untuk mengambil jalan hidup ilmu pengetahuan. Harapan saya pun besar untuk itu, bahwa saya bisa membuat kontribusi yang besar buat ilmu pengetahuan. Ternyata, dunia menampar beberapa kali, karena saya ternyata belum punya bekal kuat untuk sampai ke situ. Lebih jauhnya, silahkan liat postingan 3 tahun yang lalu [di sini]. Selain itu, lambat laun saya pun menyadari bahwa bidang saya pelajari ini nampaknya semacam “ilmu tersier”. Ya, siapa sih yang butuh Computer Graphics kalau bukan orang-orang yang sudah mampu beli game atau nonton kartun di bioskop. Pun itu tidak sebegitu megahnya bila dibandingkan Fisika murni dengan riset di CERN-nya, Biologi dengan teori evolusi dan kedokterannya, serta Astronomi dengan pencarian habitable planet-nya. Selain itu, riset saya juga melulu di lab, dari pagi siang sampai tengah malam. Tidak seperti [Apratz], misalnya, sesama murid PhD yang baru-baru ini ke Ethiopia dalam rangka riset plus makan makanan tradisional sana. Atau temen saya [labima] yang pekerjaan barunya membuatnya pergi ke pelosok-pelosok Indonesia, ke tempat-tempat yang memang membutuhkan perhatiannya. Pemikiran seperti ini juga yang membuat saya tempo hari [mensinisi Ilmu Murni]. Karena, buat saya yang sebenernya sudah berurusan dengan riset aplikatif ini, matematikawan murni nampak seperti anak-anak yang suka bermain-main saja dengan dunianya. Tapi yang ini sudah ditulis tempo hari. Yang jelas, saya kadang jadi merasa bahwa apa yang saya lakukan rasanya kurang berguna buat orang-orang.

Contohnya mudah saja, dan belum lama ini terjadi. Latar belakang ceritanya, saya ini lebih merasa sebagai “orang Jogja” ketimbang “orang Indonesia”. Setidaknya identitas pertama lebih kuat ke saya. Nah, teman-teman yang tinggal di Indonesia mestinya lebih familiar dengan berita [ini].  Intinya sih, seorang seniman Yogyakarta, Bramantyo Prijosusilo berencana membuat aksi teatrikal di depan markas Majelis Mujahiddin Indonesia, tapi batal karena konon kabarnya waktu masih di andong sudah ditarik-tarik sama anggota mereka. Pikir saya waktu itu, sementara kampung saya lagi bermasalah, apa yang saya lakukan di sini? Walaupun kalau saya ada di sana juga belum tentu bisa berbuat apa-apa.

Jadi ya begitulah. Sebenarnya ada terbersit sedikit keinginan di benak saya untuk melakukan kegiatan sosial yang benar-benar menyentuh orang yang memang perlu. Ndak perlu jauh-jauh pulang kampung ke Jogja, apalagi sampai ke Afrika. Di negara tempat saya tinggal ini, masih banyak juga orang kurang beruntung, seperti saya pernah ungkit di [blog lama saya].

Namun demikian, apapun yang saya tulis di sini, saya sadari bahwa keinginan ini masih emosional, dan tidak baik untuk mengambil keputusan yang dilandasi emosi belaka. Jadi saya melakukan sedikit pemikiran dan menemukan berbagai rintangan yang bisa ditemui. Pertama, dari saya sendiri, saya sedang stres. Hidup saya masih tak jelas, dengan waktu sebagian besar dihabiskan untuk bermain PS coding untuk riset. Kedua, masih dari saya sendiri, kendati ada rintangan pertama, saya menyadari bahwa semakin tua saya, kehidupan saya semakin stabil, dan mungkin suatu saat kelak [saya jadi dekaden dan cuma ingin menjaga kestabilan hidup]. Ketiga, dari luar, saya tidak tahu apakah orang tua dan pasangan saya kelak (jika ada) akan berkenan jika saya musti menghabiskan banyak waktu dengan “proyek tak jelas secara finansial”. Kalau menilik lagu di bawah ini

Aku dikudang mbesuk gedhe dadi dokter (Aku…dininabobokkan? Besok kalau besar jadi dokter)
[…] Hanacaraka datasawala (ABCDE-nya huruf Jawa)

Iki cerita jaman semana (ini cerita jaman dahulu)
Dijajah landa urip rekasa (dijajah Belanda, hidup sengsara)
Saiki merdika ya dha golek bandha (sekarang merdeka ya pada cari uang)

“Kuncung” – Didi Kempot

(Lirik dari [sini])

Adalah keinginan banyak orang tua generasi baby boomer *halah* di Indonesia bahwa anak-anaknya menjadi orang yang mapan dan sukses. Kalau dalam kasus saya agak mendingan, setidaknya sudah cukup untuk membuat saya bersyukur. Tokoh blogger Indonesia, Alex Hidayat *loh*, pernah menulis [di sini] bahwa di kampungnya, orang-orang tua menganggap bahwa bekerja itu antara pakai seragam (baca: jadi PNS) atau punya toko. Nah, yang saya takutkan yang macam ini. Bahwa orang-orang terdekat saya semata-mata menginginkan saya untuk hidup stabil. Apalagi kalau melihat banyak teman-teman di Facebook, yang menurut justifikasi bias dan sepihak saya, terlalu cepat hidup mapan, dan saya jadi sinis setengah hidup. Yah, kemungkinan ini datang dari lingkungan saya bisa jadi ada. Mari kita lihat saja.

***

Sudah cukup saya menulis panjang lebar. Jadi ya begitulah. Kesimpulannya, ada sedikit keinginan dari saya untuk bisa lebih berguna buat orang-orang. Mungkin suatu saat saya akan memulainya kecil-kecilan dulu dari sekitar saya, kalau beban hidup sudah berkurang.

…yang bahkan sebenarnya pun kurang tepat.

41 And Jesus sitting over against the treasury, beheld how the people cast money into the treasury. And many that were rich cast in much. 42 And there came a certain poor widow: and she cast in two mites, which make a farthing. 43 And calling his disciples together, he says to them: Amen I say to you, this poor widow has cast in more than all they who have cast into the treasury. 44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want cast in all she had, even her whole living.

Mark 12:41–44

Sekian dan terima kasih.

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?

An Open Letter to the US Navy SEALs

Dear Sirs,

I would like to deliver my gratitude to you for shooting Mr bin Laden (well, that bin Laden) down during the  deactivation period of my Facebook account. I am really grateful.

Yours faithfully,
lambrtz

PS: I am not curious to activate it either, even for just a short while.

Serba-serbi Hidup di Singapore

1) Dikira Cina
2) Election day / Pemilu Continue reading ‘Serba-serbi Hidup di Singapore’

Propagandas of The Nations

(I think the title would translate to Propaganda Bangsa-Bangsa in Bahasa Indonesia)

Continue reading ‘Propagandas of The Nations’


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Me

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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