Internet, skala 1-10

Was lecturing in a class with two Korean International students.

I asked one of them a question.

Me: Comparing internet connection between Indonesia and Korea, on a scale 1 to 10 – Where is Korea’s Internet?

He: Ten.

Me: …. and Indonesia’s internet?

He: One.

ROLF. Then, a silent question. What on earth do you guys enroll yourself here???????


Makara UI, kasihan.

Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 9.02.53 AM

A prior note: Am sorry for (always) being harsh. 

Hari ini ketika sedang menyetir menuju kampus, saya melihat sebuah mobil dengan stiker “UI” besar-besar pada kaca bagian belakangnya.

“Anak UI”, pikir saya.

…siapa pun yang menyetir (bisa juga supir kan?) tetap melaju ketika lampu merah untuk mobil menyala. Harusnya si pengandara menghentikan mobilnya kan? Akibatnya, para penyebrang jalan (yang harusnya punya hak untuk menyebrang karena lampu hijau untuk menyebrang jalan menyala), mundur lagi dan tidak jadi menyebrang.

Pasang stiker UI, tetapi mengambil hak rakyat. Malu. Mungkin, sebaiknya cari dan paham dulu arti Makara UI, sebelum pasang stikernya dan membawanya ke ranah publik.

gambar saya pinjam dari sini


Christmas, a new definition.



Two days ago I looked at Apple’s phone. I found her sent messages “Merry Christmas” to a number of her friends. Only one is Christian. The rest are non Christians. I asked her why did she send Christmas wish to non-Christian friends. She replied: “What’s wrong with that?” I told her only Christians celebrate Christmas. She was silent, then replied: “Nan and Pop are not Christians, yet they always celebrate Christmas. Your friend Asma is Pakistani and non Christian, but she always celebrates Christmas with you. Also Philip and Yvonne and Jonno and Amelita. They are not Christians.”

Then I asked her what is Christmas means for her.
She replied: “It is a special holiday to spend time with your best guys and be grateful to people love you, unconditionally. And be thankful for you to have them in your life. Not many people have, you know. Many are lonely. And the food and the also PRESENTTSSSSSS!” ***then asked: Can I open my presents now?***

I was amazed and was thinking when people around her are busy with ‘haram dan halal’ sending Christmas wish to others only because ‘we are told to do or not to do so’, her standpoint describes what Meister Eckhart refers when he says: “All God wants man is a peaceful heart”.

… and I love her even more.

and yes, some people take a bunch of letters ‘s-e-l-a-m-a-t n-a-t-a-l’ so seriously.


Private space: a definition

Gita: Bu, Bibi is in my bedroom, doing I don’t know what. I am going to have a shower.
Me: That’s okay. Jump in!
Gita: I need to take of my PJs in my bedroom.
Me: Do it in your bathroom.
Gita went off with upset face

Cindy, the dog, was following her into the bathroom, as usual waiting for her in front of the bathroom door.

Bibi: Cindy, keluar ya. Adek mau mandi (and slowly continued doing her business in Gita’s bedroom).
Cindy: *** insisting on sitting in front of Gita’s bathroom, waiting Gita to finish her shower***
Bibi: Ayo, Cindi! Keluar. Adek lagi mandi! Malu nanti!!!!

Gita (poking her head out of the bathroom door, whispering to Cindy): Pssssttt, is Bibi still there?


Kosong dan isi: castration anxiety


Agak lupa, di kelas yang mana. Suatu hari seorang mahasiswa saya berbagi tentang pengalamannya pertama masuk universitas tempat saya bekerja.

“Di Bekasi, orang nggak peduli kamu pakai iPhone atau nggak. Tetapi di sini, beda. Semua orang pakai iPhone. Kayak di tempat kos saya: kalu sedang kumpul-kumpul, semua bicara soal iPhone. Saya jadi terasing karena tidak mengerti apa yang dibicarakan. Saya merasa jadi outsider.”

Mahasiswa saya yang lain, di waktu yang berbeda, bercerita bagaimana dia merasa berbeda dengan “anak Jakarta”. “Waktu saya datang dari daerah saya, saya merasa berbeda. Dari cara berpakaian dan cara bicara. Anak-anak yang dari Jakarta terlihat keren dan cara bicara mereka juga keren. Saya jadi terdengar dan terlihat aneh. Jadi terasing. Sehingga pelan-pelan saya mulai menyesuaikan diri.”

(menarik nafas)

Kita, mungkin, menghabiskan sebagian besar waktu kita untuk belajar keras menjadi seperti orang lain. Kita punya kebutuhan untuk menjadi ‘sama’ seperti kebanyakan orang agar kita diberi ‘tempat’ di mana kebanyakan orang berada. Di tempat itu, mereka (dan kita) berbagi gaya hidup yang standard, obrolan yang setopik, baju yang segaya, dandanan yang setrend, makanan yang setrend, barang yang semerek, pengetahuan yang standard. Artinya, sepanjang hidup kita, mungkin, akan banyak waktu kita habiskan untuk menutupi ketidaksamaan kita agar menjadi sama dengan orang banyak. Sehingga, kita melupakan bahwa we are all born originals (Edward Young).

Tahu castration anxiety? Istilah ini diperkenalkan oleh SIgmun Freud untuk menggambarkan kegelisahan setelah manusia mengidentifikasi perbedaan dirinya dengan orang pada umumnya.  Castration anxiety menggambarkan perasaan tidak signifikan (karena kondisi berbeda) dan karenanya menimbulkan perasaan terdominasi dan perasaan lebih rendah/inferior (terhadap mereka yang kebanyakan memiliki kesamaan). Menurut Freud, perasaan ini menunjukkan ketakutan bahwa kondisi berbeda menyebabkan seseorang kehilangan kekuasaan (padahal tidak ada yang mengambil). Sehingga, mereka yang merasa tidak signifikan karena berbeda pada akhirnya akan menyelamatkan ‘kehormatan’ dengan berusaha mati-matian untuk menjadi sama dengan orang kebanyakan dengan cara-cara yang tidak rasional.

Misalnya, sebenarnya tidak butuh-butuh amat pakai iPhone tapi maksain beli hanya karena orang lain pakai iPhone. Padahal, mungkin sebenarnya kita tidak perlu merasa ‘inferior’ (karena tidak punya iPhone) kalau tahu bahwa iPhone dijalankan dengan operating system iOS sementara beberapa merek telepon yang lain dijalankan dengan operating system Android atau QNX atau Windows. Semuanya tadi itu bukan merek, tetapi mobile operating system – yang kita pilih karena fungsi dan karakternya. Tiap mobile operating system punya kelebihan dan kekurangan sendiri.

Saya, misalnya, tidak memilih iPhone. Buat saya pemilik iPhone adalah anak manja yang harus selalui dijagain  dalam walled garden. Teman saya tidak mau membeli produk Apple.inc karena hal ini.

Kalau sudah seperti ini orang akan kelihatan keren bukan karena ybs punya iPhone atau tidak. Orang akan kelihatan keren kalau dia punya ilmu pengetahuan yang bisa menjelaskan kenapa ybs memutuskan berbeda (dengan bangga). Bangga kan, kalau bisa menerangkan mobile operating system di kelompok mayoritas iPhone tanpa harus punya iPhone? Bangga kan, kalau dapat menerangkan tidak menggunakan iPhone demi kemanusiaan?

I would say this. I think to be able to choose to be different is a struggle. Yet, it is an autonomous decision. It is a great privilege (and courage) to be who we are and do what we want to do according to great knowledge of our own, not the given values and beliefs of society. For that reason, we need to skill boundless knowledge.  Foucault said (having) knowledge is power. Master it.  On top of everything, I think it is extremely eewww if we let brands define us so we could look like others? We are all born originals, why is it so many of us die copies?


“The difference between my darkness and your darkness is that I can look at my own badness in the face and accept its existence while you are busy covering your mirror with a white linen sheet. The difference between my sins and your sins is that when I sin I know I’m sinning while you have actually fallen prey to your own fabricated illusions. I am a siren, a mermaid; I know that I am beautiful while basking on the ocean’s waves and I know that I can eat flesh and bones at the bottom of the sea. You are a white witch, a wizard; your spells are manipulations and your cauldron from hell yet you wrap yourself in white and wear a silver wig.”
C. JoyBell C.


So, I read and listen too…

Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly. But the teacher said she had to do it and gave her the instructions for the battle. The day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful. They both had their weapons. The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, “May I have permission to go into battle with you?” Fear said, “Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission.” Then the young warrior said, “How can I defeat you?” Fear replied, “My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.” In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear.
Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times