Monthly Archives: December 2013

End of Year’s Recaps and Achievement!!

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It’s the time of the year again. It’s the end of the year again. It is time for the annual year end’s quick monthly recaps.

January
My tier 4 visa has expired, and I had to leave Norwich. Home to Indonesia, and felt terrible.

February
Mr. Fix-it’s birthday, the first chinese new year after I went back to Indonesia.

March
Serious conversation with Mr. Fix-It, the first time the M word was mentioned.

April
Dad’s heart attack. Superbyq’s Birthday. Took a Mensa test.

May
Got accepted in Mensa. Applied for general visa to visit the UK.

June
Meet up with Stef. Mr. Fix-it visit, went to Bali. I am engaged.

July
Back to Norwich, graduation day. Meet up with Princess AK in London and saw the Phantom of The Opera.

August
Meet the parents. His parents. Went back to Indonesia.

September
Being miserable again. Pick up a crochet project: a blanket.

October
Started the business with my sister. Applied for the settlement visa for marriage.

November
Meet up with Princess AK in Jakarta. It’s been awhile.

 

And this is the 2013’s achievements:

Books that I have read this year (10):
The Witch of Portobello, Geisha of Gion, Memoirs of An Imaginary Friends, The Great Gatsby, Alice’s Adventure in The Wonderland, The War of The Worlds, The Phantom of The Opera, The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window (ongoing), The Tales of Two Cities (ongoing), Amba (ongoing).

Films that I have watched this year (plenty):
Ironman 3, Man of Steel, Habibie dan Ainun, Rectoverso, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Thor: The Dark World, The Act of Killing, Last Vegas, Chronicle, Now You See Me, Killing Them Softly, Oblivion, Wedding Invitation, BBS, Mama, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Soekarno.

Museums that I visited this year:
Victoria and Albert Museum (London), The Stranger’s Hall (Norwich)

My social life achievements:
Two wedding parties, at least three meet ups with blogger friends, a gathering (means meeting with many new people at once), at least seven meet ups with old different friends (means averagely once every two months!!), at least two new friends!, and three new Whatsapp groups (which I have to admit, have been muted since my first day of joining. However, I have been good enough to partake in some of the discussion).

Health achievements:
From April to now, I have lost at least 3 kilograms. I am not saying that my diet is on the way to its success, but I have understood that discipline is the only way.
I stopped smoking. I have to admit that I haven’t stopped entirely, because I still want to smoke once in a while.

Other achievements:
I haven’t written as much as I wanted to do this year. I have started a new blog in Bahasa, mainly talking about the social and political situation in Indonesia. I participated in Nanowrimo this year but failed miserably. This blog, although wasn’t totally neglected has become a little bit left behind. I would have to take care of this problem next year. In my defence, the lack of internet connection didn’t help.
Patience is what I have to work on.
Financially I am a loser. I am still living off my parents, and although the business is now working but not necessarily earning. So it would have to wait. Next year, depends on where I would live, I should find something for my income.

There!

I am pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to post anymore until sometimes after the new year, so I would wish everybody a great new year. And thank you for another awesome year we have passed together.

Cheers!!

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The Perks Of Living Alone

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I admit that it is nice to live with your parents.

Sometimes.

You can always find food in the fridge, table, and basically in any corner of the house. You don’t have to pay for those food, nor for the rent nor the bills. In my case, life is even easier because we do have servants in the house which do almost all of the house works such as cleaning, mopping, cooking, laundry, even making my bed (all I need to do is to wash my own undies). Cars are there to use, and the petrol tank was never empty. When things are missing, you could always ask Mum. When you don’t have money, you can always ask Dad.

Life is that simple.

However… It’s a bugger when you have your own things.

It is so hard to go on a diet because parents would always feed you, and always think that you need to eat more although you look like a whale. Coming home late is no longer fun because they would keep calling you and they would interrogate you whenever you come home. Alcohol is definitely out of question, especially when you are out with friends they have never heard of. Having a lie in is hardly possible because parents believe that nine a clock in the morning is late.

Locking yourself in your room to play game all day is a luxury, since they would insist that you would go out and meet your friends. They wouldn’t understand when you say that ALL your friends were there online with you, and you were hanging out… virtually. And by the way, locking yourself in your room is kind of impossible because they would have the spare key and would unlock it after getting no response from you.

While family time is a must, you would never be able to choose the TV channel. It’s either your mother’s favourite soap opera, or your dad’s… well… your dad’s choice might be way more interesting than your mum’s. However, after a good 25 years of marriage, your dad might have let the privilege to pick the program go, and watch whichever what your mum wants to watch. So you would end up with the asian drama anyway.

Oh, maybe I was talking about me in my parents’ house.

The sad thing is, I might never be able to have my own house by myself. It’s a shame because a part of me is telling me that it’s purely because I am a woman. In the culture I grew up with, no matter how successful a woman could be, she would never leave the parents’ house until she’s married. Then she would live in her husband’s house.

It’s sad that I might have to let go the imagination of having a place of my own. A place that I decorate for myself, without having to think of what other might want. I would never be able to paint the whole house in pink, or choose the floral pattern for the curtains. I could never be able to pick the cute furniture, decorated with lacy throws. I might never be able to have a big wardrobe, huge shoe shelves, and an immensely large mirror in front of the dressing table. I could never decorate my bathroom with flowers, or keep my kitchen away from distasteful junk foods. Basically… I would never be able to live the life I have been dreaming of.

Not that I have a second thought of marriage. No.

It wouldn’t change a thing. As I said, I would never be able to leave my parents’ house anyway, so buying a house of my dream would be impossible no matter what.

But one could dream. And maybe one day… Maybe ^__^

The Denials

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I believe I have ranted a lot about the education system in Indonesia. However, just few days ago I have got the corroborating argument about the poor quality of education system in this country. The article which controversially titled “Indonesian Kids Don’t Know How Stupid They Are“, is a harsh wake up call which should be taken very seriously. It has shown how poor the quality of the education system in Indonesia.

Some of the comments in the article has mirrored what I have been feeling about the curriculum in this country. Not only the concerns from parents whose children would be affected the most by this poor academic scheme, but also from the scholars that worry about the future of the next generations. However some others were very much disagree with this article.

Most of them doubted the method that was used to collect the data, some refused to be compared to our two closest neighbour – Malaysia and Singapore, and the other were simply disagreeing without providing any valid arguments.

Those who questioned the data collecting method said that the survey tool was not applicable in Indonesia. The questions in the test which was given was said to be in English instead of in Indonesian, while there are many Indonesian students who don’t understand English. That has been countered by the author that the test has been adapted. They also said that the sample of the data was not valid as it was taken only from the eastern part of Indonesia. They believed that if it was taken in Jakarta or other big cities, it would give a completely different result.

Of course the article itself has made me sad. But what sadden me even more was the fact that most of Indonesian people doesn’t understand the urgency of this matter. In fact, I think these people are in a deep denial, trying to believe that things are no so bad, and it is only some paranoid people trying to infiltrate our academic system with the western influence.

1. I don’t understand why shouldn’t we compare our country with our two closest neighbours, Singapore and Malaysia? Because we are larger and we have more problem to solve? I agreed with one question from another commentators in the article: even if Indonesia is divided into 100 small independent countries with their own education system, it probably wouldn’t work either.

I don’t understand why shouldn’t we compare ourselves to the better countries? Why should we compare ourselves to the worse country? To make ourselves feel better? To make ourselves feel superior? To keep ourselves in a comfort zone and thinking that it is good enough that we are not the worst of all? That is sad.

Comparing ourselves to the better countries doesn’t mean that we were feeling inferior. It is to inspire us, to aspire us, to whip us to work more, to be better, to go forward. It is supposed to encourage us to be better.

2. If the test was taken in big cities in Java, would it give us a better result? Oh wait… Do you remember the National Exam? Yes, the so called national exam which passing grade was so low that I did it half asleep?

No, I am not trying to brag. If you thought so, then you have completely missed my point.

For my siblings and I, doing the National Exam is way easier than doing the yearly test in our school. It is easier to pass the exam than to pass the pop quiz from our teacher. It is because we were schooled in the best private schools. However for some other students form different school, even from the same city, they would think the passing grade is a life-death experience.

I disagree if anyone would say that students from the big cities are smarter. I could beat those students when I was in the university, and I did it easily. The discrepancy is not in the region where the school was established, but is in the difference between the quality of teachings in the school. And I should say that the private schools are still the best in this country.

It is sad that people are so defensive and so in denial. They wouldn’t understand how far behind we are now compared to students from other country. They blamed everything but refused to admit that we are now walking backwards. Especially those who are living in the big city, trying to justify while looking this matter rosily.

“Ignorance is a bliss”, they said. No wonder that Indonesian students are one of the happiest in the world.

The Perspective

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Good day!

Still in the mood in discussing about this? Or you might be more interested in reading the Indonesian version here? Well… I do.

As a summary, this is a case of the sexual harassment allegation by four parliament members during the fit and proper test for the candidates of Indonesian Broadcasting Committee, which was reported by the National Committee for Women. The allegation was based on the personal questions and remarks which was seen inappropriate, and considered harassing and humiliating by the National Committee for Women.

The alleged victim herself, Agatha Lily denied the conjecture. She said in an interview that she did not feel harassed by the question, and even asked in return; whether being told as pretty should be taken as being harassed.

Her question to the media tickled me.

It is true that harassment is in the eye of beholder. It depends on the context, the situation, the timing, the person. Verbal harassment is not only what was said, but why and how it was said. Physical harassment is not only what has been done, but how and why it was done. Like I said, it was a matter of perspective.

I would feel very much disturbed if I was in that candidate position as I don’t think it was appropriate to make that kind of personal remarks during a very formal and important event like that. However I am completely aware that some of my friend would probably take it very lightly, and even happily that someone has actually noticed their work out in the gym and their effort to look pretty. Some people would be very much complimented that important people thought that they are pretty. And I don’t think there is any problem with it.

Personally, I would rather keep the personal banters in a different social context. However I also know that there are a lot of personal banters at work, and many people are okay with sexual banters. I think that is fine too.

There is one attribute of sexual harassment based on the definition (please google). It must be unwelcome or unwanted or discomforting. And these are the feeling that only the alleged victim could experience. Not even the National Committee could dictate who to feel what. (I have built a certain antipathy towards the NGO in Indonesia for reasons, but let me talk about it in a different occassion)

As what I have said in the previous discussion about this, I thought that the remarks and questions that was thrown during the fit and proper test were inappropriate. But whether or not it was a harassment, it might have to be reconsidered.

1. Agatha Lily is not the uneducated woman who doesn’t understand what is sexual harassment. Like what she had said in the media, she would have said something if she felt being harassed at that time.

2. She denied the allegation, and she doesn’t want to be victimised in this case. Even, she felt uncomfortable with the National Committee for Women’s statement which has put her in the position as the victim of sexual harassment.

I am not going to cut out the possibility of political and diplomatic excuses that might come up later. I just don’t understand this sexual harassment accusation came up without anyone as the victim.

The Social Role

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The allegation of sexual harassment during the fit and proper test which has been done by four parliament members to the Indonesian Broadcasting commissioner (candidate –at that time), has been reported. The National Committee for Women has delivered this allegation to the Honorary Council, so that they would investigate this case. I will leave the harassment allegation behind, and would talk about it later, but I would like to talk about the questions which were being reported as harassing and inappropriate.

It started when the Committee I held a fit and proper test to choose the commissioner for the Indonesian Broadcasting Committee. During the test, the examiner threw some personal remarks and questions to one of the candidate, Agatha Lily, such as whether she had been married; how many times she had gone to spa; that she was pretty and whether they should exchange mobile phone number.

The National Committee for Women thought that these questions and remarks were very much degrading, and humiliating. The parliament members who were being accused for the allegation disagreed and said that their remarks were merely banters between friends who had known each other for some times. Agatha Lily herself, said in an interview that she did not feel embarrassed nor harassed, and even wondered if being told pretty was supposed to be taken as being harassed.

It is hard to decide whether this is a sexual harassment or maybe a sexual discrimination, especially when the alleged victim has denied the allegation herself. As the harassment accusation needs to be seen from the victim point of view. However, despite Agatha Lily’s statement, I still believe that the personal remarks and questions during the fit and proper test were very much inappropriate.

In our social life, we are carrying more than one social roles. My father for example is a father and a husband at home, a boss in his company, an investor in his friends’ companies, a friend for his buddies, a son to my grandmother, and a taxpayer for the country. My mother, is a mother and a wife at home, the chief in the church congregation in her parish, the boss in her own office, a sister to her siblings, and a daughter in law to my grandmother. However the social role could change when they were in a different social context.

For example: when my mum and my dad were talking business, they should separate the husband and wife role, to the business relation role. When my mum told me to do the office work, she did not ask me as her daughter, but as her employees. When my dad talked business to his friends, he was no longer as a friend but as an investor, and so on.

The incapability to understand how and when to place oneself to a social role would put one out of context. And this is, what I believe, that has happened during the fit and proper test.

The four parliament members told the media that they did it merely because they had known each other, so they were exchanging banters during the fit and proper test. They might not intend to sexually harass Agatha Lily, but they have missed to understand that they were not in the capacity as the friends of this woman, but as the examiners. They failed to understand the social role they were in, thus they couldn’t act appropriate to the context.

It is, of course, affect the professionalism of the parliament members, and Agatha Lily as a commissioner. It might be different if she had refused to answer or told the examiner that the questions and the remarks were inappropriate, although I understand completely that it would be hard to do that when the culture demands you to avoid confrontation, especially when you are a woman in a patriarchal bureaucracy system.

Oh well.. Just a weekend thought. Have a nice one 🙂

P.S. You could read it here too

Yes

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I have got a very interesting question few days ago on my facebook, from a friend. He posted an interesting “what-if”. It’s more or less like this:

If you could send a note to your younger self in the past, what would you say in two words

In two words?

I could probably write a great note, telling her that I was from the future and I could make her a rich woman by telling her which country to bet in the world cup finals, or which stock to buy, or when she should buy US dollars and when to sell it. I could tell her to just skip the stupid relationships I don’t need. I should just tell her what to study in the university so she did not have to go through the unemployment for so long.

But in two words?

I considered many things: “Be Careful”, “Don’t Worry”, “Good Luck”, or even “Good Job” or “Keep Calm” (and hoping that one day she knew what it means). I even joked that it would be hilarious if I just sent “F*ck That” to my younger self in the past. But when I thought about it seriously, it wouldn’t do anything to me in the past.

I came up with one thing that I finally posted in my friend’s status.

“Say Yes”.

I think it would make a lot of differences if I had said yes to many thing I did not when I was a lot younger. I felt that I have missed a lot of opportunity because I refused to take a chance and did not say yes to those who came to me. I realised that my biggest regret is not that I have made mistakes, but it’s when I did not make any mistakes because I did not do anything.

I wasn’t talking about changing the present. I am quite contented with what I have got right now. I was talking about taking the opportunity when you were young. I would say yes, going for a date when I was in high school, knowing that it might upset my parents. I would say yes, for a kiss from the boy that I liked. I would say yes, when my friends asked me to go and hang out after school, although it might make me miss the private lesson. I would take chances, so that today I know better.

Of course I know myself better. I was not that stupid. I wouldn’t have said yes to things that could harm myself either.

It reminds me of “Yes Man”, a film which was starred by Jim Carey. I don’t think I should tell you what the film was about, but I think it has the same premise with what I have been thinking of today.

Oh well…

 

Rain

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It’s been raining for days in Solo.

Rainy days always brought up a lot of memories for me. I used to love rainy days.

I loved rainy days because it means more time to stay at school with the person that I liked. He used to go to school with his motorbike, so he couldn’t go home while the rain was falling. So we would end up chatting while waiting for the rain to stop. My driver would wait outside patiently, I would tell him that it was an extra study at school or group assignments, and mum would not be angry for me being home late.

I loved rainy days because the classroom where I studied was not facilitated with an air conditioner. The cool breeze would slipped through the opened window, carrying the scent of the soil dampened by the fist drop of the pouring water.

I loved rainy days. It makes me feel poetic. Nostalgic.

I wasn’t always in love with rainy days.

When I was in Jakarta, I was hating it. I resented it with all my heart and soul. As my first rented room was drowned in the flood while I was trapped in the 8th floor of my university building with not working lift. I would have to walk before I had my first own car, and I had to wash my own shoes when they got all muddy. Or I could just threw it away if the mud wouldn’t go away.

When I have got my own car, it would get all muddy. Or stuck in the crazy traffic for hours because of the rain. Basically when I was in Jakarta, I despised rainy days. It was only nice on my last days in Jakarta when I was staying in an apartment in one big superblock with my sisters. We could once again let the windows open, and then the breeze would come in and bring back all the childhood memories.

While I was studying in the UK, rainy days were mostly unpredictable. I can’t really tell whether I love it or hate it, but it was cold and wet and I don’t particularly like that part. But the raincoat was pretty cute, and I have started to get acquainted with my pink umbrella. It’s kind of fashionable too.

However, the best part was the summer shower. When it pours from above, cools down the heated earth, and I could sit in the lounge of Mr. Fix-It’s house next to the opened windows and inhale the scent of the rain. I could daydream about the my childhood while listening to the drizzles while it hits the ground.

Oh.. oh…

yes the rainy days.

I know it is a bad news for you who lives in Jakarta. You may have got trapped in the terrible traffic jam, and probably worried that the monsoon would soon come with the flood. Maybe the laundry would take longer to dry, and some might smell like a rotten cat when it comes back from the ironing. However, remember the warm bed and the blanket that would protect you from the cool breeze while it was pouring outside.

Ah well…

Have a nice day.

Cheers…

December. ALREADY?

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When Saturday report has been done in the factory where my sister and I are now working, all I could say was… phew! What a month.

Right then, I realised that it was the end of November. I couldn’t believe that we actually passed a month without any massive problem in the factory, and most of all, I could not believe that I am alright. I was so stressed out with my visa application, and it seemed hard to even pass a day without worrying.

I am still annoyed with people asking about the visa. The thing is, I am as clueless as they are, and there is practically nothing I could do to feed my curiosity. It annoys me because it reminds me how helpless we are and that my fate is in other people’s hands. However, I am getting used to that and I could just ignore it when I was having a bad mood, and maybe try to explain to them the situation when I was feeling kind and helpful.

But this is December.

I am rather proud that I could pass November without actually broken down, and now I am feeling a little bit useful. Maybe it’s true what Lazlo Bane sang in “I’m no Superman”, that one needs to work to feed the soul. I am even thinking of adding something more in the daily activity. Of course something that I could do in the afternoon. I still hate waking up in the morning.

Uh. What? Nanowrimo?

Hahaha… I have to admit that although I have already got the story written, I did not have time to compose it properly as a novel. So I ended up only wrote around 6000 words. Out of 50k. I know that’s terrible. Maybe I should do that again next year, just in case I would have more time, courage, and words :p

What am I expecting right now? I don’t know. I wish I could get the reply from the visa agency much sooner, because the waiting is still as torturing as it was before, and as the answer is not here yet, I couldn’t actually make a plan. For anything.

One thing that makes life better in December. SALE. Everything would be on sale! I think I would love to get at least a pair of shoes this month as a reward because I was being good.

Because Santa is not real.

Boo Hoo. There.