Category Archives: The Byq Bang Theory

Women And Hobbies

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One of my friend posted this link from MGOTW on his facebook page. This is the link if you would like to click, and if you don’t this is the summary:

It is basically a discussion thread asking why WOMEN don’t have hobbies and lack of creativity. The question was asked by a man, and it was answered mostly by men who agreed with him. The thread was basically discuss how women (or specifically women that these guys have known in person) don’t (or if they do, it would be rarely) involved in any activities other than gossiping (which they usually call “hanging out with the girls”), or stuffing themselves with cake while watching TV, or nagging their other half because they want attention.

Hold on.

I didn’t say that it is 100 percent true.

Afterall, the discussion is in MGOTW, where most users there are likely to have an issue with women in general. If I was a Freudian, I would assume that their mums had tried to breastfed them with lemon concentrate when they were still an infant, making them so bitter about women. So, if you did click the link and were feeling slightly upset… please. It is MGOTW, take anything you read there with a pinch of salt.

But it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t think about what they’re saying though. There’s a reason why lots of people believe that women don’t have hobbies. Even women themselves agree to a degree that their peers seem to be lacking in this department.

Before I continue, I have to say that I have exclude the UK in general. I learned from my years being here, that this country is the “United Kingdom of Hobbyists”. It seems men, women, old, and young… everybody has a hobby. One at least. From stamp collecting, to trainspotting, from Magic The Gathering, to knit, and crocheting… you name it. They have it.

However if I see my friends in Indonesia — female friends, albeit I don’t have many. Ah, even my female family members. It seems that they don’t understand what a hobby is about.

Most of them love being online, looking at interesting stuff in video and repost and reshare, and tag people who actually have hobbies. “Bikin ini dong” (make me this, please). Or making a ridiculous comment about how my cooking and knitting hobby is what define me as a good housewife. Most of them don’t understand that people do stuff just for the sake of it.

People like being solitary, and being passionate about something. People do that to have fun. It doesn’t have to be the man-style hobbies like boxing, fishing, rock climbing. It doesn’t have to be too geeky like gaming, or train modelling. It is something that you do.

Most women I know don’t do this. Even my own mother thinks that hobby is a waste of time. She thought she gardens as a hobby, but to be honest, she just ask someone to do the garden while she enjoys looking at it. She doesn’t read, let alone write. She doesn’t cook, let alone experimenting with baking. But of course… My father is the same.

I don’t think it is all gender related. It is mostly cultural too. My grandfather is a big music buff, he wouldn’t spend a day away from our electric organ, he’s a greenfinger too — a proper one, you could see him on the garden tending our mango trees. My grandmother loves cooking, but she mostly do it as a part of daily chore. I am not sure if it is her hobby, or it is just something she should do because she likes feeding the family.

My sister loves tennis, like my grandfather. If she wasn’t pregnant she would have gone to the court at least twice a week. My other sister… she has a bunch of hobbies from crafting to mountain climbing. My brother on the other hand… I think he’s more like my father. He does game a bit, but I have never seen him with a particular hobby.

See? It is not a gender related thing. It is also cultural, and I believe economic factor plays a big role in it. My parents grew up when things were difficult, so it is impossible to develop a hobby because hobby takes money. I think human character plays a role too, because I found some people just don’t have this kind of passion some other has.

I think introvert people are more likely to develop a hobby because they have time for themselves. They will have time to consider things that they actually like doing, rather than doing things because their pals doing it too.

So…

What’s your hobby?

 

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Is Life A Race?

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Seems like I couldn’t shake it off my mind since I came back from Indonesia last month.

Like usual, big events in our family means hundreds of friends and relatives gathered to give you their free opinion — yes free, you don’t even need to ask for it. Aunties are the worst of the kinds, because they do have blood relations with you, and they are in a higher position than you are in the family tree. A lethal combo in our culture.

It was much better that I had my husband with me last time I went back to Indonesia. It means that whenever I started to grit my teeth listening to these unwanted opinions, I have my husband to give me a reason not to blow up. Still a Mr. Fix-It, he will fix the situation — unknowingly, since he doesn’t understand a word my aunts said.

Anyway, on their last day in Solo (it was a beautiful sunny day, and much better with seeing them leaving), they made a comment about my sister’s pregnancy.

Great Comic from The Oatmeal: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/kids

If you think that when your sister is pregnant, your extended family will leave you alone being child-free, then you are totally and utterly mistaken. In fact, they were even more savage and fierce in telling you that you need to have kids as soon as possible.

One sentence that I couldn’t get rid of my brain is:

“Kamu kapan? Tuh kebalap sama adek…”

Which I could freely translate that to:

“When will you [have a baby]? Your younger sister has overtaken you…”

Overtaken?

Is this a race?

Haven’t they ever play “The Game of Life“? Everybody knows that anyone who finish first lived the most boring life!

But seriously? Is life a race though?

Is it about who graduate the fastest? Or who gets married first? Or get a job first? Be a mum first? It is an idea that I couldn’t get around to. I mean is it okay to ask someone who said that my sister overtook me because she got pregnant first by asking:

“When will you be dead though? You don’t want your younger siblings to overtake you, do you?”

Prost!

 

Norwich Pride And A Lesson About Tolerance

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We went to gay pride again. I love going there because it gives me the sense of acceptance, tolerance, and even belonging. It is great to be surrounded by people, who embrace difference and for once after so many weeks of feeling uncomfortable in my own skin, I felt wonderful. I dressed up, and dolled up, –and with my lovely open minded wonderful husband– went to Norwich city centre.

Alle möglichen Leute waren da.

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The sun was up, but not for long. Soon enough the cloud took over and a bit of drizzle sprinkled the sky with cooling spray. None of those stopped us from being… well… gay 😀 We’re marching from the Forum to Chapelfield garden — this is new because usually we walked from Chapelfield Garden to the Forum.

This is when things got more interesting.

Every year, when we’re parading, there would be someone holding an anti-gay poster on the route. Usually only four or five people gathering while waving us the posters, and in return the paraders would cheered back at them.

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Cheered. Not jeered.

It was a “Wooohoooo!!” and lots of clapping, instead of a massive “Booo!!”.

Yes.

Nobody went to attack anyone, verbally nor physically. It mad me think… how the hell this could happen here, but not in my homeland in Indonesia? When I came home that day I found that some Buddhist temples in the town of Tanjung Balai, Sumatra were attacked, damaged, and even burned down — because allegedly ones voiced their concerns about the loudness of the Muslim’s call for prayer there.

Then I realised… Here in Norwich, we are playing the same game, and obeying the same rule. We believe that everybody could have their opinion without being physically or verbally abused. We know that the authorities would police the regulation, and make sure everybody has that right to voice their thought as long as it is not abusive.

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Like those people with anti gay posters in the gay parade.

Like that woman in hijab who took photo in the anti muslim rally.

In Indonesia? If voicing a concern about a loud speaker from a mosque ended up in the burning of seven Buddhist temples… Imagine what would happen to a gay man carrying a beautiful rainbow flag in front of FPI rally? Do you think the Indonesian police officers would protect his right to voice his opinion? Do you think FPI would cheered his bravery for coming out? Nope… he would either ended up in the hospital or even… six feet under.

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Now you think…

Prost!

I Am Sorry…

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One of the thing of being English is that you say sorry a lot. You say sorry for almost everything — it is a part of the culture. You apologise when you make the lady in the till wait for two seconds longer while you are rummaging your bag to find that elusive pound coin. You apologise when someone thought you are queuing while you’re actually just standing there minding your own thing. I think it is a part of making thing less awkward. But what do I know. I am not English.

But my husband is English — and he does apologise a lot, just to make sure people would recognise his English-ness — as if that fair skin, blonde hair, and British accent is not enough. And yes he’s born and bred British, and he’s proud of it. I mean, like normal people feeling proud of their nationalities.

But today, he looked mournful, and told me after a long sad sigh:

“Darling I am sorry. I am sorry for being English.”

My heart broke.

I mean it is true that yesterday, for the first time I don’t want to support England team on Euro2016. For the first time I didn’t cheer for them nor Wales the day before. I put away my union jack mug which I normally use for my daily caffeine. And, I am selling my “St George cross” steel boned waist reducing corset.

I mean… who am I kidding? I might get an elocution course to adopt a perfect sound of BBC English accent, or made a long and elaborate speech about how the weather has been while drinking a nice cup of tea — but with this straight black hair, yellow complexion, and slightly slanted eyes I would never be English, would I? Why even bother to try? These people wouldn’t ever see me as one of them, would they?

But when my husband said those two sentences. I feel… ambivalent.

Not once I could put my husband in the same category with these racist idiots who took a childish decision to storm out from EU just because they’re angry. Not once I could see my husband as the same creature who attacks and make hateful remarks to people from different nationalities, ethnicities, nor religions. I could never be able to see her in the same picture with those who use the same word “PROUD”, going on the street telling people to go back to their own country.

But I can understand why he feel bad for being English — as this particular post-Brexit time is just the worst time to be a foreigner in this proud country.

It is the same when I feel slightly offended when these racist bastards make hateful comments to immigrants, or to ethnic minorities. It is the same when I feel incredibly upset when homophobic bastards make ignorant comments about LGBT in Indonesia. It is the sense of belonging that is tainted with negative emotion. Mine with upset and anger. His with shame and guilt.

And I am so sad that he feels that way.

He has done everything that is right. And I know if things go south, he will stand by me. But this is sadly something even he — My Mr.Fix-It– cannot fix.

And it is terrible terrible feeling.

This EU result is not only affecting the country as a whole, but also us as an individual. It might hit some people faster than the other — some might be in denial, or still hoping that things are going to settle down and get better.

I really hope all the scary things would never happen. I really wish for the best for everybody that once the dust has settled, it is not going to be ruins that we see. But for now I would stop talking about EU referendum and the shit that it has brought to us. I would go to my dearest husband, give him a little hug, and console him — while consoling myself.

Good night…

Food Culture Paradox

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Food is a big part of our culture. Three most important celebrations: Birth, Marriage, Death — are always celebrated or commemorated with food. Even in the daily life, food plays a very important role in our culture. It shapes us, it defines us. And we do… I mean, really do love our food.

We love our food so much we want everybody else to love it too. We cannot handle seeing other people not eating something. When we go abroad, and see some unique local food, the first thing we do is buy some extra so that our family and friends at home would be able to try them too.

Ever seen an Asian on a restaurant? While some people would start their meal by saying grace? We won’t start tucking in until we get a really good food photo. For what? Well… We just want to tell people that we know (or we don’t)  that we just had a great meal. And it is important. Good food means good life.

However…

As much as we love food, and feeding people. We worship skinny figure.

We don’t like fat people. We would encourage people to go on a diet, or suggest a really nice tea that somehow could melt down the extra fat on our thigh. Sometimes even, we didn’t realise how hurtful that is for the other party. But of course… we did it because we love them — or so we thought.

This is what I call “The Food Culture Paradox”. As a culture that embrace food, we have become a bunch of enabler for binge eater. We feed them because we love them. We want them to enjoy the finest thing in life and in our case it is a packet of pocky, green tea kitkat, macaroons, and blueberry cheese cake. We saw their waistline get bigger and bigger most of the time pushing to the dangerous limit. But we can’t stop feeding them, can we?

I admit that I have this problem too. I know that some members of our family don’t need more encouragement to binge. But every time I visit home, I would ask them if they want to have pork scratching or jaffa cakes. I know that my husband needs to cut down on sugar and fat, but still twice a week there would be cupcakes baking in the oven, or unlimited supply of biscuits in the jar.

What to do then?

To be honest? I don’t know.

Where to draw the line between being kind and wanting your friend or family to enjoy the food that you do enjoy too, and being an enabler for someone who are obviously addicted to comfort food? How do you know when you give that incredibly yummy cake, that you are not actually clogging their arteries with fat, and slowly killing them?

I don’t know.

But it is interesting, isn’t it?

Yuyun

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Disclaimer:
If you haven’t heard about Yuyun, you are probably the lucky one. I wish I could keep you from knowing who was Yuyun and what had happened to her, but I couldn’t. And I shouldn’t. So, before I even begin, I would like to apologise if this particular post ruins your beautiful day.

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Yuyun was a 14 year old, Indonesian middle school girl who was allegedly kidnapped and gang raped by fourteen boys. She was on her way back from school that day, and she never made it home.

I don’t know what is different from this particular case, that it has got the mainstream media attention. Is it because that she is still really really young? Is it because the number of rapists? Is it because the fact that she was killed on the scene? Or… Is it because it is time for Indonesian people to recognise that we do have rape culture in our society? — so I hope.

Since I was really young, I was taught to dress modestly by my parents. Girls would have to wear a vest underneath their white shirts so if the shirt happens to be see-through they wouldn’t inadvertently showed off their underwear. My mum would wear petticoat when wearing light coloured skirt or dress, or something that slightly fitting to avoid indecent exposure. Can you imagine how hot it was wearing all those layers in a tropical country like Indonesia.

Very. That’s the answer.

But we did it. I don’t mind doing it at school as it is a part of a uniform and most of the time we will be indoor. But we did it outside the school. And what is it for? To prevent the unwanted. To protect ourselves from being a victim, because we know… we know exactly what would happen when we become a victim.

We will be blamed because we are not wearing enough layer. Or that our skirts are few centimetres too short than the decent length. We will be blamed for walking alone. Especially after dark. Because good women would cover themselves up, and not being seen outside without chaperones. And bad women? Well… they’re asking for it.

Now… that’s depressing, isn’t it? That’s why I am so lucky.

I got away.

But that couldn’t be the solution for millions of women in Indonesia (and many other countries like Indonesia). Not everybody could get away from that kind of situation.

Maybe.

Maybe Yuyun case is different.

If there should be a silver lining from this terribly sad story, it must be that this could be the turning point for Indonesia and law to protect women in this country. Maybe Yuyun would be the Indonesian equivalent for the Indian Jyoti Singh. Maybe this time everybody will take action.

One can only hope.

 

Should You Drop Out School?

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Facebook feed is definitely a source of writing inspiration nowadays. Especially if you have different kind of people in your list — people from different cultural backgrounds, age group, jobs or expertise, etc, who love posting statuses, or sharing stories. Or in this particular day, someone from my list shared a video.

It is not just a video. It is a video from a TED talk. A boy. A teenage boy. Talking about how — according to him — school is making us less intelligent. I couldn’t post the video directly from facebook, so I went to youtube and found it there for you — obviously to make your lives so much easier.

You’re welcome.

 

There. What do you think?

Do you agree with what he said? That school makes us less intelligent? So, should we all just drop the education and stop going to school altogether — for the sake of creativity?

Or, you can start seeing the flaw in his argument — when he started contradicting himself about the meaning of success, and that there are different kind of intelligences? I let him off for that one, mainly because he is still young, and probably he didn’t get the chance to learn that in academic writing such flaws would be heavily scrutinised by the professors.

But of course… That’s not the problem.

The problem is… I agree with him to a certain degree.

I too was a “victim” of how school tried to shape us into something that we are not. I remember quite clearly what happened when I told my teacher that I wanted to go to Language Department, instead of Natural Science Department. I remembered that I was coerced to change my option, because I was “too smart” for Language Department.

Now? Now I am working with languages, and I love it. I still wish I took that Language Class. If I did, I might be better now in my German. Maybe I didn’t have to start from the very beginning. Maybe I would have got a basic knowledge of German or French… Who knows?

I also agree with him that there are different kind of intelligences. I too have witnessed so many of my friends who were considered as stupid, or slow has flourished after they graduated high school and took art and design route, or music, or business. Something that they didn’t learn at school at all.

But how about people who don’t have that “specialities”? How about people who are just the average? People who needs to get a basic level of education to get a job — to get money — to feed their family, etc.

What this boy said about “school makes us less intelligent” is not unfamiliar for me at all. I have heard the same argument over and over again, only at that time when I was younger it was “school doesn’t make us rich” or “school doesn’t guarantee our success“.

But.. success…

This is what I considered as the hole in this boy’s argument. He started impeccably when he said that people are unique because they have their own unique intelligences, but he forgot that we also have our own unique aspirations. For him success is having a flourished company, that makes a lot of money — that’s why he argued that he is better at managing a company than those who graduated from Harvard. For some people it is being a president, or an MP. For other… it is having a happy family.

For me, it is mastering 10 languages, and writing books.

So, if you ask me if you should drop out from school… well… you probably might.

 

 

Fat Fashion

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Disclaimer: There is nothing PC about this entry. It is rather harsh, and most probably will make some people feel incredibly offended. However, it is a piece of thought, and it is not directed to a particular person. It is just an observation, and maybe… all of us need to get a life. 

It was a lazy weekend, and I was lying there feeling happy drinking my coffee, while playing TsumTsum on my phone. Out of nowhere (possibly out of the kitchen), my husband decided to weigh himself. If I haven’t told you yet, we just bought a weightwatcher’s bathroom scale, because we are thinking of getting ourselves in shape. (The first step to tackle a problem is to know how big the problem is — or the number is)

He looked a bit gloomy when he read the number, like I would too. I told my husband that I feel fat.

This is what he always does. He would dismiss me saying that I am fat, probably thinking that if he is agreeing with me it will make me feel bad. But I am not that kind of person, I don’t fish compliment to feed my self confident. However, lately, I have developed a new theory about why he dismisses my concern about bodily fat. Maybe he simply can’t see it.

I am not saying that he can’t see it because he’s blind. I am saying that he is biased. It is not because he loves me and accept me the way I am — of course he does, he married me. But that’s not the reason why he is biased. He is biased because in this country we are surrounded by a lot of overweight people. He started making comparison and unconsciously normalise what is considered as fat and what is not.

There are hundreds of articles or news (you could just google it), where people are protesting that one clothes manufacturer didn’t have more plus size dresses. Or that a certain brand doesn’t have “normal” size women to model their frocks. But what is not normal about being size UK 10? That’s S/M or size 8 in the US, or 38 EU size. That’s 36 inches bust circumference.

The reason why size 10 is not normal is because size 16 is the new normal. Based on a research, size 16 is the average size of women in the UK. No wonder when I have ballooned from size 10 to size 12, my husband is still saying that I am not fat.

Because, that’s the culture.

That’s the culture when people making all these “chubby is cute”, “curve is sexy” kind of thing as an excuse for giving up losing weight. Sometimes I wonder when these women said “I love myself, I love my body”, was it self appreciation, or just an excuse to make themselves feel better? Not that I see nothing wrong with it… I understand that for some people, denial is a form of self defence mechanism.

Before you said anything, I will tell you… in all honesty. I have gained more than 10 kilograms since the first time I arrived in the UK in 2011, and 8 kg of them was after I started the contraception pills. In the beginning of this year I has stopped consuming these pills because I managed to find a doctor to fit in the coil in my womb. Since then, I have lost 4kg.

4 kg in two bloody months.

And, before you said anything more, I will tell you that my sister has PCOS. It is Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. Her metabolism system is slow. Her insulin level is low. Not only that she is prone to diabetes, she also has problem losing weight because of that. But she lost 7 kg in four months, just with going tennis once or twice a week, and not snacking after dinner.

7 kg in four months.

So, I know how hormonal changing, or any illnesses, or disease could affect how your body reacts to… food. But I also know that it is not entirely impossible to do.

I am not saying that being thin is always the healthier way to do it. Some people are so obsessed with having thigh gap, or collarbone… well… I dont  mind having those. But I probably wouldn’t go the extra way that might harm myself. But going to the other extreme and finding it okay to be obese… Really?

Normalising being fat, and probably at the same time condemning people from taking care of themselves is not what you call “loving your body” is it? You said YOLO, and then scoff yourself silly with whatever your eyes see. If you know you only live once, would you want to live it dying on your bed not being able to move because you are too heavy to enjoy moving about?

Oh well…

Ranting does make you hungry doesn’t it? Time for cake…

Prost!

Meine Fortschritte Deutsch zu Lernen

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Hallo

 

Ich heiße Bybyq. Ich lebe in Großbritannien mit meinem Mann (Ich liebe ihm). Wir leben in einer kleiner Wohnung. Unsere Stadt Norwich ist eine schöne Stadt. Es ist klein, aber hat es alles was wir brauchen.

Ich schreibe gerne. Ich mag auch kochen, stricken, und häkeln. Ich lese viele Bücher denn ich lese gerne. Ich mag jetzt Haruki Murakami, aber ich mag immer Agatha Christie.

Shit this is difficult.

Racist Or Not Racist…

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That’s the question…

Of course I am talking about one of Indonesian Ambassador who few days ago posted a tweet that is considered as racist. Well… Okay. He said “Cina” in his tweet.

And why is this a problem?

Some people don’t consider using the word “Cina” to refer to Chinese Indonesian as a racist comment. But, the word “Cina” is the equivalent of the N word in the USA. If it is said by an African American, it is fine (sort of), but when a White American said it… it is improper. Same with the C word in Indonesia.

It is historical. It is cultural. Lots of people haven’t gotten over it as it has a negative connotative for being used as a derogative term for minority group.

So… when someone with the position like this Mr. Ambassador said the C word in public space, with or without malice, it is considered as a political blunder. A huge one, if I must say.

But here’s the thing.

I, for once, am not a PC Police. I don’t go around the social media attacking people who made the slightest social or cultural faux pas. I don’t even care about political correctness if it is about telling facts. So, I am not going to follow the crowd and condemn this tweet. I consider this as a PR crisis. Told you many years ago that these politicians need to hire people like me to manage their bloody social media. But nobody listens *rolleyes*.

And what if it is not a PR crisis? What if it is not a political blunder? What if this tweet is not just a mistake, but a reflection of how racist this guy is? So what?

I can’t make someone to be not-racist. Nobody can make someone to be not-racist, and it is the same the other way around. Can you… if you are not a racist, be made racist? No.

There is a place inside your brain that nobody can touch. It is where you are truly free, to be yourself. There is no right and wrong about the thing in your head. And if you have a certain idea about something or someone, that is your perception based on your own experience, based on what you’ve heard or seen. There is no such thing as thought crime.

See…

Generalisation. Stereotyping. The kind of thing that you consider so bad is actually the way our brain work to simplify our lives. It is one of our basic instinct and survival tool. It is in the nature. It is been there to help us making sense of the world.

In the past mankind generalise animal as either prey or predator. That’s how they choose which animals they can eat and which one they should avoid. That’s survival. They classified plants to help them understanding the nature. Race, ethnicity… it is how we try to make sense of human’s uniqueness. It helps some people, to reduce the feeling of unknown.

This is humane. And this is what many PC polices don’t understand.

Some people just can’t help being racist. Especially in Indonesia where it is rooted, and where it is being taught from generation to generation. It has been drilled to people’s mind and being reinforced by radical groups. It is something that you can only hope will change slowly. It is not something that you can change overnight.

Heck.. we just start recognising this in Indonesia since 1998. We still have a long way to go.

Don’t get me wrong.

It does hurt when I read or listen to this kind of aggression. Micro or macro, it doesn’t matter. It still hurt no matter how much understanding you could give to these people. Sometimes even, I would retaliate, but most of the time, I’d rather write.

Like this.

Maybe today. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe, it could help people to understand too.

 

Prost!