Tag Archives: asian

An Update (Again)

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Just came back from my annual visit to Indonesia. As usual, to celebrate the CNY.

This time, Chinese New Year feels different for me. In so many ways.

Not only that now I am no longer receiving angpao, and instead having to give kids ones, it was also… I don’t know. Ambivalent? I don’t know, I am not even sure how to put it. What I know is that in this trip home, so many things has changed. And, I realised that I have changed a lot too, since the last CNY.

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Mentally, mostly.

One little thing like… how I feel when I was surrounded by family, for example. It has changed too.

I used to like being left alone. I can blame it to my teenage angst, but now I can appreciate it more. I can appreciate being surrounded by cousins whom I haven’t met for at least five years, or nieces and nephews I haven’t never seen before. I can appreciate the attentions, as much as I could appreciate them leaving me alone in the past.

Or, the way I reacted to the problems in the family. I feel that I am no longer trying to fix stuff. It was, of course an effort not to treat my sisters and brother like children anymore. They are adults now, and the realisation has helped me to let them go, and be their own person. And they are their own persons, and I am proud of them.

It’s just…

Being the eldest in the family, there’s always this feeling of wanting to protect my sisters and brother. They probably don’t need my protection, not anymore. But it is always ingrained in me, the sisterly tough love to them. And, to be honest, this is probably the closest I could ever be to parenthood, so… IF they read this, I hope they understand if I was mummying them. (No, there’s a difference between mummying, and mummifying. Pay attention!)

Anyway. One thing doesn’t change though…

The FOOD.

As the closing of today’s post, I will present you: THE FOOD

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2016 — Not Looking Back In Anger

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To be honest… 2016 was probably not the best year you want to remember, wasn’t it? I mean… really…

Just when you think that the death of Lemmy in the end of last year was the end of the count, you heard about David Bowie, and Alan Rickman within a week. And, when in the end of the month I told Mr. Fix-it that Terry Wogan was gone as well, he asked me to stop updating him with these distressing news.

But really… the big names were not the only ones going. The humanitarian issues from Syrian refugees, to the Rohingyas in Myanmar. The bombings both in the Middle East, and in Europe, and the terrorist attacks like those in Nice and in Berlin were just few of the examples. One that was much much closer to heart was the death of Jo Cox, obviously… The Labour MP who was murdered by someone who was and is still not worth mentioned or remembered. No… seriously, that ‘someone’ is so pathetic, that I refuse to mention his name in this blog — and after all that guy has already found guilty and I am glad with the decision.

When we mentioned Jo Cox, we would also remember Brexit, and when we talk about Brexit we also remember the 2016 US Presidential Election. Both were shocking for some people, and surprising for the others. I can mention some people who are still not able to move on from both events.

Oh yes…

2016 hasn’t finished with us really…

Both in the UK and in Indonesia, the rise of bigotry and intolerance increased with the rate I have never seen before. Seems like one side is fuelling the other with hatred… Same hatred, different side of the fence. It is getting both tiring and worrying, but not as worrying as MY own problem– my visa extension application.

It was done in the end, but… it was quite traumatic (if you want to know about the details, I would talk specifically about it later — but not now, because we are not talking about it now…), but gee… It is not as traumatic as finding a dead cat in our host’s house when we were visiting in laws in Wales for Christmas (yes… I know…).

So… there you go, 2016. It is almost the end of the year, and I do really hope that all those would make a good excuse for not posting for the last month. YES!!

All these effort to write an elaborate post just to excuse myself for slacking from writing. Apologies. I will try to do better next year…

Prost!

 

The True Truth?

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Few weeks (months?) ago when one of the very popular motivator (or in my word: bullshitter) in Indonesia was in a really big crisis. What crisis, you asked? Well, if you asked, chances are you are not an Indonesian, or at least you are an Indonesian but you don’t live there. Or you are an Indonesian who lives in Indonesia, but you are just detached from real world, or probably was locked up in a bunker without any contact with other human being.

Hey, I am not judging. I am just saying, with all those noise, it is unlikely that you don’t know who I was talking about or what it is about. But I acknowledge that there would be reasons why you might not aware about this, and because of that, I will tell you…

Because I am nice, that’s why.

So. there is a man who made his fortune by bullshitting the country — they call this person a motivator. I’ve never found myself motivated looking at this old baldy, he’s kind of off putting if I might say quite frankly. This man loved to profess his love in public, telling people how a man should be — even went as far as telling how a woman should behave. I had a long rant about that, but unfortunately it was ages ago and it was on other blog. Can’t find them 😦

Anyway… this guy. This guy who preached about the value of family. This guy. Yes…

One day there’s a man appeared out of nowhere and told the world how fake this guy is. This man said that he is the son that has been abandoned by this baldy motherducker. This guy came out, with evidence and supports from this so called motivator’s family members to back up his soppy story. In the end, he didn’t ask for financial support or whatever… he just wanted him to admit that he was a lousy father, and a liar.

After trashing the story, and went as far as challenging this guy to go on a DNA test, in the end this piece of crap admitted that this man is his son anyway. He still grumpily denied the accusation of neglect and abuse, but anyway… it is not what I was going to talk about. Actually… the whole story about this man is just an intro to what I want to talk about.

Yeah… it is that important that I spend the whole 350 words just as an intro to what I am going to talk about.

I am talking about truth and honesty.

There is a difference between admitting something, and confessing something. When you voluntarily reveal the truth that other people don’t know yet, you are confessing something. When you are confronted with an information, and you tell the person who confronted you that the information is true, you are admitting something. For some people they are just the same thing, but done in a different timing.

But timing is everything isn’t it?

If that motivator told people in the beginning that he made a mistake when he was young, and he has a son that he hasn’t seen for ages and he was sorry and would have done anything to give a better life to that son… He would be seen as a noble, a changed man. But when he has covered this up for years, and then publicly confronted with the truth… and he admitted it… he’s not confessing. And if he’s saying sorry… I think he’s just sorry he’s got caught.

If that motivator has confessed his past in the beginning, no matter how bleak it was… he is now the nation’s hero who’s come back from the fall. But no… he hid the reality, and then admitted only when someone has opened up his scandalous past — which in the end makes him a liar. Now it would be hard not to question everything he has said in the past. It would be almost impossible to take his words seriously. It would be unlikely to trust him again in the future.

And I think that is a fair judgement, isn’t it?

When your friend, or someone come to you and confess something… it takes courage, and integrity to tell you about something unfavourable they have done in the past. They take the risk, and they will have to accept whatever consequences that might come with their action. But it says a lot about their personality, and character.

Why am I talking about this so suddenly?

Uhm…

Actually I could talk about whatever I want to talk about, and however long I want to talk about it. And, I don’t have to tell you my reason talking about this random thing. This blog is pretty random anyway, isn’t it? But I do have my own reasons, and let’s just keep it for myself for now 🙂

Heh…

 

Law[less] and [Dis]order

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I love watching Law&Order. Husband, not so much — but really, I am the one with the remote control in the house so he has to deal with whatever crap he thinks he’s watching. I’ve been watching Law&Order since I was in high school and old enough to understand the awesomeness of the program.

Of course I understand, that for some people it is not more than usual crime drama. For me it is more than that. It is more than CSI where a group of people are sweeping the crime scene, trying to solve the puzzle. With Law&Order, the puzzle is usually not difficult, nor unique. It is usually just a common crime done by common people. But that’s not all it is about.

The original Law and Order has this very famouse narration in the beginning of the show:

In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important, groups: the police, who investigate crime; and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories.

Got it? That’s at least the idea of how the criminal justice system works in the US.

How about Indonesia?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot since the trial for Jessica started weeks ago. The official trial, that is. Months ago, I have talked about this, and I have sensed how scarily flawed our criminal justice system — that is, if we based our judgement on this trial. How even the judge seems to “nudge nudge wink wink” with the persecutor, ignoring the fact that this case has not got enough evidence to go on a trial.

Yes. Of course… I have watched enough Law&Order to understand that there is something called “Circumstantial Evidence”. Unlike CSI who are working with hard evidence such as DNA, fingerprint, fibres, and blood spatters, the detectives in L&O also works with circumstantial evidences. What are they? Motives, opportunities, and alibi, and the like.

http://www.imfdb.org/wiki/File:L%26OUK_poster.jpg - I was going to post Jessica's photo, but really... if she's proven innocent, I don't want to be responsible to be one of those people who immortalise this trauma for her. So... How about Law and Order UK instead? -

http://www.imfdb.org/wiki/File:L%26OUK_poster.jpg – I was going to post Jessica’s photo, but really… if she’s proven innocent, I don’t want to be responsible to be one of those people who immortalise this trauma for her. So… How about Law and Order UK instead? –

However… “She looks dodgy” is not a circumstantial evidence, it is an opinion. “Her attitude is unusal” is not a circumstantial evidence either. It might lead the investigation to find evidence, but opinion is opinion and SHOULD NEVER EVER be used as an evidence. Circumstantial evidence could be: “oh she’s got a connection to someone who can get her cyanide”, or “this is the evidence that she will gain something from the death of the other girl”, or “this is the evidence of the relationship in the past, and here are some witnesses who heard her said something about killing this woman”. Strong circumstantial evidence.

What I saw in the trial of Jessica was criminalisation. The fact that the case is so high profile, and the eyes of the media are all on it, it would be embarrassing for the persecutor to ditch the case and admit that there’s no case against this woman. It reminds me of the trial of the former KPK director Antasari Azhar.

At that time there were NO evidence linking him to the case. It was clear that the evidences were planted, and even the circumstantial evidence were made up. The witnesses disappeared after the trial, so that nobody could prove that they have committed perjury. Even the family of the victim begged the court to continue the investigation and release Antasari as they KNOW that it wasn’t him who killed their beloved one.

But in the end, they brought him down anyway.

And, hey! If it worked for a high profile individual like Antasari Azhar — a man with such a status, well known as someone who’s always in the right side of the law, why can’t it work to Jessica? She’s just a young woman, visiting home to see family and friends — maybe for Chinese New Year — oh and minority too. Should be easy, isn’t it?

But if it worked to Antasari Azhar and Jessica, two high profile cases in the country, how do you know that there are no cases like them that is not covered by the media? How do you know that if one day you are so unfortunate being caught up in a criminal case, and you’re innocent… How do you know that you could get a fair trial? How do you know that you can rely on your evidences, alibis, and innocence? How do you know that things would be alright if you do everything right?

You don’t.

http://www.metrotvnews.com/embed/0k8gEPob

To close my entry today, I will give you a video… The video is a fragment from Metro TV’s program NSI (News Story Insight) presented by Aviani Malik about the victims of wrong persecution that you might have never heard before.

Prost

Heute Bin Ich Eine Tante Geworden…

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Yes… and my German is getting better and better everyday, thanks to practising daily 😀 Oh, you’re can’t be bothered to copy and paste the title to google translator to know what it is about? Well… let me tell you what it means.

It means, “today, I have become an aunt”.

Yes my kind ladies and gentlemen, the lovely readers of Superbyq. Congratulate me because today, I am officially a proper aunt.

Of course I was an aunt before this. My cousins have got kids. And my husband has a nephew, but his nephew is not… you know… my direct nephew. And it is not the same because with my sister, I have been following her pregnancy process, and growing a sense of belonging to that baby. Aunthood is probably the closest I would ever get to parenthood.

Are you asking if I am not brooding? Nope. Still not.

I am still genuinely happy for my sister, and overjoyed with the new addition to our family. There is no question about it. However it doesn’t mean I would like to be the one contributing :0 Let’s not ruin today’s happiness with this “my womb my decision” rant, okay? Let’s just celebrate the day I officially become an aunt.

Ich bin außer mir vor Freude! Ich möchte mein Glas erheben, zu gratulieren meine Schwester und Schwager. Ich wünsche ihren Familie vielen Glück und gute Gesundheit.

Prost!!

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!

 

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…

EU Referendum

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We are going to have a referendum soon. Less than two weeks and then…

I don’t know.

I have to say that I am a bit anxious about the result of the referendum. I know that I am not a British citizen, so I don’t have the right to vote. But living in the UK, I feel that whatever the result would affect my life too.

image from telegraph.co.uk

*sigh*

Anyway…

Okay.

I try to give my husband (who’s going to vote) a more objective point of view. But it is so difficult not to have a slightly skewed opinion about this. It is difficult not think about what is going to happen to me and my visa application in the end of this year whether we are staying in or leaving the European Union.

There are two main concerns: Economy and Immigration.

It is hard not to take things personally when my husband’s friends were talking about the immigration control. I can understand totally their point of view, and I can understand the importance of immigration control. The thing is, they kind of forget that I am one of these people. I am one of the foreigner in this country.

I remember the first few months after we got married. People kept asking about why can’t I be British citizen — being married to a born and bred British man. Even until today, they would look at me puzzled when I told them that I am an immigrant.

“But you are married to Mr. Fix-It. You are not an immigrant. You are different!”

How can I be different? Because I came here legally? Because I didn’t overstay my expired visa? Millions of people like me doing the same thing I do, and still having to endure the kind of hostility just because of our residency status in this country. I am different because they know me — and they don’t know the other immigrants.

It is hard not to take offence when they talk about “The Other Immigrants” like they’re talking about plague taking over their big cities — although I know for sure they’re not talking about me. But it is a harsh reminder that somewhere out there, someone who is as ignorant as they are — is talking about me with the same manner as these people talking about “the other immigrants”.

Right.

Back to EU referendum.

I just want to wish everybody in the UK the best of luck. Please use your vote wisely. Just remember, when you are already out, you might not be able to get in again — at least not with the same kind of benefit we are having right now.

 

Not A Review: AADC2 [Spoiler Warning!]

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Few days ago, I managed to find the spoiler for Ada Apa Dengan Cinta 2 — or popularly known as AADC2. The reason why I am reading the spoiler is mainly because I am not in Indonesia and I know I wouldn’t be back quick enough to be able to watch it on the cinema. So… sod it. For the non- Indonesian readers, and/or people who weren’t in Indonesia in 2001-2002, you’re probably not familiar with AADC (the original). So, I will start with a brief explanation about it.

AADC is considered as one of the films that has brought Indonesian film industry back from the grave. It is basically teenage drama film, infused with love of poem and literature. It was big. No, let me correct myself — it was HUGE. Suddenly you could see teenagers start reading poetry, writing poetry, understanding that it could be fun, and embrace the romanticism of words and music. It was the turning point for Indonesia.

from liputan6.com

Aber für mich…? It was the reflection of my life. I was in high school, and it was so easy to see me in those white-and-grey-uniform-wearing girls on the big screen. The teenage angst, the misfit, the drama of friendship… And, especially… the unrequited love.

It is when Rangga went away, and the love story was never finished. We never knew…. UNTIL NOW.

Twelve long years later, they made the ending. And this is what happened to Cinta and Rangga: THEY HAVEN’T BLOODY MOVED ON

When I read the ending of the spoiler. I hated it. I hated it with passion. I know it is a love story, and a lot of people needs it to be good, they needed it to be the story that reflect their fantasy. The “what if” things. The “if things were different” things.

I lost for words.

I could no longer associate myself with these people. I still have the same appreciation for words and music, and poetry and cool stories. But I think the AADC characters and I have grown apart. I think we have no longer shared the same idea anymore.

My friends and I talked about this when I was in Indonesia, and I was in Cinta’s situation. I understand that it was so easy to fall for the idea of making the happy ending for the unrequited “teenage dream” love. HOWEVER, this is where the mistakes were often made. People grew up, they’ve changed, and many people (especially women) are in love with someone in the past.

And Rangga of the past is not Rangga of today. Vice versa. They have different dreams to the one they had in high school. They had different opinion. They have changed. They’re not in love with each other anymore.. they love the memory of each other. In the film it works because like lots of fairy tales it stops where the “happy ending” is.

In reality, unfortunately… it doesn’t work that way. When the honeymoon period is over, people start seeing the reality that things are no longer as ideal as it was when they were in high school.

I will stop ranting now.

To all Cinta and Rangga of the world, if you are still going to pursue your high school crush… please. Make sure you love that person as they are today, not just your imagination of what they are when they were 17. They are not the same person.

Just saying.

Prost.

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?