Tag Archives: east

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.

 

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No Uterus, No Opinion

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** disclaimer: lots of swear words, so if you don’t like it you can get the fuck out**

One of the reasons why I would like to spend weeks in Indonesia is because I want to see a Gynaecologist. I have been waiting for about three months to get a coil inserted, but I haven’t got one until today. And I am tired of taking pills. It has changed my mood, changed my body, and I just found out today that I have gained at least 8 kgs. I know that waiting is not an option for me, I just want to get this over with and move on to the better part of my life.

So I saw a Gynaecologist today. Told him that I want to get a coil inserted. I have done my homework, done my research. I know the pro and cons, and I know the possible pain and also possible side effects. I know almost everything I need to know before I see the doctor. And I bloody know that that bloody thing can be installed inside my fuckin womb any time of the day. ANY FUCKING TIME.

and this is the link: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/iud

This so called Gynaecologist is my mum’s doctor. It is said that he is one of the best in my hometown. Maybe. Maybe it is because he is one of the oldest, so he has got more experience in his hand. But now you have a clue that he’s probably not the best for me.

He is a guy.

He is old.

Old guy doesn’t know what a woman my age needs, and wants. I WANT a copper coil to be stuck in my womb, because I NEED to make sure I am not going to get pregnant. And he doesn’t understand it. He kept mentioning that I am not 30, and that I might want to have a child first before going ahead with the idea of contraception. Why the fuck I am seeing him for a bloody IUD if I want to have a fucking child?

I am fumed now. So pardon my language.

He kept asking about my husband and whether he wants a child or not. Why the fuck everybody asks about his decision? This is my fucking womb and I make the fucking decision. Can’t his bloody brain process that fucking little information? Of course not. My womb, my decision. My womb, my decision. It will be my decision if I would like to let a life sucking parasites growing inside me for a nine fucking months or not. Not people around me. Especially not men.

I started to realised that the lights in the end of the tunnel might be the train coming towards me when the doctor told me that he could only do it when I am having period. I know my request to him to make me infertile is futile because I know he is lying. I CAN get the coil inserted any times of the month. Any fucking time. It might be a little bit painful, but I knew it already.

He also emphasised on how painful it could be when it is inserted to someone who has not yet have a child. I knew it too. Like I said, I have done my homework. Afterall, talking about pain… giving birth to babies is more painful than any coil insertion, I suppose?

I asked about a more permanent solution — fertilisation. And he just rejected the idea outright. Maybe the light in the end of the tunnel is really a train.

I went home with horrible feeling. I had some much hope. I have never had any thought of self harming until the day the doctor sent me home without any assurance on when I could get the coil done for me. I thought of stabbing myself in the stomach to damage the womb permanently, or the ovary, or whatever, so that the doctor would have to take it away from me. I don’t want it. I want it go away.

So… What am I going to do now?

I am not going to take more pills. And, I am going to find a way to get myself impregnable. One way or another. And if there’s any one of you have anything against this decision, I have a knock knock game for you.

Me: Knock! Knock!
You: Who’s there?
Me: Nona
You: Nona who?
Me: Nona your business you motherfucker…

 

Every Pot Has Its Cover

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One great thing about learning a new culture is that as if you are given a box of new toys, and it is up to you to start playing with which one first. For me, it’s definitely the wisdom in words, the old sayings, the idioms, and the expressions that has attracted me the most. “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything” was one of them. And another one is this…

Every pot has its cover.

I was reminded of this when one of blogger friends posted about how different she is from her girlfriend (if you want to read it, you can find the article here). I tried to find out its origin, but it seems that there are various version of pot-cover analogy. Some said it like that, some said “every pot has a lid” or “there’s a lid for every pot”. It does not really matter, does it? It still means the same thing.

Basically it means that for everybody, there is a match. I do not know if it is strictly about romantic relationship, or if it is also applicable for other things such as friendships, or work environment, or even to a broader spectrum of hobbies, or jobs… I would love to think that it is more than just romantic relationship.

But, today I do not want to talk about anything deeper. I just want to do what Kopi has done — contemplating the relationship, to see how far Mr. Fix-It and I has gone by resolving our differences.

1. He piles up dirty dishes and washes them later at once, I like doing them right away after meal. This is probably one of the biggest and might be also the earliest difference we found in the beginning of our relationship.

2. He lets the washed laundry stays in the washing machine, and not hang them in the drying rack right away; I like smelling the fresh laundry hung in the drying rack so I put them up right after the washing cycle is done. It is still one of the regular yappy-grumbly thing in our household.

3. Growing up in different cultural backgrounds makes us think differently about “future security”. In Indonesia we grew up believing that “pensions” is how much we could save for the future, not that someone (government) takes care of it for us when we are old. But, I managed to make him see the importance of the financial security, and we are working on it.

4. We have different view about starting a business. I am optimistic that in this country where everything is already well established (no corruption, no sly unfair competition), it is much easier to start a business than in Indonesia. Mr. Fix-it believes that there are more opportunities in Indonesia. This one, we agreed that both of us are correct… no business without risk.

5. We have different political view, but again I think this is also because we were raised with different value and understanding about class system. We also have different idea of NHS, benefits system, and UK – EU relationships. We agreed to just keep it that way,

6. He believes in tact. I believe in tactics. Not a big deal in this one, it’s interchangeable.

7. I think I am getting fatter, he does not. Then again, the standard of how fat is fat is not the same here in the UK and where I came from in Indonesia.

8. I like a good discussion, he likes intricate debates. But then again, culturally there are lots of British gentlemen that love to make arguments just for the sake of it. Sometimes, I went for it and give a nice counter arguments, but when I am not in the mood, I just left it hanging until next time I have the mood for a debate.

Uhm…

I was meant to write ten differences but I could not find anything more. I could push it with saying that we have different taste for girls, books, and musics. I could also add our different attitude towards travelling. But I think those I just mentioned were too trivial.

The thing is — in my kitchen, some of my pots do not have lids, and some of my lids fits for different pots. It does not mean I do not believe in monogamous relationship, but I think some people has different attitude about pots and lids. Some would rather settle for the slightly too big or too small lids than not having any lids at all. Some don’t mind sharing its lid with other pots. Some do not need lids.

Some pots cracked first, and the lids have to find other pots with food to protect. Some lids are not so lucky, and got thrown away once their pots were no longer usable.

I think somehow in life, that’s what happened.

Some pots REALLY wants to have lids, they pretended that they cannot see how unfit the lids are, until things inside them spilling out because the lid could not cover them any more. But that is how some pots ended up with the wrong lids. Some pots and lids were just good together although they were not manufactured together, somehow they just found their way together — looks odd an sometimes a but quirky in the surface, but they are compatible for each other.

I will leave it here… I think it is just nice not to have to draw any conclusion once in a while and let the conversation just go.

Have a nice day.

Cheers

Making “THE” Fuss

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I am so inspired by one of my blogging friends — Rae’s blog post few days ago, so I asked her if I could make a blog post about it. She gave me the permission, there it is…

** DISCLAIMER**
It’s going to be a long one, so if it’s tldr, just skip… OK?
**

On her blog, Rae told her story about her personal achievements. One particular story that I would like to highlight is the one where she found a courage to confont her superior at work. She stood up for herself and confront her superior at work, when she found out that her working ethics had been unjustly questioned. And when her superior listened to her, she apologised for being unfair, and acted professionally. Quoting from Rae’s post, “no hard feelings”.

Personally, I think this is incredible. I always assumed that Rae and I was brought up in a similar environment. Probably not exactly the same, but similar enough. At least that’s what I gathered from reading her blog. From where we come from what Rae just did few days ago was considered outrageous.

Before I went to the UK, and experienced myself the importance of assertiveness, I would not even dare to think about confronting a superior, a teacher, my parents, and elders. I was told to keep it to myself and not to disrupt the “peace” and put everybody in an awkward situation. I was taught not to make a fuss about “little things”, and just go on with the consensus. I was trained to put up with things, for the sake of the convenience of people around me. I was brought up believing that telling other people the discomfort they have inflicted upon me is bad.

This is why when I totally got it when Rae said: this is something that my old self would never do.

Well… I think this is just the perfect time to tell you one of the backstage stories about my wedding day that I promised you before. But before you go on reading, I would like you to think of it not as me grudging or regretting my wedding day. It was one hell of a day, no doubt, but I was happy nevertheless. I was only telling you one of the backstage stories 🙂

Long before the Indonesian wedding reception was planned, I have properly married to Mr. Fix-It in registry office in Norwich. So when my parents told me their wish to hold a celebration in Indonesia, I made an agreement with them that it will be small, and that I am not going to get married again. I told them that I understand that the objective of holding a party in Indonesia is to announce our wedding, and to show friends and relatives that: this is not a shotgun wedding, that I did not get married because I was pregnant out of wedlock, and there is nothing to be embarrassed about. Hence, there is no hidden marriage whatsoever.

Agreement made, I let my family in Indonesia deal with the preparation of the wedding. I just let them, trusting that they would hold on to the agreement.

But I should have known better. Nothing is weaker than a promise an Asian mother made to her daughter — to let the daughter to have what she actually really want. So the wedding got bigger, she wanted us to get married in front of god in the church –she did not even care if both Mr. Fix-It and I were non-believer, and she wanted the traditional Chinese ritual to be held as well.

My husband is White British gentleman whose knowledge about China is stretched as far as the Chinese takeaway restaurant 300 metres away from our house. And suddenly you expect him to start bowing around to little old Asian fellows? You should have the decency to at least warn me about it so I could prepare my husband so that he wouldn’t feel humiliated.

Anyway, one of the rituals required Mr. Fix-It to stay at the hotel for a night, and picked me up in the morning. Allegedly, it signifies how the groom picked up the bride from her family and bring her with him for the rest of his life. This time I could no longer stay silent.

So I told my mum, in front of my aunties and my dad, that it is not happening. I told them we’ve already married, and the mock ‘groom picking up the bride’ is silly. It’s my husband you’re talking about, and we have done the “not meeting the bride until the wedding day” bollock on our REAL wedding day in Norwich, eight months earlier.

She, and my dad took it really personal. It is as if I have challenged, not only their authority, but also their culture, their value, and mostly their convenient. They were very unhappy not because they realised that I wanted something different than “normal Asian bride” would want, but because I spoke out my mind, and disrupt the happy mood everyone’s having in the house.

So my mum told me to shut it up, and suck it up. She told me that everyone was happy for me, and I should be grateful everyone wanted to celebrate this happy day for me, that everyone cares. I don’t — but that does not matter, does it?

Rae’s story about confronting someone for the discomfort they’ve made her feel reminds me of this day (then, it is true that your wedding day is one of the most unforgettable day of your life). The Asian way of dealing with confrontation has been my personal battleground since ages ago. It sent me to the first voluntary counselling almost five years ago, and sent me back to another counselling when I was in the uni two years after.

It affected my relationship with my parents, my friends, my previous lovers, and of course my current husband. And it did not affect us in a good way.

I am telling you this, because this is not out of my introvert personality. Even Asian extroverts have problems confronting uncomfortable situation. They would happily divert the confrontation to different things, but almost never discuss fair and square about what truly bothers them.

I don’t blame my culture, and I don’t hate it either. I just think that there is a room for improvement. Not everybody has the luxury of being able to vent out in our blog like Rae and I. Not everybody has the privilege to experience the liberating moment of finally being able to stand up and confront, and just let loose for the first time.

Oh…

That feels good.

Thank you Rae for opening this discussion (although not deliberately).

Cheers.

A White Man Should Not Marry An Asian Woman

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** DISCLAIMER **
This particular entry is full of generalisation, and stereotyping. It could be offensive, so before you continue reading, it is better to keep in mind that if you cannot handle harsh comment, just skip this part and go ahead with your life. If you want to continue reading, please be prepared with an open mind.

Thank you
**

Not so long time ago, my husband and I watched a documentary about some British men who tried to find themselves “love” abroad. Using the internet and the local dating services they were introduced to local girls who seems kind of desperate to not only marry but also marry a white male from a first world country. Some of them ended up with some genuine girls, some of them seems to date women who just want to get out from their lives, and poverty in their origin third world country.

And these country they’re talking about is usually somewhere in Asia.

So what’s wrong with it?

I am not saying that trying to find love using dating services is wrong. I don’t think going all the way to Asia to find yourself a bride is wrong. But I found this –or their, obsession to find an Asian wife is rather troublesome.

They kept talking about how these Asian women look, how they were very nice, and behave very girlish, etc. But they don’t know anything about these women’s lives — the producer of these kind of program did not think of doing that anyway (maybe because they don’t think that matters). It seems that all these Asian bride hunting is just to get themselves an obedient/submissive, little wife who cleans, cook, and don’t talk back (because they barely speak English at all).

It is as if not important that they cannot communicate, or share interests, or exchange information, or knowing what each other likes or dislikes. That is disturbing me.

One of the men found himself a nice young Thai woman who seems very genuine with their relationship. She was very happy that he chose her from so many girls. He was happy that she seems to understand English, although she couldn’t reply properly. They decided to get more serious and met the girl’s family.

This is where the program became even more unpleasant for me to watch.

The guy was so upset that the girl’s family asked him to send money home regularly if he marry the girl and bring the girl to the UK. He believed that it is a kind of human trafficking, or selling or buying a bride.

Well…

Asian is not known for being tactful. Especially with Western standard, Asian culture seems to be too forward and too personal. On the other hand, Asian people think that their culture is universal, that’s why many of them seems to act disrespectful whenever they’re not in their homeland.

In most Asian culture it is just natural for children to support their parents. It is just natural for children, girls or boys, to send home some of their money to their parents to show their piety and their respect to their parents. When a man take a girl to his house, in Asian (south east asian, and east asian mostly) culture, it means he would take in her parents and her family as his.

If in the modern Western culture people are sending their parents to “homes”, that’s not what happen to the Eastern culture. So I can understand that the idea of taking care of your parents seems so alien to that guy.

But what does that show tell me?

It tells me that arrogance has made a person failed to see how close minded some people are. They don’t bother to learn the girls’ language, the girls’ culture, their lives, etc. All they know is that they now have a nice quite obedient wife they can tell to take care of the household work.

How do you think they develop that kind of subservient attitude if it’s not because of their culture? How could you think they can be so skilful in the house if it’s not because the teachings from their old folks?

Don’t get me wrong, I am marrying a white guy myself. But I really believe that if you can’t be bothered to learn about the culture of the girl you are going to date, don’t bother to date an Asian girl at all.

Bali Nine, and The World’s Double Standards

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Almost 10 years ago, nine Australian citizens were caught trying to smuggle more than eight kilograms of heroin to Indonesia. They were convicted and two of them were given death sentences. They’ve been in the death row for years and their execution is getting closer. The Australian government plead the Indonesian judicial system to give them leeway, but the Indonesian government wouldn’t budge.

As the result, after begging and threatening did not work, Australian government were enraged and started a black campaign to bully the Indonesian government. The ‘western’ media started to describe Indonesia as a ‘tourist trap’ where ‘foreigners’ would be treated really badly, and even sent to Nusa Kambangan to be executed.

All the dramatic depiction to put pressure to Indonesian government to cancel the death penalty.

But, don’t you think this is a kind of unfair? I am not saying that death penalty for drug smuggling is fair, but those criminals have acknowledge that when they were planning on smuggling drugs to Indonesia. Everyone would be reminded about the severe heavy capital punishment for drug smuggling when they’re arriving to Indonesia in the aircraft. We are seriously twitchy about drugs.

So, if they’re coming to Indonesia knowing that they’re risking their life for smuggling drugs, why does it become so much problem when they actually get caught and punished based on the law where they did their crime? It is said that if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.

Now they’re saying that the Indonesian law system is savage and backwards because they’re punishing drug smuggler with death penalty. Don’t you think it is fair to judge like that?

What would the Australians feel if the media depicts their border security law as xenophobic and paranoid when they refused to help people smuggling illegal immigrants and asylum seekers who are coming with half broken boat? What would the French feel if the media depict their no burqa law as violating human rights, and backwards because it does not respect other people’s religion? What would the Americans feel if their anti terrorism or terrorist prevention law is described as racist, paranoid etc.?

They would end up say: “fuck that. If you don’t like the law in my country, don’t even set foot in our land”.

Wouldn’t you?

You would be so upset if a law that you believe is protecting you is attacked by other countries, although you know this law is not perfect. But every country has different problems of their own. Indonesia is located strategically between Australia and Asia, and between Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean. If they’re not careful, it will be so easily turned into a drug route that connects Asia, Australia and Africa. Look at the world map, and see how Indonesian water connects them.

So they might be paranoid about drugs, but it’s not more paranoid that big countries like America is paranoid about terrorism. They might be strict about drug abuse, but it’s not stricter than UK about asylum seeker. They might be suspicious about drugs, but not more suspicious than the Australian about boats with dying people on it.

If it is so important for ‘the west’ to maintain their sovereignty with implementing the law they feel suitable as protection, I believe Indonesian government has the same right to do that as well. If you don’t want to end up in the death row in Indonesia, just don’t smuggle drugs or kill people in Indonesia. Same with, if you don’t want to get stoned, or your hand chopped, don’t go having rampant sex with someone that is not your spouse, or steal someone else’s bread where Sharia law is implemented.

And the other way around, if you want to smuggle drugs but you don’t want to get a death sentence, find other countries. Not Malaysia though, they have similar capital punishment (but no one talks about it because no Australian is getting executed in Malaysia). And if you like chopping thieves’ hands, don’t go to countries where the law said chopping hands is prohibited.

Isn’t that fair for everybody?

Yes, I believe so.

 

Film Review: East is East

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Title: East is East
Year: 1999
Language: English
Genre: Comedy
Director: Damien O’Donnell
Actors: Om Puri, Linda Bassett, Archie Panjabi, Jimi Mistry

Review:
In mid 1940’s a Pakistani immigrant, George Khan came to Salford, UK and got married to Ella, an English born and bred woman. Twenty five years later, George Khan’s family consists of Dad, Mum, six sons, a daughter and one fish and chips shop.

After one incident that has practically smeared his face with black ink, George Khan — worried that his family wouldn’t be able to be accepted by the Pakistani society by being half-bred, tried to integrate his half English family to the Pakistani community in Bradford. The only way he thought the best, might not be the way his children wants. The clash of cultures have begun.

I couldn’t help comparing this with “The Namesake“, as I watched these two films back to back. Of course it is not completely the same, they also have different storytelling point of view. While The Namesake took the modern American, and a bit of Hindu – Indian as the background of the story, East is East portrayed the life of the family of Islam – Pakistani life in the 1970’s England.

I would leave The Namesake behind, as we have already talked about it last week. East is East is a completely different film. It is categorised as comedy, and since it was marketed more to the English audience, it doesn’t surprised me at all. It has different kind of comedy to those the American’s Hollywood comedy films. It is closer to how the Korean film makers made their comedy drama.

It began with a hilarious self deprecating joke, taking on the stereotypes we always heard. Some viewers might missed the tongue-in-cheek attitude and could easily thought that this is offensive. But these viewers might be just some closed minded bigot who could never take piss on themselves – a.k.a. the boring people.

While the story developed, it became darker and gloomier, and then without you realising it, you have stopped laughing and started to think… “oh shit”.

Watching this is not necessarily an emotional roller coaster, but it definitely gets me. I might be a little bit objective since I could easily relate to the characters, but it could only happen with the brilliant script writing and good actors. You might not realised at the beginning as I did that the little girl over there was Archie Panjabi, you might know her from her prominent role at The Good Wives, although she played a role on Bend it Like Beckham with the young Kiera Knightley.

This is a must watch, at least according to me. I would rate this film 9/10

Film Review: The Namesake

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Title: The Namesake
Year: 2006
Director: Mira Nair
Actors: Kal Penn, Irffan Khan, Brooke Smith
Language: English

Review:

This film is adapted from a novel by Jhumpa Lahiri by the same title. It was a story about a boy named Gogol, an American born Indian who wants to fit in American life while his parents are still stuck in the old Indian tradition where they were born and raised in.

For me, this story hits really close to home. I am not an Indian, but living in between two cultures makes me feel what the characters in this film feels and portrays. It was indeed a really good story, and was acted really well. It’s too bad that this film is not a big hit since it does convey a lot of messages to everyone. A very important message.

Of course this is a drama, not the action movie with big blast and explosions everywhere, so t might not attract many audiences. Although we can see some famous faces in this film such as Irffan Khan from Life of Pi, Kal Penn from Harold and Kumar or the TV series House M,D and How I Met Your Mother, and Brooke Smith from Grey’s Anatomy.

I love this film. Set in two different countries, USA and India, it portrayed the life of both very different culture.

I have to admit I haven’t read the book yet. I wish I had before I watch this film, but I honestly did not know that this was taken from a novel. That was my ignorance, and I would probably have to make up for that one.

I would recommend this film for anyone. This is quite vanilla, so it is very suitable as a family drama, although little children who doesn’t understand the depth might find it a little bit boring.