Monday, 14 July 2014

We are stronger than fear, oppression and violence

In the middle of the hectic and confusing Indonesian Presidential Election, I think the sentence "We are stronger than fear, oppression and violence" is applicable also for the voters. Then, thinking about those children in Gaza, I also think that the sentence is also applicable for all the children in the area of War.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Singhasari's reunion in the cyber world

On Friday, 23rd May 2014, the website Singosari (http://www.singosari.info) was officially launched in Museum Nasional, Jakarta. It will be the reunion place for all the cultural heritage which came from the era of Singhasari.

It was in the seminar session of Kekunaan Singhasari that Jos Taekema officially introduced and launched the website that contain the information on Singhasari and its cultural heritage. One of the greatest art products from that era is the Prajnaparamita statue. Some people considered the statue as the representation of Ken Dedes. Ken Arok, who founded the Singhasari Kingdom, married Ken Dedes as he believed that she would be the mother of the Kings of Java.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Happy New Year 2014...

OMG, I published less than ten postings a year for three consecutive years. These last three years I was not really productive in writing for my own blogs. I've been working full time since June 2012, but it was clear that I was not really active in blogging here since 2011. My other blog "Journey to His Words" was getting more attention than this one. May be I should listen to my fellow blogger, Imelda, who published her writings in Twilight Express. She advised me to collect all my posts in one blog.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Education for All

One of the very basic human right is, actually, the freedom to pursue a better life. A way to have a better life can be paved through education. The education helps people to have a better knowledge and skill to improve their living standard. Indonesia is trying to give education for all youngsters through the program of "Wajib Belajar."  Wajib Belajar means that students should study, without the burden of school fees. Last year, the government tried to implement the program to the Senior High School as well. The program is only applicable "with difficulties" in the public school, not touching the private schools. And, how about those street children, or children who came from a very low income family, who cannot even afford to buy uniforms and shoes to go school? They also have the right to pursue a better life through a better education, don't they?

Some private institutions tried to help these children. Through the Indonesian Heritage Society I encountered the activity "Les enfants de la rue". There is also "Sekolah Darurat Kartini" by the Twins Rossy and Ryan. We also acknowledge Gerakan Nasional Orang Tua Asuh (GNOTA). Yet, in GNOTA it is more in financial support for students through supporting parents. Last year I happened to visit a school named Sanggar Anak Akar. They call it an autonomous school. It was started in 1994 to offer education for the street children, but then it was developed into a larger urban community. In the year 2000 it became an independent nonprofit organization separated from the main foundation, and in 2009 it became an autonomous school. Their schooling program is a bit different from the formal school, it was designed to help the children attain their right to get an education. The target focus of the students is now youngsters aged between 12 to 16 years old.

video

Last year, I came with students and teachers from a private school where I am working now. The economic background of the students in my school is off course much...much better than of those children in Sanggar Anak Akar. Yet, we manage to learn something from them too. At that time, they taught our students to play percussion using used materials like an empty plastic bottle, an empty can, etc. Through interaction between students, we learned how they were also eager to learn by themselves, and how they manage to be creative and productive through the limited facilities.

The internet is actually helping people to gain more knowledge without a big expense. But, that is only applicable for those who have the access into the internet. If, we do not have an adequate connection, there will be another problem but at least we can open our views and enriching our knowledge. That is also the way of self development that those children from the Sanggar Anak Akar is trying to do. This year, we can have the access into their website. I see that they are preparing a blog, hopefully for those children to explore more into their own writing talents, or showing out their works through blogging. The most important thing, the existence of the website means that they have a connection into the internet.

Earlier this year we heard that the land used for the school is needed for urban development. The school needs to move. Hopefully, they are able to cope with their problems and can continue to develop the children who come to their school. When they have got the chance to get their right to an education, we can think of a better generation to build the nation, and it could probably also mean to build a better world.

Photos: Retty
Video: Andreas






Saturday, 28 September 2013

Looking for My Personal Legend

I'm trying to read the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho with a more reflective thought. It is interesting for me to highlight the sentence, " To realize one's destiny is a person's only obligation, and, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping to achieve it."

The journey of the Andalusian shepherd boy was not an easy journey. He worked hard, got money, lost the money, had to start over again, before he realized that his treasured was buried in the place of his starting point. Yet, the journey to make his dream come true was the essence of his life. Through the journey he met his love. Through the alchemist he learnt to let go of his desire and his belongings.

I have never had a recurring dream.  Or, maybe I was too busy to realize that I have the ability to dream... Now, I'm trying to get to know my personal legend. What is my personal legend?

Looking at the way how the story of Soh Lian Tjie (Nora Suryanti) came out,  made me realize that the universe will help to make it true, even after the person had completed her task in the world. Oma Nora was really eager in writing her autobiography, but never had the chance to finish and to publish it. How I came into the scene, or how Yerry or Ibu Claudine came into the interest of studying her life is a mystery.

I do not know how the story will end, but it is astonishing to see how it works. I do not really work on it. It seems that it is the universe who works on it.

Having no husband nor children, made Oma Nora a part of only the extended family. Sometimes she was really close, some other times she seemed so distant. That was probably the reason why nobody dared to claim for her belongings. It was her youngest sister who kept all her private belongings. But, when her sister also passed away (and she was not really close to me) I lost track of all Oma Nora's private pictures or letters.

As I posted the piece of information that I have as the puzzle 1 (and hopefully will also posted the puzzle 2), I will let the universe do the rest of the work through the existence of the internet. I will see what is going to happen, while I -myself- will look for my own Personal Legend.




Saturday, 21 September 2013

Nora Suryanti (Soh Lian Tjie) - puzzle 1

I wrote this short biography of Soh Lian Tjie for Claudine Salmon in 2010. It was not yet finished. I felt that I do need to do a proper research before completing it. It was forgotten until recently Yerry, a researcher who did the research on Soh Lian Tjie under the guidance of Claudine Salmon, e-mailed me asking my permission to use it. He also thinks that it would be good to have it online to help future researchers who are interested in doing a research on Soh Lian Tjie.

This short -unfinished- biography was written using the data from an unpublished autobiography. I was actually lack of data since I only have a very limited data from our family. Due to this lack of data, I am now using the title puzzle 1. I do hope that friends who knew her, or researchers who are doing research on her can help adding puzzle 2, 3, and so on...until we can get a full frame of her works. I prefer to use her new name Nora Suryanti as her name because she always use that name after she changed her Chinese name, and I am more familar with that name.

Soh Lian Tjie, Nora Suryanti (b. 1914 in Makassar, d. 1995 in Makassar, South Sulawesi)
Civil servant, freelance journalist, freelance translator, tour guide.

She was born in Makassar, then the capital city of the Residency of South Celebes and Dependencies. She was the eldest of sixteen children of Soh Heen Liong (the name derived from Souw Heen Liong, changed to ease his trading communication with Singapore) and The Siok Kie Nio. Her father, Soh Heen Liong, was the second generation of the family Souw in Indonesia. Her grandfather, Souw Thwan Sioe, arrived in Tegal, Central Java with his two brothers Souw Thwan Soen, and Souw Thwan Gie. 

Soh Heen Liong then moved to Makassar, South Sulawesi, to build his trading business. He was also active in social life, he introduced her daughter to the Indonesian operas performed in the Chinese Community’s Clubhouse, Lok Siang Sia. Since her childhood she followed her father to the clubhouse and became familiar with the performance of Miss Dja, Miss Ribut, and Dardanella. Perhaps it was how Soh Lian Tjie was always interested in art and cultures.

Soh Lian Tjie attended HCS (Hollands Chinese School), the elementary school for Chinese children. Then, she continued her school in MULO (now VMBO in the Netherland, read the history http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_the_Netherlands#History_of_education). Both schools were in Makassar. There were few girls who lasted to finish MULO at that time, but Lian Tjie passed it with rather good marks. She wanted to go for a further study to Batavia, now Jakarta, but her father was doubtful. Luckily her mother supported her and insisted that she could go with her brothers.

While waiting for his brothers to passed their examination, she became involved in founding the Chinese women organization Nu Tse Lien Ho Hwee.

In Batavia, she went into AMSB, the middle school which prepared students for higher education. She was bright in languages but found mathematics and chemist too difficult for her. So she moved into a training college for teachers at the St. Ursula convent. Here, she joined the girl guides, and was chosen as leaders of girl guides who went to a leader course in Salatiga, Central Java. Due to financial reason, she moved into HCK (Hollands Chinese Kweekschool) at Meester Cornelis (now Jatinegara), a Dutch Chinese Training College for teachers.

Finishing her school, she moved back to Makassar and became a teacher. She came back to Batavia to have a course for teachers of English. She financed herself by working as a matron of a Chinese Girl boarding house. Her passion in writing which she began by writing for the school monthly when she was in the middle school, was then developed into articles for Keng Po and Sin Po.

The World War II forced her to move back to Makassar and came back to teaching in an elementary school (HCS). She continued being active in the girls guide activities. Through this activity she became familiar with the interpreter job.


In 1941, while the political situation was heated, she was appointed to sit on a committee to organize the evacuation of the Chinese community if the need arose. The organization was not working as planned because the majority of Chinese people refused to go to the evacuation place. Mostly prefer to go to their family in the countryside. While her mother, sisters and brothers went to Bantaeng (120 km from the city Makassar), Soh Lian Tjie stayed in Makassar and joined the Red Cross. The Japanese troops landed in Pare-pare (150 km from Makassar) and she was caught by the Japanese and had to help the army hospital. After the Japanese left, the Indonesian Republic announced its independence, yet the Dutch was also returning. She became a translator in the legal division of Netherlands Indies Central Administration. 

Friday, 13 September 2013

Un rendezvous: Raden Saleh

I used the French title un rendezvous even though the exhibition is actually provided by JERIN (Jerman dan Indonesia; German and Indonesia) because it was like a date provided by fate. And, the only word that came to my mind is "un rendezvous".

Three years ago I was really interested in joining the Bicentennial Conference on Raden Saleh, but the expense was too expensive for me as I did not put my priority in my personal interest. Actually, I was so interested in joining the Conference because I had read about the Keris Kyai Naga Siloeman from an exhibition booklet wrote by Werner Kraus, the curator of the exhibition. I had also read about Raden Saleh's masterpiece "The Arrest of Pangeran Diponegoro", and how it was presented in a different point of view from "The Submission of Prince Diponegoro" from Nicolaas Pieneman. May be I was also interested in Pangeran Diponegoro because I came from Makassar.

So, it was the Prince who called me to meet Raden Saleh. It's interesting to know that meeting the Prince then led me to Raden Saleh, and the latter introduced me to his teacher, Antoine Payen.

Having lost my first chance to know more about Raden Saleh, made me jump for joy when Goethe asked the volunteer guides from the Indonesian Heritage Society to help guiding in the "Pameran Monografis Raden Saleh" in Galeri National last June 2012.

This exhibition was really enriching me. Mr. Xavier Agustin from Goethe Institute said that we can actually write books from the experiences gained through the exhibition. It's so true...(unfortunately I started to work full time since July 2012, so this draft of my blog post was not updated. I was busy with my other activities).

For me, it was really an awesome meeting with the maestro. Through his paintings, and through Werner Kraus, the curator of the exhibition, I came to uncover the story of the great painter.

It was coincidental (or maybe also by fate?), he was also the part of the Bataviaasch Genootschap van Kunsten en Wetenschappen (The Royal Batavian Society of Arts and Sciences), an organization which is now the National Museum of Jakarta. I am one of the Friends of the Museum through the Indonesian Heritage Society. It is amazing to see that his drawings he made when he was 11 years old was for the Royal Batavian Society of Arts and Sciences. So, he took my interest even more... He helped me to encounter Payen, who was probably the one who took him into his path in joining the Royal Batavian Society of Arts and Sciences. 

I also met Karsten Weber, the architect who helped designing the interior design of the exhibition. He assured me that his designing part is an important factor in making a successful exhibition. I should nevertheless agree with him as the pictures uploaded in the social media lured more visitors to visit the exhibition. I saw the long queue up during the weekends of the exhibition (I wrote about it for wikimu.com. Unfortunately some new regulation from Facebook prevented the picture to be shown there) . The number of visitors that reached almost 3400 visitors are amazing for the short duration of the exhibition (June 3 to June 17, 2012). 

Thirty years ago, for my final project in the architecture department I took Museum as my project. My real intention was actually to design a science center, still a planned project for TMII at that time. Yet, my lecturer tested me by accepting my second proposal, "an Art Museum", a subject that made me explore more into the visual comfort aspects in designing. Unfortunately, after my graduation, I never had the chance to work for an architectural firm that works on a museum project. I had the chance to work for a construction company specialized in exhibition, but this is the first time I saw that a gallery exhibition was prepared in such a special preparation. 

Irina Vogelsang who assisted Karsten Weber in the preparation of the exhibition also amazed me when I saw her interacting with the children participants of the puppet workshop for children ( I also wrote about the workshop for wikimu here).

My writing was stopped there as a draft. I know that I'd like to write more about that moment, that was my reason of not publishing it. Yet, it waited in my drafting box for more than a year. My activity as a full time worker made me neglect my own writing. Actually it was a magical moment of a meeting with the great painter, c'etait vraiment un rendezvous avec Raden Saleh.


I'm back!

I did not realize that I was not writing for this blog for more than a year. I was still busy writing for other blogs or websites and neglecting my own bridge blog.

There were a lot of possibilities why I did not write. First, I was busy working full time. Since July 2012 I started to work full time in a national plus school. Second, the sudden lost of my friend - Celly - made me wonder how short our time in this world, and how uncertain the schedule of its ending to us. May be that was the reason why I kept writing for my reflective spiritual blog "Journey to His Words" rather than writing for this blog. Third, it was not easy to become just a blogger after knowing a lot of reporting theories. I would prefer to write a good and informative blog post rather than just writing out all the stuffs in my mind. Then, the most important thing, was probably because I have a lack of readers' comments. I can still write more reasons for not writing, but that's not really important. It is more important to say that I would like to commit in writing again.

An email to join the Blog Action Day 2013 reminded me of how long I neglected my own bridge blog. I intended to make this blog as a bridge from Indonesia to other countries. I remember joining the Blog Action Day 2009 for the Climate Change, and I wrote about poverty in the citizen journalism website in 2008.

Time is really flying fast. Blog Action Day 2013 is prompting me to write about Human Rights. We do have a lot of problems in Indonesia related to the Human Rights. I do hope I can keep writing, and keep being a bridge of information.


Friday, 25 May 2012

Remembering Celly


Remembering Celly


I saw the wind playing with leaves
I saw your smile played on your face
Cheering the life that God gives
Share it to all within His grace

I saw the bird flew up the sky
Your face faded away
Leave us all in misery
Life is God’s mystery

We share the moment playing with waves
That glorious childhood that we embrace
Shimmering memories upon those graves
God’s love is our only solace….

*******************************************

The funeral of my high school friend Celly was this afternoon. She was one of the those on board the Sukhoi Superjet 100 which crashed into Mt. Salak. The thin curtain between lucky and bad luck, between life and death was really shown in that tragedy. Our television kept us updating with the progress from the moment the plane went missing until the news of the funerals. They were chosen passengers, they should be the lucky ones. Some are reporters, some others are airlines directors, pilots, and stewardesses. Some are still in their early twenty. Their life were actually just begun... Sad...but that's the line when we need to let ourselves surrender to destiny...

This poem is a way to send my condolence to those who lost their families. I was thinking of Celly when I wrote it, but may be it could also tickling memories of others who read this. In time like this I lost the feeling of being a citizen journalist. I'm here, just writing out my diary. I wasn't able to attend the funeral, but I've sent my prayers for her and for others who were on board.

Another victim that I've known is Femi, a reporter from Bloomberg. I knew her in Wikimu.com. She was probably worked for Kontan at that time. Time flies. Sometimes memories faded away...until a friend from Wikimu told me. Writing this I found a post in Kris' blog, and it makes me googling and found another blog who quote her words, When writing the story of your life, don't let anyone else hold the pen [Femi Adi Soempeno]. I didn't really remember Femi, but these blogs gave me a glimpse of her that I've never known. 

I prayed for all those spirits to have the eternal peace, and for their families to have the strength to go on, to keep only happy memories of their loved ones, and to continue pursuing the dreams that they left behind. Life is God's mystery. He gave us, He took it...in His time!



Monday, 14 May 2012

Dearest Celly


http://www.123greetings.com/encouragement_and_inspiration/sympathy/fly.html

Dearest Celly,
Sometimes I postponed things because I thought there will be another tomorrow. I canceled showing up in our reunion, thought there will be another time to meet. Yet, time is God's privilege...
When I first heard about the tragedy of Sukhoi, I found it as another sad news. But when I found out that one of its passengers is you, I couldn't help myself from being even sadder than before. I had hope for a miracle. Sometimes miracles happened, and some people survived the crash.... Yet, the new findings made me realize that may be God has a better plan.

I remembered how you started your dream to be a stewardess since I knew you in our Junior High School. You were a popular and sporty girl. Despite your popularity you're always nice and friendly to anybody. A girl with a cheerful smile. You've still got that enchanting smile on your face when you posed in front of that metal bird, Sukhoi Superjet 100.

I put you smiling picture in my cellphone's profile picture, and to my amazement I've had some friends commented back. Some of those friends are those that I never thought were your friends too. Life is like an onion, we have so many layers in our lives. I was once in one of your layer of life. Another friend was in the other layer. The other is may be still in your close circle. But we share the same grieve. We share the same memory...a friendly friend who was always nice and helpful.

I saw your kids in the television. I knew their grieve will be bitter than mine. They lost their mom, more than a friendly person...you're everything for them. But I knew you'll send your prayers to keep them strong. Your friends are also praying for your soul and the other souls who flew with you. We are praying for all the families in grieve.

I found this nice song by Celine Dion. The song reminded me of you...Fly...fly...with your little wings...fly towards His Light....

Love,
Retty




Friday, 16 December 2011

I Want to Keep Swimming

How did you find this blog? Blogwalking? Link from a friend? Or from my Facebook wall? I don't always post my link in my Facebook wall. Part of me still value these blogs as my diary, a hidden aspect of my life. Some postings are private, some others are public. I shared those which I considered public, and let the other posts called for their own readers. It's a bit quiet here, but it doesn't make me feel like drowning. Yet, my hobby to go blogwalking sometimes made me feel that I'm drowning in a sea of blogs. There are so many nice to read blogs out there. To improve citizen journalism means that we need to encourage people to write. The more successful we promote writing the merrier the blogosphere will be. I'll be blogwalking even more, and drowning myself there...neglecting my own blogs.

My token from a recent blogwalking is from a post in Jeff Goins' blog. The title attracted me, "What to Do When You're Drowning in a Sea of a Million Blogs". It is something that I relate to my feeling of being drowned when I lost my time in blogwalking. Surprisingly the writer contributor, Don McAllister, who has his own Linchpin Bloggers presented a swimming analogy. To me, the analogy is more into a drowning analogy because I knew the feeling of being drowned. When I was a little girl (may be I was a third grader then), I had an unforgettable experience. I shared about it in a post about guardian angel in my blog Journey to His Words, a religious reflective blog in Bahasa Indonesia. I was walking beside the swimming pool with my little brother. I saw a teenager who cried because her father persisted on making her swim in that very cold water (in a resort area in the mountain). I remember that I bragged to my brother that if I were that girl I'd be brave to try that cold water. It wouldn't cross my mind that my little brother would push me into that pool even when I wasn't finish laughing. The only thing I remember is the cold water, and that I kept on trying to reach the nearest side of the pool. We weren't accompany by any adult, so I knew my survival was on my own struggle and God. I prayed, I swam...and I survived. This experience kept haunting me when I was tired and had my feet cramped while swimming, or when darkness came around me while swimming in a late afternoon. So the swimming analogy astonishingly attract my senses to keep floating, to keep swimming. I know that I've got to focus on the act of swimming!

I suddenly realized that I was focusing on the feeling of being drowned instead of continue swimming. When I felt that I'm drowning in a sea of a million blogs because I lost my precious time reading others' posts or comments, I should remember to set my focus on swimming like an athlete. Time is also precious for competing athletes. So, I need to focus on my writing first before taking a rest by blogwalking. Priority becomes important. I realized that lately I didn't write as much as before. Excuses could be invented (although it's true that my schedule offline was so hectic) but I should be the master of my time...and I want to keep on swimming writing. Thank you Jeff and Don for the inspiration!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Citizen Journalism: Sharing in a Professional Way

When writing the title of this posting I don't mean that citizen journalism should make citizen share their stories as professional reporters. I'm actually trying to say that we share stories by handling it professionally. Our main goal should be for the benefit of our public readers, without sacrificing others (including our own professional oaths).

An article was published in Kompasiana about a mother who was chatting with her Blackberry, neglecting her baby, and didn't realize that her baby was suffocated by the baby's own pillow. I was first got the message through my chatting group, before I saw it through Facebook from Kompasiana's wall. It seemed that this article attracted a lot of people, especially those who are involved in Blackberry Group Chatting, so it was spreaded very quickly. Even the author herself was a bit taken aback of the number of people who read her article. She became afraid when her superior in the medical clinic called her to ask her explanation of her writing and made a formal meeting to evaluate that article. Actually she wasn't giving any name in the article, not the name of the baby, the family, nor the name of the medical clinic. For that, she was also accused by some readers as giving a hoax information. Her only intention is to share that sad news so that people could make a self-reflection, to know the bad effect of the techie gadget which is now very popular in Indonesia.

She's lucky because her superior thought that she was not doing anything wrong, but warned her to keep remembering the medical oath to keep the secret of their patients. This is why I said that citizen reporters do need to handle their writings professionally. Citizen who writes in his/her own professional topic should remember how to handle the news with their professional ethics. Even for those who aren't in the professional life, we should also use our own conscience in writing out news like that.

Prita Mulyasari's case should be a way to learn something. It's not about being in prison (although it's enough to scare people to write out their cries), but about the high need to have an editor who will help those writers who aren't familiar with journalism ethics. Without the name of the hospital, it could sounded as a hoax, but to open it clearly could also end one's career. For me, Prita's letter is an important letter to be printed out for public. By hiding that fact, those who work in the medical institution which should make hospitality as their first tool (considering that the name is Hospital) could act as they like, neglecting the right of a patient to be treated professionally and to receive a real information about his/her illness. The problem came from the way that private letter publicized for public consumption without editing it with journalistic ethic in mind.

In the case of Kompasiana's writer, Titi, there were questions about how fast she uploaded her news. One important aspect for journalist in this internet era is the rapidity. However, our daily schedule, our daily responsibilities might not always in cooperation with the time needed to write some news as soon as it happened. Citizen journalism is one aspect, have the need to encourage people to write up his/her story and share it with public. Yet, another writer also questioned the way Kompas.com handling the case. Kompas.com should be able to handle the case as the way professional journalism should react. I agree with this writer. The only way to build a good partnership between citizen journalism and professional journalism is by giving a good example in working. Check and recheck should be the priority. Language chosen should also be very careful to give an objective news for the public.

I think this is the learning process. How a citizen can join as a part of citizen journalism, and how the journalistic world can be improved by the process of learning together between citizen and professionals. This way we can have better professionals in their own specific professions, plus... the ability to share out a bit of their professions for the sake of the profession itself and the benefit for public.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Meeting Kierkegaard

After meeting Heidegger (thanks to my online friends) now I'm being introduced to Kierkegaard. I've come to him through the books written by a Jesuit priest, Thomas Hidya Tjaya. His book "Peziarahan HATI" is really inspiring for me. It's like written to help me arrange my mind and heart. It confirms some of my thoughts, and it helps me to look for a better way into my arrangement of life. Being taken by his book, I googled and found out that he had written a book titled "Kierkegaard dan Pergulatan Menjadi Diri Sendiri" (Kierkegaard and The Struggle of Being One's Self). Fortunately, the writer's sister is my neighbour, so I don't need to look into shelves in the book stores. I only need to e-mail, and to knock on my neighbour's door to borrow the book from the family library.

It is the title that attracted me. Being online (and being a part of social media activities) made me realized a lot of things. There are those which are real, and there are also others that are actually unreal. I once prayed that I don't want to loose myself, my being "me". Yet, now I'm uncertain if I've ever had myself. Do I really realize who am I? What am I doing here in this world? What should I do here? Those questions were playing around in my head and that was the reason behind my being attracted to the book about Kierkegaard. I don't even know Kierkegaard, but the title of that book attracts me. How can I possibly loose myself if I've never have it since the beginning? Or may be not that extreme, may be it's just that I've never realized who is the real me? And actually I have the same question like him, “What am I supposed to do?”

This book introduce me to Kierkegaard's opinion, "I choose, therefore, I exist." To this moment I was always in the same boat as Descartes, "I think, therefore, I am". Being introduced into silent meditation made "my being" struggled. During this Christian Meditation I shouldn't think. Without thinking I was lost...at least that's how I felt at first. Then, I choose to manage myself. I tried to work on my silent relation with Him... At first I was lost because I used to meditate with the Bible in my mind, and I feel free to travel with my mind into His words (which was really meaningful for me and my friends). Without my wandering mind I felt nothing... Yet, within the process I didn't want to get myself attached too much into methods. I would like to feel free to absorb His presence without a special bond to a certain method. So, now I understand the real meaning of "I choose, therefore, I exist."

Kierkegaard had concentrated on the choice made in every step of human's life. I'm struggling with that. If we're facing the good and evil, it wouldn't be difficult for me to choose. Yet, when facing two good reasons, I don't really know which one should I choose. Which choice is according to God's will and it shouldn't be affected by my own preferences.

Just as Adam and Eve have chosen to eat the forbidden fruit, our being are also depending on choices that we've made. Yet, there's always a mystery of His Being, the mystery which was called by our ancestors as destiny. In certain moments we need to surrender ourselves to the Absolute Being, as there are certain moments when logic isn't working and there's no way of choosing your own path.

As for the Church, I've chosen to see the Church as a symbol. These days there are a lot of priests humiliate their own sacred promises. We shouldn't see them as the Church. I've seen them as individuals who are responsible for their own actions. I won't make it as an obstacle for my being with Him. The relation between His Being and my being is really personal, I hope I can manage to keep it that way. I do not want to make others' deceptive actions made me ruin my own relation with Him.




Saturday, 25 June 2011

Citizen Journalism, Blogging, or Private Diary

Time is the most valuable thing right now. My activities in citizen journalism made me realized how much time we should spent in order to achieve a professional output. At the same time I also tried hard to manage balancing my activities, giving a proportional time for family, for my spiritual life in the church, and for my country and the society.

Yesterday night I went to a book discussion. A friend whom I've known through wikimu.com has his first book published. It's kind of a diary writing style. Yet, it's not really as private as personal diary. The publisher got in touch with him by searching for his private contact after reading his private blog.

My own blog is still in a gado-gado style, some are personal, some are sharing (generalities) through blogging, and some other are news in a high citizen journalism awareness. Loosing OhMyNews International as my outlet made me a bit stuck in producing citizen journalism news in English. Actually my productivity in writing is now very low. These days I wrote more in Indonesian language, and most of them are actually for my meditation blog.

While not having any household assistant at home, it will be difficult for me to gain back my writing productivity as in 2007 when I had two assistants to help me manage the house. I might be less productive in writing for citizen journalism news, but I do gain a lot of lessons from those period of being very active. I learned to make a priority in life....

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Is MyBlogLog worth saving?

Lately I'm busy to live my "real life" with my family and friends. I rarely got time to write for my blogs. My meditation blog is a bit luckier as I've tried my best to keep posting in it. I checked my facebook wall, but not really going around the cyber neighborhood. A letter from BlogCatalog informed me about the closure of MyBlogLog. In the letter which used a title "The Power of Bloggers", Antony Berkman explained about the closure and the intention to keep MyBlogLog alive by spreading out bloggers voices supporting the tag line: "A combination of BloggersUnite + MyBlogLog + BlogCatalog is The Right Thing". This tag line attracts me as I do like BloggersUnite, and I was also connecting to friends through MyBlogLog.

I joined MyBlogLog on June 2007. In my early joining days I enjoyed some new friends and tried to find communities that would suit my passions. Then years gone by...I don't look in MyBlogLog anymore. Why should I care about it? Actually I'm not really aware of what was happening in those big corporations. I was disappointed when Yahoo! Photos was terminated. I didn't have time to gather back all my pictures, so I just let it go... Perhaps photos are different with blogs. If we don't trust that a cyber photo album will last, we might have kept another back-up file. In the memory of my photos I agree to a point raised in the letter "The Power of Bloggers": "The closure of MyBlogLog represents a lack of respect to bloggers who have built tens of thousands of communities on the network and spent countless hours adding MyBlogLog widgets to their blogs."

MyBlogLog is a bit different with photo sharing. It is more into building a network, or a community within our passions. Topics can help us to look into writings that were written by others who share the same or similar passion to us. I always think that MyBlogLog is useful, yet it wasn't really working for me. Why? Because I didn't really know how to optimized its function. Perhaps it's true that Yahoo! abandones MyBlogLog. If Yahoo! gave me more information on how to optimize MyBlogLog's home, I'm sure it's going to be something that I'll really miss.

I can't (or I wouldn't) think about loosing the content of my blogs, but I didn't have time to make a back-up. Yet, creating a good community with inspirational conversations would be a greater loss than loosing a blog. Sometimes I knew people only through their blogs. Loosing a door into their blogs is like loosing your cell phone with all those telephone numbers and no back up list.

I like BloggersUnite because it gave me a chance to share ideas with friends all over the world. Uniting our voices can make a big difference. Voices from the social media are now taken into account. At least, it gave us a chance to have some point of views. One topic can be described from different way of seeing problems, and that would really be enriching our minds.

I don't really know what is BlogCatalog, but it seems to give you doors of topics in which you can find popular blogs. If you don't have lots of time, then it would save your browsing time.

Some of my friends who wrote for OhmyNews International (OMNI) missed the old site. The conversations that came out of it were worth the time spent on it. Off course there was always the plus and minus in a system, but people need a place to come and meet and have a conversation. A site like OMNI gave us a place to look for credible news. It's true that citizen journalism websites can't guarantee the credibility of their writers, but experienced editors or administrators can be a big help. Not to mention the input from loyal readers. (A communcation like this is needed.)

So, back to the main issue...is MyBlogLog worth saving? Should we stop Yahoo! from shutting down MyBlogLog? I think we should give it a try! We do need to build a better blogger community. The world become more global, issues are now mixed between local and global. One local problem can affect others as well, and it can be snowballing into a global issue. So, why don't we try to give MyBlogLog, together with BlogCatalog and BloggersUnite, a chance to give us a better door to communicate?

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Time Management

I can't deny that time management is the most important aspect that I do need to master right now! Writing online blog made me produced some writings that might not be written if I wasn't involved in citizen journalism. Yet, the more I write for citizen journalism, the more I realized how important it is to keep active in the real life. What is really matter in citizen journalism community? It's not about the writing, but it's about the real action. Real action need time. A person like me who like variety of activities should make myself alert of the time management of any commitment. Priority should always be put forward, and I should also balance the need for self satisfaction with the real service for others.

I'd like to invest my time in a valuable actions, that was the reason I came into citizen journalism...but that's also my reason to slow down in my participation in citizen journalism activities right now. I'm still in search of a balancing life, and in that case I really need a good time management. I'm learning right now, trying to manage my given time as wisely as I can....

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Hari Natal


The Indonesian term for Christmas, the holiday celebrating the birth of Isa Almasih (Jesus Christ) on December 25, is Hari Natal.1) Indonesians do not have specific traditions associated with Christmas in the way that Western countries do; every family builds its own Christmas traditions. Seen as an imported religious holiday, Christmas in Indonesia borrows western traditions such as Christmas parties and exchanging Christmas gifts. As children, I was also familiar with the story of Santa Claus and his presents under the Christmas tree. Recently, youngsters belonging to Christmas carol groups have begun to visit homes in their neighborhoods to raise charity funds.

The most important aspect of Christmas for Christians in Indonesia is going to church, either on Christmas Eve or on Christmas day. Almost all churches in Indonesia have more visitors than usual on that specific day. The story of the birth of Christ amongst the poor, after His parents were rejected at inns, is repeated in churches, reminding us to care more about the poor around us. For some years now, my children have taken Christmas gifts to the church. They put them under the Christmas tree in the church (or in front of a model of the Bethlehem cave if there isn’t a Christmas tree), or give them to those in charge at the gate to be collected for orphans or other children who need those presents. It is suggested that we give something useful for education, so we may give school bags, books, pens, pencils, etc.

As Catholics, my parents had an Advent candle tradition during the four weeks leading up to Christmas. While waiting for Christmas, we lit one new candle every week saying a special prayer. We had four candles alight by Christmas. We also had our own special Christmas gift tradition. The presents from Santa would be under the Christmas tree during Advent. They appeared one by one every time we children did our good deeds. When I was a little girl I used to carefully count my presents under the Christmas tree. I would find one was missing when I did something bad. Children nowadays have more questions about Santa Claus and I do not continue this tradition in my house now. The Christmas tree with lots of presents is in their grandparents’ house.

We did not hold parties during Advent, so we celebrated Christmas only after we had our Christmas mass (a special church service). My family doesn’t have a special Christmas Eve dinner, but we have a special family lunch on Christmas Day. It is kind of a Lebaran (Eid Mubarak) gathering too. The extended family will come and have a family reunion. My parents’ friends and neighbors used to come to greet them late in the afternoon or in the evening of Christmas Day. During Lebaran, it is the other way around: my parents (sometimes with children) visit them.

Some Indonesians open their presents on Boxing Day (the first day after Christmas day). However, while I was growing up, presents were kept under the tree until the New Year in my family. The focus of the present opening is the children. The adults (especially the unmaried uncles and aunts) enjoy seeing the enthusiasm and surprise in the children’s expressions when they open their presents. Now that my brothers and I are grown up we have our different New Years activities. Sometimes one of us is out of town. So, we open our presents on Christmas Day when we can all gather together. We used to put some gifts for the staff who help us at home under the tree too. It was to show that they were also part of the family, and that we cared about them. But now we just give the gifts to them privately, as not all our helpers are Christians. Recently some of our Moslem friends are reluctant to say “Merry Christmas” in case they are seen to be celebrating Christmas. So we considered it wiser not to include our gifts for those helpers under the Christmas tree.

For the Christmas lunch my family have some of our traditional food such as kanre minyak (greasy rice), nasi campur, and coto Makassar. One of my brothers is dating a girl from Palembang, so sometimes we also have pempek Palembang that comes directly from her hometown. We usually have this family lunch at my parents’ home. When my grandmother was still alive, and after she became a Catholic, we used to visit her on Christmas Day too. Occasionally we had our Christmas lunch at my aunt’s home when grandma was staying there. My cousins, whose parents are living in Makassar, also come to my parent’s house. We call their families by phone to wish them “Merry Christmas” too. My aunt, whose daughters are married to foreigners, used Skype for her Christmas gathering.

Christmas traditions in families also depend on ethnic backgrounds. Those from Menado or the (Christian) Batak would perhaps be more familiar with having a Christmas party after the Christmas Eve Mass. But the essence is still the same throughout the world - it’s time for a family gathering.


1)Kamus Besar Bahasa Indonesia IV (KBBI IV), the Indonesian language dictionary, stated that “natal” has two meanings: the birth of somebody and the birth of Isa Almasih (Jesus Christ). The word “natal” is accepted as an Indonesian word without the need to mention that it came from the Latin language.

Note: This article was published for the Indonesian Heritage Society Newsletter November - December 2009. I put it here for all friends and family who are longing for their families. May the spirit of Christmas bring joy in our heart...God bless us!

Picture was taken in 2007 when my grandma was still with us, her last Christmas before she went back to God.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

(Asian) Women's Problems Seen Through (Korean) TV Drama


Picture taken from http://www.korean-drama-guide.com/All-About-Marriage-kbs-2010-korean-drama.html

In "All About Marriage" (Please Marry Me), Jung-Im potrayed the Cinderella style of Asian married women. In Cinderella, girls share the dream of their prince charming to come, to rescue Cinderella from her sad story and to find the happily ever after ending. Indonesia has this kind of story in our lines of traditional stories, Bawang Merah dan Bawang Putih. But those are stories for girls. In this Korean drama the girl changed into a married woman. Aired by KBS in 2010, this film is probably inspired by the story of Susan Boyle who inspired the world by her performance in the Britain's Got Talents 2009. Cinderella is of course can be found anywhere. For some Indonesians the story of Cinderella is a bit out of date. The translation of Cinderella in Bahasa Indonesia is Upik Abu. While we used to say being an Upik Abu for those who work hard at home, now another term is better accepted..."Oshin". That Japanese film "Oshin" was so popular here in Indonesia that changed the perception of Upik Abu. May be because Oshin struggled in her life without the significance present of a prince charming, so she was a leading character for struggling women.

"All About Marriage" is not a serious drama like "Oshin". Yet, it blend the basic problems that women (perhaps it should be read as Asian women) are dealing with. This film shows us problems faced by different generations, not only by Jung-Im, but also by older generation like her mother-in-law. I think the most important idea from this film is the fact that Jung-Im like most Asian women did all her best to help her husband Tae-ho in his career. While sacrificing her days at home (without kids, which for some Asian men could be used as a reason to adultery) her husband enjoys his advancing career by flirting with Suh-young, his co-worker. How she survived her days and be able to stand up again as a woman is really wonderful (although it's still very Cinderella, as she was helped by another man, Hyun-wook)

I haven't got a lot of chances to watch Korean films. And, actually my interest in Korean films started up after my visit to Seoul. But from those Korean films I learned about problems that are faced by Asian women. The problem of being a daughter-in-law who need to serve the family of her husband. The problem of choosing between her own life and career and her family commitment. And also the communication problems in the family.

In another film, "You Are My Destiny", we can also see the problem between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law in generations, and also problems on communication.


In this other film (picture above is from KBS World), Jang Sae-byeok has to face both the urgency of a being a modern working wife, and the high demand of her mother-in-law to fulfill her duty as a traditional wife who moved into her husband's family. This film also shows how the different social status also played important source of problems and miscommunication. Perhaps the situation isn't always the same, there are other inspirational films that can enriched us with real daily life problems, yet it's clear that we are facing changing generations without leaving our old attitude of perceiving women's traditional tasks.

It's very obvious that Cinderella's dream is still shared between women, may be not just in Asia... While seeing Oshin as an ideal example of a struggling woman, I have to realized through these Korean films the bridging of the old tradition into the new era, the progress of understanding a woman position in the Asian society and how to deal with it in our own daily lives.

I think Indonesian women in my generation (and in big cities) are lucky as we're not really attached to traditional obligations to move into the husband's family. Even if you're moving in, I don't think that there is an obligation to serve for the whole family as I've seen in those films. Yet, similar problems (especially those communication problems) do exist. Seeing it in a film can help us reflected on our own daily problems and hopefully make us wise enough in facing our own problems.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

My "me time" in blogging

Every mother should have a "me time" to keep themselves strong enough to do their daily routines. At least, I need that "me time". My usual "me time" is reading, but after I found the world of blogging then I made blogging and blogwalking as my top list of my "me time".

I was afraid of being addicted, so I tried hard to balance my life. I know that real life is more important than my cyber world. Yet, being a netizen gave me a larger horizon. I can meet people that I wouldn't probably meet in my daily life as a housewife. We don't really need any schedule to meet. With three boys and their various activities I'm the least ideal person to meet at a certain schedule. Blogging can help me knocking at any friends' door without interrupting her/his activity, without even thinking about the hours (imagine if I call my friend at midnight...how would she react? Or, how would her spouse react?)

Recently I was thinking about my reason in blogging. As I entered blogging from citizen journalism websites, I used to think that I blog as a contribution from me (as a housewife) to my country. I'm not forgetting that I'm raising my boys (and help teaching some more kids), but I feel that I should do more. Yet, time is my barrier. I can't do all my activities in the same working hours. Blogging gave me that time...

Yet, blogging as a citizen reporter wasn't as fun as blogging just as a blogger. I've got to think carefully before pressing my finger to publish a story. When I found an old friend's blog, I can feel how much she enjoyed being a blogger. Being just a blogger (and posted personal stories) doesn't mean that she didn't share knowledge. She did it even more successful than a featured story in the magazine. I've always been fond about Japan but I found more knowledge on Japanese culture (and books...I won't be able to know more than just the story of Momotaro) if I didn't read her blog.

The conversation about citizen journalism usually made me avoiding personal stories. The critics said that bloggers can only post opinion, personal stories, etc. In my process of blogging I can't avoid being personal. As a citizen without a real journalistic background (except for those short time in the University), I came with the eyes of a citizen. Sometimes a small stuff that I posted made me ventured more into a personal story. When I wrote about my great aunt (actually I prefer to call her "Oma" or grandmother) in this blogpost, I was never thinking about meeting Ibu Claudine Salmon. The internet is amazing. My meeting with Ibu Claudine reminded me how powerful a writing is. Imagine...who knows my grandma? I don't think many people know her, not even Ibu Claudine. But she did have a remarkable information on Oma Nora's articles. I wasn't success in convincing my family about the continuation of Oma Nora's bibliography. I was even labeled "fake journalist" by my own mother in front of my big family. If I was a bit optimistic at the beginning, now I stopped talking about it (or doing anything about it). This is also the reason I became very sensitive in using the term citizen reporter over the term citizen journalist. It's better in Bahasa Indonesia as we have very different translation, "pewarta warga" and "wartawan". Journalist or wartawan referring to occupation, while "pewarta" has wider aspects which in general means those who deliver news.

These several last months I was stuck in blogging, mostly because I need more time to balance my work at home, at school, and in the community. I've also got problems with my internet connection (sometimes it's surprising if we count how expensive the internet for middle to lower financial income. A student without internet connection at home will spend more money in the internet kiosk than for us who have computer, modem, and unlimited internet package).

It seems that the need to manage time in blogging is universal. I was blogwalking to a blog that has a unique name "Mommy of a Monster (I Mean Toddler) & Infant Twins", and read this post. I have a teenage and two "little monsters" (I mean twins...and please imagine the monsters in Disney's monsters inc.), I'd like to peek into a life of a mother with three under three years old children. I can't imagine myself blogging in her situation. When I had my twins, my eldest son was already four years old...and I don't even have time to make their photo scrapbook. It's so comforting that there are other people who are also trying to balance their being in the internet with their real life.

I've also found this other blog (thanks to this blog...the links within the blogosphere is really unlimited!). I like one statement in this blog: "No one is paying me to write, I write because I enjoy it. I no longer enjoyed it when it became like a job and I felt guilty for not doing so." So, when I wrote for citizen journalism websites I did it because I like it, because I want to share something. That was why writing for Ohmy News International (OMNI) was a bit hard for its deadline. Writing with a journalistic concern in mind is a bit harder. But I also realized that citizen need a kind of guidance to be able to produce quality news in this era of the internet. I've learned a lot from OMNI. In a national seminar on citizen journalism organized by the Indonesia Open University, I also mentioned the need of educating citizens to write. We have layers of citizen journalism, and we have to know where we should put ourselves. Indonesia is a very big country, but we are still learning to live in democracy.

So, as I'm entering the last few months of my four years of blogging (which is actually a rookie for those who blog earlier) I'm going to learn how to blog in my own style. I won't care if it's a bit more personal than journalistic, or it's too journalistic and serious than a personal diary. You're welcome to come, visit and read a part of me. You're also most welcome to give your comments and critics to improve my writing...it's my "me time" and I'd like to have fun with it, enjoying it as the way I enjoyed it when I was first starting this activity. I won't be apologizing for not writing if I don't really have time to do it. Thanks to the blogosphere, now I've got more varieties of "me time", and I hope I can have more friends from my neighbourhood in the blogosphere. Let's enjoy our "me time" together...

Monday, 15 November 2010

Obama, the Euphoria


Actually I was a bit skeptic about Obama's plan to visit Indonesia. After the prior cancellations, I wouldn't be too surprised if he cancel it again this time. The Mount Merapi volcanic ashes and the hot cloud could also be a good reason to cancel it. I had news about the preparation in the University of Indonesia (UI) from my Facebook wall. A friend who works in the University of Indonesia posted her comments about the preparation. Yet, I smiled and asked her to be prepared for the cancellation. We were also asked her to take Obama's picture if he did visit the university. It turned out that she was not invited to the event.

I didn't get any invitation myself, but I was too busy to care about being invited or not. I was still preparing the speech for the Open University about the future of citizen journalism. I'm usually not able to attend events on weekdays as I'm more into my household commitments. Yet, the most important thing is perhaps the skeptical thought about the realization of his visit to this archipelago. It was not only one cancellation, but also another cancellation in June. Will he really come this November? With the earthquake in Wasior, the tsunami in Mentawai, and the volcano eruption in Central Java? Another reason to cancel his trip is the demonstration of protest against his coming. In my logical thinking I decided that he would cancel it again, but deep in my heart I hope he will come. A friend in need is a friend indeed, his coming here will show the world that the eruption isn't that dangerous for traveling. Indonesia has got more than 17,000 islands to visit. Tourism is one source of income for small traders in Indonesia. Without visitors they won't have income. Jogjakarta's biggest lost after the eruption would be the decline of visitors. Borobudur is now covered with ashes, as one printed newspaper said that Merapi made those statues wept.

It seems that some of my fellow bloggers were lucky enough to get the invitation to attend the open speech in the University of Indonesia. One of them is Ndoro Kakung, the pen name from Wicaksono, a senior professional journalist who share it in his blog, Pecas Ndahe. They were even luckier as they have the front seats which was really unusual for the Indonesians. They sat in front of other well known senior citizens such as the former President Habibie.

Another blogger was in Singapore when he knew that he was invited to the speech. He needed to call the embassy to make sure that he should pay his ticket cancellation fee to fly back to Indonesia for a good reason. Yes, doubt about another cancellation was really thick. Even in the United States my friend was also doubtful about the possibility of Obama's visit, especially when he was facing a hard time in his own country...he's got a downfall popularity and lost his voters. Luckily, this time he moved ahead with his plan.

I was surprised that he really came. I couldn't watch the television as I was taking my kids to their language course. Most of Indonesians were glued in front of their television to see his arrival, but I kept myself informed through my facebook. For some people, including my husband, his arrival meant a bad traffic jam. They were stranded as the streets were blocked for security. For some others, who were lucky enough to have the empty streets opened for them, they thanked Obama as they had never had the chance to feel Jakarta without traffic jam (except in Lebaran/Eid holidays).

It was embarassing that we weren't ready to receive the Austrian President while we knew that we're going to have two important visitors that afternoon.

I've missed one big news as I was preparing the presentation for the Open University National Seminar on citizen journalism. I came to it when I listened to a young girl, clad in her veil, who mentioned it in the seminar. It is about one of the minister who claimed that he wasn't going to shake hand with the first lady, Michelle Obama. I have friends who wouldn't shake hands with women, but they will show it clearly and it wouldn't need a clever girl to understand that they won't shake hands. We do have our beautiful culture of presenting both hands clapped in front of our chest, far away from the other person. It could be the sign to honor your guest without the need of touching, and I think others will understand this sign...even if they aren't familiar with this culture. That minister was perhaps in the euphoria of meeting an important person, and was carried in. Why blaming someone else? It just made him a fool in the eyes of the big crowds...from the cyber space into the real world. Even a friend from Europe asked me through FB chatting about this incident...how fast the news traveled in this cyber space!

Obama didn't have the chance to visit his old school, neither did he manage to have a reunion with his old classmates and teachers (who, according to TIME, will receive him with unreserved welcome). But he did give an inspiring speech, reminding Indonesians of how rich we are, and how important the unity in diversity for us. Do we really need a charismatic Obama to tell us that? To awaken our nationality? I don't need to be in the crowd with the euphoria of his visit to recognize our golden key to success. But I thanked Obama to help reminding Indonesian people about the foundation of the building of this Republic, the foundation that was helped built by our national heroes.

Picture: thanks to Yoris who gave me the permission to use this picture in my blog.