Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Seoul, I'm coming!

Today I'll fly to South Korea on the invitation of OhmyNews International. It's still like a dream come true. I've always been eager to know more about Korea. From a corner of my house a sand picture of a little girl sewing her artwork is calling me to visit her country. It's a gift from an exhibitor when I was still working for an exhibition construction management. I got it more than 15 years ago. Another precious treasures are my Hodori doll and a guide book to see Korea from 1987. Stories will be alive...I'll really see South Korea.

Four days seems so short for exploring the city, while the whole country seems to have a bulk of beautiful art and cultures. I should make the most out of this visit. It could be my lifetime visit. But no...we should keep on dreaming, so I'll dream to come back again!

My eldest son envies me, he also wants to see the country of Taekwondo. He is learning taekwondo in his school. Keep hoping and praying, may be your luck will come in your own time!

I'll departed from my PC, unfortunately Notebook is too expensive for me, so I'll skip writing in the net for four days. Kind of hoping there will be a free internet provided there. All my relatives and friends are very helpfull. Some help me with the extra expenses, some provide me with flashdisc and MP4, and other friend is lending me his 2G memory card for my camera. I'm fortunate enough to have a South Korean member of the Indonesian Heritage Society back in Seoul. She will pick me up and guide me around the museum there. She canceled her trip to Pusan for guiding me, thanks a lot Grace!

So having all the kind and gracious helps, it is now my turn to grab the most out of this experience. Seoul...I'm coming!

Saturday, 16 June 2007

A day is only 24 hours

I’ve got a lot in my mind to write down, but all activities as a housewife and as a teacher consumed my day. I’d like to write for Ohmy News about our international labors, about the conference on religion tolerance in Bali, and so on. But the articles in wikimu.com seems so crowded with the article from our fellow Papuans who were screaming for “independence” (I put that in parentheses as I do not know exactly what does it means, a separation or a bigger chance to rule out in their region). For me independence means freedom to gain knowledge and freedom from poverty (may be should be added with freedom of speech, which will be in danger if the government adopt the new regulation about the change of the regulation no. 40/1999 about Press). I do not know why I always attracted to this kind of article. I’ve been trying to step out of political area, but it seems that I always bounce back to another comment (or another article).

Their articles opened a new way of seeing things. But in some sense they are not sharing my point of views. I thought we should concentrate on building this country to face the globalization, not retreat to the era of separation. If we are not together, then we would be easier to be dictated by super power country. Even now, we are “slightly” dictated as we are dependent on foreign loan!

Writing all these posts and articles were not as easy as writing my comment in my diary. I used to write anything in my diary under the secure feeling of privacy. Using blog and even blogging as a community in a citizen journalism website made me aware that my writing could be read by anybody. I should be more careful in providing facts and presenting ideas. Writing in English is making it more difficult to write fast. Sometimes I do need to counter check the words or I’ll have a miscommunication with readers out of the bad presenting words.

A day is only 24 hours, and we do need to learn to manage it! God gives it to us to fit properly with our needs. I know that even if I have 36 hours in a day I’ll still ask for more if I could not manage my time wisely.

Saturday, 9 June 2007

On Being a Citizen Journalist

It is not easy to put my views on East Timor in an article published by OhmyNews International. Actually I prayed that somebody else has written the article about Sutiyoso’s hotel incident. As Indonesian, I feel that the treatment is unfair. They do need to invite him politely to come to the court, not by opening his room like he’s a criminal hiding inside his hotel room. I am not supporting Sutiyoso as an individu, nor did I support “whatever” happened in the past. I do not favor some of his policies as the Governor of Jakarta. But I really think he should receive a better treatment as an official guest to a neighboring country.

I have submitted my article when I saw Rudy Sianturi’s article. I do not regret airing mine though! I valued Rudy’s link to a letter sent by Rev. Mangunwijaya SJ to the president then, Habibie. It is really a valuable letter, Romo Mangun gave me more views on democracy. He clearly stated that politically he is the opponent of Habibie, yet friendship goes beyond politic. Personally it touched me, because sometimes I loose my objectivity on Habibie. Although I valued Habibie’s bright and clever mind, I never really respect him. Reading that letter gave me the insight how difficult the situation was for Habibie. Being a successor to Suharto, his great mentor, in such an awkward situation, should really put him into trouble with all the problems on hands.

Actually I’ve noted in my unedited article that Indonesia did provide scholarships to East Timorese. I also noted that military actions usually following order. Our military troops did help under the UN peacekeeper troop (e.g. through UNPROFOR, or through UNTAES, and also recently in South Lebanon).

A comment from a reader made me browsing to a website. I saw a short article about training for journalist in peace building. I realized how important the task of a journalist to provide an objective views. Coincidentally it was also mentioned in Romo Mangun’s letter. I remember reading ”Covering Diversity Starts in the Newsroom” from the Jakarta Post.

I learned a lot being a citizen journalist. First, I learn how to see myself and the inner me. Then I should be able to make myself better and contribute something to my country. Keeping my self frustrated with the situation will not help bring us out of the problem. I should act out and roll the ball. I knew now that my talent is writing. I’ll keep working while keeping my finger crossed. God will help!

Friday, 1 June 2007

Celebrating 200 years of the Catholic Church in Indonesia (2)

I’ve just seen the film “Bethlehem van Java”. It shows the story of F. van Lith SJ. He was not really eager to go on a mission, especially not to the Nederlandsch Indisch. His obedience to God brought him to Java. He faced a lot of obstacles, but in his most desperate time God had sent him 171 peoples to be baptized. God worked in His own time, and in His own way. But as a worker we are not supposed to wait for Him to work alone, we should help Him according to our talents.

Van Lith founded his school because he acknowledged that education is the way to liberate people. Sendang Sono, the place he baptized the 171 Javanese peoples, is now a famous sacred place for devotional visit.

I grew up in the middle of the mixed culture of Jakarta, but in some way I was closer to Javanese culture. I lived in the environment of a Catholic Church with the Javanese as the majority of the laymen. My teachers were also predominantly Javanese. The nuns and teachers were usually educated in Central Java. I should thank Father van Lith for providing me all those good educators.

One of my head master in the elementary school knew I like reading. She, a Catholic nun, lent me books about saints. I also got the chance to read more books from the Church’s library. It was a good activity of Mudika (the Catholic Youth) at that time. They volunteered to manage the library and gave us the youngsters a chance to borrow books. It was a pity it doesn’t run like it anymore (not in several churches I knew). Mudika had fun activities. They provided a place to build the performance talent in theatre, the talent in singing within the choir. Usually their theatre performance could dramatize our Good Friday.

Pope John Paul II did give a very special attention to us the youth. I remember keeping his letter to the youth. (I did not find my diary on this subject yet, but I remember that this letter made him closer to my heart).

Van Lith’s approached the Javanese by taken the native’s culture into account. He was not only learned the Javanese dialects, but he regarded the whole culture as equal as his own culture. Feeling the equality could give us a chance to accept things by heart, not by force.

Acculturation is sometimes important to gain a place into people’s heart. I remember my husband’s comment on Jesus. He was already baptized for three years when he admitted that he was not used to think about having Jesus (with the Caucasian look) as his savior. The Chinese Gods and Goddess seemed closer to him because they share a closer similarity to the Chinese. Having Jesus pictured in Balinese painting as a Balinese does make Him closer to his view. The thought of abandoning the ancestors are also one thing that could frighten Chinese people from Christianity. Experiencing the struggle between being a Catholic and the demand of the tradition I knew that acculturation is a way to settle it. For me, an acculturation is viewing the old tradition as merely a tradition while praying as a Catholic in my heart.

Sometimes people thought that Christians bought people into their religion by providing facilities such as the help for “free funeral” (Ony, please excuse me if I mistakenly translate this phrase). Actually the help for the funeral arrangement was paid by the money invested for that from the Church’s contribution. (Church with the “C” letter is to underline the laymen as the part of contributors). Humanities aids are sometimes took with prejudice as trying to convert others’ beliefs. It might rise from the conventional way of the mission before. I think the mission given from Jesus is very clear: LOVE EACH OTHER, LOVE GOD THE MOST. So humanities are important, no matter what is the religion of others. If
We do believe that God is the One and Only creator we could respect each other. Father van Lith gave the best example that gaining people’s hearts is more important than the statistic need. When humans were still attached to statistic, He gave out His miracle!

I do hope our devotion will not become a deviation. I hope that all the good seeds that were once planted will continue to grow, and the harvest are going to enrich the country.