Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Stepping into 2009 (2): Family

One thing that is very important in one's life is probably his/her family. At least that is how it works for me.

My grandmother (from my mom) passed away last October, so this is the first New Year we celebrate without her. This year my parents went to Puncak, I joined them, and we came back after New Year. Before, we went out of town either before or after the New Year, as we were respecting her and would like to join together on the first day of the new year.

My parents usually go to the church on Christmas' eve, so we do not have that Christmas family dinner. I went with them when I was still living with them, although there were also times I went with friends. After having my own kids, I used to go for a children Christmas' mass in the morning, then joining the family Christmas' lunch. We don't have a special boxing day, it would be between Christmas and the several days after New Year. It depends on the ability to gather all the family members, especially those who are playing 'santa'. It's not that we'll see a santa costume, but there are some family members who always prepare Christmas presents...we call those who prepare presents for all of us as 'Santa'. It's not exchanging presents, but rather continuing the tradition of our childhood happiness in receiving Christmas presents. Children are the focus of this activity.

Last year, one of my friends was also called back Home by her Creator. Her children are still very young, but we do believe that God has His own plan.

Another cyber friend lost his wife after 45 years sharing the up and down of life together. He used to put pictures taken by his wife in his article in OMNI. I used to admire those pictures...So we'll both be missing her.

Collected memories taken from those who were left behind made me realized how important to share the quality time together to be able to have unforgettable moments together.

Last month, my father was told that he had prostate cancer, stadium II. Luckily it is not spreading to the bone yet, but the gleason score is already 6...the upper limit for the low risk cancer. We are still discussing the best treatment he would take. We are also collecting information about treatment and side effects. The internet is really being helpful in gathering informations.

The special moment of this end of the year and the beginning of the new year was a wonderful family time together. Smaller family exactly, as my brothers did not join us.

Spending quality time together with family is something priceless in this era of financial difficulties, yet it would be something more precious than anything in the end.

When my grandma (from my father) passed away years ago, I was regretting my quality time with my family as I was busy with works. Yet, now...without full time is still a struggling effort to provide quality time for my family (in Indonesia, the word family is always belong to the whole big family).

I do hope to be able to provide a better quality time with my whole family...Yet, first, as Reda Gaudiamo, a writer, said: "A healthy mother makes a healthy family, and a happy mother grows a happy family...". Hope that I'm strong and wise enough to be that happy and healthy mom.

(With prayers for my whole family, my friends, and also for those families in Gaza who are living far from happiness at this moment; Dear God please give us a wonderful family time together...receive our beloved family and friends in Your Eternal Love, amen.)

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Stepping Into 2009 (1); memory of friendship

The year 2008 is going to say goodbye, and we are going to step into 2009. Even today is already a new year for my fellow Moslems,the 1430 H.

I'm still looking for the amazing internet to find my old pen-pals. When I was still in High School, I wrote to some foreign friends and some local pen friends. Mireille Fain (France),should be Mireille Siegel now, was the longest in contact...but I lost her contact about some years ago. Others are Nick Tsiotakis from Greece, Barbara Fiaschi from Italy, Zeila C. Facci from Brazil, Magda Majewska from Poland, etc. Thanks to IYS that I've got friends from all over the world (I do need to check names for those from the USA, Germany, and Finland)

Why I write this post? I can't contact a friend whom I met through the internet (Hi John, my e-mails bounced are you?). Then I remember an old friend I've found recently by making a comment in someone's blog. The writer of the blog wrote about her French language teacher; my friend - a Philippine woman, I left a comment asking her whereabout. The blogger never answer, but my friend found that message while googling...amazing! She contacted me and we found each other again.

I'm also curious about what happened to Annie and Leon Pecasse. Last year I did not receive their yearly letter (or perhaps it was already two years?). I knew that Annie's health was already weak, but I did not even heard any news from them. My letter was unanswered, and e-mail bounced back too. The latest news I got from Mr. Google is a newsletter from May 2006.

I've been joining Face Book for some times but without really being busy with that account. Yet, recently my schoolmates from the elementary to the university also joined Face Book (or we've just found each other) Face Book is making me addicted! It's so much fun finding out old friends, hear their news...and become the witness of how small the world is (imagine my elementary schoolmate is the husband of a friend from the University...small world isn't it?). Sometimes it is just astonishing to know that people I knew also knew each other. Things that might probably not coming into our daily conversation came out in Face Book. Sometimes time (especially as a full time housewife) is not really free until a little late at night, so the only open schedule for chatting with my neighbour (who is also stuck at home with her "newborn" baby- which is actually about one-year-old now) is through Face Book at night...

The internet is taking me back into the memory of friendship. So, stepping into 2009 I do hope that I'll keep better communication with old friends through the internet...sharing just a couple of words but pertaining the feeling of closeness. Dear readers, I hope I'll be able to continue blogging, and continue being your friend...

Friday, 26 December 2008

Just a promise away...

There are a lot of things dancing in my mind
But sometimes it stay there unable to get out
It is being there reminding my promises...

And the end of the year is now searching his way out
While the new year is peeking eagerly to come in
I'm sitting here unmoved
Fingers are dancing on the qwerty...
But nothing is really written down
Emptiness is coming as 2008 is slipping out of the house
Yet the sunshine of the new year is still behind the window

I'm looking forward to the new beginning
Look compassionately forward...
Eager to jump into new experiences
Promise to take care time as wise as possible...
Hoping it is not just a promise away...

Wishing You a Very Merry Christmas!

I wonder if those who say those words are also becoming Christian only by wishing us a very merry Christmas. I won't be converted into Islam even if I sincerely said "Mohon maaf lahir dan batin. Selamat Idul Fitri" (asking forgiveness and wishing good deed for the peaceful Eid Mubarak). For me the essence of forgiving each other is something beautiful and meaningful. Another Catholic friend is perhaps taking the same meaning as he added in his Christmas and New Year's e-mail (greeting) the word, "please forgive all the wrongdoing we had probably done throughout the year."

I found the 24th December's issue of the Jakarta Post is really worth reading and worth sharing. That is why I've made the article "Memandang Natal Dalam Perbedaan".

Of course not all of my Moslem friends are in the reluctant group to mention "Merry Christmas", but some close friends who are apparantly stop doing it are also my reason to take this issue into a CJ website.

Another international citizen reporter was asking me the news of Christmas from Indonesia. Yet, I do not really have time to prepare one. The only story will be from my parents' church where I had my first experience joining mass performed by a priest in the costume of Santa. I don't think it will be interesting enough.

I think that's the different aspect of blogging and reporting. By reporting we are thinking about the value of news, the readers' target, etc. While for blogging there are no limitation...I can write a short sentence like "A very tiring Christmas" and upload pictures, or I can also mumbling thousands of words without the need to shortened it.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Marching Down the Memory Lane

I've made one picture article and two articles for this Marching Band reunion, you can read the Bahasa Indonesia in wikimu, here and here.
The English article took my other perspective, can be reviewed here.

I was involved in Drum Band since my junior high school, but I did not have the luck to be a real part of it. I was blaming my parents for that, but with maturity I know that I should be more persistent in persuading them to support me.

Seeing kak Budi and Mas Kir will always made me reflect back to the Youth Red Cross Drum Band (DB PMR Jakarta Selatan). That was my first time encounter DB, first time encounter GPMB. I did not continue joining the group because I was not getting the permission to do the long march from Jakarta to Bogor. My parents were afraid that I fainted (which was also a good reason actually). They said that they don't know my other friends from other schools in South Jakarta, we have waited for friends from my school to show signs that any of them were coming (no cellphone at that time, Unluckily my friends (from my school) arrived after we went home, so I'm the only person from my school who did not join the long march. I don't know why I did not try to keep joining the band even without joining their long march. Pride perhaps?!

Now, everytime I saw a marching band performance my mind will went back to the DB PMR, to my friends from that group who passed away. One of them is Olaf, the major of the group (the first generation of the group), he passed away in the military helicopter (or airplane?) accident quite a long time ago. The other friend is Sancoyo, he passed away while doing a volunteer job rescuing people.

Another encounter is the DB Tri Tar (which is now Korps Putri Tarakanita), and the old story came back with another reason to quit. This time is my bad remarks in Science class. My mother insisted that I choose science instead of my interest to the language class. Actually I did not really know where I should be heading, so I just follow her will. Yet, as the consequences I can't continue playing in the marching band...I need more time to study the Chemistry. Even after quitting the marching band my Chemistry was still singing

Without entering the Science class (IPA) I wouldn't be able to enter the Architecture department, so there is always another reason to thank God for all the trail of my old days.

I was on my museum duty that Saturday, but because I knew that this reunion will be an event that would get a MURI recognition so my reporter antenna moved on. I went to there even without any entrance ticket. Thanks God (and friends he..he..he..) that I can come in and cover how they made the history.

My mom was a bit annoyed that I left my children with her from morning (because I had to be in my volunteer guide duty in the museum) until very late afternoon (for covering the marching band story), but sometimes it is a risk to take...(ha..ha..ha...I am being childish again).

Friends were very supportive, they were quick answering when I asked them for the pictures for OMNI (my pictures as not as good as theirs he..he..he...). Unfortunately the internet was not supportive, I was not able to send all the pictures that I would like to appear in OhmyNews International. Instead I just send one picture from my friend to the editor, and he was helping me uploading it later.

The internet connection, the price of the connection, and the capability of using the internet are some factors that would be important for the continuation of citizen journalism in the online media for Indonesian people.

I still have a lot of things in my mind, but stealing time is a real effort as I have no helpers at home for the last two months. Now I'm trying to be a super Retty ha..ha...ha.. Yet, this is a good way to calm down friends who live in other countries as they always think life is easier here with helpers around us. I should write about helpers tomorrow as we are going to celebrate International Migrant Day...

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Keadilan bagi Mereka yang Berkemampuan Berbeda

Rabu, 03-12-2008 13:26:43 oleh: Retty N. Hakim
Kanal: Opini

I wrote "Justice for those with disabilities" for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Indonesia signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol in UN, but according to the public relation manager of Yayasan Mitranetra, it is not ratified yet.

I was already aware about the lack of facilities for those with disabilities in 1990. I was preparing my final project for my graduation as an architect, and I had to prepare a presentation of an art museum. That time I was mostly focused on those with wheelchairs. It is a sad fact that our newly open wing in the National Museum did not have the access ramp for wheelchairs, and the stairs would also be a real struggle for visually impaired friends.

I think there are a lot of things we should all worked out together, but there are also some important issues that should be on the governments' shoulders. Public transportation and access into education are some example.

As I don't have much time to write lately, I slightly mentioned the environmental design approach as the example of how to make a man-made environment that's comfortable for human being both in aestethic and functional aspects. Urban planners and architects are also responsible to give their voices/suggestions about the facilities for differently able persons.

Writing is also helping me to search for more facts. I gathered the news about the CD selling in Pesta Blogger 2008 (Jakarta). 4.5 million rupiahs or 90 CDs were sold in one day, all donated to Yayasan Mitranetra (Friends for the visually impaired persons).

Media was also giving more attention to the differently-able persons, I hope that they will continue doing it. Writing this article for the citizen journalism website is my way to knock on the professional journalists to dig more into it. Cross my fingers...(as it seems that it is not a popular article).

Menatap Mumbai, Mengenang Duka

Minggu, 30-11-2008 08:46:39 oleh: Retty N. Hakim
Kanal: Peristiwa

I used the picture from Rajen Nair, a fellow citizen reporter from OMNI. Nobody wrote about Mumbai in wikimu, so I tried to write mine. I was actually stealing time to do it. It was not just about Mumbai, it was also about terrorism. Indonesia had the experience, that's why the title is "Looking at Mumbai, Remembering(our)Sadness"

I would like to stress out the answer from Gulam Noor to Nair's question about his feeling after being released: “I am fortunate to come out of this incident alive and am thankful to the Mumbai police force for saving my life. At the same time I am sad to know that so many innocent people lost their lives. I think these terrorists have no religion and these attacks are a most barbaric and cowardly act.”

We should not took the terrorists' bait that would fire the war between religions. I think Noor's answer is really make sense, these terrorists (including those terrorists who did all the bombing in Indonesia) have no religion. I think no religion teaches its followers to kill others. God is not teaching us to hate each others, but our pride and prejudice brought us into war, into killing and hatred.

Indonesian tourism was affected by those bombings. Some countries are still issuing travel warning for visiting Indonesia. Perhaps Mumbai will have different stories. But I think we are still going to share the same story of struggle to overcome the nightmare from the survived victims.

I link the article. It is tiring to copy and paste it again here. It took too much time to copy all the links and uploading the pictures again.