Tag Archives: agama

A Rise Against Ignorance

Now that Abubakar Ba’asyir was sentenced to 15 years in jail, will the act of terrorism and bombings no longer exists in Indonesia? According to some experts, considering the nature of the ‘jihadi virus‘ which is resilient and mutates, we will still see more of attacks, because the virus is passed from friends to friends, families to families. Worse, using religious doctrines and taking advantages of the low-educated society, this virus has found a suitable place to grow.

When it comes to God, religion, and faith, somehow our people are easily indoctrinated without further questioning, because they fear the doubts will make them sinful, for have been disbelieving God’s rules. It is sinful to be critical.

But if the ‘jihadi virus’ can be passed easily, why can’t the virus of ‘peace, tolerance, and respect‘ also spreads to our society, dominating their beliefs and take over the violent ones?

Why did my 6 year-old nephew once asks, “Auntie, the woman hosting this TV show is a Christian. She shouldn’t be allowed to live in Indonesia.” I delivered this question to his parents and they easily replied, “He went to this Islam kindergarten, and perhaps his teacher taught him about other religion. It’s not a big deal.”

Not a big deal?

Living in big cities cause depression for some people. Hatred is something that can easily be injected to young generations, who are having peer pressures and struggling with their own identity. And in small villages, without access to adequate information, the condition is worse. No one dare to have any questions about their faith, no one have the courage to be critical, and this fear is transferred from parents to their children, grandchildren, and so on. Some of them even have the motto of “In Islam boarding schools we trust,” or “In mystical practitioner (a.k.a Dukun) we trust!

So basically I agree with the plan to NOT only fight against terrorism, but also to prevent the virus from spreading to our young generations at the first place. And when we speak about the young people, we are talking about low-educated parents who are already ‘infected‘ by an even dangerous virus of ignorance.

We still have a complicated homework to finish.

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Obedient Wives Club: Why I Don’t Want To Join

Nobody has invited me to join this club yet, but if I do get the invitation, I think I’ll have to pass. Not just because the awkwardly hilarious name, but because Dr Rohaya Mohamad, the founder this controversial club, seems to have a different definition of “a happy marriage.” From her statements, I see her as someone who neglect the equal position of a wife in a marriage. She thinks “happy marriages come from sexually-satisfied husbands” — but sorry to say, she is also married to a polygamist husband who has three other wives.

I agree that sexual intimacy is undoubtedly important in any marriage, but is it the only determining factor? Joining a club which transforms wives to whores is, well, seems a bit desperate and, hello.. we are living in a digital era where you can simply browse for this sort of thing, remember?

Dr Rohaya said, with easy access on prostitution nowadays, every husbands are in a critical stage to being tempted by prostitutes, and with the sex lessons offered by this club, it is guaranteed that husbands will no longer mess around with.. well, any women..

Right. Our beloved husbands will not cheat because they have their own personal, free, and ready-to-use prostitute at home by the name of “a wife.” Not because they have strong commitment to keep their promise which they have said in their marital vows. Instead we are enforcing the husbands to think: “Why bother paying a lot of money to prostitutes when we already have one at home?“– which straightly pops a question to my furious mind: “Is that how we want our husbands to see us? As a FREE prostitute?” What if someday, we suddenly got into a terrible accident and lost our sexual skills? Come to think of it, many normal women are already victims of polygamy, what will happen to wives with disabilities? No question, the holy bond of marriage will sunk to the bottom of the ocean.

A sexual connection is supposed to bring mutual satisfaction, hence it is also must be conducted without any domination from one person. My understanding of a healthy marriage within the Islamic law is perhaps scant, but I believe one of the main responsibility of a husband is to make sure that his wife feels safe, secure, and sufficient within a marriage. Therefore, she can contribute to the family and at the same time serve her husband’s needs –not just sexually– but also in terms of making decisions and providing ideas/solutions.

Sex is important, and yes, a wife must obey her husband. But to what extent? If Dr Rohaya thinks that a happy marriage is a result of a sexually-satisfied-dominating-husband with a depressed wife at home taking all the pain so that she can go to heaven some day, I rest my case. I’d rather go to heaven with my husband at my side holding my hands. Because a happy marriage is a result of two people having the same/equal responsibility to take care each other mentally, financially and sexually.

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If You Decide To Go To Hell

Last night, I was watching one of my favorite series “Glee” and got mixed feelings about the show’s gay character: Kurt and Blaine. I’m not homophobic, I’m just a parent who is still uncertain on how to react. To be honest, they aren’t exactly the kind of role model that you want your son to have, right?

Kurt & Blaine of Glee

But homosexuality is not the only confusing culture which bothers me as a parent of a young boy. A study has presented a controversial result where 51% of female students in Jabodetabek area admitted they have had a sexual intercourse. It’s not a matter of virginity, but it’s how prone they are to sexual diseases and unwanted pregnancy. And yet for the minister, sexual education is still considered unimportant.

As I searched for answers to overcome my confusion, I became lost. For some people, one of the reason behind this “alarming” facts of teenager behavior is parents who no longer stressed on the importance of religion. For our government, represented by the ministry of education, ‘character-building‘ (which will soon be implanted to our current school curriculum) is going to fix this problem. And according to our minister of communication and information Tifatul Sembiring, pornography is the reason behind this mess, hence blocking it (and putting Ariel to jail, maybe) will become the best solution available.

None of the above mentioned solution is satisfactory. Instead of finding the answers, I became angry and more confuse than ever. Luckily after Glee, there was a documentary program about the recent megaquake and tsunami in Japan. And somehow, it was the scientist’s words that opened my mind. “We can’t pretend that the threat of natural disasters don’t exist. We need to find a way on how to live with them, and prepare ourselves for the danger they possessed.”

Now, that, my friend, is what I call a reasonable solution. There’s nothing wrong with having a solid knowledge about religious doctrines that you believe, but when it comes to protecting your child against something that he is unaware of, we need to go beyond heaven and hell.

First of all, we all need to accept the fact that every normal teenager will want a taste of intimacy. But sexual intercourse, is not the only way to satisfy those needs. Especially when it puts you at risk of being infected with deadly viruses such as herpes, hepatitis, and of course the incurable and life-threatening virus of HIV. When you’re enjoying a sexual intimacy, you are “doing it” with anyone else whom your partner have ever had sex with. And who knows what those people are carrying in their genitals. That is why we are strongly recommended to only doing it with our “eligible” partner whom we are married with. It decreases the possibility of being infected with those deadly viruses.

People are threatened by natural disasters, the same way my son (along with the rest of our future generation) shall be exposed to negative sexual stimulator such as pornography. But hiding it away from his sight will be like pretending that tsunamis and earthquakes don’t exist. At any moment, not just from the media, but also from friends, my son (and everybody else’s child) will see it, hear it, feel it, and eventually digest it. Our duty is to provide them with survival tools to choose the good ones, and give them sensible reasons on why they must leave the bad ones. And to my opinion, the hot flames of hell is not sensible enough for the critical minds of the modern young.

Nothing is taboo when it comes to survival and staying alive. It does not mean that I disagree with religions who forbid sexual activities before (or without) marriage, but I do know now, that I can’t solely rely on its doctrines to keep my son away from the danger of modernization. But on the other hand, I can always explain the importance of wearing a condom, just in case he decides to go to hell.

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This post was submitted to join “The Jakarta Post – IMO Blog” Blogging competition on May 2011.

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Blame It On The “Religion”

In a country where poverty, unemployment, and traffic jam have become common issues, Indonesia is also known as one of the world’s most populous and religious country.

What does this mean?

In my simple words, it means that we, Indonesians, believe in God. We use religion as guidance on how to live this life. But in my skeptic words, it means that you keep a religion just to be safe from hell. Now, which are you? Those who keep religion because you need it, or those who are afraid of the punishment?

I read this morning in some blogs, that in order to create a “noble” and successful generation, parents must stress the importance of religion to their children. According to the writer, our lack of morality was caused by parents who have neglected and forgot to stress the importance of religion to their children.

I don’t blame him, or parents, or whoever-you-are to have believed this “religious” strategy, but I’m not perfectly sure of the result either. If you use religion and its fear-of-punishment strategy to protect your child against modernization devils such as teen pregnancy, pornography, homosexuality, and even criminality, you should be prepare for unexpected results. Why? Because it eliminates the “common sense” factor of human biology, media influence, and the increasing accessibility of modern information technology.

Moral issues isn’t something that can only be taught through religion, although religion does teach us about morality. But what about the universal law of “do unto others as you would have them do to you?” To me, it is pretty clear that you are not allowed to steal anything from anyone, not because religion forbids you, not because you’re going to be fried in hell, but because you are causing pain and discomfort to other people!

That is why I prefer basic moralities concepts first and religion later, as a strategy to guide anyone to be kind, polite, and, properly behaved according to the society. I also think that it is better for children to learn about religion at later stages of their life instead of being bombarded by doctrines since the very beginning of their life. I don’t disagree with religious parents, but if you don’t give your child adequate reasons which was based on the universal law of kindness, be prepared if one day fear itself will not stop them from being and a**hole loser (or a bomber, your choice).

Without a proper and sufficient understanding about basic moralities, anyone could possibly get lost in religious doctrines. This theory has recently got its support with the outbreak of NII and their brain-wash strategy. It’s amazing how religion and its fear-of-punishment could do to someone, isn’t it? It haunts them and took over their common sense, making them believe that killing in the name of God, and hating someone else for having different religions, is acceptable.

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Film “?” Haram, So What…?!!!

Gonjang-ganjing MUI akan mengharamkan film “?” karya Hanung Bramantyo mendapat kecaman keras dari penduduk timeline twitter saya. Walaupun keputusan tersebut belum final, banyak pihak menyayangkan dan mengkhawatirkan dampak fatwa MUI tersebut terhadap kemajuan perfilman, budaya dan tentu saja pola pikir masyarakat luas terhadap keragaman agama di Indonesia.

Saya memang belum menonton film tersebut, tetapi setelah membaca wawancara antara Filmoo dengan Mas Hanung, saya bisa memahami (walaupun sulit untuk menerima) alasan  MUI, yang salah satunya (menurut saya) adalah adegan pindah agama yang dilakukan oleh karakter di film tersebut. Seperti yang saya sendiri alami sejak kecil, di setiap pelajaran agama Islam, perbuatan tersebut dianggap sebagai perbuatan tidak terpuji (walaupun belum tentu haram, tolong koreksi jika ada yang bisa menjelaskan?).

Satu hal yang perlu kita ingat adalah asumsi MUI akan haram tidaknya film “?” berangkat dari sudut pandang ajaran agama Islam, bukan dari sudut pandang kebebasan individu.

Jika kita menuntut kebebasan individu untuk menyaring sendiri makna film “?” sesuai persepsi kita, maka seharusnya kita juga membiarkan MUI berteriak sesuai keyakinan mereka bahwa menonton film tersebut adalah haram.

Menurut saya itulah bentuk keadilan yang sesungguhnya. Inilah bentuk keragaman yang sebenarnya. Siapa yang memaksa kita untuk punya pola pikir sama dengan MUI? Tidak ada. Lalu kenapa MUI harus punya pemikiran yang sama seperti kita?

Saya pikir kita tidak perlu takut dengan fatwa haram yang dikeluarkan oleh MUI. Tanpa perlu fatwa, perbuatan mencuri jelas-jelas haram hukumnya, tapi toh tiap hari ada saja sepeda motor hilang. Kalau ada yang merasa fatwa MUI mengharamkan film “?” ditunggangi oleh kepentingan politik, saya malah mau tanya, berapa banyak diantara kalian yang mengolok MUI sebagai kesempatan untuk memperolok ajaran agama Islam yang tidak kalian sukai?

Hanung Bramantya sendiri, melalui film “?” ingin menyampaikan pesan: “Saya ingin mengajak semua memaknai lagi masih pentingkah kita berbeda. Terus yang kedua masih pentingkah kita beragama.

1) Tidak penting untuk berbeda, semua orang berhak punya pendapatnya masing-masing, biarpun berbeda, kita masih bisa saling menghormati.

2) Beragama adalah kebebasan tiap individu. Jika Mas Hanung merasa tidak penting untuk beragama, silakan saja. Tapi jika Mas Hanung menghargai perbedaan, maka menurut saya Mas Hanung harus menghargai orang-orang yang menganggap penting agama.

Sementara mulai pagi ini beberapa orang di timeline saya habis-habisan menghujat MUI. Dan mereka mengaku sebagai orang yang berpola-pikir modern, bebas, menghargai perbedaan? Apa nggak salah nih.. Yakin?

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Bhinneka Tunggal Ika: The Forgotten Legacy

Bhinneka Tunggal Ika is our country’s rule in accepting differences. If anyone asked us the meaning of it, there’s no doubt we can give a prompt and correct answer. But when the question continues to “Have you implement the principals of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika in your everyday lives?” some of us will need time to think. We know the meaning of it, but we’re still uncertain on whether we or other members of the society have implemented it, or rejected it instead.

With so many violence and disintegration dominating the local and international news lately, it seems as if the strength of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika no longer influenced and protected us from fear of being different. From the most extreme religious organizations to our-very-own-selves as the smallest member of society, we have undoubtedly forgotten the importance of staying united.

It’s sad, but it’s a fact, that one of our oldest cultural legacy about the principal of heterogeneity and accepting diversity, has lost its power to unite this colorful country as one.

Often beyond our conscience, we are rejecting differences in order to be aligned with mainstream society and their opinion. When the majority is allowing (or supporting this hatred for diversity), after a certain time everyone will see it as normal, thus create a new culture: self-superiority and pressure for the minority.

I have a friend who feared the influence of different race, as an example. She believed that going to the same school with kids from different race will have a negative impact towards her son.

How can we teach our children and embrace the concept of diversity if we don’t let them ‘touch’ and acquainted different race, religion and ethnicity in the first place?

Another sad example of race discrimination happened to my friend who was applying for a job, and got rejected by the employer because he doesn’t have a certain race and ethnicity. It’s already hard enough for us to find jobs these days, and yet there are still many companies who only accept their own race as employees.

Racial discrimination is not the only problem this country is facing. On a bigger scale, religion continuously used as the reason behind violence and stupid actions. I have a 5 year-old niece who went to this expensive Islamic School asked me “Auntie, is it true that if we were not a Muslim, we will go to hell?” He heard it from friends, and they got it from their parents.

More and more educational institutions are using religion as their identity and marketing strategy and as an answer for high demands from parents who felt it is safer to enroll their children to religious-based schools. Of course there are also big problems such as the discrimination against Ahmadiyah, or the (somehow funny and) confusing statements from MUI (Indonesian Council of Ulema) chairman regarding our national anthem and salutation of the red-white flag.

The recent case is FPI’s statements towards underground music (and musicians), which creates another fear for our youth to have their freedom of expression protected. The way I see it, underground scene has never did any act of violence. And if some people saw it as the music of satan, I personally think that sinetrons and mystical tv shows are barbaric.

But if I want people to respect my choice, then I must learn to respect theirs.

Let’s forget all those major heartbreaking issues for a while, and try to have a look at our own beliefs and respond towards diversity. In the end, every people will have their own definition of good and bad, and like it or not, we must respect their decision. If most of the people said that we have to defend what we believe, than perhaps we must counter the cultural beliefs.

These are bitter truths about the culture of Indonesia. But we live in a country which will always be diversified. We can’t blame anyone for any discrimination if we are keep doing it towards others. As a start, I need to stop discriminating parents who adore religious schools, and I need to accept the fact that most people just couldn’t live without sinetrons.

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(As posted on my “JabberGibber – IMO Blog” post)

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