Tag Archives: diskriminasi

The Real SIN is To Be Jobless

As I waited for the elevator to take me to the fifth floor of my office building this morning, I scrolled on my Twitter timeline and found a tweet by @gm_gm (Goenawan Mohamad) saying “Semoga Indonesia tak akan seterusnya menemukan khotbah moral di halaman pertama…” — Yes, sir, I completely agree. With too many annoying stories in our heads, the last thing we need right now is some corrupt politicians taking advantage of this situation, preaching that this country is in a high level of morality issues.

I always thought that morality is something that needs to be built individually. No one is responsible for your own moral-behavior but yourself.

Photo by: Ed Wray of Time (http://lightbox.time.com)

See the above monkey? According to Ed Wray, the photographer who took that picture for this site, “The disturbing image of the monkeys wearing the masks is a visual distillation of the kinds of horrible things that happen when people are driven to desperation by poverty.”

That’s right, Ed. In my country Indonesia, nobody gives a damn about a chained monkey wearing a mask. Poverty has ‘killed’ our sensitivity for animals. But it’s not the only thing that poverty killed. With the help of confusing religious beliefs, ignorant government, and a poor education system, poverty is —slowly-but-surely— crafting our young generations to become a bunch of lazy cowards, highly prone to being brain-washed, with future jobs such as corrupt politicians, sinetron or sexy horror movie stars, and suicide bombers.

They have no accumulated knowledge to criticize what they are told. They live in the bubble of the present, where their understanding of good and bad has been defined by their low-educated parents, influenced by the government, the media, and by their sacred religious leaders.

If you want to help this nation to escape from this so-called “high level of moral issues” the best thing you can do is liberate yourself from poverty.

I know that nobody wants to be stuck in poverty, and some people choose to see it as their destiny. Well, from the way I see it, poverty is not an excuse for you to quit working hard to change your life. J.K. Rowling was a raised in a poor family, now look at her and all the money she makes from Harry Potter. Franklyn Addo is also coming from a poor family in UK, but he manages to got great grades and got invited by five universities.

I realize there are many reasons why someone is unemployed, especially in this economy. But I always told my friends and family that being jobless is definitely a sin! I even suggest the MUI to start making a “fatwa” for it, so that they can stop focusing on, well, prohibiting us from doing what we like, such as smoking and watch certain movies, for example.

I think it’s okay for anyone to be angry towards the people of Gadel, but for me, I’d rather use it as a motivation to work harder (and save more money) so that my son can have a better education in a better institution. It broke my heart to heard about Ruyati, but on the other hand it’s also one of the reason why men should work hard for their family, so that their wives/sisters/mothers no longer have to go abroad as migrant workers.

Every single day people are struggling for their life, and so must we. Bob Marley said it clearly on his “Redemption Song” … emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our mind… — It is clear that the responsibility to make real changes in our life lies in our own hands. And for that to happen, you need to have a whole new set of beliefs that it is always possible for everyone to escape from the burden of poverty. As long as they have the courage to make it happen. Whatever the obstacles are.

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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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Story of Siami, Story of Honesty

Mrs. Siami & Fatkhurakhman Apologize to Each other (tribunnews.com)

Today, in this so called “religious country” we have seen people acting contrary to what they believe. Worse, nobody realize it until “Al” a 6th grader from SDN Gadel II, Surabaya, bravely speaks to his mother, Mrs. Siami, about a shameful scenario made by his school teacher. Thanks to her, this horrible case finally opened our eyes to the real condition of our culture. That the cost of defending the truth is pretty heavy. Mrs. Siami and Al had to leave their home after a bunch of protesting neighbors showed their anger toward them.

Instead of blaming Fatkhurakhman, the teacher who instructed Al to cheat, parents are pointing their fingers to Mrs. Siami. According to them, Mrs. Siami shoud just shut-up and go with the flow.

Have they lost their mind? Yes, they have, obviously. They are pointing their fingers to the WRONG person. They should thank Mrs. Siami instead. If not for her nerve, Fatkhurakhman will continue being a shameless creep teaching kids that everyone deserves to cheat.

Mrs. Siami escaped from the angry neighbor (suarasurabaya.net)

But it’s hard to tell when you’re just a fish in an ocean contaminated with oil spills. After a certain time, you eventually “adapt” to being black, just like the rest of the contaminated ocean. You do it due to the the fear of being alienated. The fear which has took over your sanity, dignity, and even your fear of God. The fear that forced you to neglect the truth, as long as you can still remain on your comfort zone.

From this embarrassing and heart-breaking case, we know now that we are living in a sick society where the limits between good and bad are no longer clear.

But thanks to Mrs. Siami and her brave-smart-son, Al, we also know that there is still hope for honesty and dignity. All we have to do is learn from her, that sometimes you need to stand up for what you believe, even if it means that you will be alienated, hated, and lose your comfort. And above all, there is still hope for children like Al to grow up and take this country to a better place.

Mrs. Siami's "now empty" house. (surya.co.id)

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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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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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Lessons From The Movie: “The Kids Are Alright”

Nic & Jules on "The Kids Are Alright"

Homosexuality issues are always interesting and at the same time provocative. Nic and Jules are two women who fell in love with each other, they got married, and they’re both using the same sperm donor to conceive Joni (Nic’s daughter) and Laser (Jules’ son).

One day, Laser and Joni are trying to discover their biological father (the sperm donor), and it triggered the family’s problems. Conflicts began to rise. But as the movie reached its ending, we will find the ‘hidden’ message behind it, that “a family who was built by a lesbian couple is still a ‘normal’ family, where your children are also living a normal life.”

(read more about this movie)

The movie proved that the definition of “marriage” has shifted. Marriage is no longer something that can only be done by a man and a woman. It belongs to everyone. More men are marrying another men, and more women are creating a family with another women.

It’s a fact. But it’s not what our kids will learn in school. At least in my country, where schools are following basic rules where reproduction and marriage is a process that must involve a man and a woman, having an intercourse and so on. It is also contrary to the subject of religion, which Indonesian kids are also learning in school.

So how do we explain the existence of homosexual couples to our children?

I don’t have an exact formula for that. Although I must admit that the thoughts of having a son who grow up to be gay, is not something that will make me happy. But I also don’t want him to grow up hating and cursing gay people. I know some parents are using religion as their ultimate weapon, but this country’s condition often misused it and made people trapped in some sort of ‘unreasonable fear’ with hatred towards diversity.

The only thing I have in my mind is to provide as many information as possible. Because knowledge is the key that will help him decide what’s best for him.

For this purpose, I must continuously maintain a high amount of communication. I’d rather have my son asking me silly, stupid, sensitive, and eventually confusing questions, than to have him asking someone else and receive a false explanation.

We all have our own way to educate and raise our children. But, Nic and Jules’ conflicts are happening to all of us. Their decision to hide Paul (the sperm donor, Laser and Joni’s biological father) from their children is not a wise decision. Families shouldn’t hide anything because families must not keep any secrets. If we want our children to see us as a source of knowledge, then no matter how awkward and abnormal or embarrassing the fact maybe, they deserved to know from A to Z.

The world and life is not a fairy tale, our children must prepare themselves for battle. With proper guidelines and love, hopefully they will have a solid understanding about whatever it is that’s going on around them. Thus, they will have a strong foundation to help deciding what’s best for them. We can only provide our support, but eventually we will have to learn to let them go, trust them in taking their own decisions.

But just like the other parents, I am also still learning and trying, and sometimes failing..

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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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