Tag Archives: Indonesia

Angelina Sondakh, and A Bunch of Golf Balls

Sometimes we all feel that 24 hours a day is just not enough. Sometimes we feel the urge to solve each and every problem we have in life. I’ve been feeling this lately and seems like I can’t do much about it, except to wait, surrender, to accept the fact that..

you’re just like any other human being with limited capabilities, and sometimes there are things that you can’t solve, no matter how hard you try..

Could this be how Angelina Sondakh feels right now?

My father is dead, and now my mom is going to jail.. (Tempointeraktif.com)

All of this reminds me to a story of a college professor, a big jar or mayonnaise, a bunch of golf balls, some marbles, a box of sand and a bottle of wine. I found this lovely and inspiring story again yesterday, after browsing through my old bookmarks.

Once upon a time, a college professor brought a big (but empty) mayonnaise jar, and he throw golf balls into it until the jar is full. “Is it full now? ” he asked to his students. “Yes, it is” they replied. Then, he poured the jar with marbles, shook it a little bit and they filled the empty holes between the golf balls. “Is it full now?” he asked his students again. “Yes, it is” they replied.

beautiful marbles.. (google images)

Next, the professor took a box of sand and slowly poured it to the jar, leaving it with no room for anything else. He then poured a couple glass of wine, and began to explain what the experiment is all about.

This jar, is your life. The golf balls, are the things in your life that matters the most. Your family, friends, your passion and your health.

If everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The marbles are essential for your life, like your job, your car, your house. The sands are everything else, small stuffs.

If you put the sand into the jar first, there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.

The same goes for your life: If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Got the point?

Let me make it more simple. It’s okay if you’re jobless, as long as you’re healthy, surrounded by family and friends who love you, and you can still follow your passion to write blogs. You got your golf balls. But if you’re a rich person without anyone who love you, then there’s obviously something wrong with your life. Go fix it.

Now back to Angelina Sondakh. If only she was using the above guidance to determine what’s really important in her own life, perhaps she can avoid all the trouble she must face today. As a woman, as a person, she had the golf balls (her family, friends, her “Puteri Indonesia” title) and the marbles (her political career, her luxurious house, some cars), all of them are more than enough to give her a full, complete, life.

But then, she threw the golf balls and the marbles out of the jar, and make room for a 1,5 billion Rupiahs worth of sand.

Wrong choice, Angie.. (www.bacadulu.com)

And now she must deal with the consequences.

When something bad happened to our marbles, like when we lost our job, somebody stole our car, or when our house is on fire, we can still be grateful because we still have our golf balls. But sometimes things can go wrong with your golf balls. You can be sick, you can lost people you love, etc. At these times, I don’t believe gratitude can make anyone happy.

But in the case of Angelina Sondakh, seems like she had forgotten which are her golf balls, which are her marbles, which are her sand. Which things really matter and are sufficient to make her grateful, and which are the small stuff that she’s not supposed to be thinking (or make as priority).

I’m going to keep in mind now, that I, too, have my golf balls. My parents, sisters, husband, son, friends, my health, my blog as my passion, and even my in-laws. I got my marbles: my job, my motorbike, my house (though I have to pay the mortgage), and all of these things are supposed to be enough to make me grateful and enjoy my life.

These are the things that matters the most.

Have you got yours? (Google Images)

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Life Is Tough, Kids!

I was so busy lately and have missed two important news: (1) Death of Jon Bon Jovi, and (2) Punk kids got arrested in Aceh by the Sharia police. The first news was a hoax (Thank God!), but the second one isn’t. I didn’t get a clear understanding of what’s happening with those (so called “Punk” kids) in Aceh, until my friend Fika wrote it on Blog IMO.

Turns out they were labelled as “punk” because they have this mohawk hair-style, wore dirty clothes, and were attending punk-rock music concert. A very shallow interpretation of punk indeed, to my snobby opinion. I’m not an expert,  but as a former musician who played in several indie bands myself, I tend to believe that:

The term “Punk” itself have a deeper and more valuable meaning beyond what-you-wear and what-music you listen to.

You must start from the inside, use it as a way of life, it directs you on how to think, how to be independent, and how to survive. Keep doing the things you like, but never forget your responsibility. I never adore the idea of showing-off a particular style to state a certain identity, I’d rather show myself on stage playing with my band. Doing the things I like, instead of following what others like.

I just hope that all those kids who got arrested were not just a “punk outside but a coward inside.” But I wouldn’t bet either that those kids truly understands what the punk ideology really means. More likely, they’re just following what their friends are doing. And while other kids are trying to compete with each other in a positive way, showing off their achievements, making their parents proud, these kids were letting the days passes by without actually received anything valuable. Again, it’s just my super-snobby opinion, pardon me. I feel bad for the parents, who struggle to create a future for these kids!

Life is tough, kids. You got your hair shaved off, your body immersed to the river, and detained for days. You know now religion has nothing to do with making people nice, kind, and fair. If you’re trying to figure out which part of “looking like a punk” is contradictory to Islamic laws, well, I have the same question myself. But life isn’t fair (and will never be) and that’s why we have to fight. And you don’t just fight by wearing punk-style clothing, you fight with your work, your creations. Make songs, be a lawyer, study politics and be the next president if your dare!

In the mean time, try to stay out of Aceh.

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It’s The Culture, Stupid..

When I was a kid, I grew up with my dad yelling around the house saying bad things about our government, every time our TV changed to a speech by Harmoko. And during national elections, I always asked “Mom, which are your going to pick? Red, green or yellow again?” to my mom, who then answered “Definitely yellow, I’m a PNS (civil employee) and therefore must choose yellow.”

Long story short, 20 years later and I’m still the same girl who hate this country, along with its stupid, hypocritical government.

There’s a big chance that I’m going to do what my father did (spreading hatred towards the government), so that my son can grow up without relying on anyone (especially our government) for his success. But nevermind the government, because they’re a bunch of idiots trying to make themselves rich by any means, and thought that praying 5 times a day is enough to secure a place in heaven, even though they’re doing things that are worse than a thief or a prostitute.

One more thing that I don’t get in this country is pride. I have been pretty amused by how intense this cultural thing has influenced everyone to do whatever it takes in order to pursue it. A parent does not have a health-care saving for their child, but instead of riding an old motorcycle, they prefer to buy a new one which cost + 10 million rupiahs (in cash), or pay it in installment of + Rp 500,000,-/month, for 36 months (3 years). Health insurance of Rp 200,000,-/month is considered expensive, but Rp 500,000,-/month to buy a new motorcycle when they already have an old one is not.

I even have a friend who is trapped in credit card debts of Rp 80 million, and still can afford to make another ‘hole’ by buying a car. She used her credit card to pay the down payment, and the rest will be paid by installment for 5 years. It’s one debt after another, and all she said was, “I can’t take my son to school with a motorcycle, it’s too far..” And since she is no longer running her own business, which means, that she is now a full-time housewife, I feel pity for her husband.

Waking up early in the morning and drag yourself out of bed to work sucks, it’s even worse if you are working in order to pay debts. But this isn’t just a fairy tale, it’s happening to a friend of mine who now have to work with a demonic boss just so that she can pay her debts. Why does she have those debts in the first place? Well, she just renovated her house, that’s why. She and her husband were trying to create a comfort home for their family, but then they spent too much and finally ended-up with thousands of million rupiahs in debt. Their home looks great now, but she doesn’t have time to enjoy her new-renovated home, because she left her home at 7 AM and returned at 9 PM, 6 times a week.

So it isn’t just the government who is full idiots, right? It’s our own culture which emphasizes on what we have that has pushed everyone to do whatever they can to be accepted, to have pride, and to earn acknowledgement from other people. And we all wish for corruption to end? For corruption to vanish, first we must create a new culture that eliminates materialistic-end-results as a source of pride. People want to have expensive things and they will do whatever they can, including believing that corrupted money is another form of “rejeki.”

This will continue to God knows how long. Why? Because nobody here gives a damn about where the money came from!

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[PHOTO] At The White Beach

~ the lovely beach welcomes you...

~ My Son Bintang and Cousin Egi

~ twin girls playing with sand

~ for sale

~ souvenir centre #1

~ souvenir centre #2 "designer hats"

~ souvenir centre #3

~ souvenir centre #5

Located on the east side of Java Island, “Pasir Putih” beach is part of the Situbondo area of East Java province. For travelers from Jakarta or West Java, who took a trip to Bali by car, you will find this beach after you pass Surabaya, but several kilometers before Banyuwangi.

Almost every Idul Fitri, I took a trip to this beach because it is located near my husband’s village of Kraksaan. And this time, I brought along my Nikon D3100, as a newbie photographer..


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The New SRI Party

Agree or disagree, the registration of a new political party with the name of “Union of Independent People” (Serikat Rakyat Independen) or SRI party, is a normal process in democracy. But why use a somewhat familiar name? Oh, right, they want to nominate former finance minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati (SMI) as president at the upcoming 2014 election. No official statement has been made from Sri Mulyani herself, but according to some, “when we’re talking about politics, not giving a comment means you have agreed.”

I thought SMI have had enough with our government, and wished to stay far away from politics. But perhaps she needs a more challenging role than just being the managing director of World Bank.

Is she a good candidate? Most people think so. But beyond SMI’s positive image and sympathetic figure, we need to learn from previous elections as well. Especially back in 2004, when we were introduced to a newly-established Democratic Party, who –at that moment– seemed to have captured the hearts of Indonesian voters.

Back then, I (and the rest of Indonesian voters) thought that SBY is going to bring this country out of its misery. But look at him now, look at the politicians of Democratic Party, and look at the present condition of our country under his leadership.

Obviously, being a-hundred-percent certain to vote for someone with a positive image, is NOT enough. We need to go beyond “who is this person running for President” and further investigate “who are the people behind this person.” Who is /are the people giving away their money to keep this party running, and what are their qualities? Because no matter how eligible a candidate is, their credibility and decision-making capacity will always be affected by other people in his/her supporting party.

I can only hope that SMI will not be supported by a bunch of politician and businessmen who have the tendency to disregard both ethical and legal considerations in order to seal a corrupted deal. The last thing we need right now is another party trying to steal the hearts of Indonesian voters with SMI as their weapon. If these people in SRI Party are serious, they need to start telling us who they really are. It’s gonna take more than just a figure like SMI to make us confident and vote, because thanks to the present ruling party, we have learned our lesson well.

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You, Me, and Corruption

Nelson Mandela once said, “It is what we make out of WHAT WE HAVE, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.” And I agree, because for me, a real hero is someone who can liberate themselves using what they have in front of them, no matter how poor their conditions are. With a very limited resource such as poverty, sickness, and disabilities, these people are not ‘dreaming’ for changes, but they do something to change their own situation. And quite often, they eventually change other people’s lives too.

But yesterday when scrolling through my ‘freshly-made’ Google+‘ account and shared this article, I received a comment from a friend saying “the government sucks.” The article was taken from The Jakarta Post and it popped the question on whether or not ‘corruption’ can be considered as a good fortune (rejeki) by the people who were involved with it. I began to think, that maybe corruption is more than just a problem we have with the government, but perhaps it has touched our own culture and sub-conscious mind.

In order to make it disappear, perhaps we all need to think like Mandela. If we’re sick of corruption, we must start the fight with what we HAVE instead of waiting for the government to change. With poor implementation on our legal system, more fugitives are escaping to other countries and making excuses to the media. The last thing we need right now is for our ‘noble’ government to become an example. And surely, we don’t need their help to eliminate the “corrupted mind-set” which has grown in our culture.

What we need right now, is more people supporting each other to liberate themselves from the habit of ‘waiting for a change’ to start ‘creating a change.’ Sure, we all know that the government sucks, but instead of spreading posters on the social network to remind people about it, we definitely need something else inspiring and less provocative. If we want to create a brand-new generation, we have these heroes who have started their quest and succeed. They are our inspiration, and if we want to follow their path we better start by changing our own attitude and believe in our own capabilities. Just like what Dr Michael Leksodimulyo said, “everyone is born equal..”

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Java Rockin’ Land VS Anti-Smoking Campaign


For any concert freaks, the upcoming 2011 Java Rockin’ Land (JRL) with line-ups such as 30 Seconds To Mars, Good Charlotte, The Cranberries, and other international (and local) artists would surely be hard to miss. But despite to us being anxious about it, an online petition has been made, which asks musicians to reconsider playing at JRL, because the event is being sponsored by one of Indonesia’s biggest tobacco company: Gudang Garam.

“.. by performing at a tobacco-sponsored festival in Indonesia they will be helping to sell cigarettes to young people – a product that leads to death, disability and hardship, in addition to causing environmental damage.”

According to the online petition, artists such as Maroon 5, Kelly Clarkson, and Alicia Keys have successfully requested Indonesian promoters to removed tobacco advertising and sponsorship from their concert. And now they want those JRL line-ups to do the same.

Google Images

Music events will attract plenty of young individuals, and sponsorship from a tobacco company was believed as part of a massive marketing strategy to create more and younger smokers. This is going against WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (where Indonesia is one of the few countries who haven’t signed it yet). Some artists such as 30 Seconds To Mars is also known for their concern towards social causes such as earthquake relief, etc. Hence, playing in a tobacco-sponsored event will be considered a deviation.

How about that? The dream to enjoy a concert with international artists is about to fall to pieces, due to some anti-smoking petition.

I respect the movement, I support the government’s rule to prohibit smoking in public places, and I think we should learn from Japan and some European countries who put a lot of taxes on their tobacco products, along with horrific images on the cigarette package.

But this is Indonesia, a country on which more than 30 percent of its people are heavy smokers. If the petition thinks that artists who played in JRL will help selling cigarettes to us, well, I think they’re WRONG.

Those companies don’t need anyone to help them selling those packs of cigarette, because they already have loyal consumers. Cigarette price in Indonesia is relatively cheap, and it comes in good packaging (and by good I mean it doesn’t have any terrifying images of tobacco-related diseases). So despite my respect for the anti-smoking petition, I also think their effort will be useless.

Sponsoring a music event is just one of the regular strategy used by tobacco companies in Indonesia. In fact, they are often engaged in more ‘socially responsible’ strategies such as creating foundations, hosting international sport events, and provide scholarships. So despite their products which have killed hundreds of thousands Indonesian people every year, they are also doing some good things, and like it or not, created a lot of job opportunities.

So who’s bad and who’s good? I absolutely have no idea.

In the end, to my personal opinion, if the international petition make its way to those artists and canceled their performance on JRL, we in Indonesia can only learn to accept the bitter facts that not only we have failed to watch the live performances of our favorite artists, we are still going to be in the third place in the world, after China and India, as the country whose people have fallen deeply in love with the habit of smoking cigarettes.

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