Tag Archives: keluarga

The Negative Side of Passion

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When does someone turn into an adult? One thing’s for sure, age is not a reliable indicator. But courage and responsibility are two of the most obvious sign of maturity.

Yesterday I talked with an old friend which I knew since 12 years ago. A talented drummer who’s been playing for several well-known independent bands in Surabaya. He is now married, expecting a baby (his wife is 7 month-old pregnant), worked in a factory during daytime, and still play with his band at night. Things went well, until recently he felt uninspired and exhausted. He said, “Working in the factory gave me a regular paycheck, and it’s good for my family because they need financial stability, but I’m planning to quit because it’s going against my idealism.”

Turns out this so-called ‘idealism’ he have in his mind is that “people must not work for money, but for passion..” and that “if we don’t like our job, we can always quit, money is not a big deal..” has took over his sanity and made him forgot the existence of his pregnant wife. But I don’t blame him. He might be 35 year-old, but his mind is still like a 17 year-old.

It always frustrates me when people are talking about idealism, passion, and rejecting the idea that some of us have to take a job that we dislike. Well, in my dictionary, all of these sacrifices does not mean I’m compromising my idealism whatsoever, it is called “responsibility.” And if following your passion means making your family suffer, starving and sick, I’d rather not have a passion at all. People have dreams, some are lucky enough to have an occupation that matched with their passion, while some are not. Idealism is a way of life, it’s how we see things in life and how we think about certain events. It is certainly NOT an occupation, and judging someone from their occupation solely is not wise.

In the end, it’s not your idealism that will determine your maturity and how much respect people will give you, it’s how much courage you have to show your responsibility, even if it means you have to do something that you don’t like.

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Gay Marriage, An Abused Ideal?

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Until now I still have mixed feelings about homosexuality. But lately, things got more complicated when the same-sex marriage is being approved in New York City. As a married woman, I find it difficult to understand the reason and purpose behind this breakthrough.

I always believe that a marriage starts at the very moment when a man said his vows to a woman’s father during the ijab kabul process. This system has put men and women in different positions with different responsibilities. Prior to being married, the responsibility to protect a woman in terms of mental, physical and financial, lies in the hands of her father. But when a woman is being married to a man, her father will transfer all the responsibility to her husband. This does not mean that a woman must rely their life to men all of her life, it is okay if she can be independent and self-financed but still, she can rely to her father or husband for protection.

But apparently, in the same-sex marriages we will not find neither the bride nor the groom. Instead, we will possibly see two grooms, or two brides. In this situation, who will act as the husband (and say the vows), and who will be the wife (whose father will transfer the responsibilities) if I may ask?

Well, it’s a common question for anyone with religious beliefs combined with the influence of the so-called patrilineal culture. But for me, the arrangement of a father transferring responsibilities to men does have magical benefits in creating and maintaining a safe, secure, and sane marriage. If all men understand what it means to marry a woman, they will behave according to their own vows. And we will have no question about their commitment. But in reality, well, every marriages will have their own problems, some can find a solution, some will have to end in divorce.

The approval of same-sex marriage undoubtedly gave a new challenge for two people with the same sex, who wish to legalized their “love-based” relationship into a higher level. But at the same time, it has also abused my ideal portrayal where a marriage is supposed to be a transfer of responsibility from fathers to husbands.

When it comes to my own understanding of a sacred marriage, I know I will never be able to relate it to same-sex marriages. But if you see a marriage as an individual right, perhaps I have to force myself to accept the fact that everyone deserves the chance to share a life together as married couples. No matter what their sexual orientation are.

I surely hope I can. Good luck and congratulations, anyway.

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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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Kalau Bisa Santai, Kenapa Harus Kerja Keras?

Di negara yang katanya religius dan tepa selira ini, mengapa tindakan Ny. Siami dan putranya yang melaporkan konspirasi busuk di SDN Gadel II, Surabaya, malah menyebabkan dia dihujat oleh tetangga dan wali murid?

Jangan terburu-buru menghujat.

Dalam komunitas orang tua yang mementingkan kelulusan anak diatas segala-galanya, perbuatan Ny. Siami yang mementingkan proses, tentu saja dianggap nyeleneh bahkan disebut sok suci. Tapi kita tidak bisa menyalahkan warga Gadel dan para wali murid. Mereka terlanjur percaya bahwa yang penting dalam sebuah perjuangan adalah hasil akhir. Kenapa begitu? Ya karena semua orang sekarang berfikirnya seperti itu!

Mana ada sih diantara kita yang mau ikutan tes CPNS ketika didepan mata ada yang menawarkan posisi pegawai negeri “siap pakai” hanya dengan imbalan uang 1 juta, misalnya?

Kita sering terlena dan tidak menyadari bahwa elemen “kerja keras” memainkan peranan yang jauh lebih penting daripada hasil akhir itu sendiri. Itulah sebabnya praktik perdukunan disini tumbuh subur. NgapainĀ  repot berusaha, kalau bisa ke dukun, minta jampi-jampi yang pasti manjur, hehehe.. Kenapa harus menolak uang hibah, nanti kalau jadi terdakwa kasus korupsi, hakim bisa disogok, atau ditinggal kabur ke luar negeri juga beres. Praktik jual-beli narkoba sekarang juga makin canggih, pelakunya hacker, jualan sabu lewat internet.

Orang makin nekat memburu dollar sampai lupa pada kaedah norma dan hukum. Tapi, sadar atau tidak, kita sendiri sering memberikan tepuk tangan dan hormat berlebihan kepada orang kaya, walaupun kita tidak tahu mereka bisa kaya karena apa. Halal atau tidak, kerja keras atau jualan narkoba. Yang penting mereka punya rumah besar, mobil mewah, sering kasih oleh-oleh dari luar negeri.

Anak saya belajar jalan, sekali jatuh langsung diangkat sama eyangnya. Anak saya terbentur pintu, malah pintunya dipukul sama eyangnya. Anak mau makan sendiri, dibilang bikin kotor. Anak mau mandi sendiri dibilang menghabiskan air. Anak teriak karena sepedanya tersangkut, eyangnya buru-buru mengangkat itu sepeda. Nggak usah jauh-jauh ke seorang eyang, kita sendiri sebagai orang tua kadang tidak sadar sudah mempersantai hidup anak.

Padahal, karakter anak dibentuk dari kebiasaan. Dan kebiasaan itu sendiri dibentuk dirumah. Tapi ya bagaimana kalau dirumah itu hanya ada orang tua yang juga terlanjur hidup santai dan tidak mau kerja keras?

Jadi sebelum ikutan protes ke pak gurunya Al, ke Mendiknas, ke Presiden sekalipun, atau meminta Ujian Nasional dihilangkan dari muka bumi, saya sendiri menganggap insiden ini sebagai reminder bahwa saya punya anak yang akan berkembang di lingkungan seperti ini. Apa yang saya bisa saya lakukan?

Yah, berkat Ny. Siami, saya sebagai bagian dari masyarakat yang sakit ini sekarang menyadari bahwa perubahan dan kesembuhan bangsa ini bukan sesuatu yang pantas ditunggu melainkan harus diciptakan sendiri. Kebiasaan baru yang menitikberatkan kepada pentingnya kerja keras bisa dilakukan oleh siapapun, kapanpun, dan dimanapun mereka berada. Sekarang tinggal bertanya kepada diri sendiri saja, mau atau tidak?

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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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Benarkah Hidup Perempuan Belum Lengkap Tanpa Anak?

A Mother And Her Baby

Sebuah artikel di Kompas Female menuliskan sesuatu tentang perempuan dan keputusan untuk memiliki anak. Begini bunyinya: “lengkapnya hidup Anda sebagai perempuan tidak hanya ditentukan oleh kemampuan mempunyai anak.” Setuju? Tidak setuju? Atau ragu-ragu?

Jawaban saya, Ya dan Tidak.

Ya, karena perempuan (layaknya manusia dengan jenis kelamin lain), tidak hanya diberkahi kemampuan berkembang biak tapi juga segudang kemampuan lain yang melengkapi dirinya (dan diri orang lain juga, sering kali). Kita bisa bekerja, mencari uang, berprestasi di bidang apapun. Masih ingat filmĀ  Monalisa Smile yang dibintangi si cantik Julia Roberts? Disitu ia berperan sebagai guru yang memotivasi anak didiknya untuk tidak terburu-buru menikah dan berkeluarga.

Tidak setuju, karena pada akhirnya ketika perempuan telah siap, dia akan merasa tidak lengkap tanpa kehadiran anak. Sebuah acara di BBC Knowledge berjudul Tribal Wives membuka mata saya, betapa seorang perempuan di Inggris yang menghabiskan hampir seluruh hidupnya untuk mengejar karir, akhirnya memutuskan untuk tidak menerima tawaran pekerjaan baru yang menggiurkan (dari sisi materi), dengan alasan: “I want to have a life.

Segala sesuatu selalu memiliki dua sisi yang menuntut kita untuk berfikir sesuai kondisi masing-masing. Ini bukan masalah kesetaraan gender atau emansipasi dimana perempuan juga berhak untuk mengejar karir. Bukan juga kondisi dimana perempuan yang memutuskan menikah muda dan segera memiliki anak lantas dianggap peninggalan bersejarah. Setiap orang, termasuk perempuan memiliki prioritas dan life purpose yang berbeda.

Beberapa diantara kita menempuh jalan menunda kehadiran anak untuk meraih keinginan. Sementara beberapa diantara kita justru melakukan sebaliknya, juga untuk meraih keinginannya. Tidak ada yang salah, karena semua bertumpu pada keinginan pribadi setiap perempuan.

Yang terpenting adalah untuk menghadirkan anak ketika kita memang sudah siap mental (dan finansial). Bukan karena paksaan lingkungan, bukan karena usia yang makin mengejar (walaupun faktor fertilitas kita dipengaruhi olehnya), dan yang jelas bukan karena “kecelakaan.”

Menjadi ibu adalah sesuatu yang bersifat naluriah, ketika perempuan siap menerima tanggung jawab mulia ini, maka hidup akan terasa semakin indah. Karena insting untuk mengasuh memang sudah ada di diri kita sebagai kodrat perempuan, tetapi kapan insting itu tampil di permukaan akan tergantung pada kesiapan yang tentu saja berbeda untuk tiap individu.

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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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