People Change For Million Reasons

joanneI must admit I am very impressed with Lady Gaga’s new song “Million Reasons” as an official single. It is implicitly deeper and has a spiritual awakening than her previous album I guess. I also notice she who may called by her fans as a “mother monster” recently becomes more sane the way she looks. Her satanic appearances like wore the fleshy outfit transformed into something recognizable. I still remember she even being banned from performing in Indonesia few years ago because some conservative lawmakers and Islamic hard-liners thought that Lady Gaga is poisoning young generation’s minds.

But… have a look her amazing achievement now. I have no doubt that she is still there being one of the most creative person in the world who always got spotted by paparazzi. For no matter what, her controversial life has recorded by TIME as one of the most influential people. So, I salute her dedication in world music industry. Because it is not easy being a public figure.

Well, referring to Lady Gaga’s song, yes people can change for million reasons. The important thing is we are still breathing to keep our hope that all things we face nowadays will get better. The key is self-awareness that I myself personally also still being process to learn and to figure out what sort of decisions should be made.




Mastering the language without being ashamed; the key to learning

FullSizeRenderIn my opinion Bahasa Indonesia is very easy to learn actually. Because it is not depending on tense like English or die-der-das in German language. It is evolving language and has integrated many words from other languages, such as Portuguese, Dutch, English, Sanskrit, and Arabic. So, huge possibility of Bahasa Indonesia become an internationally-spoken language.

Especially I’ve heard the news that a new government regulation will require foreigners who holds a KITAS (residence permit) to learn the Indonesian language. Even though, it has pro and contra reactions, there is logical reason behind this policy. Indonesian students and workers, on the other hand, need to prove their English skills through IELTS/TOEFL if they want to study or work abroad. I think it is a fair decision. As I remember get rejected twice by two international universities abroad because of my IELTS score was not enough. I was sad and cursed myself, because of my difficult situation to find a scholarship was not as lucky as other Indonesian students who got supported by their wealthy families. As everybody knows to do IELTS/TOEFL tests also it can be very expensive.

Since elementary school I have learnt English actually, but it takes a lot of time and courage to practise. Also I learnt French, because I get inspired by International singer, Anggun, who is originally from Indonesia before she received French citizenship. And I also learnt Italian language, because get tempted by hairy sexy Italian men at that time. However, both of French and Italian languages are fading over time, because it have less practised. Right now I also decided to learn German in Goethe Institute for studying in Germany. I heard that German educational system is more affordable for foreign students. I wish Dutch educational system also to impose in the same level as German, especially for Indonesian citizens who was colonized by Dutch for 350 years.

In addition, I found joy by learning other languages, especially the digital era like Facebook or Twitter nowadays to make people easier to obtain thousand information from different countries and different languages. Talking in the same language, however, has potentially misinterpretation, and this can be the worst situation while some people from different cultures and languages to gather in the same place with their lack of knowledge to communicate. This condition I have experienced with, while one of my German friends could not speak English when travelling to Indonesia, neither do I have not spoken German fluently. So, we had a tough argument about things that make me once emotionally said, “English is also not our mother tongue, but I get to used it, especially when I do travelling abroad! So, whether you speak to me in Bahasa or English, or not at all. Because don’t expect me to speak fluently German in Indonesia!” my friend just nodded. After that we relied on Google translator to communicate, although there were many grammatical mistakes. But we laughed it.

So, last but not least, we should be thankful for our language teachers to teach us patiently. And for me, to be good learners are willing to make mistakes, so don’t be ashamed to practise whenever possible.

What life means to Indonesian Transgender

480px-A_TransGender-Symbol_Plain3.svgPeople who live in Indonesia, especially in Jakarta have earned amount of money in many ways, they could become for example as parking attendants, peddlers, beggars, buskers, or prostitutes. Selling sex is not only made up primarily of men or women, because transgender people could be a part of it.

Why do transgender/transsexual people tend to involve in sex work? Of course because there are limited access in formal workplace who want to take them in, even though they might have ability to work. For example transgender women, their presence is often related to informal job like beauty salons, bridal make-up artists, or model. Some of transgender/transsexual people, however, have ability to work in the office, instead of to primp, so why then don’t give them a chance?

Can you imagine to live in a society where religion is most likely as the moral frame of reference for whatever you do, and then being a transgender usually considered a sin. Consequently, it will affect their lives and will be uprooted their rights. So, their lives without job and decent education. Therefore, most of them to sacrifice their bodies for men’s desires which some of their guests are hypocrites – insulting the existence of transgender people, but at the same time are attracted to them behind the cloak.

Yes, we have to admit that prostitution has been around before divine religions growth. Many tragic and touching stories, however, have happened by someone who struggles to sell their bodies sexually, it is barely no exception towards transgender people who may have had no opportunity to get a job in the formal workplace.

International programme and organisation such as UNDP, HIVOS, and others, in which ways most of job description offered by them still need to know how far representative of transgender people being part of their programme? Possibly gay and lesbian are most likely to hold important rules in formal workplace, because they don’t have significant problem with their gender identity like transgender do in general. Ironically, when to point out LGBT themes in the public, transgender people or “T” tend to be the only victims targeted by organisational survey. But when will transgender people truly to be part of formal workplace as a professional figure, instead of being an object of the survey?

As a writer myself, I would like to see that transsexual people also have a chance to be politician, the House of Representative (DPR), secretary, or as a doctor or teacher rather than a clown on television. Although some transgender people have educational supports, but if job vacancy are not available or permitted for them is the same thing as zero.

Hence, I think, the Indonesian manpower sector need to enhance job opportunities to be more gender friendly based on diversity of gender. To my knowledge, someone who work in formal sector may use their brain, instead of genital. Except those requirements are the same from prostituting your body in order to earn money.

Kuala Namu International Airport: Between Modern Architecture and Traditional Mindset

Apa yang ada di benak kita ketika pertama kali melihat sebuah pesawat? Tentu takjub, antusias, dan ada rasa penasaran yang membuncah. Begitu pula perasaan saya dulu sekali. Ditambah lagi saat menaiki pesawat untuk pertama kali, rasa was-was membayangkan jikalau pesawat yang saya tumpangi jatuh. Namun seiring berjalannya waktu saya menjadi terbiasa, dan tidak ada canggung lagi.

kualanamu 1

kualanamu 2

Nah, berpindah operasinya bandara penerbangan di Medan yang awalnya Polonia kemudian berpindah ke area dekat dengan Lubuk Pakam dan resmi bernama Kuala Namu tersebut telah digadang-gadangkan sebagai bandara internasional paling berkelas. Tidak tanggung-tanggung dana yang dibuat untuk membangun bandara Kuala Namu berkisar triliunan.
Seiring dengan perkembangan salah satu moda transportasi di Sumatera Utara tersebut, ternyata sangat disayangkan belum sejalan maksimal dengan pola pikir masyarakat setempat. Bayangkan coba diawal-awal pengoperasian bandara Kuala Namu saja telah membikin banyak kemacetan. Bukan dikarenakan para calon penumpang pesawat, akan tetapi para warga yang berduyun-duyun untuk menyaksikan pesawat di bandara. Hal serupa saya alami ketika jelang lebaran hendak akan balik ke Jakarta. Di sepanjang jalan saya amati begitu banyak sepeda motor, dan bermobil-mobil memarkir dibibir dekat pintu kedatangan/keberangkatan.

kualanamu 3

kualanamu 4

Animo masyarakat mengenai bandara Kuala Namu, sudah bagus. Adapun ingin sekali melihat pesawat juga tak mengapa menurut saya. Akan tetapi ada baiknya punya kesadaran untuk memarkir di tempat yang telah disediakan. Kalaupun ingin melihat ya tertib. Kenyataan yang terjadi banyak calon penumpang pesawat yang mengeluh mengenai kemacetan arah ke bandara.

kualanamu 5

kualanamu 6

Selain itu, di dalam, ruang tunggu pesawat sebelum boarding, tidak jarang saya perhatikan banyak sampah berada dibawah bangku atau di sela-sela atau pojok ruangan. Ternyata ada saja calon penumpang yang tidak sadar tentang tempat membuang sampah, padahal telah disediakan. Ketika di toilet juga saya sempat mencuri dengar beberapa orang mengeluh mengenai ketersediaan toilet yang kurang bersih dan ketidaksediaan tissue toilet. Padahal, ketika saya minta kepada salah satu cleaning service ternyata ada. Di bilik toilet pun, cenderung basah, dan para perempuan banyak pula yang membenamkan kakinya ke dalam wastafel untuk mengambil wudhu karna ketiaadaan bilik khusus untuk berwudhu, jadi tidak heran berbecek-becek ria di dalam toilet.

kualanamu 7

Mudah-mudahan saja ke depannya masyarakat kita, dan warga sekitar khususnya lebih membuka cakrawala bahwa sebuah bandara penerbangan itu sejatinya bukan objek wisata, melainkan jalur orang-orang yang hendak bepergian. Sama sajalah seperti terminal bus, ataupun pelabuhan. Dan kepada semua pengguna atau pengunjung bandara, please deh…. katanya kebersihan itu sebahagian dari iman! harusnya kan datang dari diri pribadi sendiri, tanpa harus dimonitori dari orang lain.

Most surprising moment…

I made a surprise today! My family didn’t know I’ll come to Medan this morning, until my father greeted me at the door and shouted loudly to mention my young sister, “Wulan…. Kak Jane datang!” My father he did not believe that was real, he wiped his face many times, my mom expressed spontaneously the same, “Kak Jane mana?” astounding comment of her. I am so glad it works!

By the way, it was the first time also I touched down Kualanamu Airport Medan during its new operation. My first impression was not incredibly open-mouthed. Still, I caught a clumsy things. Overall was fine, except there was story where I met a western couple had conversation with airport bus driver, those “bule” shocked while the airport bus driver said one hundred thousand rupiah cost from airport to Amplaz terminal, I have no idea it might be the driver has lack of english skills or just want to get some extra money, I then came approached them that the price actually just ten thousand rupiah. Because honestly I feel guilty if there was not in the right track (just imagine if I were in that position while travelling overseas).

That’s my story today, have a wonderful evening! Keep calm and carry on.

Agama itu milik siapa sih?


Saya terlahir dari kedua orangtua muslim, dan saya juga memiliki nama islami sekali. Semuanya berproses. Sisi spiritualitas saya haus untuk terus menggali lebih dalam tentang hakekat hidup. Ketika proses itu berlangsung, saya juga memertanyakan tentang agama yang bukan sebagai pilihan personal, tetapi diturunkan. Sama halnya, ketika saya dilahirkan sebagai orang Indonesia. Saya tidak memilih untuk hal tersebut. Segalanya berproses hingga pada suatu titik orang tersebut boleh jadi berpindah warganegara, atau pindah agama, atau juga memilih untuk tidak beragama sama sekali. Segalanya berproses.

Lalu, ketika sekelompok orang yang mengaku “relijius” dengan dalil-dalil sebagai tuah yang disucikan memertanyakan atau justru membahayakan hak hidup orang lain, apakah masih cerminan sebagai sebuah nilai-nilai dari agama?

Agama itu milik siapa sih?

Apakah seseorang yang memiliki orientasi seksual berbeda dengan kebanyakan tidak mendapat tempat dalam sebuah agama? Apakah agama punya warna? Apakah manusia sah menyakiti orang lain menurut agamanya?

Seorang pelacur, homoseksual, orang bertato, transgender, atau seorang filsuf tidak pantas diberi ruang dalam agama? Lalu mereka hendak dikemanakan? Dibunuh kah? Dicacikah? Dipenjarakan? Dipaksa dengan cambuk agar menjejali agama yang dimaui?

Saya melihat begitu dekat. Begitu nyata aksi-aksi yang mengatasnamakan agama justru cenderung menyakiti dan penuh kekerasan baik secara verbal, serta non verbal.

Apa yang dicari dari agama? Surga? Neraka? Pernahkah ke sana? Garansi darimanakah kita mendapatkan kriteria-kriteria yang dituahkan? Apakah manusia itu bisa melepas dari konsep “dosa”?

Seorang homoseksual tidak pantas ditolong bila kesusahan, karena dibenci menurut “agama” – katanya. Sekejam itukah? Sebuah aliran kepercayaan yang berbeda dari pola agama tertentu, kemudian dimusuhi? Sebegitu anarkiskah? Bukankah semakin banyak melihat perbedaan, maka segalanya akan banyak menemui jurang kesusahan. Fokus pada persamaan sebagai manusia yang memiliki hati nurani bukankah jauh lebih bijak? Terlepas lagi, bahwa sebuah ketidaksetujuan harusnya menjadi celah kebersamaan, toleransi, dan pemahaman mendalam dibandingkan pembenaran-pembenaran karna merasa paling benar, suci, dan lebih tinggi di mata agamanya, bukan?

“Raffles and The Golden Opportunity” by Victoria Glendinning

It was such an honour I met a remarkable writer, Victoria Glendinning (23 April 1937) in Jakarta, at the launch of her book, “Raffles and The Golden Opportunity”.  Who is Raffles?

As Indonesian people may also relate his name to “bunga bangkai – corpse flower” where was found by Raffles and Arnold in the Indonesian rain forest.

Raffles had a significant influence on Indonesia.

And I think this book is worth it, In Rupiah costs,  IDR 239.000,-


Here is the synopsis of the book…

In 1819, Sir Stamford Raffles, without authority from London, raised the British flag on a small jungle covered island and founded a settlement that would become the city state of Singapore. It was the most significant moment in the life of a man who defies definition: an English adventurer, disobedient employee of the East India Company, utopian imperialist, linguist, zoologist, civil servant and troublesome visionary.

From his beginnings as an obscure young man with few advantages, he carved out an extraordinary career in South East Asia, rising to become Governor of Java. A great heart lodged in a physically frail body, he inspired both devotion and hatred among those he met and his life in the Tropics was overshadowed by personal tragedy and tropical disease. He returned to England a ‘sorry carcase’ of a convalescent, and died in disgrace and pursued for debt by his former employers, the East India Company.


Acclaimed biographer Victoria Glendinning charts a unique life filled with adventure and shot through with sadness. But if Raffles’ own end was tragic, the mark he left on the world is indelible. Even today, Raffles’ fame remains undimmed and, as he hoped,Singapore has become his own lasting monument.