The Relief

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

I am a spiritual person, but not at all religious. I truly believe there is a Greater Power (of God – that is), but to be frank, my religious practice has been far from perfect. Nevertheless, there is a surah from the Quran that I dearly like.

“The Relief” (QS 94)
Did We not expand for you, your breast?
And We removed you from your burden
Which had weighed upon your back
And raised high for you your repute
For indeed, with hardship (will be) ease
Indeed, with hardship (will be) ease

It has made me keep on going. Whenever I had to face any kind of hardship, I always remembered that there would be ease that follows. There would be a way out, from any kind of difficulties we face.

What I might have failed to remember is that it might work the other way around, if only I had rephrased the sentence. With ease, (will be) hardship. I had received so much, so many blessings that made me happy in the recent years.. Little that I realised, I would have plenty of difficulties that followed them through as well.

I just hope I have all it takes to endure this.

A Quarter-Life Crisis, Perhaps

Reading time: 4 – 7 minutes

I have refrained myself from labeling this as a quarter-life crisis not only because I am still two years short, but also in the wake of my disbelief to such sights. I had always believed that things like pre-menstrual syndromes are simply excuses made up by men who did not want to compromise to their women in arguments, as much as quarter-life crises are made up by young adults who cannot figure out what they want to do in their life.

In spite of that, I had come into realisation that a quarter-life crisis is perhaps what I am going through at the moment – or perhaps not.

Last year, I graduated from the university and signed off to become a full-time employee in a giant multinational company based in Jakarta. A lot of people asked me why I took the decision, which seemed strange to them. “I had always thought you were going to work in the UN or an NGO!” is something I had gotten used to hearing every single day in my first months of being employed, at least from the mouths of youngsters who are stuck in the same circles with mine. To be frank, the job that I possess is a job that could be enviable to some, not to mention the company I work for is a company that I really admire. However, I still could not keep that question from being thrown onto my face. Maybe because people already have expectations on what I should do in life.

I basically took the decision to work full-time because I have seen too many young ‘activists‘ or self-proclaimed pseudo-entrepreneurs trying to change the world without having a sense of reality and what really happens on the ground. I wanted to know how it would feel like to meet people in remote areas, to witness how they maintain a certain perspective towards current issues, and how they run their lives. I also practically had never been led by someone else, let alone having a boss. I thought that would have been an essential experience to be possessed, also to prevent myself from turning into a Ms. Know-It-All.

Long story short, I have managed working in a company for over a year now, something I had never thought I would ever successfully go through. Now here comes the trouble. By this point, most of my friends from certain circles have already graduated, or at least, signed up for graduate school. Other have started award-winning entrepreneurial pursuits, or successfully soared as talented ‘self-employed’ artists, writers, or film-makers. Yet, here I am, working in a company on a 9-to-6 job (no, it’s not an 8-to-5). Yearning for my pay day to come sooner, or for a day to run more quickly.

Sometimes it makes me ask myself, “What have I been doing in the past one year?”

It’s something that I constantly talk about to my significant other, someone whom I seek to console myself with. He has always been a hard worker, one of his qualities that makes look up to him. He’s started working part-time in high school to do the same thing until he’s finished university, to earn money to pay for his living costs and tuition fees. He then worked on two jobs simultaneously for a couple of years. Quoting on what he often says to me, “Be grateful of the job you have. I used to come home at 3 am only to find myself working again 4 to 5 hours later, to make ends meet.”

This evening, I re-told him the same story, that sometimes I feel like I have not been doing much, I have not been doing great things for my future like what my friends are doing. I have not been contributing to the country as much as I could, and as much as I should. I haven’t been…

This is what he told me,

“I think what you are doing: creating activations at work, writing books, selling ice creams, have tangible results. I could see you doing it. It is not something that could be gone through the thin air. It is not something conceptual anymore. I think, by doing so, you have been creating an impact in people’s lives, an impact that could be witnessed, which is not something that many people could do these days.”

And that got me thinking.

In IYC, we have always believed on the principle that anyone, any young person, should be able to positively contribute towards the development of Indonesia through his/her passion and interests — no matter what they might be. That the contribution should not be limited to activities in the field of politics and education, but also creative industry and economy. That whatever you like to do could be transformed into something useful for the community, only if you know how to do it, and how to see it.

I could not believe that I, myself, could forget to apply this principle in my own life. I have not done much, yes, but I could keep on pursuing anytime I wish to. Perhaps the way could be different with how my friends are doing it. Perhaps I do not go to Ivy League schools, or volunteer in political campaigns, but it can never mean that I am not allowed to go my own ways in creating my own version of “contribution” towards the betterment of Indonesia, can it?

But hey, perhaps this is just one of a useless ramblings of a recently-legal girl having both quarter-life crisis and pre-menstrual syndrome at the same time.

Or perhaps not.

That just happened

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

We grew up. Yes, that just happened.

Every single thing in life that happens so slowly, yet so constantly, never fail to brag to us on how we would never, ever notice that it had happened. Growing up. Finishing school. Falling in love. Losing a friend. Learning how to drive. Writing papers. Obtaining lessons from life. Then, we might go: what the hell? I’ve finished school already? 

Sometimes, we might want to ask why, why did time betray us? But then, where have we been all this time – when life was happening in our life? Yet, we will try to go back to words, pictures, conversations, memories… to relive what happened, to relive what we thought we have never experienced. But we have. Though we might forget to realise it.

You know what comes up next? The thought of realising that sometimes, words delude us. Nah, often times than not, they do. So do pictures. Memories. Conversations. Trying to encourage us to live in the past. To go back to school again, learn to drive again. To grow up once again.

Better yet. Most of us want to fall for its beauty. We want — in fact, we yearn to be deluded. But, would you? Would you sacrifice your real present to be deluded with what you thought was so good you would never ever experience again?

I probably wouldn’t.

The Essentials

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

I usually pack up my activities on weekdays to have my weekends free from work. So, wherever I go, I have a bunch of “the essentials” — the things I must bring to be my company in going through a lot of stuff daily. Here they are:

Cath Kidston agenda
Unbranded wallet (bought it in a department store for less than $10!)
Colourful liners and pens
Maybelline VolumExpress Hypercurl mascara (Black)
Maybelline Fruity Jelly lipgloss (Creamy Guava)
NYX Concealer in a Jar (CJ03 Light)
NYX Eyebrow Cake Powder (ECP05 Brunette)
Tresno Joyo Balsem Telon
Swatch watch
Samsung Galaxy Gio

And, of course, a bottle of mineral water! What things do you bring everyday? What are your essentials? :-)

P.S.: To those attending #PopWriting Seminar with me and Sitta Karina, see you tomorrow! I can’t wait to meet you and exchange our tales of writing.


Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

It’s been awhile since the last time I wrote here. The last post on my WordPress page dated March 2011 – around 5 months ago. Some people have been asking why haven’t I been writing new stuff or why did they land on my About Me page instead of my writings if they go to my blog address. Well, I must say, I needed some space for myself. After all that happened after the breakout of my blog post into the mass media, I had not been wanting to write on my blog for some time. Most people who came to visit only asked about my mother’s case – some of them said bad things about it; and to be honest, it is always difficult when people who don’t know you, your family, and especially your mother, address their harsh judgments.

So, in the past 5 months, I have dealt with them all, and dealt with myself. I am now ready to write again here (although in the past few months I have also been writing on my Multiply page) and share my stories. The past 5 months have been full of blessings. I met new, awesome people; traveled to a few cities; involved with exciting projects; and held the Indonesian Youth Conference 2011. I really can’t wait to share about them.

Will definitely write again soon.

Because of Twitter…

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

Because of Twitter, sometimes we forget the joy of being alone.
Because of Twitter, we rarely completely enjoy something since we are now too busy tweeting about that.
Because of Twitter, we lose the excitement of getting to know strangers.
Because of Twitter, we speculate too much over something.
Because of Twitter, it becomes too easy for us to believe in something though we have not proven that what we read is true.
Because of Twitter, we judge people only upon what they write.
Because of Twitter, our mask gets thicker, and thicker, yet it becomes easier for us to fake ourselves.
Because of Twitter, we think we know someone too much.
Because of Twitter, we stalk people, we want to know everything about them.
Because of Twitter, sometimes we don’t respect people’s privacy anymore.

Because of Twitter, we forget that we are human who have the ability to control our behaviour and blame a social networking website instead.

Amazing, We Are!

Reading time: 4 – 6 minutes

I was looking at the notes I’ve written in Facebook. I do want to write, but I am occupied with a lot of stuff, especially about Indonesian Youth Conference. I found this note, and I love it. I encourage you to write the same thing, and let me know when you’ve done it. Writing this makes us feel special, very very special. It reminds me of the fact that everybody is special. Yes, I am. Yes, you are. Yes, we are.

I was tagged by Cassey to write this. This is not about showing off. This is about loving yourself. And…

I am an amazing person because:

  1. I make new friends easily. Maybe that’s because I am a very talkative person! I can’t stand sitting next to/in front someone without any kind of conversation. It turns out to be a very good thing because I think networking is one of the main keys of success. Never hesitate to say hi to anyone around you – give the to-die-for smile, people!
  2. I am expressive. I can express my feelings verbally or even non-verbally. What’s even better is, I am expressive in positive things. I tend to keep my bad mood for myself, or only for the people that I am very closed to.
  3. I am a good listener when it comes to other people’s problems. I am always welcome to listen to their problems, and when they ask for my advice, I am willing to share my experiences. Because, I am not a teacher or parents who can tell you to do things, I am only a friend.
  4. Quoting Mr Dino, I am a proud nationalist and a passionate internationalist. I love reading things about Indonesia and telling them to other people so they can be in love with Indonesia as well. I am also open to other cultures. I can spend hours listening to Changemakers about their countries. I event spent one hour talking with Elsabe about Indonesia and Namibia, how do the houses look like, what do we eat for breakfast. You can start loving this country by reading Good News From Indonesia. Let’s fall in love!
  5. I am curious. I love learning new things and I can absorb lessons easily. My IQ is not that great, maybe can only be labeled as “superior”. But I can learn any kind of lessons and can memorize it. I love you God.
  6. I am a very optimistic person! A lot of people inspire me, from Bruce Lee to Andy Warhol, from Che Guevara to Walt Disney. All of them said that we all can make our dreams come true. So, why worry?
  7. I rarely forget saying the three magical words: maaf, tolong, terima kasih. This is not that special but there are a lot of people who keep forgetting this kind of stuff. For me, it is very important.
  8. I have always wanted to be different. Being different… some people might call us weird, but we always have the excuse to call ourselves “special”.
  9. I am innovative and creative. Maybe it’s related to #8, I want to do something great and new, I want to do things in a different, creative way, whenever I can.
  10. I am a loving person. I love my parents and even sisters so much, I love my boyfriend, I love my big family, I love my bestfriends, I love my schoolmates and especially classmates, I love my teman sebangkus (yes, I love you Sheila Citra Ervicaninda!), I love my colleagues… Though not all of them love me back. I don’t really care about that. Quoting Cassey, they are the ones who make me an amazing person.

So, if you read this, please do the same thing. At least for yourself. Let me know. Well… I know you guys are amazing already. I’ll just crosscheck the list you made with mine. Are we thinking about the same things?


Reading time: 3 – 4 minutes

Indonesia berduka.

Itu yang saya tangkap pagi ini, ketika saya tiba di kantor dan mendengar bahwa dua hotel internasional di kawasan Kuningan, yakni Ritz-Carlton dan JW Marriott, menjadi sasaran pengeboman oleh oknum yang tidak bertanggungjawab. Saya panik ketika itu. Mengapa? Bagaimana kepercayaan dunia internasional terhadap Indonesia? Saya, sebagai salah satu orang Indonesia yang berkesempatan untuk berinteraksi langsung dengan masyarakat internasional, mendengar langsung pandangan dari orang-orang di negara lain terhadap Indonesia yang semakin ke sini, semakin membaik. Kita telah bersusah-payah bertahun-tahun mengembalikan gambaran baik mengenai Indonesia kepada dunia internasional yang sempat punah, dan dengan beberapa ledakan, gambaran tersebut harus kembali rusak. Entah berapa lama waktu yang kita butuhkan untuk memperbaiki hal ini.

Pagi ini pula, saya login di Twitter dan menemukan ‘Jakarta’ dan ‘Ritz-Carlton’ menjadi dua dari trending topics yang ada Twitter.

Malam ini semuanya berubah. #indonesiaunite menjadi trending topic di peringkat teratas, mengalahkan pemutaran perdana Harry Potter, pembicaraan tentang Michael Jackson, dan bahkan #iranelection. Hari ini kita membuktikan pada dunia bahwa teroris tidak mengguncang Indonesia. Manchester United boleh jadi batal ke sini, begitu juga dengan beberapa band yang dijadwalkan untuk menyelenggarakan konser di Bulan Agustus, tapi warga Indonesia – khususnya pengguna Twitter – justru melakukan sesuatu bersama-sama, menunjukkan bahwa Indonesia tetap kuat dengan mengupdate banyak informasi berhubungan dengan #indonesiaunite dan mengganti avatar Twitter dengan warna merah-putih.

Hari ini, ada banyak pesan nasionalis yang muncul melalui status di Twitter. Pada awalnya, semua status di Twitter menunjukkan kebencian terhadap teroris, main tuding kepada capres-cawapres yang tidak menang dalam versi Quick Count, sampai mengutuk teroris hanya karena MU dan band-band favorit mereka batal datang ke Jakarta. Namun, semua itu berubah, menjadi kebanggaan sebagai orang Indonesia, menjadi keinginan agar Bangsa Indonesia bersatupadu melawan ancaman teroris.

Prestasi ini membawa kebahagiaan tersendiri untuk saya. Mengapa? Saya merasa bahwa nasionalisme masyarakat Indonesia sudah meningkat secara drastis. Pada peristiwa-peristiwa pengeboman sebelumnya, Indonesia hanya bisa berduka. Tapi hari ini, kita melakukan sesuatu. Sesuatu yang kecil, tetapi ternyata sangat berarti, dan membawa impact emosional yang besar.

Ada seseorang yang mengirimkan tweet:


Hal ini menyadarkan saya, bahwa mungkin hikmah dari kejadian ini adalah bersatupadunya pemuda-pemudi Indonesia untuk membuktikan pada dunia bahwa Indonesia akan berusaha semaksimal mungkin melawan terorisme. Hal ini juga menyadarkan saya bahwa nasionalisme belum mati. Bangsa Indonesia tidak mengutuk terorisme karena batal melihat Ryan Giggs secara langsung, mereka mengutuk terorisme yang telah merusak nama bangsa di mata dunia.

Mengutip Arsalan Iftikhar, international human rights lawyer dan pendiri As the 240 million wonderful people of Indonesia mourn this terrorist attack on their soil this evening; we want the people of Jakarta to know that the rest of the world mourns alongside with you.

Semoga nasionalisme Bangsa Indonesia tidak berhenti sampai di sini.