Prasangka Terhadap Pasangan Beda Ras

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan. Picture is taken from here.

Sengaja saya tulis dalam Bahasa Indonesia, supaya bisa menjadi pembuka pikiran bagi orang-orang Indonesia yang sering berprasangka buruk terhadap pasangan yang berbeda ras dan warna kulit. Walaupun agak ga mungkin orang-orang bodoh itu mampir ke sini dan baca blog saya, tapi berharap boleh dong ya :p. Saya menulis berdasarkan pengalaman saya sendiri, jadi lingkupnya terbatas untuk wanita WNI yang punya pasangan WNA alias bule.

Sudah sering sih saya membaca postingan blog senada dengan topik yang sama. Cukup googling dengan kata kunci ‘pasangan bule’, dan anda pun akan menemukan berjibun curahan hati para wanita yang teraniaya, tsahhh :D. Jadi, sebelum traveling dengan sang Beruang di Asia, khususnya di Indonesia, saya sudah menyiapkan hati dan mental, tak lupa poker face, supaya tetap tabah dengan hinaan yang mungkin terdengar.

Kasus #1: “Kira-kira ketemu ayam di mana ya?”

Di perjalanan ferry kembali ke Bali setelah mendaki Ijen, ada segerombolan anak SMP/SMA yang mungkin sedang study tour ke Bali (soalnya saya sempet nguping mereka ngomongin tugas tentang budaya di Bali). Dari mereka yang sibuk curi-curi foto selfie dengan sang Beruang, tiba-tiba terdengar pertanyaan itu, “Kira-kira ketemu ayam di mana ya?”

Kalau dipikir-pikir Bahasa Indonesia itu tinggi sekali ya level ambiguitas-nya. Kalau dikonfontrasi langsung, yang ngomong bisa saja ngeles dengan alasan, “Oh, kita lagi ngomongin ayam KFC kok, kira-kira ada di mana ya di Bali” :D. Fakta bahwa mereka bergerombol di sebelah kami, dan kemudian yang diajak bicara oleh orang tersebut memotong dengan, “Hush!”, lalu berbisik-bisik, membuat saya yakin bahwa saya lah yang dimaksud dengan ‘ayam’. Dan seperti yang kita semua tahu, perempuan yang diasosiasikan dengan ayam berarti pelacur (kasihan ya ayam, jadi negatif gitu). See, that’s the power of context for interpreting the meaning of a language ;)

Kasus #2: “Untuk memperbaiki keturunan ya, Mbak.”

Setelah puas snorkeling, canoeing dan hiking selama seminggu di Pulau Tioman, Malaysia, di hari terakhir kami memutuskan untuk relaksasi di spa yang disediakan oleh resort tempat kami tinggal. Ketika para terapisnya tahu bahwa saya orang Indonesia, mereka langsung heboh, “Owalah, lha kami ini juga orang Indonesia!” :D. Selama sesi pijat kami pun tanpa hentinya mengobrol dalam Bahasa Indonesia, karena terapis saya juga sama-sama punya tahi lalat di ‘atas bibir minggir kanan’ seperti saya :). Agak menjelaskan kenapa beliau ceriwis sekali, hahaha.

Obrolan berlangsung tanpa ada prasangka buruk (setidaknya menurut perasaan saya), mereka cuma penasaran bagaimana kami bertemu. “Karena sama-sama belajar di Italia,” saya jelaskan. “Wah, hebat, mahal ya Mbak?” “Beasiswa kok…” “Waaah, berarti pinter banget Mbaknya” :). Cuma ada satu statement yang bikin saya mangkel dikit. “Untuk memperbaiki keturunan” itu memang sudah jadi komentar standar yang sering sekali terdengar ya. Cuma kok seakan-akan kalau ga sama mas bule keturunan saya bakalan jelek dan butuh diperbaiki ya, hiks ;(.

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About Saying Sorry

This morning, my peaceful shower time was disrupted by a neighbor child’s loud cries, and a woman’s –most probably the child’s mother– yells. At first the woman’s shouts were in Chinese, which I don’t understand at all. I assume that she expressed why she was angry. But then, the woman starts yelling repeatedly, “Say sorry!” Instead of saying sorry, the child’s cries grow louder and louder. The woman was so persistent to get to hear that ‘sorry’ word from the child, she repeated the “Say sorry!” shouts probably more than 30 times.

I’m not a parent yet, but I think demanding a ‘sorry’ like that from my child is not the right thing to do. First of all, being (and saying) sorry should come from either feeling regret, or from feeling sad out of sympathy. Now, will shouts and yells like that help my child to understand that he/she should feel regret or sad after whatever he/she has done? Surely not.

If in the end the child finally says ‘sorry’, I’m quite sure that the reason is that he just wants the mother to stop yelling, instead of being regretful of making mistakes or hurting anyone. The child may grow up to be someone who misuses the word ‘sorry’ lacking regret or sympathy, won’t he?

Another lesson taken for my future parenthood :).

By the way, just recently Muslims all around the world celebrated the Eid al-Fitr festival. I’m lucky that this year I can finally celebrated it with my family, after being absent twice in the previous years. In Indonesia, on that particular day, there is a tradition to greet each other –friends-neighbors-family– with “mohon maaf lahir dan batin” which literally means “forgive me body and soul”. This is, in my opinion, also a misuse of ‘sorry’ :p. Why would I say sorry to people I am (almost) never in contact with? And why would I say sorry only on this day without any reason?

It is not a bad idea to use the occasion to ask for forgiveness from others about any mistake one might have done, but… I found that this is more appropriate:

It’s time to forget and also forgive others’ mistakes, to be able to move on happily in life without any grudge and burden :). Happy Eid Mubarak! Sorry it’s a bit late ;)

Singapore for Summer

I’m in Singapore!

And I’m going to be here for the whole summer, 3 months to be exact, for some kind of an internship at the National University of Singapore (NUS). Working on what? Of course… deep learning, baby! :D

Well, at least… working on an attempt to solve my research problems using deep learning, because it has become the buzzword of today’s NLP research. Yeah, that’s it.

I actually arrived 2 weeks ago, but only recently I finally get myself settled at my new office, with PC and cards: (from up to bottom) ez-link card for easy payment *for bus, MRT/LRT, swimming pool, printing, and I don’t know what else, probably many more*, NUS access card to get inside my office *even to get inside the room I need this card*, and lastly… my TEP card, which allows me to freely enter/exit Singapore during these 3 months.

I haven’t met my advisor yet, because he was still out of office until this week. So maybe next week. But I’ve met some of the colleagues from the group.

Enough about the working part, now… what can I do during my free time? Singapore is boring, some people said ;), but I’ve checked this list of 50 things to do in Singapore and 52 things to do in Singapore before you die, and come up with my own list, 15 things I want to do in Singapore:

  1. Go trekking: Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, MacRitchie Treetop Walk and along the (defunct) KTM railway track.
  2. Go rock climbing at Dairy Farm, Singapore’s only natural outdoor rock climbing
  3. Cycling at the East Coast Park
  4. Cycling in Pulau Ubin and Chek Jawa
  5. Re-connect with mother nature at Sungei Buloh
  6. Have a picnic at the Botanical Gardens
  7. Feel on top of Singapore at the Marina Bay Sands Skypark
  8. Have a party at the Singapore 50th birthday
  9. Visit a Public Swimming Complex
  10. Visit Sentosa island and Universal Studios Singapore
  11. Visit Haw Par Villa
  12. Take on an escape room challenge
  13. Cultural tours around Chinatown, Little India and Kampong Glam, plus food tasting
  14. Shop till drop at the Great Singapore Sale
  15. Get trackside at the Singapore F1 Grand Prix – vroom vroom *this year it will start on 18th of September, which is exactly the last day of my internship :D*

Some of them I can do by myself, but for some others I need companions :(. So, come here, dear friends! and family *adeeek, ayo sini sini*! and bear! Let’s have some fun in Singapore :)

Trip to Bali and Ijen

The first part of my Bali trip with my family can be read here

Om swastiastu… cat and bear were in Bali! Finally the cat could show (a small part of) Indonesia to the bear. We spent 6 days travelling around in Bali. However, one night was actually spent in Banyuwangi, at the east coast of Java, since we wanted to hike to Ijen crater.

In front of Ijen crater

*WARNING* this post is going to be looong :D. In summary, we went to Bali Bird Park, chillin’ at Double Six beach, hiking to Ijen crater, Kalisada village in the northern coast of Bali, then drove down to Ubud. From Ubud we visited Gunung Kawi temple, Tirta Empul, Batur lake and Elephant Cave. If you want to skip the stories, just check the pictures from the trip here. Oh, and check how well the bear can speak Indonesian language in this post :).

Day 1: Bali Bird Park, Double Six beach

After visiting Bali Bird Park and sent my family back home, in the evening, we just relaxed at Double Six beach, had a good chat, while listening to live music and watching planes landing in the airport (as you know, the bear is a flying enthusiast :p). Both of us agreed that, “Hey, this trip starts very nicely, let’s hope that the rest of it will also be great.” :)

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Bali, the Island of Gods

After more than 20 years living in Java, its neighboring island, I finally get a chance to visit Bali! This famous island that people often mention whenever I tell them I’m from Indonesia, “I know Bali!” they will say :). “Yeah, but I’ve never been there,” is what I usually respond with. Well, even though the Bali strait can be easily crossed with ferry from the eastern point of Java, my hometown is in the west part of Java, with around 900 km air distance to Bali ^^; Not so close…

As I mentioned few blog-posts ago, I was there for a conference. But then my family joined the trip for the weekend after the conference, and after that also the bear for another week. Yippee, summer holiday time!

With my family, we did the usual touristic routes in Bali. It was a very convenient trip since we hired a car plus driver for 3 days, and the driver is a local who also became our tourist guide. He told us stories about Balinese Hinduism‘s rituals and myths… and ghosts (a.k.a Leak) :D.

The complete collection of pictures from the trip can be found here.

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