July 17, 2009 (WE’LL GET STRONGER!!!!)

We had just had a blast…. Two indeed…. Literally. It was so unexpected hearing the news at the first time. I was in school when it happened. I didn’t know anything and didn’t hear anything until one of my friends messaged me asking for my location. She said that we (read: our country) were just hit by 2 bombs happened almost simultaneously, JW Marriot hotel and Ritz-Charlton hotel. I was so shocked, didn’t expect any of these happens AGAIN. We have just gone through quiet a long period of time to build ourselves up. It’s been 6 years since the last bombing and ever since that we have been striving a lot to convince the world that we are indeed as safe as any other place in the world. And then when things have gotten better, economics has started to crawl up BOOOMMM…… I was and am angry. Why on earth does somebody or some people do this kind of thing? It hurt us, as a nation, as a human, as a part of the world.

I am a 90’s person, lived my most years in 1990’s era. And if people asked me how was Indonesia back then when I was still a kid in primary school, I would say that my country is great. I didn’t really feel any pressure at all, I lived happily in my early years of life. Happily and safely until the May tragedy in 1998. Talking about May in this country, we will not forget about what happened more than 10 years ago. I might say that this is the start of everything. This is the start of LIFE. Before then I don’t really know that people can be that cruel. I was 10 years old when the May tragedy happened. I still remember how my parents were so protective to us, and didn’t allow us to go anywhere (not even to go to school). Everyone was afraid that their houses (including mine) would be attacked by some unknown groups. Yes, I am a Chinese-Indonesian, but the funny thing was that time when I was still a primary school student, I didn’t really like Chinese…. Perhaps it was because the majority of my classmates were not Chinese and I did have this kind of thought in my mind that the Chinese people are so arrogant, meaning they looked down on somebody else and treat themselves as the greater ones. That was why I can really be mad when some relatives of mine were talking bad about the non-Chinese. Usually they would reply back to me that I know nothing. That I don’t know how this country had treated the Chinese-Indonesian. Yeah, of course I didn’t know, the history back then didn’t say anything about the Indonesian-Chinese being bullied by the government both West government (read: Holland or VOC) and Indonesian government itself. I only knew that I have Indonesian-pribumi friends and they were and still are really good to me. So yah…. Kids’ mind can only handle up to that point…. That is by keeping the honor of my friends. And again suddenly all the faith that I have, all the morale foundation of PPKn or whatsoever it was, were torn to pieces burnt to dust by the act of those irresponsible people who started to mess around with the Indonesian-Chinese people by robbing our shops, houses and taking away the girls and women and even killed them in front of their families own eyes. Police? Did nothing…. President? Too busy to save his ass which eventually had to step down anyway. That was maybe my first anger to stand up for my community. Take note that this matter has not been resolved yet (honestly thinking it will not be resolved, since it might involved some great people in their time). Still, that time I couldn’t believe that the one who did that to us was all Indonesian-pribumi. I was really shocked because in my eyes all the pribumi I knew that time were all gentlemen and soft hearted people. My neighbors, my friends they all love me and my family. Should I put it in this way, start from that time when I dealt with strangers, I become more lenient to Indonesian-Chinese and be more alert to those non-Chinese. Because I was scared to be an Indonesian-Chinese…. But yeah…. Over years we as one big nation have become better. This in some or other way has proved that not all pribumi hates Indo-Chinese. In fact it makes me think that from the beginning, it wasn’t really based on the race thingy, it was just made to be like one. Have I already forgotten about that tragedy? I might say yes, but deep inside I know I am not really over it. This was maybe one of the reasons why a year ago I wrote an essay about the Indonesian-Chinese people in Indonesia for my History assessment. Because I, as a child that time still can’t understand why did that happen. And I believe that there are still many people out there who are still asking for an answer, an explanation of a betrayal to our belief of our country as a Bhinneka Tunggal Ika.

Then…. When we were striving to get that racist thingy out of our minds and trying to build up the trust brick by brick, we were shocked by the 9/11 attack. The one attack that the world will not forget forever. In fact, we are still haunted by that and it has changed the world ever since. In our country, it got worse because our churches were also hit by those people who claimed themselves as warriors of Islam. It’s a big nonsense…. I was a good student who learned my PPKn well and I know that no religion in this world teaches about hurting people. And for God’s sake…. There were also Muslim victims died in those bombings. Use your brain and do your math, you will know that you were actually killing your brothers and sisters by doing those crazy attacks. Will that get you into heaven? I will let your brain to answer that question. So once again…. The area of war had moved from race to religion. Hatred between Islam and West (should I say Christian), that’s what they claimed to be. But yeah…. Again, I don’t like if some little part of a BIG community claimed themselves to be THE community itself. Apparently they don’t really learn math very well that a subset is not equal to the whole set.

2-3 years after the 9/11 attack was very critical. Every little thing became very sensitive. And there were many bombings in our country since then until 2002-2003. The bombing of course mainly happened in favorite places like Bali and Jakarta. Took us many years to get healed by those incidents. Took us litters of our own sweats to yearn the trust from other country and even from our own people. But then again, those heartless people break our heart once more by what happened 2 days ago. However…. There is still a bright side of all these unfortunate events…. Remember a famous quote “what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger”? It is actually happening in this country. Our country has gotten better. We are braver in the sense “lebih ga takut mati” or “lebih pasrah” (read: not really that scared anymore against the attacks or bombings). It was actually funny, because this is maybe due to our people that are being tired of so many attacks and so we started to treat that as part of our lives.

Despite of any reasons and excuses, we have to get up again. No matter how many times we fall down we have to get ourselves up and we will. I love my country and will forever do. We all do. An attack to even one inch of this country is an attack to the whole nation. We’ll get ourselves cool down and start our war legally. Again…. We will get stronger!!! I send my prayer and deepest condolences to all families who were just left by their beloved ones in all attacks happened in this country. I hope we all can get through this sooner than latter.


A Nerd’s Apology

One day, a student of mine said to me that everyone doesn’t like nerds. To put it in a very harsh way she asked why don’t these smart bright nerd people move to other school? I was stunned for awhile and replied back to her “why should them?” in her opinion nerds don’t really know how to make friends, they can’t really have nice conversations with other people. Hmmmm…. Is it true? I believe that there wasn’t only this particular student who has this kind of thought about the nerdies, but is there any big difference between them?

I myself admitted many times that I was and maybe still am a nerd. I read a lot of books, not just novels and comics but also math books in my free time. But I had and have quite some friends. And if people think I am not nerd enough, refer to some of my genius friends…. They have a lot of friends, they do hang out and have fun but they also do a lot of self study.

One answer which I can think of regarding my student question was the environment. I am very grateful knowing that I went to very supporting schools with a lot of nerds (oops) and people who do care and appreciate nerds.

So here I am making my own apology regarding this matter. Apology for the nerds or those who are claimed to be nerds by their friends.

“I have two eyes, one nose, one mouth, one tongue, two ears and one brain
I have two hands, two legs, and complete internal organs just like you do
What is so different about me that you can not accept
Don’t blame me if I listen more than I talk
Think more than I act
See more than making scenes
I too have heart to care
To share with people and to love
Different talents and thoughts
Doesn’t mean that I don’t talk
Doesn’t mean that I don’t feel
Doesn’t mean that I don’t play
Look at me deep inside and you’ll know
We have same heart beating in rhythm
Same passion to love and be loved
I can be good friend and great best-friend
If only you give me chance to be one….
If only you accept me for who I am….”

So for all the nerds out there, keep up your spirit! You are entrusted the ability to help people and make difference so do it…. Don’t just keep it for yourself and die with it. Coz in the end when you close your eyes for the very last time the only thing people will remember is your contribution to society, all the good deeds you have sowed ….

Oh btw…. Today is the first day of the new academic year. I met quite a lot of new teachers here and also my new subject head. I hope they are not too serious like today…. Huhuuuu….. will teach grade 10 additional math, grade 11 and 12 HL and some bright students in grade 7. Theoretically they will not cause much behavioral problems but for sure they will make me think at least twice harder than I did for last academic year…. And for this, I pray that everything will be okay. I pray that I can be useful for my students, I can be a good messenger to deliver the knowledge, the experience, and also to be a good servant of GOD…. I realized that I made loads of mistakes last sem and the biggest mistake was probably because I didn’t start everything with a prayer…. So I thank God for another chance and put all of these into Your hands for You to make everything meaningful according to Your plan. Please guide me to give the best to my kids…. Amen