Tag Archives: Indonesia

Notes: Journey to The East Coast Magnetic City

Correct me if I am wrong; but I believe that most of the fans of Sex and The City television series have the desire to visit New York City in the United States of America. Just from the SATC TV series, NYC always appears to be very magnetic and magical; its lifestyle, its fashion and its environment seem to be very electric yet unique. Since then, it becomes one of my top travel list destination over the years and finally my dream came through. Last week, had the opportunity to visit NYC for five days. I was super super excited.

Considering to get in touch with local people, I tried to book an accommodation through the famous site AirBnB . After few e-mail exchanges with one of the host, the host mentioned that she had room for me. I was glad that I would stay at local’s house; but it did not happen. My request was cancelled just few hours before my flight.

I was so worried. I was freaking out. It was about 10 p.m, my flight would be at 8 a.m and I realized that I would not have accommodation upon my arrival. It must be a joke! However, it was not a big deal, it was manageable. I immediately booked a room from booking.com. Even though it was manageable, this experience gave me an impression that my NYC trip might not be going to be as fun as I thought it would be. Nevertheless, I was still excited anyway.

***

Friday morning, I arrived in the U.S. It took me an hour and half hour of flight from Toronto Billybishop Airport of Canada to Newark Liberty International Airport of the U.S. I have not reached my final destination yet. I still had to take another 30 minutes of train ride from the airport to New York Penn Station with NJ Transit Train to get to downtown Manhattan.

However, as soon as I stepped out of  New York Penn Station, I got my heart broken. My excitement level dropped significantly. The city does not appear as magnetic as it is in the television. In fact, it is very repellent. New York City is just very dirty, messy and crowded. There are just too much traffic as well as construction works. This condition made me thinking to cut my trip short before I even tested the water.

Are you sure? I asked myself. No! I guess I am just tired. It is not wise to make decision when I am unhappy. I answered.

It was only 11 a.m when I reached to Manhattan. I immediately checked-in to the Rogers New York Hotel in Madison Avenue; unfortunately I could not get into the room until 3 p.m. I wondered what I should do for the next four hours and where I should go to. I do not know. As this was my first visit to NYC, there were just too many tourist attractions that I wanted to visit, including Times Square, Liberty Statue, Ground Zero, Central Park, etc.

In order to go to those places, I had to use google maps on my iPhone because I simply was not familiar with the city; but then again, I had another problems because I only had 40 percent of phone battery power and I had no portable charger. On the top of that, I was so starving. Darn!

It made me more annoyed, cranky, devastated and also frustrated. Perfect combination to be grumpy and dislike NYC. Nevertheless, I must not let it ruin my weekend gateway  and all I need to do is to grab some foodie before I wandered about and did anything.

***

As I walked down in the 33 Street to grab some foodie, I saw some grey line city bus tour‘s salesman offering their services to tourist. It attracted me so I seek for the information about what kind of deal that they had for me. After 10 minutes of conversation, they offered me a 51 bucks of NYC Pass. NYC Pass can be used for Downtown, Brooklyn, Bronx as well as Night Tour within 48 hours. He also mentioned that NYC Pass is including a ferry ticket. So I guess, it was not a bad deal at all!

Considering the deal that they offered me, I decided to use their services to stroll around downtown Manhattan on the top of the bus. I thought it would be the easiest way to get lil bit of everything of the city. That way, I did not have to depend on my phone and keep some battery.

Frankly, I used to be very skeptical about the city sightseeing bus services, it seems very tacky to me. Nonetheless, I did enjoy the tour and got the sense of downtown Manhattan. It was 5.30 p.m; I ended my bus tour in Rockefeller Center and walked down to Times Square, the most crowded tourist attraction that I have ever been and I H.A.T.E it!

***

Since I left Toronto, I was up for 14 hours and had only 3 hours of sleep. I just felt very drained out. I really wanted to go back to the hotel and took a nap. However, I had no idea how to get there. My phone was off, the almighty google maps was unable to help me. I tried to grab a cab but I could not get any after hailing cabs for nearly an hour. I was about to cry.

Geez…. what a start?! I wore  the wrong foot wear to walk around, I got lost, I got sunburn and my phone was off. I just want to lay down now but how?!.

I looked a way to solve my minor yet devastating problem. I said to myself that I need a portable charger. So, I went to the nearest electronic shop to get a portable charger. However, after purchasing the portable charger, I realized that I actually did not bring my iPhone cable. What a drag?! How could I turn my phone on?! Should I purchase for iPhone cable (again)? No way! I felt so stupid. 

Recognizing that I had a problem, a friendly Israelite shop keeper showed me how to get back to my hotel. He told me that my hotel is actually only three blocks away from his shop. I was so happy to hear that. I just could not wait to lay down and catch some sleep after all the long walk in uncomfortable foot wear and the sunburn. All I wanted to do was sleeping.

Honestly, I  actually hate the idea of using it because it can shorten the longevity of battery; but, somehow it just is the best life safer while you are traveling.

***

On my way to the hotel, I stopped in a convenience store to get myself some snacks; I was extremely starving and thirsty. A friendly New Yorker said hi and talked to me; he asked how my day was going. As I was tired and upset, I started rambling. I just told him that I got my heart broken because NYC is not as magical as it is in the film or tv series; the city is dirty and crowded; it was just hard to get around to and thought to cut my trip short and return to TO.

Don’t cut your trip short, I can give you a lot of recommendation for places or things to do here,” he said. “And I’d love to take you out for a drink. Perhaps that way you won’t think that everyone in NYC is an asshole,” he said.

He also offered me to go to the beach to celebrate “Beach Day” with his friends because the country celebrate “Beach Day”, I am not sure what Beach Day actually is. Another stranger offered me the same thing because the city celebrated “Beach Day”.

I was so surprised that a total stranger could just talk to me and ask me to go out for drink like that in NYC. It did not only happen once but a couple of times in a coffee shop and connivence store on the day light. I mean, I understand if it happens in the bars or social media; but in the convenience store or coffee shop on the day light?!  Really?!

I mean, not trying to showing off but I often got compliments in TO as walking down the road, either because of my hair cut, my shoes, my shade or my outfit by total strangers. But getting invitation for drink, coffee and dinner by stranger on the street? It is surprising!

Other than that,  some people also said that New Yorkers are ignorance and rude; yet, it did not appear that way while I was there. I was wondering whether it is just the nature of New Yorker, friendly and nice, or is it something else? I must say that even though it is surprising but it made me feel very welcome and flattered at the same time.

After all, It was a fabulous five days NYC trip, I will definitely return to NYC while I am in this region.

signature

2 Comments

Filed under Notes

Photo: New York City

Many rappers often use the word NYPD and or LAPD in their songs. I used to wonder what it means or stands for; so I searched and figured out that it stands for New York Police Department. Interestingly enough, many rappers always write songs about police either NYPD and/or LAPD to criticize the institution [2015: E O]

Many rappers often use the word NYPD and or LAPD in their songs. I used to wonder what it means or stands for; so I searched and figured out that it stands for New York Police Department. Interestingly enough, many rappers always write songs about police either NYPD and/or LAPD to criticize the institution [2015: E O]

I can't remember the name of this park [2015: E O]

I can’t remember the name of this park [2015: E O]

It is a plate of overrated pasta in NYC's Little Italy. Lesson to learn: Do not  eat at the tourist trap; go to the joint where the local people go, better value, better taste.  [2015: E O]

It is a plate of overrated pasta in NYC’s Little Italy. Lesson to learn: Do not eat at the tourist trap; go to the joint where the local people go, better value, better taste. [2015: E O]

I was going to Brooklyn via Manhattan Bridge [2015: E O]

Touring to Brooklyn via Manhattan Bridge [2015: E O]

There will be the famous NYC Green Taxi in the near future. Can you spot the Green Taxi?  [2015: EO]

There will be the famous NYC Green Taxi in the near future. Can you spot the Green Taxi? [2015: EO]

The Little Italy of NYC [2015:EO]

The Little Italy of NYC [2015:EO]

It was so hot in NYC so I decided to get myself a cup of ice cream. However, I did not pay attention closely that soft ice cream is very different from gelato. I will never get soft ice cream anymore [2015: E O]

It was so hot in NYC so I decided to get myself a cup of ice cream. However, I forgot that soft ice cream is very different from gelato. In fact, I should have noticed that it is a soft ice cream truck and not a gelato truck. It was horrible! I will never get soft ice cream anymore [2015: E O]

Another tourist attraction, Rockefeller Building [2015:E O]

Another tourist attraction, Rockefeller Building [2015:E O]

As soon as I arrived in Times Square, I just wanted to leave immediately. It was too crowded [2015: E O]

As soon as I arrived in Times Square, I just wanted to leave immediately. It was too crowded [2015: E O]

.

1 Comment

Filed under Photo

Notes: ISIS, A Health Conscious Organization

Last January, International Business Times reported that ISIS executor was beheaded because he is a smoker. IBT wrote IS has declared smoking is a form of slow suicide. Having said that apparently ISIS is  a health conscious organization.

ISIS understands well that all those scary pictures on the cigarette package seems to not make smoker afraid. Hence, ISIS chooses the extreme method by beheading anyone who is smoking in their territory. A very strong reminder ay?

So if you are a smoker and interested to join ISIS, please think twice before you join ISIS. ISIS will kill you first before you are able to fight or defend them.

But as a health conscious organization, what does ISIS say about the consequences of sex slavery? Does ISIS also talk about sexual and reproductive health?  Few months ago, various media reported that ISIS also executed Indonesian ISIS fighter, who allegedly spread AIDS in its territory.

Well… ISIS has to promote condom and monogamy then. Even better, ISIS must eradicate sex slavery and polygamy. Isn’t ISIS a health conscious organization?

signature

Leave a comment

Filed under Notes

Brief: Why Religious Violence Occured in Indonesia

This is an interesting analysis about the possibility of Saudi Arabia and ISIS merger. It actually reminds me of my interview with prominent scholar a year ago. We talked about who might have been financing extremist group in Indonesia.

Indonesian media outlets have been reporting about the attack and the execution of  Ahmadiyya and Shia community in these past five years. Some of them also attacked the Christian community throughout the country.

He pointed out that Saudi Arabia has funded those extremist group with purpose to have many Wahabi and/or Sunni followers because the majority of Indonesia population is Islam followers. However he does not have the written evidence about it but he had a chance to see it with his own eyes.

Having said that it is good to know how the extremist got finance at the first and how the religious violence has been fabricated at the first place. The following questions are how much they get funded? Who received the money?

Sadly, religion is just a political tool to obtain as well gain power for certain group of people so they can get both financial and political benefit. Meanwhile religion actually offers a plenty of good teaching and its follower taking it seriously.  Ironic!
signature

Leave a comment

Filed under Indonesia

Catatan: Tentang Bule Hunter

Setelah membaca tiga buku (Bumi Manusia, Semua Anak Bangsa dan Jejak Langkah) dari Tetralogi Bumi Manusia karya Pramoedya Ananta Toer, dapat saya tarik kesimpulan bahwa fenomena Bule Hunter sesungguhnya berawal dari jaman penjajahan Belanda. Yang menarik adalah laki-laki pribumi yang haus kuasa akan menyerahkan anak gadisnya pada jendral-jendral Belanda agar dapat jabatan di perusahaan-perusahaan Belanda waktu itu. Sehingga bisa dikatakan pada saat itu yang sesungguhnya Bule Hunter adalah pria pribumi yang haus kuasa, haus harta.

Bukan hanya itu saja, relasi perempuan pribumi dan laki-laki barat waktu itu justru memalukan bagi masyarakat pribumi dan bukan keren. Kenapa? Karena perempuan pribumi dijadikan tumbal oleh pria pribumi (biasanya bapak) yang haus kuasa. Oleh karena itu enggak heran bahwa relasi perempuan pribumi dan laki-laki barat kerap dihubungkan dengan harta dan birahi semata, di mana stigma terbentuk setelah Belanda menjajah nusantara selama 350 tahun lamanya. 

Stigma tersebut terus berkembang di kalangan pribumi meskipun nusantara merdeka dan menjadi Indonesia. Stigma tersebut terus melekat pada perempuan pribumi yang menjalin hubungan dengan pria barat meskipun kita memasuki jaman modern. Sekarang saya paham kenapa masyarakat kita kerap memberikan stigma negatif pada perempuan Indonesia yang menjalin hubungan dengan laki-laki barat.

signature

Leave a comment

Filed under Catatan, Indonesia

Catatan: Buku atau Internet?

Pepatah mengatakan bahwa buku adalah jendela dunia. Tetapi di jaman modern ini, sebenarnya selain buku, internet juga merupakan jendela dunia. Kita dapat berselancar ke mana pun kita mau tanpa batas. Kita bisa melihat dunia dan mengenyam ilmu hanya dari balik layar komputer selama terhubung dengan koneksi internet.

Saya sendiri berkenalan dengan internet pada tahun 2000. Sejak kenal dengan internet, saya sering menghabiskan waktu berjam-jam untuk mengakses internet, entah untuk berkenalan dengan orang dari berbagai belahan dunia atau membaca berbagai macam artikel. Melalui internet, saya dapat mempelajari kehidupan manusia baik untuk kepentingan pribadi maupun untuk urusan pekerjaan. Saya sangat menyukai internet. Saya gila internet.

Namun sayangnya, informasi di internet terlalu banyak dan berserakan di mana-mana. Tidak terstruktur dan bahkan susah dibuktikan kebenarannya apalagi informasi di internet bisa dipublikasi oleh siapa saja, kapan saja dan di mana saja. Belum lagi informasi-informasi tersebut bisa dihapus oleh siapa saja, kapan saja dan di mana saja. Itulah internet sebagai jendela dunia.

Meskipun gila akan internet, saya ternyata lebih menyukai buku ketimbang internet. Kenapa? Karena setidaknya saya tahu siapa yang menulisnya. Tapi sayang saya agak kurang rajin membaca walaupun saya suka membaca.

Sejak kecil, saya suka membaca tapi saya enggak punya banyak koleksi buku. Saya pun jarang pergi ke perpustakaan di sekolah. Tapi….  saya sering ke “Taman Bacaan Tintin”, sebuah perpustakaan keliling yang menyewakan komik. Paling sering saya menyewa komik serial cantik :-).

Menginjak bangku SMA, saya mulai suka membaca novel apalagi sekolah saya dekat dengan Gramedia. Ketika banyak orang suka membaca tulisan Fira Basuki, saya lebih suka baca nover terjemahan karya  novelis Inggris Barbara Cartland. Barbara Cartland menawarkan cerita cinta dengan setting di kerajaan Inggris. Asyik, seru! Tulisannya membawa imajinasi saya ke dalam cerita tersebut.

Selain Barbara Cartland, saya juga suka tulisan Paulo Coelho. Penulis asal Brazil ini menawarkan berbagai refleksi kehidupan dengan tokoh utama perempuan. Menariknya lagi, Coelho selalu membawa sosok Bunda Maria dalam cerita-cerita spiritualnya.

Jujur saja, saya enggak terlalu banyak membaca tulisan anak bangsa saat itu. Kenapa? Saya enggak tahu mana yang bagus. Saya enggak tahu siapa penulis Indonesia yang bagus.

Suatu hari, saya mulai berkenalan dengan tulisan anak bangsa. London Wild Rose karya Kusuma Andrianto. Dari situ saya baru menyadari bahwa tulisan orang Indonesia enggak kalah hebatnya dengan tulisan orang asing. Saya pun mulai membaca tulisan karya Rendra, Ahmad Tohari, A.A Navis, Ayu Utami dan juga Djenar Maesa Ayu.

Tapi seperti yang sayang bilang tadi, saya kurang rajin membaca. Kadang baca, kadang enggak. Saya lebih banyak mengakses internet daripada baca buku. Nah belum lama ini, saya mulai berkenalan dengan tulisan Pramoedya Ananta Toer. Saya baru berkenalan dengan tulisan Pramoedya Ananta Toer di usia saya yang ke 27. Ke mana saja selama ini? Payah ya?! Biarlah!

Meskipun demikian enggak ada kata terlambat. Saya pun keranjingan mebaca tulisan Pram… Seru! Asyik! Menarik!  Sayangnya buku-buku Pram yang asli susah didapatkan. Kalaupun ada, saya harus mengeluarkan uang yang cukup banyak. Tapi enggak masalah, saya enggak suka membaca buku palsu. Sebagai penulis, saya enggak suka buku saya dipalsukan. He he he.

Bisa dibilang bahwa, tulisan Pram membuat saya mengenal Indonesia lebih baik. Tulisannya dikemas secara apik dan sederhana tapi penuh makna. Apa artinya mengenal dunia luar kalau saya enggak mengenal Indonesia sama sekali?! Ya toh?! Tapi ya tapi…. saya juga harus mengerti apa yang terjadi di luar sana secara seimbang.

Bagi saya buku dan internet adalah sumber informasi yang saling melengkapi. Internet merupakan sumber referensi akan informasi sedangkan buku memberikan penjelasan akan suatu isu secara mendalam. Di jaman modern ini, mau tak mau kita harus menggunakan internet, si jendela dunia, to keep ourself updated. Tapi bukan berarti kita harus melupakan buku sebagai jendela dunia untuk memahami isu secara mendalam. FYI, I don’t like reading ebook : -) 

Kalau belum suka membaca buku, mulailah dari sekarang. Enggak ada kata terlambat.

signature

Leave a comment

Filed under Catatan, Indonesia

Notes: Social Media’s Perfect Life

Almost everybody has social media accounts these days, be it Facebook, Instagram, Path or Twitter. Social media helps us to be in touch with our long lost friends, family members, schoolmates, coworkers as well as connects us with new people. They also give us a space to have a discussion about certain issues that matter to us. At the same time, social media also gives us the opportunity to see other people’s life. But one thing about social media is that it often makes an individual feel like bad about themselves.

Since the presence of social media, many people often compare themselves or their life circumstances to other people whenever they scroll down the screen. Sometimes social media users forget that everyone has their own unique journey. I somehow feel that it is actually not healthy to be able to see other people lives through social media. Why? It’s because we start to unfairly compare ourselves to them.

Remember that everyone has their own life struggle and it just comes in different forms for each person. Not just that, some people actually find their life difficult. Unfortunately we just do not really see the difficulty that people have. Social media users often try to post their perfect life, try to show off their life’s achievements. But who really knows the story behind all those posts?

Other than that, social media can also stop us ftom having a real interaction with our friends because it creates a lazy form of friendship, without real life human interaction. Even if they do hang out together, they would just be busy with their smartphone and post stuff in social media.

That is why I deleted my Path account, I deactivated my Facebook account few weeks ago temporarily. I just find it not useful. Yet, I keep my twitter account active to keep up with the latest news and I might activate my Facebook again sometime. Arrgg technology…

signature

Leave a comment

Filed under Notes