Notes: Let ‘Em Talk!

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As I scrolled down my Facebook’s newsfeed, I came across to an article by The Guardian on a Philadelphia born model Amber Rose titled “Amber Rose interview: Even when I was a virgin, I was called a slut“. I must say that I have been admiring her spirit, I have also been listening to her interviews and following her Instagram as well as Twitter account to understand her perspective on women’s world, as a result, I immediately read the article because I think that Amber is an awesome woman who is outspoken about woman issue. So, I assumed that this article would be worth reading.

As I finished reading the last sentence, this article got me thinking about my personal experience. As time passes, we grew up, we learnt and we choose our own value of life. However, everything that we do, it often becomes the subject of discussion for others.

Why? First of all, because they have nothing else to talk about. Secondly, that is how society taught us. Our society constructs standard what we can and cannot do, the standard of what is right and what is wrong. I would understand that those standards are constructed based on scientific research with sufficient evidence but when it is based on morality, it is very subjective.

In my own experience, I have been called slut or gold digger even right in front of my face over and over again. It still happens until today sometimes. At first, I felt hurt but I grow thick skin by now. At least, I do something real and some (or many) recognise it.

So, if I may say….. do whatever you want to do as long as you do not hurt other people, as long as you are being responsible about it. Never do something just to please others while you are suffering from it.

Notes: The Ugly Truth

LRG__DSC6436When I returned to Indonesia last October, many told me that I have gained weight. I was afraid to admit and accept the fact that I have gained weight. Why? It is because I used to be very disciplined with my diet and exercise. It is just an ugly truth for me.

Although people told me in a joking manner, hearing the ugly truth somehow made me a bit depressed that time. Even worse, as a sensitive person, somehow I felt that I was being mocked or bullied while they might not intend to mock or bully me.

Therefore, I was thinking of losing my fat in an instant way by doing some pricey treatment and went to nearby clinic. As soon as I was sitting at the clinic, the doctor offered me a various treatment, which is crazy-expensive. So I said to myself “Should I do it? But That’s not me.”

Yet, I took the cheapest treatment acupuncture on that day. But I felt so guilty because I have been always against an instant way to be skinny. In the end, what is wrong being curvy?

I forced myself to get back to my normal routine by doing my morning running, exercise and controlling my diet with the expectation that I could go be 43 kg and lean again. I mean I am still lean but I want to be leaner.

However, my personal trainer said to me that I look better now because I look healthier than before. I am fit and not fat. All I need to do is to ignore those, who have been controlled media about the perfect female body image.

At the end of the day, being healthy is more important than being skinny. Although I am 47 kg, all my extra small size clothes are still fit me well.

Notes: Faith and Relationsh!t

LRG__DSC6447I often heard people saying “I cannot marry this person because we do not have same religion” or “I cannot marry this person because (s)he doesn’t wanna convert into x religion”. It got me thinking and wondering what love really is.

Frankly, I just do not understand when a lover asks, demands or even worse sometimes FORCES their partner to convert into certain religion or belief simply to get married, simply to prove that (s)he loves him/her.

What is the point to make them convert into certain religion, has it on the paper but they just do not believe it. Even worse, it is not uncommon that some of them would make fun of it and disrespect it because they do not believe it.

Meanwhile, if (s)he does not convert, one of them will consider her/him for not sincerely loving them. And sometimes, if (s)he does not convert, it is often translated or concluded or defined that their lover does not respect one’s parents. Really?! 

First of all, your love should not be measured based on their belief, race or social status. Secondly, you marry her/him and not her/his parents. And last but not least, you just cannot force one to convert into something that they do not believe in. I just find this dumb and stupid!

Sadly, it is pretty common practice in Indonesia because regulation only allows the legalization of marriage to be done in a religious institution. You cannot just go to the civil registry. Even worse, those religions are imported religions in this country.

Forcing an individual to convert into certain religion means that one forces others to lie to themselves. If one can lie to themselves, it is not impossible that (s)he will lie to their partner too.

You see how religions play with people’s mind. Lovers forget what love is. Lovers forget that when you love someone, you must love them unconditionally.

Notes: To Sacrifice or Not To ?

ORG__DSC5026.JPGAs I scrolled down my Facebook’s news feed this morning, I came across to a piece titled “I didn’t realize my husband was depressed until we divorced“. It was published by British media outlet Telegraph. It is a very interesting piece. Worth reading. And when I read it, I feel like deja vu.

Over the years, I learnt that the key to understanding that other people are being depressed is by looking into ourselves first. Whether are we at the right stage of mind or not? And then, we will be able to see other people’s problem.

When we are in a serious long term relationship be it being married or engaged, communication is very important to keep the relationship going. It is true that we should not ignore any behaviour-changing of our partner as humanely as possible. However, it is not as easy as it is said especially when both of them are not at the right state of mind.

In that situation, the couple then normally will not be able to communicate rationally, the couple will not be able to see things clearly. The woman will always sound nagging and the man will always sound angry all the time. And if the couple is not willing to see it within themselves and admit it (that they are not at the right stage of mind or depressed), it’s hard to change the situation.

The thing is many people do not want to accept or admit that themselves or their partner are being depressed because many still consider or associate depression with mental illness, which is embarrassing for many.

It then causes depression rooted in oneself and makes the situation worse because of ignorance. Screaming. Yelling. Glass shattered. Hospital. Self-harm. Committing suicide. Getting drunk. Saying nasty things to each other. Etc. It can be very horrible and traumatic.

For me, the only solution is that I have to learn to love myself before I love other people. “Loving yourself” might sound easy but if you are an ambitious person and living in the fast-moving world yet competitive, it’s just not easy.

Why? You just want to achieve more and more for yourself. And when two ambitious people get together, “loving yourself” becomes difficult because the individuals have to sacrifice one thing and another for the sake of the relationship. The question is are we ready to do so, place the relationship before the career?

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Notes: Fear Nobody

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ISIS-linked terrorist group attacked Jakarta on Thursday (Jan. 14, 2016) [2016:EO]

The Jakarta terror attack, which occurred in Jalan MH Thamrin on Thursday (Jan. 14), was shocking for many. It occurred during the day light with the location nearby to Presidential Palace, Foreign Embassy Offices as well as government building. It was even shocking that the terror group did not only use assembled bombs to create chaos in the city but they also conducted assault by firing gun to the police officers. It was pretty frightening.

Anyway, Friday morning, I nearly cancelled my morning routine, running on the street, because I was worried. I said to myself  “What about if those douchebags still go around the town and spread the terror? What about if they suddenly pull AK 47 or M16 especially I run Taman Suropati, Menteng.”

I kept thinking while I turned on my computer to write articles. I opened my browser to see what the latest update. Unfortunately, my internet did not work. I kept restarting but it still did not work. “Fvck it! I’m going to run. I am not afraid!

Over the years, I learnt that I must not fear any radical or terrorist group or anybody because that is what they want us to be, to be afraid. I am not afraid to any radical group or anybody, I am not even afraid to die.  If it happens to be our last day, I just have to be prepared

 

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Notes: The Wanderer

IMG_5977This morning, I came across to an eye-opening article written by Sridhar Pappu titled “Meet the New York Bachelors Who Yearn for Something More” in the New York Times. It was published on January 7.  As a woman, I often wonder why many men (especially good looking and successful one) stay single and just like to sleep around –I am not saying that there are no women who sleep around as well-. I also often wonder whether they want to be a relationship and build a family or not. If not, why? If yes, why do they still stay single?

As I read this article, I somehow found the answers that I have been looking for that many of them actually long for something more.

It then got me thinking. When we are young, engaging in serial dating can be fun sometimes until we realize that it is just wasting our time and energy. But the sad truth is we are not getting younger.

There will be a time where we want to have someone to come home to and share our story about anything even the silliest thing. However, being in a relationship is not easy, getting married is not a magical as Cinderella story either. Why? It is because there are so many things that we have to give up and sacrifice. It even gets harder when both of them are ambitious people.

Even sometimes, you might come across to the point where your marriage or your relationship does not work anymore and it must be ended. But then again, leaving the one that we loved and started another relationship is not as easy as changing your clothes. It requires a lot of efforts. It is just very tiring.

In our life, we often long for an intimate relationship with the right one but finding the right one seems to be hard. Yet, the good news is there is no deadline to find the right one.

Notes: Women’s Voices

Bali Undercover by Malcolm Scott [2015:EO]

Bali Undercover by Malcolm Scott [2015:EO]

When I published “Bule Hunter: Money, Sex and Love”  in September 2014, I received a stream of criticism in the net from many people. I would have understood that they criticized my book after they read it but they have not. They criticized it based on some media coverages. Those are including many Indonesian  women, who are in relationship with Western Men and feel offended with my writing as well as other people are who simply narrow minded.

Some of them said that it was just a bunch of gossip, some of them said that it’s not a journalism work because it’s very subjective yadda yadda yadda (Well honey, it’s hard to find an objective journalism work these days. Media is controlled by companies who are linked to govt). Anyway, there were big wave of nasty comments coming toward me. It was terrifying! 

Frankly, I was shocked reading those comments. I refused to read further for few weeks. But I must say that I am grateful because  those haters actually  inspired me  to write my next book.

So when I went to  Times Bookstore in Plaza Singapura, I saw this book and purchased one. I read nearly half of the book within few hours over few glasses of Chardonnay. Since I read the title, I already assumed that it would have similar content to my book Bule Hunter. And YES IT IS!

It talks about Indonesian women, Western men, Indonesian men, western women,money, sex and  relationship. However, it seems nobody attacking the Australian author Malcolm Scott. At least, I didn’t hear about it.

Is it because the author is a man? Is it because the author is a Westerner? Or is it because he choose a soft title instead of Bule Hunter?! Or is it because it’s written in English and doesn’t get a lot of media exposure in Indonesia (if I understand correctly)?

Oh well, we are still living in an era and place where women can hardly say their voices loudly and bluntly! 

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Notes: Sustainable Business Practice in Indonesia

ORG__DSC5792.JPGDuring Soeharto administration, the Indonesian government had little or no interest in sustainable business practice because it was just gonna benefit the ordinary people, and it would not help the elites.

Meanwhile, the elites did not care about the condition of workers, environment, jungle, the local community or the urban poor *reflection from Indonesian Haze problem and conversation with former Adidas’s sweatshop worker.

Notes: Escape

“I said to myself that I wanted to escape from Jakarta at the end of 2014. I would go anywhere as long as I am not in Jakarta, not even in Indonesia. My mind and my heart were never at peace. All I had in mind was leaving Jakarta to escape from all the bad experiences. Alone. Far away from home. For a little while. Finally, I had the opportunity to do so, studying in North America for a while. Alone. Far away from home.

While waiting for my departure, I tried to keep myself busy. I tried to run faster and further.  I tried to get the best rest with the help of some medication. Meanwhile, when I was awake, I tried to work out before I did my activities. At the same time, I tried building a high rise fort around me so I could keep my distance from people. I run. I worked. I read. I exercised. I slept. I avoided meeting people. I turned out to be a real loner and cold-hearted.

Some said that my routine was not normal. I woke up at 2 or 3 a.m, wrote, run, gym, worked and fell asleep by 7 pm. I didn’t care what people said. In my defence, I just tried to get myself together. I tried to love myself.

I thought I was a success but it seems that I was not. My mind was still troubled, my soul was still screaming and I was still crying. As a result, while I am here, I let myself to be the old me and fell into the ugly me. I wonder if it is because I haven’t forgiven things that happened in the past and used all the activities to cover my sadness? I wonder if it is because I forgot being grateful again. It could be.

Now, another turbulence is approaching again. It is coming closer as time is ticking. I am afraid. I am worried. I am afraid if it’s going to happen again. I heard that tone. My head is spinning around, my heart is pounding so fast, I feel lost. I feel that I don’t know what I have to do. God, I’m lost. I want to escape again.

ZnRwAFYCSLSy8DiIT3qVUgA few months ago, I read an article about promiscuity, women and men in the Globe and Mail. The title caught my eyes “The Truth is Sleeping Around Isn’t All That Empowering“. The article was written by Margaret Wente. I read the article over and over again for a few weeks. I tried to make up my mind whether I would agree or disagree with the author’s argument.

A glance or by ONLY reading the title, I thought that the author must be very conservative. Why?  Coming from a society, which ‘glorify’ religious and cultural value, sexuality has always been seen as a bad thing and has always been linked to a moral issue. Somehow it shapes my perspective, I often think everybody will think the same way. Therefore, whenever people making a negative comment about women and female sexual freedom of expression, I tend to close my ears/eyes and walk away.

However, I was wrong. The article had nothing to do with religious or cultural value at all. It was not a judgmental article against female promiscuity. It was about ourselves, about respecting and valuing ourselves at the same times.

After reading Ms Wente’s article over and over again, I asked myself why an individual, be they woman or man, is sleeping around? These are my answers: Some people are sleeping around because they are afraid of commitment; some are sex addicts and sex adventurer; some are looking for acceptances; and some are using sex as a temporary reliever from sadness, depression or frustration. Sex then becomes meaningless; we then become just sexual objects for others especially when we do not enjoy it.

So then I asked myself again, is that kind of sex that we wanted, meaningless sex without even gaining a friendship? Promiscuity might be fun for some. Men can try a different kind of vagina, while women can try a different kind of penis; and then both can experience a different kind of orgasms from the excellent one, boring one to nothing at all.

However, we are mankind with feelings. Many of us are not only seeking physical pleasure but also affection, companion, acceptance and also respect from others when (s)he is being with its opposites sex or same-sex partners.

One of the examples of the sexual adventurer who is longing for affection is Samantha Jones, a fictional character on American TV Series. If you happen to be a fan of Sex and The City, you must know Samantha. She is portrayed to be a promiscuous woman yet very successful in her career. Samantha does not care what the society said about her lifestyle (engaging in casual sex with many sexual partners). However, later, she ends up to be in a relationship with Smith, a waiter-cum-actor.

Samantha manages to stay in the relationship for four years. But she then decides to end the relationship due to their personal career, routine and also goals. Samantha points out that as much as she loves Smith, she loves to be alone.

For me, these scenes remind me that a cold heart promiscuous person is actually also longing for affection and has feelings. Yet, there are just a lot to take to stay in the relationship.

Having said that, everyone has their own choice to please their body and fulfil their physical need. At the same time, it is worth noting that we are mankind with feeling and heart. Nevertheless, although one has no interest to be in a relationship with their sexual partner,  it is important that one just treats them properly and respectfully. Why? So they do not feel that they are an only meaningless sexual object or just a piece of meat but a human being with feeling and sensitivity, treat them with respect.

Notes: So I Run

Trying to catching up on my time [2014: E R]

Trying to catching up on my time [2014: E R]

When I am upset and depressed, I run. While I am running, I am crying. Nobody knows but I feel good about it. Nobody sees the tears behind the shade that I  wear; nobody sees that there is a weak and fragile soul behind the strong body. Nobody.

At the end, everyone has their own struggle that they have to deal with. Hence, I prefer to run. It gives me time to talk to myself and do a self reflection. So I run, I run as far and as fast as I can shake my burden away.

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You Never Miss What You Had Until It’s Gone

ORG__DSC6329It was 10:06 p.m. when I stepped into the house last night. I just got home from watching the premiere of Indonesian film “A Copy of My Mind” at 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. I felt restless and extremely exhausted. All I thought about was good night sleep. After I finished the shower and got ready to bed, I heard my phone beeping. It was from a good friend of mine. Yet, I did not answer his message until I woke up this morning.

Beb,” my friend wrote.

Yes,” I answered.

“I want to break up (with my lover). I’m a sex addict and he said to me that if I slept with other guys, we’re done” My friend wrote.

“Well, if it is the best for you then go ahead. But remember, we have a certain condition that everybody cannot just accept it easily. Unless you enjoy being alone and do not need or want to have somebody to come home to or make you feel complete, then you should break up and continue the adventure.” I went on,

“At the end, casual sex only gives us temporary happiness and temporary sense of acceptance. Those hot, rich and handsome guys normally give no shit about us at all. As soon as they’re done, they are just gonna go.” I continued.

“So I think, we have to ask to ourselves ‘Why do we want to trade one great guy with a beautiful personality and most importantly loves us so much, who also can accept us the way we are, with those dickheads? What are we looking for?’. As they say ‘You never miss what you had until it’s gone.'” I said.

True,” he answered.

Sometimes we just take our lives for granted until we lose everything and regret it. When it is gone, it is gone.

PS: This writing was inspired by my conversation with a good friend of mine. Of course, I shared this story with my friend’s permission.