Jakarta: A Father, A Janitor and A Scavenger 

When I returned to Jakarta from Canada, I just realized how polluted Jakarta’s air is. This condition has made me thinking twice about my morning routine of doing street running on daily basis. However, instead of discontinue my morning routine, I decided to run very early. Normally I do it at 4 a.m. It might sound crazy but that is the only time where I can breathe a little bit of fresh air in the city.

My new activity somehow has opened my eyes about the other side of life of Jakartan. At 4 a.m, there are still many young people hanging out in one of the most popular Jakarta public park Taman Suropati. Based on my observation, some of them are having a fun chat, some are having a serious discussion, some are singing or dancing and some are having a very very very late dinner or super super early breakfast. Meanwhile, the city janitors are getting ready to sweep the street and some street food vendors are cleaning up their cart, eating utensil and getting ready to go home.

At the first early days, I somehow notice how dirty Taman Suropati is. Many people just leave out plastic waste, tissue or paper at the park. They simply do not care to throw it a proper place. I must say that it is very upsetting to see Jakartans just throwing plastic waste in the park. It just made the park look dirty and ugly. Yet, I also notice that some scavengers actually take the advantage from the dirty environment whereby they can collect those garbage and turn it into some cash. Still, it does not mean that I agree that they do not throw the garbage to the bin. So, I decided to talk to one of them.

Khodir, a Jakarta-based janitor [2016:EO]

His name is Mr. Khodir. He is a 47 years old janitor, who works for Jakarta Provincial Government. His duty is to sweep the street along Sunda Kelapa Mosque area and the official residence of vice president in Menteng area. He works eight hours a day and starts at 5 a.m. Normally, he would finish his job by 5 pm with four hours of break in between.

As a janitor, he told me that he earns 2.7 million Rupiah. Unfortunately, he sometimes receives his salary once in three months whereby his salary will be piled up within three months. Although he receives a huge amount at the end, he simply cannot support his family properly because he does not have enough saving. As a result, he has to collect plastic waste and sell it. From that activity, he could generate money for approximately 50,000 Rupiah.

It is actually very saddening knowing the fact  that while he believes that he has a steady job to support his family, this condition somehow has “forced” him to be a scavenger to make sure there is always an adequate food for his family on the table and provide a proper education for his children. 

Life is hard in Jakarta. It might be just as hard as another’s life in big cities across the world. For ordinary yet uneducated people, some of them would prefer to work their ass off, earn small amount of money and stay away from the dirty jobs, meanwhile some would choose to engage in dirty activity to earn big buck simply to meet up with big city’s lifestyle. It is you choosing it for yourselves.

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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: God and Religion

SONY DSCThere is nothing new under the sun, so I write the same issue again. 

The concept of belief and religion has always been fascinating to me. The dynamic of our daily life leads me to wonder why religion has divided and categorised us as a human being and place us into a different place.

When I was a kid, I often wondered why neighbour chose to be Islam, and my family decided to be Catholic? Why is a friend of mine Hindu? Is it true that particular religion better than others? Is it true if one convert from one religion to other religion, would commit sin?

And when I was a teenager, I asked myself what religion is? Who created religion in the first place? Do we have to have a religion? What about being an atheist? Will we go to hell if we don’t believe in God? Do heaven and hell even exist?

I had nowhere to go find those answer back at that time. I did not know what kind of book I should read to find the answer. There was no way that I could find the answer at school nor in the family. It is because I am living in a society where everyone has been tied to a specific religion since the second we were born.

But as I entered university, I started to understand that religion is just a product of social construction. Nothing less, nothing more. And I do agree with that. However, I always do believe that our existence happens because of God. I refused to understand all the scientific argument about our life because it is just too complicated to understand.

And yes, I do believe with the existence of God. God is the most straightforward answer to our life existence. Having said that, one can always believe in God without being tied to a particular religion. Yet, my faith in God is not strong. It comes and goes.

For me, religion is a set of concept about the way we live our lives and the things that we consider essential. It is a guide for us to live our life accordingly. It talks about kindness. It talks about love. It talks about injustice. It also talks about wickedness. Religion is a set of a reminder of how we should do good while we live our lives. That’s all.

In these last four years, I have been learning about Christianity. Why? It is because I want to search and find the balance between mind, body and soul.

Yet,  having myself learning about Christianity, I still do not consider myself as a Christian or Catholic or even a religious person. I still have no interest to engage in church activity. But I go to Sunday service, I carry prayer pocketbook, and I have a great interest in reading the bible to understand about Christianity and religion. And ay… I even had a considerable tattoo cross on my back.

As I completed reading the old testament and new testament,  I learnt that bible content a set of beautiful teaching on how we should treat each other as human beings, an excellent reminder on how we should live our lives as part of the community.  Bible is a book of wisdom and love.

A few days ago, someone asked me why does one have to go to church to know about the concept of being kind to others? So I answered “It is because we, human being, are arrogant to always feel knowing everything; while sometimes we forget and go astray. It is always good to have a reminder.

But some event of life showed me another side of the coin. It showed that many people tie themselves into religion because they actually feel insecure about the reality of life. They seek comfort within the bible and look for a bible verse, which comforts him or her.

I do the same. I seek for comfort words when I am facing difficulty, which I could not find it from other people. I usually ask from either book -including bible- or music.

Yet, they quote a bible verse bit by bit without having a full of understanding of it. Later, they use it to judge others and justify their own action. Why? Because they believe that God would always forgive and save us.

You see …. one might read the bible daily. One might know how to preach about it also. One might engage in some church activity. Even, there is no Sunday service that one is going to miss as much as possible. 

Yet, what’s the point of being very religious and have a strong faith in God but have no idea to implement those religious teaching? It just talks the talk? But in the end, implementing spiritual value is our own choice, we would reap what we sow. 

As I learnt, I always feel good when I do good; I still feel restless when I do wrong to others. It has nothing to do with religion.

Ride the bus

Notes: Gossiping

DSCF2832The reason why people like to talking bad about other people or gossiping because that’s the only way to put themselves in the conversation and other’s people mind. While they usually would not be in anybody’s mind. They realise that they are nobody, living nobody’s life and they want to be noticed. So…. anything that ‘nobody’ can say to put themselves in mind or on the mouth of somebody, that is what they are going to do and continue to do. Right?

 

Notes: Give A Hand

_DSC3916Sometimes we want to help someone, who is going astray because we know that (s)he is actually a good person inside. But  I realize that we cannot help somebody who actually doesn’t want to help themselves . Or they even don’t think that they might need help from anyone. Should we bother to give a hand?

 

Reflection: Do Good

I read the book of James this morning. I come across to an interesting line. It was James 2:14-15, 25. It says “If someone claims to have faith but has no deeds, can such faith save them? If faith isn’t accompanied by action, is dead.  As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.”

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Spirituality: Growing Up Prayer

With each new day that dawns I am growing up, O God. It is not too soon to start thinking of what I want to be. I think it is very hard to make right decision. But I pray that you will help and guide me, show me what to do and let me share my talents. When you show me, grant me courage to be generous enough to do what you want. Amen

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Spirituality: Prayer Against Depression

O Jesus Christ, when all is darkness and we feel our weakness and helplessness, give us the sense of Your presence, Your love and Your strength. 

Help us to have a perfect trust in Your protecting love and strengthening power so that nothing may frighten or worry us. For living close to you, we shall see Your hand, Your purpose and Your will through all things. Amen.  ** By Saint Ignatius of Loyola

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Spirituality: Litany of Humility

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus.
That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

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BJ: Shelter in Time of Storm

The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom should I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom should I be afraid? When evildoer close in on me to devour my flesh, it is they, my adversaries and enemies, who stumble and fall.

Even if my army encamps against me, my heart will not succumb to fear; even if war breaks out against me, I will not have my trust shaken.

There is only one thing I ask of the Lord, just one thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life so that I may enjoy the beauty of the Lord and the gaze of his temple. 

For He will hide me in His shelter in times of trouble. He will conceal me under the cover of His tent and place me high upon a rock. I am confident that I will behold the goodness of the Lord in the land of living. Place your hope in Lord, be strong and courages in your heart, and place your hope in the Lord. Amen. (Psalm 27)

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