Photo: Home Cooked Indonesian Lunch

Tumis pucuk labu, hati ayam bakar dan sambal bawang [2013: E O]

Tumis pucuk labu, hati ayam bakar dan sambal bawang [2013: E O]

Tumis daun singkong teri, ayam goreng dan sambel terasi [2013: E O]

Tumis daun singkong teri, ayam goreng dan sambel terasi [2013: E O]

Cah sawi hijau tauge, bandeng goreng, terong goreng, tempe goreng dan sambel terasi [2013: E O]

Cah sawi hijau tauge, bandeng goreng, terong goreng, tempe goreng dan sambel terasi [2013: E O]

Sambel terasi, tauge dan terong [2013: E O]

Sambel terasi, tauge dan terong [2013: E O]

Tumis kacang panjang [2013: E O]

Tumis kacang panjang [2013: E O]

Pepes Ikan Kembung [2013: E O]

Pepes Ikan Kembung [2013: E O]

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Indonesia: A Letter To Pak Beye

People attend a candlelight vigil at Proclamation Monument in central Jakarta on Tuesday night (August 28th) to pray and show support for Shia Muslims in Sampang, Madura after local Sunni Muslims attacked the community, killing two men and burning dozens of homes. Hundreds attended the Malam Seribu Lilin (Night of a Thousand Candles). [2012: Oktofani]

People attend a candlelight vigil at Proclamation Monument in central Jakarta on Tuesday night (August 28th) to pray and show support for Shia Muslims in Sampang, Madura after local Sunni Muslims attacked the community, killing two men and burning dozens of homes. Hundreds attended the Malam Seribu Lilin (Night of a Thousand Candles). [2012: Oktofani]

Dear Pak Beye,

I am a citizen. I am a journalist. As a journalist, I like to observe, I like to listen to my source when they tell me a story. I do not interrupt them. I let them  take all the time that they need. It is because I realize that people like to be listened to.

Since I started my career in journalism, I often covered stories on human rights and legal issues. As a result, I am very aware of human rights issues now. There is a saying in journalism “Bad news is good news“. And working as a journalist in Indonesia, I would find ‘good news‘ very easily. It is because everyday I see and hear s about so many  cases of human rights violations in this beloved country.

It is very saddening to see that the number of violent attacks on religious minorities keeps increasing each year. Setara Institute found that  there were 216 cases of violent attacks on religious minorities in 2010, 244 cases in 2011 and 264 cases in 2012.

The victims of the attacks mentioned in the report belonged to religious communities including Catholic and Protestant Christians, and Islamic groups Shia, Sunni and Ahmadiyah.

Some people say that journalistic duties are to JUST write down the fact and present it to the public, we must not be involved. That is so true. But sometimes, I questioned myself how can I help the victims? I don’t want to be a hero. But I am a human with heart and feeling.

Ten Shiites from Sampang, Madura, East Java, are heading to Jakarta on bicycles to meet President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and directly convey their complaints over being expelled from their own village in August 2012.

Ten Shiites from Sampang, Madura, East Java, are heading to Jakarta on bicycles to meet President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and directly convey their complaints over being expelled from their own village in August 2012.

Norma Manalu, an activist from Aceh, speaks at a June 4th gathering about women’s rights in Aceh, at Hotel Acacia in Jakarta. Activists say they are not against Sharia Law but question the way it is being implemented.

Norma Manalu, an activist from Aceh, speaks at a June 4th gathering about women’s rights in Aceh, at Hotel Acacia in Jakarta. Activists say they are not against Sharia Law but question the way it is being implemented.

My heart beat stopped when I saw women crying because they could not use their church for worshiping God on Sunday. I cried when I heard that three Ahmadiyah followers were killed in West Java.

I was speechless when I heard a Syiah  follower had nothing to say to his four years old boy that they no longer have house because their house has been burned down by extremists in Sampang, Madura, East Java.  I wanted to scream to the government of Aceh for regulating women’s clothing and movement in Aceh as if there are not more important things to be involved in.

Akh…. Indonesia!  Don’t you remember what your teacher taught you in the class when you were at Elementary School? They taught us about Pancasila and Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity).

Akh… Indonesia! We forgot how to respect each other. We forgot the value of humanity. We forgot our national motto, Bhinneka Tunggal Ika . We just care about ourselves and be selfish instead.

Indonesia! We forgot that the Indonesian Constitution has guaranteed its citizen to choose and practice their religion. Yet, Ahmadi cannot use their mosque and some Christians cannot use their churches to worship God.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has just received theWorld Statesman  Award for promoting religious freedom  in Indonesia, while in reality your people cannot  practice their belief and religions in safety.  They come to you to convey their problem, yet you don’t even have five minutes for them. Should you wait until the table turn on you?

Bapak SBY, they are your children. They consider you as a father hence they come to you. Please kindly open your eyes, open your ears and open your heart to them.  Help them justice.

Bapak presiden, they might not have a high education but they know the value of humanity. Open your heart, open your door for them. It is ridiculous that they should come to you because the local government were too blind and to dumb to hear their problem.  We all just want to live peacefully in our home country.

Bapak presiden, if you were a real soldier, you should act like it. If you are a good father, then you should act like one. If you are a good president, then be a good president. The extremists have insulted you big time but you still give them space. That’s unfortunate.

Oh here… I have a song for you Pak Beye “Dear Mr. President” by Pink. I hope you enjoy it.

Love

Ride the bus

An FPI-Free Indonesia supporter holds a sign at a rally attended by about 50 people in front of the National Police Headquarters in Jakarta on May 10th, 2012. The group is demanding a stop to violence committed in the name of religion. [2012: Oktofani Elisabeth]

An FPI-Free Indonesia supporter holds a sign at a rally attended by about 50 people in front of the National Police Headquarters in Jakarta on May 10th, 2012. The group is demanding a stop to violence committed in the name of religion. [2012: Oktofani Elisabeth]

Indonesian Youth's Express their disappointment to the government because Lady Gaga had to cancel her sold-out show in Indonesia following protests by Islamic hard-liners and conservative lawmakers, who said her sexy clothes and dance moves will corrupt young people [2012: Oktofani]

Indonesian Youth’s Express their disappointment to the government because Lady Gaga had to cancel her sold-out show in Indonesia following protests by Islamic hard-liners and conservative lawmakers, who said her sexy clothes and dance moves will corrupt young people [2012: Oktofani]

The protesters called President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono “banci,” which literally translates to transvestite, saying he was a coward for not disbanding Ahmadiyah. [2011: Oktofani Elisabeth]

The protesters called President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono “banci,” which literally translates to transvestite, saying he was a coward for not disbanding Ahmadiyah. [2011: Oktofani Elisabeth]

Notes: Tiring Trip To Yogyakarta

What a tiring 15 hours road trip from Jakarta to Yogyakarta on Saturday?! But I’m happy that I did this trip because I could  escape from the hustle bustle of Jakarta for few days.

Anyway, this is my second road trip from Jakarta to Yogyakarta. I usually would prefer to take 8 hours of night executive train or an hour of flight, but this time I somehow want to take this long tiring trip. I don’t know why on earth I wanna do this.

Taking the south route from Jakarta to Cikampek – Cipularang – Bandung – Cileunyi – Rancaekek – Nagreg – Malangbong –  Ciawi – Ciamis – Banjar – Lumbir – Banyumas – Buntu – Sumpiuh – Kebumen – Kulonprogo – Purworejo – Wates – Yogyakarta.

Left Jakarta at 8 a.m, arrived in Yogyakarta at 11: 30 pm. Stopped in a couple of places for lunch and fuel. Oh what a tiring road trip?!

On my way to Yogyakarta, I saw a terrible accident of motorcycle was run by a truck somewhere in Central Java around 7 pm. It was shocking. I was shocked. But I did not want to stop to check out. My car was also close, very close run by couple of big vehicle a couple of times, truck and bus.

All those truck and bus drivers were just so crazy. They just want to get to their destination as fast as possible without thinking about their own and other people safety. Why on earth you wanna arrive in your destination an hour earlier by risking yourself?! Don’t you think about your family at home?! Jesus!

I’m not sure that I wanna take this road trip to Yogyakarta again. But who knows? I always change my mind.

I would take a north route on my way back to Jakarta as it is faster.

Ummm I got not much to say here…. My mind is not at peace. So I end my writing here.
Ride the bus

Indonesia: Jamu, Vagina and Libido

A traditional homemade jamu seller in Pasar Pujokusuman, Yogyakarta

A traditional homemade jamu seller in Pasar Pujokusuman, Yogyakarta [2013: E O]

Since I was child, I have been introduced to jamu by my parents.  Nearly every day, my grandmother always bought me a glass of kunir asem (kunyit asam) or beras kencur from Bu Tarmi, a neighbor of mine who made homemade jamu.   Beras kencur is believed to help me to overcome coughing; while kunir asem is believed to cool down the body from fever.

Jamu is a traditional herbal medicine, which is made from parts of plant either from its roots, leaves, fruit and also bark; such as tamarind, turmeric, ginger, papaya leaf, curcuma and also bratawali. Some of jamu tastes sweet but some of them taste very bitter.

As I understand, there are many type of jamu which are specifically made to cure illness such as stiffness, dizziness, fever, high cholesterol, itching, diabetes and hepatitis. While there are also some of jamu are made to improve sexual pleasure either to increase men sex drive such as purwoceng and tongkat ali  and also to tighten the women’s vagina such as galian rapat, rapat wangi or empot ayam.

A traditional homade jamu seller was making a glass of galian rapat, which is believed to tighten vagina

A traditional homade jamu seller was making a glass of galian rapat, which is believed to tighten [2012: E O]

Unfortunately since I moved to Bali then to Jakarta, I could not find any good homemade jamu. Many of those jamu just tastes like a glass of mineral water with a little bit of food coloring. Or perhaps, I just have not found the proper place that sells proper  homemade jamu.

Other than that, despite the fact there are many instant jamu sold in the pharmacy or supermarket, I would not buy it because it does not have the same taste as the homemade jamu. I just want a real homemade jamu. Period!

Therefore whenever I visit Yogyakarta, I often try to go to Pasar Pujokusuman to buy a homemade jamu from an old lady, who has been selling  for many years [unfortunately, I have never asked what her name is] . She always is concocting the remedy as the customer order the jamu so she can make a fresh glass of jamu for the customer.

'I would not make jamu galian rapat for unmarried woman'  said a traditional homemade jamu seller.

‘I would not make jamu galian rapat for unmarried woman’ said a traditional homemade jamu seller [2012: E O]

Every time I visit her stall in Pasar Pujokusuman, I always buy a glass of galian rapat, galian singset and also kunyit sirih. But oddly enough, if a female customer wants to buy a glass of galian rapat, rapat wangi or empot ayam [type of jamu which is believed to tighten the vagina], she always asks the customer whether she is married or not, instead of asking whether she is virgin or not. Weird, isn’t?

I wonder if she would ask a male customer, who wants to buy purwoceng or tongkat ali jamu [type of jamu which is believed to increase male sex drive], the same questions. *sigh*

Well I guess as I am living in a ‘religious’ country, consuming galian rapatrapat wangi or empot ayam is considered to be sinful if you are not married because it is then  letting somebody to do a free sex with a good quality vagina. But who gives a damn about it anyway?! You can always lie about your marital status just for a glass of homemade jamu. No?

So if you have never tried to drink jamu or you wanna tighten your vagina or increase the sex drive,  you better try it. I can tell you that it works well to my body. Other than that, it tastes good and very cheap.

Drinking a glass of fresh homemade 'jamu galian rapat'

Drinking a glass of fresh homemade ‘jamu galian rapat’ [2012: E R]

Ride the bus

Catatan: Belajar dari Petugas Kebersihan Bandara Ahmad Yani

Marilah saling membantu satu sama lain dengan sukarela [Picture: C P]

Ada suatu kejadian yang menarik saat saya berkunjung ke Semarang untuk melakukan liputan khusus tiga minggu lalu. Seorang petugas kebersihan di Bandara Ahmad Yani dengan sabar mengajari pengunjung bandara yang asing dengan kloset duduk.

Hari itu, saya berangkat ke Semarang dengan pesawat Garuda pukul 5:50 pagi. Setelah menempuh perjalanan udara selama kurang lebih satu jam, pesawat mendarat di Bandara Internasional Ahmad Yani pukul 7:00.  Saya enggak tahu apa yang harus saya lakukan di Semarang sepagi itu karena saya baru akan menemui nara sumber saya pada pukul 1 siang.

Mata berat. Saya masih ngantuk. Saya butuh kafein untuk membuat saya tetap terjaga. Namun sayang, saya enggak melihat adanya decent coffee shop di terminal kedatang Bandara Ahmad Yani. Ummm…. Baiklah! Ketimbang saya komplen lebih baik saya cuci muka saja di rest room  agar lebih segar.

Namun lagi-lagi, ada satu hal yang hendak membuat saya kesal. Sa… ngat kesal.

Jam tangan saya menunjukkan pukul 7: 22 menit. Hari masih pagi namun antrian enam orang perempuan tua sudah mengular di kamar mandi perempuan. Mereka semua berbalutkan baju kebaya sederhana dilengkapi dengan kain selendang sebagai penutup kepala. Dari cara mereka berbicara, mereka sepertinya datang dari Tegal atau Cilacap.

Sedangkan di salah satu bilik toilet, seorang petugas kebersihan sibuk membersihkan salah satu bilik toilet dengan kloset duduk yang basah kuyup di mana-mana, baik dari kloset duduknya sendiri, dinding pembatas, pintu dan juga lantai.

Selesai membersihkan bilik toilet, petugas kebersihan tersebut mendekati salah seorang perempuan tua yang hendak masuk ke dalam bilik toilet.

Bu… ngertos caranipun ngagem wc duduk mboten? (Bu tahu cara pakai wc duduk enggak?)” tanya petugas kebersihan dengan ramah dan sabar.

Yen mboten, kula ajari. (Kalau enggak tahu, saya ajari” tambahnya.

Si ibu yang hendak masuk ke dalam bilik toilet tersebut pun menerima tawaran dari si petugas kebersihan. Dengan ramah dan sabar, petugas kebersihan tersebut mengajarkan ibu tersebut bagaimana menggunakan kloset duduk.

Saya yang tadinya merasa kesal karena panjangnya antrian, terhentak melihat kejadian tersebut. Si petugas kebersihan dengan senang hati dan sabar membatu para pengunjung bandara yang asing dengan penggunaan kloset duduk.

Saya penasaran dengan motivasi si petugas kebersihan. Saat antrian telah habis, saya pun bertanya pada petugas kebersihan tersebut.

“Kenapa Ibu mau ngajari ibu-ibu tadi untuk menggunakan kloset duduk?” tanya saya

“Ya… mereka kan datang dari desa. Mereka asing dengan kloset duduk. Saya lebih baik ngajari mereka satu per satu agar nantinya kalau mereka menemui kloset duduk lagi, mereka tahu cara menggunakannya. Bukan jongkok di kloset duduk atau pipis di lantai.” tuturnya sembari membersihkan wastafel.

“Toh, kita sama-sama perempuan. Jadi ndak masalah.” tambahnya.

Kejadian ini mengajarkan saya untuk berbesar hati membantu sesama tanpa mengharapkan imbalan sepeserpun, apalagi mengingat gaji mereka yang kecil. Saya yakin, bukan imbalan duniawi yang mereka dapatkan namun imbalan surgawi yang akan mereka dapatkan.

Sayang, saya lupa menanyakan namanya.

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