Notes: Losing Your Body? Nah!

www.catatanfani.com (1)Many people say that once a woman becomes a mother, she will lose her body, become fat and have jiggly yet flabby body especially those who has baby delivered through c-section including me. Don’t even dream to get your body back, so they say. But here I am, I prove them wrong. You can still have a well-shape body even you have many children be it through normal delivery and/or c-section.

I started getting back to my training regime at seventh weeks postpartum. I must say that I didn’t find it easy. Sometimes I got frustrated because I didn’t seem to lose any baby fat after working out for one month. Sometimes I got frustrated or even depressed because l only run at the slow pace. Sometimes I even gave up, just sat down, did no exercises for hours and just played with my phone because I felt that I did not make any progress. 

But one day, I said to myself “Don’t be too hard on yourself. Just started again,” so I started to take it easy that time. I just forgot about the aesthetics result and just focused on the form of my exercise as well as my diet.

At the end, aesthetic result is not my main exercise’s goal but sanity is. As a result, I got my body back faster than I expected as you can see on the picture above. 

Ps: no whey protein is being used. It’s all natural diet.

Ride the bus

Kitchen: Mie Ayam

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[2017: Mie ayam]

Mie Ayam is an Indonesian style chicken noodle which is normally sold by street vendors. The dish is usually used handmade egg noodle, chicken oil, spiced chicken as well as quick boiled bok choi or pak choi. For me, mie ayam is one of my favorite comfort food whenever I feel under the weather. So here I am sharing the recipe of Mie Ayam.

Ingredients: 

  1. 500 gr of handmade egg noodles
  2. 2 pieces of chicken breast (chopped into chunks)
  3. 4 cloves  of garlic
  4. 5 pieces of small sizes of shallots
  5. 3 cm of ginger
  6. 3 cm of turmeric
  7. 1 tsp of coriander seeds
  8. 1/2 tsp of black-pepper
  9. 4 pieces of candlenuts
  10. 2 tbs of oyster cause
  11. 2 tbs of sweet soy sauce
  12. 3 pieces of leeks (chopped it finely)
  13. 1 liter of chicken stock (preferably using the real chicken stock which could be made by boiling chicken)
  14. a bunch of bok choi
  15. 1 tbs of sunflower/olive oil
  16. 5 tbs of chicken oil

Direction:

  1. For serving: prepare 5 medium size bowl, place 1 tbs of chicken oil into it; place it aside;
  2. Wash the chicken, pat it dry and place it aside;
  3. Seasoning paste: in a food processor, place ginger, garlic, shallot, candlenut, turmeric, salt and black-pepper and process them until finely ground;
  4. In a frying pan, heat sunflower oil over medium heat, add the seasoning paste and cook it for 1 minute;
  5. Place chicken chunk into the frying pan and mixed it with the seasoning paste, sweet soy sauce and oyster sauce; cook it for 7 minutes until the chicken well-cooked and place it aside;
  6. In a pot, bring the chicken stock to a boil over the high heat; place the bok choi for 2 minutes, pat it dry and place it aside
  7. In a large pot, bring the water to a boil over high heat; add the noodle and stir it quickly for up to 2 minutes; pat it dry;
  8. Place the noodle into the bowl with chicken oil and mix the noodle with the oil;
  9. Add the cooked spiced chicken, boiled bok choi as well as 1 tbs of chopped leeks on the top of noodle;
  10. Lastly, add the chicken stock into the mix and the mie ayam bowls are ready to be served.

Happy cooking!

Ride the bus

Kitchen: Scramble Spinach

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Scramble spinach with feta cheese [2016:EO]

Ingredients:

  1. 1 package of fresh spinach
  2. 2 egg white (you can add the yolk if you want)
  3. 3 tbs of feta cheese
  4. 3 garlic (finely chop)
  5. 1 tsp of butter
  6. a pinch of white pepper
  7. a pinch of salt

Direction:

  1. In a bowl, mix the egg white, garlic, white pepper and fresh spinach together; make sure that all the spinach are coated with egg;
  2. In a frying pan, melt the butter over low to medium heat for 30 seconds;
  3. Add the spinach and egg mix to the frying pan and stir the mix together over the medium heat for 4 minutes;
  4. Add the feta cheese and mix them well for another 3 minutes;
  5. Turn off the heat and transfer the scramble spinach into serving plate. You can serve it with bread or potato.

Happy cookings!

Ride the bus

Notes: On Mental Health

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Drying and dying [2018:EO]

The world marks October 10 as the World Mental Health Day. It aims to raise awareness about the mental health issue. By raising awareness about mental health, people who have mental health problem could get help as soon as possible because they are aware that they have a problem. And I know very well how useful this help can be for one.

As you might have been aware that depression and anxiety are two of mental health issues which have been openly discussed on the Internet in these last few years. Prior to that, people used to hide those problems. They felt that it is embarrassing and they felt ashamed about it because many tend to bully or mock those who are suffering from depression. As a result, many who are suffering from depression do not get help and it could get worse for some people whether some would turn to be an alcoholic, sex addicts, smoker, drug users or even commit to suicide. 

It happened to me a few years ago…

After a piece of bad news broke in 2009, I have always been sad. I was afraid that I would not have enough time to fulfil my dreams. Since then, over the years, I tried to race with time to do as much as I could. Yet, I always felt that I only did a little and it was never enough. It made me upset. I often got home cried and felt miserable. Yet, I thought it was just a simple sadness. I thought I was just being a drama queen.  

It took me years to realize that it was not just sadness as I started to get suicidal thought or suddenly become hysteric. It even landed me in the hospital several times. Since then, I knew I had a problem and I decided to seek help. Yet, I could not seek help from friends or family. I felt that they would judge me or preach to me. So, I built a wall, kept a distance from people and I tried to seek helps from professionals. It was not easy to find the right one. They offered me various solutions including anti-depressant consumption, therapy section, engaging in a religious activity as well as being physically active. I found it hard. Later I figured that exercise was the best solution among others. Yet, it requires self-discipline. 

I vividly remembered one Monday morning when I felt down and my body feeling week because I did not exercise for nearly a week because I was being lazy. That day, I realized that wonderful effect of exercise toward my mood. Since then, I always tried to make time to do it even only for 30 minutes on a daily basis. I forced myself to run even it is only 4 am and many are still sleeping. As time passed by, I become an addict, addict of exercise.  Happy with the result, I maintain until today even with various adjustment. Frankly, I did not really care about the aesthetic result of exercise as my priority is to feel good about myself in mind, body and soul.

Hence if you have a problem, don’t be ashamed to talk about it and seek for bits of help. Share with those who have similar problems, they might be able to help you or they actually might not be able to help you. Nevertheless, it is all about your willingness to acknowledge it and get help. While for you who know anyone with mental health issues, please try to acknowledge it even only by listening to them. Never ignore them especially if they are the loved one. 

Ride the bus

Indonesia: Negara Boneka dan Aliran Dana

Sejak munculnya Support Group and Resource Center on Sexuality Studies (SGRC) di Universitas Indonesia, isu Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transexual (LGBT) jadi salah satu hot topic di masyarakat Indonesia. Berbagai pihak mengeluar pendapatnya masing-masing mulai dari pejabat negara, politisi, aktivis sampai organisasi masyarakat dengan berbagai sudut pandang. Berita tentang adanya ‘aliran dana’ dari Barat untuk kelompok LGBT membuat heboh berbagai kalangan yang kurang piknik. “Kok ya baru heboh sekarang? Selama ini kemana aja? Oh pasti jarang baca laporan organisasi ya. Well, pantes! Ngana pikir organisasi enggak butuh dana dukungan?!

Lagipula, so what?! Toh dana tersebut digunakan untuk mengedukasi masyarakat termasuk pemahaman akan hal sipil masyarakat, kesehatan reproduksi, HIV/AIDS Prevention dan juga kesetaraan gender. Kan bego banget kalau ada pihak yang meminta aliran dana untuk mengedukasi masyarakat tersebut dihentikan. It’s 2016 buddy!

Pertanyaannya sekarang adalah apakah kita pernah mempertanyakan sumber dana dari kelompok garis geras dan fundamentalis yang ada di Indonesia? Apakah mereka pernah mengeluarkan laporan akhir tahun tentang kegiataan dan pendanaan mereka padahal sekarang eranya keterbukaan informasi? Pernah enggak sih kepikiran kalau mereka mungkin mendapat dana dari Timur-Tengah termasuk Saudi untuk melakukan kegiatan mereka? Lalu, apakah ada yang juga mempertanyakan dan membahas secara blak-bakan kenapa tiba-tiba ada konflik antara Sunni, Syiah dan Ahmadiyah di Indonesia padahal sebelumnya adem ayem. Kalau pun ada sektarian konflik biasanya antar agama. Lalu kenapa trendnya berbeda?

Sebagaimana kita tahu, 85 persen (dari 250 juta jiwa) penduduk Indonesia adalah umat Muslim. Hal ini menjadikan Indonesia sebagai tempat yang empuk untuk perebutan pengaruh politik atas dua Mazhab Islam Sunni dan Syiah. Apalagi hubungan Saudi dan Iran akhir-akhir kian memanas (You can find it in the Internet. It is googleable!)

Nah dulu, waktu saya sering liputan tentang kekerasan terhadap kelompok minoritas, saya bertanya pada salah satu cendekiawan Muslim, mengapa hal ini bisa terjadi? Sesama umat Islam tetapi saling membunuh, sedangkan dulu tidak seperti itu? Tentu kita masih ingat tentang kejadian Cikeusik di tahun 2011 dan kekerasan terhadap warga Syiah di Sampang tahun 2012.

Bapak tersebut kemudian menjelaskan bahwa kelompok garis keras tersebut mendapatkan aliran dana dari Saudi untuk berbagai kegiatan, termasuk melakukan kekerasan terhadap kelompok minoritas. Hal itu bukan semata dilakukan karena mereka psikopat selo tetapi akibat dari pengaruh Mazhab Islam di Indonesia antara kubu Sunni (Saudi) dan Syiah (Iran). Sangat masuk akal menurut saya. Sayangnya, si Bapak enggak memiliki bukti tertulis tentang hal tersebut.

Meskipun laju perekonomian Indonesia terus meningkat tetapi kesenjangan sosial pun terus melebar. Semakin banyak masyarakat lapar dan bodoh karena miskin dan tidak berpendidikan. Akhirnya, segelintir kelompok masyarakt tersebut gampang diiming-imingi janji surga dan nasi bungkus untuk melakukan tindak kekerasan terhadap orang lain.

Saya pun jadi ingat pada salah satu percakapan saya dengan seorang anak berusia 17 tahun di Pengadilan Cibinong, saya tanya kenapa ikut merusak masjid Ahmadiyah. Dia mengatakan pada saya bahwa dia hanya ikut-ikut saja karena ramai-ramai, padahal dia enggak tahu kenapa mereka merusak masjid Ahmadiyah. Lagipula toh bisa masuk surga, capek hidup susah terus. Saya miris mendengarnya.

Well, Iya kalau surga ada. Kalau enggak ada? Udah hidup susah di bumi, surga nggak ada lagi. Rugi bandar Bung! I mean, some greedy people are using religion to manipulate people to fight against each other simply to gain power and stay rich without making their own hand dirty? That is so bloody disgusting!

Well, menurut saya (menurut pendapat saya pribadi lho ya), kalau tren konflik Sunni-Syiah kini dialihkan ke kelompok yang lebih minoritas lagi LGBT karena mereka tidak hanya dari satu kelompok agama tertentu tapi berbagai macam, lagipula negara seperti Iran pun juga memberikan hukuman mati ke kelompok LGBT. Toh orang-orang religius (dari Islam, Kristen, Katholik dan lain-lain) tersebut nanti akan menginterpretasikan ayat dari kitab suci masing-masing. Kan lebih enak tuh?! Kroyokan. Lumayankan kelompok garis keras beserta politisi kampret yang pada cari proyek bisa dapet aliran dana dari Saudi, perut kenyang dan masuk surga lagi? Salah satunya anggota DPD yang sudah ngeblok saya di Twitter. Sekali lagi, iya KALAU surga dan neraka memang ada! Kalau enggak, gimana?!

Ingat ya, konon kabarnya ibu anggota DPD satu “main-main” sama anggota polisi yang katanya suami orang. Kemudian doi yang dulunya enggak suka sama kelompoknya habib, eh sekarang jadi BFF mereka bahkan doi sampai merubah penampilannya. Sebagai politisi di negara dengan tingkat kesenjangan sosial yang tinggi, doi selalu memainkan isu moralitas untuk mencari dukungan dari masyarakat. Ya, ketimbang ngeluarin duit banyak untuk proper education, it’s easier but not necessarily better for the recipient  kalau mereka dikasih janji surga aja toh.

Lagipula, isu moralitas itu enak dijadikan bisnis apalagi doi adalah seorang saudagar. Masak iya isu moralitas untuk melindungi masyarakat kayak udah paling bener aja?! Taik kucinglah itu! Pokoknya yang dilarang di kitab suci, dijadiin bisnis. Tentu saja salah satu duitnya dari onta-onta itu. Coba dia enggak ke Petamburan kalau itu, mungkin ceritanya beda.

“Lalu apa hubungannya aliran dana Timur-Tengah, kelompok garis keras dan LGBT?”

Well… sebagaimana kita tahu bahwa kelompok garis keras telah mengeluarkan pernyataan dengan nada mengancam dan menjijikan. Ancaman yang disebarkan melalui surat dan beredar di internet. Lebih lucunya, ancaman tersebut enggak mendapatkan respon dari pihak berwajib. Yang ada malah politisi kampret yang suka cari proyek pun berwacana untuk membuat undang-undang anti-LGBT.

Ntar mereka mungkin bilang, “Okay kita enggak akan sahkan UU Anti-LGBT, tapi ada fulusnya ye!” Sama halnya kayak UU Anti Alkohol. Lumayankan dapat duit dari sana-sini, dari brands dapet, dari pemerintah asing pun dapet. Kalau enggak percaya, main deh ke Senayan. Pasang kuping lebar-lebar!

Pertanyaan saya adalah sampai kapan Indonesia mau dijadikan sebagai tempat perebutan pengaruh kekuasaan negara-negara kaya di dunia? Sampai kapan Indonesia mau dijadikan sebagai negara boneka?

Sebagaimana kita tahu bahwa harga minyak dunia sekarang anjlok dari 145 USD per barrel menjadi 32 USD per barrel. Negara-negara penghasil minyak pun sedang pontang-panting dibuatnya. Kenapa? Karena mau enggak mau mereka harus merogoh tabungan mereka. Saudi Arabia misalnya, mereka mulai merogoh tabungan mereka untuk kebutuhan sehari-hari. Lha wong pendapatan mereka saja anjlok and life must go on. Apakah dengan begitu kemudian aliran dana ke kelompok garis keras kemudian dihentikan dan disitulah negara baru bisa melindungi hak sipil masyarakat?!

Well, not that easy baby! A country like Saudi won’t get poor! And they will continue playing their games. Dengan adanya Kaaba di Mekah, Arab Saudi masih bisa mendapatkan memperoleh penghasilan dari perjalanan haji dan umroh yang bernilai lebih dari 20 milliard USD. Tentu saja pendapatan tersebut juga datang dari umat Muslim Indonesia, termasuk mereka yang harus menjual sawah dan tanah di kampung halamannya.

Jujur saja, dulu saya bangga menjadi orang Yogya. Kenapa? Masyarakat Yogya bisa hidup berdampingan dengan harmonis apapun perbedaan yang kita miliki. Bahkan, dulu banyak negara lain yang kagum melihat Indonesia memiliki pesantren untuk waria milik ibu Maryani di Yogya. Saya sempat bertemu dengan Ibu Maryani beberapa kali. Saya kagum dengan beliau karena di pesantren tersebut waria Kristiani pun bisa melakukan ibadah. Dan sekarang mereka diancam akan ditutup. Bahkan perkembangan terakhir, pesantren tersebut telah ditutup sejak tadi malam (February 24).

Sepertinya para cecunguk tidak suka ketika Indonesia memiliki sesuatu yang bisa dibanggakan yaitu kerukunan dan keharmonisan. Para cecunguk tersebut tidak ingin masyarakat Indonesia sadar tentang apa itu hak asasi manusia dan paham akan pengtingnya ilmu pengetahuan.Ya maklum, di jaman penjajahan Belanda dulu, mereka pun tidak ingin memberikan pendidikan ke seluruh masyarakat nusantara. Kalau masyarakat nusantara pinter pasti akan ada perlawanan. Makanya yang bisa sekolah sedikit saja. Ya toh? Sadly, itu membudaya.

Lagipula Pak Menteri kan udah bilang, LGBT isu yang seksi. Ya toh?! Ngana pikir isu cuma sekedar isu?! It is about money! Mereka dapet duit banyak, situ dapet nasi bungkus dan rasa dengki. Sadly, the government work for their own welfare than us. It is about them (The bloody politicians) and not about us, the people of Indonesia.

Jujur saja, banyak politisi dan pejabat pemerintahan yang enggak menginginkan masyarakatnya berkembang. Some of them want us to stay foolish so we can be controlled with religion. They love playing God especially when one is hungry. 

Jadi, sebenernya bukanlah pemerintah atau politisi yang bisa memperbaiki kehidupan kita tapi kita sendiri. Dengan cara apa? Mengedukasi diri kita. We need to get ourselves informed properly. We should let nobody controlling us for their own good. Many wanna talk about God but as Macklemore said “God loves all his children” is somehow forgotten.

Eh tapi ya di era teknologi ini, enggak menutup nantinya yang akan melakukan perebutan kekuasaan di Indonesia adalah kubu US dan China, di mana Indonesia lagi-lagi dilihat sebagai market dengan sumber daya manusia yang ‘pas-pasan’ karena banyak orang Indonesia yang tidak mau mengedukasi diri kita sendiri untuk menjadi manusia maju dan sumber daya alam yang melimpah. Coba deh perhatikan sendiri. 

At the end, it’s about the money, it’s about the power. We can choose to be able to stand in our own feet and preserve our culture in the era of globalization, or we let ourselves to be controlled. 

Ride the bus

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: 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: My Better Half

ORG__DSC5855Suddenly I remember that day, one day in Aug 2009. The day when we found out that I am sick. It was just one year after we met for the very first time. I gave you a choice. You chose to stay with me. You chose to stand by me.

I vividly remember that early morning. It was at 4 a.m. We walked down by the small road of Nyuh Gading. It was pitch dark, it was very quiet. And there we were, you and me. As we walked side by side, I suddenly hear you crying. You broke into tears and held me tight. You promised to stand by me no matter what.

And it was six years ago. So many tears, sadness, fight, arguments and misunderstanding between you and me. Yet, there were so many laughter, happiness and so many smiles that we have been sharing together. There was some stage of our journey where we thought it’s going to be over. Yet, we chose to take time to fix it, to improve it. Now, every day we learn to be a better person for each other.

I just feel so grateful and blessed to have a man like you in my life. I wouldn’t ask for a better man to be my better half. You are just the best that I have ever had.

Ride the bus

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