Tag Archives: Reflection

Notes: A Conscious Consumer 

I don’t know exactly how many clothes I have been purchasing in these last ten years. It must be hundreds or could have been thousands. And where are those clothes now? Most of them have been donated, given out or thrown away. Why? Those were either already washed out, destroyed or simply out of trend. Well you know….I was one of those consumers who “sees now, buys now” but I have been trying to change to be a conscious consumer in the past few years now. Why? Here is my story 
Back in 2011, I had an interesting conversation with the domestic assistant who worked in my apartment in Jakarta. She told me that she used to work in a garment factory. She also mentioned about her workload, about her salary as well as a heartbreaking incident story where she was pregnant but unfortunately she had miscarriage when she worked over-time in the factory. She lost her baby. I am not sure whether it was work-related or not. Since then, she decided to leave her job in the garment factory and worked as a domestic assistant in South Jakarta.

Few months later, I went to Canada for Christmas. I went for Christmas shopping in several shops including GAP, Zara and Timberland. As I was checking on the price tag, I found out that those products are made in Indonesia and the price was high. I must say that I was slightly shocked. Why? It was because I remembered my conversation with the domestic assistant of mine. “Wow! This is crazy! Why would I purchase this while the labour are not getting paid fairly,” I walked away and entered another shops. Again, I found many apparel are made in Indonesia. I then decided to look in the Internet.

As I looked in the internet, apparently many garment and foot wear products which are distributed and sold in North America are made in Indonesia or China. Although it got me proud to see those products are made in Indonesia, it somehow got me upset because many labour who made these products only earning peanuts. I understand that other costs are also added but still it got me sad. I decided to not purchase any that time.

Those events actually change the way I consume garment products.
Do I stop buying clothes? Not yet!
So how? I start to buy less and less.
Why? It is because I don’t need it. If I feel that I want or need a new clothes, I tend to have it made. At least, I know who makes my clothes and pay accordingly. Alternatively, I will get clothes from local designers who are transparent about its supply chain. Or sometimes, I purchase pre-loved collection which is still pristine. Otherwise, I only purchase new clothes in a couple of occasion in one year. Not just that, I am also pretty picky about the brand. I tend to look for information regarding how ethical the company is. Although I must admit that we cannot really trust those report 100%. Most importantly, I refuse to pay on full price. Why? If a brand can sell their products with 70% discount, it means that a brand still makes profit from that price and I don’t want to get ripped off ūüôā. Hence, it is very important for me to keep myself fit so I don’t have to purchase new clothes simply because it does not fit me any longer.

Other than that, these days, if i go out purchasing clothes, it must be for my seven months old baby boy. Yet, I don’t purchase it simply because it looks cute so I want to buy many but simply as we need it. For me, this is my way to train myself to be a conscious customer. It is not only good for the environment but also for my saving. As you can imagine, how much money I have been spending on clothes which are eventually not being worn and forgotten or thrown away.

At the end, I believe that the way the consumers consume garment products can eventually force the company to be more ethical in producing their products where it should be good for the society as well as the environment.

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Notes: On Mental Health

The world marks October 10 as the World Mental Health Day. It aims to raise an awareness about 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 few years ago…

After a bad news broke in 2009, I have always been sad. I was afraid that I would not have enough time to fulfill 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 drama queen.  

It took me years to realize that it was not just a 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 problem and I decided to seek for 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 wall, kept distance from people and I tried to seek for 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 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 a time to do it even only for 30 minutes on 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 helps. Share with those who has 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 helps. 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 love one.¬†

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Music: Crier Tout Bas

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Music: Take Me To Church

My lover’s got humour
She’s the giggle at a funeral
Knows everybody’s disapproval
I should’ve worshipped her sooner

If the heavens ever did speak
She’s the last true mouthpiece
Every Sunday’s getting more bleak
A fresh poison each week

“We were born sick,” you heard them say it

My church offers no absolutes
She tells me, “Worship in the bedroom.”
The only heaven I’ll be sent to
Is when I’m alone with you

I was born sick
But I love it
Command me to be well
Aaay. Amen. Amen. Amen.

[Chorus 2x:]
Take me to church
I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
I’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife
Offer me that deathless death
Good God, let me give you my life

If I’m a pagan of the good times
My lover’s the sunlight
To keep the Goddess on my side
She demands a sacrifice

Drain the whole sea
Get something shiny
Something meaty for the main course
That’s a fine-looking high horse
What you got in the stable?
We’ve a lot of starving faithful

That looks tasty
That looks plenty
This is hungry work

[Chorus 2x:]
Take me to church
I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
I’ll tell you my sins so you can sharpen your knife
Offer me my deathless death
Good God, let me give you my life

No Masters or Kings
When the Ritual begins
There is no sweeter innocence than our gentle sin

In the madness and soil of that sad earthly scene
Only then I am human
Only then I am clean
Ooh oh. Amen. Amen. Amen.

[Chorus 2x:]
Take me to church
I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
I’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife
Offer me that deathless death
Good God, let me give you my life

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Notes: Immigrants

Immigrants make a great entrepreneur because they are the CEO of their life, they take the risk to start their new life in a strange land.

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Notes: Let ‘Em Talk!

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 in 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 other.

Why? First of all because they have nothing else to talk about. Secondly, that is how the society taught us. Our society construct standard what we can and cannot do, 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) recognize 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 other while you are suffering from it.

 

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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]

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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