Those Who Live in Our Hearts

Sometime you know someone for years
and you still don’t know how to have a convo
beyond hello, how are you? Good? Great…

Sometime you know someone for years
and know each other so well
you can be quiet or rowdy, you’ll have a blast

Then you met someone
who made such a huge impression
that when their time is cut short
suddenly you’re left with a gaping hole
and you know not how to stitch it close

Oh life goes on
laundry not gonna clean itself
nor is dinner
would that they could

then you go somewhere
see something
immediately thinking, ooh need to tell.. oh yeah.. can not.

well dang, ain’t that just peachy
who’s cutting onions near me?

halt!
tissues
ok, moving along now

the problem with that gaping hole
no matter how good you are at sewing
you’ll never completely seal it
darn these microscopic holes!

and still, life goes on

sink or swim?

what you have to remember
life jackets and rafts are always available
seek and ye shall find

we’ll see each other anyway, eventually.

until then,
kusjes

lebak bulus 170816

Grief-recovery

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Yang bikin kangen…

Yang paling bikin kangen sama Indonesia itu adalah tukang jualan makanan keliling. Kalau cukup beruntung, di depan rumah itu dari pagi sampai malam itu ada aja yang lewat. Misalnya, pagi ada tukang bubur ayam dan roti. Kalau bangunnya agak telat, jangan panik masih ada tukang ketoprak. Siang kadang ada kembang tahu, enak buat dessert. Buat malam bisa jadi ada tukang sate ayam atau sate Padang. Namun yang senantiasa hadir, dan suka lewat lebih dari sekali, ya benar, tukang nasi goreng! Yang juga sedia mie dan kwetiau. 

Hmm… Nikmatnyaaa 😋😋😋
#kadountukIndonesia

The Strangest Afternoon

I actually started writing something for you, a prose that I couldn’t quite finish it. It just seems wrong. The words, the sentences, they seem stilted, forced. It feels like I’m trying too hard to make it rhymes, try as I might, it just doesn’t  seem to work so I left it unfinished. However, there’s this nagging feeling that I need to write something. So as I was doing some chores, my mind wonders to that time I called ‘the strangest afternoon’.

I had planned to visit you with a couple of other friends that day. I had it all figured out when at the last moment life got in the way, I couldn’t figure out how to do all that I want to do that day, something has to give. Our friends last reports says that you are getting better so we thought, okay, we’ll visit you the next day. So off I go to do whatever it was that needs doing.

Ticking off my task list one by one, I was on the way to my last appointment of the day, the one I’ve been looking forward for weeks; to meet with one of my really good friend from BU. Last time we saw each other was graduation. That’s eons ago! So I was super excited. Jakarta being Jakarta, traffic is slow going, light rain was pouring, and I just can’t stop thinking about you. How you seem to be doing just fine, then suddenly got sick, how all of us is praying for your speedy recovery, and yet… Up to that moment, I always pray for a speedy recovery. Yet somehow that afternoon, something is urging me to change my prayer, to wish for the best for you but I don’t really want to do that. That’s usually my last prayer for those too ill to get well and I refuse to entertain that thought. I texted some friends asking for the latest news while there’s this internal debate going on about how to pray for you. Finally I give up. I prayed and hope for the best for you. Whatever it is.

A couple minutes later, a text came in: “Sita, he’s passed away.”

What???

Furious texting to few other people and made a phone call. All I hear is sobbing. A heartfelt sob. Then another text came in formally announcing your passing.

NO!!!

I was so close to the meeting place and I really was looking forward to meet my college friend whom I have not seen since graduation. I was torn. In the end I decided to go ahead and meet him. Who knows when’s the next time he’s coming here. I cried, of course. But few minutes before arriving I told myself, right, get it together don’t cry, this is a happy occasion. And you know, the moment I step into the hotel lobby, it’s like all sadness is on pause. Only happy is allowed.

For the next few hours, it was all happy smiles, laughter, reminiscing, catching up, and even a spot of business talk. My friend is looking into a business venture here and is looking for some insider info. He should’ve paid me for my intel! Naw, it’s all good. Obviously this would just be anecdotal information but if it paved the way for him to invest here, why not? We also talked about class reunion. The Asian contingent really want to have a class reunion in Bali. The North Americans were being geriatric about it, complaining the flight would be too long, the Asians should just come to LA instead. Uh… we already made those long haul flights during college yo…

Soon it was time to go. Snapped some pictures, hope it doesn’t take another 16 years to see each other, then back in the car to go home. And the dam burst again.

Like I said, strange afternoon.

Later on, I was telling my mom about it and I don’t know if she’s being psychic (my mom’s family are somewhat very perceptive about things, some people claim it’s a supernatural ability. I think they’re just very good at reading people) or she just want to console her sad daughter but after I finished my tale, she got quiet for a moment. Then she said, “Your friend is a really good person. He knew he’s going so he’s saying goodbye to his friends, that’s why you keep thinking about him. He was saying goodbye to you…”

I choose to believe my mom.

Yudi is or was, a really good person. A family man who has a big heart  and always wear a smile. He is full of ideas, energetic, very friendly to everyone, has a ton of friends. He has a zest for life. Truly one of a kind.

I am really sorry I didn’t get to visit you again. I did go to your funeral. How strange… your funeral. Even now it seems unreal. We know you have a lots of friends and it shows during your funeral. There were so many people! Little ones, big ones, everyone wants to pay their last respect. It was raining too. Even the weather is sad to see you go.

When it is time, it is time. Goodbye Yudi, it’s been a honour and a privilege to know you. I bet you’re cracking jokes with the angels now, lucky them.

Until we meet again, my friend.

pd indah 210716

 

And then I hear sirens wailing…

I think I understand
a little bit of my Grandma,
today.

I think I can imagine
a little bit of what went through her head,
today.

You see,
yesterday a bomb went off in our city
shootings occurred
people were hurt
people were killed

I was nowhere close, but,
I heard sirens
I saw police cars
I saw armoured vehicles
I saw armed soldiers
I saw security guards on alert

I was shaken…

What does this has to do with my Grandma?

To understand my Grandma,
you have to go back to history

My Grandmother is from another era,
from a time where
girls from respectable families
were not expected to be anything but a wife and a mom.

But my grandma,
She loves studying
She loves school
She wants to continue her studies
Her family marries her instead
To a good man from another respectable family
And, by all account
She was a good wife
and a wonderful mother
who has the misfortune
to live during turbulent times
in her country.

Starting from the communist uprising
who cheerfully killed her uncle
in front of his family
Her uncle, who was killed due to his position
which was exactly the same position,
that my Grandpa held.
Great.
Of course, the Dutch were still there too
to add to the fun.

Eventually, my Grandpa join the fight against the occupiers
So off they torched their house,
leaving everything behind
As Grandpa goes deep into the jungle
Grandma moved to a safer place,
with several children in tow.

Oh there were other instances
like the part where my Grandma has to feed people in military gear
not knowing whether they were nationalist army
or the commies
Or when they were interrogated for hours by the Dutch,
as they suspected, my Grandpa was a spy
(he was)
Trying times,
to say the least.

Fast forward to the Sixties
They have settled down in Jakarta
with the promise of peace and prosperity
now that we are a free nation

But alas!

The red bunch decided, hell no!

So one night,
multiple gunshots were heard
Grandma thought, Oh no. Not again!

Grandpa, who’s now in the police force,
immediately donned his uniform,
weapons at the ready,
bade my grandma good night
and disappeared into the dark

Grandma quickly put the kids to bed
Lock the house
turn off the light
and goes to bed too.

at some point,
Grandpa returned
safe and sound

Morning came
wakey wakey!
Everyone got up
except one

at some point,
the heart of the house
stops beating

It was too much
for her gentle heart.

So yeah,
yesterday I got a glimpse
of what that night would be like

It was only a few hours, yet..

I can’t imagine
going through it for years
being on constant alert
particularly when you can’t see who are the enemy
and who are the allies

Oh Grandma,
even today
some people are just not happy
seeing peace reigns
The difference is,
yesterday,
people are sick of it.
We are sick of attempted terror.
Live is already hard enough here
we don’t need additional hardship
just because some random people thinks its glorious.

(No, it is not jihad to blow innocent people)

I hope it doesn’t happen again
I’d like to think we’re stronger now
I’d like to think we are badasses

We are coping,
the best way we know how
though jokes, laughter
and by just keep on living
because we have to
and because it does

So good night Grandma
Jakarta is still on high alert
But life goes on

because we’d rather celebrate life
than to cower from life

Give us strength
Give us courage
Give us love

See ya later Nini!

Lebak Bulus, 150116

Simon’s Wake

Started this
awhile ago
after
your wake
actually.

But, it’s hard.

It’s weird.
Keep thinking
you’ll jump out
from behind
the curtain,
“Ta da! I’m here!”

But, you didn’t.

Your eyes,
stay closed.
Your hands,
clasped firm.
Won’t budge.
Wish it would.

But, they didn’t.

Friends
Colleagues
Family

Shocked
Grieving

Tears
Respect
Sadness
Love

Morning conversations
Coffee breaks
Tennis matches
Brit humour
Integrity
Education
Knowledge
Understanding

Are what they say
about you
They who missed you

Back then,
too upset
to say anything

But Matt said,
please remember
and I do.

so,

Hi Simon,

Thank you
For giving me
a chance
For believing
encouraging
supporting

Thank you,
requiescat in pace.

funeralflower

duwagym 11/11/2014
37 days after.

Inheriting Education

Humans by nature, are forgetful.  As soon as an info is deemed unimportant, we dismiss it from our brain. It’s there somewhere, but not foremost in our thought. Which is why, I believe sometimes things happens to remind us of certain stuff.

For me, what’s been going around me personally and somewhat touched upon in the news, is the importance of education. Both sets of grandparents have personally said to their kids, aka my parents, that in essence, the most important inheritance is that of education. Money can easily disappear, but once you got education, unless you’ve gone crazy, no one can take that away from you.

Truer words have never been spoken. On a much smaller scale, I’ve experienced how easy it is to lose money, to spend it like there’s no tomorrow then frets when the bill came. Luckily I have a guardian angel to bail me out. Not once, but twice! Then I vow never again! It is embarrassing to have to ask for money due to your own stupidity. I mean do I really need that extra pair of shoes?

On a much bigger scale, just take your pick of recent headlines. So many news about people and or institution lose money. Sadly, it also happened around me. To people I never thought it could or would happen. When pondered upon, well, lack of education seems to be the root of it. Whether academical or school of life, it doesn’t matter. If you lack one sometimes it can be made up by a surplus of the other. Lacking both… then you’re kinda doomed aren’t you.

I’m raising my glass to both grandparents for their wisdom that they impart to their children, and in turn, to me. May your principles set your offspring well!

world_book

Widen your world…

Maternal Musing

blink!
and they walk.

blink!
and they run.

blink!
and they grow.

up
up
up
and wide.

next thing you know,
graduation!

next thing you know,
first pay check!

next thing you know,
“I hereby pronounce you…”

And then there’s three,
if you’re lucky.

And then there’s more,
if you’re really lucky.

Then back to two,
basking in the remaining sunrise.
and sunset too.

Later…

it’s just a roll of dice
who would go earlier
who would go later

To Earth you shall return.

but not right now.

Now let’s savour
now let’s enjoy
now let’s feel

because,
blink!
it’s all gone.

dia.lo.gue. 1/11/14

20141101-132756.jpg

Midnight Musings

When darkness falls,
the lovers and the wannabes come out and play.
Their masks fell,
no longer covered by the light.

Come out come out, wherever you are.
In the dark,
your dreams and desires burst out from their confines,
trying ever so hard to materialise.

Some would succeed
some would fail
but the heart,
would refuse to retreat.

In the dark,
the lovers and the wannabes try
and try again
their heart their only weapon
open, for all to see

That is until the lights danced away the darkness.
For when the light finally shines through,
the lovers and the wannabes don back their covers.
Flaunting or retreating
their hearts
simmering
waiting patiently
to be happy

220414 – Lebak Bulus

One and All My Life are just an extension of my mom’s music

Simply excellent. Glad I got to watch the concert.

Listening to One by Metallica as I’m reading my news, I’m struck at how beautiful the string arrangements in the middle of the song, around minute 4 and then around minute 6 or the end. Okay so perhaps ‘beautiful’ might not be the appropriate word to describe metal music but hey, I’m no expert! I just like to listen to whatever my ears take a liking to. It got me thinking (I know, dangerous activity this, thinking) your taste doesn’t just evolve by itself, it takes into account influences by people closest to you; people in your household and friends.

What are your toes made of?

My parents actually has similar musical taste. They both like pop music at their time which given their age it means everything from jazz, swing, to rock n’ roll. Because of my dad western influenced education, he also likes classics. So come to think of it, the noises my house produces were rather wide-ranging. At any given time you could be subjected to Mozart, Benny Goodman, Elvis, The Beatles, Strauss, Louis Armstrong, Simon & Garfunkel, and Michael Franks. Each kids responds differently to this cacophony of sounds.

 

His voice is amazing. Right up my second sister’s alley. If she listens to current music that is.

My oldest sister seems to absorbed it all and likes whatever is cool at the moment. My brother takes after my mom and pursue a more rockin’ sound such as Kiss, Genesis, Iron Maiden, and Dream Theater. My other sister is firmly in the gentler sound genre. She likes Rick Astley and other similar crooner. Me? Since I was born even later, not only I got to listen to my parents’, I got the ‘benefit’ of my siblings too. This time, those who cranks it out loudest seems to win.

In his time, this dude is a pop star!

Yes, I like classical music. I enjoyed listening to the old masters, I am moved by operas and listen to some arias for fun. Yes I like pop music. I still love Madonna and Michael Jackson – I actually cried when he died. I absolutely adore Take That and has a huge crush on the Backstreet Boys. Yes, I also like rock music. Given that out of all the older siblings, my brother got to drive me around most it is no surprise I also likes the sound of Kiss and Whitesnake and I thought the art covers for Iron Maiden was very colourful and funny. I dunno why those skellies seems funny instead of scary to my 6-year-old mind. Perhaps my skewered sense of humour just developed early.

 

Oh look, a skeleton rides a plane! Funny! Right?

So I listen to all kinds of music but the clincher is of course the music of my highschool years. During my time this is no other than that famous Seattle sound aka grunge. I think highschool girls around the globe were in love Kurt and Eddie (well not me. Kurt made me want to cook while I kinda want to give Eddie a chill pill) at that time. Eventually, if push come to shove, ripping guitars and decisive drums wins out among others. I like rock music and its many variations a little bit above everything else. I still think that in an alternate universe, my name is Mrs Dave Grohl. (yes, how old are you again?)

Hello dearest 😉

Who do you listens to and what or who do you think influence your taste?

Do You Speak English Little One?

While blogwalking, I came across this post from a noted Indonesian blogger, ms. Indah Julianti. In her post she discussed the latest plan from the Education Ministry of not including English in the latest Indonesian Elementary Education Curriculum. Apparently the reasoning is so that Indonesian kiddies would have better Indonesian language skills.

Obviously this caused an uproar. Many thinks this is just the latest among the many hare-brained scheme the powers that be in Education Ministry can hatch of. Many reasoned that Indonesian kids would be left behind if they are not taught English in elementary school. “We’ll be left behind in these globalised world!!!” or so they screamed.

Drama much people?

The reason Indonesian kids are ‘left behind’ is not because they don’t know English. It is because the education system sucks. Period.

Yes, it would be better if you know English, but fostering curious, academic, scientific, and industrious mind + nurturing them and giving them due appreciation is what would elevate the kids in the global world.

We have bright minds. We have geniuses. They’re just poached to other countries because we can’t give them the environment, respect and acknowledgment they deserve. It is no secret that the best minds of Indonesia are scattered globally, their works credited to the institution that employs them rather than the country of their origin.

Putting English into the Elementary School Curriculum means jacksh*t if we can’t keep them here. Go visit Paris. Hardly anyone will speak to you in English. Oh heck just go to the neighbouring Singapore. I can hardly understand what they’re talking about with their heavy Singlish accent. Yet look where they stand globally.

It’s not that I’m against learning English. It’s just that if the goal is to make us competitive, then that’s the least of our worry. As long as we don’t change the current education system, where end-results matters more than the knowledge acquiring and understanding process, we’ll never be competitive. We’ll just end up with a bunch of youngins who has mediocre comprehension of both language, unable to think independently and creatively. We’ll continue being consumers instead of producers, totally at the mercy of others.

So yeah, I guess I’m in the tiny minority that’s not worried if English is taken out from the curriculum. I’m more concerned that Indonesian kiddies have a firm grasp of the Indonesian language. Able to string and write coherent thoughts, able to explore the language to the fullest so they are able to speak and write Indonesian, formally and informally, knows the difference between business Indonesian for work and colloquial Indonesian for friends. Can you imagine if a whole generation of Indonesian kids growing up not knowing how to do those?

And yeah, the irony is still not lost on me how I write this whole post in English…

3213693-education-is-the-key-written-on-a-chalkboard

Ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife…