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…


Ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife…


Dude, We Are Parents ?!?

The good thing about being an expatriate brat is that you get to have friends all over the world.

The bad thing about being an expatriate brat is that you get to have friends all over the world.


If you go to high school  and then settled down roots in the same city, it’s a fair bet that most of your classmates also settled there. With friends that are in within your physical area, you get invited to their wedding, visit them in the hospital, buy them birthday present before going to the party, and have the event posted on Path to show the world, “Hey look, I’m here!”

If  you go to highschool elsewhere far far away from your hometown, more than few hours plane ride, well, once you finished school, unless you set up roots in the Western Hemisphere chances are you’re not going to end up growing old(er) with your classmates. If, like me, you’re from the Eastern part of the meridian – the rather poorer parts as well – then good luck finding your secondary schoolmates in your hometown. As much as you would like to, it is not always practical to go to a friend’s birthday party when it’ll took a day or three flying commercial to get there. Although strangely enough, I did found 2 of my high-school teachers here but that’s another story.

Now, as we all know, the internet supposedly brings us closer. In a sense that’s true. If we lived back, say in the 80’s, we’d have to rely on postcards and letters to bring us up to date. With social media, it is much easier to find out what they’re up to. Well, provided they like to post regular updates about themselves as well. Obviously not all of your class mates are social media fans, but a good chunk of them do regularly updates the world about their general wellbeing and sometimes post some pics as well.  So I  get to find out who’s married, who’s not, who have kids, who have babies, etc.

The thing is, even if you see pictures of their wedding and whatnot, because you were never there, even though you know those photos are not hoaxes, sometimes it still didn’t really register in your head that the dude who used to wear grunge fashion all the time is now actually someone’s husband. So when at some point later they have kids, you got nearly choked on your morning coffee upon seeing their beaming face while holding their newborn baby as you checked your fb updates. Especially this year it seems that a bunch of them decided to have another kids, some are still in the oven, some already popped out. Interesting. Never let it be said that the class of 94 are nothing if not productive 😉

Strangely enough, these coffee-choking moments only occurred upon seeing the male members of my high school classmates. Somehow when it’s my girl friends’ babies there’s not a doubt in your mind that they are now mommies. It’s an,”Aww… how cute!” moment rather than, “Say whaaat??? Who thinks it’s a good idea for him to have kids?” Ok double standard I know! Totally guilty. Off to the dungeon!

According to Ishat, it’s because I still see them as those grungy, long-haired dudes waxing poetics about the latest from the Seattle sound or Headbangers Balls. In reality we’re all racing towards the big 4-0, already completed our education, and is now a model middle-class citizens of the world complete with dogs and cats just to make our already rambunctious household even more so. How is it possible that we are now moms and dads? However, as Hollywood tv writers would like you to believe, we never really left high-school.

So yeah, I do know that Em has a son, or that Mel and her sister are both Mrs, and that Mike, Nori, and Nadav are now family man. But somehow in your mind you still see Em as that girl with the big smile and the first person who told you what olliebollen is. You still think of Mel this zany, quirky person who’s allergic to chocolate yet ate it all the time. And the boys? Well, they’re still in that grungy, long-haired, checked flannel shirts period, except for Nori – he had short hair back then. We were a crazy bunch, living in a wild town, in a funky era.

Then again, what are high school if not the crazy time of our life? Now that some distance has passed, I have nothing but chuckles at the memory. We may be old(er) in real life, but we’re forever young in our hearts.

Ah class, I heart ye all.


yep, that’s one of the choices of where we’d go at night 😉


The Glorious Dinner Date

I was feeling a bit melancholy and missing all these places when a friend asked where would I go for dinner if I could go anywhere in the world. Well, for me just dinner wouldn’t cut it. I need the whole 3 meals plus the 2 snacks in between 😉 This is what I came up with based from habits and experience.

For breakfast I would like to go back to Boston, US and have a lazy brunch at the  neighbourhood cafe when I used to live in Corey Road. It’s actually about a couple of blocks away, I’d have to cross Comm Ave and get to the other side. It’s a very unpretentious place but it’s almost always busy in the mornings. Prove that the food is quite good. Or maybe the student ghetto are just happy to get some warm food in their tummy.  I’d have omelette filled with feta cheese and spinach, plus potatoes, OJ and white coffee.  I go there with almost always with Bernardito;he’s the only one who woke up chirpy enough to go for breakfast. Sometimes the rest of the house, Ahad, Solivia and Juanan would come to. I enjoyed those moments. We don’t always got a chance to talk to each other beyond the good morning and good night so those Sunday morning were our chance to catch up. Now, my former roommates have disbanded, some go back to their countries, others still in the States but none live in the Corey Road flat anymore.  I’d like to bring my husband to recreate those relaxing morning.

Somewhere in West Java...

For lunch I’d like to go somewhere in West Java, where we can have a Sundanese lunch on a saung overlooking the rice fields and mountains. The menu would consist of fried and grilled Gurame, fresh vegetables, yummy sambal, tasty rice and fresh coconut water. My mom came from West Java, as such she prefers Sundanese food over others. Luckily my dad is also a fan. Growing up I’ve spent many lunches eating Sundanese food. We don’t always have it in the middle of a paddy field, actually more often than not we’d be in a restaurant in the city. But the food is the same. The argument over menu, the race for the fittest – I have 4 siblings so there were 6 of us fighting for the same fish. We still do even now actually. It’s fun 😀 I’d love to have this lunch with my own family so afterwards my kids can play in the field.

The sea is on the other side...

Then finally dinner with my big family, my parents, siblings, nephew and nieces. I think today I’d like to go to Jimbaran, Bali. Having fresh seafood while listening to the waves is just pure delight. There’s just something magical about having lobster on the beach… together with other hungry tourists. Something that’s actually very doable, just a logistical ‘nightmare’ to organise.

Phew! That would be a glorious day indeed 🙂

How about you? Where would you go?

Dekatilah Anakmu…

baca status temen pagi ini yang ngasih link ke suatu berita kok ya ngenes to, lagi-lagi bukannya introspeksi tapi menyalahkan faktor luar sebagai penyebabnya. Biasalah masih masalah pornografi dan anak. Iya bener, dengan adanya internet sekarang akses memang lebih mudah dan gampang tapi ya jangan melulu salahkan internet dong. Pemblokiran juga menurut saya bukan jawabannya meski banyak yang ngotot demikian dengan memberikan Cina sebagai contoh. Iya, tapi di Cina juga… ah sudahlah… saya nggak pengen membandingkan negara.

Bagi saya, adalah tugas kita sebagai orang tua untuk mendekati anak, mengajarkan yang baik dan menjauhi yang salah. Tidak bisa kita limpahkan ke sekolah, tidak bisa menyalahkan kerjaan, teman, tetangga, warnet, dll. Anak sudah dikasih perhatian cukup belum? Sudah membuat rambu2 yang disepakati bersama belum? Misalnya nih:

1. Aduuh gimana ya sekarang gampang bener akses video pake hp.
Lha, anaknya kenapa dikasih hape yang canggih? Ya abis kan sekarang semua hp gprs.
Nah, emang udah perlu pake hp? SD anak saya termasuk yang ketat soal hape, aih jangankan SD, SMP keponakan saya aja masih nggak membolehkan hp. Orang tua kalau perlu apa2 telpon ke sekolah! Titip pesan ke wali kelas nanti diteruskan. Secara gitu rata2 anak2 ini masih sd dan smp. Seberapa perlunya mereka ber hape ria? apalagi ber bb?

2. Abis mereka kerjanya main internet/nonton video/nonton tipik terus.
Udah dikasih batasan belum? Tivi misalnya. Kontrol dong berapa jam anak boleh nonton tivi atau apa yang mereka boleh tonton. Libatkan orang rumah dalam proses kontrol ini.
Saya memang termasuk orang tua yang membolehkan anak nonton tivi. Tapi saya berulang kali menegaskan channel apa saja yang boleh mereka lihat. Kalau mereka ingin nonton sama mbaknya, hanya beberapa program yang mereka bisa nonton bareng – musik dan kuis. Selainnya nggak boleh.
Secara nih ya, saya nggak punya duit buat bikin program tivi sendiri, gak punya akses ke yang punya saluran tipik, dan belum ada waktu untuk jadi aktifis tipik, ya saya pragmatis aja. Saya nggak mungkin menonton sama anak setiap saat, jadi saat punya rezeki lebih, ambil tivi langganan yang jauuuh lebih aman.

Tapi tivi berbayar kan mahal? Konsekuensinya? ya harus nonton bareng anak. Percayalah, sebelum tivi berbayar masuk rumah entah berapa jam saya habiskan menonton Dora, Spongebob dan teman2. Spongebob? kan kasar? lho justru, saat yang tepat untuk mengajari anak jangan berperilaku seperti itu yaaa itu nakal, nggak baik :p hehehe… aye mantan anak tipik siy

3. Ya elu enak di rumah, gw kan kerja cape…
emang ibu bekerja hanya dikau seorang? Tuh temen aye singel fighter! Kagak ade lakinya. Malah suka bikin aku malu karena doi lebih canggih ngurus anak ketimbang aku yang ibu rt.

Kalau kayak gini saya jadi ingat masa SMA dimana rata2 ibu temen2ku tu ibu rt, hampir nggak ada yang ibu bekerja tapi toh hasilnya variatif. Ada yang anaknya tetap nge-drugs, ada yang enggak. Jadi nggak efek apakah ibunya kerja atau tidak. Karena dalam semua situasi ada yang anaknya baik-baik saja, ada yang anaknya kacau balau. Semua kembali pada orang tuanya masing2.

So pada intinya, dan ini sebenernya jari nunjuk diri sendiri juga, dekatilah anakmu. Kenali dan sayangi mereka. Practice what you preach – nah ini gw banget nih, kadang2 masih bersalah do as I say not as I do. Bad mom.

Saya nggak bilang ini gampang. Buat saya juga susah. Setiap hari harus ingat untuk ikhlas dan sabar, supaya nggak cepet marah, nggak cepet ngambek. Setiap hari harus ingat bahwa anak itu mahluk individu. Kadang kan suka loncer membandingan adik dan kakak, padahal yaa mereka kan beda. Ya emang gak ada yang bilang jadi ortu itu gampang kok. Tapi ini kan konsekuensi dari perbuatan diri sendiri. Sapa suruh menikah dan punya anak?

But, here they are now. Saya sudah menjadi orang terpilih, terpilih untuk menjadi ibu. Mau nggak mau, suka nggak suka harus bertanggung jawab. Klo jatuh, ya bangun lagi. Klo marah ya minta maaf. Peluk anak. Percayalah, I’m far from being an ideal mom, bukan materi Ummi Award, paling enggak saat ini. hehe…

Jadi orang tua, jangan salahkan ini itu yaa. Dekati anaknya. Memang nggak ada jaminan, tapi insya Allah, orang tua yang dekat dengan anaknya akan membuat anaknya lebih sayang dan menghargai dirinya sendiri. Semoga.