Posts Tagged ‘equality’

Hi you! Long time no see! A very common greetings from me, I suppose  J  Busy (pretend to), as always.

Last Wednesday and Thursday, I attended a “Regional dialogue on election accessibility for persons with disabilities“. Interesting, right? Nah, do not be too skeptical whenever the word “election” appears. It relates more about human rights instead of politics. Anyway, I would not talk about it further.

Regardless the interesting presentations, unexpectedly, I have met a friend whom I did not in touch with for 2 years; colleagues, whom I did not meet for at least a year; and a person whom I made contact with but never meet in person. This gives a proof that no matter what, the circle among people who work or have interest within specific topic is ain’t that big.

We relate one another, somehow.

However, in the big ballroom of an international four-star-hotel, my eyes could not be helped, to not observe with interest to a person. She is one of the official photographers for the event. Just like what good photographers shall do, she vastly moved capturing moments. She sensed attractive situation. Tried her best to not miss anything.

Indeed. She is “just an ordinary” persistent photographer.

Then, why my eyes did that way? Intuition never failed me.



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Today is the Indonesian Mothers’ Day. As always, many people in networking sites have proudly updated this as their statuses. It creates the hype of reminder and spirit of its importance. Indeed it is important. Being a mother means you have a profession without time to rest, a lifetime commitment. Unfortunately, regardless its huge responsibilities, there is no such training or certificate on how to be a good mother!

As many people say, “You are ready when you are (being mothers)”


Mother: Untiring hard-work and perseverance profession (Frank & Ernest - April 27, 1996)

Around a year ago, I have started to realize the reasons behind this Mothers’ Day. My prior university has published a book on it, titled as “The First Indonesian Women’s Congress of 1928“. It is the manuscripts of the conference in old version of Bahasa and English, which apparently I could not find in my home country.

Yes, that congress is the reason behind!

That back to 1928 -82 yeas ago- there was the congress by and for Indonesian Women. By Indonesian Women I am not talking only Javanesse Women. Can you imagine how great it was? Back to 1928, when the women empowerment has not being as famous as now. Indonesia even has not declared their independence from the colonialization. When traditional values and beliefs were strongly impact daily lives, as information were very limited.

Great, isn’t it?!!


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It has been twelve years. Yesterday, I wrote and have published – [hurts, yet ought not to be forgotten] what I saw and experience on that day. I described what were happened on that day, according to me. It is based on my own experiences. Last year, I also have expressed what I think about the same day. The post is in Bahasa that is titled [amnesia kolektif] – collective amnesia. I argue how people and the nation, seem to get used to forget the past. No matter how barbaric, there is a tendency amongst people to ‘let we forget’.

After these years, there is still no further explanation on what really happened according to the government. There was a Joint Fact Finding Team – Tim Gabungan Pencari Fakta. This team tried to get the facts and they even have made recommendations. The report can be attained at Semanggi Peduli. They did it greatly, though they were only given  a three-months working period. They have put the numbers of victims, yet I believe that the iceberg phenomenon does apply. They said that the first-hand-victims were lots of Chinese Indonesians, though were not the only. Lots of loss. Kidnapped people. They have recommended that the government needs to continue the investigation to get details including the real intention and who were responsible. Unfortunately, I have no idea how the government reacts to this report.

I understand that to reveal any barbaric events would be hard as look for a tiny needle in a haystack. I understand that the barbaric events couldn’t be helped as it was – might – highly related with the most current politics situation. The chaotic situation. I understand that it would be harder for the victims to re-open their old wounds. I also understand that there is a myth – including amongst Chinese Indonesians – that people should go forward and forget the past. That no matter how hurts they were, they should move forward, continue their lives.  Indeed, related with the commonly spoken quote: ‘the show must goes on’.  I even could understand, though it would be hard, if the key sources have been died for sometimes. Well, in twelve years, things might have happened.

To reveal the facts, will never be an easy job.Never ever will be. Especially if the facts are in the past. We might see how hard and how long that be needed by historians. So, I couldn’t agree with what I read last two days. There was a Minister who said that ‘it is a bit difficult’ as the reason to ‘no longer look for May riots culprits’.


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It has been twelve years ago, yet the pictures are still clear on my mind. If there is a high-tech projector which could directly projects those pictures from my brain, I believe it would be shown such a documentary film. I remember how my headmaster with no detail explanations directed us to go home early. It created quite a chaos. As she said that would be better to go home together with friends. Go home as soon as possible, as safe as possible. Ah ya, important to be noted, I went to a all-female-school and mobile phones were so luxurious.

At that time, I was used the shared-transportation with friends. Was confused, should I wait or go with ‘available’ transportations?! I chose the available transportation, friends who had been picked-up. I chose the one that would drop a friend in Pondok Indah, the nearest location to my house – compared to other choices. I forgot what really happened on our way, I remember how we got so terrified though we couldn’t understand what are happening. We thought that it was related with the killed university students two days earlier and the demonstration at the legislative area. That it was related with the politics. But we couldn’t really understand why.

I sensed that my identity as a Chinese-Indonesian woman might put me on risk. Since I was a girl, I have been realized that there are differences to be ‘coincidentally’ born as a Chinese in Indonesia. Was too naïve to understood the history and the politics. Yet, I hate whenever some people called me ‘amoy’ [which after sometimes I understand that it is a way to call a Chinese girl] or ‘Cina’ [Indonesian translation of China or Chinese people with highly consists of prejudice]. Couldn’t understood yet I never asked. Well, my friends, who actually come from different ethnics, never had problems related with my ethnic. It might because of the well-education parents [well-educated people do not associate with high education level], together with how naïve children are. Do not care about politics of power.

It hurts to remember, yet it ought not be forgotten

Back to May the 14th.

So I went off at Pondok Indah, it is around 20 minutes – without traffic way – to my home. Together with a Moslem friend, we headed to her aunt’s house. Yet as the house is only nearby Pondok Indah, we walked through a small street behind the residential complex. We could reach the house through the big street yet we’d suggested to not to. ABut we didn’t have other choices when the small street is ended, we should walk passed the big streets. I remember that we heard the scream and like-riots-related-sound. We went back to another way to hide. (more…)

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Seharusnya tulisan ini sudah dibuat beberapa saat yang lalu, sayangnya saya terlalu malas. Atau lebih tepatnya terlalu bingung memutuskan mana yang lebih dulu ‘tampil’.

Salah satu topik yang selalu menggugah saya adalah mengenai peranan perempuan di kehidupan sehari-hari. Setiap kali kita membahas ini, penjelasan mengenai masak, macak [berdandan yang katanya untuk kebahagiaan suami] dan manak [melahirkan]. Tentu bukannya saya menentang paham ini. Tidak bisa dipungkiri bahwa tiga hal tersebut merupakan salah tiga peranan perempuan. Namun yang tidak akan pernah saya setujui adalah bahwa HANYA ketiga hal itu sajalah peluang yang dimiliki perempuan.

Paham ini telah digugat sekian lama. Bahkan untuk konteks di Indonesia saja, perjuangan ini lebih tua daripada usia negara ini berdaulat. Silahkan menelusuri informasi perjuangan hak perempuan dalam berbagai bidang termasuk pendidikan dan politik yang telah dilakukan oleh sederet pahlawan perempuan di Indonesia. Tidak lupa peranan mereka yang tidak tercatat sebagai pahlawan, namun tidak dapat dipungkiri kepentingannya.

Setelah beberapa dekade, kesetaraan dan kesempatan semakin terbuka bagi perempuan. Kesempatan untuk memperoleh tempat di dunia akademisi, baik sebagai pelajar maupun pengajar. Praktis memiliki kesempatan menekuni hal yang diinginkan. Praktis memiliki pilihan profesi yang lebih luas. Buktinya? Indonesia pernah mencatat sejarah dengan ‘menjadikan’ seorang perempuan sebagai Presidennya di tahun 2004.

Sayangnya, menurut saya, kesetaraan dan kesempatan tersebut masih tidak lebih dari sekedar jargon idealisme. Saya rasa semakin banyak kaum pria yang merasa enggan untuk menyatakan kalau dirinya menentang kesetaraan gender atau sejenisnya. Adalah rasa enggan untuk mengakui bahwa mereka masih sangat konservatif dalam konteks yang negatif.
Silahkan melakukan survei berapa banyak kaum pria yang ingin dipimpin oleh perempuan?
  • Memiliki bos yang kebetulan perempuan? Atau memiliki presiden perempuan?
  • Berapa banyakkah kaum pria yang mampu menghargai secara positif, pasangannya yang kebetulan memperoleh penghasilan lebih besar? Saya menggunakan kata positif karena tetap ada matrealisme di dunia ini.
  • Atau bahkan suami yang tidak menuntut atau menyalahkan istrinya karena tak kunjung memperoleh keturunan? Ah, bahkan seringkali suami menyalahkan istri karena tak kunjung memperoleh penerus marganya. Sungguh disayangkan, karena artinya mereka ini tidak memperoleh pendidikan biologi secara baik dan benar.

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Last weekend, I went to the Abbotsford Convent in Melbourne. It was not for any religious intention or other important things. It was ‘only’ a part of my sightseeing. I’ve heard that it is a historical site and has a unique restaurant. I was lucky as on that day, there was a farmers’ market where I could buy many fresh products.

With respects to other interesting things, I am fond with the restaurant. Lentil as Anything, the LAA. It has uniqueness in lot of aspects. As describes in its website, it is a vegetarian restaurant that is run as a not-for-profit community organization. The customers are not only able to eat as much as they want, but they also have the privilege to pay as much as they can to afford. The money should be put into a treasure box by the customers themselves. The customers are even able to eat in and/or take away the food.  They can stay as long as they want. So, it has more privileges than the all-you-can-eat restaurants.

Even though it is a not-for-profit restaurant without definite fees, it does not mean that the food varieties are limited. The menu has changed for different meals, at least for breakfast and lunch. At least, there were 6 different menus for breakfast and 10 for lunch. There were also home-made cakes. There also ‘standard’ drinks like water, coffee, tea and juice. It has different types of cuisine for different days. As long as I remember the Wednesdays are for the African cuisine, and Saturday for Srilangkan.

The most interesting part is how it has been managed. It runs with the help from many volunteers. Has gained supports not only from individuals’ commitments but also from companies and organizations, and even the local government body. These supports have enabled the restaurant to have five ‘branches’ in Melbourne. I think this fact is amazing. They do not only able to handle the financial challenges [due to pay as you want] and quite extensive supports, but also able to spread the ‘virus’ out.

The individual volunteers have different backgrounds. There were people who ‘just’ love to be involved in social works, or those who have to ‘shape’ their resumes with voluntary works. But there were also those who really want to pay it forward or ‘pay their debts’. From the website, the LAA wants to help those in need. Not only for food, but also those who need social supports.

It provides a place for over a hundred new migrants, refugees, people with disabilities and long-term unemployed to build confidence, gain skills and receive assistance with access to legal, health, housing and education services. In addition to running the sites, we provide crisis accommodation, English tutoring, counselling services, legal advice, homework assistance, and driving lessons.

Even if we have not read that descriptions, we can see how hard the lives of those who were there. As examples, there was a young lady and mid-aged couples who seem have difficulties to smile. There were other volunteers, who smiled and laughed. Yet, the gloomy and sadness were still there. I believe that face is like a canvas, and the person has painted her/his past experiences. Indeed, the past would not directly foretell the future. Fate is in our hands, with GOD’s grace. But the role of the past could not be denied. I have no idea how to define how I have sensed that way. Maybe it likes how we can differentiate the never-been-poor from the never-been-rich people, even if they dress in exactly the same way.

Greater than that, I admire the solidarity amongst them. Even if they ‘work’ for different reasons, they have the same goal. They are not only support one another, but have created a community, a social circle. It might be too early to claimed the LAA as a proof of succeeded community development, I believe that it can be an example for how great the impacts of social support is. The LAA has initiated the community engagements.

To give hope to the hopeless.


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Obama will be the President of United States of America starting from this night (noon in USA, night in Indonesia). I plan to watch the process. I want to hear his first speech as the President.

Although I hate those people who have unbelievable sense of belongings with Obama, either as long-long-long-cousins, childhood friends who might made fun on his color of skin or even those people who feel that they have strong bond with Obama just because he ever lived in specified areas or country.

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