Forever Immigrant, Forever Minority

People say living abroad would change your perspective about the world. But you know what else does? Being a minority who lives abroad. I have practically been a minority my whole life. When I was three, I live in what I would call the only country (so far) that I would say is friendly to immigrants. Not a hard guess. Yes, its Canada. Going back to my home country, Indonesia, I am technically a minority once again because I lost the ability to speak my own mother tongue. As a child whose not even 100% Indonesian (my mother is Chinese) being able to only speak English was not exactly a nice thing. I don’t really have friends, also due to my indifferent personality, but I also couldn’t really take more English course because the only class that would suit my competence would be sitting with high schoolers and adults, which would be really awkward. I am however, still grateful that in the end I am able to have both as mother tongue.

I came from a family whose practically been immigrants nearly every generation since my great grandparents. My great grandparents ran from China due to political reasons, taking a raft to Indonesia, seeking for asylum. For the two first generations, it was rather simple. They live in the city where other Chinese asylum seekers live, and they started a small business to make a living. Difficulties started to arise when my mother, who is still a pure-blood Chinese wants to marry my father, who is a native (Javanese). Although in the end this particular case was resolved, but it doesn’t mean the problem just vanished especially if you reflect them from any other similar mixed blood families. For instance, looking back before my parents even met, my grandparents who are Confucionists had their children all convert to Catholic, but as most local schools are Moslem schools; since Indonesia is a Moslem-majority country (some people mistaken it as a Moslem country) most elementary and middle school in that area required the students to study Arabic.  Continue reading

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Dear Mr. Jokowi, You Were Right

I was thinking about what this word actually meant when Mr. Jokowi, our beloved soon-to be President talks about it a lot. I mean, in a specific way. It sure should have much more meaning than it was explained in the presidential debate’s short speech. Lately. his opponent Mr. Prabowo was causing such a ruckus, especially when the official announcement is drawing nearer. When I open my facebook, phone messages and everything else I found high frequency of people making fun of Mr. Prabowo. Let me say this straight first. I am never a supporter of Mr. Prabowo, but I think this phenomenon of making fun of him in social media used by Indonesians especially twitter in facebook means something else.

Today 8 pm Indonesian Western time (WIB)  is the official announcement of the elected president. Mr Jokowi is president!! Mr. Prabowo, who previously requested a recount and has declared that he wish to forfeit is being a huge topic in a humiliating way, even in foreign official media. Now back to the huge talk in social media, logically the one who would participate in this cyber mocking is Mr. Jokowi’s supporters, or perhaps including those who previously support Mr. Prabowo. The tagline of Mr. Jokowi’s supporters are “I stand on the right side”. Now before I say my thoughts I’ll be honest first that although I support Mr. Jokowi I couldn’t vote because I waited for the invitation letter that never came, then when I sent an email the info I got stated that I need to go to Berlin and see if there’s some voting papers left but they’re not sure about it. I couldn’t gamble for it since it costs so much to go to Berlin and currently I really have to save my funds. Maybe you can say I have no rights to say anything because I didn’t vote, or that I want to switch to German citizenship or whatever but the truth is I do have concern about my home country but sometimes I don’t understand how the people think. Why would you think I would keep following all the updates if I don’t care? Well, its a free country isn’t it? So I can say my word. Continue reading

Things You (might) Discover When You’re An Asian Who Hangs Out with Germans.

1. They eat everything with a fork. Really. EVERYTHING. Yesterday I had lunch with my friend’s family and they eat rice and curry with a fork. As an Asian, I found this really strange, especially because I use to eat everything with either spoon or chopsticks.

2. They think Asians are incredibly smart and talented. They said, at least most of the Asians who lived here. Well, maybe. But I’ve seen some who are contrariwise.

3. They eat milk rice with cherries. I found this disturbing, so I ate it with frikadelle (meat balls) instead, or just plain. They also thought I’ve done an abomination. But as an Asian, it makes more sense to me to eat rice with meat than cherries.

4. They like to collect vintage/antiques, and this is not only limited to the senior citizens. I’ve mostly seen old train miniatures.

5. You won’t find any street vendors other than those selling bratwurst. Even if you do, most likely it will be meat or spices. Of course, unless its Christmas.

6. They love chocolates and any dairy products. You’ll be given chocolate in St. Nikolaus day and find one small piece every day in their advent calendar.

7. You’ll find bizarre “Asian” spices that doesn’t make sense to you, such as sambal hot sauce (sambal already means hot sauce) or Asian spice mix. They even have “Greek spice mix” which made my Greek best friend raged. I mean, its understandable when they don’t get a hang of Asian spices, but Greek is still in Europe. Man… Continue reading

What Chinese People Would Probably Say to German Vendors

Before you read this please note that I’m a half Chinese who currently live in Germany, so I only write this subjectively to my experience. No hard feelings whatsoever.

1. in Germany, ALL stores are closed in Sunday, even groceries, supermarket, restaurants or drugstores (except those who are probably not German or decided to open). Chinese people would say, especially groceries and supermarket are places that someone would suddenly want to visit when they remember they need something – because these shops sell daily needs. As a vendor you should be standby for your customers. Its the same for restaurants. In the end the Chinese would say: you could loose your fortune.

2. Germans said its rude to come to a store when its like 5 minutes before its closed. Chinese people would say, even if you’re closed already and you see someone running into your shop with a shopping list, you should serve them because that’s a fortune for you and you should be grateful. Rejecting fortune and disappointing customer beyond any reason is stupid. It could cost you your fortune.

3. Its common for offices and even shops in Germany to have an irregular opening hours, even in weekdays. They could open from 9 am to 3 pm today but from 8 am to 12 pm tomorrow. Chinese people would say, its preposterous to trouble your customer with such thing. It will make them feel uneasy and troubled. They are customers, they bring you fortune and they are supposed to be able to know for sure when they could come. They probably won’t bother memorizing your silly opening hours, then it means they probably won’t use your services anymore because your opening hour is too troublesome. They will go to your competitor (in this case, most likely immigrant vendors). You will loose your fortune.

4. The shops, restaurants, etc normally closes earlier in Friday (and or) Saturday. Chinese people would say: that’s the day people want to gather with friends/family after they’re off work/school. Its a peak time, its a good chance to earn your fortune. Closing early means loosing the fortune you’re suppose to earn.

5. Some German vendors doesn’t really like being visited by auslaender (so to say, foreigner). They just don’t like them, thus they don’t give friendly services. Chinese people would say, you should be friendly to ALL of your customers. If they are from somewhere nearby, they will bring their friends and relatives to come with them, thus more fortune for you. If they are from abroad and you give good services, they will recommend your services/shop to other people who want to visit the country/city where you live. You are throwing away your fortune.

6. Next pinpoint from no.5. Generally, German vendors doesn’t like speaking English. So when there are some tourist who came asking for something in English, they will give you a clinching look. They think if you come to Germany then you should speak German. Chinese people would say, if you know foreigners would visit your shop, then YOU should learn to speak English instead of vice versa. Or if you already speak English, get used to it. Deal with it, that’s how you earn your fortune. Being prideful beyond any reason in this case means loosing your fortune.

7. When you come to a German vendor and you don’t find something you were looking for, then its your problem. Chinese vendors would note if this happens continuously, and consider if they should provide them (if its visible they will certainly do so) – instead of ignoring it – because it probably means you’re wasting a chance to get a fortune.

8. Don’t be so happy when you enter a restaurant at 11 pm when it closes at 12. The last order might be taken at 10.30, so practically you can only order ready to serve drinks like Coke. Contrariwise, the Chinese normally takes ANY last orders, if its a home-owned. Franchised ones would normally take last orders up to 30 minutes before closing. Chinese people has no words for the German vendors.

will be adding more once I found something else 😀 but I think what I’ve written so far is quite enough to give you the picture, that German vendors aren’t the best businessman in they eyes of the Chinese.

the thoughts of beauty

A few days ago when I was trying to search reference on beauty philosophy for my Fantasy & Science Fiction class, I stumble upon this article HERE. The article explains very clearly on how to define beauty and how it stands in the world of subjectivity and objectivity (in Descartes terms). It also slightly points out, why people nowadays who had physical beauty as their first priority is in some sense, cracked head. As it is said in the article, that beauty is most likely “a secondary quality, mind-independent, but intersubjective.”

There are also some questions of beauty regarding preferences and taste in this article, for instance why someone likes red while another person likes green. I know someone who’s father likes biking and the son has the same hobby, though he probably didn’t know that, since his father passed away when he was very young, and at that time his father already quit his hobby. My sisters and I like the same color. Thus I could infer that this case most likely resonates with the possibility that our senses are very related with genetic factor, childhood and the surroundings (objects, people, etc). Though the main topic is beauty in the sense of the original, the beauty itself, but to answer the question why beauty is also about taste and preference, then in some sense the context of beauty has shift a little bit, especially because the perception of beauty in this matter is also influenced by the factor of cultural and clinical mold.

Nevertheless, if it’s in sense of art, the word beauty somehow should be redefined, since I personally think art has a different context of beauty, especially for the sole reason that this beauty is man-made. Moreover, if you refer to the article, art objects are existence with objective reality, but doesn’t possess formal (subjective) reality. Overall, by scrutinizing this article and the comments you may also notice that in terms of debating some ideas, double-checking the context of the arguments is essential if you don’t want it to be out of place.

thinking how to think

I am currently trying to pledge a new understanding upon my way of thinking. I need a breakthrough. Selecting and cutting of essential pieces from swarming information is not as easy as what Malcolm Gladwell wrote in Blink. Slice judgement is also the matter of the mindset. It’s not that easy to maintain and upgrade such thing. 

The book I’m reading reminds me of that. I’m reading about VR (Visual Reality). In fast forward mode, it’s probably pretty obvious that I’m also trying to gain more knowledge for the base of understanding 3D movie. But it didn’t came to my epiphany that by doing so, I would also have to understand the basic principal of tanagra theatre, or even further, Alberti’s window (in this case, in Cartesian point of view). This reminds me to my third semester when I learn that trains essentially change human’s food distribution because villagers had to manage their harvest time based on the train schedule, when do the train passes their city. 

This is a little reminder, that I should always try to expand my mindset.