Moving West #1 Preparation

Wait, wow. I realized I really haven´t been writing anything this year! And its already end of May. Sorry for my absence. I´ve been really busy…and honestly a lot has been going on. So I´ve been receiving quite a lot of questions about moving to Germany, like what I did to prepare, my struggles, and so on. So I thought I would want to write each of these parts one by one.

Perhaps the most common thought of what I will write here is how awesome it feels to move from South East Asia to Europe. Wrong. Its about struggles and how much effort can one do in the process. Now I would say I haven´t  successfuly move here yet as I am still looking for a job (but I just got VISA extension for job hunt, yay!!). Nonetheless, here are some things you actually can do in advance before you depart. Continue reading

Advertisements

Gender Equality: How Deep is the Root?

Everyone’s mind was blown by Emma Watson’s speech about gender equality. It was done splendidly indeed. But I thought, is that really as far as the problem goes? I think different places differs in nearly everything, and so perhaps for this matter it could just be the same. Emma explains as far as how feminism by hating men has to stop, or how boys can feel intimidated the moment they feel fragile because “its not manly”, how a father’s position is not as valued as a mother’s and many others that we might miss because it does not exactly meet the eyes nowadays. So I thought, okay at some point its society customs vs gender equality.

But some small matters that’s going on around me made me realize, the problem in some places has rooted even deeper as something naturalized. Its taken as something as a custom as society, just like boys are not supposed to be fragile or weak or the issues around glass ceiling. It’s quite complicated to explain cause inside my head is jammed with heaps of stuffs, so why not just take a detour with a short story.

So I was sitting in my first German course for this semester and the teacher was throwing a huge dice at us and whichever got it has to make several sentences (depends on the number they got) with especially verliebt, verlobt, verheiratet (fell in love, engaged, married). So at some point  there’s this one Indian girl who got her turn and she stunned the whole class by stating that she has been married for four years, however it was an arranged marriage. The teacher asked for details and she explained, that time her mom asked if she already has a boyfriend, and since she had none so her mother look for a man for her to marry. Shortly, that’s how it was and she said she actually agreed to it. I was surprised because hey, I don’t think this is not even common anymore in Indonesia. Perhaps maybe in very rural villages.

However the problem differs. Ok let me get this straight first. This is not about cheesy reasons like love or finding your own dream guy. No because that would totally be out of topic. What I meant was, for instance in my age it is common for parents to start nagging their children for marriage. You know the phrase. A woman, 35 and not married? Well, she’s expired. A man, 35 and not married? Is he rich or good looking? Either one then he might be a catch.

In Indonesia, especially at around 25 the questions would never be far from: “Are you dating someone? You plan to marry ’em? How many kids?” Well, if you draw an inference then the ladies are rushed to find a husband before 30, otherwise they’ll “expire” and on the other hand, the guys are supposed to save as much money as possible, establish their career in order to be “eligible” to start a family. Its like its mandatory. You’ll be a deviant if not, cause unlike in Western countries, its a sin to live with your significant other if you are not married. So marriage is not exactly just an option to both genders, its mandatory. Especially for woman, if you live with a guy whose not your husband (yet, they say) then you’ll be seen equally as a prostitute. The man? Oh maybe he’s just a bad guy, or a womanizer. Having kids goes the same. What happens with the phrase that having kids is not for everyone? If you don’t want kids then you’re selfish, “Who will take care of you when you’re old? Why don’t you think of your parents feelings who want to see some grandchildren from you?” And depends on the case, it could be bad for either gender. “Woman, no kids? If she doesn’t have medical issues then she must be heartless!!” Man, no kids? “Without offspring, who would inherit our family business?” But you know what’s worse? Unplanned pregnancy. “Abortion? its illegal here because only heartless people do that.” Now tell me whose heartless if someone is forced to make a life-changing decision just because the society says so. You forced them to do so, but for the weight they shall carry for the rest of their lives, will you always be there to support them too? I don’t think so.

So its more like, social customs has bound both genders to a certain point that they don’t have much space to make the important choice for their own life and that’s just preposterous. But my current question is, does anyone else except me consider this as gender equality problem?

Cool Things You Might Not Know About Indonesia

1. We have the best instant noodles in the world

No kidding. Google “the best instant noodle in the world”. ALL of the reviews you find will include our infamous noodle brand, Indomie and nearly all of them would place it on no.1. But that’s not the only delicious instant noodle we have! We have Sedaap, ABC and many other brand which is not heard abroad because its outshined by Indomie.

Just noodle is boring you say? Watch this:

2. Our president is a metal head

No kidding. His favorite? Metallica and Lamb of God. And DON”T compare him with Obama. Well, the phenomenon is quite similar indeed, that they’re both the symbol of hope for many people. People expect them to change the world. The huge difference lies in the actual governance work. Mr. Jokowi has high success already in governance, as he was major in Solo before he became Jakarta’s governor for around a year and a half. So let’s see how well this skinny – metal head guy would run as president.
3. We have a rare pink beach

photo credit: amrileader

 

Yep, seriously. If I’m not mistaken its located in Komodo island, where the real ancient dragons are. Literally.

Continue reading

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

Ignorance

9th of July is drawing nearer. Perhaps for you who are part of the rest of the world, this date doesn’t have a special meaning. Perhaps it doesn’t matter at all. 4th of July perhaps, matters much more to the Americans. But for us Indonesians, every one of us is holding their breath, waiting impatiently to witness the turn of history. We are a proud nation. We are a maritime country who cherish pluralism. We are also the people who are currently fighting to take back what’s ours. We are fighting for equality among us. But all this struggle will either perish or be nurtured, everything will be up to the result of what become in 9th of July. Quoting Franz Magnis Suseno: “Election is not about choosing the best, but to prevent the worst (person) into power.”

There stands two men head to head for the first place of the nation. One with ambition of power and one with ambition of change. However, all of us already feel the change. Years ago, every five years of election nobody is willing to state their political choices. It all stays in the domestic public rooms, in whispers. Now every one is standing for their choice, stating who is the man they trust to lead Indonesia. Though in some ways I felt ignorance, of people who believe in rumors, people who merely make statements in social media without further investigations, people who blatantly swear at others who are struggling and dedicating their lives for this country for their sake. And yet…I am no different.

I never speak of it much because I thought people already talk about it everywhere. Contrariwise I do have the passion to see how things would turn out for my beloved country. I was yet to consider how would I actually contribute by voting. I live in Germany now and perhaps, it slipped off my mind.  I have yet to receive a letter to vote and I haven’t done much about it. I have never felt so ignorant my whole life. Today, finally I will get the papers sent. I hope it’s not too late. Jokowi for Indonesia.

Your Character, Against the World?

This is what suddenly came into my mind today, after talking with a friend regarding looking for a job. What if your character is getting in between you getting a job? I’ve been told so many times that in Germany (but I guess pretty much everywhere else) looking for a job is about “selling” your skills. You need to package things right, or even exaggerate what you’re capable of, in order to attract the Human Resources people to hire you. Now I’m a person who isn’t really capable of doing so. If I think I’m good, I’ll say I’m good. If I think I just know of something, I’ll say I just know but not that much. I say things as it is. Exaggerating what I’m capable of makes me feel uncomfortable and insecure. What if I blabber too much and in the end I’m fired because I’m not as good as I advertised? Well, maybe its just my paranoia. But I really would hate myself for overly advertising myself especially when its not true. Like, I just finished my first art doll. And although I plan to sell them like I sell my plush toys, I can’t gather up the thought or feeling to say: “Look how good it looks” or “How cute it is”. Contrariwise, I know it looks quite good for a starter doll, especially for someone with no basic of sculpting and painting. However, I know how much I’m lacking and rather than blabbing about how talented I am, I’d rather look for online tutorials, or even buy them if necessary (I just did yesterday) and make myself better. The problem is, how would people know your quality if you don’t try to appeal yourself at all? I start to think, just a bit won’t hurt.

However, try to see it this way. This world, not just specifically just the job market, is a bakery. Or a bistro, whatever. You know most of the food is crap, cakes with delicious-looking cream that’s most likely just slime topped with another slime, cherry on top which most probably has a thousand micro-worms inside it. But they sell quite fast, and people probably won’t even notice what they just ate. And you, the one who knows that you’re worth more than that, never bother to make yourself look better, despite of how well you know how good you actually taste. You are sure someday someone like a culinary expert would have their eye on you and buy you. But how many people, even culinary experts, have that talent? What are the chances that they came to the stall you’re sitting and pick you up? One underlining here is: They can’t taste you. And you can’t make them do that, either. Not in the most chances, at least. I’ve seen people like this, as a “high quality cake” that looks plain, ended up in a trash bin. My dad is probably one of the very exceptions. Nevertheless, he’s from a totally different generation. This is a generation where “everything that meets the eye matters”.

So what do you do? Are you too proud to change? I’d say you better do. Not following the lead like everyone else, of course. Learn how to say things, how to put them together to sound interesting without exaggerating your capabilities. Take your time and you’ll find your tune. I’m also still trying to find mine. There are too many people out there who take credits they don’t deserve, despite they’re actually intelligent or not. I’ve seen a bit too much, I guess. But oh well, here goes. I just hope I found someone who finally got their eye on me. I’m putting the simplest topping on me now. I’ve been sitting here a little too long.

Hamburg

I spent nearly a week in this city, visiting a very good friend of mine whose practically like my older sister. Having known her for more than 10 years, she is probably one of the people I’m still close to after a long time. First impression of this city: its beautiful. It’s a port city, where you can enjoy a beautiful sight nearly everywhere you walk. However, its freaking cold and the wind is strong. I instantly fell in love with this city and wish my fortune could bring me to get a job here. I had the same feeling every time I’ve been somewhere and think “this is perfect” I normally always ended up there. My dorm high school which I doubt at first (well, if I can survive or not) – but feels so right the moment I step in the center of the school. The university where I pursue my bachelor, my uni here where I’m still undertaking my master degree – and now this city. I love Ilmenau and the peacefulness (despite all the freakos that recently invades) but I get the feeling that I might not be able to find anything for a living here. But Hambug looks like it offers vast chance for me, and one small part of it has suddenly pop up. So, who knows? Crossing fingers.

Plus, the oddest thing is I actually kinda like all the people I just met there (well, so far) which is very rare for me. Both my bestfriend and I are trying our best to ditch PhD. Not a thing that would make us happy, at least definitely not at the nearest time.

So now, hopping on to the pictures!

Continue reading