“La Grande Borne”: Mengintip Diari Pribadi Pengarang Progresif

Membaca beberapa bagian awal buku tulisan pengarang perempuan Indonesia ini, saya sempat terkesan dengan gaya berceritanya yang tidak cuma mengalir tetapi juga sangat blak-blakan. “Tanpa tedeng aling-aling”, kalau boleh menggunakan jargon bahasa Jawa yang kadang ia masukkan dalam tulisan-tulisannya.

Yang cukup mengguncang ialah keberaniannya mengutarakan ganjalan-ganjalan hatinya yang ia pendam selama berumahtangga dengan diplomat Perancis Yves Coffin serta dua anaknya Lintang dan Padang.

Dan yang tidak kalah memalukan juga ialah bagaimana ia memiliki keberanian untuk mengungkap perselingkuhan yang ia lakukan dengan seorang pria yang ia panggil “kapten” di dalam bukunya ini. Perselingkuhan tersebut memang patut dipahami (meskipun secara moral dan agama pasti dianggap salah) apalagi setelah ia banyak mengalami keperihan dalam hubungan rumah tangganya dengan si diplomat yang menurutnya pelit bahkan pada keluarga dekatnya sendiri. Jika merunut keluhan-keluhannya dalam hubungan rumah tangganya, tidak heran jika akhirnya bercerai juga.

Sebagai penggemar karya-karyanya sejak saya masih duduk bangku sekolah menengah atas dulu, saya terkejut dengan gaya bertutur Nh. Dini di buku ini yang agak ‘gelap’, pesimis dan nakal. Ternyata itu karena pernikahannya dengan seorang pria asing tak membuahkan kebahagiaan sejati. Alih-alih bersetia sepenuhnya dan bungkam menerima takdir, pengarang yang bangga dengan latar belakang Jawa-nya itu malah menghentak dengan sikap dan pemikiran serta tindak-tanduknya yang dianggap melenceng dari budaya Jawa.

Berkali-kali saya saksikan perjuangan Nh. Dini dalam himpitan dua budaya: Barat dan Jawa. Misalnya saat ia dan anaknya Lintang menerima perlakuan yang dingin dan kikir dari suaminya, ia kerap mengucapkan bahwa mereka seharusnya bersyukur karena masih banyak orang di luar rumah mereka di dunia ini yang masih harus mengais-ngais tempat sampah untuk sekadar makan dan tidur di luar karena tak memiliki rumah. Ini adalah pendekatan hidup ‘nrimo’ ala Jawa yang ditanamkan oleh ibunda Nh. Dini pada dirinya sejak kecil dan susah sekali luntur. Namun, karena memang jiwa Nh. Dini tidak bisa dikekang oleh norma yang tak adil, ia pun melanggarnya sendiri.

Singkat kata, “La Grande Borne” ini memang lain daripada karya-karyanya sebelumnya, terutama “Sekayu” yang mengisahkan masa kecilnya di Semarang. Materi cerita dan nuansa serta gaya penuturannya sudah lain karena memang sang empunya cerita sudah mengalami perkembangan karakter, dari kanak-kanak menjadi dewasa.

Dan menurut saya, di titik inilah Nh. Dini mengalami krisis hidup paruh baya (midlife crisis). Ia mengalami keresahan yang amat sangat dengan kehidupan pribadinya (baca: ketidakharmonisan dengan suami) sehingga ia terus menyibukkan diri dengan anak-anaknya, menyibukkan diri merawat kucing bernama Miau yang biaya perawatannya mahal, menyibukkan diri juga untuk belajar dan mengambil ujian SIM di Perancis yang terkenal ketat dan tidak mengenal kata Korupsi, Kolusi, dan Nepotisme (KKN).

Saya sangat mengagumi keberanian Nh. Dini yang dengan tak gentar mengangkat sendiri kisah hidupnya untuk dipertontonkan kepada khalayak ramai. Ia lebih mirip David Sedaris daripada J.K. Rowling bagi saya. Sedaris misalnya mampu membungkus kisah hidupnya yang pedih sebagai pekerja serabutan tanpa keahlian yang membanggakan sebagai kisah-kisah humor yang menggelitik. Sementara itu, di ujung sana J.K. Rowling ialah jenis pengarang yang tidak menyangkut pautkan kehidupan pribadinya dalam karya-karyanya. Rowling bahkan mengaku dirinya tidak pernah menulis diari atau catatan pribadi harian.

Entah apakah ia bisa disebut sebagai pengarang feminis atau tidak tetapi yang pasti mendiang Nh. Dini ialah seorang penulis berpandangan progresif, terbuka dan kritis terhadap kondisi dalam masyarakat di sekitarnya. (*/)

Midlife Crisis

As we sat down together after a Bikram Yoga class that very sizzling morning, my boss and I exchanged some jokes and stories.

 

My first yoga class in a heated room ended gloriously. I walked out of the room losing only water in my body. Ego still in check and intact. No injuries caused. No dizziness. It was all good and smooth.

 

Being a younger subordinate, I was on the receiving end, all ears. Ready to absorb more knowledge of life he has to offer.

 

After we told each other our age, he said,” At your age now, I was experiencing midlife crisis….”

Then I knew our conversation glided towards something serious.

 

Following a morning prayer, he had a whim that he wanted to run 35 km on his 35th birthday.  It was not something I wanted to do in my wildest dream. Well, maybe not if I don’t have a strong reason to do so.

 

This kind of challenge is somewhat familiar if you are an endurance sport enthusiast. If you’re 35 you bench press 35 kg, or you do 35 push ups, or 35 sit ups or 35 pull ups. Anything challenging for whatever repetitions that equals your chronological age.

 

He did so partly because – as he admitted – he dealt with what we call now  “Midlife Crisis”. It is a period of emotional difficulty and instability leading to be more curious than usual about who someone is really and what his or her place in the world is.

 

Individuals in the crisis experience distress and feel uncertain but scientists say this is the right time as well to open ourselves to novel ideas and propositions. Midlife crisis also leads us to a supply of new insights and creativite ideas.

 

This type of crisis in fact commonly occurs in the world. No one seems to be immune to that. So if you’re now in this crisis, don’t think you’re all alone. You’re just unaware that fellow midlife crisis sufferers are around you.

 

And I think most of us don’t know that happiness varies throughout life. Scientists said it follows a U-shaped curve. Which means, humans normally feel happy in their childhood or early years of adulthood and then they feel most unhappy during their midlife period and when they reach old age, things seem to get better once again.

 

That said, if you’re in midlife crisis now, consider NOT to commit suicide or do something stupid or useless or hamrful both for yourself, your own immediate family or friends.

 

Keep pushing forward.

 

Do the best thing you can do to reach the finish line. Sound and kicking still even if you feel wretched and wrecked. (*/)

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Is Why You Should Install Mozilla Firefox and Ditch Chrome

HEATED conversations on the web regarding  online privacy post Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal months ago keeps gaining momentum. Though most people find it boring, the issue is in fact crucial so as to prevent such unhealthy domination.

One of the best ways to avoid abuse of data by large internet corporations is by using by needs and avoiding use of all products in a centralized manner. In other words, if you have an Android gadget, the risks are getting higher if you are on Chrome, using Google Docs and Google Maps. That translates to living in a closed ecosystem, as if you have no alternatives. That way, all your data is held by a single company, i.e. Google. It will be better to use several services by different companies according to your needs.

One real step to take in order to restrict data abuse on the web is by using Firefox of Mozilla and abandoning other web browsers which do not show more concern about their user privacy.

Why Firefox?

These days according to Statcounter, Chrome browser dominates browser market share worldwide, partly thanks to the Android invasion. In the meantime, Firefox only ranks the fourth after Safari and UC Browser.

In Indonesia, Chrome still champions and Firefox is at the fourth rank after UC Browser and Opera, competing against Safari and other browsers.

Firefox was first introduced in 2004 so it is no longer new actually. To general audience, it looks just the same with Internet Explorer, Chrome and Opera. However, what is important to know is that other than Chrome, Firefox was made by Mozilla which is a non-profit organization with a mission to realize an open and healthy internet. Privacy and security are two main concerns of Mozilla.

Chrome does NOT prioritize your privacy as users. This is clear when you take time to sit down and peruse its policy that Chrome actually saves your internet exploration data locally unless you sign out of your Google account. In addition, Chrome also allows third party websites to access your IP address and other information which is traceable by cookies. If you are very concerned about privacy, this is something not to be taken lightly as your data can be sold to advertisers and third party companies that are able to trace your behaviors on the web.

Freedom

At Firefox, Mozilla offers a number of options of search engines. This freedom is not found in other browsers. Or if you may find it, it is not regarded as the strong unique selling point. Users can opt for Google as their search engine but here the difference is that anyone can choose deliberately. And if they are not willing, users are possible to choose another search engine. This is what we mean by “freedom”.

Protection

You can take control of data with comfort and protected from unwanted tracking  by using Firefox browser. It’s a well-known browser that can also prevent advertisers from tracking you down. Have you ever accessed an ecommerce website, haven’t checked out and completed the payment and at the samee time you’re visiting another site that shows you an advertisement of the previously product you are just about to purchase? That’s what I mean by “tracking”.

Privacy for All

Not everyone on the web is a geek or an internet savvy user. There are more lay people out there who don’t even know the urgency of internet privacy but they do have and use smartphones on daily basis. These people are in fact a group of internet users who enjoy most benefots from using Firefox because they find it hassle-free to turn on the “Do Not Track” feature. On Firefox, such a feature is on by deafult. However, on Chrome such a feature is not turned on by default so non-geek users would find it more challenging to turn the feature on.

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Even if you think Mozilla Firefox is not giving enough privacy protection, you are encouraged to download Firefox Focus, the latest browser from Mozilla. It focuses primarily on protecting your online privacy. This abrowser is available for both Android and iOS handhelds.

And good news for Android users, Mozilla plans to launch this year a new browser called “Firefox Preview” that focuses more on privacy than any other browsers existing in the market.  And Firefox Preview will be better than Firefox Focus in terms of privacy and online security in the near future. (*/)

On Experiencing Ageism

I can relate to what James Hamblin of The Atlantic is experiencing.
He is a year older than I am but he looks like in this video a twelve year old boy.  He is Caucasian, which I can make sure he is way taller than I am.
It’s not because he makes conscious efforts to look like one but it’s more because of his natural tendency.
Some people just find it hard to ‘man up’, to be mature, to grow masculine, stable and OLD.

 

Garmin Vivosmart HR+: Best Buy Activity Tracker cum Smartwatch

So here’s a brief background of my purchase of this Garmin Vivosmart HR Plus. First, it is blue. I previously wanted a Samsung smartwatch but I got disappointed to discover the fact that the brand does not offer a blue color variant. Yes, because blue is always my favorite color.

And this Garmin gadget has what Samsung offers at a lower price. I am a customer that is easy to please actually. I just want the basic features of an activity tracker these days. It must be able to count heart beats, steps, etc. And of course it shows time because I need something more than a wristwatch. I demand more functions especially ones related to fitness and sports considering my interest in well being, gymnastics and yoga.

By purchasing this gadget, I can save IDR 1 million. While Samsung cheaper smartwatch costs more than IDR 3 million, the Garmin Vivosmart HR Plus just costs me around IDR 2.3 million. It is a best buy for a strong strong reason.

Welcome Storyliving, Goodbye Storytelling!

photo of a boy reading book
We don’t need you to tell stories. We want to experience the stories! (Photo by mentatdgt on Pexels.com)

As a copywriter myself, I’ve heard so much in the marketing industry that storytelling is the big thing. You have to produce engaging content that people would love to consume and then share. And from there, it’ll go viral, which is quite a key parameter of a successful marketing campaign.

It seems now readers of the 21st century has shifted to the next trend, or simply a fad? I have no idea. We’ll decide as only time can tell.

As cited from Sprinklr’s blog, the latest marketing trend is now STORYLIVING.

Found in exchanges during Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity this very year, the portmanteau word is used to replace the obsolete “storytelling” concept we have so long used and applied in engaging consumers/ audiences.

So what makes STORYLIVING different and unique from STORYTELLING?

While storytelling only explains us a proposition or idea, storyliving goes beyond that.

Storyliving encourages us (read: brands) to “get active and create more experiences”, reported Sprinklr.

Chief Marketing Officer of Samsung’s Global Lee Young-Hee proposed this novel approach at the event, stating:”Gen Z is not interested in storytelling, they want storyliving.”

Who belong to Generation Z, you may ask?

It’s hard to define clearly. But if you turn to Wikipedia, you’ll see the definition of

As a consequence, brands must stop telling stories and start allowing their successes speak for themselves. And stories are what customers experience. So customers do own brands, not the other way around.

This customer-experience-centric standpoint has been made possible also by the current technology. It allows us to track in real-time all changes occuring in markets.

It’s also interesting to see that brands are advised to see their consumers as more than just a group of faceless human beings consuming their products and services. Consumers are real humans with many facets, intricacies, and complexities.

How can storyliving be implemented?

With all the tech development such as Augmented and Virtual Reality,  this future trend is just around the corner. (*/)

Learning the Meaning of Father’s Day from the Prousts

There is no man of literature that can describe the most humbling father-son relationship than French great novelist Marcel Proust and his father, Adrien Proust.

Two days before 26 November 1903, Adrien experienced a massive stroke attack while teaching in the medical school and eventually passed away, leaving his son so devastated. Of his father’s passing, Marcel wrote in a letter with a heightened feeling of being a failing son:

“Papa was a very sweet and simple man. I tried not to live up to his expectations for I am aware that I am always the dark spot in his life. To show him my affection, […] Other people have some sort of ambition to console them. I have none.”

At the time, Marcel was still in deep disappointment with himself because the novel he was working on, “Jean Santeuil” (an unfinished novel divided in three volumes which was never published during his lifetime).

With his father so hardworking and celebrated as an epidemiologist succeeding to combat cholera plague in Paris, Marcel saw himself as a shadow that never ever surpassed his father’s achievement and strong personality. He had developed a type of Inferiority Complex.

And the disappointment of Adrien was magnified when he learned Marcel failed to have a certain career.  Marcel was ‘only’ able to take up pens and write every night, living like  bat. Marcel’s younger brother, Robert, luckily (or sadly?) went on to study medicine, just like their father, which was quite a source of frustration to Marcel.

Adrien saw Robert’s academic and career attainment soared at medical school. Though he knew Marcel was not interested in attending medical school, as a father he suggested him to join a law firm.

But Marcel knew what he wanted. He write in one of his letters to his father:

“My dearest Papa,

I have kept hoping that I would be finally able to go on with the literary and philosophical studies for which I believe myself fit. As for a law office, I assure you I wouldn’t stick it out for three days.

I still believe that anything I do outside philosophy and literature would be just so much lost time…”

Despite the sibling rivalry, Robert showed full support of Marcel’s literary pursuit and even helped edit the elder brother’s manuscripts after Marcel’s untimely death.

Aren’t we all familiar with this situation as children?

We at times are in the unfortunate position of a child who still wants to devote him/herself to their father. Yet, s/he also has his/ her own stance in life, defending what s/he is,  what s/he wants to pursue in life, whom to marry, etc.

Seeing Marcel defend bravely his literary pursuit, I know that every child, including me, must never be afraid of expressing their minds or opinions even though often children are overshadowed by fathers.

So if you think you cannot make your father proud in HIS own perspective/ stand point, why not trying to make him proud in YOUR own way?

Marcel might be just a sickly, fragile son with little or no aptitude or knack for medicine or laws but I bet, should Adrien know how much Marcel his son is now admired for his literary achievement and how human race still celebrates his works and brilliance even after his death, the disappointed father might turn proud and accept Marcel as a whole human being. (*/)

If Jakarta Sinks…

Asian Boss has asked several young Jakartans what they think of the recent discourse of moving the capital to a new city outside Java Island.

If I were one of them, I’d say:

“It should’ve done long time ago. It has always been a debate since the last administration but nothing occcured.

Moving the center of economic and administrative affairs from Jakarta (formerly called Batavia) to a new city in Borneo Island.actually not only involves shifts of physical positions but also shifts of paradigm in the mind of our policy makers.

For more than 70 years, Indonesia has been too Javacentric. Seriously. We have had almost all of our presidents from Javanese families. The first president is Soekarno or Kusno Sosordihardjo, which is a very Javanese name. Suharto is also a Javanese-born man. Our third is not a pure Javanese man but B. J. Habibie has a mother of Javanese nobility. Abdurrahman Wahid is totally from East Java. Megawati is Soekarno’s daughter, so she is Javanese to her core. And Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) is from Pacitan, East Java. Even the current president Jokowi was born in Surakarta, Java. So we can tell how much the Javacentricism is in the core of our country. All is about Java.

Though I am a Javanese and muslim man myself (just like being a Christian, white male in the States), I in fact look forward to something bigger than this restricting and suffocating Javacentricism as I believe in the notion that openness to reform is the key to unlocking the nation’s biggest potential.

Jakarta and Javacentricism are getting less and less relevant as Indonesia is becoming a more developed country. And Jakarta is way too old and fragile to support a disgustingly rapid economic boom in the country. The impact of this slow response to the Jakarta’s incapability of becoming a representative capital is too bitter for us. We have been so tired and drained by the traffic jams, floodings, environmental issues, etc.

And no one seems inside a happy bubble, not wanting to acknowledge the fact that Jakarta is doomed once the nation gained its independence. I am not saying our independence is the culprit of the huge mess in Jakarta but Jakarta/ Batavia was clearly built by the Dutch. And our ‘organic’ way of city plan growth and changes is very wild, dissimilar in many ways possibly found from the Dutch’s ways of thinking and city planning, design and so on.

Not to mention the urbanization rate which has been soaring and the ill-planned urban landscape, Jakarta looks like an old lady getting raped by super selfish men.

But the current regime should learn from the past mistakes so they won’t create another Jakarta in Borneo.

I really think Jakarta’s role as an administrative center can be gradually removed; while its role as an economic center can be transferred to other big cities throughout Indonesia, such as Medan, Makassar, Jayapura, and other port cities. (*/)

Foreign Language (Mis)Used as the Most Efficient Politeness Maker

My hometown is one of the least towns on earth you are likely to find scantily clad women on ads. We observe the Islamic laws and morals and ethics. Veiled women are everywhere to see.

The atmosphere of conservatism and orthodoxy is too prevalent to deny.

So of course it makes sense that I was horribly shocked to spot that disturbing sticker that says “FATHER FUCKER” (typed as is) on my way home.

Since when this kind of double profanity is allowed and considered legal in this ultra religious town in the time of Islamic lifestyle awakening?

I assume this is because hardly anyone understands well what this sticker really means.

When “MOTHER FUCKER” is already a horrendous sin because that means someone is a son who has sex with his own biological mother, then “FATHER FUCKER” refers to a son who has sex with his own biological father by becoming a powerful and authoritative top. While the first case would evidently of incest and adultery, the second is even way more complex. There is a nuance of incest, adultery, and same-sex intercourse.

Has the sticker shown us some emerging LBTQ campaign around the town? I jokingly think so.

But I seriously have given this a thought: these people in my pious hometown do assume that everything is good and permitted and thus polite and ethical as long as it is stated in other languages they do not speak and write. And since they can only speak Javanese and Indonesian, they then won’t mind and care if you screamed “FUCK YOU” in the middle of the crowd in the townsquare.

I have noticed this phenomenon since quite a long time. This is partly because they think foreign languages are cooler. So what is the problem of saying profanity when people around you have no idea what it is all about?

That might be the case. No worries because no one will really get the meaning.

But as shocking as I may feel the first time, I eventually come to terms with this ignorance.

Though people in this town may learn English in schools, but in reality only very very few of them really understand the meaning behind all wordings on ads they see every time.