“Night at the Museum”: An Attempt to Revamp the Image of National Museum of Indonesia

[Photo credit: MuseumNasional.or.id]
National Museum of Indonesia (Museum Nasional) that night was unusually hectic and bright, when it was supposed to be silent and dark. Some crowd consisting of youths was spotted, scattered throughout the museum. They seemed to have fun as night set in.

I was part of the party as well.

I never fancied to visit the museum at night. A friend said it gets too eerie and she is not a fan of being in the complete darkness and shocked by sudden scream of an unknown creature, for example.

I used to visit the museum once a couple of years ago. Alone, during daylight though. And what I visited was the original museum site, known as Gedung A or Building A.  It was built around 240 years ago.

If you have no idea how this museum was founded, I will let you know here. For your information, it is way older than the republic itself. The museum was initially founded, officiated and named Bataviaasch Genootschap van Kunsten en Wetenschappen [Batavian Society of Arts and Sciences] on April 24, 1778, by the Dutch Government. At the time Batavia [Old Jakarta] was occupied and governed by VOC or East Indies Trade Company. The first building of the museum  located in jalan Kali Besar was a house donated by J. C. M. Radermacher [we shall touch more on this in the next paragraph] served as the headquarters of Dutch renowned thinkers living in East India [later known as Indonesia]. It was built thanks to the advent of the Age of Enlightenment in Europe. Dutch top thinkers had previously built their own association in Haarlem, the Netherlands, called De Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen. Upon seeing this, a number of Dutch intellectuals who lived in East India were also motivated to build and foster the same intellectual community far away from their homeland.

We were at the museum that very night to commemorate that day, when the Dutch thinkers gathered and launched their intellectual and scientific pursuit and mission in the country which their country annexed. The co-founder, Jacob Cornelis Matthieu Radermacher, was known as a public and historical figure contributing much to promoting the East India arts and sciences. Born in the Hague in 1741, Radermacher was a young VOC official. He was also a founder of the first Freemason order  in Batavia. He proposed the establishment of Batavian Society of Arts and Sciences, especially  physics, biology, literature, ethnology and history and published research findings. The association later transformed into Museum Nasional.

His contribution was enormous, ranging from donating hiw own mansion in Kali Besar [an area in Old Jakarta, located in the northern part]. He donated his highly valuable collections, such as archeological artefacts, musical instruments, books and six filing cabinets loaded with documents pertaining to the association.

As a botanist, Radermacher made flora and fauna catalogs of Java and Sumatera island throughout his tenure in Bataviaasch Genootschap van Kunsten en Wetenschappen. On his voyage back to the Netherlands, he was tragically murdered in 1783 after a bloody onboard mutiny.

And I was there to be one of the participants, looking for rare experience And it turned out GREAT.

Around 7 pm, participants were divided into several groups as they would be led on a brief tour. It only lasted for 30 minutes so we in no way could enjoy the proper, serious and detailed museum tour and asked some questions.

I have previously roamed some spots in the museum especially in Building B (Building B, the newly built one with modern yet dry and identity-less architecture and Greek-style pillars which to me are so out of Indonesian cultural context).

The tour leaders guided all participants in three spots which represent the past and present of the museum. The first to visit is the awkwardly named art installation, “Ku Yakin Sampai di Sana” [roughly translated, “I Believe I’ll Be There”], skillfully crafted by Balinese artist I Nyoman Nuarta. Having bronze and brass as materials and the gigantic size, the artwork catches visitors’ eyes very easily. To myself, the artwork looks like a blackhole sucking people into infinity.

The second spot was Taman Sanken (The Sunken Garden). This is located between Building A [the 240-old building] and Building B [the modern one]. Still under construction, the garden was not properly lit. It is one part of the expansion of the museum [read on here to find what is in the grand plans]. But I am more than sure that after the completion, this will be an Instagrammable corner for everyone to take pictures at.

The third was probably the most familiar spot. That is the elephant statue, gifted from the Crown Prince of Thai Kingdom, Chulalongkorn. The statue is the reason why the museum is widely known by the locals as “Museum Gajah” [the Elephant Museum].

The best was yet to come. The last to visit was the most precious collections of the museum on the fourth floor. We participants were not allowed to take any photos in the exhibition room and displays for whatever reason as there are risks people will misuse photos of these artefacts to make fake items and sell them while claiming they are original.

In this place, there are a few horrid stories the leader presented us. First, the story of mandau [a saber of Dayaknese men] and mengayau tradition [beheading enemies]. As if beheading humans were not traumatic enough to even imagine, we were told that Dayaknese tribes also used to keep these bodiless heads of their slain enemies at their homes. These were even treated as trophies. The more enemy heads a Dayaknese man had, the more respect he would have from people around him in his tribe. And it was believed that the more heads a Dayaknese man had, the more power they possessed, making him to become unbeatable. And one of the ways to amass this power was to sleep on one of these enemy heads every single night. An expression of terror immediately followed the explanation.

I myself still believe that to some extent this seemingly inhumane tradition still exists in Borneo as I was told sometime ago by a friend residing in Singkawang that he witnessed  Dayaknese men collected heads around town when an ethnic riot broke in Sambas, West Kalimantan. He said the horrendous scene left him a permanent psychological scar.

As I observed, the museum management seemed so eager to revamp its image as “Museum Gajah” to “National Museum” which deserves its national status.

And I safely say this is one of the best, most creative efforts made to attract both local and global visitors, as well as to let them know that Museum Nasional Indonesia is trying to be more innovative in any possible fashion so more young people learn history without too much boredom and frustration. Visiting museums can be awesome and cool, just like malls, with which urban Indonesians are now increasingly  familiar .

To stay up-to-date with the museum’s upcoming events, never hesitate to follow its Instagram account @museum_nasional_indonesia and visit its official website MuseumNasional.or.id. (*/)


P.S.: As quoted from the museum management representative, actually the first building of this museum was NOT Building A on Jalan Medan Merdeka Barat, Central Jakarta, just the opposite of Monumen Nasional (Monas). It was a house donated by J. C. M. Radermacher, its co-founder.

Menelisik Fitartistik: Pentingnya Imagery

Imagery dalam senam, bergunakah? [Sumber foto:Wikimedia Commons]
SAYA masih menghadapi mental block yang besar dalam melakukan back handspring seperti yang sudah diajarkan coach saya di kelas Fitartistic, Jonathan Sianturi, dalam beberapa pertemuan terakhir.

Sebenarnya saya sudah tidak ada masalah berarti saat mengeksekusi gerakan ini dengan matras tinggi di belakang saya. Tapi begitu matras setinggi lutut itu disingkirkan, otak saya seolah memberitahukan kecemasan akan ancaman potensial. Seolah-olah saya tidak mempercayai kekuatan kedua telapak tangan saya dalam menopang tubuh agar kepala ini tidak terbentur lantai. Konsekuensinya, saya bisa melenting dengan percaya diri saat masih ada matras setinggi lutut itu. Begitu matras itu tidak ada, keberanian dan kepercayaan diri saya juga sirna seketika.

Padahal secara esensi, gerakannya sama saja. Hanya saja saya harus membangun kepercayaan diri itu dengan imagery, demikian kata coach Jonathan.

Saya mencoba meresepi kata-katanya itu. Pertama-tama saya tentu heran. “Apa hubungannya imagery dengan senam?” protes saya dalam hati. Rasa-rasanya kedua bidang ini sama sekali tidak berkaitan, batin saya terus memberontak.

Sebagai mantan mahasiswa sastra, saya tahu apa itu imagery. Menurut Collins Dictionary, imagery merujuk pada bayangan yang kita ciptakan dalam benak/ otak kita berdasarkan pada kata-kata yang biasanya ada dalam karya sastra seperti syair, bait lagu, atau puisi.

Lama-kelamaan saya paham dengan saran coach Jonathan untuk menggunakan imagery dalam berlatih gerakan-gerakan yang menantang.

“Kadang dalam melakukan gerakan-gerakan senam, Anda harus menggunakan imagery karena apa yang Anda pikirkan itu mempengaruhi realitas,” tegasnya.

Dengan kata lain, pikiran memiliki pengaruh pada apa yang terjadi dalam kenyataan. Jika Anda hanya berpikir,”Duh, saya akan gagal pasti habis ini” atau “Gerakan ini susah. Pasti saya jatuh deh!”, vibrasi pikiran itu seolah akan mengirimkan sebuah sinyal ke alam semesta bahwa Anda memang pantas untuk jatuh. Maka, saran coach Jonathan, bangunlah mentalitas positif melalui imagery yang positif juga.

Dan inilah tantangan mengajarkan pada orang yang sudah dewasa, selain tubuh yang sudah lebih kaku dan terbiasa dengan rutinitas lainnya, mental mereka juga lebih sulit dibentuk.

Kenapa? Karena kita sebagai orang dewasa sudah memiliki kemampuan untuk membentuk pendapat dan pemikiran sendiri. Dan kita lebih asertif dan defensif dalam memegang opini itu dibandingkan anak-anak.

Karena itu, saya memiliki pekerjana rumah yang sangat besar di aspek ini. Bila saya sudah menaklukkan mental block satu ini, saya akan bisa menaklukkan yang lain juga. (*/)

Is Vegetarianism Too Hard? Try Semi Vegetarianism

I have a friend who stealthily urges me to turn vegetarian. He sent me once in a while some videos on why eating meat is like crime. His idea is basically like this: you kill living creatures that deserve to live if you eat meat. You allow yourself to be a walking cemetery. Under no circumstance, leave meat.

His message is clear and sound. There is no reason why I can neglect or misunderstand it.

But if he does it because he believes that it is part of his faith, I also have my own reason. I have my faith which does not seem to allow me to go completely vegan. As a moslem, I have Idul Adha. Though I can skip eating meat, there must be a meaning behind the celebration of Idul Adha. And according to my interpretation, God allows us to enjoy meat once in a while as our body needs nutritions in it. No matter how nutritious plant-based diets can be, there must be some elements that you miss from avoiding meat altogether. It is a self denial to say, “We do not need meat at all”.

Though we can eat meat, it does not necessarily mean we must consume it every day, every time we wish. That is another extreme end of spectrum.

I need the balance. And I discover that in SEMI VEGANISM. We definitely still can eat any meat, only with less frequency and in a restricted amount.

Meat, if consumed without control, gives us health issues. It causes addiction as well.

Now that people live in an era when meat is cheaper and almost everywhere, they can eat meat every time they have meal.

But this brings health impacts as well on our overall quality of life. People start suffering from gout, diabetes, coronary diseases, etc because of this horrible meat-loaded diet.

We need to transform our foods of choice. We must transform the way we think of foods.

Meat should be consumed less frequently in a fewer amount. Eat meat only once a week to stay  healthy and fit.

And moslems in the epoch of Muhammad PBUH were semi vegetarians. They ate date and water on daily basis. But meat? That is just on rare occasion. It is not part of daily meal. Meat is eaten as a mark of important celebration.

So eating healthy, fresh [instead of processed] foods is in fact not only good in terms of your health maintenance. It also shows that you observe your religious teachings.  God tells us to eat what is halal and thayyib, which means our food must be sourced in a halal way and  all substances in it is halal and proves to be beneficial for the body. (*/photo: WIkimedia Commons)

Sayonara, Facebook and Twitter! Welcome, Sebangsa!

I remember writing about Sebangsa four years ago [read on: New Indonesian-Flavored Social Media Sebangsa.com Tries to Gain Traction]. It was a new service still and not many people knew its existence. Sebangsa was later on supported by ATSI (Asosiasi Penyelenggara Telekomunikasi Seluruh Indonesia/ Indonesia’s National Telecommunication Service Providers Association), which enables it to survive to its very second.

In 2014, the service launched after Enda Nasution and Indira B. Widjonarko made it. It was far from popularity. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were still widely used. In terms of functions, it had a lot in common with the first two social media services aforementioned. It presented a timeline with multimedia content.

One thing the service has tried to facilitate is the spirit of ‘gotong royong’ or communal solidarity. It accomodated Indonesian migrant workers so its content was uniquely ‘Indonesia’. Group is its best feature. Linguistically, it was also designed to provide more ease of communication among Indonesians. So you’ll find bahasa gaul or Indonesian slang there.

Fast forward four years later, I still know Sebangsa but I am hardly on it. I have been too engrossed with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And thank God, it still exists.

After the Cambridge Analytica-Facebook shameful scandal, I came back to it once again. I gained my access to my already existing Sebangsa account (which is by now 4 years old). As of today I start to be on it more especially after I deleted my Facebook and Twitter private account.

The app cofounder Enda said [as cited by maxmanroe.com] that their strategy was never about getting head-to-head against the giants [read: Facebook and Twitter]. “We are here not to drag netizens out of Twitter or Facebook. It doesn’t matter if they are still on both social media services as our features are different from theirs.”

But if I had been Enda, I would have been more assertive in stating my ambition and proactively acquiring more users in the Indonesian market. Especially in the time of Indonesian public disgust over the scandal involving Facebook. We Indonesians now know more that trusting our data to foreign entities costs us a lot more than mere privacy leak and damage of trust.

It costs us our sovereignty and freedom to determine our own fate [through supposedly intervention-free democracy processes].

Now I know the reason why Facebook and Twitter are strictly banned in China and the country only approves of local social media networks.

If there is a perfect time for Indonesia to reclaim its digital sovereignty in this 21st century [read on: The Indonesian Government Threatens to Ban Facebook in Indonesia] then NOW IS THE TIME FOR SEBANGSA TO SHOW UP.

Leaving Facebook and using Sebangsa sounds more feasible to me because I hate to say that I hate it when people say proudly:”Indonesia is one the biggest Facebook users number in the world.” Indonesians should not feel proud of it because it shows the nation dependency on another nation’s products. And to me, that is a flaw to fix, instead of an achievement to show off. (*/)

My Life After Leaving Facebook

Odd at first, natural later on. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

It is so weird to hear a friend mentioned folks on Facebook have been in abuzz about the next general election last night. She seemed to have no idea about my opting out of Facebook. Which is of course understandable because I never want to announce it. I just quit. Just like that.


My first and foremost reason to leave or use Facebook significantly less than before is because I have no time to keep my wall updated. And every time I am on Facebook, what I see is MOSTLY DIGITAL TRASH. These are things I do not need to digest, things that are totally useless for the betterment of my life and career and everything.  I just killed time by getting on Facebook.

I have deactiveated my Facebook private account surely but I have to admit I still keep a separate account.

Again, why?

Well, before you accuse me of being untrustworthy and unreliable with my statement and view on Facebook, let me tell you I am an administrator of a community which requires me to be on Facebook. This is the last reason why I am once in a week log in Facebook and update the feed.

I have no reason to stop.

And then it came to think of it: why not delegating the task?

And then came another excuse. I have a blog. This very blog. It has a following on Facebook page I founded years ago. As silly as it may seem, I must say Facebook is quite useful to encourage people to visit my blog. Because again Instagram does not allow me to post clickable URLs on my captions. Which sucks a lot. But I really turn to Instagram right now simply because I see much less political content there. It’s mostly about yoga and health and no political views shown liberally by its users and my friends.

I have been on LinkedIn more often lately but it is too silly to post every and each blog post I just publish on my profile because not every piece is related to work. Some are very casual by nature. Far from serious topics and definitely written for sheer fun. Because writing to me is a way to destress as well.

So by ‘leaving Facebook’, I mean I am no longer updating my personal feed ever again. And I do not have any urge to do so. I have much less energy to rant on my Facebook. It is still an awesome platform for sure but it is over for me now. It is no longer cool. It is no longer awesome as it was in 2009 when the first time I logged in and told the world I had my own stances in every thing there is.

But then again, for professional and social purposes I may still be using it. I still want to reach people with Facebook simply because most of them are on it.

It is not about the glamorous side of getting social. It is just the norm. It is a task to accomplish. It is an assignment to be done. Not more. Not less. (*/)


5 Most Valuable Life Lessons from Top CEOs

The experience of writing CEO profiles is a humbling one. (Photo credit: Mine)

EXHAUSTED but relieved and elated.  That’s what I really feel right now. It’s perhaps similar to what a mother or father feels after a newly born baby finally in their arms. A gruelling nine months have passed and now it’s time to unwind a bit and celebrate.

With hindsight, I can sense a great deal of passion spilled into the book. My passion, too.

The project was a blast and came to me without any warning. I was recruited as one of the writers because interviewing and writing [and rewriting, if needed] profiles of more than 30 CEOs in several months with tight deadlines was too overwhelming for one or two writers.

Anyway, here is five hugely valuable life lessons  learned from a number of CEOs I interviewed in person.

Courage to move and start anew

It’s a lesson I discovered when I interviewed Mindaugas Trumpaitis, CEO of PT HM Sampoerna Tbk. He admitted that his success is thanks to his family. His parents allowed him to leave their politically turbulent country, Lithuania, for working overseas. He had roamed Latvia, Switzerland, Finland, Mexico and Ecuador and Peru. Now he also explores Indonesia, making a history with the company he is leading.

Reinvention for improvement

Sometimes we have to let go our current career and be daring enough to take risks and ‘jump to another boat’. That’s what Trumpaitis taught me. He worked as a lecturer at Klapeida University for a decade before he made up his mind to enrich his knowledge and insights and reinvent himself as a businessman. Imagine that, from an academician to a business executive. Quite a move, isn’t it?

Making the most of what you have

Another example of this lesson is Rino Donoseputro’s career journey. The leader of Standard Chartered Bank Indonesia said bluntly he never wanted or dreamed of – even the slightest – that he would someday take the helm as a business leader at a bank. What he wished for was a career as a diplomat, traveling from a country to another. A career of banker, therefore, never crossed his mind. But then destiny led him to another path somehow.  He even described himself as a reluctant to passionate banker.

So if you think your dream is unreachable, think again. What you have now is probably what will eventually make you successful. You just have to find a way to be passionate about it. Don’t do the job just because you need the money [though it really matters in fact] or because you want the pride and prestige of being a part of a cool company or workplace.

In Rino’s case, he managed to show his best and impress his then global CEO Mervin Davis in a taxi trip to the international airport one day in 2002. That’s when he knew his life would never be the same again. He was offered by the CEO to move to London, where the bank’s headquarters was located and worked there as a staffer directly working for the global CEO. So never compromise your quality performance even if you think your job is not the best in the world. Strive for the excellence no matter what. Because that’s how you’ll get noticed by the universe.


Paulus Sutisna of DBS Bank Indonesia learned a lot about this when the crisis hit his former workplace, Citibank, in 1997-1998. As a banker, he knew and experienced firsthand the bitterness of Asian financial crisis. That was the right time to learn people’s real characters. Some are deceitful, he discovered. They showed no intention to cooperate with his bank and then got away with the loans. “Some looked very rich but after the crisis, they refused to pay and even avoided us,” he recalled the darkest days in his career. However,  very few still had their last shred of dignity, trying to negotiate their loans with him and his bank, and maintaining good relationships even they could escape and disappear if they wanted to. Then he learned his clients’ characters and that proves to be useful later on.

I see this as a good point. Regardless of the industry we work in, integrity is so important and should never be compromised. It’s the last quality that has the greatest significance other than competence and many others. If one has integrity, anything else in him would be appreciated. But once integrity is fading away, any other factors would fail to be taken into account.


Get involved in an organization so that you can learn a lot about leadership and humans and how to manage them. All these skills are always useful even if you’re living as a hermit in the middle of a jungle.

Iqbal Latanro of Taspen taught me this. He has always wanted to be actively involved in any organizations since his days at elementary school because he knew that way his leadership and communication skills would grow rapidly.

You may find the more complete narrative of these CEOs’ thoughts inside “Indonesia Most Admirable CEOs 2017”. It is now sold at Periplus, Gramedia and Book and Beyond outlets in Indonesia. (*/)

Fitartistik: Tanpa Batas, Lebih Asyik

HUMAN flag adalah salah satu gerakan yang tidak terbayangkan bisa saya lakukan. Gerakannya disebut demikian karena posisi tubuh meniru bendera yang tengah tertiup angin kencang, sampai benar-benar tegak lurus dengan tiang.

Tapi hari ini saya mencoba dan ternyata bisa juga!

Fitartistik inilah yang menurut saya adalah latihan dengan hanya menggunaka  berat tubuh (body weight workout) yang tanpa menargetkan harus menguasai ini itu tetapi secara lambat namun pasti membangun kekuatan dan kelenturan tubuh sehingga kita pada suatu saat tiba juga pada titik yang diinginkan. Tentu jika syarat-syaratnya terpenuhi: latihan dengan disiplin dan konsisten.

Coach Jonathan Sianturi sendiri memberikan sedikit nasihat pada saya yang memiliki tipe tubuh ectomorph ini agar memperbanyak latihan fisik jenis muscle-up agar kekuatan lebih terbangun secara alami. Ia menyarankan makan lebih banyak protein alami seperti putih telur dan ikan.

Jadwal latihan juga perlu diatur. Bisa dengan dua hari berturut-turut latihan sampai lelah baru dua hari berikutnya benar-benar istirahat. Ini yang dinamai recovery period. Kemudian bisa juga selanjutnya satu hari latihan dan diikuti satu hari istirahat. Ini yang dinamakan mini break. Demikian saran Jonathan.

Apakah Olahraga di Rooftop Saat Malam Hari Baik untuk Kesehatan?

Olahraga di rooftop memang mengasyikkan, tetapi perlu dipertimbangkan efeknya untuk tubuh. (Foto: Wikimedia Commons)

Kemarin saya dihubungi seorang pewarta media nasional, dengan tujuan untuk mengetahui pendapat saya sebagai praktisi yoga tentang tren olahraga malam hari di atap bangunan alias rooftop.

Memang saya amati ada komunitas-komunitas yang dengan sengaja membuat jadwal latihan fisik di malam hari dengan tujuan untuk mengakomodasi para pekerja kantoran usia produktif yang ingin tetap bisa berolahraga tetapi tidak sempat melakukannya di pagi hari.

Ada beberapa hal yang menurut saya perlu diperhatikan bagi mereka yang ingin berolahraga di malam hari.

Tidak terlalu dekat dengan jam tidur

Hal pertama yang menurut saya perlu diperhatikan saat berolahraga di malam hari ialah usahakan untuk tidak melakukannya saat mendekati waktu tidur.

Kenapa? Karena tubuh kita ini sudah memiliki irama sirkadian (irama alami kerja tubuh) yang diatur secara alami, dan ditandai dengan terbit dan tenggelamnya matahari. Manusia memiliki kecenderungan sebagai makhluk diurnal, bukan nocturnal. Artinya, manusia itu berkegiatan di pagi sampai petang hari dan begitu matahari sudah tenggelam, tubuh manusia melambatkan kinerjanya untuk fase istirahat yang diperlukan agar tetap bisa berfungsi baik. Karena itulah, manusia tidak bisa disamakan dengan kelelawar atau burung hantu yang nocturnal atau beraktivitas di malam hari.

Saat kita berolahraga terlalu larut dan dekat dengan jam tidur, tubuh kita cenderung hangat dan adrenalin terpacu, sehingga bagi sebagian orang ini justru membuat mereka bersemangat, bukannya tertidur pulas pada malam harinya.

Memang olahraga akan membuat tubuh melepaskan hormon endorfin sehingga membuat kita lebih rileks dan tertidur lebih pulas. Namun, patut diingat bahwa tidak semua orang merasakan efek yang sama. Ada yang mendapati efek overstimulasi sehingga tidur mereka justru terganggu. Ini yang pernah saya alami setelah saya beryoga dengan intens (banyak pose-pose inversi yang lumayan menguras tenaga) di malam hari. Alih-alih merasa rileks dan mengantuk, saya malah melek semalaman dan bersemangat. Jelas esoknya saya justru makin lemas karena kuantitas dan kualitas tidur berkurang. Tentu sekali lagi ini berpulang pada masing-masing individu. Jika Anda tipe orang yang seperti saya, hindarilah berolahraga terlalu malam (jam 8 malam ke atas).

Tidak terkena angin malam

Satu poin penting lain yang menurut saya patut diperhatikan saat berolahraga di rooftop ialah memastikan apakah tempatnya terlindung dari angin malam. Berolahraga di tempat terbuka memang asyik karena udaranya lebih segar tetapi efek menyehatkan itu akan maksimal jika itu dilakukan di pagi hari. Sinar matahari membuat imunitas meningkat, tubuh mendapatkan asupan vitamin D, dan sirkulasi darah meningkat sehingga kita bersemangat menjalani aktivitas seharian. Kalaupun ada angin saat pagi hari, rasanya di badan juga menyegarkan karena angin ini bukan jenis angin malam.

Lain halnya jika kita berolahraga di ruang terbuka di malam hari. Angin malam membuat mereka yang kebugarannya kurang malah makin rentan. Seperti kita ketahui bahwa tidak semua orang yang ikut tren olahraga di rooftop adalah mereka yang memiliki tingkat kebugaran yang sangat prima seperti atlet profesional. Ada kondisi-kondisi yang perlu diperhatikan sebelum berolahraga di malam hari agar olahraga itu tidak membuat kita malah sakit.

Namun, tentu hal ini masih bisa disiasati. Cobalah berolahraga di tempat yang relatif terlindung angin malam kalaupun memang terpaksa hanya bisa olahraga di malam hari sehabis kerja. Dan jika ini tidak memungkinkan, pakailah kaos atau jaket tipis yang berfungsi untuk menahan tiupan angin yang akan membuat tubuh kita yang ‘kebingungan’. Kita ibaratkan tubuh sebagai sebuah lilin yang kita nyalakan dengan olahraga sebagai korek apinya. Apakah kita bisa menyalakan lilin di tempat yang anginnya kencang? Nah, itulah kenapa tubuh kita akan kerepotan menyesuaikan suhunya. Saat ia dipacu untuk lebih panas, ia akan ditiup angin sehingga dipaksa lebih dingin. Bukannya menjadi sehat, kita bisa masuk angin akhirnya.

Karena itulah, dalam yoga yang saya tekuni selama ini kurang disarankan untuk beryoga (melakukan latihan asana/ fisik yang berintensitas tinggi) di malam hari. Jikalau ingin beryoga di malam hari, disarankan untuk memilih jenis latihan yang bersifat Yin, atau restoratif, yang fokusnya berbeda. Jika latihan vinyasa atau power yoga berfokus lebih banyak pada penguatan otot dan peningkatan kekuatan kardiovaskuler, latihan yoga jenis Yin akan memberikan kesempatan tubuh untuk rileks, meregangkan otot, sendi dan ligamen, mengendurkan syaraf serta condong pada meditasi agar alam bawah sadar lebih tenang dan istirahat lebih berkualitas.

Jaga intensitas

Intensitas berlatih saat malam hari menurut saya lebih sulit dijaga karena suhu udara yang lebih rendah membuat kita memerlukan waktu lebih lama untuk pemanasan. Karena itu, pemanasan perlu dilakukan lebih intens untuk menghindari kram. Tubuh juga menjadi kurang peka terhadap intensitas karena suhu yang lebih sejuk. Kita pacu dan pacu terus sampai tiba-tiba terasa lelah sekali atau lemas. Lain halnya jika berolahraga di pagi hari yang menurut saya lebih ideal. Untuk itu, Anda bisa coba membandingkan efek olahraga di pagi dan malam hari. Bagaimana rasanya di tubuh?


Jadi, apakah berolahraga di rooftop itu bagus atau tidak untuk kesehatan?

Jawabannya tergantung pada banyak faktor.

Dan tentunya masih mau menyisihkan waktu untuk berolahraga malam hari sekalipun lebih baik daripada tidak berolahraga sama sekali. Maka dari itu, meski ada hal-hal yang perlu diperhatikan, bukan berarti kita hindari sama sekali olahraga di malam hari.

Satu yang juga tidak kalah penting ialah mencoba bereksperimen dengan tubuh. Mungkin ada orang yang lebih cocok berolahraga di malam hari karena alasan-alasan tertentu. Sebaliknya, ada yang lebih pas di waktu lain.

Lalu mana yang benar dan bagus: olahraga di malam hari atau pagi hari? Begitu mungkin tanya Anda.

Yang saya ketahui pasti ialah keduanya lebih baik daripada tidak berolahraga sama sekali. (*/Foto: Wikimedia Commons)

When Asian Women Say ‘Me Too’

In 2006 #MeToo was launched by American activist Tarana Burke as a form of solidarity for victims of sexual assaults. It went viral overnight in the wake of Hollywood movie producer Harvey Weinstein’s misconduct last October which  prompted women around the globe to break all the silence ‘wall’ around the issue of sexual assault and harassment. The movement reached its peak when Oprah Winfrey presented a speech at the Golden Globes stage on January 7. Another notable figure who ‘helped’ launch the movement is gymnast McKayla Maroney who spoke openly about what Larry Nassar (a former USA gymnastics team doctor) had done to her when she was 13. Nassar was arrested last November after being accused of sexually harassing not only Maroney but also many other female. Ever since, the movement has been snowballing.

Asia is not immune to the movement, impacting at various levels on Asian women. In some Asian countries, we have seen some achievement in women empowerment. In China, for example, the battle against gender-based violence has reached some new heights as thousands women showed support for the initiative. Despite government censors, the movement has been fruitful especially on academic circles. Beihang University alumnae Luo Qianqian bravely accused her professor on the campus, Chen Xiaowu, of sexual assault in 2005 when the man served as her academic advisor. Luo was not alone as half of the female students at 15 Chinese universities stated they had been subjected to sexual misconduct on campus, according to a study released in 2014 by the All-China Women’s Federation. The pursuit of justice ended happily. Chen was removed from his position and sanctioned by the Ministry of Education.

In India, according to Ranjana Kumari (Chairperson of Women Power Connect) the movement has been responded widely and positively. Though most of these Indian women do not detail who their perpretators were and what really happened to them but they confessed that the same thing had happened to them at work and on campus. “They find the space on social media and could say ‘this is what happened to me, too!’” she elaborated. She also noted that the majority of women who work in the informal sector and are very marginalized in the society have no such privilege to speak up even on social media and need assistance in some way.

In the Arab world, the movement was responded to differently. As stated by Egypt-born feminist author Mona Eltahawy, the importance of the hashtag is not about women speaking out or does the community blame the woman or not. “It has allowed women to see each other as all being victims of patriarchy. This is an institutionalized form of discrimination that regardless of where you’re from,” the author of Headscarves and Hymen remarked.

For the Asian women context, according to Indonesian journalist behind feminist news portal Magdalene.co Devi Asmarani, cultural factors prove to remain strong in preventing them from speaking up about sexual harassment. The main cultural factor playing here is the strong patriarchy culture prevalent in most part of Asia. “Patriarchy plays a strong role in intergender relations, which consequently belittles sexual violence and harassment. This ends up undermining the urgency of issue among society members and stakeholders. Public knowledge on sexual violence also needs improvement. They assume only rapes or assaults can fit the definition of sexual violence; while harassment, catcalling and many other forms of such misconducts do not qualify. Most offenses like these are left unpunished, forgiven or considered trivial,” Devi commented via email. This fact, she added, brings so much burden on the shoulders of victims, both ones of rape and harassment as they are required to be able to provide convincing evidence.

She also pointed out that when the legal system and law enforcement do not sympathize with victims, there is more reluctance to file reports or speak openly about violence they had to endure. As the stigma lingers among sexually-harassed women, they grow more reluctant to report or open talk about what they had gone though publicly. Often women are seen as ones who desire such treatment.

So what can be done about it? “Keep talking,” Devi asserted herself. The more stay silent, the longer the problem keeps amounting. Both survivors and non-survivors must unite and cooperate to speak up and show their support of the me-too movement as well as educate the public in general on how prevalent and massive this issue has become in Asia, too.

These days, Asian women encounter a tremendous amount of challenges amidst the increasingly conservative society and  more prevalent religious fundamentalism that aim to reposition women back to domestic realm. “But I’m convinced that eventually gender equality is something inevitable. So it’s either you’re with us or against us,” she concluded.

The #MeToo movement certainly puts women in Asia in an uncomfortable moment and discomfort but it is the inconvenience that empowers them to enable a  major social change especially in Asian communities. This is the best momentum to give more emphasis on the issue urgency, waking up us all to start a very honest conversation about gender relations, sex and all the taboos that we badly need to address. (*/)


Writing from ‘Corners’

Sometimes you have to shift the focus, from the limelight to the corners. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Don’t try to write about winners. Too many people have written about them. Write about losers. They’re many and everywhere to see but each has a unique stroy to tell.

That’s what Mitch Albom stated in his talks:

“Go to the corners. The best stories I’ve ever written come out of those corners.”

The best stories are not always about winners or those with gold medals in their necks. Some are even less than that but they actually hide equally touching or even more heart-wrenching and inspiring lessons to let audience know.

Albom discovered one of his best while he was covering Olympics in Barcelona 1992.

He was sitting around and the story came to him unexpectedly. “Sometimes stories come to you when you put yourself in certain places.”

When everyone there seemed to be engrossed with Carl Lewis, the fastest runner at the time, Albom spotted a runner who seemed to fail to make it. This poor runner failed to perform as he wished because his hamstring got injured.

Every spectator thought he was done.

But as a writer, Albom had his instinct to keep an eye on him.

“He was in the lane, lying down on his knees. You can see his agonizing pain. He got up and cried.”

And then Albom saw an unexpected scene afterwards. There was a man running towards the failing runner. He grabbed the runner and lifted him up and persisted to walk the runner along the remaining track. Everyone seeing this cheered them up. In marathon, if you do cross the finsih line, no matter what your time is, you’re entered in the book as one who gets there fastest. So what matters most is that you finish.”

Albom ran towards them and talked to both. As the two men were in tears, he found a fact that the runner is the man’s son.

“That’s what my father taught me how to run when I was a little boy…,” the runner said to Albom.

Writing from ‘corners’ sounds very counterintuitive, I must say. But this is a  worth-trying approach to gain a fresh perspective towards an issue or topic.

When everyone’s attention is absorbed by winners, those who fail sometimes save the best lessons for us writers.

I find this very useful for novices and beginners in writing who assume they have to find a huge and spectacular story to write so that they can be called a great writer.

Some writers are known because of their great and grand themes. Some are not but still they make great success. The second succeed thanks to their instinct of finding the most substantial themes in life among piles of mundane, ordinary and boring things around them. In other words, they write about things most people and new writers ignore or choose to ignore in a greated depth, a fresh angle and a brand new style no author has ever tried or dared before.

What’s your most mundane story? And how can you turn them into captivating stories? (*/)