What Shifting from Artificial Face Moisturizer to Olive Oil Can Do to My Face and World View

LIKE everyone in the era of glorious advertisement, I also believe strongly in what widely promoted commercial products can do for me to improve my quality of life. I, for instance, saw this 33-year-old Nicholas Saputra applying some branded face moisturizer on his face and I was instantly stunned by how good-looking he becomes. Though I know well he is just fine with or without the product, there is something inside me firmly clenching to the idea that the hope is there – no matter how small it is – to look lighter than you are exactly in actuality. And when the day comes, you will be living happily ever after.

While Indonesian women are widely known to be demanded to look fairer, no one seems to understand the fact that the similar demand and propaganda are internalized inside the heads of Indonesian men. You can see male talents on popular ads are depicted as fair-skinned, clean-cut, clean-shaven, charming, tall, broad-shouldered and lean. While more feminists have already protested and pushed back against the prevalent trend of skin bleaching amongst women (which now seems futile because every woman wants to look lighter in the country), hardly do I ever find men who sharply criticize or at least acknowledge this very substantial issue. I am not saying they are shutting their eyes to the problem but they just subconsciously opt to set it aside. They do not want to tell themselves that men are now also increasingly encouraged to look lighter (the rapid penetration of Korean male beauty standards also contributes here). Disgraceful indeed, gentlemen.

I too had long admired and longed to have fairer skin as a boy. It was not about being more good-looking because later on I also found that there fair-skinned boys who still look unpleasing and uninteresting, or have horrible personalities and characters. But it is true that because the majority of our people are darker-skinned, those with fairer skin are considered ‘chosen’, and thus seen as better, higher and more priviliged. Of course that is a ridiculously groundless assumption. Unfortunately, though I am quite aware of that, my mind, judgment and conscience are heavily clouded owing to the bombardment of ads around me.

And then I experimented with olive oil. I did it at first because I was curious. I had read before that applying this oil on skin can improve my skin. But because it is oil and applying it onto my skin intensifies my dark skin, I avoided using it at work but then I realized applying olive oil inside a heavily air-conditioned workplace can help retain skin moisture efficiently throughout the day, so I started to apply it in daylight as well. And I was happy with the result. The thing was I saw my face looked darker and more oily, which may rise a question in people’s mind whether or not I had washed my fash this morning properly with soap.

For some time, I retreated back to that pricey oil-free whitening face moisturizer which the ad subconsciously asserted me that I too can be as gorgeous as the aforementioned actor and public figure.


I ditched that dogma gradually and after proving that olive oil can basically and safely and naturally function as the replacement of the chemical-ladden face day moisturizer, I never go back ever since.

It is not only about saving more money to me, but also a more plausible and sustainable method of self care. I am no longer very much dependent on a corporation selling the product. I am thus free from their agitation broadcast on television. And it pretty much helped me too to come to this point that I have no television in my room. Having this box in my room is no longer a fascination. I am so much accustomed to the silence of my room so when even I had a television as a prize from a blogging contest, I shipped the television to home, where my family live.

Apart from the pleasing results I have gotten from olive oil so far (let’s say far less apparent wrinkles and dark circles and eye bags plus firmer and smoother facial skin), I am also happy to say I don’t add more burden to my bodily system with more chemicals. I still thinly apply sunscreen when I have to go outdoor for quite an extended period of time but most days I just let my skin bare with only olive oil as my skin protection and it definitely worked. Maybe that is why Ancient Greeks would apply olive oil on their naked body before competing under the sun in the early Olympics.

And though I never mean to defy the bad effects of sunrays, I now feel less worried about my skin looking darker. I do not mind it look darker as it should, which is different from the way I used to. There comes a voice inside my head that defenses my being dark:”You live in the tropical country where the sun shines throughout the year. Everyone who thinks you must look pale, fair and un-oily despite the humid climate and nature is a moron who has been brainwashed and colonialized by advertisers and brands!”

So shifting my face moisturizer from artificial products to natural oils such as olive oil is not only a real campaign of going back to nature but also a political statement, i.e. that I refuse to be regulated and judged under certain norms that some create and the majority upholds and practices. And if you think I am dependent on imported olive oil now, I will tell you I can happily switch to locally-produced virgin coconut oil (I had tried this as well and it proved awesome too) or sesame oil.

If you are a man, what is your stance on this issue? Do you think being an Indonesian man should change the way their natural appearance to attract opposite sex? Have your say. (*/)

Writing Can Cure Addiction, Can’t It?

WHILE I have seen so many people talking about writing and its positive effects at school or at home, never have I discovered people applying writing as an inseperable part of their therapy for serious mental illnesses such as addiction. With so much instant gratification available 24/7 around us, I suppose addiction cases number has never declined in these recent years. Let’s say drug addiction. It has been forever since humanity waged war against drugs but to date no signs show that there is any possibility that it will soon or later abate, drop or totally vanish.

In the documentary short movie “Internado” published on Aeon which you can view and play now, you might have never thought of the use of writing as a mega useful tool to help control one’s unbearable addiction. Here the prominent psychiatrist named Dr. Martin Nizama Valladolid who works for National Institute of Mental Health in Lima, Peru, proves that literature and grand-scale, rigorous and disciplined writing (as well as arts and humanity sciences) can be applied to control severe cases of addiction that some of the world’s population are suffering these days.

And these addictions are not only ones related to drugs but also alcohol, internet, virtual games, and so forth. These addicts are sedated (so treatments are never conducted at their own will) and taken to the institution at the request of heavily concerned family members who have signed agreements so that their beloved are taken and treated in the mental institution for at least 50 consecutive days. They are ‘grounded’ in such a way. They are separated from the society and most importantly, their sources of addiction. They are much like prisoners in that way. And it is even better that these addicts are not functional members of society, which means they are unemployed. They are likely to become a potential source of social problems in the society they are living in. So before it is too late, their family members take them to the mental institution to be corrected.

To cut the long story short, the initial treatment only lasts around 50 days but then they are sent back to their homes. But it does not mean freedom. They are under scrutiny. And parents or guardians or other family members have already cooperated with the institution to apply a rigid daily schedule to these ‘interns’. Their way of living are seriously controlled. Family members are also educated to be in line with the institution’s rules and code of conducts so outcomes later on will be satisfactory because unless they cooperate and support all processes, addicts are never healed.

It is not always about discipline though. Addicts as well as their family members are reimmersed in moral values, affection, love and the value of hard work and meaningful life by means of literature and arts. They are made to read hundreds of canons, high quality literary works which most of them have never enjoyed before. But now that their days are filled with total silence (yes, they are not allowed to communicate with other people even fellow interns especially in certain sessions), they are forced to retreat from lives full of pursuit of things they are so addicted with to ones filled with peace and calmness. Almost like a hermit living in a jungle. They are made to contemplate more about what they did, have done and thus to control what they are now doing because the future depends on the present. Gone are days full of violence, conflicts, shouts full of anger, vulgarity, obscenity, horrible bickerings and traumatic fights. It is like they have been racing throughout their life and now suddenly they are told to stop and be calm,  silent, still, and meditative like a Buddhist monk.

To let that overflowing negativity out of the system, expressive writing are used. Interns are required to write and draw every single day for a certain period of time. And the goal is so ambitious – almost impossible – for people who were not born and trained as writers or artists. They have to write in longhand 11,000-page ‘thesis’ which is autobiographical by nature. That way, they cannot copy and paste in a few clicks to accomplish the mission.  And it solely depends on Valladolid’s decision whether one is healed and entitled to freedom or has to undergo the next phase of treatment at the institution. Those interns who succeeded to write 11,000 pages are let go.

I am so impressed by the use of literature and writing here to occupy addicts’s troubled minds. Both are just the best tools to divert their energy and attention to a more beneficial and meaningful aspect of life so they are not overtaken again by triggers of addiction. Though I too think that writing 11,000 pages is totally impossible for someone with no extraordinary writing talent (because even my favorite novel “A Little Life” only spans 800-ish pages and it is already considered gargantuan) but considering the impact and costs of addiction on the society as a whole, this is worthwhile. So worthwhile. (*/)

Getting to Know Telemetry and Data Privacy at Mozilla (Non-Geeks Only)

WHILE on his travel around some parts of South East Asia, Georg Fritsche doesn’t forget to share the virtue of his organization, Mozilla. Having worked for the entity for the recent six years, the German-born geek sat down with us at Mozilla Community Space Jakarta at Tifa Building , Annex Suite, Kuningan Barat, Jakarta.

For audience familiar with data and web, what Georg exposed here is perhaps very brief and superficial. Yet, to most of people like me and some of you who mostly use computers as a tool to browse the web and process and save multiple types of content such as words, images and videos, the discussion is so technical I can’t even recall the gist of the talks. At all.

But do NOT blame it all on George, because I know how hard it is to simplify the highly complicated issue within one single meetup. I can tell you the same feeling when your grandparents demand you a simple and easily-understood explanation on questions such as “what is internet?”. Analogies may work but it also betrays you on some occasions like a pet snake. It bites you when you least expect it.

Despite all the gaps of knowledge and expertise lying so wide between us, here are several takeaways I can offer you as a complete and utter layman in the realm of internet.

  • Telemetry which is what Goerg does at Mozilla is actually a series of efforts to collect data of users conducted on daily basis. But what separates Mozilla and the others is the commitment to its mission, i.e. to ensure the Internet is a global public resource, open and accessible to all. That also means they also collect data from users but at the same time they give us as users more openness, transparency and freedom as to what they do with data and how they collect these data. Though it is set as default, any users can simply turn  it off or opt out of the telemetry by unchecking a box in the tab on Privacy. For Mozilla Firefox which I gues is the most popular product of Mozilla, to opt out of Telemetry, you type “about:preferences#privacy” in the address bar and locate “Firefox Data Collection and Use”. Uncheck the box that preceedes “Allow Firefox to send technical and interaction data to Mozilla” as well as “Allow Firefox to install and run studies”. In brief, users have more control over their data.
  • No data of users will be sold whatsoever. This is guaranteed by Mozilla. Because privacy really matters, unlike other internet giants, user data collected by Mozilla are never about your identity, such as your name and your whereabouts.
  • There is no surprises. And by surprises, I assume it is “unsolicited” surprises that no one will be happy with.
  • Even Mozilla collects data, they limit data. They only collect  data they require to improve the performance of products. Mozilla, said Georg, doesn’t collect data that are deemed unnecessary and too private by nature. It makes sense because the company doesn’t sell data and make profits of them.

As the discussion went deeper, I came to the conclusion that Mozilla products collect our data, too, just like other products on the web. The difference is you know your data is in the right hand. Not in the greasy hands of ‘big brothers’ who abuse and exploit you for their own interests once they get tired of spoiling you with great ease and comfort of exchanging information and data.

For further study, kindly visit https://telemetry.mozilla.org (if you can read and interpret the data displayed there). In case you are curious, click about:telemetry. But if you already give up, tweet Georg at @georgfritsche or @moztelemetry. Good luck! (*/)


Begini Cara Kota Saya Kudus Dukung Bersama Suksesnya Asian Games 2018

GOR Djarum Kudus, sebuah tempat sakral yang menjadi kawah candradimuka bagi para atlet bulutangkis muda potensial di seluruh Indonesia. Diresmikan tahun 2006, venue megah ini menjadi pusat latihan dan aktivitas PB Djarum Kudus. (Foto: dok pribadi)

Hitung mundur perhelatan akbar olahraga Asian Games 2018 sudah dimulai sejak setahun lalu. Medio Agustus 2018 menandai 365 hari menuju pembukaan event akbar yang membanggakan bangsa Indonesia yang menjadi tuan rumah penyelenggaranya.

Di Jakarta sebagai ibukota negara sekaligus salah satu lokasi diadakannya banyak pertandingan Asian Games tahun ini, saya sudah menyaksikan banyak sekali pengingat bahwa event itu akan segera tiba. Dari badan bus TransJakarta yang hilir mudik, pelataran dan gedung-gedung pemerintahan yang dibalut ucapan penyemangat atlet RI, hingga di taman-taman kota yang dipasangi ikon-ikon lucu Asian Games yakni Bhin-Bhin (burung cendrawasih), Atung (rusa bawean), dan Kaka (badak bercula satu), rasanya Jakarta sudah sangat siap menyampaikan dukungan totalnya pada keberhasilan penyelenggaraan peristiwa olahraga skala kontinental ini.

Meskipun tenggat waktunya relatif sempit, penyediaan infrastruktur untuk Asian Games 2018 digarap serius oleh pemerintah. Ini buktinya. (Sumber: IndonesiaBaik.id)

Presiden Joko Widodo bak seorang panglima yang mengerahkan seluruh pasukannya untuk menyebarkan berita ke seluruh rakyat bahwa peran serta dan dukungan masyarakat terhadap kelancaran penyelenggaraan Asian Games 2018 sangat diperlukan. Tidak perlu menjadi olahragawan untuk bisa mensukseskan event ini. Dan tidak juga perlu menjadi warga resmi DKI Jakarta atau Palembang untuk bisa turut serta secara aktif menyuarakan dukungan.

Untuk itu, meskipun di Kudus kota asal saya spanduk dan baliho Asian Games 2018 tidak sebanyak yang ditemukan di Jakarta dan Palembang, Kudus juga memiliki kontribusi dukungan pada kesuksesan Asian Games kali ini. Selain spanduk dan baliho sebagaimana yang sudah dilakukan oleh aparat setempat (baca: “Polres Kudus Ikut Mensukseskan Asian Games 2018″), ternyata Kudus, tempat kelahiran saya yang notabene ‘hanya’ kabupaten terkecil di pulau Jawa dan kelima termungil di seluruh nusantara ini, memiliki caranya sendiri untuk berkontribusi. Berikut adalah bagaimana saya dan segenap warga Kudus lainnya bisa memberikan dukungan untuk Asian Games 2018.

Baliho Asian Games 2018 hiasi sudut-sudut kota Kudus. (Sumber: Tribratanewskudus.com)

Mendukung dengan Badminton

Badminton berasal dari India, tetapi ia tidak dikenal secara global hingga diperkenalkan di Inggris oleh para perwira perangnya. Untuk pertama kalinya olahraga ini dimainkan secara resmi di kota kecil bernama Badminton, yang menjadi kota kelahiran seorang bangsawan bernama Duke of Beaufort. Tahun 1934 menjadi saksi berdirinya organisasi resmi badminton pertama di dunia yang hingga kini dikenal sebagai IBF (International Badminton Federation) dan diketuai oleh Sir George Thomas dari Inggris. Kemudian diadakan perhelatan bergengsi Thomas Cup (sejak 1949) untuk pemain putra dan Uber Cup (1957) untuk pemain putri.

Badminton sendiri baru masuk di Indonesia tahun 1951 saat PBSI didirikan tanggal 5 Mei 1951. Tujuh belas tahun berselang, atlet badminton Indonesia Rudi Hartono menjadi juara All-England Championship dan menyabet gelar tersebut selama total 8 kali.

Selain dikenal sebagai kota kretek karena di sanalah berdiri perusahaan rokok terbesar Djarum, Kudus kemudian juga dikenal sebagai kota badminton. Reputasinya sudah tidak diragukan lagi. Dari deretan pemain badminton legendaris di Indonesia, beberapa berasal dari Kudus yakni Liem Swie King, Hastomo Arbi, Eddy Hartono dan Hariyanto Arbi. Sementara itu, nama-nama terkenal seperti Alan Budikusuma, Ardy B. Wiranata, Ivana Lie, Minarti Timur hingga Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo yang baru-baru ini naik daun meskipun bukan kelahiran Kudus tetapi menjalani pengasahan bakat di kota ini di bawah Klub Djarum. Tidak berlebihan jika dikatakan Kudus juga kota badminton Indonesia.

Memenuhi Target 2 Emas

Sebagaimana yang sudah kita ketahui bersama, badminton masih terus menjadi tumpuan harapan untuk mengharumkan nama bangsa kita ini di kancah internasional termasuk ajang Asian Games 2018. Sebagai tuan rumah, kita tentu tidak ingin hanya menjadi pentonton di tribun, melihat bangsa-bangsa lain melaju dengan berbagai prestasi olahraga mereka. Dalam hal ekonomi, kita dalam skala dunia sudah masuk ke peringkat 16 berdasarkan Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Dalam hal jumlah penduduk, besarnya bangsa ini juga sudah menembus 5 besar. RI sudah melesat ke peringkat negara keempat dengan penduduk terbanyak di dunia setelah RRT, India dan AS. Karena itu, tidak berlebihan jika kali ini Indonesia ingin merangsek masuk ke peringkat sepuluh besar.

Kalau ditilik lagi lebih cermat ke sejarah, Indonesia pernah mencapai puncak prestasinya di Asian Games yang pertama kali diadakan tahun 1951 itu pada tahun 1962. Saat itu, RI bertengger di posisi kedua sehingga tidak berlebihan jika Indonesia seperti raksasa yang baru bangkit dari tidurnya. Dengan usia yang masih begitu muda, prestasi olahraga RI di lingkup Asia gilang gemintang dengan 21 emas, 26 perak dan 30 perunggu. Ia hanya kalah dari Jepang yang sukses meraup 73 emas, 65 perak dan 23 perunggu. Faktor status sebagai tuan rumah mungkin juga bisa memberikan dorongan psikologis dan mental pada para atlet kala itu.

Namun, bukan berarti atlet RI jago kandang! Di Bangkok tahun 1970, prestasi RI di Asian Games masih di peringkat 4 meski sebelumnya tahun 1966 turun di ranking 6. Hingga 1990, RI masih ada di kisaran 10 besar. Prestasi kita terpuruk di tahun 2006 saat Asian Games digelar di Doha, Qatar. Di Asian Games 2010 yang bertempat di Guangzhou, peringkat naik ke posisi 15. Dan sekarang, wajar kita bisa berharap banyak dengan para atlet kita karena pemerintah juga sudah menyatakan dukungan penuh pada penyediaan kontribusi para atlet yang berhasil meraih medali.

Pasok Bus untuk Asian Games

Kalau Anda warga Kudus, tentu tahu bus Nusantara. Nah, perusahaan karoseri Nusantara Gemilang yang berada di kota Kudus kini digandeng pemerintah untuk turut menyediakan bus bagi sarana transportasi para atlet Asian Games 2018. Bus-bus tersebut kemudian diserahkan untuk dikelola PT Transportasi Jakarta (TransJakarta). Tak tanggung-tanggung jumlahnya sampai 101 unit!

Bus-bus tersebut nantinya akan digunakan untuk melancarkan mobilitas para atlet dari penginapan mereka ke tempat bertanding. Yang patut diketahui, meskipun dikatakan berpusat di Jakarta dan Palembang, ternyata   area tepatnya di Bumi Serpong Damai, Tangerang dan Sentul, Bogor, serta Bandung, Jabar.

Mau tahu cabang olahraga apa saja dan venue/ tempat pertandingannya? Ini dia infografisnya. (Sumber: IndonesiaBaik.id)

Suarakan Dukunganmu!

Bagi kita yang bukan atlet, bagaimana cara kita menyatakan dukungan? Mudah saja. Kunjungi DukungBersama.id. Tinggal pilih ingin ikuti lomba blog, foto atau video. Karyamu ditunggu sampai 15 Juli nanti!

Jayalah Indonesia dan Dukung Bersama Asian Games dari Daerahmu! 

Sumber referensi:

  1. Wikipedia
  2. Jatengpos.com
  3. Tribratanewskudus.com
  4. Asiangames.tempo.co
  5. IndonesiaBaik.id
  6. DukungBersama.id