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.

Bullsh*t!

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

Transforming Pessimism into Optimism in the Current Indonesian Politics

EXCEPT for the unexpectedly viral post-presidential-election blog post I wrote four years ago on Prabowo Subianto in in the eyes of late Lee Kuan Yew (read the post here) and how to select the most progressive political party there is (read: Parpol di Pemilu 2019: Memang Masih Bisa Dipercaya?), I hardly ever generate and publish any political content here. The main reason is simple; PESSIMISM. I’ve been so much overloaded with pessimism.

With the endless supply of hoaxy content, graft and corruption news gracing the national media, I can declare my pessimism as a normal attitude. I have that slightly disturbing views that this state and nation would just run for themselves even if I don’t vote or cast my ballots. While that can be true altogether, I question whether I had contributed something worthwhile to the advancement of my father .. (or wait, if you assume I’m a mysoginist) motherland.

I have had this small clique consisting of some friends who are of different races and walks of life. Being a Javanese male myself, I feel like I have nothing to worry about the ruler of the country because I selfishly know that every president in the country is very likely to be a Javanese male. I sometimes liken the dominance of Javanese males in Indonesia to one of white males in the States. The  republic’s most prominent statesmen are males identified as Javanese. Soekarno, our first president, was Javanese. Soeharto, his successor, was also one. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) shared the same ethnicity. For your information, you can safely ‘suspect’ someone’s Javanese background if you discover his first name starts with ‘su-‘, which means in the language of Javanese “good” or “virtuous”.  And currently, Joko Widodo (‘Joko’ itself is the most Javanese name you can find, just like ‘John’ in the Anglosaxon countries) is undoubtedly the towering media darling.

So when my three Chinese-Indonesian friends were voicing their opinion, I was startled to learn that each of them had different attitude. One showed his highest enthusiasm and optimism. He digested every piece of political news with overflowing zeal, feeling so certain that changes would be coming true soon if he woke up and voted for his dear presidential candidate. He told us how he struggled to get the chance to get into the chamber only to cast the ballot and show his little finger tinged with purplish ink.

As for me, I had never managed to display such enthusiasm. But I did vote in the last presidential election. After listening to my friend’s big struggle to grab that chance of voting,  I felt quite ashamed, partly knowing that if I had been him that time, I may not have made equally enormous efforts like he did.

But I also was dejected to see another friend in the clique who admitted he never got attracted to voluntarily cast his ballot from his early adulthood to these days when he is so eligible to vote. He just wasted his rights to vote as a citizen.

The other one seemed like a swing voter who just followed and tagged along everyone else and thus voted according to someone else’s prescription. He is so easily influenced, having no clear principles and values within himself. But he is the youngest of us so I can tell his view may change over time later.

I arrived to the conclusion that our attitude towards anything is an option we can make. An attitude is made, instead of being given or innate. In other words, a human is never born pessimistic or optimistic or doubtful or skeptic. It’s all learned.

So is our attitude towards politics.

And to bring more optimism in our current politics, which I would love to emphasize here, we all ought to learn more about our nation’s history. That does not necessarily mean reading your history textbooks or encyclopedia or visiting Wikipedia webpages that discusses significant historical events in your country but also talk with the elderly  who experienced firsthand how it felt to be living in many past regimes and in the times when freedom of speech and choice was so restricted unlike these days. That way, you will appreciate more everything you have now and thus never take them for granted. They are so precious but also prevalent like oxygen. You don’t even care less about oxygen but when you lack it, you will beg for its supply around you.

Though I know that some people would just argue that Indonesia is still oppressed by other bigger and more influential nations and that this country still fails in major ways in numerous aspects but we cannot deny the fact that there are many other silver linings as well.

We have been so adept at criticizing and commenting that we ourselves forget to produce things worthy of criticism at the same time.

That said, I am not saying criticizing is bad at all and thus must be forbidden at all cost. Criticizing is good in that it reminds us to remain on track. But too much of something good is also bad. When you busy yourselves with criticizm, you have no ample time to work on your own. Your focus and energy have been sucked out by making criticism.

And most importantly, overcriticism kills productivity and creativity.

So if you still think that participating in politics is in vain just like I did, it is time to change that. And things are better that we make achievements and generate works more than meaningless noise in the process.

What I am trying to say here is: if you know things are not right, fix them depending on your capability. That is all you have to do especially when we are now counting down to the 2019 Presidential Election. (*/)

Why Indonesians Litter Everywhere

LITTERING everywhere is one of Indonesians’ worst habits. This of course is not only found in Indonesia and its people. Thoughtless littering knows no races and geographical boundaries and nationalities. Even in the West (read: Anglosaxon countries), such a habit may be spotted in green and spotless countryside in summer. David Sedaris has been a witness and a relentless trash-picking activist in his idyllic English neighborhood where he now lives with his partner.

However, thoughtless littering has reached a shameful level in Indonesia as we all can see in public places where cleanliness must always be maintained. Such ignorance subconsciously conveys a message that thoughtless littering is never a social disgrace or misconduct. Although placards of waring have been stuck, erected and hung here and there (stating that litterers can be sued and fined for a huge sum of money or sent to jail), I personally hardly believe and feel positive that it will be in fact reinforced.

Why? Here are some underlying assumptions and perceptions why Indonesians – or people around me and myself – have come to this worst level of super massive thoughtless littering which we should have felt ashamed of but unfortunately is never taken very very seriously.

Ignorance in family education

Not many children I’ve seen these days have the innate and ingrained awareness since their early years that littering is never okay and thus must never be deemed trivial violations of norms. The simplest reason behind it is perhaps these children are advised to maintain cleanliness within their school area or home. Once they are out of the school or home zone, they understand by examples of adults aroud  them that littering is always forgiven.

Cleanliness is a mere formality

Adipura, I guess, is the most ridiculous award there is on earth. In Indonesia, the award is meant to show which city deserves the cleanest title.   It is so sickening to me because it never manages to awaken public awareness of cleanliness. Since a long time ago, I have questioned what is the essence of Adipura as winners are determined based on cleanliness of certain zones in a city or town. I know this because I read myself a sign stating that the spot must be maintained clean because judges are to observe it. It definitely ignores trash management in actuality, people’s ways of life, city plan and design and cleanliness maintenance in general. It does not only apply in certain hours, dates but also the entire year. Cleanliness here is a false mask to put on when deemed necessary, to please leaders/ superiors, and to bring more prestige to a local leader and administrations s/he leads.

Trash – including plastic – is considered perishable naturally

Indonesians treat plastic trash and other types of trash – whether it be organic, anorganic or toxic – pretty much the same. Just throw away to fill an empty patch of land and burn it down, not knowing that burning has even polluted the air even more. What an ignorance. That explains why people here buy and use plastic bags and containers liberally and guiltlessly, like their grandparents buying and using banana leaves to wrap foods without thinking twice.

Money solves all

Indonesians never think in the long term. So when they see trash, they seek instant solutions, i.e. pay other people to set trash aside from their view. “Why bother going all the way to find a trash can or litter bin if you can just throw trash away? There will always be people who are willing to get paid to clean all the mess.” That’s what is in their heads. Those who get paid for cleaning by the authorities are abundant and thus spoils everyone. Therefore, they only care about cleanliness around their own neghborhood or house or apartment. Outside their homes, cleanliness is the responsibility of the government. This overdependence on the government explains a lot why Indonesians always blame all their mess on authorities or public officials. They never blame it all on themselves. Pathetic. Now you know why it always looks clean in a well-off neghborhood but poverty-stricken neighborhoods almost always look horribly littered.

Littering is no serious offense

Is there viral news showing us how unforgiving and stern the Indonesian law is towards littering? Impossible. In the middle of a people so infatuated with sensational gossips and political updates, such news would be very much less interesting. And because of this, Indonesians are so ignorant of the awareness that littering is a serious environmental crime. And who are you to make reports even if you witness a person littering where s/he must not. Everyone must think,”Well, that’s none of my business. It’s totally the public officials (government). Who am I?” Plus, usually a litterer is a familiar person to us, e.g. a person living next door or family members you ought to respect or at least treat nicely no matter what happens. What mostly happens is pretending you never saw or witnessed it. That’s the best and easiest solution.

Trash management is never an important issue

Indonesia’s trash management is never serious and comprehensive and the government fails over time to show its goodwill to improve systematically and sustainably and real. And it is more about importing cutting-edge, very durable, and so pricey trash containers. Though it helps, of course it requires more than that to solve this extremely complicated problem. Another thing to show the failure is the fact that Indonesians don’t feel necessary to throw away trash according to its proper categories although they are already provided with 3 trashes to simply separate trash of dissimilar types. Such separate trash cans act as prention that this nation has also applied what other more developed nations have applied. But too bad it’s all fake and staged because after that the trash is treated just the same way as before.

Is cleanliness part of faith?

It is no concidence that Indonesians are mostly muslims and they never care about cleanliness. Since their early years, they are taught that cleanliness is part of their faith. “So there is no problem because there’s still the rest. Not all of it is gone,” their subconscious mind makes a lame excuse. So maybe from now on, it had better to start deconstructing such world view. Dirt is part of sin, perhaps that is how it should be taught. (*/)

Firefox Support Sprint 2018

WE had much fun today as we concluded our “Firefox Support Sprint“. I happened to take part actively in the event and I can say it was a blast.

So what is cool about joining this?

As a volunteer, I was assigned to respond to as many reviews as possible.  Though you are authorized to write a response, you have to comply with some guidance, which is as follows:

  • Share the love, be kind. It’s not your job to defend yourself, others, or even Mozilla. Users may just be venting because their problems are frustrating. The best thing to do is to help the user get his or her answer. If you feel that a post has crossed the line, skip it.
  • If you get stuck on a difficult support question, you can use the Support Forum Contributors Advanced Troubleshooting forum to discuss difficult questions or to see if other contributors are able to help. The #sumo IRC channel (accessible here via Mibbit or via Kiwi) is another place to ask for help and you can ping @guigs for staff support. On Telegram you can also join Support Mozilla (SUMO) and reach out to @rtanglao if you’re really stuck.

First thing first, you have to identify some common issues types such as speed, crashes, hatred, problems with latest updates, compatibility, keyboard, video capability, app file size, etc.

Once the type is identified, you may supply an appropriate response to it. But if you find it ambiguous or you feel reluctant to respond to such a review (not all review is nice to read for your information), just skip it for another to handle. That is pretty much how you can respond to a Mozilla Firefox review on Google Play.

That also means you need to develop extraordinary level of patience and vast range of vocabulary so that you will find it easy to select right words to address an issue without harassing or insulting others. Here chances are you will discover impolite reviews which you think are as derogatory and insulting as you have ever heard in your life time. But still, you have to maintain decorum while responding to it. Never lose temper because you have to focus on addressing issues.

The next step to take after responding to many reviews is taking a role of moderator. Here you are dealing with a collection of responses (that you and other fellow have previously posted). To be qualified and publishable, a response has to be positive, to address issues, and personalized.

This might look simple but at the end of the day, it proves to be useful for users of Mozilla Firefox. (*/)

Social Eating in Ramadan: Pros and Cons

THE English and Korean may have been campaigning against loneliness, depression and unhappiness which have been too prevalent among them. Americans also complain about not eating together as often as they used to (read this).

Here in Indonesia, we have our best cure to the aforementioned global pandemics: having meals together on every occasion. Yes, indeed eating together has been proven as an effective method to get rid of a sense of being all alone and forlorn.

As Wikipedia says, social eating tradition has its root back in the Ancient Greek age. People cooked and enjoyed foods and drinks to join a commemoration of a special moment or day.

In Ramadan (the fasting month in Islamic calendar), social eating in iftar time has been also a norm. Even those who are not muslims join dinner and chat together as it is a perfect time to interact over good foods. That shows just how much people can mingle with each other irrespective of their faiths, races, tehnic groups, and other differences.

But things are not as ideal when we see it in reality. That includes the case of social eating. Here is why.

Pros

Social eating is certainly good when it comes to restrengthening social connections. Science proves it (read here). Conversations among individuals at dining tables can alleviate someone’s chronic stress. Talking about recent experience or life events is even more relieving with friends face-to-face, instead of telling them via chat applications or social media.

Maintaining social ties over foods at dining table also lowers down the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Being in the middle of family members, friends and neighbors can be intimidating for some introverted folks but it turns out that it helps people slow down the brain aging process as well.

Cons

We all have been familiar with the bright sides of social eating. So how about the dark, undiscussed side of it?

As pointed out here, social eating can be bad as it potentially unleashes most people’s unhealthy eating habits. People are encouraged to swallow more foods and drinks which later causes overeating. I have seen a coworker who was taken to a nearby hospital days after Idul Fitri just because he lost himself during the festivity season. He ate almost everything he saw on the table.

Overeating also means people tend to consume more and more calories, leading to accumulation of body fats. This is ironic because you have meal together after you refrain yourself from eating anything for 13-14 hours in daylight in Ramadan. In Idul Fitri, the tendency of overeating is even higher. Suddenly you can eat anytime you want again and that is not an opportunity to get wasted so people binge-eating and find themselves clogged inside after eating like the greedies pig ever born.

Science also proves that social influences on eating are powerful. Eating together can affect someone’s body weight. So if you have a weight-related health conditions, eating together very often especially with people who are more ‘promiscuous’ will definitely bring you more issues than benefits.

What to heed

Now, what should be paid attention to when you want to eat together without having to endure its negative effects? Remaining mindful throughout social eating rituals is needed so that you won’t get yourself stuffed with junk foods or overload the intestines with foods in enormous portions.

When you are mindful, chances are you will eat more controllably. You are aware of making choices, which food to pick and to avoid. And of course, trying to limit that comfort food as least as possible because you know once you chew it, you cannot stop.

On that note, also never forget the essence of social eating, i.e. uniting. Some people are trapped in making more enemies than refreshing their stale friendships or relationships here. They bully each other, show off their latest posessions, which is at the end totally against the aim of social eating itself.

And what matters most is that you know that social eating should not get in the way of observing your religious responsibilities (read: your essential daily rituals). For muslims especially, what is the point of eating out at malls if you miss your maghrib prayer? (*/)

My Experience of Using Merahputih.id

Indonesia free email service Merahputih.id is the one and only free service of its kind available so far to support Indonesians’ communication and productivity. [Photo credit: Merahputih.id]
CONSIDERING the creepy dominance of Gmail in Indonesian market, at the same time I too cannot deny my dependence on this webmail service. I have owned and actively used my Gmail account since 2009 and there must be countless data I have stored in it. The service has really made my digital life easier and more comfortable.

But far before using Gmail, I had used Plaza Mail [correct me if I am wrong] in my college days. And the experience was — as far as my memory served right — quite good, if not extraordinary. Somehow I no longer used my Plaza account, partly because I have forgotten the password and do not bother to try recovering it.

In short, I truly miss that sort of free email service built by fellow Indonesians or Indonesian company. Why? Because if your nation can build its own products, why do not you support it by using them? Using our own digital products also supports our digital industry growth. I have been so sick of seeing Indonesian treated as a mere market. With resources this big, I think we could have been bigger than what we are now. Also, using our own digital products save us from negative impacts of data misuse done by foreign parties. If anything bad happens, suing service providers in our own jurisdiction is more plausible than doing so to overseas service providers such as Facebook, Google, Yahoo, etc. Of course other reasons [like what is pointed out by Marsya Nabila of Dailysocial.id here] make sense as well but my own motive is mostly nationalism.

So when I discovered Merahputih.id on the 15th of April 2018 [amidst Facebook-Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal], I was so delighted I ‘jumped into the wagon’ right away.

The interface is clean and smooth and minimalist. There is much to complain about. [Photo credit: My own screengrab]
Having used the service for roughly a month, I can tell you it is AWESOME as the substitute of Gmail. At first I thought I can totally migrate to my Merahputih.id and close my Gmail account but then I decided to still let it active for a while to allow people who know nothing about my shift reach me through my Gmail. Now I have been less and less on my Gmail, which is good.

The bright side of this service is that it offers you 50 GB inbox capacity [compared to Gmail’s 15 GB]. As generous as it can be, it is also secure. IP Network Solusindo [the company offering this email service] claims it has applied the latest encryption algorithms. And what I like best is that all of its servers and tier-3 data centers are located in Indonesia.

One of points of improvement that I have in mind is that the service should also try to allow users to see the inbox or currently opened or read email when they are typing a new email or reply. Just like Gmail does. What I see now is the service leads you to a separate webpage dedicated solely to typing a new email and attaching files. This way, it is impossible to take a glance at a previous email you want to use as a reference. You may open it on another tab but that would be impractical.

As for mobile use, I found no difficulty in setting up my Merahputih.id email account in my iPhone. It is seamless to say the least.

Aside from MP [Merah Putih]  Mail, the company also offers MP Boks which I assume functions as your Dropbox. It allows you to automatically upload images from gadgets, automatically back up your contact, and enjoy free 2 GB storage. But too bad it is only available for Android-powered gadgets. As an iPhone user, I have no option other than wait for the launch on Apple Store.

In the near future, the company plans to  enrich their service portfolio by launching a group chat service, social media/ forum, news portal, IPTV, marketplace, to collaboration messenger.  So it could be like what is Kakaotalk to Koreans or WeChat to Chinese.

I myself have huge expectation that this service will proliferate anytime soon so this nation is no longer overly dependent on foreign services. (*/)

 

In Indonesia, Terrorism Has Never Been This Close and Alarming

Prevention of terrorism attacks are never too late. Start from now before it is too late for Indonesia to become as wretched as Middle East. [Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons]
WE had this conversation over a dinner with some really good topics. As much as I hate the traffic, I also respected the person who invited me to the dinner (or ifthar). I am by no means a huge fan of bukber at a shopping center or any place where crowd gathers and people kill time by avoiding maddening traffic jams.

We had this conversations about yoga and pleasant themes but it suddenly took an unexpected turn.

I had nothing to comment about the recent terrorism attacks in Surabaya. Of course I curse and never ever condone such inhumane acts. That is perhaps because I find it hard to relate to terrorism. I kept thinking that it would never happen around me, or it would happen but I don’t think it will happen to me or my immediate family or in my neighborhood.

But one of my friends at the dining table there had opened my mind that there is always possibility that terrorism has appeared and given – even the slightest- signals around us but we choose to ignore these until it is too late to prevent them from claiming casualties around us.

We are awaken that terrorism has reached a new level. Now children have also been sacrificed to reach the so-called holy goal of realizing fully sharia nation and government, which we never knew they would do.

“Also in our WhatsApp groups of family and friends, we all have those people with fundamentalist way of thinking. And we cannot help it. They are around us,” he said.

I totally can relate to his anxiety. All of us, I guess.

Some of us have courage to fight against this by plunging into the ocean of debate and endless argument and some others just watch and sit and wait. Nothing real is done.

I used to be silent and give no comments on this issue but this time I cannot hold myself back.

WE HAVE TO FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM.

But at the same time we should bear in mind that we should not fight against terrorists.

Why?

Because these people are actually parts of us. They can be your acquaintances, your neighbors, your coworkers, your mates, fellows, parents, siblings, and spouses who buy into the belief spread by irresponsible parties claiming that muslims in Indonesia are under attack, treated unfairly by the current government, marginalized in some way, and so forth.

If we take time to let them know and comprehend what is better for us together and let them know that the dogma and doctrines they have in mind are unfeasible in this diverse world, there must be some improvement in terrorism prevention measures.

How?

Leave screens and start building interactions. I mean real interactions with human beings in person. Because that way, we can really understand how they think and set aside bias in our own mind and theirs. It is less about finding who wins or loses but more about compromising. We can work it out. (*/)

Every time you think terrorism has a justifiable reason, see these deprived homeless young children. That is what can happen to our future generation in the country. [Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons]