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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jakarta as a Tranquil Ghost City Is Right around the Corner

Three more days to go to Eid here in Jakarta. And the holiday vibe is in the air for not only a week but five weeks!!!

How come?

So the countdown has started since the beginning of Ramadan. Everyone is looking forward to the big festivity which is a blend of secular celebration, consumerism at its most disgusting, and of course ceremonial religious observance here and there. That is four weeks.

And the other one week is the w-week. I have heard Eid el fitr has never gotten any bigger attention than in South East Asian countries. In Arabic countries, Eid el Fitr is way less popular than Eid el Adha, the day when muslims commemorate the sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim and his dear son.

This w-week is just the ideal time when you tourists can roam Jakarta with much ease and less pollution to rip your lungs. This is the perfect week to explore any places in the capital after a riotous presidential election that has actually dampened because those politicians need to act as if they forgave each other. Which we will never find out the truth.

You may go climb the national monument in the nucleus of Jakarta if you wish to. Even if you will get caught in the act, I swear the response will not as swift as when you do it the other 51 week in a year.

But alas, you also have to deal with less convenience to find foods and drinks. Many establishments are going to be closed and stop operating for days.

And even if they are no muslims, still the distribution chains and most employees they hire are muslims. So chances are you have to be patiently awaiting until another week so the economy runs normally again. That means one week or two weeks after the Eid day.

For most of non muslims and muslims still staying and living in Jakarta during the massive temporary diaspora, it is quite a pain in the ass.

Life seems to be put in hold and concentrated mainly in public places such as airports and stations. Malls and restaurants are mostly closed and even if they open, they can only serve with limitations. You order foods you like but it turns out your favorite is not available just because the food distributor, the cook has not come to work just yet or some issues occur. All is caused by Eid holiday.

If you do not know what to do during the colossal recess, try taking photos of you lying down under the sun in the middle of Jakarta main roads which are nearly completely empty, free of maddening traffic we are always complaining about. That legendary, notorious traffic!!!

Funding Globetrotting Lifestyle for Non-Bourgeoisie Members of Society

woman raising her hands facing cityscape near body of water
Is globetrotting possible if you’re less priviliged? (Photo by Pexels.com)

Let’s be transparent. Do you think globetrotting is possible for everyone on earth regardless of their economic status?

No.

It is very sad to see that some people are still disillusioned by this misleading campaign from European backpackers and digital nomads.

Each of us has no equal access to globetrotting lifestyle. What I mean by this lifestyle is someone who leads a life and constantly travels around the world and – what irks most – still makes money. A lot of money even!

And the example is just before my eyes.

There sat a Caucasian guy, with a towering and slender figure. His iPhone is not new but still it’s an iPhone. It’s not an Android phone with some Chinese, less known brand.

And a girl with hijab sitting wistfully opposite him, waiting for a chance to ask a question in her mind.

She ‘interrogated’ him mercilessly,”Okay, so I want to live a life like you, too. I want to travel around the world. How can you do that? Tell me.”

She is in her early twenties and I couldn’t blame her for her naiveness.

The white guy in his Western coast accent paused a while.

He weighed and selected his words really carefully, as if he had been dealing with a hopeful, gleeful children inside a dream bubble. He didn’t want to prick that bubble and destroy her wishful thinking in a second.

But he really had to get the bitter truth across.

“Hmmm, actually that’s not an easy question. True that I have privilege to be thankful for: I was born and grew up in the United States; my family is quite well-off; I have a proper education. I feel so lucky for all of this….”

He was lost. But he didn’t give up easily. He continued consoling her.

“But having that said, I also made efforts to deserve this.” The guy still tried to convince her that this lifestyle is possible but there are caveats she ought to not ignore.

The guy took advantage of his being a native English speaker by taking an English teaching gig at a developing country. Though he seemed a bit hesitant about whether being a white person automatically justifies his or her validity to teach English (he is very critical about this superficial standard).

Living as an English teacher won’t make him rich. But in a developing country, liviing on a wage of an expatriate English teacher is still doable and noble even. One is well-fed and not looked down by the society. It’s totally a secure job if one is fond of teaching and language and has nothing else to be passionate about in life.

What is often forgotten, he said, about this lifestyle is that someone is prone to financial instability. As he put it, “You’ll also have to live in a modest manner, though you’re not downright poor either. And at times you’ll realize that in such lifestyle, life can be so ‘dynamic’, everchanging and flimsy.”

That did break her heart and hope. I took pity on the fervent girl.

So when I was reading some travel blog where I stumbled upon an article that boasts numerous ways to make money as a globe trotter, I was far from being impressed. It was written by an illustrious travel blogger I have never heard of before. Despite that, she seemed to be enjoying quite a success back in her homeland. On her private travel blog, she claimed her blog is one of the best travel blogs there are. The design looks professional; the wording is awesomely enchanting and clean and efficient; the quality of images is above average; accessibility is well thought. Every single detail is talentedly crafted, I observe. I appreciate her hard work.

Yet, her advice in the listicle offers an oversimplistic approach that may be misleading to most less critical young readers and hopefuls.

Not all of the advice is doable, such as teaching English as a second language (TESOL). First thing first, you cannot teach just because you speak English as a mother tongue. Teaching is not something everyone can do without proper training, certification, and other professional preparation. Being able to speak like a native even is not enough to pove that one is capable of teaching a class of foreign students.

Web designing, writing a travel blog, photography may be some other popular options to survive during the globe trotting journey. But sometimes you have to know the limit is.

But it’s worth trying still even if you think this lifestyle is not for you.

I have tried once and failed. Pretty much because I’m not a carefree person with less regular schedules and routines. I want some consistency in life and regularity helps me focus better with anything I do. I couldn’t focus on my art when I am still worrying about how I can survive the next month or the other month. This anxiety may emerge without apparent symptoms but I felt so haunted by it. And in the uncertain economy, stability of economy seems to be everyone is after. One way to get that stability back is by trading some of your freedom. (*/)

Forest Bathing the Indonesian Way

The other day I read an article about forest bathing tradition in Japan. There is nothing new about it but when it is scientifically proven to be of great help for human kinds, suddenly this captures my attention.I knew that walking or hiking in woods helps us in some way regain our deteriorating health and well being.But that is nothing if done all by yourself.Walking in woods and breathing in lots of oxygen is good.And walking in woods and breathing the fresh air with close friends is even much better. So I guess.It was May Day holiday and we had a quick plan three days before that. We picked a relatively close destination that won’t cost us a fortune. We don’t have to spend a night there. We just wanted to have some, wait, as much fun as possible in a single day.We rented a car and off we went to Cibatok, somewhere in the foothill of Mount Salak, which you can see from Jakartan skyscrapers’ rooftops in an early morning with clear sky and lovely weather.Cibatok in Bogor is located around 90-minute trip by car from Bogor train station. And you would see a hilly landscape that houses many hot springs and waterfalls, big and small.

“Aroma Karsa”: The Review

DEWI LESTARI and the literary prowess she is now having are quite astonishing, to be honest. Because I am not her huge fan, I am not quite familiar with her works. I once read “Rectoverso”, a compilation of short stories published back in 201. But that is all what I know. I have never read her works like Supernova and the family which are considered big in the contemporary literature in Indonesia.

And to be brutally honest, my skepticism of her work is partly – or maybe largely – because she had a celebrity status prior to her being a literary figure. Maybe people view her highly because she is just a singer-turns-writer commercial success. But I ask to myself again, is that a symptom of envy? I laugh out loud. Indeed, it is true. That IS envy. Literary envy. Apart from everything, she is just so lucky to have that fame which helped her in some way to soar. But I know that fame only won’t get her so far and Dee – her pen name – proves her literary journey does not end too soon. So okay, she has that X-factor that no other authors in Indonesia ever have but I am convinced she works hard, really hard for this and she totally deserves it all.

While I am writing this review, I am still reading her latest work “Aroma Karsa” which is one of the hottest recent published Indonesian novels this very year. I got this from a friend working at the publisher of the novel, hoping to get a cheaper price. I just believe that I made a good bargain even without comparing the selling price at bookstores around me. Why? First of all, no bookstores that sell Indonesian novels around where I live. Tragic I know. Yes, they just closed that Trimedia outlet which was the nearest I could get whenever I want to know some recent Indonesian novels. My place to go is then a local public library, but then I doubt they have that novel because the book is too recent to be displayed in the public library. I am not sure they have it already by now and even they do have some copies, people would just – I assumed – borrow them all. And I have no copy left to borrow.

My first impression upon reading the book is that the book was like fairytale set in the modern, capitalism age. We have got this corporate setting as the entire backdrop. Of course, the palace (keraton) and Bantar Gebang and Sentul are just real settings but I cannot find the proof that Dee is using these settings as more than just settings. She obviously focuses more on the plot.

That said, the novel is very much plot driven. And like her main character, Jati Wesi, Dee knows very much that curiosity is one thing she needs to sustain during the whole reading experience from beginning to end.

I can feel the pace is quite fast. Even a little bit too fast. Imagine you are in a journey and Dee as a tour guide is taking you to a series of destinations. But in every destination, you only have some minutes to sit and ponder and ruminate. On other occasions, she just lets you take a few minutes and take photos and leave. Isn’t it the Indonesian style of traveling? Maybe. But apart from that, I guess this is what a popular, best-selling novel has to have. It has to encourage readers to read on. Once they are bored and put the book down, that is considered failure. They must be glued to it all the time. It is even better if the book which sprawls 690-ish pages is so compelling that readers can devour it in one single sitting or night. Of course, it is possible provided that you are jobless so you have so much time to spend alone, and you are living alone in your apartment and no relatives can bother or disrupt you in the process of enjoying “Aroma Karsa”.

At the first time, I was stunned by Dee’s diction. So many Indonesian words that are infrequently seen in the contemporary works of literature can be found here. They emerge from Kamus Besar Bahasa Indonesia, I am sure. And it gives the impression that Dee is trying so hard to follow the rule. Or perhaps her editor made her do this? I have no idea. But I conclude that was quite impressive. I am glad that she takes her work seriously, now that N.H. Dini is gone. She may be her successor.

Another comment I have in mind is that Dee has a peculiar taste of naming her characters. Jati Wesi is not a common name for a Javanese man, as far as I am concerned. I am Javanese myself but never have I seen a man named this way by his parents. But then, hey this is a fiction work anyway! But if I were her, I would select another name which ensures audience that Jati Wesi is a real one. And Tanaya Suma? I have no idea. That is a very atypical name of a Javanese girl.

And the Javanese mythology involved here is unbeatable. Further research is needed to know if this is made up or not.

Speaking of the description of smell that Jati Wesi and Tanaya Suma have is just awesome. Yet, in a certain point I feel so bloated with all the names of essential oils, chemical substances that are hardly pronouncable for laymen like me. This to me slowly turns sickening because Dee does not bother to give even a short footnote as to what X means or is commonly used or discovered in what. Once, twice, thrice, okay I am impressed but the rest looks like a sheer show off of olfactory-related vocabulary. It stresses that the author does the hard work of researching but how can it be informative to us readers when we cannot even know a glimpse of it? That is it.

(More review to follow as I finish reading the book)

My Ultimate 2019 Digital Resolution: Going Un-mainstream

I have been giving it so much thought.

While Facebook and its giant business tentacles like WhatsApp and Instagram are robbing away our privacy, I decided to bid farewell to Facebook earlier this year. And I prove myself capable of living without it.

Now that WhatsApp shows lack of intention to curb child pornography (go read Techcrunch report on this issue), I guess this is the right time to slowly and gradually limit my use of the chat app before totally switching to the surrogate which I love more but less populer, Telegram.

At the same time, I also focus on my use of Google services. On my mobile phone, I have long time ago ditched Chrome. I turn to Mozilla Firefox and Focus which way more private.

When it comes to search engine staple service, I have another alternative that is more user friendly than Google:Duck Duck Go. It is a search engine that is not evil, plus it doesn’t sell its users’ data.

Speaking of Instagram, I resolve that this end of year is just the right time to detach myself slowly but certainly from the addiction of posting anything on it. No more will you find an impulsively produced piece of content whether it be stories or feed content. And to begin with this, I have uninstalled the Instagram app on my phone.

As for email service, I have made up my mind that MerahPutih.id is my main preference. It is made in Indonesia, which is my country of origin. Blind nationalism, you may assume? Probably true, but until I find a better service, why not? Using my nation’s products gradually builds our people’s confidence. And what is even better than that when we want to be a more developed nation in the future?

While it is impossible to be free from Google Maps (because of my being a faithful user of Gojek app), I can delete my Google account whenever I want to. And that starts from stopping to use and open Gmail.

You may think these all resolutions are pointless. But think again. While this might be unfeasible on so many levels, I hope this resolution gives me and you a heed of the importance of conscious and prudent way of making use of all these digital services that are free of charge but stealthily lead your life, like a sly shepherd gently dragging his gullible sheep to a slaughterhouse. (*/)

Combatting Fake News in 5 Simple Steps

administration articles bank black and white
Fake news is bloating the web. How can we do about it? Here’s some steps anyone can take to take part in the campaign against fake news. (Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com)

Within a few months, Indonesia is about to undergo a five-yearly political ‘ordeal’ called presidential election. In 2014, we saw how the loathesome politics before our naked eyes.

And it takes no time for us to see fake news circulating around the web in a glimpse of an eye. Last presidential election offered us a cruel description of how disgusting this band of political clowns with their intrigues could become play with people who knew almost nothing about their grand plans ‘behind the screen’.

And this fake news plague make all of us without exception prone to deceitful plots of their digital troops responsible for claiming the presidential throne.

In response to this alarming phenomenon of fake news, every one of us must be involved and feel obliged to combat it.

Here’s how you can combat fake news around us as cited from Quartz.com.

Ensure sources of information

You may be familiar with popular and large news outlets such as New Yorker, The New York Times, or Tempo (in Indonesia). But be aware of the fake domains that are manipulated in such a way to trick the careless eyes. For example, the official site of New Yorker Magazine is http://wwww.newyorker.com/. But there are some other almost similar domains that are made to deceive internet users, such as thenewyorker.net or newyorkermagazine.org. This may look the same with the official site, but to the untrained eyes, those look pretty much similar.

According to Quartz, don’t just trust a news outlet domain only after reading one article. Try reading other articles or even navigate through the entire site to get to know what the site is really about.  Does the site really qualify for the quality journalism standards? (Read more here to learn more about journalism standards and ethics).

Assess headlines’ tone

You’d better be cautious when a webiste you read shows headlines that are too provoking emotionally. The tone of headline is another criterion to assess in a news website if you are to avoid spreading fake news in the internet.

The tone of headline in a trustworthy news outlet must be neutral and unbiased.

But how do you can define neutrality?

Let’s say you read a headline, and suddenly you feel a jolt of anger or sadness or disappointment, chances are the news you’re reading is fake and the website you’re visiting is a fake news website.

Find out who the writers/ reporters/ editors are

Do you know what sets the trustworthy news websites apart from fake news ones? The availability of information of the identity of news makers/ people behind those articles or web content.

On trustworthy news outlets such as NewYorker.com, we can see information of writers/ reporters/ editors. This includes what they have written so far so we are not in the dark about what their motifs are. If they are true journalists, there is no way they would compromise and trade their integrity for financial or personal gain.

So if you read a website that only shows “an admin” produced the article and you can’t find any real person name there, you should be suspicious.

Find the primary sources’ reliability

One main sign that a news piece is fake is that it has been distributed and quoted by so many people that we can no longer find who made the statement in the first place. Too often than not, we see rumors are distributed this way. People keep repeating it until no one can tell who or what produced the news initially.

And by “primary sources”, we also refer to reliable experts as sources for journalists to clarify our hypotheses. If an article says “Scientists state walking can fight cancer”, we’d better know which scientists the article is talking about, what institution they work at, and other details that support our investigation.

Beware of repurposed old images

We sometimes are instantly agitated to see a heart-wrenching photograph of – let’s say- a person’s calamity owing to someone else’s neglect, evil intention or thirst of power circulating on the web. This was especially true when the Rohingya humanitarian crisis broke. Someone with ill intention took an old photo and repurposed that in such a way to convince internet users like you and me that that photo reflected what really happened in Myanmar.

To find out whether those viral photos are repurposed ones or real and updated, you can simply go to Google Image to search when they were first circulated on the web.

Be aware as well of the possibility of context misuse. What I am trying to say is that a certain photo can be used to illustrate another event or incident. For example, we might see photos of victims of Aceh tsunami victims in 2004 circulating again after a tsunami hit Palu and Donggala this year (2018). Though the type of natural disaster is quite similar but they are different cases and scale of severity. (*/)

 

Office Workers, Sedentary Lifestyle and Mental Illness

group of people sitting near table
Office workers are prone to mental disorders, if it goes unnoticed. (Photo by Christina Morillo on Pexels.com)

The year of 2018 marks my eight year of living in Jakarta. And throughout these years, I have been living most of my life as a corporate worker. In some other time, I also work as a freelancer, trying to make money with myself as the one and only employer.

Indeed, life as a corporate worker is a mixture of every emotion a human being can have. Office politics can be stressful but once you can get over it, you’ll see the intrigues as entertainment instead of sources of annoyance or frustration. That’s how I view it, to be honest.

Laughing out loud I was this morning to find this news on mentall illness that office workers are prone to. It is estimated that one of three people suffer from mental ilness, stated detik.com. But it wasn’t mentioned as to the scope of the research and further details. Probably Jakarta and greater area.

Director of Health and Sports of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia stated that there’re a huge number of people seeing doctors or going to clinic only to find that they suffer from no illness whatsoever. “But when they’re asked further, they admit they are stressed out,” said Kartini Rustandi, the director.

I can tell that this can be true around me. Stress and mental breakdown may occur when someone – not only office workers in fact – gets too absorbed with his or her life ambition or targets or goals. That may be sales targets, or material pursuit or winning respect or admiration from others. Human beings can have multitude motifs when it comes to this departement.

And this is where exercise can do us some favor. Stretching – which in this case looks like yoga – is one of the possible methods to destress and stay balanced in life. Kartini mentioned that exercising boosts the release of endorphin, a type of hormone secreted by the body in a natural manner when we are moving and stretching our physique.

So whenever I see some people who don’t quite like exercise and stretching, I think there’s something wrong with them. They need help. Sometimes solutions are there but we can’t see clearly because we’re too consumed with stress. And this is why exercise is really a staple activity on daily basis.

I’m not going to be a part of the one third of these office workers who would just collapse or break down in the office. And you? (*/)

Here’s My Secret to Not Gaining Weight After A Huge Huge Meal

people holding sliced pizza
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

In my entire childhood and early adulthood and current adulthood, never did I lose the title of “thin boy”. Every time people see me, the first thought that occured to them is this:”You must eat more” or “You must eat more often.”

But they hardly know that it is all futile. Just a waste of resource. I liken myself to a small glass that everyone thinks could enlarge once they pour more liquid into. Which is of course unfeasible.

That said, they always get curious as to how I stay slim and thus never change my clothing size since the last day I left high school. That in fact irritates some of them to no end.

Whenever I am asked the question, I used to have no answer. I blabbered, saying,”It’s genetic…” And when they chased me more for accurate, believable answers, I told them to speak with my parents. That quietens them in some way.

Recently, a band of researchers managed to unravel the mystery for me. As I read on Jakarta Post, researchers of Flinders University, in the Land Down Under, just found out that there is this obesity gene called RCAN1. Not having this gene enables you to eat in a literally crazy amount without even gaining a slight weight. That sounds cool to some people having obesity issues. When removed, one would never ever gain weight no matter how much s/he eats. Without the gene in our body, we can stay slim without even exercising a single minute or restricting calorie intake or modifying diets. You can just eat liberally.

Of course, the news told us there are possibilities for future development of obesity treatment with genetic engineering. But if you’re someone whose health care is only covered by BPJS, that means nearly impossible to have such treatment owing to the costs. (*/)

5 Pelajaran Hidup dari Freddie Mercury di Bohemian Rhapsody

Sebelum menonton film biopic Freddie Mercury ini, saya cuma sepintas lalu mengenal band bernama Queen. Karena genrenya yang kurang familiar plus periode kepopuleran mereka yang jauh sebelum kesadaran musikal saya terbangun, saya terus terang kurang paham siapa saja personel band tersebut, lagu-lagu hitsnya, kehidupan mereka sebagai seniman, musisi dan pribadi.

Tentu saja karena ini jenis film biopic, kendalanya ialah ketimpangan antara film dan ‘kenyataan’ versi para pelakon peran di kehidupan nyata. Ada banyak selentingan bahwa film itu kurang pas menggambarkan Freddie. Ia bukan biang kerok bubarnya Queen karena sebelum ia merintis karier solo, sebelumnya ada juga anggota Queen lain yang sudah melakukan hal serupa. Lalu ada juga yang mengritik film ini karena dianggap melenceng dari sejarah. Untungnya semua itu bukan masalah bagi saya yang bukan penggemar berat Queen.
Tanpa ekspektasi macam-macam sejak awal, saya duduk di bioskop dan cuma mengharap adanya hiburan yang cukup layak untuk mengisi waktu senggang.

Kisah hidup Mercury ini berawal dari dirinya yang masih bekerja serabutan sambil mondar-mandir mencari posisi sebagai penyanyi profesional. Dan di dalam film, saya menemukan banyak pelajaran hidup dari jalan hidup Freddie yang tidak lazim. Berikut di antaranya.

PELAJARAN 1: “Uang tidak bisa membeli kebahagiaan tapi bisa memberikannya.”
Orang kaya yang tidak bahagia memang menyedihkan. Tetapi lebih menyedihkan lagi orang miskin yang tidak bahagia. Saya sepakat dalam hal ini. Uang memang bisa membebaskan manusia dari tuntutan pemenuhan kebutuhan ekonomi. Uang memberikan kita pilihan. Orang kaya dan miskin bisa saja sama-sama jalan kaki tetapi bisa saja karena si orang miskin terpaksa jalan kaki karena tak punya uang. Sementara itu, si orang kaya bisa saja naik mobil tetapi memilih berjalan karena ingin menikmati suasana, berolahraga, atau menikmati udara segar. Motifnya sudah lain sama sekali. Yang satu karena tidak ada pilihan, yang lain karena sengaja memilih. Yang satu merasa terpaksa dan berat hati, yang lain merasa rela dan senang.

PELAJARAN 2: “Saat saya mati, saya ingin diingat sebagai musisi yang punya nilai dan substansi.”
Freddie tidak berkarya hanya karena ia ingin keuntungan finansial atau ketenaran. Ia menggubah lagu agar lagu itu bisa diingat sepanjang masa. Melewati generasinya sendiri jika bisa. Dan itu terbukti.
Idealisme Freddie juga ditunjukkan dengan karakter keras kepalanya saat berhadapan dengan seorang produser musik kenamaan yang tak memahami keunikan Bohemian Rhapsody. Jadi, walaupun usianya tak bisa dikatakan panjang, hidup Freddie lumayan bermakna karena idealisme, nilai dan substansi tadi.

PELAJARAN 3: “Saya selalu tahu saya seorang bintang dan sekarang semua orang sepakat dengan itu.”
Meski sering dipanggil pemuda ‘Paki” (karena ia anak imigran Pakistan), Freddie mengetahui panggilan jiwanya dari muda, yakni menjadi penampil yang berkualitas. Ia menolak anjuran ayahnya untuk hidup selayaknya pemuda lain seumurannya yang kuliah, mengantongi gelar dan merintis karier yang bagus dan membanggakan hingga pensiun usia tua nanti. Freddie yakin ia tak dilahirkan untuk menjalani kehidupan semacam itu. Bukan berarti kehidupan berkarier semacam yang banyak dari kita jalani itu lebih buruk tetapi ia hanya yakin bahwa ia memiliki pilihan yang lebih sesuai dengan jiwanya. Dan ia tidak cuma meminta profesi idamanya itu datang kepadanya. Ia berusaha keras untuk itu.

PELAJARAN 4: “Saya hanya seorang pelacur musik.”
Di balik glamornya profesi seniman dan musisi yang ia lakoni, Freddie tahu dirinya tetap manusia biasa. Yang membuatnya luar biasa adalah optimisme dan semangatnya dalam berkarya secara maksimal dalam rentang waktu hidupnya yang relatif pendek tetapi bernas. Kehidupan sebagai rock star juga tidak membuatnya berubah kepribadian. Ia tetap tahu esensi pekerjaannya: pengamen. Ia menyanyi dan tampil untuk menyenangkan orang. Dan ia melakukan tiap pekerjaannya dengan tingkat keseriusan yang tinggi.

PELAJARAN 5: “Perbuatan yang baik, perkataan yang baik, pemikiran yang baik”
Filosofi ini didengungkan oleh ayah Freddie yang datang ke Inggris sebagai seorang kepala keluarga imigran. Sebagai seorang ayah, ia berharap Freddie bisa membanggakan dirinya dengan mengikuti jalur yang diterima oleh masyarakat kebanyakan. Tetapi Freddie bukanlah pribadi yang biasa sehingga ia tidak sanggup mengungkung dirinya dalam kehendak sang ayah dan tuntutan masyarakat. Untungnya Freddie memiliki seorang ibu yang mendukung apapun yang dilakukan anaknya. Adegan tentang Freddie yang menuju ke rumahnya untuk ‘sowan” ke orang tuanya sebelum tampil di panggung konser amal Live Aid cukup mengharukan karena di situ, Freddie akhirnya menyaksikan ayahnya luluh dan mengakui bahwa pencapaian anaknya di dunia musik memang membawa kebaikan bagi banyak orang. Freddie, seburuk apapun ia di mata diri ayahnya, memiliki dedikasi yang tidak terkira pada dunia musik dan ia menggunakan popularitasnya untuk membantu orang lain yang dekat dengannya dan bahkan yang jauh darinya seperti orang-orang di Afrika yang rentan terjangkit AIDS.