A History Lesson in Pancasila

LGBT, opinions, Things That Bug Me

DISCLAIMER: This article is purely the opinion of the writer, it is not written to be bias or leaning to any political party nor it’s opposition. 

I grew up in the bustling city roads of Jakarta, to be a half breed of Indonesia and a western country, I was nicknamed bule that directly means caucasian. It was always my pet peeve that even during my stay in Malaysia, I was addressed more towards my western side because of how I looked. I was born in a midwife’s clinic in the center of Menteng, I went to preschool in the national plus institution behind a church and mosque, I wore proudly my red and white uniform during the weekly flag ceremony as the entire faculty and students recited our nation’s five pillars. My passport is as green as my blood runs red. 

Ask any of my foreign friends, and they can tell you how proud I am to be Indonesian, however with the rise of extremists and radicals in the streets of my beloved nation, that pride I have has definitely been shaken.

Close to 62 years ago in August 1945, a group of young activists kidnapped our leader to force our country out of the occupation of the Japanese and into independence. However it was on June 1st 1945, when Pancasila was erected as the base of our nation’s views due to the diversity across the archipelago of Indonesia. With over 300 languages spoken, over 400 cultures, and 1000+ islands; Indonesia was one united by these five points.

  1. A divinity that is an ultimate unity (in Indonesian “Ketuhanan Yang Maha Esa“),
  2. A just and civilized humanity (in Indonesian “Kemanusiaan Yang Adil dan Beradab“),
  3. The national unity of Indonesia (in Indonesian “Persatuan Indonesia“),
  4. Democracy predicated on the inherent wisdom of unanimity arising from deliberation among popular representatives (in Indonesian “Kerakyatan Yang Dipimpin oleh Hikmat Kebijaksanaan, Dalam Permusyawaratan Perwakilan“), and
  5. Social justice for all Indonesian people (in Indonesian “Keadilan Sosial bagi seluruh Rakyat Indonesia“).

It was assured to the nation that we are not able to have one without the others.

Fast forward six decades later, the country has shifted and in my eyes forgotten the true meaning of being Indonesian. I won’t say I have been the best citizen, but – as idealistic as it may sound – I try my best in every way that I can to better myself not just for my personal gain but also for my country’s future.

With seeing how radicals use this ideology in the opposite way it was made for makes me furious. Seeing what has been happening in the political scene and the reasons leaders use to “defend” Indonesia has me itching to demand a history lesson to be re-taught to these influential people that seem to forget our second and fourth pillar.

It teared me up in pride knowing that Timor Leste, a former province of Indonesia held a Pride march in solidarity to their LGBT community. It was a rush of envy that I felt reading about Singapore’s Pink Dot event. Yet, the LGBT related news that I read connected to Indonesia was regarding the demand by extremists to boycott Starbucks because they are a known supporter of the community and how this propaganda was being pushed and accepted by a significant amount of the nation’s citizens to be against the first pillar.

Nowhere in our five pillars was it written to discriminate and push hate towards anyone whether it be their system of belief, appearance, culture, or sexuality. Closing the Pancasila is the pillar I wholeheartedly believe in; Social justice for all.

I believe in signs, and while it might be far fetched, could we just appreciate that Pancasila is celebrated within the same month of Pride? I had only realize this tiny bit of information a few weeks into June 2017 where I celebrated Pride for the first time as a bisexual.

While my pride of being Indonesian was shook, my hopes of a better Indonesia remains strong. It’s my hope that with the change of time and the growth of modern thinking, Indonesia will be what it was planned for. Bhinneka Tunggal Ika is what’s written in the sash that the Garuda holds in his claws; united in diversity. 

I hope that in the near future, that diversity includes the LGBT community.

 

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REVIEW: OKJA, a nightmare in motion.

opinions, Reviews, Uncategorized

It’s been a minute since I watched something that moved me in the way that Netflix’s original movie OKJA did. Before even going in depth why you should watch this movie, I would like to hand over all the awards including most horrific triggering movie of the year.

Disclaimer: there are potential spoilers in this piece – also this is purely my opinion so take it with a grain of salt if you do not feel the same way. 

I watched OKJA over the weekend with my friend, and thankfully someone was there because this movie is not something you’d want to watch alone (I made that mistake with Get Out). Personally, I try my best to leave as little carbon footprint unless it’s for a better; as a person in the creative industry I hold a belief that whatever you do should answer the question of WHY you’re doing what you do. Many people forget that there’s more to life than just creating content for monetary purposes.

The team and director behind this movie definitely had their purpose of letting the nightmare of animal abuse known to the public delivered with flying colors. It was both exhilarating to watch as it was horrifying. In one particular scene (and you’d know which scene I’m talking about) had me shaken until even now, the portrayal of innocence in Okja and Mija’s relationship was complete obliterated by this scene.

I can’t imagine how the people behind this must’ve felt within the research and execution of the movie because as it’s audience it triggered an ongoing nightmare of the reality that the science behind the story was based on real life actions by corporate animal farms.

As for the characters in the movie, I can’t find the words to describe the diversity. I love that this was not in English nor was it led by a caucasian award winner. Yes, Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, and a few other known actors and actresses were a part of the cast, but how they adapted to the characters they held was more than an award winning act. Swinton’s character completely erased her real life personality – same goes with former heartthrob Gyllenhaal who’s character is a washed up media personality that seems to be going in an existential psychotic crisis.

Paul Dano and Lily Collins were additional protagonist characters that played hero to animals in the movie. I absolutely loved the choreographed anti-fight scenes.

The storyline itself is simple – then again most of the best movies are. It’s a love story of a girl and her pet super pig; however this is not a family movie.

What made this movie so impactful to me is the delivery of this story not being in a post apocalypse time but in today’s world. The fictional animal made it easier to make an emotional connection compared to the regular pig or cow; however the true point being delivered is that you can replace Okja to your common cow, pig, buffalo, etc. and you’re watching a documentary that just happened to end well for the characters leading the movie.

Was I satisfied by the ending? Yes and no. I realize it’s improper to end a meaningful movie with a sugarcoated happy ending – but to see in the prolog that Okja is merely one of thousands that was saved… it was still heartbreaking.

Should you watch this movie? 100% YESS. 

Subjectivity, Objectively.

opinions, Things That Bug Me

It came to my attention that my opinions were taken into dissection, and I honestly appreciate that because as I disclaimed – these are my opinions.

I wrote in what I felt was objective, having said that,  I was presented with views on how it seemed as a conformity to patriarchy mainly because my posts gave the impression that I was writing against the girl’s actions; when instead I was questioning about whether they both warranted the attention that the coverage got them. This comes from what is available for me to base on for my opinion which were the slander and judgement by netizens in the comment section.

This comes down to how individuals tend to take what they want when there is an emotional attachment to a message, unfortunately it also tends to leave out logic and objectivity. Thus, creating a path for mixed messages and reading between the lines; in psychology, this is called pareidoliaa concept of a perceptual set, or seeing things we want to see and using that as a problem solving method because of previously set ways or beliefs. This concept while linked into explaining superstition, can also be linked to confirmation bias.

While we’re on biases, I would like to touch more on how the content in mainstream media’s coverage has been diluted by the subjective manner of how the case was written.

What was published became a doorway perceived by keyboard warriors to blatantly voice out hatred towards the parties involved, I write parties because I saw criticism shifted to the girl, the boys and the institution.

I feel that this would be the right place to repeat my disclaimer that this is written solely based on my opinions upon my observation.

How the articles were written and published were a in a form of cognitive bias; I saw this as a learning opportunity, so I asked my friends with media background to tell me what difference did they see in the articles posted compared to my 2 cents?

What I’m allowed to write down on record was a divide between the media seeing the viral topic as a currency that would elevate their readership, and the defense against rape culture. But while I’m still gathering information on rape culture outside the western world, can we press pause and see the side effects of what media content has been proven to come with?

Like for instance, cyber bullying and public shaming comes hand in hand with the rise of social media once a tweet that touches on social sensitive issues goes viral.

Rosen points out a deep truth in her commentary on how unsettling the aftermath can get once an individual is outed as an alleged perpetrator or victim in a crime that is presented to the justice system of social media with public opinion as the jury.

Stan Lee said it best in the neighborhood super hero franchise Spiderman, “With great power, comes great responsibility”; this research on how climate change was covered in media; has proven that while the media does not directly tell us what to do, it is key to the setting of agendas and focusing public interest on particular subjects, which operates to limit the range of arguments and perspectives that inform public debate.

That said, in my opinion, the mainstream media’s responsibility should be taken account for the backlash and repercussion it may cause with the story it publishes as well as the writers linked to their publications,  whom has the ability to persuade public opinion with a set agenda.

While it is still in question on how platforms work to moderate their users, it should be in the publisher’s interest to follow the 6 basic roles of media on how their influencers deliver a message to their followers. I feel like those advocating as journalists, regardless the content or targeted audience, should always be objective

That is what is taught in media writing 101, is it not?

 

Helen of Twitterverse

opinions, Things That Bug Me

FULL DISCLAIMER – This article is solely the opinion of the writer.

As a follow up to my post yesterday, I would like to touch on a few things.

The official statement from the involved institution has been released. Was this necessary? Of course, it’s a standard procedure.  But was it necessary for the girl to share it with the world? Not really.

As stated, the boys and girl involved had only been in the college environment for a month or so – their journey has just begun. The girl/victim had recently been acknowledged by Elle Malaysia as a badass in their article for speaking out about her incident. This was a fashion magazine and there is this freshie on campus, and there is this cry of a rape threat. For some reason, that’s a bit of an odd mix…. or is it just me thinking this? She was badass for launching a thousand ships of altercation between people and causing a commotion that has impacted institutions and such. Helen of Twitterverse indeed.

Now to my take on this case, as a former media student, I feel that the story has been misappropriated to a point where it’s no longer a fight for women’s justice but one that goes against it. Considering how fast words can travel online, I think it’s time now more than ever that we need smart women to stop debasing their intelligence and directly shoot out a flare gun on to the twitterverse.

Kellie Low, 24, Malaysian PR graduate had a similar stance on how this case could have been handled, especially the girl involved. “I find the guy’s more at fault for joking so nonchalantly about something apparently beyond his comprehension, but the girl should not have blown up the issue, regardless of how upset she was. Screenshot, confront the person who made the rape statement, but why play victim-and-villian by posting and making it viral?”

From where I stand, female empowerment does not mean we have to degrade our opposite gender, but instead we should educate them. Blasting retweets and sharing posts on our newsfeed is not necessarily the only strategy to go about this.

The darker side of social media should be brought out of the light on how “tweetivists” take justice into their own hands without thinking of the repercussions they activate with 140 characters or less. Last year this article by the Observer relates the social justice warriors that take to social media to the Totalitarian doctrines and Marxism theory. Creator of Scandal, Shonda Rhimes has also pointed this out in her speech at Dartmouth that instead of merely tweeting #justice, they should act positively in the causes that they believe in. So why not instead of tweeting how the institution or boys involved should act upon this case, they go ahead and volunteer hours at a local shelter.

When I asked Tanya Nazeer, 24, who’s a fellow media student from Tanzania, she delivers a valid point; “There’s plenty of ways this could have been handled. I get it that the girl was just speaking out about the incident. But the keyboard warriors are the one who add fuel to the fire. They are the ones causing the PR mishap. The university shouldn’t take this as a scandal – yes they are your students. But take the opportunity to show how you care for the students and how you actually intend to change their mindsets for the better.”

Let’s step back to the starting point of this particular case. It is not about glorifying rape culture, but the public statement that a person of a political leader. How can we expect the socio culture in Malaysia to be more than a developing country when the leaders are still acting this way? I don’t see how it is justice when the institution drowns in the melting pot of opinions, while the man who started the joke goes off scot-free. 

Now that the student involved has been given a punishment of 100 hours of community service; can we also hand over the learning opportunity to not only the warriors retweeting but also Mr. Parliament? I think that should be fair, don’t you?

As for the girl in question, a badass? Yes but not in the fashionable sort.

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The Generation of Going Viral

opinions, Things That Bug Me

Which is a bigger crime, a group of boys talking nonsense or the girl who took the joke too far? In my personal opinion, both are at the same level or idiocy. 

Now I get that getting many followers can mean you get the chance of monetizing your social media account. But at what cost?

In a recent incident, screenshots of a private group chat went viral. As any group chat involving boys with raging hormones and no other output, there are lewd commentary about the “fresh meat” on campus. Do I condone the locker room talk? Of course not. But when the individual comes out and rants on her public twitter account instead of waiting for the institution they are all studying at to respond, it creates a PR mess.

I am in not directly involved, however as a graduate of the media industry, I would like to put my two cents in – not like anyone has yet to do so. 

Shall we first get to the background of this said joke, in which one of the group chat participants wrote “She’s gonna kena raped by me, then the must marry me” – this running joke started with this statement earlier this year from the parliament regarding rape victims.

Now, whether it be the soccer team in Harvard, or a female rating group chat in Malaysia, I hold my opinion on how college boys are not the brightest stars in the galaxy. I’m not saying #NotAllMen or the overused quote “boys will be boys”.

Rape, in any sense of the word is not a laughing matter.

But to the girl involved, was it worth the example you posted? This is one in millions group chats that talk nonsense. If every group chat was exposed this way, almost everyone in the world would be convicted for soliciting lewd commentary. Not to mention the lack of eye candy articles that sell magazines and get traffic to online magazines shared on Facebook. 

It astonishes me how your tone changed after your tweets went viral to the point of being interviewed by Elle Malaysia where there was a comparison to Serena Williams.

From what I have gathered, the boys involved have been given their punishment. But the backlash of this incident will constantly follow them and in many cases these life events will create a mental instability (hello, there’s this new series showing exactly how things can go). The threats on their existence has already started to a point of the “perpetrator” making the “joke” is terrified to go back to his studies this coming Tuesday after the public holiday.

Now I have to ask this to the general public, how is it that glorifying and sexualizing attractive vets or nurses or even math teachers okay, while a private group chat is blown up out of proportion?

This group chat was one out of a billion that just happened to get caught. Don’t you think if all private chats were leaked everyone would be in jail or something? Yes, it was wrong. I do not defend the boys involved, but what people say as opposed to what people think and do are all different; and there will always be an abundance of online trolls and keyboard warriors.

It is ironic to me how as viral as juicy this fiasco has become, all articles written on it deviate far from the actually truth with conflicting and inaccurate information. For all we know, each individual involved are at fault at one point or another. 

This proves how what we are involved in is no longer the issue at hand or in the victims best interest. Instead, by making this more viral, we are actually amusing ourselves at the expense of all participants including the girl. 

A simple retweet of the original posts can be compared to going for surgery when all you needed was a good nights sleep. Is it truly impossible for this generation to mind their own business? Did we really have to dive into the comment section and dissect? 

In other words the villain here is now us. 

The best PR exercise to diffuse is through silence. By muting the argument until proper statement has been released. Until then, what we have is a crockpot filled of opinions. As my grandmother in the kitchen would say, too many hands makes the broth bitter. 

X

Love or Power?

opinions, Uncategorized

It’s been a while since I found myself bewildered in an argument with my morality.

Recently a good friend of mine confided in me about how his feelings for a girl was shut down, with the rejection he felt as if he lost a power within himself. We ended up materializing this predicament of his in a scenario.

If the devil offered you the chance to gain a super power at the cost of the soul of your true love, would you?

This scenario, in my head plays out the ultimate question; are all things fair in love and war? If so, what happens if the devil came to play?

The conversation continues in a comic book timeline, giving the main character the super power to control all of nature’s elements. But of course, if he chose having power above love, what good is power without love?

Who’s the true villain when the main character intentionally gives another’s soul for his wellbeing? Is it still the devil that offers him the deal or is it the individual that broke his heart and stripped him from the power within him?

I ask myself, if I was given the choice to gain a super power over the expense of someone that truly hurt me, would I take the deal with the devil himself?

Honestly, until today I don’t know my own answer. 

So as usual, I bring my questions to various individuals. Fatima, a dear friend in Bahrain replied my question with her interpretation on the scenario:

It depends on what the power means to me versus what the person means to me. if presented with an opportunity to be myself… or who I used to be; sacrificing someone who didn’t accept me for who I am, even if I cared for them and they cared for me, they did destroy a part of me that I held dear.

I’d rather get reconciliation than live a life of bitterness. 

With the devil’s hand, there’s always a catch. In this scenario, my mind added the plot twist of the devil using that soul the character gives up and sends it back in different forms to test the human will against love. Fatima accepted the plot twist, and responded:

“I believe in that case; I wouldn’t resist love if I find it again… even if I lose my powers. Because if at that point love mattered to me more than keeping them, I wouldn’t fight it. Besides, the sacrifice would be my choice. Assuming the devil sends love my way in an attractive package, it’ll be hard to resist. I feel like I wouldn’t be bitter if I chose to compromise for love; lest love rejects and doesn’t appreciate the compromise I make, then I’ll raise hell myself. Powers or not…”

Naturally, I had to ask… what super powers would she give up love for? or vice versa.

“Ideally… to accept love I would give up any super power. But for a judgmental prick, I wouldn’t even give up the mere power of knowing which side of the coin would be up.”

I would have stopped with her response but I was still unsettled by the initial choice the friend who’d answer that power would be better than love. I mean sure, the ability to create gold out of water would have been both useful and cool.

But is ultimate power truly worth giving up another’s soul? 

From the people I’ve asked, more females answered that they would rather choose power, in my opinion this is due to females getting hurt more often than guys do. More guys in their twenties would give up super powers because they think that the chance of being happy with somebody special overweighs super powers like flying or mind reading. Additionally, the guys I asked would rather not gain such powers by sacrificing others. Perhaps, chivalry is not completely dead.

It’s not surprising seeing more females choose not to settle down early, personally, it’s a choice I make because of the many time I’ve been hurt before. The only guarantee a woman can get is the promise she makes to herself and the efforts she knows that will be appreciated. Many guys, not all – but many guys tend to feel emancipated by a more successful woman.

But what is power without someone to share it with?

If said scenario was real, I think after the conversations I’ve had, I would choose power. But only for the ability to bend reality. Admit it, it would be fun to be able to manipulate atoms in your body to fit that cute dress on display at Forever 21. Others may choose the power to heal others, or even the ability to guess a gamble during a coin toss; but on a realistic note, women just want the power of equality – and that’s good enough for me.

 

 

Growing Up Privileged

opinions, personal

Growing up I was always accompanied by a housekeeper, butler, driver, nanny, etc. Before you say “OMG, she’s spoiled”, it is common for an Indonesian household to have helpers; whether that me a distant cousin or someone from a maid agency.

When I was younger my parents were busy, many nights and even months at a time I would be left at home with a guardian. Now this may be the cause of my mother issues, and while I could have grown into the stereotypical bitch that many of my in the same sort of family were, I didn’t.

My parents taught me to treat everyone that worked for us as equals, because at the end of the day we are human.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents. But my driver was the one who taught me how to drive a car, my nanny helped me with my braids every morning in kindergarten, my butler knew where my best friends lived, my housing complex’s security guards sent my lunch to school when I had forgotten them and my maid was the one who without fail made me a cup of tea when I was revising my exam notes.

These people whom others see just as employees, are the ones who taught me to stay humble. With a salary that is easily a fragment of my allowance, they feed their families. While they stay invisible to most, the moment they go off for holidays or finish their term of contract, their work matters.

The ironed shirts before a meeting, the brew of fresh coffee in the morning, the dust bunnies under the bed.

I am letting go of one of my family’s best employee today, my dad is moving back to the States while I start my own life in an apartment I hope I can manage myself.

Ismiyati has 5 children, she’s a widow that stands as a backbone to her family. While she wasn’t educated, she has the determination to make sure her children will be. I see her video call her youngest while I have my cigarette in the back yard, he’s 6 years old but for the past 4 years, his contact with his mother has only been through the telephone. Her eldest got married and lives away from her siblings, and despite having her own family, her mother is the one that still sends her money.

Manci was our driver back in Indonesia, I’ve known him for nearly 2 decades – that’s most of my life. I call him ‘uncle’ because he was that to me, more than the uncle I have from my mother’s family. He has 3 sons, the eldest is a year younger than me. Uncle Manci worked with our family until his eldest graduated college. I remember him being my safe place whenever I had a heated argument with my mother, he taught me how to drive around the housing complex we lived in and then giving me the wheel to drive home from school when I got my permit. He sent me on my dates and told my mother I went to meet my girlfriends and he hid my secrets when I needed him to.

When I was living in Cambodia back in 1997, I had a nanny named Sophie. She had barely passed puberty at that time but she had to work to help support her family. I don’t remember much about those days but I remember her teaching me how to french braid my hair, I remember her playing with my barbie dolls in the playroom, and I remember her keeping my nightlight on because she knew I was afraid of the dark.

When I was 8 years old, my mother had gone through a divorce and I had to move to a new school. I spoke no Indonesian but I wanted to follow my cousins in the red and white uniforms to the public school near my aunt’s house. My butler, Boy (yes his name was Boy) followed me everywhere, I still hear the stories about how I would sit nicely with my friends while my butler peaked into the class and wrote down my assignments. Sadly last year, he passed away… however the anecdote about my math class stayed alive I came home confused and asked my mother “Mom, what is 2 river 2?” – in Bahasa Indonesia the word multiply is the same as the word river… my butler then had to explain that I had learnt mathematics that day, “Sayang, they mean times… 2 times 2 is 4” my mom explained.

Before the divorce in 1998, we were living in Malaysia with a young Pilipino couple as our maid and butler, Rose and Mel. Because of Mel, my papa and I the treehouse in our back yard was clean of snakes from the mango tree it sat on. While Rose always helped me with my bake sales and kept me company when I wanted to go swimming at the country club down the road.

Over the years and houses we’ve lived in, I am grateful for the help they’ve granted us. While yes, there have been cases where the person we employed did us wrong but I would say that my family and I have been blessed with the people who comes through our doors and have helped us keep the house a home.

I realize how privileged I am, and I am blessed with an extension of non-blood related family. Those mentioned in my stories above or the ones whom I’ve left out. Which leaves me to the point that I am sad whenever I have to say goodbye because they were the ones whom I shared stories or ranted to, the company on Pokemon hunts, the midnight cups of tea, the wake up calls, and the reminders of the tiny things that adds up.

To those who are in these positions, on behalf of the children you raised, thank you. To those who have these people in your lives, please treat them well. I’ve seen and heard about the injustice done to them by the people who they take of and I am angered.

Most of these ladies and gentlemen have to leave their families behind to earn a living, so if you are privileged to have them stay with your family, please be grateful.

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