Be Together, Not the Same

Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport

Familiar dengan judul tulisan ini? Memang itu adalah slogan dari sistem operasi piranti keras pintar paling terkemuka di dunia buatan Google, Android.

Mumpung suasana Ramadhan sedang kuat2nya, aku pengen sharing soal pengalamanku "umrah" di Arab Saudi.

Di tanah haram, which is Makkah dan Madinah, ada dua destinasi utama di masing2 tempat: Masjid Nabawi dan Masjidil Haram. Di situ, ribuan bahkan puluhan ribu umat Islam dari seluruh penjuru dunia berkumpul untuk beribadah.

Arab, Turki, Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Jerman, Inggris, dan masih banyak lagi.

Saat aku ke suatu tempat baru, yang suka kulakukan adalah mengamati sekeliling, tak terkecuali di dalam Masjid tersebut. Banyak hal baru yang aku temui — salah satunya adalah banyaknya ragam cara ibadah Muslim di sana.

Ada yang shalat mengenakan mukenah, ada yang hanya menggunakan baju mereka sehari-hari. Ada juga lho Muslim dari India yang sekedar mengenakan selendang tipis dan memakai Saree dengan tangan, dada, perut, dan kaki terbuka. Gaada tuh yang pointing out soal aurat ke mereka.

Ketika takbir, ada yang telapak tangannya menghadap ke depan,
Ada yang menghadap belakang,
Ada yang menghadap samping.

Ketika berdiri, ada yang tangannya seperti bersedekap biasa,
Ada yang tangannya seperti memeluk diri sendiri,
Ada yang tangannya dibiarkan jatuh di samping tubuh.

Ketika ruku', ada yang tangannya masih bersedekap,
Ada yang tangannya memegang lutut,
Ada yang tangannya memegang paha,
Ada yang tangannya masih terus dibiarkan jatuh di samping tubuh.

Ada yang hanya bungkuk sedikit,
Ada yang bungkuk 90 derajat sempurna,
Ada yang bungkuk hingga kepala hampir menyentuh lantai.

Ketika sujud, ketika duduk di antara dua sujud, ketika takhiyat awal dan akhir. Semuanya berbeda, semuanya tak sama.

Tapi satu yang sama:
Mereka tetap memuja dan memuji Tuhan mereka, meski dengan cara mereka masing-masing.

Tidak ada yang saling menyalahkan, tidak ada yang saling mengkafirkan, tidak ada yang saling melabeli masing-masing dengan predikat "sesat". Yang ada hanyalah satu: Islam.

Kalian Islam, mereka pun Islam.

Mengapa takut akan suatu perbedaan? Mengapa harus menganggap semua hal yang berbeda sebagai suatu ancaman atau kesesatan?

Jadilah Islam dengan cara kalian masing-masing, tidak ada yang lebih baik maupun yang lebih buruk.

Be together, not the same.

Pheromones

I remember the very first time I entered his bedroom, only a week after our first date.

The first thing that I immediately noticed was a scent; a scent so strong that it pierced through my rather sensitive nose, yet strangely I didn't mind — I, to my biggest surprise, loved it; even when I could very easily get annoyed at any strong smells. Turned out it was the very similar scent that sticked on his body and his clothing.

The more I inhaled it, the more it came to my consciousness that I only breathed in deeper each and every time. It was fairly easy of me to immediately associate that scent to him.

When the midnight came, I realized that I didn't want to go home. We then lied down side by side in the dark, with our faces so close to each other that we might as well just kiss — yet we didn't; we didn't do anything more, we were only inhaling each other's breath. The only thing that came to my mind was how intoxicating his breath was to me.

At that moment, I swear I could feel my heartrate rising ever so quickly and thumping oh so rapidly, I was worried that it might break apart.

The next week, I decided to tell my mother that I'd like to breathe around this one boy only, and so did he to his mother... and the rest is history.

It's been more than a year now, yet a whiff of his breath never fails to still make my stomach full of butterflies.

Gascoigne

I have always wanted to get into a fight with God. Preferrably a street fight with bare hands. I was eight years old when I was first exposed to the phrase "God is dead". Back then I did not immediately believe in that phrase because he —the one I perceived as God— was sitting on the pavement right in front of me. I then challenged him to get into a fight with me and he refused for he thought I was too young.

"Too young for what?" I asked.

"Why do you assume that I am the embodiment of God?" he asked back.

I could not answer.

"Then come back when you have matured enough to realize whom should you fight. Maybe I am not the one you would want to get into a fight with. Maybe I am not your epitome of God. The concept of God comes in different ways and forms to everyone", he then said.

And he flew away.

And so time went by and I started to seek the God in everyone.

Age 13; I found my first love. At first he did make me feel like the sun; the ruler of his altar; and his heart was an incendiary— it burned mine. So I decided to believe that he was God. But I didn't just stop there. I found ways to fight him; I tried to fight him out of my head. I fought against his principles; I told him that he made me lost amusement way too fast; I did try to make him fuck off from my head and he left. And I won. Turns out he wasn't God.

Age 15; I was blessed with two godbrothers, namely Moonhawk and Fuzz. I thought they were gods. They shielded me with the faint light from Valhalla. But nothing gold can stay, and thus they didn't stay for long. Fuzz left for the army to fight in the wars I did not know of and Moonhawk was just gone too soon because of pills and needles. And so I was alone again; there were no battles but we were all defeated. I lost. And so did they. And for the second time I failed to find God again.

Age 17; I was fond of believing that drugs were my God. Once I woke up on a hospital bed with IV tubes hanging around and I thought I got defeated by what I thought was God. But one year later I stopped using them which made me grow the realization that I have defeated them and they weren't my God.

Age 19; I always managed to win all those street fights and I was always ranked first in all those speed races and no one has ever defeated me in all those first person shooter games. I was God to my friends and I wanted to believe that I was God.

And so I approached that being again and I then asked him "am I God?"

He sat there and asked me back; "All these time who are you trying to fight?"

And the truth was upheld; all these time I have always tried so hard to fight myself. It wasn't a fight on the streets;  it was a fight in my head. It wasn't a speed race; it was a race against myself. It wasn't a first person shooter game; it was the urge to shoot me down. And when I finally got the might to declare out loud; "I am God!" it was a loud sound of a revolver that I heard— lifeless and dethroned, indeed, I am God.

And God is dead.

-

A beautiful piece by Ralka F. Skjerseth

Broken He(art)

Have you ever heard of a saying that, realistically speaking, it's meant to push you and force you to be productive even in your darkest days?

Turn your broken heart into an art.
— Meryl Streep

I get how this sayings ever been said at all — a strong emotion, no matter what, is a guaranteed flow of inspiration sometimes. For me, it goes as far as most of the time to almost every time. Especially when it comes to negative emotions — sadness, anger, disappointment, jealousy; the list just goes on.

And guess what?
I did.

I turned my emotional turmoil into literary turmoil.

Menabung Emas

Photo by Rainer Berg

Minggu lalu, aku jadi salah satu mahasiswa yang diundang Bank Indonesia Wilayah Provinsi Jawa Timur untuk datang ke acara penandatanganan perjanjian kerjasama program sosial Bank Indonesia: Beasiswa Bank Indonesia Provinsi Jawa Timur di Gedung BI Surabaya  lebih tepatnya di Jalan Pahlawan, lokasinya pas banget sebelum Tugu Pahlawan.

Selain penandatanganan MoU dengan berbagai universitas mitra BI untuk Beasiswa BI, juga ada sosialisasi kebanksentralan dan ciri-ciri keaslian uang rupiah untuk para mahasiswa yang hadir disitu. Saat itu, oleh pemateri banyak dijelaskan tentang apa itu bank sentral beserta fungsi dan tugasnya yang notabene belum diketahui masyarakat luas (bahkan aku sendiri juga belum tahu lho, kalau gak dapet ilmu dari situ!). Salah satu tugasnya adalah mengatur inflasi negara agar stabil, karena sedikit inflasi tetap diperlukan untuk perkembangan ekonomi negara.

Dari situ aku jadi inget kasus hiperinflasi di Zimbabwe yang tanda-tandanya udah muncul sejak akhir tahun 90-an. Seketika aku buka Google dan coba cari-cari info untuk dibaca lebih lanjut, karena emang mereka terkenal dengan inflasi yang sangat parah sampai-sampai mata uang mereka satuannya gak main-main: ratusan triliun Zimbabwe Dolar. Buset dah. Perasaan Indonesia yang mata uangnya sampe ratusan ribu menurutku udah banyak banget, gimana mereka.

Kemudian aku dapet sebuah artikel di Quora, yang menjelaskan tentang awal mula hiperinflasi di Zimbabwe itu terjadi, mulai dari penyebab sampai akibatnya (dan bagaimana keadaan mereka sekarang).

Di situ dijelasin lengkap banget, terutama soal uang yang bener-bener kehilangan nilai mereka dan gak dihargai sama sekali, cuma hard assets aja yang punya potensi memiliki nilai tetap. Contoh aset keras misalnya tanah, rumah, emas, dll. Dan aku setuju sih, karena di kehidupan sehari-hari bisa kita lihat kalo kita investasi tanah bakal sangat menguntungkan, karena makin lama makin naik harganya (mostly karena inflasi, tapi the point is still the same: nilainya bakal tetap atau bahkan lebih tinggi).

Dari situ aku mulai mikir, aku harus mulai nyicil untuk nabung dalam bentuk hard asset karena selama ini aku nabung ya cuma dalam bentuk uang di bank. Padahal, overtime nilai uang itu sendiri akan tergerus oleh inflasi. Jadi kalo buat investasi jangka panjang kurang ideal, karena nilainya bakal berkurang seiring berjalannya waktu. Aku pun mulai mempertimbangkan untuk investasi dalam bentuk emas.

Kenapa emas?

Alasan pertama, karena harganya masih tergolong terjangkau untuk sebuah hard asset. Kita bisa beli mulai dari 1gr, kalo udah punya uang lebih bisa ditingkatkan secara progresif. Jadi, bisa banget buat disesuaikan sama budget kita pada saat itu. Kebetulan budget-ku tergolong lumayan, jadi aku bisa beli agak banyak dengan harga lebih murah tiap gramnya.

Alasan kedua, karena proses jual-belinya gak ribet sama sekali. Kalo mau beli ya beli aja, kalo mau jual ya jual aja. Gaada proses yang panjang kaya kita mau beli tanah atau rumah, yang harus balik nama, bayar pajak, ke notaris, dsb. Yang penting adalah ada sertifikat keaslian dan kemurnian emas itu sendiri, especially kalo kita beli emas dari Logam Mulia PT. Antam.

Alasan ketiga, karena nilainya cenderung stabil atau bahkan naik. Gaada tuh namanya ketar-ketir tiap hari mantengin nilai saham buat liat harganya naik atau turun, jadi sangat cocok buat investasi jangka panjang.

Alasan ketiga, karena bener-bener minimum risk, sehingga cocok buat pemula yang ingin mencoba investasi dalam hal lain selain cuma dalam bentuk uang.

Jadi gimana, tertarik buat mencoba menabung emas?

The Story Behind My Short Hair

Drastic? I think so.

Breaking news!
Well, if you've been following me on my social medias then this isn't even a breaking news...

But!
If you haven't!
Then breaking news it is!

I CUT MY HAIR SHORT.

Like, real short.
Super short.
Pixie hair short.
Undercut in barbershop short.

Why, you ask?
And how?
Well, let's take a look back...

Just a month ago, I used to have a barely-longer shoulder-length hair, probably it'd pass as a lob (the acronym for long bob) (I think?). For as long as I could remember well over primary school, I've never taken any risks in my hairstyles (except hair color, which I love to experiment with once in a while). My hair used to revolve around the "safe" styles: long shaggy, long layered, bob, lob, or this-hairstyle-I-can't-name-because-the-last-time-I-went-to-salon-was-when-I-finished-high-school improvisation, DIY haircut — with side or front bangs, some twist of shaved inner-back side to make it less frizzy, etc.

Here are the revolution of my hair (through my Instagram page, in a chronological order):

Dear My Future Children

I'm not letting my kids to live in such a toxic world where everything is in a chaotic state and technology development couldn't even help humans to humanize humankind;

I'm not letting my kids to live without any security of their future wellbeing especially in regards natural resources and other essentials like employment and settlement for whichever municipality they'd choose to settle in the world is still an ugly place to live;

I'm not going to throw them into a dungeon where a man is a wolf to man and make them wish they'd never been born instead because they didn't even asked to be born in the first place and frankly that'd be the most heartbreaking thing I'd heard because it is the most heartbreaking thing I've ever heard for I've listened to people that I love saying it in front of me and I could watch the lights in their eyes slowly faded away and I couldn't afford my future kids to feel the same;

Because I want them to have the best and I want them to have all the good things in the world even though that'd be impossible but I still want them to live in a better world where everyone could love whoever they want to love and everyone could believe whatever they want to believe and intersectionality is a thing and everyone is equal and humans are thriving for heaven on earth creating a better place for everyone.

But the world isn't ready yet;
Neither am I,
Neither are my future kids.

I'm in Love with the Cault Cault

Photo credit

Cheesy headline, yes I know. I couldn't help but to be punny in every chance I got.

Ah, holiday. A word so blissful yet so surreal when we're a university student. Yes, the classes might be off, the exams might be on halt, but trails of those somehow would still get to you eventually. No, I'm not talking about the upcoming new semester coming just next week in my campus (yeek! I freak out whenever I think about having to snooze through my blasting alarms that I set to go off every five minutes the night before on daily basis, AGAIN). I'm talking about the campus business—y'know, writing some stuffs about things that you actually like and might enjoy but you just can't because you're being forced to (that's an important keyword there, forced)...

...and that's what I actually went through these last three days.

One of my beloved lecturer that I couldn't stop admiring, Mrs. Kandi, gave my best friend, Steffi, and I a project to help her with her research mainly about power relations between the state and LGBT community as a subculture in Indonesia. The main samples came from Facebook statuses of Indonesians, the pro-LGBT and the con-LGBT, that contained some keywords, like 'LGBT', 'homo', and such; then we analyze the samples with relevant theories. Me, being the one who got the responsibility to analyze it more about the power relations going on between those two mentioned above, had to seek for references related to it.

When you heard about the term 'power relations', what was the thing that first came to your mind? If you ask me, personally I'd describe it as the division of power between the oppressor and the oppressed at first. In some way, that might be correct; but turned out it wasn't so simple according to some eyeglasses wearing, preppy looking philosopher.

It is Michel Foucault, a France born and raised philosopher and social theorist well-known for his postmodernist view. Several of his most famous works include Discipline and Punish, Power/Knowledge, The Order of Things, Madness of Civilization, The Archaeology of Knowledge, and The History of Sexuality.

I myself had a fascination for Foucault when I started to learn about critical theories in university—along with the head-start of my burning intellectual infatuation towards Jacques Derrida, a philosopher too but mostly known for his contribution to post-structural and deconstruction (I'm so big on post-structural *insert heart emoji here*). My lecturers often mentioned Foucault in class and brought up some of his theories when they were giving examples of analytical framework to view and analyze one problem or another. They also relentlessly kept reminding the whole class to look him and his ideas up and learn more about them. And so eventually I couldn't keep my hands off my phone to type his name on Google Search after numerous occasion of my lecturers telling me to do so.

And boy did I regret my decision not to do that earlier.

Because really, his works are magnificent—very thought-provoking, completely mind-blowing. It is truly a vitamin to the brain, an academically euphoric material to satiate your thirsts for knowledge; it never cease to leave me thinking and analyzing and wanting for more—a masterpiece in the form of texts on the sheets of paper. Definitely a pinnacle of theory craftsmanship in the 20th century.

The professor in my department once said something about 'text orgasm', in which when your brain felt such an ecstatic sensation after you read cerebral stimulating texts... and I think I just done had that.

Man, I love doing this.