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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Legal Bribery in Education?

This year, for the first time, the municipal government of Semarang issued a regulation for education, especially related to the new students acceptance. Besides via the “regular” program, state schools were encouraged to open a “special” program. This program gave a way to students who didn’t get good scores in the examination to be accepted at their dream school, as long as the parents agreed to pay some amount of money. Of course this “policy” got lots of criticisms from society.
I remember in 1980 when I was accepted at one state junior high school, in the announcement board, I saw around 200 test-takers were accepted. They were divided into four classes. However, on the first day of studying in that school, there were eight classes! This meant there were around 200 other students also accepted, not via “regular” program—passing the entrance test (not via high scores of the national examination). Some elementary school friends of mine who did not pass the test also went to the same junior high school together with me. You can guess what their parents did: bribed the school. Therefore, I heard after that the headmaster bought a new car. The rumour said the money the school got from the bribery was divided among the teachers evenly, and the headmaster got the most.
I did not pay attention when I entered the senior high school. I believe bribery cases also happened, only they were done more ‘tidily’ so that they were not easily seen.
In 2003 Angie entered the same junior high school as mine. In the announcement board there were 280 new students accepted, for seven classes. On the first day of school, I asked Angie to find out how many classes were open, and how many students there were in one class. She reported there were (still) seven classes. However, in one class, there were around forty-five until forty-seven students. It means, there were around five until seven “smugglers”. Similar as what happened in my ‘era’ to be accepted at that junior high school, of course the money obtained from the bribery was exclusively for the school only—whether to be given to the headmaster as well as the teachers, or to build some laboratories or to provide some facilities.
It has been a public secret that during the new student acceptance and registration, headmasters and teachers get some extra money.
What happened after the municipal government of Semarang issued a regulation for the “special” program, so that the parents can do “legal” bribery? The money must be divided into two parts evenly, for the schools as well as for the government. What will the government do with the money? The mayor of Semarang must be very careful to carry out something using the money because the society has given full attention to this case. Several months ago, he was accused of getting involved in one corruption case.
The middle-low social class people have been very concerned with this because education has become more and more expensive recently. They have to compete with the rich people. The bitter joke of “orang miskin dilarang sakit” (poor people are forbidden to be sick) will be accompanied by another joke, “orang miskin dilarang sekolah” (poor people are forbidden to go to school) while in fact education is one most important basic to develop our country, to catch up with other advanced countries. How will Indonesia develop itself if the young generations cannot get enough education due to the expensive cost?
PT56 21.50 270708

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Folk Jokes

Folklore is a compound word which comes from two words: ‘folk’ and ‘lore’. ‘Folk’ is similar to the word ‘collectivity’ (Koentjaraningrat, 1965:196-169), as quoted by Danandjaja in Folklor Indonesia, 2002:1. ‘Folk’ is a group of people having particular characteristics in physics, social, and culture that make them different from other groups of people. While ‘lore’ refers to folk tradition which is passed down from generation to generation orally or by using mnemonic device (Danandjaja, 2002:1-2).
Brunvard, via Danandjaja (2002:2) gives definition of folklore as “those materials in culture that circulate traditionally among members of any group in different versions, whether in oral or by means of customary example”. Furthermore, in his newest book entitled Folklor Amerika, Danandjaja again quoted Brunvard (1998:3) states that American Folklore is unrecorded traditions of a collective or folk of one ethnic in the United States, covering form, context, tradition, and the way they are passed on from one person to another.
American folklore is classified into three categories: verbal, partly verbal, and non verbal. Verbal folklore – the type most commonly studied in the United States – covers folk speech, folk proverbs, folk riddles, folk rhymes, folk narratives, folk songs, etc. partly verbal folklore includes folk games, folk dramas, folk dances, folk festivals, folk customs, etc. While non verbal folklore includes both the traditional materials of folk architecture, arts, crafts, costumes, foods, and the non material tradition of gestures, and folk music.
This article discusses jokes, as part of verbal folklore. Alan Dundes – one of famous folklorists in the United States – assumes that jokes give way out to express prohibited opinions. Dundes says that jokes emerge to show hidden aggression toward another collective and to attack another collective they do not like (Danandjaja, 2003:165). The aggression is not always constant and it has certain function of time and place.
Jokes mostly have “appropriate incongruity” perception, a perception which needs two incongruous semantic domains but they are put in one tect as if they are congruous (Danandjaja, 2003:166). Therefore it is unavoidable that joke texts are ambiguous. To understand such jokes, we have to pay attention to the contexts outside them. For example,

Q: What is the first thing President Clinton going to do in the Oval Office?
A: He is gonna have flowers on his desk.


At a glance, people will not understand where the funny thing lies in the joke. The funny thing, in fact, lies in the word ‘flowers which can refer to real flowers, but it can also refer to a woman’s name. To understand that, people need to know that before Clinton has an affair with Monica Lewinsky, there is a gossip that Clinton has an affair with another woman named Jennifer Flowers.
In the explanation aforementioned, “appropriate incongruity” perception is seen clearly.
Next, in this article, I will compare two kinds of jokes related to ex president of the United States (Bill Clinton) and ex president of Indonesia (Soeharto).

When Hillary and Bill Clinton ran out of gasoline

One day Hillary and Bill were driving their car in a coastal area. Suddenly, Hillary said, “Honey, our car will run out of gasoline. Let’s buy it in the next gasoline station.”
They bought gasoline in a gas station called Texaco. When one of the workers of the station was filling in gasoline, Hillary continued staring at him, as if she were flirting him. It made Bill jealous. He asked her after they left the station, “Why did you stare at that man so passionately?”
“Oh, that man was one of my classmates in high school, and we used to go out together often,” Hillary answered calmly.
“How lucky you did not marry him. If you had married him, you would not become the first lady now,” said Bill.
“I am sorry I don’t agree with you. If I had married him, believe he would become the president now,” commented Hillary more calmly.


The reason why Hillary Clinton shaved her pussy

Q: Why did Hillary Clinton shave her pussy?
A: So she could say, “Read my lips! No more Bush!


The first joke only attacks Bill Clinton who is considered not as smart as his wife. On the other hand, the second joke attacks two politicians who were struggling to get the presidency in 1992: Bill Clinton and George Bush.

The following you will find a joke related to Soeharto. This joke appeared in March/April 1998 when Soeharto was elected to be the president again.

Q: Have you heard that Soeharto would be the president again?
A: Oh no … not again.
Q: Oh come on, give that old man one more chance to be the president. He enjoyed being the president of Indonesia only for two years.
A: Who the hell was our president before 1996 then?
Q: Itu Tien Soeharto.


Feminism versus mysticism

In the United States, feminism has become the most debatable discussion since the sixties with the publishing of The Feminine Mystique written by Betty Friedan. Hillary is also well-known as feminist who believes that women are equal to men. Furthermore, American people know Hillary as a smart person, she is even much smarter than her husband, Bill. In the first joke about Hillary and Bill Clinton, we can see that Bill cannot ‘beat’ his wife in discussion. The second joke shows how Hillary makes use of her being smart to make Bill win the presidency. In 1992, George Bush Sr. was famous with his promise in his campaigns, “Read my lips, no more taxes.” In this joke, American people consider Hillary as feminist who actively does anything to win people’s heart to choose her husband as the next president.
In Indonesia, on the contrary, the joke about Soeharto and the late Tien Soeharto above is not based on feminism, but mysticism. It is generally believed that Siti Hartinah Soeharto (her complete name) was the one who got ‘blessings’ from God. Since she was married to Soeharto, Soeharto could become the president of Indonesia for 32 years. After Siti Hartinah passed awy, Soeharto lost the blessings and he could not rule Indonesia for along time.

Conclusion

Jokes can be included in the verbal folklore since they have some characteristics of folklore, such as anonymous, collective, passed on orally, sometimes crude. Jokes are chosen by society to express their dislike to another collectivity without really making the attacked collective offended, because it is only a joke. It works both in the United States and in Indonesia.

Jogja, 2003

Change Your Perspective: Join Student Exchange


I have got an answer to my question to myself a year ago, “Why are the five students selected to go abroad by AFS committee all studying at Islamic boarding school?”
I have been looking for the answer for a year when out of the blue I got the answer. The story is like this.
On Saturday July 19, 2008 I was invited by Yayasan Bina Antar Budaya (The Indonesian Foundation for Intercultural Learning) Chapter Semarang to attend the farewell as well as welcoming party. Farewell party is to let go the selected students abroad; while welcoming party is to welcome some students having come back from abroad. The program was held for two days at Bandungan, not far from Semarang. On my way to Bandungan, I was together with Erik, one student who just came back from Norway. Leo, one volunteer, drove his car, while listening to my chat with Erik, and once in a while asking questions to Erik or giving comments.
Among several questions I asked Erik, I asked one crucial question: about religion.
“So, how is the religiosity life in Norway, Erik?”
To my surprise, Erik seemed very enthusiastic with that question.
“I assume that 85% of Norwegian people are atheist.” He directly answered.
Then, he went on telling us …
At first, his father—who works for Religion Department—minded his going to Norway. Erik himself was very disappointed to be selected by AFS committee but was sent to a country he chose the last one to visit. (In fact, it was Erik’s own mistake because he misunderstood the instruction when ranking which country he wanted to visit very much). Before letting Erik go, his parents took him to one relative in Kudus who happened to be one ‘ulema’ they believed could foresee what would happen. Guess why? His parents were worried if Erik would be a non-believer too after getting in touch with atheist people for a year. Fortunately, the relative gave green light to Erik’s parents to let him go.
“Honestly I got mentally ‘slapped’ by my foster parents there when they said, “Erik, you are a Muslim because you were born in Indonesia. We are non-believers because we were born here in Norway. I believe if you were born in Norway, you would be a non-believer too. Likewise, if we were born in Indonesia, we would be Muslim too because it is a religion adhered by the majority Indonesian people.”
My experience living there among non-believer people taught me something contradictory from I used to believe: “Atheist people are not criminals. What people say that atheist people have chaotic life because their life is not divided by the rigid five pray times a day is absolutely not correct. Their life is fine, and they are obviously good people. My foster parents did not know me at all before I arrived there, but they took care of me very well, as if I were their own son. Not recognizing God in their life does not necessarily mean they become heartless people. I have learned something very different from what my religious teachers used to teach me.”
B-I-N-GO!!!
The number of imbeciles in Indonesia has decreased one number: ERIK.
I expect that the other students sent abroad together with Erik (all from one famous Islamic boarding school in Sukoharjo) underwent similar experience in understanding different perspective about religiosity/spirituality.
Absolutely I have been expecting that this number will decrease now and again so that we Indonesian people all will live side by side peacefully regardless different religions, ethnic, etc.
*****
During ‘talent show’ that night, I was sitting next to a woman whose daughter went back from Belgium a year ago. One of our ‘chats’ was also about this religiosity thing. I assume that the daughter got similar ‘enlightenment’ as Erik so she had courage to debate her mother when the mother said, “Atheist people must have chaotic life because they don’t have ‘something’ to hold on –GOD. In Indonesia here there are many religious people but still people do crimes, such as corruption. Moreover in a country where people don’t believe that there will be life after death where everyone must be responsible with everything they do in this world.”
A very narrow-minded way of thinking, do you believe? This becomes the daughter’s responsibility to ‘teach’ the mother a new perspective in viewing life. As stated in the motto of AFS program: CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE IN VIEWING THE WORLD.
PT56 12.40 220708

Saturday, July 19, 2008

SAFE RIDE

A good friend of mine just went back from Kansas University to pursue her Master’s Degree. She told me some interesting experiences of hers. One of them is ‘safe ride’ facility provided by the municipal government of Kansas City. My friend said the latest city bus was operated around 22.30. When someone wanted to go home later than that, he/she could call ‘safe ride’ and a car would come and take him/her home. It applied from anywhere in the city, and the ride given was to be back home. My friend made use of that service several times when she was too absorbed by her activities in the library of Kansas University that opened until 2.30am.
I was amazed because it showed the good will of the government to protect the citizens.
Compare it to what happens in Indonesia. Some regions issued bylaws claiming to “protect” women while in the practice they even made women as targets for crimes because of some things; such as women were not allowed to go out after 10pm. If a woman were still on the street late at night, she would easily be accused as prostitute, or as a lawbreaker.
If the government really wants to protect women from criminals, especially women whose job or activities make them still hang around on the street, for example to wait for a public transportation, why doesn’t the government provide service such as ‘safe ride’?
PT56 23.20 160708

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Having Children

Having children is one of some other most coveted things in Indonesian culture. I am not sure whether it is closely related to religious teachings since Indonesia is well-known as one country where the majority of the people are religious. In fact, to adhere a religion in Indonesia is a must if someone doesn’t want to be marginalized.
Therefore, no need to wonder if a newly married couple wants to have a baby very much; moreover for those who have been married for quite a long time. It is not clear though whether they want to have a baby because they want to have a regeneration in their family—maybe to continue their family name; or to do one religious teaching—perhaps to make the religion not run out of adherents because of course the parents will teach their babies the same religion and will not easily let them convert; to have “investment” in their old age—for example to take care of them when they are elderly, or to give them financial support after they undergo physical degeneration so that they are incapable to earn money; or just a “trivial” thing—to be considered ‘normal’ and ‘happy’ by society.
No matter the reason is, ‘having children’ idea has made some people become victims in Indonesia.
Firstly is a woman who doesn’t get pregnant soon after she is married. People around her will incessantly question her about, “When will you expect a baby to come in your family?” To some extent, it will really bother her psychologically. She will get tired of the question and probably she will blame herself for not getting pregnant soon. The worst thing is when the husband accuses her to be incapable to get pregnant and decides to marry another woman—Indonesian gender-biased law ‘supports’ men to do this psychological oppression toward women.
Secondly is children who were born in a family where the parents do not realize that (to borrow Gibran’s idea) the children do not belong to the parents. The parents will make the children doll to fulfil their dream; such as to choose an education the parents want, to choose a job the parents possibly used to dream but could not make it.
Some unlucky children were born from parents who in fact do not really want them; they just want to conform to society’s norm—after getting married, to be categorized ‘normal’ and ‘happy’ family, they ‘produce’ children. Unfortunately, they are psychologically immature so that they don’t take care of them well. They even sometimes think that children are just burdens. You can name some examples of this category by yourselves.
*****
Around a year ago, I got an email from a friend who confided in me about this having babies thing. She complained and accused that God was being unfair. She said that she was psychologically and financially prepared to take care of a baby. However, she still didn’t get pregnant although she was already married since 1999. On the contrary, her sister in law even got three babies although she and the husband were not financially enough. As a result, she didn’t take care of the babies well (she was not psychologically mature, she was not ready to be a mother, not ready with the responsibilities, she also didn’t equip herself with some knowledge how to raise babies well). From financial aspect, my friend’s husband—the elder brother of my friend’s sister in law—had to support, such as to pay the Caesar operation the sister had to undergo to deliver the second and third babies, to buy milk every month, to help provide small business to augment the income, etc.
“God is really unfair. I am more psychologically ready and financially safe. My age is already in the middle of thirties. I haven’t got a baby yet. But why did God give my sister in law another baby while in fact she already has two babies?” This was what she wrote in the email to me.
To reply her email—to appease her high emotion—I cited what Ayu Utami said in one article in her book SI PARASIT LAJANG. There are three most coveted things by Indonesian people; they are having an established job, getting married (more important thing is having a responsible and loving spouse), and having children. By God she was given two out of those three things: an established job and a responsible and loving husband. Her husband also was a very supportive person. His idea about having children in a marriage is something certain due to the sex a married couple regularly has. He does not really adore having children.
The fact that people like to compare what they have with what other people have to measure whether they are lucky or unlucky, I compared her to me. “From those three things, I only have one—a child. I do have a job but this is not really an established one, and I don’t have a spouse.
Maybe she saw the “truth” in what I said to her, she no longer complained about her child-less to me anymore.
PT56 22.00 130708

A Wife's Place

“A wife must always be beside the husband” is a very common and taken-for-granted idea in the patriarchal culture. Although this is considered quite obsolete in this era, moreover by feminists, I believe many people still adhere to it. Therefore, it is very easy to find a woman who gives up her job after getting married because her husband—who happens to work out of town, or out of island—asks her to be by his side.
Several weeks ago, a neighbour was seen here while in fact several months ago I heard that she moved to Kalimantan, to follow her husband who worked there. Her mother said, “She didn’t feel at home there. Not many things could she do so she easily felt bored.”
“How could she say she felt bored? She had an honourable duty there, to accompany her husband!” This was my mother’s comment. FYI, my mother was taken to Semarang by my dad five days after they got married in 1962. Despite the fact they were cousins, they barely knew each other. I once told her that she was very lucky because my dad was a very good man so that she was really in the ”right hands” after she was taken away from her loving parents. That’s why it is understandable if she completely agrees with the aforementioned idea, “a wife must always be beside the husband.”
To respond her comment above, I asked whether that neighbour of ours worked before she moved to Kalimantan. She did. So, it was very easy to know why she was bored in the somewhat isolated area. She was accustomed to being busy working, and suddenly she was forced to be idle. Not all women were born to have a housewife instinct, I suppose, so it must be understood if some of them could not find enjoyment being a “Stepford Wife”, who feels excited to do all household chores and become the best servant for the husband and children, as well as become submissive.
Perhaps that neighbour of mine could not get enjoyment being a Stepford wife.
The second reason was it was hard for women who used to work and get her own money and suddenly she became financially dependent. This would be worse if the husband were stingy, calculating money he gives the wife every month and does not really believe in the way the wife manages the money.
Agreeing with what I said, my mom then cited an example. In one community she joins, (she mostly joins religious groups, besides some gatherings in the neighbourhood), several months ago the members planned to have a uniform. However, when discussing the cost of the uniform to make, one of the members desperately said, “It is difficult for me to make it. It depends on my husband’s generosity, because the money is his. He usually doesn’t agree if I want to buy new clothes.” The woman used to work. She stopped working after getting married because her husband asked her to be a full housewife.
I remembered the first wife of my brother. When they got married, she worked as a cashier in one bank. For that, she often went home late, around 9pm while my brother arrived home at 5pm the latest. After the bank got bankrupt, she became a full housewife. She didn’t look for another job because she said she wanted to focus on trying having a baby. I believe it was not my brother’s idea but hers due to Indonesian culture that adores having kids in a marriage. Some time after that, my brother opened a “playstation” rental. She seemed happy when counting the money she got on one day, and said to me, “I used to work and have my own money. After being laid off, I often felt depressed because I didn’t make my own money. The money I get everyday from this small business really makes me happy although only a little.”
Despite the fact she suffered from a physical disease, I sometimes thought that the depression she had by being a full housewife and coveting to have a baby helped “kill” her in 2004. My brother married her in 1992.
I think the two reasons aforementioned were enough to make my neighbour go back to her hometown. Moreover after knowing the possibility of the quiet and not enough entertainment in the city where her husband lives, one perhaps had better understand why a woman chooses to leave her husband and decides to have a long distance marriage.
I reminded my mom that she had a different background. She used to be very young when marrying my dad. She didn’t have any experience to earn her own money. Besides, she belongs to a ‘housewife type’ so she found enjoyment to do household chores. And the most important thing is: everything changes. The era has changed too.
PT56 19.59 130708

Women's Voice

“Suara kaum minoritas elite juga bisa dengan mudah kita jumpai di media semacam Jurnal Perempuan. Meskipun namanya menggunakan perempuan, justru terjadi dekonstruksi makna perempuan oleh Jurnal Perempuan.”

(The voice of elite minority community can be easily found in some media such as Jurnal Perempuan – Journal for Women. Although there is the word ‘women’ in it, in fact Jurnal Perempuan even deconstructed the significant meaning of the word “women”.)


I got the above statement from one article forwarded to Jurnal Perempuan mailing list some weeks ago. It was stated by a woman who was on the other (or even contradictory) boat of women “warriors” labelled as feminists. I remembered the first time I read Jurnal Perempuan (JP) around 2003; the first time I learned there was another ‘voice’ uttered by “women” that was different from “women’s voices” I read/heard from some other medias I had known for decades. I bet I recognized the ‘voice’ expressed by JP as the “real” voice of women – free from patriarchal culture – because at that time I was assigned to read Gilligan’s book “In a Different Voice” by one lecturer of American Studies Gadjah Mada University.

The “voice” expressed by JP was in fact the answer of so many questions having crowded my mind since I was a kid; such as women were not the weaker sex, Islam – the religion I have adhered since I was born – was not the religion that discriminated women because in fact the people – you can label them ulema or Islamic scholars – behind the religion were the ones who discriminated women by producing gender biased interpretation of Alquran and hadiths, etc.

Therefore I do agree if someone says that articles published at JP ‘deconstruct’ what patriarchal culture believes, especially on women’s ‘destiny’. Is it to corner women? The answer is a big NO. It is even to lift women’s position!!

*****

Several days ago I had a long talk with a good friend of mine who just went back from Kansas University. She claimed that she has believed in an equal relationship between husband and wife because her parents gave a good example towards the children. I told her that my parents also didn’t differentiate the treatments towards the children. My late father recognized the intelligence in me more than my big brother, that’s why he supported my education very highly because he didn’t want to see me end up as an exclusive cook for the husband and children. (So I ‘read’ the attention he gave me.) The way my parents divided household chores among the children also without gender stereotypes.

“So, where did you get the idea that a woman had to dedicate all her life for the husband as well as children and be submissive with whatever the husband does? Be the only one who takes care of all household chores, serve the husband, etc to provide ‘heaven’ on earth for the family? Therefore you felt like finding a very precious jewellery after you got to know the perspective conveyed by JP?” She shot me.

I could not answer that killing question.

That made me keep thinking about it and keep trying to find the ‘traces’ that resulted in a deep pain in my heart.

The first possibility was the indoctrination I got when I was at Islamic elementary school. I believe my teachers at that time cited many misogynist interpretations to indoctrinate the students. Besides, they also said there were no dialectics in religion. So? “Take it or leave it.” Read it as “take it if you want to enter heaven. Leave it if you want to accompany Satans in hell.” And usually the teachers frightened the young kids about hell.

I got the second possibility after for a few days trying hard to remember again my childhood and teenage years. I assume it was the beginning moment I shaped myself to be one victim in this patriarchal society because I wanted to fulfil the requirements to be a “true” woman. I remembered at that time my mom subscribed – or at least bought regularly – one magazine claimed for women. Since my reading was my hobby, I also often read some articles or stories – short stories or novella – in the magazine. I still remembered many articles and stories gave illustration of how to be a “true” and “good” woman, how to attract men, etc. The indoctrination of how to be a pious woman I got from my elementary school education plus the shaping of how to be a “true” and “good” woman viewed from patriarchal perspective amazingly shaped me to be a perfect example of Cinderella complex sufferer.

However, it was ruined by choosing a wrong guy to be my Lovely Star’s father.

The perfect example was broken into pieces.

Therefore when finding out my own “voice” I collected from scratch by my own readings – one of them is absolutely JP – I was like a woman warrior who “woke up late”. However, I do believe in an axiom saying that it is better late than never.

I still have to celebrate my awakening: by writing in my blog.

LL TBL 15.33 120708

Bike to Work



“I am not sure if you will succeed in gathering many people to join that Bike to Work (B2W) community,” this was Angie’s pessimistic comment when seeing the flyer of ‘bike to work’.

I said nothing to hear that. I am more optimistic than she is, I assume.

However, Angie’s comment reminded me of one nineteenth-century American thinker, Henry David Thoreau with his experience living around a pond, all alone, away from ‘civilized society’, that he wrote in his book entitled WALDEN. He did that to criticize American government that he thought damaged the environment by building trans-continental railway during the decade of 1860s. Despite the fact that the railway would help improve the transportation so that it would also result in good business plus profit, smoke coming out of the train would absolutely damage the environment. Thoreau, the true environmentalist, extremely objected the railway building. But what could a Thoreau do to stop it? Even, his good friend as well as teacher, Emerson, only expressed his objection toward the then government’s so-called crazy idea. Emerson did not do any real action to show it.

Bike-to-work idea itself is great and easy to do. This is also obviously more possible to carry out rather than Thoreau’s idea to leave the city he lived to live in a forest, living like a hermit, away from other people, only consuming anything he found in the forest. I believe that it is an absurd thing to do what Thoreau did in this internet era. Do you agree?

So, why is it difficult to attract people’s attention to join B2W community? (This is the result of seeing some people’s reluctant reaction when getting the flyer of B2W during ‘fun bike’ held in Semarang on June 15, 2008) It is essential that we do care for our environment, isn’t it?

I think the answer is on Indonesian people’s way of life. We are ‘popular’ to have high-class lifestyle. Have you ever heard how Indonesian government officials went to a building where they would get debt from some debtor countries? While the officials from the debtor countries came by a simple car, Indonesian officials came by a luxurious car.

Japan that used to colonize Indonesia from 1942-1945 successfully rose from the crumble due to the bomb to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It has become one giant country in Asia. But look at the people’s way of living. Although many of them have private cars, they would prefer to go by public transportation. In Indonesia, people would prefer to show off their ‘property’ by driving cars or riding motorcycles that probably they haven’t fully paid. They would rather expose their prestige. Likewise, other people would prefer to show their respect to people driving cars rather than people riding motorcycles. (Try going to a mall or supermarket close to your dwelling place by bike and see how the parking person will treat you!)

Last Saturday morning on my way to my workplace located 11 kilometers away from my dwelling place, when passing Gombel ‘hill’, suddenly I daydreamed to see other motorists riding bicycles. No vehicles on the road but bicycles and buses (as public transportation). I daydreamed not to breathe polluted air.

PT56 21.31 150608