Thursday, December 19, 2013

Same Love for 'Same Love'

As a teenager, I secretly was a homophobic. It’s not because I hated them, but I didn’t understand love between same sex. Easy to say, the doctrine of Islam got to me. Homosexuals are forbidden and there is no room for questions. 

I didn’t give it much thought until I came a cross my genetics class in college. The lecturer explained about all these genetic mutations that occurs naturally. Some mutations involve male and female genes, creating a transition between gender. Some females have the Y-chromosome, some males have extra X-chromosome, and so on. It also made a bridge between feminine and masculine traits, which probably also affect sexual preference. It was the ‘Malinjo’ of sexes. It made me think, if God created mutation, what was his plan? Why is he making life a little more ‘interesting’ for humans?

By this time, I’ve come to accept that difference is amongst us, down to our genes. Some people were born to be different, whether they like it or not. We can’t understand the occurrence of mutations just yet. Sure we can say it’s all these carcinogenic substances, the degradation of our nature, and our way of life. But, what actually triggers a gene to just rebel is still a mystery, like volcano eruptions, earthquakes, or cravings (I still consider them a mystery). They just do. And although I’ve become more accepting to the gay community in these terms, I still resisted a bit. 

‘It’s a no no from God’ I say to myself. 
I think it was my visit to the Sydney Mardi Gras that finally made me see how the gay community really is full of love. They were a happy bunch of people with rainbow flags waving amongst their half naked bodies, marching down the streets. It was a huge party, which I later learned came from a very sad and sorrow time; a time of living in the shadows (and some are still are). No wonder it was such a huge celebration. It was a day they could be proud and about. That day, I trusted that the gay community to be survivors of their own war, at least to come out of the closet. I trusted the gay community to be more human as they have been and will still be emotionally challenged. I wouldn’t know what gay people go through, since I don’t have that challenge, as I like the opposite sex. I can only imagine.

But even though it is said that homosexuality is against my religions rules, I can’t help the feeling that it’s not supposed to be. Finding love is hard. Being single and still am to a point I never thought I would still be, I figured that it must be some relief to find someone. It’s always heart warming to see people that do. And if that person happens to be of the same sex, then be it. It’s just important to find that person that makes you a better person. We need more ‘better people’ in this world. Love is a blessing from God and only She knows why some are bestowed amongst the same kind, whether Islam approves or not.

I have learned to embrace those that have chosen for the same love.

Picture from here.

Which brings me to the trigger of this post. I cried watching the video clip of ‘Same Love’ by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. I’ve always been teary every time I see this video but I finally cried after seeing it again a few days ago. It was tear of happiness for those that have found someone especially after the trials and tribulations. Some how, the lyrics, the melody, the rapping, and the video had a flawless combination for me. Gays are not overly exposed as in other video clips. It’s humble, it’s simple, and it’s warm. It's how love should be about. I love it.

Here’s the link.

Friday, August 9, 2013

I Have a 'Sarung' Gene

The balance between nurture and nature is never clear. Are we the molded by our by upbringing or by our genes? I never thought much about it until recent comments made by mother.
There are many times in my life, especially in my teens and early 20s, where I rejoice my own glory for my own efforts and blame my parents of the bad things in my life, which include my behaviour. I’m sure many kids do that. ... Right? I was very proud of my educational path and always thought that it was my sole achievement since no body was there to help me study. I always blamed my ‘lack of money’ because my parents were just darn cheap. They could afford my clothes and the rarely pizza eat outs, why can’t they pay for my wants of cassettes and teen lifestyle I saw in the magazines? It’s them, not me.
I totally blame my mother for my curly hair. It could have stayed straight if only she hadn’t put pineapple juice on it. I could have been a shampoo model. Just to let you know.
Anyways, for the past 4 years or so, I’ve had these small realization of the more fundemental things that my parents had inherited me. As you’ve probably guessed, my teen conclusion wasn’t exactly true. I inherited both good and bad things from my parents, as I have also picked up good and bad things from the environment. I get mad like my dad. I snap. And when I do, I can feel my facial expression resemble my father’s face. I make desicions like my him too. It takes ages and some research before I really decide and take action especially when it comes to spending money. Unless, I really really like it (well that’s my mum, right there). I eat like my mum. I have the same apatite but can’t afford to follow it. I don’t have her body. I’m happy like my mum. She’s always the happy go lucky gal and gets away with it (it’s trully magic. No other words to describe it). I now know that my glory is because of my parent’s support and my behaviour is environmentally induced.
Of course, there’s tons more.
But then, I think on how much does nuture take? I can explain most of my actions through my genes, how much are the result of my environment? I can work with technology. I read more books than my parents. I can’t cook and have been permissive of myself since there’s a slot of working women not being able to cook. I easily get bored. I’m part of the new fast pace generation.
And then there was my mother’s comment.
On a chili rainy day in Cimahi, I was just looking for my ‘sarung’ which is a sarong with its width side sewn together abling us to slip in through. Once I found it, I tied it around my waist safely. My mother looks at me and says, “You’re more Bugis than I thought.”
She elaborates that I always use a ‘sarung’ or ‘daster’ (night gown) at home in Cimahi. Also, I can constantly eat fish and chili paste (my mother rarely feeds me anything else when she has a appropriate kitchen to cook it). I can go weeks without meat and chicken. Well, except fast food. That’s a whole different source of protein, pfftt! My stubborness is within a Bugis trait. She’s amazed how this has come to be. I’ve been living almost all my life in Bandung, surrounded by Sundanese, and here I am, still as Bugis I can be. How does the Bugis nature fit it? Eating fish might be explainable through my genes, but my habbit of wearing ‘sarungs’? Fell from the sky. The balance between nurture and nature is still a mystery, but I thought I’d put my mother’s comment to writing. Just a reminder.

Parents are wierd. They the ones that know you best. As much as you think they don’t know you, they really do. They are our observers from a far. You might overtake them once in a while, but they’re usually a step a head in life.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

I Used to Hate Tomatoes and Mining

I did. I used to hate tomatoes except if they were mixed in dishes, chilli paste, and were not wholly visible. They really had to be destroyed in the dish and on the face of the planet. They were squishy, mildly sour, and had that weird taste. I despised them.

Until, I had a year in Australia and had to cook a lot of my own food. I’m not much of a cook, but I’ve seen that a lot of cooks like to use tomatoes. Seems like it adds taste, texture, and color to food. Instantly. Considering it was an easy way out to make good food, I followed their ways. For no particular reason, I fell in love with cherry tomatoes. I could eat them raw, anytime, anywhere. And I’m not sure why. I just love them. Then I started to fall in love with all sorts of tomatoes. 

Which goes to show, opinions can change, it just takes that waking moment to change it. And it’s alright.

I hate mining. Studying Biology triggered a nerve in me that made me realize how much I love living things and hate actions that cause the death of them. Mining included. I hated my lecturers for leaving classes and taking up projects in mining companies (usually rehabilitation ones). I hated companies that dump their waste and be irresponsible about them. I even got into fights with the old man just because he used to work at the mining department for the government. I used to have loud debates which ended in him with a high pitch tone saying I’m stupid and know nothing about it. I would get furious and dared him to continue the argument. He would just tisk. My mother would frown in the corner hoping it will end soon so she could go back watching her favorite soaps without distractions. 

As I’ve been in the mining business, I’ve come to learn a lot about the mining industry. My father was right. I knew too little about it to say anything. I’ve learned how it’s a high risk business, how it takes lives of nature and humans, how the process is super complicated, and how  it has immensely influenced our convenient daily lives. Everything we use in our daily lives is connected to mining (and oil, for we are an oil generation). I've learned that I need mining and enjoy what it brings to my life. 

I still hate mining. I still think that mining is a very destructive industry. Science has helped us fix many of its pot holes but the rate of our knowledge can catch up to the industry’s demand and its environmental impact,  let alone the law. But I have changed my mind. 

As much as I hate it, I hate people that take mining for granted. OK, maybe hate it too strong of a word. I dislike them on the surface. Not many people appreciate the complexity of mining and the consequence of taking resources from the ground to then applying it into our consumer goods. We consume so many things (related to mining or not) which eventually comes back to the amount of resources we need. By that, we need a lot of resources! I’m sad of the fact that people have to fight each other on the field for a wasteful consuming behavior. I’m disappointed in people that are proud to work in mining without realizing the damage they make. I don’t like people that blindly hate mining without argument but still living with their convenient lives.

I’ve changed my mind. And it’s alright. 

Having said that, I also have to note that it’s alright to change your/my mind. It’s a consequence of learning something. I, too, have to respect people that change their minds.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

I Believe in God, Thus I Believe in Bamboo

It’s 2013 already. A part of me is like.... meh! It’s another year. There is no significant difference before and after new years eve. I have a few plans under my belt but nothing to major besides rethinking my job. I hope to continue to travel this year with another spicy plan up my sleeve.

As for being hopeful and positive that it will be a good year? As my default is being a happy naive person that I am, I’m eager. I can’t wait to see what year has installed for me :D

Another part of me is dreading the fact that I’m turning 33 and I’m still single. I pray that I won’t be single by the time I hit by birthday. Forget that, I pray that I won’t be single tomorrow!! Considering my love life, it’s been a hard year. I’ve lost hope. Being single and out of the dating game during 2012 made me realize that there is lesser hope for me to even get married at all.

Being an Indonesian girl, I’m said to be out of my prime. And while people should set me up with dates or introduce me to people, they rather pity me instead. All in a days of an Asian single gal. Hopeless about love life in her 30s.

However, I’m a Moslem at heart. As Joan Osborne would sing:
... if seing meant  that you would have to believe, in things like heaven and in Jesus and the saint, and all the prophets...yeah God is great...
As a believer, I would also have to believe that people were made in pair as said in the Koran. I’m in a battle against my faith. I trully have lost faith in it. What have become of me?

But I remember that particular day I was transiting in a specific town which I will not mention. I made a pit stop to a Wetar friend which I highly respect but will remain nameless. Surprisingly, he was a man of ... magic (Again, because I’m a believer, I also believe that this world is full of unexplained wonders and metaphysical substance. I passively believe in it, meaning I don’t get my bizz up in dat!). He showed me many of his family heirs of which one of the them was an item of two bamboos stuck to one another. He said, a powerful religious man put the two bamboo together exhibiting the power of God to his believers. It was from a very long time ago. He assured me that the bamboo was magical and that it knew everything. I mean EVERYTHING! I believed him.

He probably saw me as skeptical (when in fact I just didn’t want to medle with it) and sat me down to prove his words. He took out a little clay pot and placed the bamboo on it. After whispering chant and greeting the bamboo, he introduced me to it. I said hi. Now, despite that this is a wierd act, I need to note that I’m one of those people that believe everything God made has a soul, including trees and rocks. So I had no problem saying hi to a bamboo.

Each with one finger, we lifted the rim of the clay pot. We were not able to direct it in anyway. And true enough,the bamboo rotated answering yes-no questions. In short, I was running up and down his house laughing out loud, amazed of what the bamboo knew. I’ve never been so closed to magic. Not this kind.

After many correctly answered questions, I was given one question to ask the bamboo that I did not have to say out loud. And so I asked... ‘is my match out there?’ We hadn’t even lifted the clay pot properly and the bamboo had already gave me a strong confident answer ... ‘Yes’. Now, I would have to believe, right? Anyone? :)