And So This Is Christmas

Friend: 'Any plan for Christmas?'
Me : 'Nope. I think I will just go to the church'
Friend: 'Same here. Maybe I should just clean up my room, watch Sang Pemimpi. I also want to go for star gazing'.
Me: 'I guess it might be good, to have a real 'silent-night' Christmas'

It's christmas time and all around we can hear those typical Christmas songs played over and over again. O Holy Night, God Bless Ye Merry, Gentleman, in one CD with Last Christmas. Well, it maybe a loss or it could be a gain, when artists created Christmas songs without any philosophical thought on the born baby (arbitrarily celebrated on 25th December). Songs like Blue Christmas, All I Want For Christmas is You, Last Christmas, and even Christmas Song and Jingle Bells. They are nice songs with nice tune and they make you miss your family and beloved ones *snob.

It is a loss. Those songs simply put Christmas as a mark of seasonal holidays and celebrations. As a child, I think of Christmas as a time for shopping, gifts, new clothes and shoes, decorated trees, illuminations, a short speech of some short biblical prophetic verses and of course holidays. As a teenage girl, I welcome Christmas with anxiety (am I wearing perfect gown?), whimsical thought of mistletoe, unique card greetings, hectic and haste for extravagance parties and ceremonies, and maybe a little bit of (just a bit) of contemplation.

While now, I embrace Christmas (again) as a mark of the end of the year, and (again) holidays. It's the end of my contract, my job, and the beginning of series of wandering journey to come. It's the time to call all families (including the long ignored ones), emails writing, to delete messages from my cell phone inbox, to 'pay homage' to church. It's the time for some bogus 'love' celebrations, for some kids perform dance and drama for the sake of big grin on the old folks faces and sometimes for routine caroling. It's not wrong, though.

Since weeks ago, my friends has been ringing the ultimate question 'What do you plan for Christmas?'. I have been asking it too. So where's the savior, where's the sacrifice, where's the humility of being a mere human, where's the contemplation of grace, where's the praise for Divine humbleness? Where's the baby Jesus? If you're lucky you can find him on your church decorations, still lying on the manger.

It seems to me, we lose some Christ in our Christmas. Christ is only present in the wording: Christ-mas

The songs are not to be solely blamed. No, it's just a tiny part of this whole thing (I don't know what to call it) of worn-out, tiring Christmas. I can find some orientalism here :). It's totally pervasive. It's everywhere. It's your decorations, it's your longing for winter (most of us never even see snow shower, and many will never have the chance), it's your feeling of lunatic loneliness (is Christmas designed to be the time for family?). And its mine as well. But to condemn those pervasive 'western' cultures (you may call it) is the same pathetic orientalism.

So, anyway, what's the gain? Well, I can give you a long list of how fun it is to have this kind of Christmas. Holidays, new clothes, gifts. But that's what you call our loss, you may protest. That's it! I am driven to think of all those losses simply as my negative perspective (I have to admit, I can be very cynical -most of the times-). For now, at least, by realizing those losses (which came from my negative perspective) I come to the part where I start to think over the whole ideas of Christmas.

And so, my first attempt will depart from the above conversations between me and my friend. "I guess it might be good, to have a real 'silent-night' Christmas". It was (I'm 99% sure) a silent night. :)

ANYWAY, Happy Christmas and Happy Holiday, everyone!

~Welcome To Our World, by Michael W Smith~

Tears are falling, hearts are breaking
How we need to hear from God
You've been promised, we've been waiting
Welcome Holy Child
Welcome Holy Child

Hope that you don't mind our manger
How I wish we would have known
But long-awaited Holy Stranger
Make Yourself at home
Please make Yourself at hom

Bring Your peace into our violence
Bid our hungry souls be filled
Word now breaking Heaven's silence
Welcome to our world
Welcome to our world

Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us
Unto us is born
Unto us is born

So wrap our injured flesh around You
Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy
Perfect Son of God
Perfect Son of God
Welcome to our world

A Good Investment

One day, I went somewhere on vacation with my fam. This conversation was happened while we were riding the narrow road among plateaus, green pasture, hundreds small houses. It was between my mom and my youngest sister Audy (10 years old).

Audy: This place is amazing !!! (amazed and wowing through the window). I wonder if there's any place more wonderful than this one.

Mom: Sure lot! You haven't place your feet on more than 4 provinces yet and that's only in Indonesia.

Audy: Yeaah! That's it, Mom!! I'm gonna get rich someday and travel all around Indonesia.. all around the world (showing greedy grin)

Mom: Money doesn't grow on tree! Study well then!! Maybe you can bring me somewhere around the globe (was trying to motivate my idly Audy)

Audy: (after a few moments of silence) I know now!!! You made many kids of your own so that when they grow up, you can take a lot from them. Travel here and there, buy this and that. So I understand now, that's what parents think of. But I ain't gonna fooled (snuffled). Sorry Mom, my own is mine!

Mom: (shrugged) You're not really a good investment (smiled to my pop who grinned, really did enjoy the conversation)

And so for me, that short conversation epitomizes the whole bunch of scholarly discourses, discontents, debates, and dialectics on children and childhood. Is kid a mere investment to her parents? Are children important because society invest a lot on them, on their childhood?

Or could it be that there no such thing as investment in childhood, it is just nothing more than investment in adulthood? Since children are matter because their potentiality of being the next adults (to work painstakingly to pay for parents pension :D )?

I'm gonna write about it

#I'm not any better investment too :)


Celebrating My Stoic Aunty

I have a big big family especially from my mom's side. My mom is the eldest of 9, with 5 sisters and 3 brothers. So, I have 5 aunties, and 3 uncles (really, I wonder how much stress my grandma endured all of those years).

All of my 5 aunties -all of them- had their own special times baby sited me and my siblings. Some for consecutive 4 years and more, others just for several months. One by one then, they left my house to do some real grown up works and got married with children. Now they all have their own families....except the youngest (who in fact not to be called young anymore, she's 31 next January).

She's the boldest, the most independent, the most carefree, the most enjoyable aunty one can ever hope to have. She's just 8 years older than me. So sometimes I call her by name -and add aunty at the end of my sentence- and she calls me Klak -my popular public name ;p- not Rara or Clara like the rest of my families. It's just like having a big sister.

I remember when I was 5 or 6 years old, I stayed at my grannies for couple of days (my parents went on family business or something). While I was there, she didn't go to school. I asked her," Why don't you go to school? There is no holiday. Other aunties are going." She answered me," I have special holidays in my school." I just nodded. Those couple of days I played around with her, making fake stupid biographies of other aunties, doing some traditional "inai" pedicure, looking for caterpillars and put them on a jar, I never saw them meta-morphed into butterflies.

Living in Jakarta since 2002, she earns her life by teaching English for kids and I assume she is wealthy enough for happy-go-lucky life (not really an assumption, everyone in my family knows she has big amount of saving).

Nevertheless, she never drown into luxurious life she can afford (in some measures for Jakarta dwellers). Her biggest dream is to travel around the world. Well, classic it may sounds, but that's what her saving is for. She went to Germany once and has made Berlin her starting point to conquer the earth.

The most enjoyable aunty she is.
I dance with her, I laugh and mock people with her (I mock her, she mocks me), I wander the city with her (and got lost in that cobble stones jungle) and daydream while eating ice scream with her. Where to borrow money, where to sleep, where to ask for help is unquestionably her.

And above all she always has this combination of stoicalness while at the same time she exhibits capacity to treasure all the fun, all the downs and ups, all the pains. Any certain condition as worst as it gets, as good as it gets, never gets the best of her.

I wonder if it's related to her being the youngest of 9. She was born when my mom reached age 18. I bet she was exposed to a hell amount of growing up issues of her 5 sisters and 3 brothers, ranging from teenage drama queens to that foolish hormonal lunatic songs of my uncles. So she used to play around alone.

Just like last week, when she text messaged me:

"Kla, how are you? We get series of blackouts here. I was just visited by Jehovah's witness, so I told him/her I wanted to go on some business. But I don't know where to go now. The class is on holiday hahahahaha"

and I replied "Repent, you sinner!! hahahahaha. O y I'll be having TOTAL 1st interview, long way to France.Pray for me, will y?"

and she replied with her stoic tune as always," Yup, I bet there are many sins written on my face. I always pray for you -see I'm already repent-. Got to go now, heading for nowhere"

She once told me, she came from a land above the sky - a sky country, a sky kingdom-. Part of me didn't believe it, but other part want to know the story. So I listened to her own made fairy tale (I even asked, is drink jar in sky country different from what we have here on earth?).

and I guess she has taken me believe that she came from a land above the sky.

An Omen

My mom was short messaging me 5 days ago
She said," Don't you worry the heavy and weary load. As long as you stick to the right direction, you'll surely arrive at your destination"

Aaah mommy how did you know?

The day before she even called me right before my tears started to fall. Right after I asked Lord, why so much pain, and whined that I don't have anyone to turn to. That's when my cell phone rang.

It was my mom, saying she couldn't sleep because she felt that there was something wrong, and that very something was on me. A clairvoyance, and every mother is a clairvoyant, they say once. I believe in such things and that such thing is beyond my life's triviality. As I recall I never experience a clairvoyant unless you categorized whimsical thought as one of these. But here it is, a sudden call from my mom (she accused me that I failed the TOTAL GS interview ... aha!! another clairvoyant to be revealed by the end of Feb 2010).

From womb to tomb, they say. A child is attached to his/her mother, physically in her womb for a certain times, simulating the same heart beat which will follow them till the last earthly resort, the tomb.

Well, as for the conversation, I, of course pretended that everything's alright least to make her worrier. I talked about my boring job, another sudden responsibility from my professor. But she knows me too well. I think she sensed my perplexity so she suggested me to do some serious writing, not to hunt job (I know, she wanted me to find a descent job, but she didn't even mention it). Writing... mom really knows her daughter.

I miss her...

Death and All His Friends

Death is a distant rumor to the young. ~Andrew A. Rooney

Introducing Pak Jumari, a clerk who has been working for UGM for more than 20 years. He's now counting down his pensioner time. Pak Jum doesn't have much work to fuss about (not like me :p ). He arrives at 7 o'clock, opens all the doors, switches on all the ACs, and does some mere cleanings. Occasionally during the day, he goes to the kitchen to do some dishes while chatting with one or two friends. Sometimes, TURT (Households and correspondence) will call him to do cleanings in other part of this big office. But most of the times, I find him lazying around or sleeping.

There's one thing Pak Jum frequently do in which I find I begin to develop a curiosity. Going to funeral. It is so often that one of his friends or relatives calls him (I handle all his calls now, like his own secretary) to inform that another friends or relatives of them died and are buried. He then will begin to give me a iffy explanations and lame details, and off he goes!

Sometimes, I wonder how many funerals can one attend during one's life? Well as I can recall during this 11 months of working here, Pak Jum had attended 10 funerals more or less. One funeral for one month. I remembered, it was probably in the mid of April, when Pak Jum attended 3 funerals in just two weeks. WOW!!! The deceased were his neighbors and it involved some ordinary mystical belief -a sort of competition between nearby cemeteries-.

Anyway, though I sometimes sceptically accept his reasoning for leaving the office -which might be an excuse for him to skip the day I suspect (but who can blame him -his work is totally mundane-)- I feel myself unable to forbid him to leave, or to just question his excuse -even if I want it, even if there is a solid ground to suspect him. In his age, no one can question a reasoning of one friend's death and funeral to take a day off.

Death, die, dying, dead, in Pak Jum age, are trite events and wordings. I think Pak Jum has accustomed to death and with every respect to him, Pak Jum might have lived it to the point where it resound nothing extraordinary. Is it had to be related to age? Well, though I have to admit that every one, each of us, lives our life with death floating in the air, aging makes one is prone to sickness, casualty, degradation, and therefore nearer to death.

Ah, this is quite a scary topics, but as someone says ( I forget who), you haven't lived until you think of death constantly :)

* picture

Take A Bow For You

Life is crazy
and you've been living it so well

you do the jump with borrowed skateboard
learn the geek softwares and to plug the LAN Cable
you even master the red hat linux
and show your own tofu- salad dressing skill

you study 14 different lessons in a week
biology, math, physics, sociology, and party
you survive more tiesan 20s too-sweet-birthday cake
and manage your chin up for forgotten birthdays

so congratulations
you need to take a bow for yourself

you prove yourself able to accomplish all the deadlines
while keeping up with the news and the gossips
and when you screw all the tests
you hold on to yourself

in your life that somehow went nowhere
you retain from killing yourself
even take time to be a devoted blogger
life's like a messy room, but still you find a place to sleep

so congratulations
you need to take a bow for yourself

you buy the needles, do the knitting
and give a sweater to beloved one
the one you soon realize philandering
!! but somehow you chill out and enjoy your ice cream time

you pass all the hots and cools
flu, fevers, measles, and some psychosomatic symptoms
with or without Prozac

so congratulations
you need to take a bow for yourself

you lurk yourself inside cabinet
to meet your schizophrenic need
but never let away for too long your breath

yesterday someone hit you
and others hissed behind you
life is so rough and so 'grrrr'
but that's what those self-help books for

so congratulations
you need to take a bow for yourself

you do the aikido and research well
and your friend got invited to the government gala dinner
while your ex enjoying the sight of big apple
you pass jealousy and hatred
with or without tear

you survive all the lust world serve you
without losing your sanity and desire
and miyabi doesn't get the best of you
you've done your self definition so far

so congratulations
you need to take a bow for yourself

learn how to not over do make up
to make a diorama for some reasons you wonder why
learn how to sing in a choir to savvy the state of world's security
learn how to survive never-ending job interviews
to force a smile when the answer is sorry
learn how to best adapt to awkward situations
to recycle worn out dating series

learn sometimes life's so unkind
and your journey stuck in between reality and dream
that you blew out so many good changes
and ended up with wrong choices
maturity doesn't resound anything real to you
and your parents keep nagging at you
but you manage to survive those rounds

so congratulations
you need to take a bow for yourself

we need to take a bow for you
shall we ?

The Road Less Travelled

They say take the road less travelled
but I walk the road you've walked
and I feel no regret...
I feel no regret...

I wowed my self with big Ben and Yo
let the memories froze in Prambanan

Never been I so mystified
but the ruin Taman Sari and big smiled Dey
gave me precious pictures

I sang my heart out
when I rehearsed the grieving tune of Bach
Oh I remembered the smiles and the frowns there in Kota Baru
and I cried out

I learned life can be so mean
from yellow walled tiny room in Tri Edhi
and friends, they might not always be true

But I healed as my life went on
I found my rhythm
singing along with Billy and Joe
walking our step down every corner's of UGM

and friends, I met some more
dancing like we knew it
leaving traces in Depok Beach, Kaliurang,
and I left dreams in their li'l comfy room

I glanced the beauty of art with Sondy
through the jungle of Beringharjo
I embraced the carefree of life with Vera and Nova
jumped from one simple pleasure to another in that small Gallery
Silly things I did with pimpled Lina
eyed all our crush on the pavement faded away
and episodes of prozac matters with sweet Vini

Along the road Godean, I squeezed my self
with calm Deta and funny Nael
somehow I'm always able to recall the moment

I was full of wonder
I danced so slowly
love's not for me for now, I thought then

Somehow, the red rose found a place
it was around 6 o'clock pm and dark
somewhere around Sosio Yustisia blocks
with his helmet put on,
I believed cupid live in Jogja

From the series of Rp. 10.000 movie in Mataram
to one simple sneaky kiss behind painted canvas of an exhibition in Societet
From melancholy feeling of Angkringan Sendowo
to grandiosity of Ambarukmo
From good food exploration
to rally of Daendels street of Kulon Progo
From lovely white sand beaches of Gunung Kidul
to mountains of Sleman

270506 05.55 5.9 6234
The moment I was woken up by the rumble earth
and for the fragile of human, I cried and grieved

To Sketsa Sagan fam,
they'll have my biggest grin
for teaching me to chill out life a bit
and knitting around with Poyeng

then I found new home
next to dearest Inong, Tati, and now Uli, Ribka, and Rina
with heart open, I learned new lessons in Karang Wuni
from understanding a hard life of Ardel
to tricks to live with over-audible neighbors

Some lessons I took
from the streets in those days under your dim lightbulb
Tugu, Jetis, Mirota
ah...little children on the street
craving for Aibon and food

And that old old malioboro
which often I wandered alone
rejuvenate the ups and the downs
the empty and the full
the high and the low
the loves and the hates
I have for the city I dwell in

and those benches in Vrederburg
will always be my refuge
my rendezvous with the soul of the city kept in my heart

Happy Birthday Jogja

Crappy Writings 1

If love is a religion, then we are all on-off apostates.

Well, we had a fight last night. Ok, not really a fight with melodramatic words or flood of tears or with raising pitch voice. It was just (at least for me), an attempt of heart to heart discussion which turned out to be a one way communication with bitter resume for both.

It was all about misunderstanding. How I felt I've been misunderstood and yes, it works also for him, he felt he's been misunderstood. So much for nearly 4 years of relationship.

It leads me thinking how fragile is one relationship. It grows cold, turns out sour, and at some points you wonder where all those happiness gone. I witness many couples broke and failed, I was one of them or maybe I will be (for good or bad) another victim of bad relationship (or it'd better be said, the persecutor).

I saw one of my neighbor came to my mom, cried all day and without even asking anyone, I understand the reason why. What else other than philandering husband. I see friends trapped inside self abusive relationships going upside down like a super rollercoaster, spending liters of tears and an amount of tissues. While some are (trying hard to be) happy with their demanding partner. Some got deceived and fooled. Options left, closed your eyes and learn to numb it, live it, or bang!! head on out the door.

I am no better off.

While I don't have right to judge, it seems to me relationship (and so called love) is much too complicated to comprehend. For me, most of the times, to get along with someone you (think you) love is like to open a pandora box. One could never know what's inside. No matter how deep you (think you) know that person, gamble is one of the facets you face. Hopefully, you bet on the lucky card.

More over, people changes whether you like it or not and in other ways they remain the same, no matter how bad you want them to change. Today's good boy might surprise you some day. Who knows, maybe your lover is a devoted masochist? Will you brave enough to leap or walk away or you just let him get others to satisfy him? Extreme example, but then again you'll never know.

Maybe there is some differences between worn out relationship and love-drain. Probably they are two things with similar symptoms. Worn out relationship is just like saying "I love him but I'm not in love with him" (quote from Vicky Christina Barcelona). While love drain is living in a relationship like a zombie. If you ever watch "The Hours" you must get the idea. You act automatically not naturally. You put aside your emotions. Both however can be fixed (well, most of the times).

Anyway, though you have to gamble a lot or a few, though you will never know for sure, I believe in every relationship you will find some space to improve whether yourself, your partner, or your relations or hopefully all the three.

So, life goes on, and love is our lifelong job. No matter how bad you want to take days off, you'll eventually get back to it.

Some Q&As about Street Children

Many of you might have some questions about street children but probably you don't know where to ask. Or you might want to help but don't know where to start. Well, to give you some brief explanation, here I post questions one of my dear freind Cher Soon in Singapore had asked me and of course, my answer to his.

Cher Soon:
Clara! I just dropped by ur blog n i have to say u take amazing pics!
I'm really curious abt those street kids.
Can u tell me more about their situation?
R they mostly orphans? abandoned by their parents?
or come from disadvantaged families?
do they need financial help? or more of motivation to get back to school?
Tell me more!

Thx u Eddie. Sorry for my late reply, I had to dig a bit for your answers.

Well, kids on the street is a complicated issue. It's hard to figure out their numbers, their exact characteristics, even up until now, we don't have one solid definition bout them that we all may come to agree. Street children in different countries or towns have different nature though they may share some similarities.

As for street kids I have encountered, most of them come from poor families, often worsen by disfuctionality in their families. Some are run-away kids who don't feel themselves fit into society, school, or their families, few are separated and abandoned and practically "orphanage" , some are simply on the street with their families.

Some children are on the street for just a few hours and still go to school, but most of them drop-out, not finishing compulsory education. So it's not surprising many of them are ililterate and those who can read, have a low interest in reading books or even newspaper.

They do need financial help. But financial help alone will not be helping at all. Arita for example, the girl you wrote a postcard to, was receiving scholarships but it didn't work. Her parents wanted her to keep begging on the street while schooling. Not having enough energy to do both, humiliated by her friends at school, finally she gave up school.

Money matters and it hurts you when you have this kid willing to get back to school and you don't have enough money to send him. But it takes more than money.

Some of them aren't interested in continuing their education. Since they find out that they can make a lot on the street. They get used to the freedom, the glue-sniffing, the drugs, and so on. The hardest part is to change their "street-mentality".

I am now running a project called "Library Box" aiming to provide access for street children to good, variative, interesting books. It will be easy and portable, so they can read books right on the street while doing their activities. In the long run, we hope as they begin to fancy reading, they will have more interest in getting back to school. I have to admit, it's a long journey, and just collecting few books is already a pain ^^. Don't worry I'll survive

I've written enough I guess. If you have another questions, feel free to ask me anytime. And gud luck w/ ur job hunting.

Take Care Eddie

p.s may I post your questions and my answers in my blog. I think it's quite informative.

Simple Things

"Oh, simple things where have you gone...?"
Well, they are not far, actually. I found some in Gunung Kidul (literally means Southern Mountain, part of Yogyakarta), precisely in Baron Beach.

These tiny beautiful creatures just simply exist there without being annoyed by the crowds below, or people rushing, or the sound of waves, nor they annoy anyone. Seeing them, somehow makes me think, in this huge universe overwhelmed by its complexity, someone bothers to keep them unharm and thus let them share their simple beauty. It must have been A Providence. They are small yet beautiful and they take no care of the probability that no one would ever admire the beauty.

While, man.... ah they think they are too great for this whole universe, yet they are the most vulnerable creature ever made. Money they have cannot even buy protection these little fellows own without a penny. Then... even with the angels cry... they, the human, die in a blast.

What keeps you going?

Don't you ever feel like quitting something you've started but somehow you just keep doing it? That's what I feel right now. Well, it's not like I really want to quit and abandon everything, I am tempted to take a pause for a while. But instead of taking a period of hiatus, I find myself continue doing all those things even in a more agressive way.

Those things include contacting people I've long ignored, persuading them to donate their old books and mags, urging some peoples to submit their writings, calling and asking things in nearly self humiliating way. Some went smoothly, while some turned out to be useless failed attempts. But again, I can't help myself to quit.

The reasons? Well, I can't think of any exact explanation for this almost-self-destructing habit (oh ok not a habit). It could be workaholic (who am I trying to fool?), or inner passion ( I hope it's not) or simply I just can't find reasons good enough to make me quitting.

Of all those things I'm doing for street children for example, I have to confess that they didn't solely come from my compassion for them. I mean I love them to some extent and sometimes my heart breaks to see them on the street, the place they don't belong to. But what I feel for them is quite complex. A mix of pity, compassion, refusal, indifference, pain, and anger. I might have came to a point where I get used to them. I'm starting to see them as a common part of my daily activities, my prayers, my works. So common, I slowly forget the first time I got a kick out of the pain looking at their eyes.

So what keeps me going the most is probably the willing to do things right, the urgency to get things done, to make what I've started matters for others but above all, for me. And I haven't arrived there yet....

Stigma, Hambatan untuk Berkawan

Writer: Ardi Nuswantoro
Contributor: Chandra Siagian
Edited by Clara Siagian
will be published in 1st ed. of Rumah Impian Buletin
english translation to come ^^

Stigma, Hambatan Untuk Berkawan

Stigma adalah pencelaan terhadap karakteristik personal. Sebagai tahap awal bagi munculnya marjinalisasi dan diskriminasi, stigma menjadi sebuah hukuman berat bagi mereka yang terpaksa mempertahankan hidup di jalanan.

Belakangan, anak jalanan di Yogyakarta semakin menjamur. Kemunculan mereka menambah semrawutnya lalu lintas kota dengan wujud dekil, kostum kotor, dan bau yang kadang tidak mengenakkan. Jalan-jalan raya dipenuhi mereka mencari uang di jalanan dengan berbagai cara seperti menjadi pengamen, pengelap kendaraan, penyemir sepatu, penjual koran, bahkan beberapa disinyalir menjadi penjaja seks komersial. Lalu bagaimana masyarakat melihat keberadaan mereka?

Meningkatnya jumlah anak jalanan setiap tahun ini diakui oleh Aris Merdeka Sirait, aktifis Komnas Perlindungan Anak dalam wawancara dengan Radio Netherland beberapa tahun lalu. Data Dinas Sosial Kota Bandung pun memperkuat kenyataan ini. Pada tahun 2007 menyebutkan angka 4200 untuk jumlah anak jalanan terdaftar di kota ini. Tahun 2008, jumlah berlipat ganda menjadi 8000 anak. Secara keseluruhan, berdasarkan data tahun 2003, jumlah anak jalanan di Indonesia secara keseluruhan mencapai lebih dari 50.000 anak.

Lain Bandung, lain pula Jogja. Meskipun jumlah anak jalanan di kota ini lebih kecil, pertumbuhannya tetap saja mengkhawatirkan. Dinas Sosial memperlihatkan data lama jumlah anak jalanan Jogja yang mencapai 245 anak pada tahun 1997. Setelah krisis ekonomi terjadi, jumlah ini meningkat tajam mencapai 1373 pada tahun 1999 (hasil pendataan Tim Asistensi kerjasama Universitas Atmajaya Jakarta dan Departemen Sosial). Data lama tersebut memperlihatkan pertumbuhan anak jalanan yang mencapai 500 persen ketika krisis terjadi. Artinya, kemungkinan pertambahan akan selalu ada mengingat beban hidup yang harus ditanggung setiap keluarga miskin kota juga semakin berat setiap tahun.

Lepas dari tanggung jawab orang tua, berbagai cara lalu dilakukan anak jalanan untuk mempertahankan hidup. Beragam cara mulai dari pengamen, pengelap kendaraan, penyemir sepatu, penjual koran, bahkan penjaja seks komersial adalah cara yang biasa dilakukan untuk mencari sesuap nasi. Tentu saja, cara tersebut adalah cara yang dipandang rendah oleh sebagian besar masyarakat.

Soal tempat berlindung, bermacam jenis tempat pun mereka gunakan. Sembilan puluh satu kantong anak jalanan hasil survei Dinas Sosial tahun 1999 adalah tempat berlindung yang memperkuat stigma. Lihat saja, mereka berlindung di emperan toko, kuburan, rumah kardus, terminal, stasiun, bahkan lokalisasi. Dari cara hidup seperti ini, stigma pun muncul dan berkembang.

Stigma yang muncul seakan membenarkan berbagai teori tentang stigma sosial. Berbagai literatur memperlihatkan bagaimana karakteristik dan tingkah laku personal adalah modal utama stigma. Melirik kembali pada karakteristik dan tingkah laku personal anak jalanan, maka wajar jika kemudian stigma muncul.

Lalu seperti apakah stigma anak jalanan di mata masyarakat ? “Anak jalanan itu jorok, kotor, gatrus.terjerumus ke dalam dunia gelap gitu” kata Karib, Mahasiswa Psikologi UGM ketika ditanya tentang anak jalanan. Pengakuan tersebut setidaknya mewakili berbagai stigma negatif yang berkembang dalam masyarakat tentang anak jalanan. berpendidikan, kurang kasih sayang orang tua,

Menjadi anak jalanan bukanlah hukuman seumur hidup. Dengan bantuan dan fasilitasi dari berbagai pihak, anak jalanan bisa keluar dari dunia gelap mereka. “Kalo mereka dikasih kesempatan untuk berkembang bisa jadi baik kok" ujar Karib menyelipkan harapan.

Pendapat serupa juga dilontarkan oleh Wani, Mahasiswa tingkat akhir Fakultas Hukum UGM. Wani mengungkapkan bahwa semua anak jalanan memiliki bakat unik. “Bahwa bakat anak jalanan yang difasilitasi akan memperbaiki kualitas hidup mereka.” ujar Wani. Pengakuan Wani dan Karib ini memang menyelipkan harapan bagi anak jalanan.

Harapan Wani dan Karib membenarkan survei yang dilakukan oleh Christian Children Fund terhadap sejumlah anak jalanan. Menurut CCF, 70 persen anak jalanan yang mereka wawancarai masih memiliki mimpi untuk menyelesaikan bangku sekolah. Sementara itu, 60 persen anak jalanan masih bermimpi untuk meninggalkan jalanan. Namun stigma memang sudah terlanjur menjadi diskriminasi. Alhasil, kesempatan anak jalanan untuk melanjutkan kehidupan normal dibayang-bayangi dan dihambat stigma masyarakat.

Stigma adalah perlakuan yang terlalu menghakimi bagi anak jalanan. Dengan stigma, anak jalanan secara tidak langsung telah dikeluarkan dari struktur masyarakat. Anak jalanan kemudian dilihat sebagai makhluk asing atau ekses sistem sosial yang sebenarnya tidak diharapkan kehadirannya. Padahal, jika ditelusur lebih dalam, anak jalanan bagaimana pun juga adalah anak-anak, dan stigma telah berperan sebagai pembunuh karakter bagi mereka. Stigma yang melekat dalam jangka waktu panjang akan mengalami internalisasi, sehingga korban stigma pada akhirnya akan melihat dirinya sejalan dengan stigma yang ada padanya. Begitu pun anak jalanan, yang notabenenya masih berada dalam usia perkembangan menuju kedewasaan.

Bagi masyarakat, stigma yang berkembang akan mempengaruhi respon masyarakat terhadap keberadaan anak jalanan. Lebih jauh, program dari berbagai LSM pun akan tersendat ketika masyarakat enggan berpartisipasi. Sementara itu LSM pun kerap menggiatkan kegiatan yang hanya bertitik tolak dari pemahaman stigma yang sempit dan hanya bertujuan memperbaiki pandangan negatif masyarakat. Di sisi lain, stigma juga mempengaruhi respon anak jalanan terhadap berbagai program yang dijalankan. Setidaknya, penolakan dan ketidakpercayaan adalah respon standar anak jalanan.

Berbeda dengan Wani, Asri berpendapat lain. Menurut mahasiswa Psikologi UGM ini, anak jalanan muncul salah satunya karena eksploitasi orang tua. "Makin banyak anak jalanan, karena makin banyak orang 'murah hati', yang membuat orang tua mereka mengeksploitasi itu" kata Asri. Pendapat Asri ini kemudian dibenarkan oleh Slamet, penarik becak yang sudah hampir 15 tahun mangkal di perempatan pingit. Menurut Slamet, beberapa orang tua sering terlihat menunggui anaknya mengemis di perempatan. “Bahkan ada juga yang bapaknya punya motor bagus tapi anaknya disuruh ngemis” kata Slamet[1].

Di jalanan, banyak para pengguna jalan yang kesal terhadap keberadan anak jalanan. “Mereka mengganggu lalu lintas. Anak-anak jalanan yang masih kecil menjadikan jalan sebagai tempat bermain. Jika tertabrak lalu pengguna jalan yang disalahkan” ujar Wakijan[2], seorang tukang becak tua di Jetis. Menurut Wakijan, kecelakaan memang sudah terjadi beberapa kali di perempatan tersebut.

Pengguna jalan seperti Slamet dan Wakijan mungkin sudah tidak asing lagi dengan kondisi seperti ini. Menurut Slamet, beberapa anak jalanan yang masih kecil memang sengaja diperalat orang tua untuk mencari uang. “Biasanya mereka ditunggu orang tua” ujar Wakijan. Keadaan ini tentunya sangat memprihatinkan mengingat anak-anak hakekatnya memiliki hak untuk penghidupan dan pendidikan seperti yang tertulis di Konvensi Hak Anak yang telah diratifikasi Indonesia sejak Oktober 1989. “Mereka hanyalah korban orang tua yang tidak bertanggung jawab” ujar Wakijan menyesali keadaan.

Sebagai tukang becak, Slamet mengungkapkan kekesalannya terhadap anak jalanan yang beranjak dewasa. Hal ini beralasan karena sebagian besar anak jalanan yang beranjak dewasa kemudian menjadi preman. Slamet menyayangkan otak dan tenaga kuat mereka yang sebenarnya bisa dipakai untuk memperbaiki hidup. “Anak muda yang berpikiran sehat pasti memikirkan jalan bagaimana keluar dari jalanan” ujarnya.

Menurut Slamet, sudah menjadi pemandangan umum di Pingit jika setiap malam preman-preman nongkrong menghabiskan waktu mereka. “Mereka hanya luntang-lantung ke sana kemari tanpa tujuan yang jelas. Mereka hanya senang hura-hura. Jika ada uang lebih, mereka minum-minum, lalu masyarakat pun terganggu” ujar Slamet yang mulai jengah terhadap keberadaan anak jalanan.

Perbedaan umur memang kadang kemudian menjadi pembeda karakteristik anak jalanan. Anak jalanan yang masih kecil memang memancing simpati sebagian masyarakat. Seperti diungkapkan Asri, anak jalanan kecil tampak sebagai korban tidak bertanggung jawabnya orang tua. Sementara itu, keberadaan anak jalanan dewasa terkadang memunculkan kekesalan tersendiri. Seperti pengakuan Slamet, anak jalanan dewasa hanya memperlihatkan kemalasan.

Stigma masyarakat terhadap keberadaan anak jalanan bukanlah tak beralasan. Pengakuan beberapa orang telah menegaskan stigma anak jalanan. Akan tetapi, benarkah anak jalanan adalah anak nakal, kotor, susah diatur, korban orang tua, dan sampah masyarakat?

[1] Slamet – parsidi – tukan becak pingit 1970, temanggung, 15 tahun mbecak

[2] Wakijan – tukilan tukang becak jetis, 1943, gunung kidul, 30 tahun menjadi tukang becak

The Way They Bounce Back

"Once you label me, you negate me" Søren Kierkegaard

Today is quite a day for Ratih. She and her friends will be performing a unique musical performance in Taman Pintar; plainly but in creative sense called Musik Kaleng Rombeng. Ratih joins the rehearsal at the back yard of her school SDK Mangunan –a school best known and praised for its different approach in educating school kids thanks to its founder Romo Mangunwijaya.

With great enthusiasm and bashful smile, Ratih recites their singing, Ondel-Ondel and Cublak Cublak Suweng. They say they will meet and on stage with Dik Doank in Taman Pintar and seeing a public figure in real version is a lot for Ratih. The teacher interrupts and asks them to sing and gyrate to the music –only to make Ratih and her friends go blushing. Nothing, not even a slightest clue leads one to infer that Ratih was a street girl a month or so before.

Ratih is not the only one there. Introducing, Adhi and Kido who are already back to school a year ago. The boys and Ratih are in their 5th grade this year. This might be meaningless for many of us who regard schooling is no challenging matter, so predictable it is we take for granted all the process one must gone through to pass a semester. But for Adhi and Kido, a year pass in a school is a remarkable story (though they still have so many years to complete compulsory education).

Kido for example had to live and move from street to street for years before met his life-changing opportunity that is back to school. Having lived years practically without education, Kido had to work out his lacking of knowledge compare to that of his other classmates. Not a brilliant student but he managed to prove himself and was able to rose to the middle rank of his class.

According to Adhi and Kido’s former teacher, Bu Rumei, the kids were by no means a trouble for her. Different from her expectation, the boys were far away from wild adjective, even at first they seemed to be timid and in a closet. When being asked, Adhi who once cried in the first week of school, answered simply that he was ashamed especially for his background on the street. He saw himself in a negative way, pretty much similar with those stigmas labeled by people –wild, unworthy, dirty, no future and whatsoever-. The longer you live with those stigmas stick to your face, the deeper you internalize them, and the more you believe you are what they say you are.

Not all the stories are heartwarming. Nesa, for example had gone through series of in and out schools and counsellings, only to return to the street –a place she said to be where she belongs-. She was yearning for freedom she experienced on the street. Could it be that the freedom she longed for is nothing but free from internalized stigma? “I am different. I don’t fit in the school. I was once free but in school they tried to put rules on me. In the street, the kids don’t care of what people said” she said. Sometimes the victims can turn the sense of labels upside down to become their own pride and justification.

So what can be done to make a successful school-comeback for street children? From her experience, Bu Rumei mentions several important points. The first is no other than self-will from the kid. Going back to school isn’t something we cannot force unto them. The initiative might come from outside but the kid has to believe that going back to school is their ticket for a better life. Bu Rumei finds it in Adhi and Kido. It is their self-will that would encourage them to survive the process. Next is the cooperation between the host or promoter (sanggar) and the school. School must be equipped with sensitivity to take into account the kid individual characteristic and be ready to give a comprehensive personal approach, equal with other children. While the host or promoter must be prepared to help the kids coping with the lost years that supposed to be spent in house not on the street. Good communication between the promoter and school and regular supervision are also a must.

The good news is their street background doesn’t necessarily bad. It turns out that other kids are attracted to them since they have musical ability such as playing guitar and singing, thanks to years of “mengamen”. The teacher also considers them to have more responsibility and independency, one step to great leadership. This might be the reason why all the three are selected to perform in Taman Pintar.

But as music plays both the major and the minor keys, school also brings the good and bad form of humanity. Although most of her friends in school are kind and friendly, some still keep speaking ill of Ratih and turning their back against her. “I don’t know why. I always try to be kind to them but they keep hissing ‘street kid’ behind my back” Ratih complains. It’s probably nothing more than kids’ rivalry or some kids acting drama queen, but somehow it is quite an issue for Ratih. Maybe time will tell why, or maybe Dik Doank has the answer in Taman Pintar... maybe.

Little Girl on the Green

Little Rizky sleep on the grass

Amerasians, left in Philippines


Babay na sa adalah olokan yang sering dilontarkan ke anak-anak Amerasian. “Selamat tinggal, Ayah” begitulah kira-kira arti olokan tersebut. Terlahir dari ayah anggota militer Amerika Serikat di Filipina dan ibu asli Filipina, tak membuat hidup lebih baik bagi anak-anak Amerasian ini. Sebaliknya perbedaan ras yang mereka miliki menjadi sumber stigma yang harus mereka hadapi.

Saat ini di Filipina diperkirakan terdapat 52.000 anak-anak Amerasian yang tidak memiliki klaim atas ayah biologisnya di Amerika. Hampir seluruhnya hidup dalam kemiskinan. Sebagian besar hidup bersama ibu kandung mereka yang merupakan pekerja seks komersial. Yang lain tak lebih beruntung, mereka hidup sebatang kara karena banyak wanita yang mengandung anak Amerasian membuang anaknya segera setelah dilahirkan. Stigma yang dilekatkan pada ibu dan anak tersebut membuat mereka sulit untuk memiliki hidup yang berkualitas.

Kemiskinan yang parah menyebabkan hampir seluruh dari mereka turun ke jalan. Dengan begitu, anak Amerasian adalah 1/5 bagian dari 250.000 anak jalanan di Filipina. Data ini dikeluarkan oleh Pemerintah Filipina. Sementara banyak lembaga non pemerintah memperkirakan ada lebih dari 1 juta anak jalanan di negara dengan populasi mencapai 84 juta jiwa. Hingga hari ini, Filipina memang negara yang memiliki populasi anak jalanan terbesar di Asia Tenggara.

Anak-anak Amerasian terkonsentrasi di daerah-daerah yang dulu dijadikan basis militer AS terutama masa Perang Vietnam hingga kira-kira tahun 1995 (pangkalan militernya resmi ditutup pada tahun 1991) seperti Olongapo, Angeles, Clark, dan Subic Bay. Kota-kota ini termasuk kota yang tinggi tingkat eksistensi anak jalanannya. Tidak ada dari anak-anak ini yang mengenal ayah biologisnya dan sebagian besar dari mereka tidak akan pernah mengenal ayahnya.

Berada di jalanan dengan warna kulit dan tampilan fisik yang berbeda membuat anak-anak Amerasian rentan terhadap stigma dan perlakuan diskriminatif. Jika keadaan anak jalanan di Filipina saja sudah sedemikian buruk, maka anak-anak Amerasian mendapat perlakuan yang jauh lebih buruk. “Souvenir Babies“G.I Babies” atau “Half-baked Americans” adalah olokan yang sering diterima oleh anak jalanan.

Di antara anak-anak jalanan, anak Amerasian perempuan berkulit putih acap kali menjadi sasaran pelecehan seksual hingga pemerkosaan. Beberapa lagi masuk dalam kegiatan prostitusi yang akhirnya menciptakan siklus setan yang tak terputus. Sedangkan anak Amerasian berkulit hitam, seperti yang dialami saudaranya belasan tahun lalu di Amerika, juga sering menjadi sasaran diskriminasi dan kambing hitam. Terkadang mereka juga menjadi korban diskriminasi dari keluarga mereka sendiri di Filipina.

Fenomena ini sebenarnya tidak hanya terjadi di Filipina. Di Vietnam, Korea, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia dan Jepang (terutama Okinawa). Hanya saja, berbeda dari “saudara” mereka di negara lain, Amerasian di Filipina tidak memiliki klaim kewarganegaraan Amerika yang diatur melalui undang-undang. Dalam Amerasian Immigration Act disebutkan bahwa anak-anak yang lahir dari ayah Amerika di Cambodia, Korea, Laos, Thailand, atau Vitenam memiliki hak kewarganegaran Amerika dan hak berimigrasi ke Amerika. Filipina tidak termasuk dalamnya karena Filipina bukanlah daerah operasi militer dan bukan daerah perang.

Usaha untuk membentuk lembaga untuk membantu mensejahterakan dan mereunifikasikan anak-anak Amerasian di Filipina juga ditolak oleh Kongres Amerika. Alasan mereka didasarkan pada kenyataan Amerasian di Filipina adalah hasil prostitusi yang tidak bisa dijadikan klaim legal. Beberapa organisasi non profit berusaha memperbaiki keadaan mereka dengan membangun program santunan. Lobi yang dilakukan oleh PREDA Foundation misalnya berhasil mendesak US Aid Agency mengucurkan 2 juta dollar Amerika untuk perbaikan hidup anak-anak Amerasian. Namun, disinyalir oleh PREDA Foundation, hanya 650.000 dollar yang tersalurkan. Sehingga walaupun membantu untuk jangka pendek, program-program seperti ini sering kali tidak memadai dan tidak mencapai sasaran.

Miskin dan terabaikan, mungkin kata-kata ini yang tepat menggambarkan kondisi anak-anak Amerasian saat ini. Pun begitu, selalu ada harapan untuk kelompok-kelompok terpinggirkan seperti mereka. Salah satunya seperti yang diberikan oleh Microsoft Corp. Microsoft memberikan beasiswa total 5 juta peso bagi Amerasian yang membutuhkan. Selain itu, kebijakan diskriminasi positif juga sedang digodok oleh pemerintah bekerja sama dengan perusahaan-perusahaan untuk menyediakan lapangan pekerjaan bagi anak-anak. Namun, untuk sementara agaknya sebagian besar dari mereka akan terus miskin dan terabaikan.

Little Street Boy

Grumpy Bagas

Little Street Girl

Little Rizky

What I've Been Thinking About Emancipation

These are some of the thoughts:
1.More female in more social role.
Our society to some extent needs a balancing approach in many aspects of life; which has been overly dominated by man culture. There are roles/jobs that are best done by women for their femaleness. Some jobs require accuracy over speed, content over ambition. Our bureaucracy needs to be more sensitive, more listening, more empathy. Again, is to balance, not to be dominating. Since woman generally has more femaleness that man, inevitably she will have a certain different approaches from what man has. But this is just a quick generalization; some men may have more of female strong points over women in common (that also work otherwise).

Yes, caring and nursing are probably more suitable for woman than man. Fighting and shooting are done best mostly by men. But, why not a female fire fighter if she meets all the requirements like strength, energy and others. And so what if a man being a nurse as long as he is capable of caring and treating.

2. We need a fair labor division
Every work needs person in charge of leading, and other to assist. It doesn't imply that a leader should be a man, and woman is only capable as an assistant of male leader. Sometimes I think we've been too long underestimating the capability of women as well as underestimating the role of assistants. Both, woman and man can take both crucial positions (since one role is nothing without the other). As long as they meet the expected result of the role.

3. Emancipation is not domination in disguise
This emancipation thing has feared men along history because they think they'll have their wives lying on the couch watching TV while they ended up in the kitchen sink. I, personally thing this shows how shallow their thinking is. But no.... I won't let my future husband does the dishes (OK... maybe sometimes). I know (like all woman knows) that most wives did the housekeeping better than their partners and husbands were good in plumbing and nailing things.

Just don't limit your expectations. If somehow you find your wife is better at painting the walls while you do perfect laundry, why not do what one best at?

4. Redefinition of so called “Kodrat”
One of comments I received from my previous notes is that Kartini aimed for educating women to do best in their duty as a woman, which are bearing and educating kids, cooking, and other housekeeping.

While I don’t want to argue about Kartini’s ideas and what she implied, I kind of annoyed by this sexist female-male duties.

First it implies that all woman; all of them should build own family, bear several kids, and hopefully dedicated their lives to raise good civilians. OK..... I myself want to get married, have kid one or two and raise them. But, not all women share my dream; that KB’s dream. Some women don’t want to have own family, don’t want to get married, don’t want to raise any too (ever or yet!). They just have different dreams that might be so peculiar, so odd that it is to be called “menyalahi kodrat”.

Think about nuns, think about hermits, think about persons like Mother Teresa, and think about some women of the church who committed to celibacy. Well, practically they are stepping out of so called woman ultimate duty. But no one ever condemned them since they are taking religious responsibility. You may say they are doing God’s business but again what we call God’s business is basically service; a public service. So how about a female environment activist who decided not to get married or have any child in order to dedicate her life for her work. She is contributing something for our society, right?! Just like those nuns.

What we perceived as Kodrat is sometimes misleading. The same can be applied to man. Is man ultimate duty is to be husband, father (biologically)?? Well, if the answer is yes then we must think over the roles like pastors, monks, and so on.

Kartini, riwayatmu kini...

Seorang teman mengajak saya untuk jadi tamu 'on air' di sebuah radio swasta Jogja. Temanya tentang perempuan atau wanita (sama sajalah kecuali anda seorang fanatik diskursus kajian budaya), menyambut Hari Kartini yang secara tak resmi (tak tertera di kalender) diperingati besok 21 April. Bingung karena bakal disandingkan dengan beberapa orang yang CV-nya lebih menjual dari saya dan hmm... mungkin suaranya jatuh lebih empuk di telinga pendengar. Namun, ok-lah sebagian dari saya berkata kenapa tidak?!

Hari Kartini... basi dan klise? Mungkin sekali, saya tidak bisa bilang tidak setuju. Hari yang telah dilumatkan hanya sebatas seremonial dan simbolisasi monoton tak berkembang. Yang paling sibuk di Hari Kartini adalah anak-anak TK setengah dipaksa berias dan berdandan ala ibu darma wanita dengan kebaya dan wiron. Yang laki-laki sama saja bedanya mereka memakai pakaian untuk laki-laki. Dan anehnya ini diamini sebagai upaya menanamkan semangat perjuangan Kartini. Sungguh tidak masuk akal. Selain anak TK, ibu-ibu pejabat juga akan sibuk membuat acara yang sama sekali tidak substansial dengan memakai kebaya baru tiap tahunnya. Demi memperingati Kartini katanya. Yang terlihat oleh saya hanyalah pameran dan kompetisi busana yang semakin mempertegas prejudis bodoh, wanita hanya bisa bersolek!!

Saya tidak anti bersolek dan tidak anti kebaya, nyatanya saya memakai kebaya di dua kali hari kelulusan. Perempuan perlu cantik, kenapa tidak. Tapi bukan "perempuan-perlu-cantik-saja" yang dewasa ini disempitkan dengan serangkaian indikator khas inferioritas negara bekas jajahan; putih, tinggi langsing, rambut lurus (sebagian diwarnai kebule-bulean), dada besar dan menonjol, hidung mancung, dan lainnya. Apa yang terjadi di Hari Kartini semakin memperkuat hal tersebut. Memang dia terbungkus nasionalisme, tapi lagi-lagi nasionalisme sempit dan sedikit munafik yang diwakili oleh kebaya dan baju adat lainnya. Kita kan sedang merayakan semangat Kartini bukan Bhineka Tunggal Ika.

Kartini memang dalam tiap foto yang kita miliki tentangnya memakai kebaya tapi karena di eranya, kebaya adalah pakaian sehari-hari, casual wear!! Hanya saja kita biarkan visual kita mendikte pikiran. O itu Kartini dalam kebaya, jadi memperingatinya haruslah dengan kebaya. Salah besar!!! Saya yakin Kartini tidak akan keberatan dengan perkembangan busana (mungkin dia sedikit mendukung pula karena memakai kebaya atau baju adat manapun sangat merepotkan). Dia pasti tak mengapa bila kita memperingati semangatnya dengan memakai jins dan kaos biasa. Perempuan bukanlah apa yang dipakainya bukan??

Hari Kartini... dari penamaannya saja hari ini sangat bertendensi mereduksi maknanya. Ok kita cukup bangga hanya ada satu nama pahlawan dalam hari-hari besar Indonesia dan itu dipersembahkan pada seorang perempuan. Namun, coba pikirkan betapa sempit kata Hari Kartini tersebut. Pikiran kita harus berpikir dua kali, mengingat Kartini lalu mengidentikannya dengan semangat emansipasi perempuan. Itu pun kalau Kartini mengaungkan itu di pikiran kita. Kebanyakannya yang pertama terlintas setelah mendengar Hari Kartini adalah imaji dan fotonya dengan sanggul dan kebaya Jawa dan ini terus menerus direproduksi dan dilatenkan melalui perayaan semacam tadi. Inilah akibatnya terlalu mengidolisasikan figur. Yang tertinggal hanya foto dan atribut bukan tulisan, bukan pemikiran.

Coba bandingkan dengan 2 Mei, Hari Pendidikan Nasional adalah hari lahirnya Ki Hajar Dewantara dan tidak dinamai Hari Ki Hajar Dewantara, kalau tidak peringatan 2 Mei akan menjadi parade orang-orang memakai songkok. Atau 10 November sebagai Hari Perang di Surabaya bukan Hari Pahlawan, bisa-bisa semasa sekolah setiap peserta upacara diwajibkan memakai pakaian militer dan memanggul senjata. Bisa gawat, karena hari indoktrinasi nasionalisme dan patriotisme semakin sempit menjadi hari indoktrinasi militerisme. Weleh...weleh...

Jadi, bagaimana seharusnya Hari Kartini itu menurut saya? Pertama, bagaimana kalau menyebutnya Hari Perempuan saja atau Hari Kesetaraan? Lebih kena sasaran, universal, mudah dimengerti, dan sulit dipusingkan dengan atribut-atribut tak penting (paling tidak sampai masyarakat kita kembali ke hobinya dengan simbol dan atribut). Kartini (lagi-lagi menurut saya) tidak akan keberatan bila namanya perlahan-lahan luruh seiring terserapnya citra dan ikonisasi dirinya dalam sebuah semangat emansipasi yang menebal.

Yang kedua, bagaimana kalau di tingkat TK, kita sudahi saja pemakaian kebaya dan parade pakaian adat itu? Pindahkan ke Hari Kemerdekaan (itu juga dengan catatan tanpa paksaan, namanya juga merdeka -jadi catatan juga untuk pakaian rapi lengkap setiap upacara 17 Agustus) atau buat hari lain, Hari Budaya atau apalah (lagi-lagi tanpa paksaan). Cukup anak-anak TK baik yang perempuan dan laki-laki mengikuti acara masak bersama, atau mencuci baju bersama, atau main bola bersama, atau memaku pigura bersama. Acara-acara yang bisa memusnahkan konsep pekerjaan dan gender role yang seksis dan diskriminatif.

Tingkat sekolah yang lain juga bisa menerapkan hal yang sama. Berkunjung ke dapur restoran misalnya, melihat begitu banyak koki berkelamin laki-laki atau mewawancarai ibu-ibu tukang parkir, mas-mas perawat, bencong, atau apalah. Banyak hal bisa dilakukan untuk meruntuhkan bangunan gender yang mengekang itu. Atau dari pada sekedar menghapalkan nama kumpulan surat-surat pemikiran Kartini, mengapa tidak membaca, menganalisis, mengkritisi, dan mengapresiasinya?

Sehingga, habis gelap terbitlah terang...

God and other things equal to it

Menyimak comment-comment manusia facebook di note adek saya Chandra, saya jadi ikut bertanya-tanya tentang Tuhan.

Susah-susah gampang memang mempertanyakan definisi Tuhan. Dengan apa kita menanyakannya? Karena pertanyaan pun sudah mendefinisikan. Kata tanya yang dimiliki manusia, semuanya berfungsi membatasi jawaban. Dengan membatasi jawaban paling tidak kita telah mendapat gambaran bahwa Tuhan bukanlah selain dari maksud kata tanya itu.

Tuhan itu apa? Berarti merujuk pada sesuatu/hal. Apa membatasi eksistensi. Tidak akan ada pertanyaan apa untuk sesuatu yang tidak pernah diketahui atau diimajinasikan manusia.

Tuhan itu siapa? Ini malah lebih jelas. Berarti Tuhan adalah person dan singkatnya memiliki personality atau karakter

Tuhan itu mengapa? Dalam pertanyaan ini berarti Tuhan adalah sebuah kausa (walaupun dari segi bahasa susah melogikakan pertanyaan ini)

Tuhan itu bagaimana? Bagaimana berfungsi utama menanyakan cara. Di sini Tuhan artinya sebuah proses atau kegiatan atau mungkin keadaan yang memerlukan jawaban deskriptif.

Tuhan itu kapan? Jelas, dengan pertanyaan ini, kita membatasi Tuhan adalah sebuah peristiwa

Tuhan itu di mana? God equals place. Ada yang bilang di surga, di atas sana, di jiwa ini (seperti kata Ebiet G Ade), di tiap benda (seperti yang diyakini agama-agama Timur).

Tuhan mungkin adalah topik perdebatan yang paling tua yang sampai sekarang masih diperdebatkan dan akan terus diperdebatkan. Bagi saya, perdebatan itu saja sedikit banyak sudah menjelaskan Tuhan. Hanya saja kita sedang mendefinisikan sesuatu yang dari awalnya kita anggap di luar manusia. Sang Maha. Untuk mendefinisikan maha, kita perlu sebuah maha konsep, maha kata, maha kalimat sehingga terbentuk the ultimate definition.

Sayangnya manusia hanyalah manusia, bukan maha tapi mere -belaka-, sehingga tak memiliki ke-maha-an yang lain. Dengan ukuran manusia, konsep manusia, kata manusia, kalimat manusia, yang relatif sekali itu, masing-masing kita mendefinisikan Sang Maha. Bayangkan saja anda harus meraba sesuatu yang luar biasa besar, tinggi, dan lebar (seperti sebuah pahatan di dinding raksasa). Yang bisa kita raba hanya sejangkauan kedua tangan kita.

Lalu bagi saya, jika semua hal dan eksistensi di semesta ini bermula dari titik kecil, bertumbuh, dan runtuh kembali ke titik terkecil, titik terkecil itu saya definisikan Tuhan.