The Problem of Development 

We tend to judge part of the society who lives in a lower standard than us as incapable to gain better lives. Then we offer them some helpful advices and resources which going to benefit them in our way of thinking. We don’t even bother to ask whether they enjoy being themselves or it is just our prejudices to judge them for living in a lower standard. Will our help strengthen them or just make their lives become harder? Modernization brings up a new advantage as well as more disadvantages for the society.

To be able to define whether something is good for the society or not is not an easy task. That is why we need to carefully examine what society really needs. We can’t press our knowledge which can differ from the reality to the society.

Firstly we have to come up with the same framework with the one who we are willing to help. By trying to keep the empathy on them, we can dig up some basic information on our targeted people. As we are not judging, they will give some input to our insights. This will benefit both sides of the project, between the doer and the target audience.

As it has finished, we need to define what really best for them. Sometimes the best thing to do is to just keep the status quo, but it is not uncommon for the input to become a useful resource for our project to be done. We can contribute to the maximum potential of ourselves, because we can concentrate on the part which was defined before by both parties, not just one sided.

By doing the project accordingly with an intent to know what we can provide, not what we thought we can provide, we could strike to the point where the society lacks the most. It could strengthen the environment, the world and also the people.

Hai Februari! 

Ketika terbangun melihat kalender di layar handphone pagi ini, kulihat angka 31 sudah berganti menjadi angka satu, begitu juga dengan Januari yang telah berganti menjadi Februari. 32 hari telah kulalui di tahun 2017 ini. Februari menjadi sebuah bulan penentu keberhasilan di tahun ini. Karena setelah beristirahat selama sebulan setengah, akhirnya badai akademik akan kembali menerjang dan berbagai tanggung jawab lain akan datang menghampiri. 

Melihat sebulan ke belakang, aku jadi ingin sedikit melakukan evaluasi terhadap kegiatan di keseharianku. Di Bulan Januari, aku telah melakukan perjalanan ke tempat baru, yaitu Banten Lama yang merupakan situs sejarah peninggalan peradaban dari Kesultanan Banten yang dahulu sempat besar di abad ke-15. Dengan melakukan perjalanan ke tempat baru, aku telah belajar untuk menjadi independen dan mengambil keputusan dalam situasi yang belum familier. 

Selain itu, aku telah mengunjungi Bontang, kampung halamanku selama beberapa hari. Walaupun sebagian besar waktuku di rumah dihabiskan untuk tidur dan menonton film-film picisan, aku belajar untuk menguatkan komitmen. Ya, 7 Januari lalu adalah hari dimulainya 30 Days Writing Challenge yang menuntut komitmenku untuk bagaimanapun caranya menghasilkan tulisan,  apapun topiknya, selama 30 hari berturut-turut.

Januari juga bulan ketika aku mencoba menuliskan resolusi-resolusi yang ingin aku capai ke depannya. Jika Gretchen Rubin memulai The Happiness Project di Bulan Januari, maka aku memulai Januari dengan mencoba menjadi bahagia dengan caraku sendiri, yaitu memperkuat kecerdasan emosionalku (emotional intelligence). Sehingga orang-orang di sekitarku juga ikut tertular virus-virus kebahagiaan, mulai dari hal kecil sesimpel memberi mereka perhatian untuk hal-hal yang mungkin bagi kita bukan apa-apa, tapi begitu bermakna untuk mereka. 

Lalu bagaimana dengan Februari? Jika Januari adalah tahap memulai, maka Februari adalah bulan dengan sejuta kesempatan. Ia akan menjadi suatu katalis yang membawa kita untuk memenuhi apa yang jadi keinginan kita di Bulan Januari. Asalkan kita bisa menjaga reaksinya terus menerus dengan mengisi bahan-bahannya yang ada di pemikiran kita. 

Time Waits for No One

“Time Waits for No One.”

I first read those wonderful phrases while I watch Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo, an anime movie about a girl called Yoshiyama who can leap through time. She kept repeating her day over and over. When she was too lazy to get out of her bad, she will stay asleep and then re-run her day so she was at full strength that day. But when she repeated her days over and over, she realized that her time was limited even though she could repeat it many times. Also, she felt like she lives in an unfamiliar world which is different from her usual living place. She realized that it does not necessarily feel like living when you live apart from other people.

 

12-days-of-anime-2012-11-large-time-waits-for-no-one
Time waits for no one…

 

So I came into a thesis that no matter how we want to spend our time wisely, we need to give full attention to people in our lives. There is a saying that most people are either living in their past or looking too far away into the future so that they live in neither the past, the present, or the future. They just spend their time countlessly thinking about what they could do next or other things which could lead to being productive. But I want to differentiate between being productive with living in other worlds.

Humans tend to need some extra times in order to be focused on their obligated tasks. Sometimes they even forget their surroundings and immersed totally within their own world. We often mislead this as being productive. I agree that being productive is something that really matters for us humans. We have so many tasks to do, some are an obligation, some others not. But we should invest our time in order to become productive by managing our time wisely. So we could define a space of time when we could manage to get things done right away and effectively. I know that this is not an easy task to do, and that is why it is important to do some research in order to find our right biological time when our brains are crystal clear enough to tackle our problems.

Finding the right biological time involves various self-development process. We have been granted 24 hours a week and 7 days a week from God. And among those precious time, we must have been encountered some random occasions when we could get things done without many hard works to do and only with few efforts. The answer lies when we have tried to finish our tasks at different times of the day. Be it at night, in the morning, at noon, etc. That precious length of time should be used wisely by us. If possible, we could invest that time to get our things done. Therefore, we do not need to avoid people in order to finish our remaining tasks which often become an excuse to not meeting people.

 

Kaki Siapa? 

Siapa yang memiliki empat kaki di pagi hari? 

Empat kaki yang menunjukkan betapa lemahnya ia 

Empat kaki yang membuatnya harus menundukkan kepalanya lebih dari biasanya 

Siapa yang memiliki dua kaki di siang hari? 

Dua kaki yang membuatnya leluasa melangkah 

Dua kaki yang membawanya ke ujung dunia 

Siapa yang memiliki tiga kaki di senja hari? 

Kaki yang membuatnya termenung seharian menatap matahari terbit hingga terbenam 

Kaki yang lelah hingga melangkah selangkah dua langkah pun ia tak sanggup 

Siapakah dia? 

Kurasa Sang Sphinx di tengah gurun pasir lebih tahu jawabannya 

Taking Things For Granted (II) 

Today I would like to tell another story with the same topic as yesterday. We will still discuss taking things for granted. This topic has enchanted my mind to rethink about how we should be grateful for every single thing that God provided us. Even for things that we did not realize up until now.

“If you thank Me, I will surely increase you.”

[Ibrahim, 14:7]

Today I have just done a job of accompanying some senior year high school students who were brought to Universitas Indonesia (UI) by FORKOMA UI BANTEN, a youth-led organization consists of UI students from Banten. Those high school students were granted prizes to visit UI by FORKOMA because they made remarkable essays if I am not mistaken.

The event for today was field tour to some faculties and schools of UI. I was responsible for taking some students who the main committee has assigned us to wander around my faculty, the Faculty of Humanities (In Bahasa: Fakultas Ilmu Pengetahuan Budaya or FIB), along with Debby, Tomi, and Laras who are FIB students as well.

We tried our best to explain about advantages and disadvantages of studying at UI and FIB, respectively. They were given information about majors that UI offers and the culture of diversity in UI. Some of them were truly interested and even asked some questions about the daily life of UI students and other interesting questions which you can expect from high school students.

As I watched them and tried to answer their questions, I began to realize that I have been in their position in the past. For your information, Universitas Indonesia along with Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) and Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) are the top three universities in Indonesia which high school students all over Indonesia aim every year. It was also a dream of mine to be able to study at one of those three institutions, and here where I am now, an undergraduate student at Universitas Indonesia.

Today I am feeling that it is pretty normal for me to be a student at UI because it feels like a normal circumstance for about 2.5 years since I became a student there. As time flies, I began to forget how grateful I was to become a student at UI. Sometimes I even skip classes for insignificant reasons just to please myself for a while.

What if I meet the 17-year-old version of myself now? Will he blame me for taking this gift for granted? I am not sure about the answer yet. But now, I will just try to be grateful for what I am, for this gift that I often forget about its existence.

Taking Things for Granted

Yesterday an enormous problem came into my life. I was going to an amusement park in Ancol, North Jakarta with some friends. The incident happened in a flash while we were walking in a dark area of a ride. My head suddenly stroke unseen wall. I went dizzy for several seconds and realized that my glasses were gone from my head. It was just a few seconds later that I found out that my glasses were broke into two pieces so I could not wear it just like the usual.

Without my glasses, I am nothing. Even the most magnificent view, is nothing before my worn out eyes. I just realized that I used to take my glasses for granted. As I wore them every day, I began to forget how wonderful it was to be able to see clearly with those glasses.

It is natural for humans to take things for granted for almost every single thing that we experienced in our lives. Just like what happens with our parents love for us. At first, it was normal for us to be thankful for toys and clothes that our parents bought to us during our childhood. But soon enough, we will start thinking that it is normal for parents to do such a thing for their children. We will begin developing such a mindset of take things for granted.

Now we need to examine how we could tackle this problem well. Imagine that your precious best friend always teaches you math after school. You thought it pretty normal for your best friend to teach her friend. That is not wrong, but try to consider that your best friend has sacrificed some hours of her precious day which she could use for other activities such as running errands for her mother or visiting her grandpa’s grave.

What we have to do is to appreciate every single thing of life that life itself or other people have granted for us. We need to know that not almost everything became like the way it is because of how it was supposed to. When we are grateful for everything, we will not be devastated when those things are taken from us.

Are You Done Praying?

“Are you done praying?”

Kalimat itu sepertinya tepat untuk mengawali tulisanku hari ini. Terkadang (bahkan sering) manusia di abad ke-21 ini beribadah dengan rajin, tetapi melupakan Tuhannya ada di mana. Tentunya masih ada manusia yang benar-benar mencari keberadaan Tuhan seperti halnya mencari tukang tambal ban pada pukul satu pagi. Tentunya ada, tapi sulit untuk menemukannya.

Bukan karena Tuhan jauh, tapi karena manusia sudah terlalu lelah dengan kemilau gemerlapnya lampu-lampu gedung tinggi di senja hari. Oleh desingan bunyi kereta komuter yang di dalamnya ribuan manusia berdesak-desakan sekadar mengisi ruang sempit kehidupan. Oleh komentar-komentar pedas yang menghiasi kupingnya dari orang-orang yang saling tak senang dengan keberadaan satu sama lain.

Manusia itu katanya jika tidak oportunis, maka dia akan dilalap habis oleh api-api kebusukan di sekitarnya. Jika ada perumpamaan yang menggambarkan hal ini, aku rasa itu seperti bunga-bunga di sebuah taman di siang bolong yang dihinggapi lebah tanpa henti. Ia memang sungguh indah, namun tak ada seorang pun yang berani mendekatinya.

 

NB:

Dari aku yang masih bodoh kepada pembaca yang budiman, sebuah refleksi singkat usai membaca Il Principe dan Thus Sprake Zarathustra.