Flying Under

Just this week, my country was shaken by a heartbreaking news of a plane crash that killed 189 people on the 29th of October 2018. Until now, we’re still mourning.

The news made to international news agencies. The plane JT610 was supposed to fly from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang but never made it as it blew off in the air and fell down to 30 meter below the sea, just 10 minutes after take-off.  The airline, Lion Air, has made itself to top 5 for the worst airlines in the world for years. Yet, this low-cost airline has never got its license taken off despite the number of accidents, constant delays, lies to customers and enslaving its employees.

It’s very rare to find Indonesians who has never had bad experience with the airline in the plane and at the airports (by their management). Yet, it’s one of the most selling one in Indonesia because of its cheap price and it offers many schedules in a day (which turn out to be just lies, they will eventually just merge the flights into less flight schedule. By doing this, they make more profits with the ticket price difference). My rants about this company could fill up a book.

Before you start telling me, “Dont blame the airline, it can happen to any airlines, bla bla blah…”, well, do your own research first about this airline. It’s so easy to point fingers at them in this matter by looking at their track record of lacking both safety and sympathy.

But to say that I never flew with Lion Air would be a lie, especially in the last 2 years since I quit my job and hit my rock bottom. Before I quit my job in an international organization, I never ever flew with Lion Air. Especially if it’s paid by the office. Even if I paid by myself, I always booked either Batik/ Sriwijaya/ Garuda Indonesia. But then I slowly couldn’t afford them anymore, so I booked my first Lion Air flight.

I remember I was so nervous that I was sweating before and during the flight. It was full of turbulence. But then after one and two flights with this airline, I gave myself excuse to fly with shitty airlines all the time. In fact, just a day before the crash, I flew with Lion Air from the same airport and the same boarding lounge where the victims were last before their deaths.

The same plane flew from Bali to Jakarta the night before the fateful morning. Bali-Jakarta is one of the routes that I fly often. Thinking of the many possibilities just gives me thrills.

I am getting more skeptical about the airline since I’m dating a pilot who works in Indonesia. Every month, he needs to fly from different cities to his bases. My boyfriend himself says that he won’t ever choose Lion Air unless he doesnt have any choice anymore. I remember that whenever he booked me tickets, it’s never Lion Air, but I was the one who always asked for Lion Air because I didnt want to cost him a lot.

If non-pilots dislike Lion Air, I will think it’s not as worrying as when pilots dislike Lion Air, because I believe they know more than us about what’s going on with the turbulence, the hard landing and even whether it’s a good decision to fly or not considering the weather.

I actually already bought return tickets from West Sumatra to Bali with Lion Air, which means four flights of 2 hours each. That’s too scary to imagine, I’m not gonna risk my life in those eight hours of terrors. But it’s already too late now to book other flights, the price has already surged. In the end I decide to cancel my visit to Bali that I’ve been waiting for months.

It’s so heart-wrenching to watch about the victims’ story in the news, everyone of them had a story and loved ones waiting for them. Especially when the SAR team brought up baby shoes from the plane that has sinked down in to the sea, two babies were in the victims list.

I get worried sometimes with my boyfriend’s flying in and to remote areas with less facility in case something bad happens. One day I read a news about a small plane that crashed in the location of his work, my heart literally skipped a beat at that time to load the news in my phone, hoping it’s not his airline. Even though I knew he’s a good one (Well I dont know anything about flying but I can feel when someone makes you feel safe when his driving/ flying. Also his friends told me that he’s good) and I know how much he loves his job, it’s just still not easy to not worry about someone you love. I cant imagine what his parents feel when their son’s gonna live in a third-world country with poor healthcare and safety procedures. (But then told my self, “Why the hell are you acting like a white person from a developed nation? Look at yourself, you’ve survived 28 years living in this country! hehe)

Deepest condolence to all the victims, hope that justice will be served to whoever took responsibilities of this case because their lives matter.

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Cihud’s B3 (Bagi-Bagi Buku)

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Bagi-Bagi Buku GRATIS s/d 20 Oktober 2018!! Please read below:

Hi, online friends (yg kenal aktif, pasif, atau yg gk kenal sama sekali), dalam rangka gw pingin mengurangi jumlah barang yg gw miliki, maka gw mengadakan giveaway buku2 gw lagi. Ini beberapa buku2nya yang silahkan aja kalo mau. But instead of ngasih bukunya ke satu tempat/orang, kali ini gw kasih ke beberapa orang yang berminat, karena mgkn temen2 gak ada waktu/ tinggal jauh dari taman bacanya, belum lagi kl taman bacanya tutup, jadi bukunya ngendep lagi gak ada yang baca. Buku2 ini gw kasih gratis dan kalian hanya perlu bayar ongkirnya. Cara mengikuti giveaway ini adalah:

1. Satu orang boleh mengambil maksimal 4 buku (kalo kebanyakan nanti yang lain gak kebagian hehe).

2. Check gallery foto di bawah ini, ada sekitar 80 judul buku. Comment di setiap foto buku yg dimau dengan format komen: “Nama – Buku ke berapa dari jatah 4 buku”, contoh: “Cihud – Buku 1”, “Cihud – Buku 2”

3. Kalo foto buku sudah ada komen namanya, berarti udah milik orang lain yang komen pertama (sampai dengan dia trf ongkirnya), boleh tulis di bawah komennya sebagai waiting list, dgn format “Nama – WL”. Kalo yg komen pertama gak trf2 uang ongkirnya juga, bakal jatoh ke yg WL. Jadi siapa yg komen duluan dia yang dapat ya! hehe.

4. Kalo udah menandai semua bukunya, please send me an inbox to my Instagram / Facebook dengan format:
Nama:
Judul buku:
Alamat:
No HP:

5. Gw akan hitung berapa Kg total berat buku untuk ongkir, pengiriman dari Payakumbuh, Sumatra Barat

6. Memberikan bukti transfer ongkir ke gw (Gak ada yg via pulsa. Rekening bank saja). Batas transfer ongkir hanya 1 hari (same day) dari hari booking. Kl belum trf melewati batas wktu, buku dikasih ke yang WL.

7. Buku akan gw kirim hari berikutnya atau secepatnya dari transfer ongkir diterima.

8. Giveaway hanya sampai tanggal 20 Oktober 2018 karena berhubung gw lagi di Payakumbuh. Setelah tanggal 20, album ini akan dihapus/private.

9. Sisa buku-buku yang gak habis dari giveaway ini baru akan gw berikan ke taman baca.

10. Jangan pake nawar2 ongkir segala ya, karena gw akan bertanduk, anaknya galak soalnya. hehe

UPDATE: Dalam 3 hari, dari sekitar 80an buku yang ada dalam giveaway ini, sekitar 60 buku sudah punya rumah baru 😀 . Senangnya bisa berbagi 😀

#ChangeTheRatio

Tech world has been stereotyped as the men-dominated world even though the chance is for every body. There are so many factors that force the imbalance ratio to take place, one of them is the mindset (whether from men AND from women themselves) that women are less capable than men to do tech-related stuffs. There have been some initiatives to fight against such notion and I found one of them in Bali, it’s called The Institute of Code. They’re giving opportunities (in the form of scholarships) for women to learn how to code AND how to make money out of your coding skill. I applied for it because I think I’ve witnessed a lot in the field that I’m working in right now and I have some experiences to share, how the myth is not true. Also, I see the opportunity will help me in the future to support my other skill to achieve the career and lifestyle of my dream in the future. So that later I can tell to my parents, “Mom, you should’ve given me the same opportunity as you gave to your son. But never mind, look at me now.”

As an Indonesian woman, I know for sure that the imbalance ratio stems from more than just a mindset of women. It stems back to the family–at least that’s what happened in my country and what I experienced. When I graduated high school and was going to college, I wanted to study design, whether it’s fashion or graphic design. But those fields–just like other tech-related degree–are so expensive and my parents already sent my brother to a prestigious private university of technology in Indonesia to study computer science. So my parent told me that I could not go to an expensive higher education because ‘WE’ have to focus on my brother because he is a MALE. A son will be the one who’s working for the family and daughter will marry and stop working so that’s why parents are more willing to prioritize their son’s education than the daughter’s. My parents said that being fair is not about giving the same amount, but giving what one deserves and needs, so they assumed that I deserved and needed less.

So I ended up going to a public uni which was 8 times cheaper than my brother’s and studied something else. And my parents, it’s not that they didnt have money for me, they actually had more than enough saving for my education if I chose tech-related major, but they said they kept it for my wedding someday (at that time I hadn’t even started dating!). They said they’d been saving their whole life to afford my brother’s education and my future wedding. I hoped that there would be a chance after my brother graduated that my parents would change their mind and gave a lil portion of chance for me to study what I liked. Unfortunately, then my father fell very ill and we had to spent a lot of money on his surgeries and medication. So no money left and bye-bye, dreams.

But don’t get me wrong, my parents are good parents, they love their kids very much. They tried hard to give us the best. The only problem was that they did it in the way they thought how it should be done, which was also the product of their environment.

And I see that happens often among Indonesian families, so another reason why we only have few women in Indonesian tech-o-sphere is not only because we associate it as a man’s thing (like cars, soccer, etc) but also because we’re not given the opportunity to even know it. How can we know how it feels like when we’re not even given the chance to dream of it?

And now I’m pursuing my creative dreams, first I studied fashion then graphic design, self-taught from books and internet. Both fields, even though they have the word ‘design’, have very different environment. My circumstance in the fashion design world is dominated by women, while in graphic design women is rare. Especially graphic designer that can do web development. In the community group chat/ FB page, they called me with “Mas” instead of “Mbak” (It’s like Mr & Ms in English) eventhough clearly my profile pic is of me and my name is a woman’s name, because they thought girls are not gonna be joining this field.

Motivational fitness illustration with female silhouette and letteringI actually don’t know why it’s always been associated with men’s world, as if Snapchat is for women and making webs/ apps are for men. In fact in my 28 years of life, I’ve always been the one doing the techie jobs in the communities/ organizations I’ve been. For example, I was the one who set up, designed and managed the website for my theatre club and had to train guys simple tasks like how to upload a post and resize photos in bulk (they didn’t even know how to do them, let alone wordpress design. I designed my craft blog by myself too. (Well I know it’s not impressive or such a big achievement, for someone with no background knowledge in IT, that counts, hehe).

I was inspired by an Indonesian woman figure in our startup scheme, Alamanda Shantika, who was the former vice president of Go-Jek, the biggest startup in Indonesia. She was the first programmer of the startup, not only that, she’s also a designer. She’s my role model in many things. I listen to her talks a lot, stalked her, and found out that she was raised by her family who gave all the children the same opportunities no matter what the gender is. So Alamanda Shantika is the example of how Indonesian women can be when we’re given the same opportunities and trust.

She encourages Indonesian women to be more involved in the startup scheme or at least start to learn tech-related stuff, hence I started my steps with the graphic design thing. I know I probably cant be like her who’s able to build apps from scratch, my goal is just as simple as being able to build simple websites, I kinda like making portofolio websites for different individuals/ companies, I like the design process of it. And I know there’s a demand for it, more and more businesses and people need personal websites. It is surely in my list, even though it’s kinda hard for me to find the environment that can help me to accelerate the learning process. I’ve taught myself several skills but I of course wish I had the opportunity to be in the environment of like-minded people instead of learning by myself in my room with mentors I hardly communicate with. I hope someday I can follow Alamanda’s steps to #changetheratio in my own ways.

Cara Menjadi Fashion Designer Otodidak

Dari kecil aku emang suka gambar dan suka membuat sesuatu, apa pun itu (termasuk membuat kegaduhan, haha). Tapi sayangnya minat dan bakat ini gak disalurkan oleh keluarga dan orang tua karena difikirnya hanya main-main dan di mata orang tua gw mungkin seni bukanlah pilihan hidup yang tepat.

Alhasil gw kuliah di jurusan Sastra Inggris dan kerja di lembaga konservasi lingkungan hidup internasional. Setelah beberapa tahun gw mulai jenuh dan berfikiran, gw ini sebenernya tujuan hidupnya apa sih, yang beneran bikin gw senang itu apa dan gw mau dikenal sebagai apa. Pekerjaan gw saat itu sangat baik dari ilmu, pengalaman, dan gaji, namun gw merasa sudah saatnya gw mulai fokus mengembangkan diri gw di bidang yang memang gw suka dan tidak terikat untuk pergi ke kantor atau dinas ke hutan belantara. So, gw memutuskan untuk mempelajari fashion design, namun gw bukan orang kaya, gw gak akan mampu untuk bayar biaya sekolah fashion yang biayanya selangit, belum lagi ditambah biaya hidup dan biaya per project nanti, lebih mahal lah dari biaya kuliah kedokteran paket ekstensi.

Bukan cuma dari masalah biaya, I also couldnt afford another 4 years of study, I didnt have the time, kecuali gw anak bangsawan yang mau kerja apa gak pun gak masalah. So gw menggunakan uang tabungan gw dan kerja apa aja yang bisa dikerjain untuk ngumpulin duit (dari ngajar sampe crypto trading pun gw jabanin) untuk mengambil langkah-langkah selanjutnya.

Walau pun gw bukan lulusan sekolah fashion, gw gak mau punya kemampuan yang malu-maluin, seenggaknya gw harus mengerti basic dari apa yang mereka pelajari di perkuliahan, baik dari elements and principles of fashion design, illustration, construction, textiles, manufacturing dll. Karena gw percaya bahwa everything in life can be learned, dan di zaman internet ini, akses belajar melimpah, asal ada niat dan mau ngeluangin waktu. Alhasil, walau pun masih merintis, tapi sekarang gw udah merasakan menghasilkan uang dari dunia fashion design. Ini berdasarkan pengalaman gw sendiri, apa aja yang gw jalanin untuk menjadi seorang fashion designer.

Menurut gw, banyak prasangka yang salah tentang dunia fashion dan title menjadi seorang fashion designer. Orang hanya tau luarnya aja dan hanya mau menjadi bagian luarnya aja, yang kesannya glamor dll. Terutama di Indonesia sendiri, banyak kita lihat figur designer, namun yang bener-bener melakukan tugas fashion designer mungkin gak seberapa. Bisa dibilang, kita beruntung tinggal di negara buruh, jadi upah para penjahit gak setinggi di luar negeri. Penjahit di negara maju pada kaya-kaya lho, karena pekerjaan skill dan custom products itu dihargai nilai tinggi. Sehingga lulusan sekolah fashion luar negeri, seperti Parson dll, memang diwajibkan untuk bisa menjahit sendiri, malah ada training dimana mereka disuruh menjahit 100 T-shirt untuk melatih dan membiasakan keterampilan mereka.

So, di Indonesia, bisa dibilang, kalo ada modal untuk beli kain dan mengupah penjahit, seseorang bisa jadi designer dan mulai menjual jasanya asal pintar membuat koneksi. Kalo punya modal lebih banyak lagi malah mampu menyewa orang lain yang lulusan fashion untuk merancang sebuah koleksi untuk dia. Apakah ini salah? Well, gak juga, rezeki orang berbeda-beda. Toh dia masih masih terlibat dalam proses design, walau pun gak terlibat penuh. Kalo di luar negeri, yang bisa mencapai posisi ini hanya nama-nama besar seperti Chanel, Prada, John Galliano, dll. Namun mereka menjalani proses yang sangat panjang untuk bisa sampai di posisi itu, John Galliano misalnya, doi bekerja di bawah nama orang lain selama 20 tahun sebelum menjadi sebesar sekarang. Namun di negara kita, proses itu bisa di short cut, itulah rezeki negara kita. Namun, yang perlu diingat, gak semua orang terlahir punya modal lebih dari cukup, seperti gw misalnya. Dan menurut gw, mengutip dari salah satu guru fashion gw yang sangat gw hormati, Zoe Hong, “Skills yang kamu kuasai atau tidak kuasai akan menentukan atau membatasi kamu akan jadi designer seperti apa.”

Yup, bener banget. Gw gak bisa bergantung sama yang namanya ‘hoki’. Gak mungkin seorang designer namanya di atas terus, terlebih lagi, gw gak mau kerja bergantung dengan lokasi. Banyak orang yang gak bisa pindah tempat tinggal karena udah terlanjur usahanya di suatu daerah. Orang yang punya ilmu dan skill yang lebih akan tau caranya untuk naik lagi ketika dia terjatuh. Ilmu dan kemampuan yang kita punya juga memberikan pilihan untuk gak selalu menjadi pengusaha dan berdiri sendiri. Kalo kita cuma bergantung sama penjahit dan modal nyontek model di Pinterest, kita jadi mau gak mau harus usaha sendiri, dan usaha gak selamanya berada diatas angin. Ketika usaha jatuh, akan susah kalo mau ngelamar kerja. So, in the end it’s up to you, mau jadi designer yang seperti apa, sama contohnya dengan pekerjaan lain, misal guru, what kind of teacher do you want to be?

  1. LEARN WHAT FASHION DESIGN IS ABOUT AND WHAT A FASHION DESIGNER IS

Pelajari basic dari design dan fashion itu sendiri. Banyak-banyak meng-google kurikulum perkuliahan sekolah fashion design dan mulai mencari informasi tentang masing-masing subject. Kalo gw sih, gw banyakin searching textbooks apa yang mereka gunakan untuk panduan pembelajaran dan gw search PDFnya, atau kalau gak ada ya terpaksa harus beli bukunya dari luar negeri dan harganya memang agak mahal. Tapi sebanding dengan ilmu apa yang didapat, karena kalo kita hanya bergantung sama resource berbahasa Indonesia, gak akan pernah cukup, kita masih sangat jauh ketinggalan. Gw memang bukan sarjana fashion, tapi ternyata pengetahuan gw gak kalah dengan mereka yang sudah lulusan fashion design, terutama sarjana fashion design universitas dalam negeri. Sudah banyak kok gw ketemu mereka yang tadinya lulusan SMK tata busana, lalu kuliah tata busana juga, namun ternyata pengetahuan dan kemampuannya di bawah gw dikarenakan mereka hanya bergantung dengan ilmu yang dikasih sama guru/ dosen mereka dan gak rajin untuk belajar dari sumber lain. Padahal ilmu itu selalu berkembang.

Dengan mempelajari benar-benar fashion design, kita jadi bisa tau siapa aja yang terlibat dalam pembuatan sebuah koleksi dan pilihan karir apa aja yang tersedia. So, pilihan karir di dunia fashion itu gak sesempit pemahaman awam tadi yang harus punya modal banyak. Contohnya gw sekarang, kalo gw hanya bergantung dari penjualan baju gw, ya gw gak bisa makan dong, secara creative works take time to take off, gw belum punya nama dan memulai dari bawah. Namun gw bisa menghasilkan juga masih dalam dunia fashion dengan kemampuan gw di dunia fashion yang lain, seperti freelance flat sketching and technical design. Apa itu? Ya di google, yak!

2. GET A TRAINING AND FIND A MENTOR

Kalo dibilang bener-bener otodidak, seseorang gak akan bisa bener-bener menjadi fashion designer, karena di bidang tertentu memang perlu guru dan proper training. Ada bidang dari fashion design yang lo bisa pelajari sendiri, tapi ada juga bidang yang kita memang mau gak mau harus mempunyai training yang cukup, seperti contohnya patternmaking dan menjahit. Walau pun kamu gak berencana untuk menjahit bajumu sendiri nanti, gak ada salahnya kita mengerti pengetahuan basic construction itu seperti apa. Gw punya temen (bule) yang jadi designer di Bali tapi langsung terjun bebas ke bisnis tersebut tanpa punya skill dan punya product, alhasil dia menghabiskan waktu dan uang yang banyak karena cuma satu masalah yang basic banget. Orang yang sudah mengerti basic, setidaknya gak akan membuat kesalahan sebanyak itu.

Namun untuk meminimalisir biaya pembelajaran, gw mensiasati dengan mengambil les jahit privat saja, untuk teori kebanyakan gw belajar sendiri dari internet dan buku. Namun gw juga mengambil les dengan seorang designer yang gw udah tau kualitasnya dan memiliki kredibilitas akademik, untuk mengetahui lebih dalam dunia fashion itu seperti apa sih, dan juga untuk mendapatkan feedback dan arahan design gw. Kalo belajar, dibilang gratis banget ya gak ada. Bahkan mau daftar beasiswa pun kita harus keluar modal kan, biaya tes TOEFLnya lah, medical check up, translate ijazah, dll.

3. PRACTICE AND SELF-DISCIPLINE

Bedanya dengan orang yang kuliah fashion, mereka mau gak mau harus ngikutin struktur, sehingga mereka punya timeline yang terukur. Sedangkan kita yang otodidak bergantung dengan disiplin diri kita sendiri. Ini yang paling susah dan gak semua orang bisa untuk fokus selama berjam-jam, berhari-hari dan berbulan-bulan untuk mempelajari suatu bidang.

4. DOCUMENT YOUR PROGRESS

Seringnya karena belajar sendiri, kita jadi gak tau progress kita ini udah sampe mana, beda dengan mereka yang sekolah, mereka punya grading yang lebih jelas. So, kita jadi ngerasa kok kayaknya pengetahuan gak nambah ya. Untuk mencegah itu, coba bikin track record setiap harinya belajar apa, walau pun hanya belajar 1 jam. Nanti misalnya sudah 100 hari, kita bisa melihat ke belakang kalo memang kita sudah berkembang dari kita sebelumnya.

5. BUILD YOUR PORTOFOLIO, NETWORK AND REACH OUT TO PEOPLE

Mulai lah mencicil dengan membuat karya, mau karya tersebut ada yang beli apa enggak, yang penting dibuat dulu. Disitu lah kita mengukuhkan kalo kita sudah memulai karir ini dan memberitahukan kepada orang lain tentang apa yang kita kerjakan. Portofolio itu mungkin gak berefek instan, tapi kita gak tau di kemudian hari seperti apa. Mungkin client gak butuh saat itu, tapi ketika nanti tiba saat dia butuh, dia tau bakal kemana.

6. NEVER STOP LEARNING AND ALWAYS IMPROVISE

Sudah menghasilkan karya bukan berarti tahap pembelajaran berhenti disitu. Semakin gw mempelajari suatu bidang semakin gw merasa gw gak tau apa-apa karena ternyata bidang fashion design itu luas dan dalam banget. Bahkan gw punya temen yang lulusan Parson pun bilang, gak akan cukup rasanya mempelajari fashion design selama 4 tahun itu, karena banyak banget ilmunya dan selalu berkembang. Nah lho, doi yang lulusan Parson aja bilang gitu, apalagi kita yang belajar otodidak, harus lebih semangat lagi! Hehe.

Dan kita juga harus pinter berimprovisasi dengan langkah dan karya kita, karena seperti yang gw bilang tadi, creative works take time to take off. And sometimes we fail, sometimes we succeed. So, if plan B doesn’t work, think about and execute plan C to Z!

Just never give up, every thing worth having never comes easily.

Bridesmaid dress_2706

If You Can, You Should

I’ve been wanting to write about this for months since a tragic incident that shook many people worldwide. This post is not about me (well, the intro is related to me), but we can learn from what happened to them and what they’ve taught to us.

Back to my last weeks in Bali, I went to Canggu a lot. For you who dont know what Canggu is like, it is the trending area now in Bali. It has the youth relaxed vibe, not too party, not too lazy, and it’s the home for digital nomads from all over the world. It’s the Must-Visit place for content creators, so it’s not rare that you bumped into an influencer in a cafe or coworking place. You might not know about them, but they’re famous in their home countries or in their fields of work.

I remember there’s a face I saw, not often, but easily attached to mind. He’s good looking but that’s not the reason. It’s more about his vibe in his presence, the kind of person that makes you want to approach him/ her and get to know or make friends with when you see them in crowds. He was with his goofy friends, later I knew one of them was his long-time girlfriend. I really wanted to ask for his name and be friends with him and his friends. But I held my self and never made the move until I left Bali.

Months after I left Bali, I was scrolling my Facebook timeline and a news from an international media popped out with a photo of a face that’s familiar to me. That was his face, the mysterious guy I saw in Bali. I was like, “Hey, I know this face. He made an international news, who is he??”. So I clicked on the news without reading the headline first.

Took a few seconds to load the page, and I was waiting to find out about his name and what he did. Once it’s loaded, I was shocked by the headline in which I found what his name is, it’s a news about his death! WHATTT…

The tittle reads, “YouTuber Ryker Gamble and two friends plunge to death at Canada Waterfall”. So now I got his name. Now I know what he did for a living. And I knew he was a Canadian. But now he’s not in this world anymore. It’s a tragic way to know a person’s name.

Turned out he was one of a travel vlogging team called ‘High on Life’ with his best friends from Canada, some of them are his childhood best friends. Travelling the world and working with people in tourism business was his job and his passion. They were just ordinary youths with passion for adventuring the world and story telling in videos. They’re not rich, they’ve been like us, they struggled to reach what their legacy now. At first, they made videos just for documenting what they’ve experienced, something to look at when they’re old. Slowly many people started to follow their channel and enjoyed to watch their stories and perspectives. Their channel is not like other travel vlogging videos where the YouTubers just wanna show off and make people jealous of their lives meanwhile they actually spent on their parents’ money. These High on Life guys, they’re different. That’s why High on Life has one of the most loyal fan base because they’re relatable. And the fact that they have a strong friendship, it makes you  feel that you want to have a friend like that, or you feel like you’re their friends just by watching their videos.

In the beginning of July 2018, they went back to Canada. Ryker and his friends (who were also High on Life team) were travelling to Shannon Falls. His friend’s girlfriend slipped while trying to take a footage and the boyfriend tried to help her. Ryker tried to help them but in the end the three lost their lives.

I’ve never watched their videos before Ryker’s death (of course, I just found out his name). If you just cherrypick and watch one video footage of their back flips, maybe you’ll think that these people were looking for death and finally got one, like some people badmouthed about them. Yes I do admit they had done crazy backflip stunts, but that’s just one bit tiny part of what their content is about. If you really watch their videos and journeys without malice and jealousy, you’ll see how these people had lived to the fullest, even in that short life.

Their videos are inspiring and the fact they worked hard to build the company, to be able to live their passion. What really touched me is their message to believe in your passion (whatever it is) and start taking steps and putting steps in place. That often times we’re too afraid to do what we want to do while in fact we are able to do, we’re just full of doubts and fears. One of the sentences that Ryker wrote and narrated in his video which really resonates to me is, “Stop looking for reasons why you can’t. Start looking for reasons why you can. And if you can, you should.” DAANGGG… it hits my spot so bad!!

Then, my attention came to his long-time girlfriend, Alissa Hansen, who followed him travelling and been together for years, been through many things, the uglies, beautiful, failures, success, etc. She never expected this to happen for her at the age of 28. All the life she thought she knew, the future she thought she could read, all of the sudden just gone. I can never imagine myself in her position, I’ve never been in that kind of relationship with a man. I thought my ex dumping me after a one-year-long relationship was already sad, because I thought that would never happen to me and didn’t think that I would lose something I was familiar with. But that’s nothing compared to Alissa’s loss, mine was a LDR, while she was with him most of the times, she lived with him, they’re like a husband and wife already. It’s like she has to start and rebuild her life again, but must be hard to start, to know from where she has to. I can’t imagine if that happened to me, I’d not know how to ever fall in love again, whether I would ever find someone who could make me feel the way he did before. Gosh, that’s so tragic!

But in the end in life, we all are gonna lose someone and something that’s dear to our hearts. It’s a fact of life that we can’t avoid. Some had it earlier than others. Like my friends who already lost their parents they were young, I still have both of my parents and sometimes it makes me worried and scared when my time will come. Or what if I die first?

Death and love are the two things we can’t control and predict. All we can do is just to make our life count while we have it. How?? I choose to agree with Ryker’s words, just stop looking for reasons why I can’t and start looking for reasons why I can. And if I can, I should. What a time to be alive!

R.I.P Ryker Gamble, Alexy Lyakh and Megan Scraper. #HOLinspired

Wanita dalam Perlombaan

I am so amazed and thankful for the existence of internet and social media, tanpa mereka gw gak akan bisa hidup sebebas ini, gw berani memilih ngejalanin apa yang gw lakuin sekarang karena gw yakin gw beruntung hidup di zaman yang tepat. Zaman dimana orang bisa sukses tanpa harus merelakan tidak menjadi diri mereka sendiri. Namun demikian gw kadang rindu zaman sebelum adanya social media, waktu dimana kita gak perlu berlomba-lomba mengukuhkan eksistensi diri, berlomba-lomba menunjukkan siapa yang lebih bahagia, sukses, bahkan tingkat iman pun diperlombakan. Waktu dimana kita melakukan sesuatu karena rasa suka, bukan karena ajang di panggung yang semu.

Dari pandangan gw sendiri sebagai pengamat (dan mungkin tanpa sadar pernah menjadi peserta), wanita adalah yang lebih sering ikut perlombaan fana ini. Emang udah fakta umum sepertinya kalo wanita memang jiwa kompetitif dan insekuritasnya lebih mudah diombang-ambingkan daripada pria. Atau mungkin pria lebih jago menyembunyikan insecurities mereka ketimbang kita.

Memang sulit jadi wanita, kita selalu hidup berkompetisi. Kalo kata Oscar Wilde, “Women don’t dress up to impress men, women dress up to annoy other women.” Sadly true. Di umur yang sudah sedikit melebihi seperempat abad ini, gw udah melihat dan menjadi bagian dalam kompetisi wanita ini, kompetisi yang gak jelas judulnya apa, namun intinya, dalam kompetisi ini kita harus menunjukkan dan kadang menjatuhkan wanita lain untuk meraih gelar ‘Gw lah yang paling wanita sejati!’. Di tiap jenjang umur pun, kategori yang diperlombakan berbeda-beda, namun piala akhir tetap sama, yaitu gelar ‘wanita sejati’. Dengan adanya sosial media, kompetisi ini semakin sengit dan jelas terpampang.

Gw sudah melewati umur dimana kriteria ‘wanita sejati’ ditentukan oleh bentuk fisik. Kulit warna ini lebih baik dari warna ini, tinggi badan segini lebih baik daripada yang itu, lingkar badan, jenis rambut, cara berpakaian, dan lain-lain. Hal ini paling kenceng terjadi di usia belasan tahun, biasanya diiringi dengan kompetisi ‘siapa yang punya kawan paling banyak dan nge-hits abis’. Kalo kemana-mana bareng orang se-genk udah kayak mau kampanye. Tinggal bikin yel-yel aja lagi.

Ketika udah bertambah umur, level kompetisi semakin sulit karena berhubungan dengan pernikahan. Dimulai dari umur 23 tahun, foto tunangan, prewedding, undangan, pernikahan dan honeymoon semakin bertebaran. Hal ini tergantung di kota mana kamu tinggal atau kuliah dulu, kalo di kota besar mungkin agak relaxed. Fisik bukan lagi masalah yang penting, yang penting di level ini adalah status. Buat apa cantik kalo nikahnya belakangan, begitu lah kira-kira stereotypenya. Di umur ini banyak banget jiwa-jiwa insecure bermunculan, kode minta diajak nikah berserakan. Apalagi bagi yang belum mendapatkan pengalaman kerja atau gak puas dengan pekerjaannya, fikirannya pingin nikah aja, seolah-olah nikah adalah solusi wahid bagi semua masalah. Kalo masih jomblo atau galau tanpa kejelasan hubungan di umur ini, bertahan lah. Nanti juga momen ini berlalu di umur 25 tahun.

Gw ngerasain dan ngeliat dengan jelas gimana kompetisi di umur ini terjadi. Banyak yang promosi diri sebagai wife material nomero uno, hobby dan cara berpakaian pun  pun langsung berubah drastis, caption yang elegan jangan sampe ketinggalan, walau pun hasil copas. Ada kenalan yang tiba-tiba rajin posting hal-hal berbau agama, cara berpakaiannya berubah drastis. Ternyata lagi ngincer ustadz, walau pun ustadz-ustadzan. Kalo udah putus, ganti lagi, kode lagi. Pengambilan keputusan dengan cepat, banyak yang nikah dengan memaksakan hubungan yang sebenernya gak bisa lagi (ujung-ujung pas nikah langsung cerai atau diselingkuhin), kadang alasannya se-sepele hanya ingin pamer foto prewedding atau foto bareng suami di sosial media. Sosial media membuat seolah-olah nikah itu masalah gampang, yang penting bisa bikin caption #withhubby, adu du du duh…

Dengan adanya sosmed, persaingan di fase ini makin berat, karena adanya banyak aspek. Dari ada dan ketidak-adaan pasangan sampai acara resepsi. Harus ada foto bridal shower dengan girls squad-nya, belum lagi prewedding, foto aja gak cukup, harus pake video juga biar oke dan geger seantero Instagram. Undangan juga harus kece, baju bridesmaid jangan sampe malu-maluin. Di umur ini, umur baru mulai kerja dan berpenghasilan, tapi persahabatan diuji karena banyaknya ‘biaya persahabatan’ yang harus dijaga, dari persiapan bridal shower, jahit baju bridesmaid, sokongan kado, tiket pesawat, akomodasi, makeup artist, dan entrebe-entrebe lainnya. Semuanya demi apa? Demi menang lomba!

Lalu apakah kompetisi ini berhenti setelah menikah? Kagak, welcome to the next level. Level dimana suami aja gak cukup, harus punya anak juga untuk pembuktian betapa wanita sejatinya kita ini. Bagi yang telah melewati fase sebelumnya dengan status ‘masih single’, ini adalah momen dimana kalian bakal jadi penonton para istri-istri baru berkompetisi di level ‘siapa yang hamil duluan’. Sumpah ini konyol banget, seolah-olah membuktikan uterus siapa yang paling unggul. Saking konyolnya, bagi yang masih single bakal sering ditanyain sama teman lain yang sudah menikah apakah teman dekat kita yang juga baru menikah sudah hamil atau belum, kenapa gak tanya langsung sama orangnya aja yak? Gw kan bukan suaminya, gak pergi control ke dokter bareng gw juga. Kalo di fase sebelumnya bertebaran foto dengan pasangan dari engagement sampai honeymoon, di fase ini foto yang bertebaran adalah foto hasil test pack atau hasil USG. Langsung deh posting-posting tentang anak, menjadi orang tua, dan bahagianya menjadi istri. Gw ikut seneng kalo liat temen-temen gw bahagia, tapi ketika masalah punya anak dijadikan bahan perlombaan, aku hanya bisa facepalm.

Di fase ini adalah dimana tidak sedikit kenalan-kenalan yang sudah menikah tadi jadi sensitif berkelebihan masalah belom punya anak, terlebih kalo ditanya sudah berapa lama menikah. Gemes rasanya kalo liat perempuan yang sedih, kesepian dan merasa gak sempurna karena belum punya anak biologis. Hellow… lady, you’re still a woman!

Wanita-wanita yang udah menikah dan punya anak juga punya kompetisi lain sesama mereka, salah satu contohnya siapa yang bisa tetap menjaga penampilan, langsing dan menawan walau pun sudah launching produk. Hal ini memberikan pressure kepada mamah muda yang gak bisa back to normal pasca melahirkan seperti artis-artis di media, gak semua orang punya genetik dan kondisi fisik yang sama. Ada yang jadi udah males foto selfie lagi karena ngerasa udah gak cantik lagi, jauh benar kalo dibanding waktu single dulu yang tiap menit upload foto narsis muka close-up melulu, sampe ada yang udah bedah plastik untuk mengecilkan segala bagian yang membesar, dari bentuk hidung, pipi, perut, dan lain-lain.

Setelah lewat umur 27 tahun, para kontestan yang gagal nikah di umur 23-25 tahun tadi ternyata sudah banyak yang telah berubah, mereka bebas melalang buana menghabiskan duitnya untuk dirinya sendiri tanpa harus berbagi dengan orang lain, banyak juga yang karirnya menanjak atau telah menemukan passionnya. Tanpa disadari mungkin mereka melakukan pembenaran, ‘syukurlah gw belum nikah, daripada udah nikah hidupnya cuma gitu-gitu aja.’ Di lain sisi, pihak yang sudah berlabel istri gak mau kalah, seolah-olah gak ada posisi yang lebih indah dan terhormat selain menjadi istri, apalagi kalo udah jadi istri, bisa juga jadi ibu biologis, sudah lah jannah di tangan.

Namun para ibu-ibu yang udah punya anak pun juga bersaing dengan sesama emak-emak perihal siapa yang jadi ibu rumah tangga dan wanita karir. Siapa yang mengasuh anaknya sendiri dengan siapa yang memperkerjakan baby sitter. Siapa yang hanya bergantung dari dompet suami dengan siapa yang punya penghasilan tambahan atau ikut membantu keuangan keluarga.

Ya ampun, baru 27 tahun gw hidup di bumi tapi udah banyak banget segala kompetisi yang gak jelasnya hadiahnya apa. Membuat gw jadi bertanya-tanya setelah umur ini, levelnya apa lagi? Kadang gw heran sama yang rela mati-matian transgender buat jadi wanita, persaingan di dunia wanita keras lho, bro! Kalo sekarang anak mereka masih sama-sama kecil, masih belum punya pendapat yang permanent. Gimana nanti kalo anak-anaknya udah pada remaja atau lulus kuliah, apakah kita harus bersaing siapa yang anaknya paling banyak prestasi akademik? Masuk sekolah mana, pilih jurusan apa, nikah ama siapa dan umur berapa, dan pilihan-pilihan lainnya yang menentukan prestasi seorang wanita menjadi seorang ibu. Bukannya hal itu terlalu selfish, hanya untuk pembuktian diri sendiri kita harus mengorbankan orang lain. Orang tua yang hasilnya memaksakan kehendak kepada anaknya mungkin adalah orang tua yang belum lepas dari bayang-bayang perlombaan.

Kenapa dan kenapa kita gak bisa berbahagia saja atas pilihan kita DAN pilihan orang lain, berbahagia atas apa yang terjadi di diri kita DAN di orang lain. Tanpa harus membandingkan siapa yang lebih bahagia, sukses atau lebih wanita sejati. Karena selama kita masih sering membandingkan, gak ada yang sebenarnya menjadi pemenang.

Hanya karena kamu sudah menikah, bukan berarti yang masih single hidupnya merana dan kesepian. Hanya karena kamu belum menikah, bukan berarti yang sudah menikah hidupnya tidak bahagia dan terkekang. Hanya karena kamu sudah punya anak, bukan berarti mereka yang belum adalah wanita gagal. Hanya karena kamu belum punya anak, bukan berarti mereka yang sudah punya anak hidupnya terbatas. Kalau kamu memilih menjadi wanita karir, bukan berarti mereka yang menjadi ibu rumah tangga adalah lemah. Kalau kamu memilih jadi ibu rumah tangga, bukan berarti mereka yang bekerja adalah durhaka.

Siapa lah kita untuk punya wewenang mendefinisikan standar kebahagiaan orang lain. Terlebih lagi masalah jodoh, anak, rezeki dan perasaan orang lain adalah sesuatu yang di luar kontrol diri kita, bukan kita yang mengatur. Setiap orang punya jam yang berbeda-beda, adzan shalat aja beda RT beda waktu, bisa gak barengan, apalagi yang namanya jalan hidup seseorang. Perempuan sesama perempuan sebaiknya sama-sama mendukung, bukan menjatuhkan perempuan lain agar terlihat lebih sempurna. Tentang apa yang terjadi di masalah jodoh, anak, rezeki dan perasaan orang lain kita hanya punya dua pilihan; either berbahagia dan iklas atau berburuk hati dan prasangka. Pilihan pertama tidak memakan biaya sedangkan pilihan yang kedua menghabiskan budget, tenaga dan waktu.  Rempong, ciiinnn…

 

“Kenapa Harus Bule”: When Indonesian Woman Dating Bule

“Kenapa harus bule?” (means “Why Bule?”) is one of the most-asked questions people give to me lately ( in the first place is question about how I can stay skinny –..–” ). The term ‘bule’ (read: boo -lé) means non-Indonesians, mostly referred to white people. If they’re not white but non-Indonesians, they are still referred as bule, added with the name of country they’re from, for instance; bule Arab, bule Korea, etc. Historically, it was a derogatory towards white people, but it’s changed a lot, maybe because most Asians adore fair skin or it’s the dollar effects.

This post is inspired by a newly released Indonesian movie with the same title, “Kenapa Harus Bule”, that tells about a brown-skinned, black-haired Indonesian woman in her early 30s who’s looking for a man to be with but she’s been told many times that her look is not up to Indonesian standard of beauty and only bules find her beautiful. Anyway, this post is not a movie review, because I haven’t watched it yet. It’s my own opinions as an Indonesian woman who hasn’t dated Indonesians for years and because of that, people like me, can easily got labelled as a Bule Hunter. Bule Hunter is such a phenomenon that I don’t deny it exists, especially in touristy areas and has negative connotations because they’re mostly only after the dollars, or other prestige or any other silly reasons. Of course there are also people like me who just happen to have/ have had non-Indonesian partners because we really fall in love with the persons they are, not because they’re bules, it just happened to be a part of their identities. I mean, come on, me?? hunt?? I’m the fox, baby! LOL.

In Indonesia, it’s common to give stereotypes to Indonesian who’s dating or married to a bule, especially if the bule is Caucasian. These stereotypes are more easily thrown to Indonesian women who date bule than Indonesian men who date bule. Why?? Because that’s just the world of patriarchy works, so sad but it’s still the world we live in.

I’ve dated (and flirted with) both locals and bules, from my experience, I can say that we’re all the same in many ways regardless the country, race, religions, etc, there’s only one race which is human race. You can find douchebags Indonesian guys, you can find douchebags bule guys. There are good, open-minded bule guys, there are also good open-minded Indonesian guys. But yeah, I do admit that there are some traits that can be easily found in westerners, there are some traits that can be easily found in Indonesian guys, it depends on what you’re looking for. I mean, I’m 27 y.o and just like most 27 y.o, we’ve known our selves well, we already know which person will go along well with us, we know which one will make us feel comfortable without being someone we’re not. And in my case, local guys who have that are either in relationship with other people or don’t find me attractive. Hiks!

Of course in dating we’re trying to find someone we feel most comfortable with who has the same values and points of views. I think it’s kinda obvious for people who know me, I don’t think like many Indonesians especially from the ways I look at gender roles. Well probably it’s because in Indonesia (especially in small towns) and many Asian countries, at home parents really give samples of gender roles, home chores are mostly given to girls and young girls are told about how important marriage is since we’re 16, how to be a good wife, how to find husband, etc. I’m too rebel for that. For a small example, I witness a lot how wives are exhausted taking care of the house and kids all day and when the husbands come home, they asked the wives to make coffee for them. I mean, are you serious?? You have legs, hands, and brain, why don’t you do your sh*t by yourself? And if I speak my mind about it, I will be called ‘a challenge’ or ‘disturbed’ or whatever that sounds like I got wrong education. Meanwhile in bule’s culture and countries, maybe it’s not easy to afford a housemaid, so they’re accustomed to take care of their selves and don’t feel right to ask somebody to do small basic stuffs for them, like making coffee. Some bule guys I was seeing earlier complained because I always gave drink to the guys first before I gave for myself, they asked why I was doing that and they wanted us to be equal.

In Indonesian relationship, women are expected to sacrifice once they get in relationship or marriage. That women are the ones who more likely to give up their career and dreams in the relationship. I disagree with this, why can’t we both grow together? In a broken family with a working mom in Indonesia, woman will be the first to be judged for her husband cheating on her, that’s crazy, if she’s not the one who cheats how could that be her faults? Raising kids and saving a relationships are the responsibilities of everyone in the relationship, not only one side which is determined by gender.

Other thing that I find very obvious is the way of expressing love. I don’t know why in Indonesia it’s so common to believe that if you love someone you need to forbid him/ her from many stuffs to show that you love and care about them. I’ve been told many times by local guys (event though in friendly situations) about how to think, how to dress, which to befriend with and what I think the worst is how and what to dream. Every time I give them signals of interest, they always start to show this symptom. Meanwhile with bule, I feel they’re more free, they may disagree with what I do, but they will not just forbid me right away. I feel more loved when I am given trust rather than limitations without logical explanation.

Also I don’t think I belong to the attractive category in Indonesian standards which prefer lighter skin. I admit that this ever affected me when I was a teenager that I tried so badly to whiten my skin. But deep down I’ve always found sun-kissed skin very sexy, I was just afraid people didn’t find me attractive because I didn’t match the standards. I went out with some locals who told me that they liked me because I was fair and if I was darker, they wouldn’t even try to approach me. Well it’s fine for me and I respect their honesty, we all have taste. What bothers me is when they try to control and make fun of me when my skin got darker after an outdoor activity. One day I posted a photo on my soc-med of my hand holding my then BF’s hand, you know what response I got from my local friends (guys and girls)? “Cihud why is your hand darker than your BF’s hand? He has a more beautiful hand than yours.”, seriously as if I didn’t deserve him because of my shade. I know it was joking, but still didn’t find it funny. So I feel more appreciated by bules that find me physically exotic (that’s what they say). Not only physically, but also intellectually that these guys who I hanged out with always said that the most attractive asset I have is not my skin, face, hair or look, but my mindset and passion. If I was just an exotic brown-skinned but didn’t think like this, didn’t have any other drives in life and only accepted what guys give to me, they wouldn’t fall for me. While many local guys tend to see this as a threat that needs to be shut down.

Also Indonesian guys tend to be more in a hurry when it comes to relationship, they like to plan about marriage at very early stage of relationship for many reasons (not all, but so common), most common reason is age. I kinda see it dangerous to only want things without really knowing why you want it, and I don’t want to be married with someone just because of his fears; fears of age, fears of time, family, etc.

For most Indonesian guys, age is an important consideration. Woman closing to 30 y.o is closing to her game-over. You can be smart, good looking and successful woman, but if you’re over 25, it’s like you’re over 52. Meanwhile, age has never been an issue with bule.

The way we see concept of success also influences how people behave in the relationship and how he/she expects the other to behave. I personally feel that local guys prefer their women to be more needy to them. While for me that is not cute. I always got complaints from local guys for being not needy. One very little example is shown by so many Indo girls speaking in baby voice, like literally baby voice, when they’re with the BFs. Every time I tried this with bule, I successfully got cringe in their eyes, like, “Babe, did you hit your head in a car accident?”

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Or maybe I’ll end up with a swan. We already have a pre-wedding photo.

So, based on the points above, I think my point is that everyone has his/her own ‘market’. Your market may be different from mine. There are billions of billions people in the world, there are so many places. To limit based on specific area is like wasting opportunities, nobody can guarantee that the person who was destined for you was born in the same city, district or country. Maybe he/she was born somewhere in other parts of the world, maybe he/she was born right in the same neighbourhood with you, who knows. So we can’t judge other people’s path that’s different from ours. For many people, they find it easier to understand partners who are from the same city, country or customs. Unfortunately, it doesn’t apply to me, I find understanding Indonesians harder, or maybe it was just bad luck for me to meet only the difficult ones. Nobody can know whether I will end up with a bule or local, nobody knows. Also, to generalize all bules based on race and countries of origins is wrong, they may look similar in our eyes, but they have different passports, different habits, different many things. There were locals who treated me bad, there were bules who treated me bad. I will share about the common misconceptions about dating with bules in different writing later. The more we meet people from different backgrounds, the more we feel that we’re all the same, that we want to be loved, understood and appreciated. We just want to find which one does us more.