Wednesday, October 31, 2007


If God asks me a question "Who am I to you?", then He wants me to fully understand that how I perceive of Him is simply a personal matter, meaning I am not endowed to push people around when learning that their perception is different from mine.

But that question "Who am I to you?' does not apply to some of these people. A small group of people interpret the teaching of one of mainstream religions differently and they have received, from those who say that they understand the teaching better, heavyweight blows on them; intimidations, physical abuses, and other forms of mistreatment. And this is not the first time these Indonesian God's people came down and pulverized those who'd DARE to interpret it differently.

Two years ago, a woman declared that she was the last Messiah and found herself under heavy public judgment and police investigations, thanks to those who disagreed with her idea and said that declaration was a disturbance to the public.
Years earlier, the same thing happened with this guy saying that God understood all languages and was not bothered if you did not use Arabic. He was imprisoned for daring to say that to speak to God, for example in Bahasa Jowo or Betawi, you would not need Arabic.

I don't know much of God. He knows me. Conviction is always a serious matter but the realization of it is a more serious to Him, I think.

And before I start torching these people, He tells me, "Ridwan, love your enemy".

Monday, October 22, 2007


I think the most difficult job for Webster and Oxford when they have to launch the new edition of their dictionaries is to define the word want and need.

I am sorry to say that people become more alienated with things they need to survive and things they want but of course, not anyone, that includes me, would dare to say openly that many are enslaved by wants. But the heart can tell that the ever creative ways people find to substitute need with want are so questioning.

SALE signs have absolutely been puppeteering people on this. I know. They simply put the signs and automatically it rushes people like crazy to department stores for clothes. The same attitude they demonstrate on cell phones, toiletries, hair color.

In some of the classes I teach, identity is confirmed with how new cell phones are. It is the only they communicate with each other by showing off the cell phones mostly used only for text-messaging (by the way, some of students have constantly been shy to open new messages or receive calls in front of their other friends. Later I learned that their cell phones were responsible for their shame; they are old ones and they never want to be target of questions like 'hey, are you not supposed to replace that one with newer model? I have seen that since last year')

God gave them brunette hair and they have it dyed black and they have it blackened for brunette God gave. Whatever that consummates a waste is all some will do .
It is very difficult to accept that at the same time people are dying for basic needs and it takes only one tenth of the money people spent on the hair color. You can check on those companies' fat incomes coming from their hair colors.

To save my blogger space, you could add yourselves to that list of confusion.

They say I am a saver. I think what they want to say is I am a broke cynic.
Ha.. ha...

In my defense, I don't want to forgo my weapon of choice, though it is very hard to resist the temptation to being enslaved.

Friday, October 19, 2007


I believe you all have watched Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth. A convincing documentary, it simply tells us how much we have been puzzled by climate changes as we keep burning fossil-based fuels to run our economy; extended dry season in one region is contrasted with flooded lands in another region and snow melts faster than it used to.
And the moral tag line that follows is that you must replace this kind fuel with another one more friendly to the environment. And yes, it is your car mostly.

But all catastrophe aside, you can't stop Global Warming by driving a more environment-friendly one, replacing your Hummer with one running on hybrid fuel, let's say this famed Toyota Prius. What global warming does not tell you is that as you replace your Hummer, you pump car production to a higher level and this is not very okay in the process.
A new one, no matter how friendly it is, is bound to deplete and hurt the Earth more; the car manufacturer uses leather, paints, plastics that leave waste, it assembles your car with machinery powered with electricity running friendly gasoline, and let's make it quick, it transports your brand new car ready at your home, uses a truck running also on not so friendly gasoline.

And that's why the poor save the day with the idea of this Global Warming.

Poor people act better and thanks to their limited access to consuming. They have less to contribute the warming. A bus packed with people in the morning is a real environmental saver. True, the bus contributes to the pollution, but imagine if each of its passengers could buy their own cars. And the rich have, for example air conditioner and air heater, waiting to warm the atmosphere even more. The rich should also be grateful for the poor's inability to buy books for books were made mostly from woods taken from the forests that keep the Earth's climate cool.

I'd better shut down my computer before the poor get me on their list as one of the those responsible.

Monday, October 15, 2007


If I were a celebrity of sort and approached one day by a crowd of journalists asking me what someone should do to live a healthier and happier life, I’d say people shouldn’t be reading gossip news nor watching gossip shows. I’d also add gossips and stuff don’t do any good to life.

I have no idea if they will print or air my statement.

Any idea how many gossip shows we have on our TVs? Let’s see. One TV dutifully has four for you in a day, each lasts for 30 minutes; it gives you one at 6 A.M to welcome your new day, another one at 10 AM to make sure you remember what you watched at 6 AM, another at 3 PM to tell you it is something you have watched at 6 AM and 9 AM, and the other one at 9 PM just to see you realize that you are too late to feel disgusted. Please understand that it supplies you the shows everyday, and the other eight TV stations do the same.

I gotta admit that one of the things that annoys me is gossip news or shows on TV. I know it’s a living paradox; as we live in a time when TVs have contributed to the popular creed of “just mind your own business”, they at the same time simply do the opposite.

Nobody is benefited by gossip shows. Simply uselessly informed. If one watches the news that tells him that this celebrity just delivered her first baby from her third marriage, or, one TV informs that actor lost his hair after he’d lost his girl, then how would this information benefit him?

Gossip shows are bound to make their viewers small and leave them daydreaming, making them wish their life were as easy as the celebrities’. If staying in a hotel is what they avoid the best they can, simply because it is an expensive thing to do, the shows would tell you that this actor has lived in that hotel, costing him $5,000 every night; you bought a 100-meter-square property and you told the whole world how proud you were for your hard-earned achievement, and they would tell you that none of those celebrities were even willing to occupy on a property of less than 10,000 meters square.

One of the responsibilities of those TVs is to report news, not to create it. However, you have seen it too many times they would throw a rumor “One man indeed saw this basketball player holding hands with the mysterious woman so passionately”, that set this one guy on fire and he would naturally retaliate by saying “It is not true”, “It’s so groundless and irresponsible”. The press conference for denying would be set up but of course it couldn’t make up the damage done. One news got heard and somebody got hurt. Nobody realizes how unethical this has been.

So, when those TVs have tried so successfully to replace the word gossip with the word infotainment, I find it disturbing. To me, info is information, data, from which one benefits and entertainment is a performed spectacle which a spectator enjoys, but not at the expense of the performer. To my dismay, some suggested the word edutainment for this kind of show: education and entertainment.

Mom’s right; say no evil, hear no evil, and see no evil.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


I am glad I was born a male. At least this makes less vulnerable to the never-ending commercials telling me to wear whitening creams or lotions to guarantee a happier life.

I know you KNOW. Many women have been fooled with the idea that a happier and more successful life is privileged only to those with white skins, thanks to those whitening creams and lotions (they must have been SUCCESSFULLY fooled, otherwise the companies would have stopped paying TVs to air their products).

However, since it is not politically correct, I am not allowed to name them. But you know then; one TV ad depicts a woman having been sexually disregarded by her husband (and you can blame it on her dark skin) and Voila! after using the whitening, the husband starts to be sexually attracted to her again!. Amusingly, I wonder what men would think of seeing their intelligence being lowered to this kind of bait.

Another shows one woman, wearing an evening gown, prefers on a horseback because this horse-riding will expose her white thighs to be admired (I just don't get it). Again, thanks to the whitening.

I have never known skin color dictates meaningful life. Qualities do. One may have bleached skin but I don't think this will say and save anything . Things like politeness, gentleness, respectfulness, understanding are reasons why people stick around. One with white skin doesn't guarantee how well that person holds her tongue only to say anything graceful.

Absurd but true.

But some just have less time to check what's in and more time to check what's out.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


This is no Tim Burton's film, but more it is a mixed feeling I've got with all TV showings going on now. You've got everything packaged over-religiously styled as if people would've watched them like those films highlighted in Box Office America in VOA.

I am no fan of sinetrons. Period. When I started to look for some entertainment from our TVs and all was available was the same settings and situations, then I couldn't help asking "Why are they all falling into the same things??!" You know; everybody's yelling at each other for sex and money in all the time, students who never make it to the class but only talk about fancy cars and stuff having nothing to do with school, people who are good to the bone against other people bad to the bone.

So came this religious month and I thought I would've been relaxed with less absurd reality twisters because, after all, this is a religious month. But I was wrong. Then like nothing bad happened before, they start showing these settings; everybody's yelling at each other for sex and money in all the same time IN THE NAME OF GOD, students who never make it to the class but only talk about fancy cars IN THE NAME OF GOD, and people who are good to the bone against people bad to the bone IN THE NAME OF GOD.

This is what I'd see this month from those sinetrons: If you want to see yourself as a good person before God, you must resist the temptation to defend your violated rights and JUST pray for His vengeance upon the bad guys AND you are suffered by people who don't share the same belief with you.
And in addition to that, these characters keep telling me I am just forever damned since I don't believe what they believe. One sinetron's fun times is when they display you one woman (of course with her religious symbol) is being harassed with her superior who speaks with a heavy Batak accent (sometimes another unjust character with Balinese accent) and some other abuse being prosecuted by a man with names like Thomas, Alexander, Made. It doesn't take the brain of rocket scientist to assume to what religion these so 'grotesque' characters belong.

Hello Dear Noel!