Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Gotta ask myself why I keep watching TV.

There are three reasons why I am not watching anything and you may add if you want to.

1. Except O Channel and Metro, all TV stations’ darling is gossip shows, successfully popularized under the name infotainment (again, I don’t know what is so informing and entertaining about knowing other people’s private business) and they behave that they are responsible to let you know why those celebrities get married and divorced, what time they have breakfast, etc. Trans TV feels it has moral obligation to update us with gossips and that is why it runs Insert Pagi, Insert (sometime at twelve), and Insert Sore, everyday.
I think the TVs know that you are not going to be more loaded and readier for life just because you are informed that Julia Perez got her period this morning but commercials have always been haplessly lured with these showings. All the defense we have got from them is this excuse “What we are doing here is to reflect what the people want”.

Before I go with Number 2, let’s picture ourselves with the common situations in those gossip shows: A mom just learned her son died in a motorcycle accident, one father is radiantly all smiles for his first baby, and parents are devastated to learn that their daughter got jailed because of drugs. When any of those situations is plainly black or white, what you will almost always hear from them is this question: “BAGAIMANA PERASAAN BAPAK/IBU SEKARANG?”.
You couldn’t help asking yourself how these media guys they live to believe they have been responsible for our improved intelligence.

2. Shows like American Idol mediocre wannabees on Indosiar and TPI run from 4 or 5 P.M and finish at 1 A.M and the programs encourage anyone to support contestants by texting KETIK REG bla bla bla. The impact has been devastating; they borrowed money (to loan sharks) and sold everything they had to smoothen their road to fame and the failed guys, most of them, have to live on the brink of survival to repay their debts. KOMPAS reported they end up being a pariah in Jakarta and do any manual job or anything to survive and pay off what they borrowed. TVs know this but they have never devised a mechanism that allows one vote from one number, let alone openly and constantly reminded participants and viewers they must not jump into crazy texting. But again, with one text deducts your phone credit Rp. 2,200 (it is fourteen times more expensive than the normal rate Rp 99), they are quite on the impact as they benefit from it. Tabloid PULSA once reports this premium texting is a business generating more than one trillion Rupiah in 2007.

3. So called mega sinetrons (what is so ‘mega’ about them anyway?) portray shows to us like, among the impossible others: SMP students acting and getting dressed like street prostitutes and the ever popular depictions of people of the mainstream religion’s superiority over the others and at the same time those people are being disadvantaged. TVs know all this and when they defend the viewings reflect what happens in our society, - that our SMP students are prostitutes and that mainstream Moslems suffer from non other non Moslems -, then they have done a very god job convincing advertisers many will surely watch the sinetrons. Here, nothing excites people more than being reminded that their God is better than those other Gods and knowing their religion is being sidelined by another.
You can not complain. Because when you do, they would laugh and say it is just a fiction put on TV and forget what they just maintain that what they are doing is to reflect the society.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


“You go to a school reunion because you want to tell them, that after all these years, you made it. For whatever it is”.

I did not believe that statement. To me a reunion is a moment I always look forward to. It always excites me to acknowledge that the mighty time always has its way to beat us no matter how much we want to stay forever young. Some girls in my younger years I could not forget for their stunning looks kept convincing me that they were really the ones I had always admired. They did not look the same. Some boys I envied for their athletic builds are not now any better than me; they have developed these belies and thinned their hair on their heads. Some did manage to fool the time; they came up with lighter skins (must have been those whitenings) and darker complexions.
And for some I could not recall how they were back then, I just said to them they looked wiser. I do not know what I meant by saying that...

But the real excitement went more than skin deep. I was so thrilled to know that after all those years I could feel the glimpse of time standing still when we met. That all conversation evolved how we got punished by that teacher for not wearing black shoes and white socks; this girl cried a river because some boys (I know them) concocted a plan to give her a quick kiss on her way to the rest room (which I kept hearing that but never got the chance to ask that girl if it was true); that I erased some recorded tape for third graders’ final test and got caught by the teacher himself, Pak Amir, our guru olah-raga. The recollection went on and on and that moment made those nineteen years like yesterday.

But all that conversation that developed during the reunion got me to agree they said above. I overheard some did not come because of, you know, all these they considered failure. The reunion is such an obviously stupid declaration. One friend was not there because she said she was just a housewife and thought she would be ashamed if old friends asked what she did for a living. Though she admitted taking care of kids (and the husband, of course) was beyond how much someone can make every month, she just could not overcome the feeling that success in life must be attached with a job located somewhere in Sudirman or Thamrin or Kuningan. One failed her marriage and knowing that the ex is one of us, the classmates, gave her more reasons not to attend this get-together. She had her point: “Why would I keep hurting myself by all the reminiscing with him around?”

For some less acceptable reasons, some declined to go there because they do not have a kid yet and some because they have too many kids (more than two are deemed too many and they thought it was silly). Remarks like “Is that true you have four children now?!” or “you have no kids yet, right?”
To most, these questions are good lines to open a conversation but to those few, thinking of those questions, the questions kill even before the conversation is started.

But those old photos displayed during the reunion were the eye opener of what is larger than the excuses. Seeing some of our friends are gone forever, I had to admit that no matter happened or happens or will happen, that he or she is alive and here is more than anything to all of us, maybe to me especially. I have not been successful for what they expected me to be and neither have I been immune to those pains but I am glad to tell you that I am still here.

See you in our next reunion, nine teen years from now, in 2027...

Thursday, August 7, 2008


One imaginary and impromptu QA with someone asking me how I see our periodicals, magazines and tabloids, would hopefully light up what we have known, yet.

Q: What do you think of those pretty faces on those magazines?
A: Photoshopped. And if those readers were smart enough to know, I mean what they see can’t exist, they would not die emulating them. But more importantly, they have been pretty successful in convincing girls with education to believe that life is all about cosmetics, shoes, clothes. I do not think that is the reason why parents sent them to school.

Q: How about the contents?
A: I don’t know why they are buying commercials (bundled in a magazine). That’s what I see from BAZAAR.

Q: Do you think what they say is what they do?
A: I don’t understand when one says Fun Fearless Female because every issue is headlined with sex position, sex techniques, and all the ideas that sex is all it takes to keep your man…
If Fun and Fearless means is all all about that, then it should be modified into Boring and Fearful.

Q: Let’s move on with our tabloids …
A: Why Mayang won Bambang’s heart; why Hughes has not been with child after having been married for two years; and when Ariel went to PIM with Luna Maya, etc. I don’t understand how come someone feels more loaded and readier for life just because she or he knows Julia Perez got her period today?

Q: OK. What do you want to say about men’s magazines?
A: Philip Yance has it right in his book that FHM, MAXIM, and the like are soft porn, with girls scantily clothed and their body’s statistics and worded fantasies; they keep telling why it is normal once in a while to cheat on your wife as long as you don’t get caught. Life goes around girls, sex, gadgets, cars; one says that your car is your personality. Let me tell you, I don’t have a car.

All said, does anybody see enslavement in disguise?

This is dedicated to Yvonne. Congratulations on your new job; I prayed you are going to be God’s message there.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


There are reasons why we superheroes fly or sling. Otherwise, this is what happens:

And I think you know now why it takes only Christopher Reeve or Italian-looking can cast Superman:

And why we have to keep them busy with bad guys:
(how can I help you, Ma'am?)

And last, you know they can not be kept a bit too long together. After all, they are just human like us .....


All the efforts to revive the pride we can wear (in the name of National Awakening and Independence Day) to show ourselves and the world that we are a great nation is a waste. And knowing what has happened all these times, you would find it hard to disagree.
It is very difficult to deny that we are so pessimistic and indifferent to what goes on in this country and if those politicians say that we can never be a nation of a great people with all this pessimism and indifference, I think they should really, really take a hard look at themselves and they would find why the rest of the people keep burned-out on everything happening. How people see themselves is equivalent to how they see their government. If it does its job to protect them well, then they will think the government secures the people and if it provides affordable education, then they will see the government concerns with their quality life.

And this is how we have gotten ourselves covered. We have the Supreme Court but the label Supreme keeps pushing us to acknowledge they are nothing but a place full of crooks and the bust of its high-rank officers like Urip who was red-handedly caught accepting moneyfrom Ayin only confirms the resentment. And when we found out that that Ayin was using the cell phone to concoct some dodging tricks for her trialwhile she was in police custody, what are we left to trust the police?
We elected those to represent us in the House of Representatives and what they have been doing is anything but to represent us. We are constantly (made) astounded these prodigal sons": we curse bad public transportation because we can barely survive it and they pass the law that enable for Alphards or Jags or Bimmers; we are indoctrinated to “hang in there’ and live frugally and what we have got here is they lead life styles that are dictated by extravagant spending. And when they are there for some sort of assignment to oversee that no regulation was bent by some bad guys, we are shown with how the members of the House keep it bent, as long as the bad guys splash them with generous (sex) entertainment and of course, money. Ask Amin; He'll tell you better.

All said, then it goes down disgustingly the same with Kelurahan, Hospital, Education, businesses, permits, and even public cemetery management.

Stars Spangled Banner sounds so nearer than Indonesia Raya...