Friday, June 12, 2015


These past few days, there's an uproar about the current Minister of Religious Affair's decree to not force restaurants/food stalls to close shop during Ramadan. Unlike his predecessors, who 'asked' food vendors to stop operating during fasting time in the 'spirit' of respect to the Muslim majority, the current Minister seems to believe that respect should be earned, not demanded or forced upon.

And I'm with him on this one.

Call me what you want. Normally, people will be quick to label me and those with similar thinking as a secular or liberal Muslim. And that is if they are somewhat kind. If not, the word 'infidel' usually comes to play. Well, whatever. My religion is my business with my Maker. He has the sole prerogative of judging me, and if I rub you the wrong way, take it up with Him.

But if you still insist on judging me, at least consider the facts prior to delivering the verdict, fair enough?

First of all, let's take a look at how it was done during the Prophet's time. Do correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the Prophet did not forbid his followers from selling food to non-Muslims during Ramadan, especially if that's how they earn their bread and butter. And what the Prophet did not do, if we do it and claim it in the name of Islam, wouldn't we be doing bid'ah instead..?

But let's argue that stopping people from selling food during Ramadan is not done as a religious practice, and therefore doesn't fall under heresy. That would lead us to the next question, what is your purpose of fasting? It's to be able to control and reign yourself away from the temptations of pleasure, right? So, if you forcefully remove and shut down all places that risk tempting you during Ramadan, then what is there to control yourself against, really? To use gaming analogy, if you want to level up, the best way is to go out and fight the enemies out there. But if you remove all the enemies, how can you gain the experience needed to level up? You'll just end up walking and wandering throughout the map gaining nothing.

Also, it's about the satisfaction you'll get at the end of it. Tell me which is more satisfying, facing a tough and challenging battle where you've almost lost several times in the process but still come out victorious; or breezing through an empty road and reaching the finish lane without anything happens that's worth mentioning.

And among the two winners above, which one earned your respect more?

Seriously, nobody likes a spoilt big baby. So don't be a soft baby that demands everything to be baby-proofed. Go learn from your mistakes and pains, and score yourself some respect.

Just make sure those mistakes are well worth it...  ;)

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Rules are meant to be bent

There was, and still is, a big ruckus over the execution of some major drug traffickers yesterday. Most of those executed are foreigners, so their respective countries are at first sweetly pleading, then harshly threatening, and finally cursing with promises of lash-backs and generally throwing tantrums when their vain attempt to rescue their citizens' life failed miserably.

One Australian newspaper even went so far to create the following:

Personally, I disagree with that headline, and I'll let you be the judge of whether my reasoning is logical or not. Kindly remember this is about logic, not fairness.

Universally speaking, there's a very thin line between bravery and stupidity. An example would be charging with a fully loaded AK-47 into a throng of machete wielding hostiles, some may consider it brave. Doing so while knowing that the AK-47 is actually jammed, albeit being fully loaded, is, for lack of a better word, stupid.

It's basically the same with the Bali 9 drug traffickers. Knowingly smuggling drugs into a country having the death penalty in drug-related offenses is seriously dumb. Getting caught while doing it proved beyond a reasonable doubt of the stupidity involved. Nothing to do with bravery here. But of course changing "brave" with "stoopid" in that headline would somehow ruin the whole stout and supporting tone of the article, and most probably affect the sales negatively. We wouldn't want that now, would we?

Still, the rule is pretty simple. If you want to break laws, don't get caught. And if that simple rule is too hard for you, then perhaps you shouldn't be in the business of trying to break any. And perhaps you should resort to bending instead, Avatar style (the A'ang ones, not the blue guys). In general, when you bend something, it makes less conspicuous noise than breaking it. Helps with the trying-not-to-get-caught thingy.

To those of you arguing that the executions will do nothing to stop the drug trafficking, maybe you're right. But then again, maybe you're wrong. What the executions will do, at the very least, is to prove that Indonesia means business about drug trafficking, that the laws are not just there for shows. Perhaps that will give some sense into the drug traffickers. Perhaps then they will value their lives more and reconsider moving their business elsewhere. And millions of innocent children might be spared just by that.

And for those still trafficking on to Indonesia despite the executions, and those who think that drug-trafficking-and-getting-caught-and-getting-executed is the shining example of bravery deserving national praise in the papers, there might still be some hope left. After all, God must have really loved the stupid. Else, He wouldn't create so many, right..?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Goodbye, lil' fishie.

Yesterday, a friend passed away from a heart condition.

She was 33.

And that made me think about the fragility of life. And of all the things I want to do and achieve before my time is up.

But this post is not about those.

This is about her, a person who upon first introduction made me do a mental fist pump while thinking: "Alright, there's someone with a name as equally weird as mine!"

Her name was Salmon.

Yup. Like the fish.

And she's cool like one too.

Going by appearance alone, you might never have guessed that she's a rocker chick.

And that's part of her coolness, I guess. While other gals were busy swooning over the Backstreet Boys and listening to Michael Learns To Rock, her playlist was filled with guys who do know how to rock properly, like the Smashing Pumpkins and the Stone Temple Pilots.

And of course our group went to watch the Pilots together when they came over to Jakarta, 2 years back.

I still have the photos.

And I think that's how I'll remember her by, a cool rocker chick who live her life to the fullest.

Her heart may have suffered physical imperfection, but it was huge and perfect indeed in its metaphysical sense. And the sheer number of people who readily gave her supports in her final days is a testament to that.

Even as this is being written, the whatsapp group dedicated to her is still actively reminiscing the fond memories. It's plain to see, there may be plenty of fish in the sea, but she's the 1 Salmon we'll remember differently.

And I won't be wishing her to rest in peace. Nope.

Rather, I wish her a blast in the afterlife.

So, goodbye, Mon.

Rock on.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

(k)Night Rider

Sometimes last week, I decided to take a different route home, and rode on a microbus.

The driver was a man in his 70s, nicknamed "Opung" (Grandpa) by the microbus community, as he is in fact the oldest guy around that still actively drives the microbus every single day. And that seems legit, because they say even his grandchildren are all already married.

And supposedly, he has been driving microbuses since the early '70s.

So that would be before I was born. A fact that somewhat...rattled me.

I mean, it's not that his driving is bad nor dangerous, because far from that, the guy drives pretty safely and leisurely, if not to say slowly. Opung seemed to gracefully accept the fact that he can no longer compete with the younger drivers and their hustlings, and as such choose to take things at their own pace.

It's just that, at his age, I think he has already earned the right to kick back, relax, and enjoy, you know? Which I'm sure his family would agree on also.

But I guess the guy prefers to spend his time doing something slightly more...productive, in a sense. Since from an economical point-of-view where time is money, he's clearly spending more capital than gaining returns. And that rickety microbus, which is not his and is a rental by the way, is a true reflection that his is definitely not a bling-bling job.

Still, watching him doing his thing humbled me.

Which is why I enjoy these kinds of late night 'adventures', 'coz there's always something interesting or fresh to be learned.

Like that night, in that same microbus, when 3 street kids got on, bringing in their party another passenger: a live chicken.

Apparently, they were supposed to sell the chicken to a fried rice hawker to be cooked, but the hawker turned it down for obvious reason, that being the chicken is still alive and breathing.

I personally believe most hawkers will prefer a ready-to-cook chicken over a living-and-yet-to-be-butchered-then-plucked-clean chicken.

Especially if they plan to spend the night actually cooking dishes, and not plucking chicken feathers.

Anyway, from there, I learned that chickens don't much enjoy microbuses rides.

I'll readily admit that the above is a sweeping statement that derived a general conclusion from just a singular occurrence, but you really should hear the sounds that one chicken was making that night.

They ain't happy sounds.

So if you think you've seen it all, try a night ride on a microbus sometimes.

You just might learn something new.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

I used to be arrogant, but now I'm perfect.

Do you often do stuffs although you fully realize that they won't change a thing?

Well, from that first sentence alone, you should pretty much be able to see where this is going.

And I'll have to admit, I'm guilty of the above crime.

Just like today, when I was just reading through this blog and then read some stuff that I feel could've been written better. And should've been.

So what did I do? Yup, I went on to edit them.

Knowing full-well that the chance of anyone noticing the changes would be slimmer than, say, an anorexic pinworm.

But still, I did it anyway.

Not so much because I'm pulling a Sinatra and insist on doing things my way.

No, my friend.

I'll say it clear.

I'll state my case, of which I'm certain.

See, the reason behind it is more due to the fact that I'm a perfectionist of a sort. Especially when it's not in the way of my general lackadaisical nature.

And if that quirky little adjective I've used just now throws you off the topic, don't worry, that word is easily google-able.

Anyway, being a stickler for perfection to some degree, there will be times where I just can't resist the urges to change/edit/modify/revise stuffs to be better (at least to me personally) than they were before, even though they won't matter at all.

Or won't matter anymore.

Because I do realize that some changes, if done just at the right moments, could've made a heaven and earth difference on the outcome of things.

Still, sometimes, despite us actually making all the right revisions, it simply is...too late.

Or as they say, that ship has sailed.

But that's what keep us all humans, I guess. The errors and the misjudgements we made.

And the mistimings.

After all, true perfection is the sole prerogative of God.

And we're all perfect in our imperfections.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The fear of falling

Apparently, there's this bit of problem with letting go.

The fear of falling.

When you're so used to holding on to something to keep yourself from falling, letting go can be quite the challenge.

But it's pretty much all in our head, actually. The fear, that is.

Because no one could keep holding on forever. And by no means that anyone should either. Since if the thing you're holding on to with dear life is static and unmoving, that means you're not going anywhere anytime soon.

When you want to go somewhere, being stuck and going nowhere can be... Tiring..?

But pretty soon, you'll realize that there is some merit in stepping out into the world on your own.

In independence. And freedom. And confronting your fear of falling.

Only by letting go, experiencing falling, and learning to stabilize ourselves and control our fall, will all of us be able to grow.

And hopefully, become stronger.

Move (on) faster.

Bounce back higher.

And finally learn how to fly.

So, go on. Let('s) go.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Keep the faith

Today was the first day in my new office.

I was given a tour around and got introduced to 100+ other employees, which by the end of the day, I probably remember 8 out of. Well okay, maybe 6.

Among the highlights of the day includes the office-wide potluck that just happened to be today. There were so much food that what's left should be enough for another small party.

But what's really memorable was the trip going to office this morning. Which is where the faith topic came in.

To go to the office, I took this small bus, and incidentally today was my first time ever taking that bus, so I wasn't quite sure of what to expect. The bus turns out to have plenty fans. And die-hard ones at that also, who don't mind dangling from the door of the bus doing 80 on the highway. And boy, the driver sure likes to go fast.

And if you're wondering why the passengers would be dangling from the door, it's simply because the bus was sardine-can packed. And still the conductor kept yelling to the passengers to push inside a bit more to make space when the rest of us pressed inside are pretty darn sure there weren't any.

He was unwavering in his faith that there are actually some empty space in the middle area of the bus. Perhaps in some pocket dimensional rift. Which he urged us on to go to by dangling more and more passengers at the door.

His faith in the structural strength of the bus was also commendable, considering that the bus was definitely excessively loaded by at least 50% of its recommended payload.

And never question his faith in the skills of the driver, who continuously drove at top speed while zigzagging through the highway traffic. I half suspect the bus had an inertial nullifier system installed to support such driving style.

I'm also pretty sure the driver thinks that the bus is built for an off-road rally.

All-in-all, it was a pretty thrilling -- and somewhat religious from the amount of prayers recited -- ride.

I look forward to take a ride back on it tonight.