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Monday, September 16, 2019

The Wake Up Call

Two years had past. It was time for my medical check up. Now this is something that most people don't like to do, especially when you aren't so young anymore. Some people are afraid to do it because they'd rather avoid the truth, haha. However, in my opinion, that's not the right thing. If there is some sort of illness going on in our body, it is likely to be easier to cure it early. Hence go for your routine medical check up and don't be afraid. After all the truth will reveal itself.

In the past, my medical check up result were always perfect. Not this time, though. The nurse told me that my body fat exceeded the normal range. Oh, no!! Even though my weight and BMI were still in normal range, this was still like a wake up call for me.

It's time to exercise!! It's time to burn the body body fat. But it's easier to say than getting it done though, haha. To get started is the most difficult thing to do, am I right? But everyone needs to start somewhere.

I bought my exercise outfit about three months ago. Even the clothing label was still there. I never touched the outfit. I kept delaying to do it day by day. Why? Because I was never a sporty person. There are two things I hate to do the most in life. One is ironing clothes and second is exercise. There is always a reason behind what we hate. I hate ironing my clothes because the iron kept accidentally burning my hand, so I gave up! As for exercise, there were few times when I tried jogging but I always ended up going home using becak, bus or other public transport. My heart couldn't stand it. So I gave up. The only sport I do is swimming, but I am just a social swimmer, haha.

Anyway, back to my check up result. It was a wake up call for me. I had to start exercise, whether I liked it or not. I gathered my courage and told myself, I must lower the body fat and increase the muscle mass. While the motivation was there, I went home, quickly took out my exercise outfit and headed to the gym immediately, much to the surprise of my husband. Prior to that, he had been asking me to exercise with him but I always rejected him, saying I better slept because I didn't see the need of me to do so. One of my friends even said, "no wonder it is raining today," when I told her I couldn't answer her call earlier as I just finished my exercise.

Start slow. I started with a treadmill walk about 30 minutes and continued with short exercise from YouTube to loose tummy fat. Dont force yourself, don't be intimidated by others, especially when you were in the gym and your neighbours were doing much better than you. Rest or drink water to stay hydrated. Just do what you are comfortable at so you don't feel discouraged. Practice makes perfect. I am getting better day by day and indeed I enjoy it.

That's how I got started. It had been two weeks and it is still going strong. If you manage to find moments to spare and a slight motivation, quickly go for it. Don't hesitate and don't listen to your own excuses.

I felt good after doing a routine exercise. I could feel immediately my metabolism was better and I felt fresh everyday. Best of all, I managed to reduce my body fat to normal range after two weeks of routine exercise.

Health is not something that money can buy. Don't wait too long. Hope this writing gives you a bit of motivation to start exercise. If somebody who hated exercise like me could do it, so could you!


Friday, September 13, 2019

Breath Of The Wild

As much as I loved the Legend of Zelda, when I bought Nintendo Switch, I started with Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario instead. Yes, of course I'd heard about Breath of the Wild before, but for some strange reason, the good review felt rather overwhelming. I was simply nervous and wasn't ready for what I knew would be a grand adventure, so I choose to get acclimatised with Switch by playing something else first.

Six months down the road, after I completed Mario Odyssey and Yoshi's Crafted World (the latter was literally a child's play, suitable for kids), I finally got myself a copy of Breath of the Wild. I didn't like the title and still don't, especially when it was compared with brilliant ones from Zelda series such as A Link Between Worlds, Twilight Princess or Phantom Hourglass. Those three examples had a certain quality that it was about something colossal.

Link on the hill of the Great Plateau, when he first came out from the Shrine of Resurrection.

Nevertheless, the gameplay felt right from the start. The moment it began, you couldn't help feeling that you were in the midst of some unfinished business, but yet you couldn't really tell what it was. Link was in a shrine, trying to figure out what actually happened, and by the time he made his way out, the camera zoomed out and the whole wide world was unfolded right in front of Link. Classy!

Then the adventure finally began. As a player, we were given time to learn what it took to survive in the kingdom of Hyrule (or what's left of it). The way it was done was sort of like a hand-holding experience, but yet very intuitive. By the time this ended, we'd have picked up the necessary skills to venture out into the wilderness. The calamity that happened 100 years ago was then revealed to Link, but this is nothing compared with the details you were going to discover later on. There were memories scattered around and once you obtained all, you'd have a full picture of what happened in the past.

A happier moment, the only photo of Princess Zelda and the Champions.
From left, clockwise: Revali, Urbosa, Daruk, Link and Mipha. 

Yes, apart from the almost logical and lifelike gameplay (it was slippery when it rained, for instance), Breath of the Wild also had the most impressive story ever! It was so epic, worthy of a legend. Like most of its predecessors, it started with a prophecy that Ganon would return and the kingdom of Hyrule was preparing for it. The Hylian managed to discover the four Divine Beasts, the enormous animalistic machines that were built by the Sheikah 10,000 years ago. Princess Zelda then travelled across the land to recruit four elite warriors to pilot the Divine Beasts. Revali of the Rito joined and commanded Vah Medoh, the great eagle. Daruk of the Goron tribe was selected as the Champion and he piloted Vah Rudania, the giant salamander. Princess Mipha of the Zora was in charge of Vah Ruta, the mighty elephant. Urbosa, the chieftain of Gerudo, controlled Vah Naboris, the mechanical camel.

Now, it wouldn't be really interesting if they just had background stories. The people behind the game clearly knew this, therefore each of the Champions was given a strong personality, too. The interaction became very appealing that as a player, one would end up caring about them. We'd learn what happened one century ago as the flashbacks came together: Revali's pride and arrogance, Mipha's unrequited love for Link, Princess Zelda's frustration of being unable to awaken her innate power and the tears she shed when they lost the battle, you'd feel sorry for her and sympathise those fallen Champions.

When Calamity Ganon returned.

And that brought us to the day when the game started. As Link, we resumed the good fight and the result was going to be different this time. We conquered the sky of Tabantha, climbed up the coldest mountains of Hebra, and crossed the driest desert of Gerudo. We journeyed through the melting heat of Eldin and the never-ending rain of Lanayru. We went where the four winds blew, to the highest peaks, to the waterfalls and seas, solving mysteries, helping people and even saving a majestic dragon along the way. The game adopted the open-world concept, which meant we were free to roam the land. 

Instead of the traditional dungeons, we explored the Divine Beasts and wrestled the control back from the Scourges of Ganon. By doing so, Link freed the spirits of the Champions that were imprisoned inside the Divine Beasts when they met their heroic demise 100 years ago. Each of them would then bestow their unique abilities to Link. Together with the Divine Beasts, they were instrumental in defeating Calamity Canon. Eventually it was up to Link and Princess Zelda to finish the job.

Divine Beast Vah Rudania.

Much to the delight of long time fans like me, Breath of the Wild also paid tribute to the previous entries. I'd been puzzled by how familiar the names Vah Ruta, Vah Rudania and Vah Naboris were, but only when Urbosa spoke of Nabooru that I realised the story was linked back to Ocarina of Time. The earlier games were acknowledged as events that happened long before Breath of the Wild. There were relics such as Majora's Mask (that was cleverly described as an eerie mask passed down from ancient times), Island Lobster Shirt from the Wind Waker (it was stated that the Hero of the Winds once wore this shirt on the quaint island he called home) and many more. Even Epona returned as a legendary horse.

And of course there was music we knew and loved. You couldn't have a Zelda game without good music. The Overworld theme song were used time and again but in a way it wasn't done before. It was melancholic and subdued in flashbacks and you could also listen to a different arrangement of it when you stormed into the dangerous Hyrule Castle. Epona's song was playing as you approached any stables. If Kass the Rito was there, you'd hear the accordion version of it. Then of course there was Zelda's Lullaby, too. I remember hearing it when Zelda was praying at the Spring of Power.

When Princess Zelda finally sealed Ganon with the power of Tri Force.

With the exception of Tri Force Heroes, the Legend of Zelda series had been consistently good for the past 30 years, but never before it came up with something like Breath of the Wild. With such gameplay, story and songs, it was simply the best game ever. It'd be very hard to top this one, therefore the response to the news of Breath of the Wild 2 was overwhelmingly positive. The expectation is all-time high! Can't hardly wait!

The sequel!



Breath Of The Wild

Saya adalah penggemar berat the Legend of Zelda, namun ketika saya membeli Nintendo Switch, saya justru mulai dulu dengan game Sonic the Hedgehog dan Super Mario. Ya, tentu saja saya sudah mendengar tentang Breath of the Wild yang fenomenal, tapi semua ulasan bagus yang saya baca membuat saya gugup. Saya belum siap untuk melibatkan diri dalam sebuah petualangan yang luar biasa, jadi saya bermain game lain dulu untuk membiasakan diri dengan Switch.

Enam bulan kemudian, setelah saya menamatkan Mario Odyssey dan Yoshi's Crafted World (yang satu ini benar-benar game yang cocok untuk anak-anak), barulah saya membeli Breath of the Wild. Saya tidak suka judulnya, terutama karena bila dibandingkan dengan judul-judul lain seperti A Link Between WorldsTwilight Princess atau Phantom Hourglass, Breath of the Wild tidaklah terkesan kolosal.

Link melindungi Zelda dari para Yiga.

Kendati begitu, pola permainannya terasa menarik dari sejak awal. Begitu mulai, anda akan merasa seperti berada di tengah-tengah suatu peristiwa yang sedang berlangsung, tapi tidak jelas apa yang telah terjadi. Link berada di dalam kuil dan begitu dia berhasil keluar, kamera sudut pandang pun menjauh dan dunia luas terbentang di hadapannya. Adegan yang sungguh berkelas!

Kemudian petualangan yang sesungguhnya pun dimulai. Sebagai pemain, kita diberikan waktu untuk mempelajari apa yang kita butuhkan untuk bisa bertahan di reruntuhan kerajaan Hyrule. Pada awalnya kita seperti dituntun oleh seorang pengelana tua, namun prosesnya sangat intuitif sehingga kita kian terbiasa dengan apa yang harus dilakukan. Ketika kita berhasil menyelesaikan misi yang diberikan, keahlian yang dibutuhkan untuk berkelana pun kurang-lebih sudah dipahami. Bencana yang terjadi 100 tahun silam akhirnya diceritakan pada Link, tapi detilnya akan kita dapatkan di dalam perjalanan kita nanti. Ada 18 kenangan yang tersebar di seantero Hyrule dan begitu anda mengumpulkan semuanya, anda akan mengerti rentetan peristiwa yang terjadi di masa lalu.

Putri Zelda mengambil foto dengan Sheikah Slate yang berfungsi seperti telepon genggam.

Ya, selain pola permainan yang nyaris realistis dan logis (sebagai contoh, tebing menjadi licin saat hujan), Breath of the Wild juga memiliki jalan cerita yang paling mengesankan, persis seperti sebuah legenda. Seperti cerita-cerita sebelumnya, kisah kali ini juga dimulai dengan ramalan bahwa Ganon akan kembali dan kerajaan Hyrule pun mempersiapkan diri. Para Hylian berhasil menemukan empat Divine Beasts, mesin raksasa berbentuk binatang yang diciptakan oleh orang-orang Sheikah 10.000 tahun yang lampau. Putri Zelda lantas berkelana untuk mencari empat pahlawan yang akan mengemudikan Divine Beasts. Revali dari suku Rito bergabung dan mengontrol Vah Medoh, sang elang raksasa. Daruk dari Goron terpilih untuk mengontrol Vah Rudania yang berbentuk salamander. Mipha, putri sulung raja Zora, bertanggung jawab atas Vah Ruta, sang gajah perkasa. Urbosa, pemimpin para Gerudo, mendapatkan unta mesin Vah Naboris.

Nah, kalau saja semua ini hanya sebatas cerita masa silam, tentunya tidak begitu menarik. Orang-orang yang terlibat dalam pembuatan game mengerti akan hal ini, jadi para pahlawan pun diberikan karakter yang kuat. Interaksi mereka sangat menarik sehingga sebagai pemain, kita akan jadi terbuai oleh ceritanya dan peduli dengan setiap tokoh cerita. Lewat cuplikan kenangan masa lalu Link, kita jadi mengetahui tentang keangkuhan Revali, cinta Mipha pada Link yang tulus namun tidak kesampaian, frustrasinya Putri Zelda terhadap kemampuannya yang terpendam serta rasa bersalah yang ditanggungnya ketika mereka kalah dan lari dari pertempuran. Ada rasa simpati saat melihat Zelda meneteskan air mata.

Berpose untuk foto bersama.
Dari kiri: Revali, Urbosa, Putri Zelda, Mipha dan Daruk di belakang mereka.

Dan semua itu membawa kita pada hari dimana game ini bermula. Sebagai Link, kita kembali meneruskan pertarungan yang tertunda. Langit Tabantha ditaklukkan, gunung es di Hebra didaki, gurun Gerudo yang kering pun dijelajahi. Panas membara di Eldin dan hujan tiada henti di Lanayru juga dilewati. Kita melanglang ke empat penjuru mata angin, ke puncak tertinggi, air terjun dan laut, memecahkan misteri dan membantu berbagai orang di sepanjang jalan. Game ini mengadopsi konsep dunia terbuka, jadi kita bisa mengembara ke mana pun kita suka.

Berbeda dengan game sebelumnya dimana Link selalu menjelajahi istana atau penjara bawah tanah yang berliku-liku, di episode ini kita mengeksplorasi bagian dalam Divine Beasts dan mengambil alih binatang mesin raksasa ini dari momok ciptaan Ganon. Setelah mengalahkan musuh, Link pun membebaskan jiwa para pahlawan yang terperangkap di dalam Divine Beasts ketika mereka gugur 100 tahun silam. Masin-masing pahlawan ini lantas memberikan kemampuan mereka yang unik kepada Link. Bersama-sama dengan Divine Beasts, mereka nantinya akan membantu Link dalam menaklukkan Ganon di pertarungan terakhir. Setelah itu semuanya tergantung pada Link dan Putri Zelda.

Link dan Zelda, ketika mereka kalah dalam pertempuran 100 tahun silam.

Satu hal yang membuat para penggemar seperti saya bersorak gembira adalah bagaimana Breath of the Wild memasukkan berbagai elemen para pendahulunya sebagai bagian dari cerita. Saya sempat merasa entah kenapa Vah Ruta, Vah Rudania dan Vah Naboris itu sepertinya terasa tidak asing, namun ketika Urbosa berbicara tentang Nabooru, tahulah saya bahwa nama-nama itu berasal dari Ocarina of Time. Selain itu, masih banyak lagi peninggalan kuno seperti Majora's Mask (yang dideskripsikan sebagai topeng menyeramkan dari masa silam), kaos Island Lobster dari the Wind Waker (di keterangannya dikatakan bahwa Pahlawan Angin memakai kaos ini saat ia tinggal dI sebuah pulau yang misterius) dan masih banyak lagi. Bahkan Epona pun kembali sebagai kuda legendaris.

Tidak hanya itu, musik yang kita kenal baik tentu saja tidak diabaikan di sini. Tema Zelda yang tidak asing lagi dipakai di berbagai adegan, misalnya memori masa lalu dan Istana Hyrule, tapi dengan aransemen yang melankolis dan berbeda dengan sebelumnya. Lagu Epona juga terdengar saat kita memasuki kandang kuda. Jika Kass dari suku Rito kebetulan ada di sana, dia akan memainkan lagu yang sama dengan akordionnya. Tentu saja lagu Zelda's Lullaby pun tidak terlewatkan. Seingat saya, lagu ini terdengar saat Zelda berdoa di Mata Air Kekuatan.

Putri Zelda, sesaat sebelum ia menaklukkan Ganon dalam pertarungan terakhir.

Terkecuali Tri Force Heroes, the Legend of Zelda sangat konsisten kualitasnya selama 30 terakhir, tapi belum pernah menelurkan game sedahsyat Breath of the Wild. Dengan pola permainan, cerita dan musiknya, game terbaru dari serial ini adalah yang terbaik sampai sejauh ini. Tidak akan gampang melampaui prestasi yang satu ini, oleh karena itu respon terhadap berita Breath of the Wild 2 sangatlah positif. Harapan penggemar teramat sangat tinggi! Rasanya tak sabar menantikan tanggal rilisnya!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Ga' Heran!!!

Ada kehebohan di berita Minggu ini. 33 perusahaan yang keluar dari Cina tidak pindah ke Indonesia tetapi ke negara tetangga. Banyak yang mengatakan ijin susah (bisa juga betul), ada pula yang mengatakan lahan mahal dan susah (bisa juga betul). Ini aneh, padahal paparan dari World Bank menyebutkan bahwa Indonesia negara produktif.

Selain alasan-alasan yang dikemukakan di atas, saya melihat adanya masalah lain, yakni kepastian hukum. Kita tau kejadian penistaan agama dimana minoritas selalu jadi korban, sedangkan mayoritas bebas mengatakan apa pun. Sentimen anti asing juga semakin mencuat belakangan ini. 

Perusahaan asing itu tentu bukan kumpulan orang gaptek yang tidak baca berita di Indonesia. Mereka pasti sudah dapat gambaran mendirikan perusahaan di indonesia yang terjadi di monokwari di mana diisukan terus menerus dan di curigai.

Sebagai orang usahawan pasti mereka punya timbangan sendiri. Mereka tidak mau sudah invest setengah kena hoax dll sehinga terhenti. Tentu mereka akan rugi waktu dan rugi materi.

Ini ibarat seorang laki-laki, lebih baik menikah dengan yang mencintainya daripada menikah dengan cewek yang membencinya...

Investasi di Indonesia. Berani?

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The Online Shopping

My friend Budiman often said that online shopping killed the retail business. As I was no businessman, I could only tell from what I saw. Shops did close down in Orchards. Even giants such as Borders and HMV were among the first to go. If these were any indicators, then he was right.

Online shopping had gone a long way since I first knew it. I remember the time when the internet first appeared in Pontianak. This was easily two decades ago. Not long after that, I found amazon.com. I immediately loved it, so much in love that in my college days, I actually wrote a paper about it for mid-term submission.

But the timing wasn't quite right then. Imagine the days when internet connection was so slow that you had to sit back and wait for each page to be loaded. It took almost one hour to search, add the items to shopping cart and check out. Still I was so happy, partly thinking that I was going to be the first online shopper in my hometown. It was not meant to be, though. Amazon.com declined the transaction, citing the reason that credit cards issued by Indonesia was banned due to numerous fraud cases. To think that I went a long way to obtain my first credit cards! It was heartbreaking!

Fast forward to today, the online shopping experience had been vastly improved. Browsing through your computer was one of the options, no longer the only way to go. The world is at your fingertips was not just a saying anymore, it was a dream came true! Literally! In order to shop, you just had to keep tapping on the mobile app. The purchase would be seamlessly done if you had saved your credit card details before. It was that easy and convenient these days.

I still shopped at Amazon thanks to CDs and books it was selling. I'd go to Qoo10 for unusual items such as Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Rakuten was used for Japanese goods like spirulina. I preferred Lazada for stuff available locally in Singapore. For groceries, there were honestbee and RedMart. While I didn't use the last two, my wife was quite familiar with those.

The beauty of these Singapore-based apps were how competitive the prices were. Sometimes it came with discounts and promos. On top of that, it might also offer a free delivery. How attractive! Why would one bother to shop at the supermarket and carry back a 5kg pack of rice when we could have it delivered right at our doorstep? It was equally safe to purchase electronic goods, especially from the official stores such as Mi Store at Lazada. It came with the same one year warranty. To make it more comfortable, refund was almost hassle-free. Had a smooth experience in getting refund for my recent Amazon purchase.

Fun though it was, online shopping wasn't without its risks. Before my trip to Myanmar, I bought a backpack from Lazada. Much to my surprise, what I received was a tiny sized backpack. It looked exactly the same as the picture I saw, but it was so small that it couldn't be used for travelling purpose. This, I partly suspected, was likely to be a customer's problem, haha. It was either I failed to understand the bag dimensions stated on the page or the info was simply misleading. After the last fiasco, I avoided buying things that came in sizes such as bags, shoes, clothes, etc. because what I saw might not be what I got. As a conclusion, it was suffice to say that when we did online shopping, we bought only things we were sure of.

Anyway, back to Budiman's assessment, he was probably right. Online shopping was not only game-changing, but could also be addictive, especially when it had tons of promos on the days like Black Friday. Those retail shops might be nice for us to look at, but I couldn't be too sure if shopping spree still happened. I sincerely hoped that the retail business would somehow survive. Otherwise what would we see when we went to the malls? I still love walking in Orchard, especially when Christmas is just around the corner!

Proceed to checkout?



Belanja Online

Teman saya Budiman sering berkata bahwa bisnis belanja online merusak bisnis ritel. Karena saya bukan seorang pengusaha, saya hanya bisa mengamati apa yang terlihat. Memang betul ada toko-toko yang tutup di Orchard. Bahkan perusahaan raksasa seperti Borders dan HMV juga tutup dan angkat kaki. Jika ini adalah indikasi, maka pendapat Budiman tidaklah keliru. 

Bisnis belanja online sudah berubah drastis. Saya ingat saat internet pertama muncul di Pontianak 20 tahun silam. Tidak lama setelah saya menggunakan internet, saya menemukan amazon.com. Saya langsung menyukai situs belanja ini. Begitu terpesonanya saya sehingga saya menulis tentang Amazon dan mengumpulkannya sebagai tugas kuliah di pertengahan semester. 

Akan tetapi kondisi saat itu masih belum menunjang bisnis belanja online. Bayangkan masa ketika koneksi internet masih begitu pelan sehingga anda harus duduk dan menanti halaman situs terunduh secara lengkap. Dibutuhkan waktu hampir satu jam untuk mencari barang dan menyelesaikan pembayaran. Meskipun demikian, saya masih tetap bersemangat, mungkin karena saya menyangka bahwa saya akan menjadi orang pertama di Pontianak yang berbelanja online. Tidak pernah terpikirkan oleh saya kalau amazon.com akan menolak transaksi tersebut dengan alasan kartu kredit Indonesia termasuk kategori bermasalah karena banyaknya kasus penipuan. Sedihnya rasanya, apalagi saya telah bersusah-payah mendapatkan kartu kredit pertama saya. 

Kembali ke masa kini, fitur berbelanja online sudah kian canggih. Melihat-lihat lewat komputer adalah salah satu cara untuk berbelanja, bukan lagi satu-satunya cara. Dunia berada di ujung jari anda bukan lagi sekedar pepatah, tetapi mimpi yang menjadi kenyataan. Untuk berbelanja, anda cukup menggunakan satu jempol di layar telepon genggam anda. Transaksi akan semakin lancar jika anda sudah menyimpan data kartu kredit di app. Begitu mudah dan nyaman sekarang. 

Saya masih berbelanja di Amazon terutama karena buku dan CD lagu yang dijualnya. Saya mengunjungi Qoo10 untuk barang-barang tidak lazim seperti Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Rakuten saya pakai untuk produk Jepang seperti spirulina. Saya memilih Lazada untuk barang-barang yang dijual secara lokal di Singapura. Untuk sembako, ada lagi yang namanya honestbee dan RedMart. Saya tidak memakai dua app ini, tapi istri saya terkadang berbelanja lewat dua situs ini. 

Keuntungan dari penggunaan app lokal ini adalah harganya yang kompetitif. Terkadang ada diskon dan promo juga. Selain itu pengirimannya pun bisa saja gratis. Menarik, bukan? Daripada berbelanja di supermarket dan membawa pulang satu karung beras, tentunya lebih praktis kalau belanjaan kita diantarkan sampai ke depan rumah. Sama halnya juga dengan membeli barang elektronik, terutama dari toko-toko resmi seperti Mi Store di Lazada. Barangnya sama, garansi pun juga sama-sama setahun. Bahkan retur pun tidaklah begitu sulit. Baru-baru ini saya mengembalikan satu barang ke Amazon dan prosesnya cukup mudah. 

Berbelanja online memang seru, tapi tidak berarti bebas resiko. Sebelum perjalanan saya ke Myanmar, saya membeli tas ransel dari Lazada. Di luar dugaan, yang saya terima itu tas ransel berukuran mungil. Bentuknya seperti yang saya lihat di foto, tapi ukurannya kecil sehingga tidak cocok untuk dipakai berkelana. Saya tidak tahu pasti apakah saya yang tidak mengerti ukuran tas yang tertera atau memang informasinya tidak sesuai dengan barangnya, haha. Setelah kasus ini, saya tidak lagi membeli barang yang memiliki berbagai ukuran, misalnya tas, kaos, sepatu dan sebagainya, sebab apa yang saya lihat mungkin bukan apa yang akan saya dapatkan. Sebagai kesimpulan, mungkin kita sebaiknya membeli barang yang kita tahu pasti kalau kita memilih untuk berbelanja online. 

Sebagai penutup, kembali lagi ke komentar Budiman, saya cenderung sepakat dengannya. Belanja online tidak saja mengubah gaya hidup, tapi juga bisa membuat orang kalap, terlebih lagi ketika sedang promosi besar-besaran, misalnya pas Black Friday. Toko-toko ritel mungkin sedap dipandang mata, tapi saya tidak begitu yakin kalau bisnisnya seramai dulu. Saya hanya bisa berharap kalau mereka bisa bertahan, sebab tanpa toko-toko ini, apa jadinya pusat perbelanjaan yang biasa kita kunjungi? Saya masih suka berjalan di Orchard, apalagi di saat menjelang Natal!

Sunday, September 1, 2019

The Photographer

The name Endrico Richard should be familiar for long time readers of Roadblog101. He is a great friend and a travel buddy that appeared in many stories I wrote. Even when he wasn't featured, photos taken by him would still grace the blog sometimes. He is good, I love his work and I often said we could just leave the photo-taking to Endrico when we travelled. Yes, the man was that reliable! Then it hit me that Endrico was easily the most underrated photographer that I knew! A good talent must be appreciated and, as far as I am concerned, I am more than happy to be the one that shout it out loud!

I remember the trip to Bali that we had 14 years ago. We both had digital cameras at that time and he was using a black coloured Canon IXUS. I happened to keep photos taken by the two of us and when I compared our results, I could confidently say that even then he did a brilliant job. His perfect timing, his passion for the right moments, his interests in exploring the camera features such as macro (I remember him muttering the word and took some flower pictures), Endrico simply had the makings of a good photographer.

The flower photo taken with macro feature in Bali. 

When Endrico was a little kid, he loved flipping through his parents' photo albums. His Dad introduced a camera to him when he was in Junior High School, triggering his lifelong interest in photography. He purchased his first camera, the aforementioned Canon IXUS, at Jim Col Enterprise (the shop still can be found at Lucky Plaza, Orchard). The life span of the trusted camera was surprisingly long. Used until early 2010s, the camera was retired only after her first daughter was born and it's still in good condition!

Browsing the baby's photos made him realise that he couldn't do much with the existing camera. That's when he started reading about DSLR. He was contemplating for one, but like any good boy from Pontianak, he was unsure about spending so much money. Photography was an expensive hobby and the price of DSLR Nikon he wanted to buy was two times his salary then! The wife understood what it meant for Endrico to have the camera and finally encouraged him to get one.

Smile, baby. Smile.

Endrico bought just the camera and no additional accessories were purchased. That was partly why he didn't really take landscape photos. Apart from that, he personally preferred to capture emotions and candid moments. While some people might not find flattering, some would either love it or just simply laugh about it. That reaction was the appreciation that Endrico treasured the most.

He'd been using the DSLR camera since then. It was hanging proudly on his neck when we travelled to Vietnam and Cambodia and that was 10 years ago! Throughout the decade, he upgraded his camera once, took a couple of freelance jobs, participated in some competitions (only God knows if he ever won, but hey, even the Beatles never won any!) and he also had a chance to help a professional photographer that went by the name @tristonyeo.

Endrico in action.
Photo by Anthony.

Now that the camera on the phone was so advanced, I was curious about what he got to say about it. Much to my surprise, he wasn't exactly a fan. He agreed that it was much more portable and therefore convenient, but it wasn't as good as DSLR. If the photos were just to be shared for social media consumption, then yes, the smartphone was indeed sufficient. However, as a hobbyist, he still opined that DSLR had so much more to offer. Endrico didn't have any preference for smartphone when it came to photo-taking, but just like those days when he used Canon IXUS, he did an admirable job with whatever smartphone he had in hand.

I could only conclude that for some talented people, the equipment they used only enhanced what they could do. The skill and experience were all along there, which explained the good result. I always thought highly of his natural instinct, but when I asked him to elaborate about it, he humbly said he couldn't explain it. He told me that the so-called instinct was like how I knew how to write and choose the right words. I could relate with the answer. It got to do with the feeling. You just knew it when it felt right.

The laughter, perfectly captured and immortalised in black and white.

Talk about results, it could get better with a little help of touch up. Endrico didn't do heavy editing. He did only what was necessary. He'd use Photoscape on desktop and Snapseed on his phone. Whenever he felt that the color tone was suitable, he'd go for sepia or B/W. It brilliantly brought the classical feeling out of the pictures! By the way, you can check out his work at @endrico.richard on Instagram. 

Now, up until here, you had read a lot of good things about what the man could do, but like I said earlier, photography was an expensive hobby. To make a living out of it was something that he wasn't ready for. It was probably an easier decision to make when you were single, but not when you were a father of three. Due to budget and time constraint, he didn't pursue it any further. He also cited the same reason in explaining why he didn't participate in any photography trip, at least for now. Still, things may change in the future, so never say never!

And that left me with last question that I actually forgot to ask. Endrico had gone through the era of digital camera, DSLR and smartphones. Now that drones with camera are quite common, I wonder if he will buy one, too! Aerial photography with a flying camera, how sexy does that sound? Be tempted and get one already, Mr. Richard!

A night in Singapore.


Sang Fotografer 

Nama Endrico Richard harusnya tidak asing lagi bagi para pembaca Roadblog101. Dia adalah seorang teman yang baik dan juga sesama pengelana di berbagai cerita yang saya tulis. Foto-foto hasil jepretannya kadang masih dipakai sebagai ilustrasi meskipun ia tidak tampil di dalam cerita. Ya, karyanya bagus dan saya termasuk seorang penggemarnya. Saya sering berkata bahwa kita senantiasa bisa berlibur dengan santai dan menyerahkan dokumentasi foto kepada Endrico karena dia selalu beraksi dengan kameranya. Belakangan ini saya menyadari, bakatnya sebagai fotografer belum pernah dibahas sama sekali. Orang yang bertalenta patut dihargai dan saya dengan senang hati menjadi orang yang bercerita tentang kemampuannya.

Saya ingat dengan liburan ke Bali 14 tahun yang lalu. Saat itu kita masing-masing membawa kamera digital dan Endrico menggunakan kamera Canon IXUS berwarna hitam. Kebetulan saya menyimpan foto-foto karya kami berdua dan kalau saya bandingkan, saya merasa bahwa hasil jepretannya lebih bagus. Kesabarannya dalam menunggu saat yang tepat, instingnya dan juga minatnya dalam mengeksplorasi kemampuan kamera (saya ingat dia sering menyebut kata makro dan memotret bunga) menunjukkan bahwa Endrico memang memiliki potensi sebagai fotografer dari sejak dulu.

Foto makro.

Ketika masih bocah, Endrico suka melihat-lihat album foto orang tuanya. Sewaktu dia berada di jenjang SMP, ayahnya memperkenalkan kamera padanya, tanpa sadar memicu minatnya terhadap bidang fotografi. Bertahun-tahun kemudian, Endrico membeli kamera pertamanya, Canon IXUS, di Jim Col Enterprise (toko ini masih bisa ditemukan di Lucky Plaza, Orchard). Umur kamera ini luar biasa panjang, digunakan sampai awal tahun 2010an dan baru dipensiunkan dalam kondisi masih berfungsi setelah kelahiran putri pertamanya. 

Sewaktu melihat hasil pemotretan bayi, Endrico jadi sadar kalau kamera Canon yang dimilikinya tidak bisa berbuat banyak. Ia lantas mulai membaca tentang DSLR dan tertarik untuk mencobanya. Akan tetapi fotografi adalah hobi yang mahal dan harga kamera Nikon yang ingin ia beli itu dua kali lipat gajinya pada saat itu! Endrico jadi tidak yakin, namun istrinya mengerti pentingnya kamera itu bagi suaminya dan memberikan dukungan.

Momen yang terabadikan.

Endrico akhirnya membeli kamera, tapi tidak disertai dengan berbagai aksesori seperti lensa bersudut lebar dan lainnya. Inilah alasannya kenapa Endrico jarang memotret pemandangan. Secara pribadi, dia juga lebih senang berfokus pada emosi yang terpancar saat orang yang difoto sedang tidak berpose untuk kamera. Beberapa orang mungkin tidak suka difoto dalam keadaan tidak siap, namun tidak sedikit juga mereka yang tertawa melihat hasilnya. Reaksi-reaksi seperti inilah yang merupakan bentuk apresiasi yang paling disukai oleh Endrico. 

Kamera DSLR pun menjadi andalannya semenjak itu. Ketika kita berlibur ke Vietnam dan Kamboja 10 tahun yang lalu, sepanjang perjalanan kamera itu tergantung di lehernya. Selama satu dekade terakhir ini, dia telah mengganti kamera DSLR dengan yang lebih baru, menerima pesanan fotografi untuk acara ulang tahun dan pra-nikah, berpartisipasi dalam beberapa lomba (hanya Tuhan yang tahu apakah dia pernah menjadi pemenang, tapi the Beatles juga tidak pernah memenangkan kompetisi apa pun, jadi tidak apa-apa kalau tidak juara). Selain itu, dia juga pernah mendapat kesempatan untuk membantu fotografer profesional yang menggunakan akun @tristonyeo.

Foto pra-nikah di Singapura. 

Mengingat kecanggihan kamera pada telepon genggam zaman sekarang, saya jadi penasaran dengan pendapatnya. Saya tertegun ketika mengetahui bahwa Endrico bukanlah penggemar fotografi dengan menggunakan telepon genggam. Dia tidak menyangkal bahwa telepon genggam memang lebih praktis, tapi fungsinya masih belum bisa menyaingi kamera DSLR. Jika hasil fotonya hanya dipakai untuk diunggah di media sosial, maka kamera telepon genggam pun sudah cukup memadai. Tidak demikian halnya jika fotografi ini ditekuni sebagai hobi. Kamera DSLR tentu saja memiliki lebih banyak fitur dan kelebihan. Meski Endrico tidak memiliki pilihan khusus dalam hal ini, dia tetap menghasilkan foto-foto yang bagus dengan kamera di telepon genggam yang dimilikinya. 

Saya hanya bisa menyimpulkan bahwa bagi orang-orang berbakat, peralatan yang dipakai itu hanya sekedar meningkatkan kualitas karyanya.  Dari sejak awal, kemampuan dan pengalaman itu ada pada orangnya, bukan peralatannya. Saya senantiasa percaya bahwa dia memiliki naluri yang luar biasa, namun ketika saya minta dia untuk menjelaskan lebih lanjut, Endrico mengaku tidak bisa. Dia memberikan perbandingan bahwa apa yang saya sebut sebagai naluri fotografi itu tidak berbeda dengan bagaimana saya menulis. Semuanya tergantung perasaan dan seperti halnya saya, dia tahu dengan sendirinya bahwa saat yang tepat telah tiba baginya untuk memotret.

Foto di Bali. Ada kesan damai yang membuat saya menyukai karyanya ini. 

Bicara soal hasil, kualitas foto bisa menjadi lebih baik lagi jika diedit sedikit. Endrico juga sering memberikan sentuhan seperlunya. Dia menggunakan Photoscape di komputer dan Snapseed di telepon genggamnya. Terkadang dia juga menggunakan nuansa sepia dan hitam-putih untuk foto-foto tertentu yang memang cocok untuk warna tersebut. Bila anda berminat untuk melihat lebih lanjut, anda bisa mengikutinya di akun @endrico.richard di media sosial Instagram. 

Sampai di sini, anda telah membaca banyak tentang kemampuannya, akan tetapi seperti yang saya sebutkan sebelumnya, fotografi adalah hobi yang mahal. Keputusan untuk menjadi seorang fotografer profesional mungkin lebih mudah dijalankan ketika masih muda dan beda halnya ketika seseorang telah menjadi ayah dari tiga orang anak. Karena masalah waktu dan biaya, fotografi pun hanya menjadi sekedar hobi baginya. Endrico juga menyebutkan alasan yang sama ketika ditanya kenapa dia tidak mengikuti liburan wisata fotografi. Walaupun demikian, tidak tertutup kemungkinan masih ada kesempatan di lain waktu. 

Dan saya masih memiliki satu pertanyaan yang tidak sempat saya tanyakan tempo hari. Endrico sudah melewati masa-masa kamera digital dan telepon genggam. Sekarang ada lagi yang namanya kamera dengan drone, pesawat berbaling-baling tanpa awak yang bisa dikontrol dari jarak jauh. Kamera terbang ini bisa digunakan untuk memotret dari ketinggian. Seru, bukan? Mari, Endrico, cepat beli!

Foto pemandangan. 

Friday, August 23, 2019

The Humbling Experience

I often said travelling is a humbling experience. This particular quote appeared once in a while since the beginning of Roadblog101, but you might find that I never really elaborated further about it. For this occasion, let's dig deeper! The beauty of travelling, especially to new places, is the whole new world that you will discover. Whatever it was you thought you knew best, it was suddenly rocked to the core as your horizon was broadened.

The very first time I ever realised it was when I travelled to Bali from Jakarta. At that time I seldom travelled, even domestically. I probably only visited Singkawang and Bandung prior to the trip. Based on what I had seen, I had this general idea of how Indonesia looked like: the cities were developing and the atmosphere, regardless whether it had quite a substantial population of Chinese or not, felt quite Islamic.

The first trip to Bali!

Much to my surprise, Bali was so different. It was like visiting a foreign country that happened to use rupiah as its currency. The Hindu influence was so profound there, deeply entrenched into the life of the Balinese that on a very surface level, you'd see canang sari (flowers for puja offering) everywhere! They were proud of their babi guling (suckling pig). Hindu temples, statues that sometimes wore sarong, you'd see them wherever you went. Life was so relax in an island filled with magnificent natural landscapes. People were so friendly and tourists were aplenty.

It was quite liberating to see a totally different lifestyle in Indonesia. Growing up and lived in Pontianak for 22 years, I must be so naive that I subconsciously thought the small town was the center of the universe. I was so used to the culture and not much had really changed for me in Jakarta that I ended up believing it was the only way of life. The visits to Bali opened my eyes. I was wrong and I was glad to be proven wrong in such a fashion. It was good to know that there were choices out there.

With Benny in Khao San Road, Bangkok, 2010.
Photo by Swee Hin.

The next one that gave me a good impression was Bangkok. Okay, Kuching would always be the first foreign city that I visited and Singapore gave me the exposure of a first world country, but it was Bangkok that charmed me the most. It was more modern than Jakarta, but it never lost its characteristics. Everywhere I went, I met people greeting me with a smile, the wai gesture and, "สวัสดีครับ (S̄wạs̄dī khrạb)." It was so infectious that I couldn't help returning the favour in a same manner!

Then of course I had mentioned Japan and its famous hospitality, too. I remember the trip to Tokyo that I had with my wife and daughter in 2014. I lost my way to the hotel and, after deciding that he was getting nowhere in explaining the direction, the person I asked actually brought us to the right exit of Nihombashi train station even though he wasn't heading there! Another great example would be this person that sat next to me at Paul McCartney concert. When he knew that I was from Indonesia, this stranger left his seat and went out to the merchandise store to buy me a keychain as a souvenir. How the Japanese would go for the extra mile!

In front of the hotel we were looking for.
Photo by Evelyn Nuryani.

Experiences like these made you think again, that when things became cynical in life, it was good to know kindness still existed. It taught us not to be afraid to be kind, even though you gained nothing in return, because it was never about gaining. It was always about sincerity in life. If strangers could do that, so could I, and the world would be a better place.

Through travelling, I also learnt to be thankful. Cambodia was so memorable, but I'm afraid not for a good reason. In 2009, even the capital city was so rundown, let alone towns such as Siem Reap. The place was so dry and hot that even the cows were skinny. I'd never forget the dusty cyclone that engulfed the roadside bread cart. It was a sight to remember and when I saw that, I was like, "how on earth are people going to eat that?"

Visiting Bayon Temple, Siem Reap.

Simply put, the condition was so bad that I suddenly realised how blessed I was to be born in Indonesia. All this while, it was easy for Indonesians to complain and forget what we actually had. But seeing was believing. It screamed right at my face that there were less fortunate people out there. I was shocked to see the only entertainment they had at night: the neighbourhood people were either playing rope skipping or doing the slow dance.

And yet the Cambodians looked genuinely happy. They might not have whatever it was that outside world could have then, but they seemed to have a good time. The moral of the story was, if I considered myself blessed but couldn't be at least as happy as they were, something must be wrong inside my heart. What I saw reminded me that one just had to be appreciative in life. It didn't take much to be happy.

I could go on and on, but you might have gotten the gist by now. If you stayed too long in one place and did the same routines all the time, you'd end up believing your way of life was the only way to go. Travel the world, discover new things, and be humbled by the experience. There's a reason why holiday is refreshing. It's meant to be a break from what you are doing everyday, so that you get a new perspective in living your life differently...

Capturing moments in Cambodia.
Photo by Endrico.


 Pengalaman Yang Bersahaja

Saya sering berucap bahwa melanglang buana itu adalah pengalaman yang bersahaja. Perkataan ini muncul berulangkali dari sejak Roadblog101 bermula, namun saya mungkin tidak pernah bercerita lebih lanjut tentang apa makna pernyataan saya ini. Pada kesempatan ini, mari kita bahas lebih jauh! Yang menarik dari liburan, terutama bila kita mengunjungi tempat yang baru, adalah sebuah dunia baru yang terbentang di hadapan kita, menanti untuk dijelajahi. Di saat itu pula, apa pun kiranya yang selama anda ketahui pasti akan berubah karena wawasan anda bertambah luas. 

Saya pertama kali menyadari hal ini saat saya berkelana dari Jakarta ke Bali. Sebelum ini saya jarang ke mana-mana, baik luar negeri maupun domestik. Seingat saya, saat itu saya hanya pernah mengunjungi Singkawang dan Bandung. Berdasarkan apa yang saya lihat, saya memiliki gambaran bahwa Indonesia itu kira-kira seperti ini: kota-kotanya sedang berkembang dan suasananya, tidak peduli apakah kota tersebut memiliki populasi Tionghoa yang cukup banyak atau tidak, tetaplah memiliki pengaruh Islam yang kental.

Endrico di tengah-tengah orang lokal dan turis asing saat kita mengunjungi Tanah Lot, Bali.

Di luar dugaan saya, Bali ternyata sangat berbeda. Rasanya seperti mengunjungi negeri asing yang menggunakan mata uang rupiah. Budaya Hindu terasa sangat dominan dan begitu mengakar di kehidupan sehari-hari masyarakat Bali. Sebagai contoh sederhana, anda bisa melihat canang sari (bunga persembahan) yang bertaburan di pinggir jalan. Mereka bangga dengan masakan babi guling. Pura dan patung yang terkadang memakai sarung pun terlihat segenap penjuru Bali. Hidup terasa begitu santai di Pulau Dewata yang menakjubkan alam dan pemandangannya. Orang-orang di sana sangat bersahabat dan turis dari manca negara tumpah-ruah di Bali. 

Mencengangkan rasanya melihat gaya hidup yang begitu berbeda di Indonesia. Lahir dan tumbuh dewasa di Pontianak selama 22 tahun lamanya, saya begitu naif karena sekian lama terkungkung di kota kecil ini. Saya terbiasa dengan budaya Pontianak dan juga pola hidup yang sama selama saya tinggal di Jakarta. Kunjungan ke Bali sungguh menginspirasi. Selama ini saya salah sangka dan saya senang saat mengetahui bahwa ada pilihan lain di luar sana. 

Di Bangkok.
Foto oleh Endrico.

Kota berikutnya yang memberikan kesan mendalam adalah Bangkok. Ya, Kuching mungkin saja kota luar negeri pertama yang saya kunjungi dan Singapura memberikan saya pengalaman, seperti apa negara maju itu sebenarnya, tapi Bangkok sungguh mempesona! Ibukota Thailand ini lebih maju dari Jakarta, tapi tidak pernah kehilangan karakteristiknya. Ke mana pun saya pergi, orang-orang selalu menyapa dengan senyum, membungkuk dan mengucapkan, "สวัสดีครับ (S̄wạs̄dī khrạb)."  Sapaan khas Thailand ini begitu menarik sehingga saya pun tanpa sadar membalas dengan cara yang sama!

Selain Thailand, tentu saja Jepang dan keramahtamahannya perlu saya jabarkan. Saya ingat dengan kunjungan pertama ke Tokyo bersama istri dan anak di tahun 2014. Saat itu saya tersesat di stasiun kereta Nihombashi dan, setelah merasa bahwa dia tidak bisa menjelaskan dengan kata-kata, orang yang saya tanyai itu membawa kami ke pintu keluar yang mengarah ke hotel walaupun dia sebetulnya tidak menuju ke arah yang sama. Contoh lainnya adalah orang Jepang yang duduk di sebelah saya sewaktu konser Paul McCartney di Tokyo. Tatkala dia mengetahui bahwa saya berasa dari Indonesia, orang asing ini beranjak dari tempat duduknya dan keluar untuk membeli gantungan kunci yang merupakan cinderamata konser. Dashyat ramahnya!

Bersama Linda, tak jauh dari Stasiun Nihombashi.
Foto oleh Evelyn Nuryani.

Pengalaman seperti ini jelas membuat anda berpikir lagi, apabila hidup ini terasa sinis, betapa lega rasanya saat mengingat kembali bahwa kebaikan itu masih ada. Hal ini mengajarkan kita untuk tidak takut berbagi kebaikan, meskipun kita tidak diuntungkan sama sekali, sebab intinya bukanlah untung rugi, melainkan ketulusan terhadap sesama. Jika orang asing bisa berbuat seperti ini, saya rasa saya pun bisa, dan dunia ini akan menjadi tempat yang lebih baik. 

Petualangan ke berbagai negara juga membuat saya belajar untuk bersyukur. Kamboja takkan terlupakan, tapi sayang sekali bukan karena alasan yang menyenangkan. Di tahun 2009, bahkan Phnom Penh yang merupakan ibukota negara pun masih terbelakang, jadi kota-kota lain seperti Siem Reap lebih parah lagi. Iklimnya kering dan panas, sampai-sampai sapinya pun kurus. Saya tidak akan lupa dengan angin puting-beliung yang berdebu dan berputar menggulung gerobak roti di tepi jalan. Saat melihat pemandangan itu, di dalam hati saya berkata, "bagaimana caranya orang menyantap roti ini?"

Menyusuri jalan di Phnom Penh bersama kawan-kawan.
Foto oleh Endrico. 

Begitu buruknya kondisi sana sehingga saya jadi berterima kasih bahwa saya lahir di Indonesia. Terkadang lebih mudah bagi kita untuk mengeluh daripada bersyukur atas apa yang kita miliki. Apa yang saya lihat mengingatkan saya kembali bahwa masih banyak orang yang lebih tidak beruntung di luar sana. Saya tertegun saat melihat hiburan mereka di malam hari: orang-orang di sekitar penginapan saya bermain lompat tali dan menari pelan di depan rumah. 

Akan tetapi mereka terlihat gembira. Ya, mereka memang tidak memiliki hiburan seperti yang biasa kita lihat, tapi mereka menikmati hidup mereka. Intinya adalah, jikalau saya yang merasa lebih beruntung tidak bisa segembira mereka, mungkin ada yang salah dalam hati saya. Pengalaman saya di Kamboja mengingatkan saya kembali bahwa tidaklah rumit untuk menjadi bahagia. Yang penting itu bisa bersyukur. 

Saya bisa lanjut bercerita lagi, tapi saya rasa sampai di sini anda sudah mengerti. Bila anda tinggal terlalu lama di suatu tempat dan mengerjakan hal yang sama berulang-ulang, anda lambat-laun akan percaya, seperti itulah hidup. Saran saya adalah, bertualanglah bilamana anda bisa, temukan hal baru dan dapatkan pengalaman yang bersahaja. Ada alasannya kenapa berlibur itu disebut refreshing. Liburan memberikan kesempatan bagi anda untuk berhenti sejenak dari rutinitas sehingga anda memiliki sudut pandang baru dalam menjalani hidup anda...

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Listen To Dispute

My colleague Uncle Eddie is the venerable IT man known for his favorite catchphrase: no rocket science. He is good, he knows his stuff well and when he's involved in troubleshooting, you'll understand that improving our system is, indeed, no rocket science. What is not known by many is, perhaps, his second favorite catchphrase: listen to dispute. It was something that suddenly came to my mind when I attended the church service last Sunday.

When Uncle Eddie said, "listen to dispute," he was talking about human nature. It was something that I could relate with, because it happened around us. It was like, you'd listen attentively just to wait for the very moment to say no to other people and tell them they were wrong. All the good points went down the drain because they weren't what you were paying attention to.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't have such a revolting tendency. I did it all the time in friendly chat groups I knew and loved, but that was mainly for fun. It was easy for me to counter whatever comments my friends had, because... well, let's just say I had years of practice in talking nonsense, haha. When it was a serious conversation, I would react differently.

There were two reasons why I didn't listen to dispute. The first and positive one was, different opinions were actually normal. To quote Bruce Lee, "absorb what is good, discard what is not." I guess if we were humble enough to listen, we'd always learn something new from others. The second one was the fact that I wasn't wired to be argumentative. I wasn't that fast in reasoning, probably because I wasn't that smart, haha. However, if I knew for sure and the people I was talking to kept arguing, I'd let them have their way. Most of the time, I simply I had neither the drive nor energy to convince people any further if they didn't wish to listen.

This is the reason why I suddenly remembered Uncle Eddie's catchphrase when I was at the church. It came to my mind that Christianity is something that you need to try. If you want it, come and get it. You don't just hear it from others. You have to experience it. May be you'll like the Christian way, may be you won't. The point is, the relationship with God is always personal.

It's a pity when people listened just to slam it down, because you might have missed what was good for you. It's even sadder if the person felt glorious about it. I don't think there'd be anyone emerging as a winner in such a conversation, because it wasn't a debate to begin with. Yes, there'd be time when we had to stand our ground, but you'd recognize it immediately and this certainly wasn't it. Humility is the key here and for all you know, the next time you listen humbly may be the time your life is changed forever for the better. Give it a try...

In Yangon with Uncle Eddie and other colleagues.


Mendengar Untuk Membantah

Kolega saya, Pak Eddie, adalah seorang IT senior yang terkenal dengan slogan favoritnya: no rocket science. Dia tahu apa yang dia kerjakan dan mengerti luar-dalam tentang bidang database yang ditekuninya sedari dulu. Kalau dia membeberkan hasil investigasi tentang suatu masalah IT, anda akan setuju bahwa mengatasi akar permasalahan tersebut bukanlah sesuatu yang rumit. Pokoknya no rocket science. Begitu seringnya dia mengucapkan frase itu sehingga yang berikut ini mungkin luput dari perhatian orang banyak: mendengar untuk membantah. Demikian bunyi frase lain yang suka dipakainya dan frase ini tiba-tiba terngiang di benak saya saat sedang berada di gereja. 

Sewaktu Pak Eddie berujar, "mendengar untuk membantah," dia berbicara tentang kebiasaan manusia. Ini adalah sesuatu yang bisa dilihat di sekeliling kita. Contoh nyata dari frase ini adalah mereka yang menyimak pembicaraan hanya untuk menantikan saat berkata tidak kepada orang lain dan bersikeras kalau lawan bicara mereka salah. Semua hal baik yang terucap selama percakapan akhirnya hilang begitu saja karena bukan itu yang mereka perhatikan.  

Saya pastilah berbohong bila saya katakan kalau saya tidak mempunyai kebiasaan seperti itu. Saya senantiasa melakukannya di chat group, tapi itu karena saya memang iseng. Mudah bagi saya untuk membantah apa saja karena saya berpengalaman puluhan tahun dalam perbincangan yang konyol. Ketika saya terlibat dalam diskusi serius, reaksi saya jelas berbeda. 

Ada dua alasan kenapa saya tidak mendengar untuk membantah. Yang pertama dan berkesan positif adalah karena perbedaan pendapat itu normal. Bruce Lee pernah berucap, "ambil yang baik, buang yang tidak baik." Saya rasa jika kita cukup rendah hati untuk mendengarkan, kita akan selalu bisa belajar hal yang baru dari orang lain. Alasan kedua adalah karena saya bukan tipe orang yang senang berargumen. Terus-terang saya tidak cukup cepat untuk berdebat, mungkin karena saya memang tidak begitu pintar, haha. Jikalau saya tahu pasti akan suatu hal dan lawan bicara saya masih mau membantah, saya hanya akan menggeleng dan membiarkannya. Saya tidak punya cukup energi untuk meyakinkan orang yang tidak mau mendengar. 

Inilah sebabnya kenapa saya tiba-tiba teringat dengan ucapan Pak Eddie ini ketika saya sedang berada di gereja. Terlintas di benak saya bahwa yang namanya Kristen itu sesuatu yang harusnya dicoba. Jika anda mau tahu, datang dan rasakan sendiri. Jangan hanya dengar dari orang lain, tapi alami sendiri. Mungkin anda akan merasa cocok, mungkin juga tidak. Intinya adalah, hubungan dengan Tuhan itu selalu bersifat pribadi antara anda dan yang di atas. 

Saya merasa iba kepada mereka yang mendengar hanya untuk membantah, karena anda mungkin melewatkan apa yang sebenarnya baik untuk anda. Akan lebih menyedihkan lagi bila anda merasa unggul karena membungkam lawan bicara yang sebenarnya hanya ingin berbagi pengalaman dengan anda. Dalam percakapan seperti itu, saya rasa hendaknya tidak perlu ada yang muncul sebagai pemenang, sebab itu bukanlah debat. Ya, ada saatnya anda perlu dengan teguh mempertahankan pendapat anda dan secara naluriah anda akan tahu kalau saatnya tiba. Kalau bukan itu yang anda rasakan, maka dengarkan saja dengan rendah hati, siapa tahu apa yang anda dengarkan itu justru mengubah hidup anda menjadi lebih baik. Silahkan dicoba...