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Sunday, January 28, 2018

Wonderful Indonesia: Yogyakarta

Yogyakarta is a strange place to be, even by Indonesian standard. I remember when I first visited the city more than a decade ago, it was like time almost came to a halt and the lifestyle was moving at a slower pace than anywhere else in the archipelago. When we took the becak (an alternate version of rickshaw), I could see that people were smiling, very relax and there was almost no sense of urgency. As a place to live, you either like it or leave it.

As a holiday destination, however, Jogja (yes, a different spelling, but still the same city, so don't get confused) had many to offer. It was a city brimming with culture and history. It was also budget friendly, with cheap but delicious food all over the place. The people, being Javanese, were very polite. There were flights from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta, so Jogja was pretty accessible. A four days, three nights would be just nice.

Visiting Borobudur in 2004. 

My first trip to Yogyakarta was part of the Java-Bali roadtrip roughly 14 years ago. When we headed back from Bali to Jakarta, we stopped by for a night in Jogja. We were from Solo, visiting Prambanan temple and then Borobudur before we made our way to Jogja. It was late afternoon when we arrive there and when the night begun, we took the becak for a city tour that included the visit to bakpia factory. Oh, by the way, bakpia is a small, round-shaped Indonesian Chinese-influenced sweet roll, usually stuffed with bean paste. 

After a glimpse of Jogja, I returned to the city 10 years later for a proper visit in 2014. I went with Indonesian and Singaporean friends and we stayed at Ibis Malioboro. It was a good place to start. The first day we were there, we explored the major shopping street. It had local cuisines, handcraft and batik there. As we walked towards the end of the street, it led to Yogyakarta Kraton, the sultanate palace. It was no Buckingham Palace, but it was alright and very much the reflection of Javanese culture.

And they fought, Spartan style, at Sambisari Temple. 

Jogja also had a lot of Hindu temples. We started our historical and cultural tour with the visit to Sambisari Temple. The temple was quite decent, but scenery was beautiful and the weather was good. Then of course we had to visit the famous Prambanan. It was too bad that most of the complex was still in ruins after the earthquake, but at least we had some fun there. We skipped Borobudur as the site was closed after the recent eruption.

So we went to Mount Merapi instead. The active volcano was thrilling, with smoke still coming up from the ground. There was also a house that was engulfed by the ash clouds during the Merapi eruption. It was hot enough to melt even stuff made of metal, so no human could have survived this merciless ordeal! It was quite eerie to be there, really, but it was soon compensated by the four-wheel drive adventure that brought us off-road to the highland and valley. The view was amazing and we all screamed like kids as the car drove through the shallow river. That was easily the highlight of the trip!

Now, before we close this chapter, let's talk a bit about the food. I don't remember eating nasi gudeg while we were there, but at least we had Mbok Berek fried chicken that was located not very far from Prambanan. We walked into a satay stall somewhere on the roadside of Malioboro, too, ordering 50 pieces of chicken satay that costed us IDR 50K, which means it was only SGD 0.10 per piece! Then there was also this very innocent question from our Singaporean friend who had the warm orange juice for the first time: how could it be warm? Well, the vendor just had to mix it with warm water, didn't he? In short, the cuisines were good and extremely affordable! Welcome to Yogyakarta!

When our driver rammed onto the rock in Merapi.


Indonesia Yang Menakjubkan: Yogyakarta

Yogyakarta adalah tempat yang bernuansa aneh tapi nyata, bahkan untuk standar orang Indonesia. Saya ingat ketika saya pertama kali mengunjungi kota ini 14 tahun silam, waktu seakan-akan berhenti dan gaya hidup di sana berjalan lebih pelan dari kota lainnya di tanah air kita. Ketika kita naik becak, saya melihat orang-orang begitu santai dan tidak terburu-buru. Sebagai tempat tinggal, beberapa teman saya menikmatinya, namun belum tentu demikian halnya bagi yang lain, termasuk saya.

Beda lagi ceritanya kalo Jogja adalah tempat tujuan wisata. Daerah Istimewa ini menawarkan begitu banyak hal yang menarik, mulai dari sejarah sampai budaya. Selain itu, biaya di Jogja juga ramah terhadap saku wisatawan dan makanannya pun murah dan enak. Penduduk di sana, orang Jawa, terkenal ramah dan sopan. Ada banyak penerbangan dari Singapura, Kuala Lumpur dan Jakarta, jadi banyak jalan menuju Jogja. Liburan selama empat hari tiga malam rasanya pas bagi yang ingin mengunjungi Jogja.

Pak Chandra and Hartono berpose dengan becak, tahun 2004.

Kunjungan pertama saya ke Yogyakarta adalah bagian dari perjalanan darat Jawa-Bali di tahun 2004. Ketika kita pulang dari Bali menuju Jakarta, kita singgah dan bermalam di Jogja. Berangkat pagi dari Solo, kita mengunjungi Candi Prambanan dan Borobudur sebelum menuju Jogja. Kita tiba menjelang senja dan di malam hari, kita naik becak keliling kota serta mengunjungi pabrik bakpia.

Setelah melihat Jogja secara sekilas, saya kembali lagi satu dekade kemudian, kali ini khusus untuk berlibur di sana. Berangkat bersama teman-teman Indonesia dan Singapura, kita tinggal di Ibis Malioboro yang terletak bersebelahan dengan Mal Malioboro. Lokasinya cukup strategis. Di hari pertama, kita menjelajahi Jalan Malioboro yang terkenal sebagai pusat perdagangan batik dan kerajinan tangan. Ketika kita terus berjalan, kita tiba di Kraton Yogyakarta yang ada di ujung jalan. Arsitekturnya sangat berbudaya lokal, lengkap dengan nuansa mistiknya.

Di Kraton Yogyakarta. 

Jogja juga memiliki banyak candi Hindu. Kita mulai rangkaian acara ini dengan kunjungan ke Candi Sambisari. Bangunannya lumayan, tapi yang lebih menarik lagi adalah pemandangan dan cuacanya. Selanjutnya kita pun menuju ke Prambanan. Sayang sekali banyak dari bangunan candi tersebut yang sudah runtuh terkena gempa. Kita akhirnya batal ke Borobudur karena situs bersejarah bagi umat Budha itu masih ditutup. Saat kita ke Jogja, ada sebuah gunung yang baru saja meletus sehingga abunya menutupi Borobudur.

Setelah candi-candi, kita lantas menjajal Gunung Merapi. Gunung aktif ini terasa mendebarkan, terutama karena ada beberapa tempat yang tanahnya masih mengepulkan asap. Kita juga mampir ke sebuah rumah yang dilalui oleh awan panas. Di situ terlihat bahwa barang dari bahan logam pun bisa meleleh, jadi tidak akan ada manusia yang bisa selamat jika terjebak bencana letusan gunung berapi! Agak seram suasananya, tapi segera terobati oleh petualangan dengan mobil 4WD yang melewati dataran tinggi dan lembah. Pemandangannya sangat indah dan kita berteriak riang seperti sekumpulan anak-anak ketika mobil jip yang kita tumpangi melaju melintasi sungai dangkal. Benar-benar pengalaman yang patut dikenang!

Oh ya, sebelum kita tutup cerita ini, mari berbincang sedikit tentang makanannya. Saya tidak ingat bahwa kita pernah mencicipi nasi gudeg selama di sana karena rasanya yang manis mungkin tidak cocok bagi orang Singapura. Kendati begitu, kita singgah di Ayam Goreng Mbok Berek yang terletak tidak jauh dari Prambanan. Kita juga memesan 50 tusuk sate di tepi jalan. Harganya 50 ribu rupiah, berarti satu tusuk cuma seribu rupiah! Kemudian ada lagi pertanyaan polos dari teman Singapura yang baru pertama kali mencicipi air jeruk hangat. Teman ini bingung, kenapa perasan jeruk bisa hangat? Tidak pernah terpikir olehnya kalau air jeruk perasan ini tinggal dicampur dengan air hangat, hehe. Singkat kata, makanan Jogja enak dan benar-benar terjangkau. Selamat datang di Yogyakarta!

Berfoto bersama air jeruk hangat.

Monday, January 22, 2018

South Korea: Inside Out

South Korea is like one of the coolest destinations on planet Earth these days. I remember the time when it seemed like all my colleagues and friends were visiting South Korea. Here's one country that is busy dominating the world with its culture, from the cuisines, fashion, K-Pop, films to technology. The word oppa (오빠) is so popular and widely used these days.

For many outsiders, the charm of South Korea is simply irresistible, but how does the country look like from the eyes of its citizens? I was curious, therefore I asked. I happened to have this South Korean colleague, Sangdon Jung, a man with a keen interest in photography (you can follow his Instagram account @sdjung), so I got him to share with us about his country.

Seoul.
Photo by Sangdon Jung.

It was impossible to talk about South Korea without mentioning Seoul, so we started from there instead. Three days in Seoul would be just nice. Places like Myeongdong (easily the most touristy spot and heaven for shoppers) and Gangnam (of Oppa Gangnam Style fame, a vibrant area filled up with funky restaurant, pub and club) were recommended. Not all Koreans could speak English, so I assumed it'd be like visiting Japan, where simple English plus hand signals would do the trick.

Once we were done with Seoul, the most famous getaway would be Jeju Island. Then of course there was Busan, a city that many of us first heard of through the movie with zombies in the train. What I never heard of was a city called Gyeongju. Apparently it was a very old city. Often referred to as the museum without wall, it sounded like an interesting destination for those who were into the history of Korea.

Gyeongju at night.
Photo by Sangdon Jung.

Next topic was the cuisines. The proper meal was like having a kimchi affair, with kimchi and a variety of side dishes filling up the whole table. Coming from an upbringing that taught me to finish the food on the table, the never ending side dishes were rather intimidating. But main course such as bibimbab or bulgogi were pretty alright. Also worth mentioning was buchimgae or Korean pancake.

After talking about where to go and what to eat, we dove into the topics I were curious about: how was it like to live and work in South Korea? It turned out that South Koreans lived quite a normal life. Work life balance was not an utopian dream, because it was achievable for some. During holiday, they'd go to countries such as Japan, the US or Southeast Asia (this might explain why I saw a lot of Koreans in Cebu, the Philippines). Some who loved winter would opt for skiing as South Korea had plenty of ski resorts.

Winter in Seoul.
Photo by Sangdon Jung.

Even though South Korea was known for tech giants such as Samsung and LG, the people were not averse to other foreign products. Our friend here was a fan of Apple. Same for the culture such as K-Pop and plastic surgery (if it was ever really part of the culture at all). K-Pop/Drama was popular, but not for everybody. As for the facial enhancement, I remember feeling confused when I watched Wonder Girls' music video called Nobody. I mean, they all so looked alike! More and more girls had undergone such surgery, though not to the liking or preference of the men.

Then we ventured to more daring questions. How did it feel to live next to a country led by Rocket Man? He was unpredictable! But being a neighbour that endured the constant threat had its advantage, apparently. Seoul was such a bustling city that the citizens had a lot to do instead of worrying about such uncertainty. I also learnt that while South Koreans were not permitted to travel to North Korea, they were once allowed to visit Mount Geumgang until the shooting incident in 2008.

The discussion was an eye-opener, really. Despite the fact that it was sandwiched by China and Japan, South Korea managed to stand out on its own proudly. Perhaps I'd plan a trip to South Korea one day...

Endrico and Lina in Jeju Island.
Photo owned by Endrico Richard. 


Korea Selatan Di Mata Penduduknya

Korea Selatan adalah salah satu tujuan wisata paling populer saat ini. Saya ingat ketika semua kolega dan teman sepertinya berlomba-lomba mengunjungi Korea Selatan. Negara ini kini sedang sibuk-sibuknya mendominasi dunia dengan berbagai budayanya, mulai dari makanan, mode, K-Pop film drama dan teknologinya. Seperti yang kita ketahui, kata oppa (오빠) sekarang sering terdengar di mana-mana.  

Bagi orang luar, pesona Korea Selatan sulit untuk dipungkiri, tetapi seperti apakah Korea Selatan di mata penduduknya? Saya penasaran, maka dari itu saya bertanya. Kebetulan saya memiliki kenalan di Seoul yang bernama Sangdon Jung, seorang kolega yang juga memiliki hobi fotografi (karya-karyanya bisa diikuti di akun Instagram @sdjung), jadi saya memintanya untuk berbagi cerita tentang negaranya. 

Rusa liar di Seoul.
Foto: Sangdon Jung.

Mustahil untuk berbincang tentang Korea Selatan tanpa menyinggung tentang Seoul, jadi kita mulai dari ibukota negara ini. Menurut Sangdon, tiga hari di Seoul harusnya cukup. Kawasan seperti Myeongdong (tempat yang paling sering dikunjungi turis dan surga bagi mereka yang senang berbelanja) dan Gangnam (yang terkenal karena lagu Oppa Gangnam Style dan dipenuhi dengan restoran dan tempat minum) tentu saja direkomendasikan. Perlu diingat pula bahwa tidak semua orang Korea bisa berbahasa Inggris, jadi saya berasumsi bahwa wisata ke Korea mirip dengan Jepang, dimana bahasa Inggris yang sederhana dan isyarat tangan pasti akan sangat membantu.

Setelah Seoul, tujuan wisata terkenal lainnya adalah Pulau Jeju. Kemudian ada lagi yang namanya Busan, yang mungkin pertama kali didengar orang asing dari film Korea yang mengetengahkan serangan zombi di kereta api. Yang tidak pernah saya dengar sebelumnya adalah kota Gyeongju. Setelah saya baca di internet, ternyata ini adalah sebuah kota tua yang telah berdiri di zaman sebelum Masehi. Kota ini seringkali disebut sebagai museum tanpa tembok, tentunya menarik bagi mereka yang ingin tahu tentang sejarah Korea.

Gyeongju.
Foto: Sangdon Jung

Berikutnya adalah topik makanan. Hidangan Korea yang disajikan secara lengkap, misalnya untuk makan malam, tidak ubahnya seperti pesta-pora. Meja akan dipenuhi dengan makanan kecil yang terdiri dari kimchi, kecambah dan lain-lain. Bagi kita yang diajarkan sedari kecil untuk tidak menyisakan makanan, santap malam gaya Korea yang disuguhi begitu banyak makanan kecil ini bisa terasa sangat menantang. Akan tetapi menu utama seperti bibimbab dan bulgogi lumayan enak. Buchimgae pun menarik untuk dicoba. Bagi yang menyukai aroma ginseng, samgye-tang juga bisa menjadi pilihan.

Dari kiri, searah jarum jam: Samgye-tang, kimchi, buchimgae dan samgye-tang dari dekat.
Foto: Mega Lee.

Setelah berbincang tentang ke mana dan apa yang bisa dimakan, kita lanjut ke topik yang ingin saya ketahui: bagaimana rasanya tinggal dan bekerja di Korea Selatan? Ternyata warga Korsel cukup menikmati hidup dan tidak senantiasa berkutat di kantor. Di waktu liburan, mereka senang mengunjungi Jepang, Amerika Serikat dan negara-negara di Asia Tenggara (saya jadi ingat dengan banyaknya orang Korea yang saya jumpai di Cebu, Filipina). Bagi mereka yang menyukai musim dingin, ada banyak tempat bermain ski di Korea Selatan. 

Meskipun Korea Selatan terkenal dengan perusahaan elektronik ternama seperti Samsung dan LG, orang-orang di sana tidak cinta buta terhadap produk mereka. Kolega saya ini lebih memilih Apple. Sama halnya juga dengan budaya seperti K-Pop dan operasi plastik (kalau ini bisa dikategorikan sebagai bagian dari budaya). K-Pop dan drama Korea juga terkenal di negaranya, walau tidak semua menyukainya. Demikian juga dengan operasi kecantikan wajah. Saya jadi ingat tentang betapa para gadis penyanyi di grup Wonder Girls terlihat mirip satu sama lain di video musik Nobody. Di kehidupan sehari-hari, ada banyak wanita Korea yang menjalani operasi plastik, meskipun para pria Korea belum tentu suka dan lebih memilih yang berpenampilan alami.

Malam yang sibuk di Seoul.
Foto: Sangdon Jung.

Kita lantas masuk lagi ke pertanyaan yang lebih menantang. Bagaimana rasanya tinggal bersebelahan dengan presiden yang suka meluncurkan rudal? Kim benar-benar tidak bisa ditebak! Kendati begitu, setelah bertetangga sekian lamanya dengan Korea Utara, warga Korea Selatan belajar untuk tidak peduli dan lebih fokus pada kesibukan sehari-hari. Saya juga baru tahu bahwa penduduk Korea Selatan tidak diijinkan untuk berkunjung ke negeri tetangga, kecuali ke daerah Gunung Geumgang yang memang khusus turis. Akan tetapi kawasan ini pun kini ditutup bagi wisatawan Korea Selatan setelah kasus penembakan yang terjadi di tahun 2008.  

Masukan dari Sangdon sungguh membuka wawasan! Meski terhimpit di antara Cina dan Jepang, Korea Selatan mampu berdiri tegak dan bangga akan budayanya. Mungkin suatu hari nanti saya harus berkunjung ke sana dan melihat sendiri... 

Seoul memiliki beraneka fauna yang menarik fotografer kita, misalnya yang satu ini.
Foto: Sangdon Jung.


Friday, January 12, 2018

A Life Less Ordinary (Part 2)

When I was a second grader in elementary school, a friend once said to me, "don't sit with a girl. You will be stung by the girl." But it turned out that I was sitting with a girl, so I pulled a sudden stunt that eventually scared her. It was an awful day, but certainly a day to remember. 

And how time flew so quickly. I remember when I was a six grader,  I farted in the class right before we ended the last lesson of the day. What a shameful thing to do! I thought I could resist the feeling triggered by my stomachache until I reached home, but I just couldn't help it and it came out as a puff. The teacher gave me the awkward look as he smelled it, haha.


Another highlight of my childhood is, you know that aside from playing arcade, we also ate as well as played kranji (or better known as velvet tamarind in English). Kranji fruit was black in color and had a shell that could be cracked open easily using our thumbnail. But instead of doing that, we had a game with it. Basically each of us would push our kranji against our opponent's and the one that didn't crack won the game and was allowed to take the loser's kranji.

I got a lucky kranji fruit that won me many games. I thought I would be busy eating by then, but there I was, busy defeating the challengers instead. Suddenly there was a competitor who cheated and broke my fruit. I was heart broken, too, and my rewards were gone like the wind. I was speechless on my way home and very determined to grow my own kranji so I could harvest more. But it didn't grow and the kranji season slowly passed...



Thursday, January 11, 2018

Between "Want" And Commitment

It is just the 12th day of New Year. I am sure numbers of us have resolutions. And I am pretty sure although it is a new year resolution, the resolution itself might not be new. My resolution is to get fit, something that I didn't achieve last year because of my busy schedules. My resolution is travelling to Japan, which I couldn't make it due to budget constraint. Those are few samples of the repeated resolutions. 

Now, I’m not here to share about resolutions. You can name it anything, your objective, target, goal, wish or whatever name you like. Don’t tell me you don’t have one, because every sober minded person will definitely have at least one. Don’t bury them, get your goals back.

A friend just shared that this year she wants to make her parents and parents-in-law happy. What does it take to make them happy? Does she WANT to make them happy or is she COMMITTED to make them happy? If she is committed, has she already started planning? For example, if she wants them to travel together, has she decided where to go and when to go? By the way, on this happy parents thingy, just a piece of advice: what you think will make them happy might not make them happy, do discuss with them about your plan.

So back to the commitment and want. They are two different things. If you just want it, you will do it only when it is convenient. However, if  you are committed, you accept no excuses, only result. I can have many excuses, ranging from lack of resources, time, money, right people and so forth. Whatever it is, the truth is none of them matters. You do whatever it takes to achieve your goal. But then again, they are a lot of talking about commitment, saying about right things, but yet the behavior doesn’t align. What happen if you are just repeatedly saying right things but your attitude shows otherwise? People around you might say, "yeah, great, good job," but deep inside, they would think, "argh, not a chance."

Be honest to yourself, if you really want that shit to happen, hold yourself accountable for it. There should be some consequences when you fail, so you'll try your best to get it right. For example, when you commit to wake up at 5am in the morning but fail to do so, find some friends, treat them a good dinner. Write down what you'd like to do and really focus on getting it.

So what I want to share from this:
  1. When the decision is made, you are doing it.
  2. You turn up everyday despite the obstacles
  3. No excuses, only result.
  4. Don’t feel eager just because you have read this but;
  5. Shut up and do the job, show the world the right attitude.

Lost in thought...

The Zebra Crossing

I always said that the only reason why I wanted to go to London was because I'd like to cross the zebra crossing. While it might sound hilarious to many, I wasn't kidding. If you only knew which zebra crossing I was talking about. Hint: it was the one that inspired many, including that teenager from Pontianak who sat on his bed and stared at Abbey Road album 22 years ago. Yes, the zebra crossing in question was the one on that album!

It was this very reason that brought me to a land far far away from Pontianak. Ridiculous? Not really. This is the Beatles we're talking about. The greatest rock and roll band in the world! To the fans, the thrill of being able to visit that zebra crossing is a big deal and I was no exception.

So I made my way through the cold and gloomy morning in London. After exiting St. John's Wood tube station, my wife and I had a slow walk to Abbey Road. I remember feeling very nervous. Every step brought me nearer to the legendary studio where the brilliant music came from. I just watched Paul McCartney the year before and that alone was a larger than life experience, but it still paled in comparison!

Crossing Abbey Road!

When I reached that junction, the road was smaller than what I expected, but I recognised it immediately. Across the road, there was this family of three looking left and right, the typical thing you'd do before you cross the street. One of them had a camera and when the husband saw me, I nodded and we grinned gleefully. From one Beatles fan to another, we understood how it was going to be. Of course we had to imitate the Abbey Road cover!

Once he had done his, I crossed over and for the first time ever, I saw the Abbey Road studios. It was a predominantly white building and it looked almost normal, except for fact that the fence was filled up with graffiti by the fans from all over the world. Then I turned back and faced the zebra crossing at the right direction. More than forty years ago that day, John and his bandmates walked past this zebra crossing. It was so simple, but yet it became so iconic and the world would never be the same since then.

It was my turn. I did the crossing twice. Once for me, once for that kid who sat on his bed, looking at the cover of Abbey Road some twenty years ago...

The album that inspires us all!

Kisah Sebuah Zebra Cross

Saya selalu berujar bahwa satu-satunya alasan kenapa saya ingin ke London adalah karena saya ingin menyeberang jalan. Walau kedengarannya konyol, saya tidak sedang bercanda, sebetulnya. Zebra cross yang ingin saya seberangi itu adalah zebra cross yang telah menginspirasi banyak orang di dunia, termasuk seorang remaja yang duduk di kamarnya sambil memandangi album Abbey Road 22 tahun silam. Ya, zebra cross yang saya maksud adalah yang di sampul album tersebut!

Alasan inilah yang membawa saya ke negeri nun jauh di sana. Tidak masuk akal? Tidak juga. Yang kita bicarakan ini the Beatles, grup rock and roll terbaik di dunia. Bagi para penggemarnya, bisa ke Abbey Road bukanlah perkara yang kecil dan remeh. Justru sebaliknya!

Saya sendiri juga merasakan hal yang sama, jadi di sanalah saya berada, di pagi yang dingin dan mendung di London. Setelah keluar dari stasiun kereta St. John's Wood, saya berjalan perlahan-lahan ke Abbey Road. Saya ingat betapa saya merasa gugup. Setiap langkah membawa saya mendekati studio legendaris dimana lagu-lagu favorit yang mendunia itu berasal. Saya baru saja menonton Paul McCartney di Jepang setahun sebelumnya, tapi pengalaman yang tidak terlupakan itu pun masih kalah emosional bila dibandingkan dengan yang satu ini.

Nuryani juga mencoba menyeberangi jalan, haha.

Ketika saya sampai di pertigaan jalan, Abbey Road ternyata tidak selebar yang selama ini saya bayangkan, namun saya langsung mengenalinya. Di seberang jalan, ada satu keluarga yang melihat ke kiri dan ke kanan, persis seperti yang biasanya kita lakukan saat hendak menyeberang. Salah satu di antara mereka membawa kamera dan ketika sang kepala keluarga melihat saya, saya mengangguk dan kita pun tersenyum. Sesama penggemar the Beatles tahu apa yang akan terjadi setelah ini. Tentu saja kita akan meniru John dan kawan-kawan menyeberang zebra cross ini, persis seperti albumnya!

Setelah dia melakukan ritual tersebut, saya menyeberang ke arah studio Abbey Road. Bangunan putih tersebut hampir terlihat normal jika bukan karena dinding pagarnya yang penuh dengan coretan para penggemar dari berbagai belahan dunia. Kemudian saya berbalik dan menatap zebra cross dari arah di mana the Beatles menyeberang. Sudah lebih dari 40 tahun lamanya ketika mereka melakukan hal tersebut. Apa yang mereka perbuat itu sebenarnya sangat sederhana, tapi karena mereka adalah the Beatles, hasilnya dikenang dan ditiru sepanjang masa.

Ketika tiba giliran saya, saya menyeberang dua kali. Sekali untuk diri saya, seorang turis berusia 36 yang sedang mengunjungi Inggris, sekali lagi untuk remaja yang terinspirasi sehingga berani bermimpi untuk mengubah hidupnya ketika dia duduk di atas tempat tidurnya sambil memandangi gambar sampul Abbey Road, lebih dari dua dekade yang lalu...

Di depan studio rekaman Abbey Road. 

Friday, January 5, 2018

What Dreamers Do

I told you about the bucket list recently. Now let's get into the specific. There is this thing called dreams and some, they can be so dreamy that they are taken for granted as only dreams. It's like you are so sure that they'll stay as dreams, until you start toying with them and you begin to realize, perhaps there's a slightest chance that they may happen.

This is the story about such dreams. It's no secret that I am heavily influenced by the Beatles. They've been part of who I am since I was that high school student in Pontianak who sat on his bed, listening to Abbey Road while staring at the album cover. This was right after I saw the Beatles Anthology in early 1996. As years went by, I gradually accepted the fact that the band was something that I only saw on the news or other media. Such belief subconsciously led to this perception that they were so otherworldly and untouchable. There was simply nothing I could do about it and that was the reality of life.


It lasted that way for longest time until the unthinkable happened. When Paul announced his Japan concerts in November 2013, I glanced at the news and wished, if only I could go there and watch. But when I gave it a thought again, it dawned on me that it might possible. Excited by the possibility, I started doing what I could. But the ticket was sold in Japan, where the website was in Japanese and came with all the selling system that only the Japanese could understand. Even with the help of my Japanese speaking colleague, I couldn't do much about it. I failed to get the ticket and it was kind of disappointing. The idea faded away, but it never really disappear.

And the idea was revisited again in 2014, when Paul returned to Japan. I was well prepared this time. By engaging the service provided by Personal Shopper Japan (the Facebook name is Ryu Matsuda, not sure if it's a real name or a pseudonym), I managed to get the ticket this time. Visa, flight and accommodation were immediately secured right after that.

For a while, it looked like the plan was going smoothly. Before I departed from Singapore, I saw the news that Paul had landed in Japan. The excitement was all time high as it was going to be a dream come true. But then it went awfully wrong. Paul was struck down by the virus. I was alarmed when the first concert was cancelled, but knowing how much he loved performing live in front of the audience, I still hoped that he would be fit enough to carry on the remaining concerts.

On the way to the National Stadium.

It wasn't meant to be. The one I was supposed to attend was the second concert, so there I was, alighting at Sendagaya Station. Accompanied by my wife, I walked towards the National Stadium. I was grinning like a child, never knowing if my wife would understand why, but I just couldn't help it. Then she took the photo above before she went back to the hotel, leaving me behind to find my way to the entrance.

That's when I sensed something wasn't right. The Japanese people were known to be so orderly, but it was rather chaotic that day. I had a bad feeling when I saw people holding sign boards and announcing something in Japanese, but I didn't understand what it was all about. I checked Facebook, hoping to see an update, but no luck. Eventually I managed to get an answer after asking around in simple English, "Paul, concert, no?"

Upon returning from a cancelled concert.

And the answer was no. What a hard truth to swallow! All of a sudden, it was as though I came all the way to Tokyo for nothing. I headed back to hotel, feeling confused, not really sure how to react to this. Only when I sat on the floor of my hotel room that the reality sank in. I was very upset, but then I looked at my wife and daughter. It'd be unfair to them if I sulked throughout the holiday, so I put on my brave face and shouldered on.

But Paul didn't disappoint. A year later, in 2015, he rescheduled his Asian tour. I repeated the same set of actions and off I went to Tokyo, this time with my Dad. I did a preliminary site survey to ensure I knew how to get there from Kanda. The sight of the truck below sent a chill down my spine. Something great was going to happen!

Paul McCartney was Out there!

On the day itself, I went back to the Tokyo Dome for the concert and saw the lines of queue, arranged with the efficiency only the Japanese could achieve, something that reminded me that even the Beatles were impressed by this when they did the concerts back in 1966. I was there quite early and, as I sat on my seat, I noticed that there were a lot of empty seats around. I thought it wasn't going to be a full house, but I was proven to be wrong later on, when the show began!

While waiting for the show to start, there was this Japanese guy on my left, trying his best to have a conversation in English. He struggled with words and I replied as simple as possible, saying that I was from Indonesia. Upon hearing that, he just walked away. I was wondering why, but not long after that, he came back with a keychain as a gift for me. That was a nice and unexpected gesture, really. When it came to politeness and hospitality, Japan surely topped the bill as the most welcoming country! But the surprise didn't end there. What's more puzzling was, the moment the concert began, the same Japanese guy stood up and was suddenly able to sing all the songs in fluent English. I thought I was good, but there he was, singing even obscure songs such as Hope for the Future.

That keychain from the concert, two years later!

It was definitely the best concert I ever attended. At the age of 72, Sir Paul McCartney was still capable of rocking the stage for almost three hours (yes, it was that long! Let's not forget that he already wrote hit songs since the 60s). Even the larynx-tearing songs such as Maybe I'm Amazed were not a problem for him. Ever a performer, he was in a jolly mood, very eager to have some fun entertaining us.

Paul did great, but two particular moments were engraved forever in my heart. In Here Today, it was as if he was having a conversation with his fallen bandmate, John Lennon. When he sang the lines such as, "but as for me, I still remember how it was before," I couldn't help wondering how true it must be for him, that he was there with John back then. Then of course there was Something. It was often shown how Paul and George didn't get along, but those pictures displayed while he was singing were such a rare collection that even I, a long time fan, never saw before. Those photos showing the two of them smiling were so genuine and beautiful. Once upon a time, they were brothers, really.

And when the concert was over, I walked out slowly from the stadium, still in the state of shock. That was Paul McCartney just now, no? We were supposed to be worlds apart. He was from Liverpool, I was from Pontianak. He was that rock and roller that was featured on the news, I was the fan who read the news. I always thought that it was going to stay that way, but there we were that night, the rock star and the fan, in the same building, breathing the same air. It felt incredible. Nothing ever felt impossible again since then. Life is, apparently, just like what John and Paul once wrote: if you want it, here it is, come and get it...

Sir Paul, reading Japanese from the teleprompter.


Kisah Seorang Pemimpi

Saya bercerita tentang daftar keinginan baru-baru ini. Untuk kesempatan ini, mari kita masuk ke topik yang lebih spesifik. Di dalam hidup ini, ada yang namanya impian dan beberapa di antaranya benar-benar seperti mimpi sehingga mungkin selamanya tidak akan pernah menjadi kenyataan. Impian seperti itu seringkali dirasakan mustahil sampai anda mulai memikirkannya lagi dan tiba-tiba menyadari bahwa setidaknya ada sedikit kemungkinan bahwa impian tersebut sebenarnya bisa terwujud.

Ini adalah kisah tentang sebuah impian seperti yang dijabarkan di atas. Sudah bukan rahasia lagi bahwa pengaruh the Beatles sangat besar dalam diri saya. Grup ini sudah menjadi bagian dari saya, mulai dari saat saya adalah seorang remaja SMA yang duduk di atas tempat tidur, mendengarkan lagu-lagu Abbey Road sambil memandang sampul albumnya. Ini terjadi tidak lama setelah saya menyaksikan the Beatles Anthology di RCTI pada awal tahun 1996. Tahun berganti tahun dan tanpa sadar saya mulai menerima kenyataan bahwa the Beatles adalah sesuatu yang jauh dari kenyataan dan hanya saya temukan di berita dan televisi. Saya lantas percaya bahwa ini adalah sebuah fakta absolut yang tidak terbantahkan.

Kemudian tiba harinya dimana semua ini berubah. Sewaktu Paul mengumumkan bahwa dia akan mengadakan konser di Jepang pada bulan November 2013, saya menatap judul berita tersebut secara sekilas dan berkhayal, seandainya saja saya bisa menyaksikan pertunjukannya. Setelah itu, mendadak sebuah pertanyaan terlintas di benak saya: kenapa tidak? Terbawa oleh suasana, saya menjadi sangat bersemangat untuk mencari tahu, apa sebenarnya yang bisa saya lakukan. Tiket konser tersebut ternyata dijual di Jepang melalui situs berbahasa Jepang dengan sistem pembelian yang hanya dimengerti oleh orang Jepang. Bahkan dengan bantuan kolega saya yang bisa berbahasa Jepang pun saya tidak berhasil membelinya. Setelah pengalaman yang mengecewakan itu, ide ini pun pudar, tapi tidak pernah sirna.

Tiket konser tahun 2014.

Dan ide tersebut kembali lagi di tahun 2014, ketika Paul kembali ke Jepang. Saya siap kali ini. Dengan menggunakan jasa Personal Shopper Japan (akun Facebook-nya bernama Ryu Matsuda, namun saya tidak tahu apakah ini nama asli atau samaran), saya berhasil mendapatkan tiketnya kali ini. Visa, tiket pesawat dan penginapan selama di Jepang pun segera saya bereskan setelah itu.

Untuk sementara, semuanya terlihat lancar. Sebelum saya meninggalkan Singapura, saya sempat membaca berita bahwa Paul sudah mendarat di Jepang. Saya sangat antusias karena apa yang selama ini hanya saya anggap sebagai sekedar mimpi akhirnya akan menjadi kenyataan. Akan tetapi, siapa yang mengira masih saja ada rintangan yang menghadang? Paul ternyata sakit setelah terserang oleh semacam virus penyakit di Jepang. Saya menjadi cemas ketika konser pertamanya dibatalkan. Meskipun demikian, saya tahu betapa dia sangat senang tampil di hadapan penggemarnya, jadi saya masih berharap bahwa kesehatannya membaik dan dia akan cukup prima untuk tampil di hari berikutnya.

Antrian ke arah gerbang National Stadium.

Ternyata harapan hanya tinggal harapan, tapi saya tidak tahu itu. Di sore itu saya turun di stasiun kereta Sendagaya dan berjalan menuju National Stadium. Sepanjang perjalanan, saya tersenyum girang seperti seorang bocah. Saat mendekati gerbang arena olahraga, tiba-tiba saya merasakan kejanggalan di sekitar. Orang Jepang biasanya sangat teratur, tapi suasana yang saya rasakan saat itu agak kacau. Saya melihat beberapa orang memegang papan bertulisan dan mengumumkan sesuatu, tapi saya tidak mengerti karena tidak memahami bahasa Jepang. Pada akhirnya saya berhasil mendapatkan jawaban setelah bertanya sesederhana mungkin dalam bahasa Inggris, "Paul, concert, no?"

Jawabannya adalah tidak. Saya langsung tercengang. Tiba-tiba saja, kunjungan saya ke Jepang seperti tiada artinya. Saya pulang ke hotel dalam kebingungan, tidak sepenuhnya paham bagaimana saya harus menyikapi berita buruk ini. Ketika saya duduk di lantai kamar, barulah saya sepenuhnya menerima bahwa konser yang saya tunggu-tunggu ini telah dibatalkan. Saya sungguh kecewa, namun kemudian saya pandang istri dan putri saya. Tidak adil bagi mereka bila saya cemberut saja sepanjang liburan yang tersisa, jadi saya mencoba untuk menjalaninya sebisa saya.

Antrian masuk di gerbang yang tertera di tiket.

Setahun berikutnya, tahun 2015, Paul menjadwalkan kunjungan ke Asia lagi. Saya kembali mengulangi hal yang sama, mulai dari pembelian tiket konser dan lain-lain, lalu kembali ke Tokyo, kali ini bersama ayah saya. Ketika tiba harinya, saya menuju Tokyo Dome dan melihat barisan-barisan yang tertata secara efisien, suatu hal yang mengingatkan saya tentang bagaimana the Beatles juga terkesan oleh efisiensi orang Jepang ketika mereka konser di sini pada tahun 1966. Tatkala saya duduk di bangku, saya melihat masih banyak tempat yang kosong. Saya sempat berpikir bahwa mungkin konser hari ini tidak penuh karena Paul mengadakan konser tiga malam berturut-turut di Tokyo, namun saya salah besar. Menjelang konser, stadion baseball itu dipadati penonton! 

Saat saya menunggu konser dimulai, di sebelah saya duduk seorang warga Jepang yang mencoba untuk berkomunikasi saya dengan bahasa Inggris yang terbata-bata. Ketika dia bertanya dari mana saya berasal, saya jawab bahwa saya datang dari Indonesia. Mendadak dia bangkit dan berjalan pergi begitu saja sehingga saya terheran-heran, namun tidak lama setelah itu, dia kembali lagi dengan gantungan kunci. Hadiah, katanya. Saya sungguh tertegun. Bicara soal sopan-santun, Jepang ini memang nomor satu! Kendati begitu, cerita tentang orang Jepang ini tidak berakhir sampai di situ. Yang lebih mencengangkan lagi, mulai dari sejak lagu pertama melantun, si Jepang ini berdiri dan tiba-tiba bernyanyi dalam bahasa Inggris yang fasih. Saya kira saya sudah pakarnya, tapi dia bahkan bisa menyanyikan lagu Paul yang jarang terdengar seperti Hope for the Future!

Panorama view dari tempat duduk saya, sebelum konser dimulai.

Itu adalah konser terbaik yang pernah saya tonton. Di usianya yang ke-72, Paul McCartney masih sanggup mengguncang panggung hampir tiga jam lamanya (oh ya, memang selama itu. Jangan lupa bahwa dia sudah menulis lagu-lagu terkenal sejak tahun 60an). Bahkan lagu yang melengking tinggi dan menyiksa pita suara seperti Maybe I'm Amazed pun tidak masalah untuknya. Seorang musisi sejati yang senang tampil dan menghibur, Paul terlihat riang dan menikmati interaksi dengan penonton. 

Secara keseluruhan, konsernya fantastis, namun jika ada yang senantiasa saya kenang, maka ini adalah saat ketika dia memainkan dua lagu berikut ini. Dalam Here Today, Paul seakan-akan sedang berbincang dengan teman karibnya, John Lennon. Ketika dia menyanyikan lirik seperti, "but as for me, I still remember how it was before," saya bisa merasakan emosinya, sebab dia adalah satu dari segelintir orang yang benar-benar dekat dengan John dulu. Lagu yang satunya lagi adalah Something. Ketidakakuran Paul dan George sering diliput dan dibahas di media, tapi koleksi foto yang ditampilkan saat Paul membawakan lagu George ini menunjukkan realita yang berbeda. Koleksi langka yang bahkan belum pernah saya lihat ini menunjukkan betapa dekatnya hubungan mereka. Hanya ada empat orang di dunia ini yang melewati suka-duka sebagai anggota the Beatles. Setelah perjalanan yang begitu panjang, tidak bisa dipungkiri bahwa mereka sungguh bagaikan saudara.

Ketika konser berakhir, saya berjalan keluar dari stadion, masih sulit untuk percaya dengan apa yang baru saja saya lalui. Tadi itu benar-benar Paul McCartney, bukan? Seharusnya kita berada di dunia yang berbeda. Dia dari Liverpool, saya dari Pontianak. Dia adalah bintang rock and roll yang selalu diberitakan di media dan saya adalah penggemar yang selalu membaca beritanya. Saya kira kita tidak akan pernah bertemu, tapi di malam itu, kita berada di gedung yang sama. Di tengah-tengah lautan manusia, seorang penggemar dari Pontianak itu berada di sana. Rasanya luar biasa. Setelah pengalaman tersebut, banyak impian yang dulunya dirasakan mustahil itu kini tidak lagi terasa tidak mungkin. Hidup itu ternyata seperti apa yang John dan Paul tulis dulu: ini sesuatu yang anda inginkan, coba datang dan raih...

Tiket konser tahun 2015.


Monday, January 1, 2018

The Reunion

We graduated exactly two decades ago this year. While it is definitely a milestone that is worth celebrating, I'm not entirely sure if we will ever have a reunion party because no committee is even formed yet thus far. Compared with other schools, I'm afraid we are certainly lagging behind, haha.

This got me thinking about the day I organized Reunion 2014. I know the year I chose to hold such event was rather odd (who on earth held a reunion 16 years after graduation, anyway? Wouldn't a 15 years anniversary sound better?), but it was not without a reason. My motivation was rather straightforward. Prior to that, when I was browsing the news feed on Facebook, I saw this ex-housemate of mine having his school reunion. This guy, for some strange reason, seemed to find it funny when he cursed my flights to crash, so upon seeing him, I was like, "oh my, even a lame guy like this can attend a reunion."

The site visit and briefing, one day before the event.

Then the next question immediately came to my mind: if he could, why couldn't we? We certainly could! Someone just needed to do it. Perhaps it was me? While the idea was hot, I bounced it off Endrico. He was game, so we discussed further about it. We talked about how, what, where, when and who.

If the reunion was just a quick and dirty gathering of school friends over dinner or lunch, it certainly could be done. However, an event without programmes would be very dry. We'd end up having friends hanging out only with their own groups. The togetherness would be sorely lacking.

The music performance by Hardy and Muliady. 

That was something I'd like to avoid, so we should have something that came from us for us. Of course it had to feature some of us singing stuff that we did back in high school, so I definitely got to get Hardy and Muliady The. When I asked around, Parno was willing to participate and Alvin was keen to demonstrate some basic kung fu fighting. Now that was interesting!

Everybody watched the kung fu fighting!

For video montage that showed our school days, Endrico and I had a rather comprehensive collection of photos, so it was the easiest part for me to complete. We also adopted Denny's idea of having our high school backdrop for photo taking purpose. Apart from that, I had this idea of doing a talkshow, simply because I thought it was good to hear the stories from successful friends (it was too bad that I miscalculated the time we had and eventually failed to execute it). As a closure, I came up with a quiz game about things that happened back when we were in school and boy, was I glad that San San was able to lead the game. She was so lively that she really nailed it!

The hilarious and animated situation during the quiz game. Watch out for the shoe!

When it came to the location, I never had a doubt that it had to be in Jakarta. Not only it'd be easier for those who stayed overseas, but you could be sure that those who were willing to attend would go the extra mile to go to Jakarta, too. The problem was, where should the venue be? Susan had the solution for this, so she proposed her workplace, Sun City. We quickly took up the offer.

Now that things were shaping up, we had to choose the date. We had several options and school holidays were surely considered, but we eventually decided that Sunday, 30/03/2014, would be good, because the guests could come on Saturday and go back on Monday, which was a public holiday. 

The invaders! We weren't originally from the school, but we definitely graduated from there!

By then, the committee members were pretty much confirmed, too. Endrico was there as the sounding board and photographer. Surianto was there, too, as a backup photographer. Susan was the hostess and she took care of the food and the venue. Anni was our trusted treasurer. San San, Hardy, Alvin, Muliady and Parno were there as well, playing the roles they were supposed to play. Then there were a couple of investors, too, but perhaps they should remain anonymous for the sake of their privacy, haha.  

While we were on this subject, I probably should share a bit about the expenses. The reunion wasn't meant to be a profitable project. It was the other way around. The fee per person was heavily subsidised so that it was affordable. It was envisioned to be a happy event and thanks to our dear investors, it was made possible. The rest, as they said, was history.

I didn't think it was perfect. There were minor glitches here and there, but from one friends to another, they didn't feel like mistakes. In fact, it'd been too long since we ever gathered like this that we refused to part ways. When the reunion ended, we shifted to a coffee shop to carry on talking. We left high school 16 years ago so we definitely had a lot to talk about! 

And we hung out here until late in the evening!


Reuni

Tahun ini adalah dua dekade lulusnya saya dan teman-teman dari SMA. Saya rasa ini adalah sesuatu yang pantas dirayakan di dalam hidup ini, tapi saya tidak sepenuhnya yakin jika tahun ini ada reuni sebab sampai sekarang panitianya bahkan belum terbentuk. Dibandingkan dengan sekolah lain, saya rasa kita jauh tertinggal dalam segi persiapan, haha. 

Saya jadi teringat lagi tentang saat-saat dimana saya mengorganisir Reuni 2014. Ya, tahun yang saya pilih memang agak janggal (mana ada orang yang mengadakan reuni 16 tahun setelah kelulusan? Bukankah 15 tahun terdengar lebih standar?), namun ini bukannya tanpa alasan. Saya mendadak termotivasi tatkala melihat melalui Facebook bahwa mantan teman serumah saya sedang menghadiri reuni sekolahnya. Teman yang satu ini punya kebiasaan mengucapkan selamat jalan dan berharap semoga pesawat yang saya tumpangi tidak jatuh, seakan-akan ini adalah hal yang lucu dan enak didengar. Oleh karena itu, ketika saya melihat fotonya, saya langsung bergumam sendiri, "wah, bahkan teman yang seperti ini pun bisa menghadiri reuni." 

Dan tamu mulai berdatangan!

Kemudian terpikir oleh saya, kalau dia bisa menghadiri reuni, kenapa kita tidak? Tentu saja kita bisa! Salah satu dari kita, mungkin saya sendiri, tinggal mengorganisir acara serupa! Ketika ide ini masih hangat, saya lantas berbincang dengan Endrico untuk mendengar pendapatnya. Dia setuju, jadi kita berdiskusi lebih jauh lagi tentang bagaimana, apa, di mana, kapan dan siapa. 

Jadi bagaimana reuni itu seharusnya? Jika acaranya hanya sekedar kumpul-kumpul sambil makan siang atau makan malam, ini tentu saja tidak sulit untuk diselenggarakan. Namun masalahnya adalah, karena tiadanya rangkaian acara yang bisa disaksikan bersama, reuni ini bisa jadi terasa hampa karena semua menjadi sibuk sendiri.


Santap siang.

Ini adalah sesuatu yang ingin saya hindari, oleh karena itu saya menginginkan sesuatu yang berasal dari kita untuk kita. Tentu saja harus ada acara pertunjukan musik seperti yang kita lakukan sewaktu sekolah dulu, jadi saya harus menggaet Hardy dan Muliady untuk turut serta. Ketika saya bertanya sana-sini, ternyata Parno juga tidak keberatan untuk tampil dan Alvin juga bersedia untuk mempertunjukkan seni bela diri!

Untuk video klip yang berisi foto-foto kita di bangku sekolah, saya dan Endrico memiliki koleksi yang cukup ekstensif, jadi tidak sulit untuk dikerjakan. Kita juga mengadopsi usul Denny untuk menyewa photo booth dengan latar belakang sekolah kita. Selain itu, saya juga terpikir untuk menyelenggarakan talkshow karena tentunya menarik bagi kita untuk mendengarkan kisah teman yang lebih sukses, namun acara ini terpaksa dibatalkan karena tidak cukupnya waktu. Sebagai penutup, saya juga merancang kuis yang bertema kisah-kisah sekolah. Saya beruntung karena San San bersedia membawa acara. Dia benar-benar luar biasa dan suasana menjadi lebih hidup dan heboh karenanya. 

Ketika kuis berlangsung.

Berbicara tentang lokasi, saya tidak pernah ragu bahwa reuni harus diadakan di Jakarta. Ini akan memudahkan mereka yang tinggal di luar negeri. Selain itu, mereka yang berminat tapi tinggal di luar daerah sudah pasti tidak akan keberatan untuk berangkat ke Jakarta juga. Masalahnya adalah, di mana tempatnya? Susan mempunyai solusi dan dia menawarkan tempat kerjanya, Sun City. Idenya pun segera disetujui. 

Ketika rencana kian terwujud, kita pun harus menentukan tanggalnya. Saat itu kita memiliki beberapa pilihan, termasuk liburan sekolah di bulan Juni, akan tetapi kita akhirnya memutuskan untuk mengadakan acara pada hari minggu, tanggal 30/03/2014. Para tamu bisa datang di hari Sabtu dan pulang di hari Senin karena bertepatan dengan hari libur Nyepi. 

Para tamu menikmati acara. 

Para panitia pun kurang-lebih sudah terbentuk ketika itu. Endrico bergabung sebagai seksi sibuk dan fotografer. Surianto juga menjadi fotografer. Susan adalah tuan rumah yang menangani makanan dan tempat acara. Anni adalah bendahara yang terpercaya. San San, Alvin, Hardy, Muliady juga hadir dan memainkan peran masing-masing. Bersama-sama kita menyebarkan undangan. Selain itu, ada para investor juga, tapi demi privasi mereka, maka nama mereka tidak perlu disebutkan di sini, haha. 

Selagi kita membahas topik ini, mungkin ada baiknya saya berbagi sedikit tentang masalah biaya. Reuni ini tidak dimaksudkan sebagai ajang cari untung. Justru sebaliknya. Biaya registrasi tiap orang sebenarnya sudah disubsidi sehingga terjangkau. Reuni ini dimaksudkan sebagai acara kumpul-kumpul yang penuh kegembiraan dan tidak terbebani dengan masalah uang. Semua ini akhirnya bisa terwujud berkat bantuan dana dari para donatur. 

Acara reuninya sendiri, saya kira tidaklah sempurna. Ada kesalahan di sana-sini, tapi ini adalah acara yang diselenggarakan secara sukarela dari satu teman ke teman lainnya, jadi hal yang keliru pun tidak dipermasalahkan lagi. Sudah lama kita tidak berkumpul seperti ini sehingga ketika acara selesai pun kita tidak langsung berpisah. Banyak di antara kita yang berpindah ke warung kopi di dekat Sun City. Setelah 16 tahun meninggalkan sekolah, kita memiliki banyak hal yang musti diperbincangkan! 

Para hadirin berkumpul melihat hasil cetakan foto bersama.