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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Before The Year Ends: Be Grateful, Be Thankful And Be Blessed!

I thought it would be great to write something before the year ends: a way to reflect what had happened, to improve and be better.

Many of us are pursuing this thing so called happiness. So what is happiness? If you look up the dictionary, happiness is a sense of well-being, joy, or contentment. But what exactly is happiness to different groups of people? Have you ever wondered if your are happy with your life, your job, your health, etc.?

If only... perhaps the world will be a better place to be?

To the poor
As easy as it may sound, these are some examples of happiness to the poor: food on the table, a roof over their head, a fresh new set of clothing, etc. So why some of us aren't happy when we have all these?

Well, one thing that I learnt, as you become wealthy, you also become poor in attitude. Simple happiness doesn't satisfy anymore.

The poor, they don't have much requirement to be happy as they focus on their needs instead of what they want. However, sad to say, this is also the group of people that have a lot to worry about, which can dampen the mood.

To the middle income
This group of people, in my opinion, is the "happiest". What's with the inverted comas? The middle-income people might feel pretty good about their lives, reason being that they have a satisfaction level of income even if they don’t actually have a lot of net worth. But, to some extent money can just do so much and it will just lose its charm.

To the wealthy
In my field of work. I surely meet many of such people, where money and wealth are never an issue. However, the question remains. Are they really happy with what they had?

To the wealthy, the problem is not about having not enough of everything. The problem they have are:
1. Not having a great health, which they tend to neglect.
2. Family disputes, where money is the root of all evils.
3. Neglecting their own desired passion just to be in the family business.
4. Faux relationship, where they enter into a marriage without love in the equation, merely just a partnership between the two families.

The list can just continue...

Of Life and the Pursuit of Happiness

2019, if I put it into perspective, had been a year of life-lessons. I saw many deaths and sicknesses that revolving around my neighbours, my colleagues, my friends and their family members.

Well, as many said, death is inevitable and it's a course of life. You celebrate the joy of life, not only at birth but also at death.

In my career, all I can say is everything will be perfect in His time. I might not get what I aimed for this year and yes, of course, I am pretty upset. However, I think that I still consider myself to be lucky that I still have a job and my boss is a nice lady.

To me, happiness is simple and am blessed to have these:
My loved ones (including my neighbours, my colleagues and my friends) are happy and healthy.

I have food on the table served by my most dedicated helper.

I have a job.

I have a roof over my head.

I have a great husband, who helps around the house and family.

My parents are healthy and we got to travel together.

I get to meet up and travel with friends.

Quote: Happiness can be defined as “the degree to which an individual judges the overall quality of his life-as-a-whole” (Schimmel, 2009).

So, what is your happiness?

Onward 2020, let us be better, be happy and healthy all the time!

Happiness is in the air!


Monday, December 30, 2019


After 102,020 page views and 1092 days, here we are, reaching our 303rd blog post. It's Roadblog303! Yes, it took only 1.5 years to belt out 202 blog posts, so you might wonder why it also took roughly another 1.5 years to do just half of what we did before. Am I getting sick of it? Or running out of ideas?

I'd say none of those. I wrote because I liked it, not because I had to. At first, it was like a child discovering a whole new world. There were plenty to do! Lots of potentials and I'd like to test the limit. However, as time went by, what was fun started to feel like work. It was like, I was responsible for churning out stories on daily basis if that was even possible. I didn't want that, so as I began the third year, I decided to take it slow. Just a blog post per week. I loved the freedom of time that I had since I adopted that mindset, but most importantly, it felt great to have the unnecessary pressure removed!

Now, let's get sentimental and see what we had done before this one. I had new guest writers such as Wawa and the one with pseudonym DeViLsHGaL joining me this year. I had a great time retelling the life lesson I learnt from Hilary. I got busy imagining the grand adventure done by my friend Eday. I let go my grief and remembered the good times I had with my Dad. I looked back at the one and only time I saw Nagasaki. It had been a wonderful ride and a lot had happened since Roadblog202

There'd be more stories to come after this. If you recalled, the tagline of the blog said, "because we, the commoners, have stories to tell." That's basically what the guest authors and I are doing here. Some people, the Beatles for instance, changed the world. We could do that, too, even though what we did probably had a lesser impact and in a smaller scale. Good and inspiring stories are what we need to make the world a better place.

Some people told me writing was a daunting task and somehow I made it look easy. I'm afraid I did no such thing. Writing is indeed easy. If you could tell a story verbally, you could also put it into a writing form. Simple as that. Don't worry about copying any fancy writing styles, for your own style is what works for you. What's more important here is, don't let good stories go unnoticed. Write it and share it.

Exploring and hanging out with friends! You'll read the story soon!
Photo by Endrico Richard. 


Setelah dibaca 102.020 kali dalam 1092 hari, tibalah kita pada artikel ke-303. Ini adalah Roadblog303! Ya, hanya dibutuhkan waktu satu setengah tahun untuk menghasilkan 202 tulisan, jadi kenapa butuh satu setengah tahun pula untuk menghasilkan setengah dari total yang dicapai sebelumnya? Apakah saya sudah mulai bosan? Atau mulai kehabisan ide? 

Jawabannya bukan karena hal-hal yang disebutkan di atas. Saya menulis karena saya suka, bukan karena saya harus menulis. Ketika saya mulai menulis blog, rasanya seperti seorang bocah yang menemukan dunia yang baru. Banyak yang bisa dikerjakan. Begitu banyak potensi yang bisa dicoba. Akan tetapi, seiring dengan berjalannya waktu, apa yang semula terasa seru mulai menjadi seperti sebuah pekerjaan. Rasanya seperti sebuah kewajiban untuk menghasilkan sebuah artikel setiap hari. Saya tidak menginginkan hal seperti itu, jadi begitu memasuki tahun ketiga, saya memutuskan untuk menulis dengan santai. Cukup satu tulisan per minggu. Setelah saya coba, saya suka dengan waktu luang yang saya miliki dan yang lebih penting lagi, lega rasanya setelah beban yang tidak perlu itu hilang.

Sekarang mari lihat kembali apa yang telah kita lalui. Beberapa penulis baru, Wawa dan DeViLsHGaL bergabung tahun ini. Saya menikmati saat-saat bercerita ulang tentang pelajaran hidup yang saya dapatkan dari Hilary. Saya sibuk membayangkan petualangan Eday yang luar biasa saat mengunjungi negara-negara yang eksotis. Saya menuangkan perasaan duka dan mengingat kembali masa-masa yang lebih gembira bersama ayah saya. Saya juga merenung tentang kunjungan saya ke Nagasaki. Singkat kata, menulis blog sungguh merupakan suatu hobi yang menyenangkan dan banyak yang telah ditulis sejak Roadblog202

Dan masih akan ada banyak cerita setelah ini. Jika anda ingat, moto dari blog ini adalah, "karena kita, orang-orang biasa, memiliki cerita untuk dibagikan." Ini adalah apa yang saya dan para penulis lainnya kerjakan. Beberapa tokoh, misalnya the Beatles, mengubah dunia. Kita bisa melakukan hal serupa juga, meski mungkin dalam skala dan dampak yang lebih kecil. Cerita yang positif dan memberikan inspirasi adalah apa yang kita butuhkan untuk membuat dunia ini menjadi lebih baik. 

Beberapa orang berkata pada saya bahwa menulis adalah sebuah pekerjaan yang sulit dan saya membuatnya terlihat mudah. Saya rasa tidak begitu, sebenarnya. Menulis itu memang gampang. Jika anda bisa bercerita secara langsung, anda pasti juga bisa menuliskan cerita anda. Sesederhana itu. Jangan pusing dengan gaya penulisan yang pernah anda baca di buku-buku lain, sebab gaya anda sendirilah yang paling cocok untuk anda. Yang lebih penting lagi adalah, jangan sampai cerita yang bagus hilang begitu saja. Tulis dan bagikanlah pada orang lain. 

Sunday, December 22, 2019

God In 21st Century

Scene 1: 
Office area, inside Boss' room. In a mute scene, Andy was being scolded by his boss, complete with finger waving, pointing and so forth. After that, Andy came out from the room and his colleague Ted started talking.

Ted: (grinning) That's a long one. I believe you've broken your previous record.

Andy: (sighing) Yeah, me and my big mouth.

Ted: you could have kept it shut, but no, good ol' Andy just had to say the truth, didn't  he?

Andy: (staring at Ted in disbelief) I couldn't help it. I had some concerns with his plan as he didn't seem to notice the flaw in it.

Ted: (chuckling) and where did that land you? A nightmare before Christmas, literally.

Andy: What would you do then, if you were in my position?

Ted: What I do best. Telling him things he wants to hear.

Andy: (shaking head). How do you sleep at night?

Ted: (smiling) Peacefully. I'm not the one who got scolded here. You see, Andy,  you and your conscience, it always gets you into trouble. Me? I couldn't care less. His decision. Not my problem.

Andy. Oh God...

Ted: (packing up and ready to go) Now, now. If God was real, shouldn't you be problem-free? Anyway, Merry Christmas to you. I gotta go.

Scene 2:
In the train, on the way home, Andy was scrolling the news feed on his Facebook. He stopped at one posting from someone he knew. The Facebook status was basically a prayer to God.

Andy: (not quite sure how to react to this): Oh my, people even pray on Facebook these days. Being omnipresent, God must be busy maintaining many social media accounts.

Andy scrolled again and saw a loving picture of a couple. They smiled and seemed to be madly in love. At the same time, the vacant seat next to him was suddenly taken by a friend.

Bob: Hey, what's up, man. You seem to be deep in thoughts. 

Andy: Hi, Bob. Good to see you again. No, I was just looking at the picture of Sue and John. They were so lucky to find each other. Check it out.

Bob (looking at the phone as Andy shared with him what he was looking at): Ah, this trip. A bit of a friendly advice here, Andy. Don't always believe what you see on social media.

Andy: What? Why would you say something like that?

Bob: (scratching his forehead while frowning): I was there when the picture was taken.

Andy: Oh yeah, you went with them, too.

Bob: Yes, and they argued like mad through out the whole trip. It was almost magical that they could pause for a while just to pose for the picture before they resumed quarrelling. 

Andy: What? (Andy stared at the picture before turning back to Bob again). I didn't see that coming.

Bob: Yeah, me, too. It's crazy what people will do for their existence on social media. Anyway, I'll stop here. Gotta go. Merry Christmas, Andy.

Andy: Oh, Merry Christmas to you, too, Bob.

Scene 3:

It was night time and Andy was fast asleep on his bed. In his dream, he thought he heard some clicking noise and he came out of bed to check the shining light from the room next door. He saw a man busy with computer gadgets, from laptop, phone to tablet. As he approached, Andy realised that the man was manning all sorts of social media accounts. His profile name is @god.

Andy: Oh my God! Are you for real?

God: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 

Andy: (stunned, then he mumbled) Not exactly the answer I would expect, but that sounds about right.

Andy stood behind God and observed what God did. God scrolled the news feed and much to the amusement of Andy, God actually read through each and every prayer. But he never replied directly. Out of curiosity, Andy blurted out a question. 

Andy: God, You left all these prayers unanswered.

God: When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Andy: How would I know if my prayer is answered? How would I know if I hear it from You?

God: (smiling) My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.

Andy: Praise be to God.

God: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Andy: (surprised by the words of God, then suddenly remembered what happened earlier that day). Yes, Lord, I had an unpleasant encounter with my boss today.

God: Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.
Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.

Upon hearing that, Andy felt that his burden was lifted up from him. Then he heard the bell from the clock, reminding him that it had passed midnight.

Andy: Oh, it's Christmas already.

God: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Andy smiled and, as he said goodbye, he saw God looking at the picture of Sue and John and clicked the angry emoji, the only one out of 100 responses.

Andy: He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him!

Scene 4:

Andy woke up and checked the phone. As he scrolled his messages, he saw one from his boss: I was wrong and you were right. Thanks for speaking up the truth. Merry Christmas.

Andy smile and sang Joy to the World as he walked towards the bathroom.

Before watching the play of this script.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Book Review: The Life And Times Of Scrooge McDuck

Now here's something I have to let you know from the start: I'm no stranger to the Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck. I read the Bahasa Indonesia edition many years ago and I still re-read it from time to time. This English version, however, is the ultimate version I was waiting for. It had been out of print for quite some time, so imagine how delighted I was when I learnt that it'd be re-released this year. 

It's a good book (or books, depends on which version you are reading). I always find it very inspiring. People often thought of this stingy richest duck in the world when Unca Scrooge was mentioned, but this book showed that Mr. McDuck was more than what met the eye. He wasn't always the miser the world knew him to be. The book, beautifully drawn and smartly told, revealed who he actually was.

The story of Scrooge McDuck began in Scotland and it started with an important one: how he got his Number One Dime (some would call it Lucky Dime, a name loathed by Scrooge when he heard about it). Young Scrooge was a poor boy trying to make his fortune fair and square. He faced challenges, he was cheated and when he was presented with a shortcut, he was contemplating but he eventually rejected the idea because it was dishonest.

The English and Bahasa Indonesia editions. 

Scrooge Mcduck travelled the world, from Scotland to the US, Indonesia, South Africa, Australia, Canada, Panama and other places before he settled in Duckburg. He met all sorts of characters, fictional and historical, from the first iteration of Beagle Boys, John D. Rockerduck, Flinheart Glomgold to Theodore Roosevelt, Geronimo, Buffalo Bill and many more. All these encounters were integrated seamlessly, enriching the legend that we never knew about. The part where Scrooge met Elvira Duck (better known as Grandma Duck later on) eventually brought our titular character into the world of Disney we are familiar with. 

But the life and times of Scrooge McDuck wouldn't be so interesting if he was just a character that could do no wrong. As he got richer, he became greedy and ruthless. He was so obsessed to be the richest in the world that he would do whatever it took, including things his younger self wouldn't approve, things that he would be eventually ashamed of. Oh, he became the richest, alright, but he lived his life in loneliness. He finally managed to redeem himself when Donald Duck and his nephews appeared. That's when he became the figure we read in comics.

What's seldom associated with Scrooge is a love story. But even in the coldest winter in Yukon, he was never the cold-hearted man he always seemed to be. He was just... unlucky. The book told a couple of good stories about the love of his life, Glittering Goldie, and some were quite touching.

As for my favorites? Well, the Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck is gold, but I had two that I loved the most: the Cowboy Captain of the Cutty Sark and a Letter From Home. The first one was special, not only because Scrooge visited Indonesia, but it also coincided with the Krakatoa eruption. The second one was about the hidden treasure of the Templar and Scrooge's relationship with his family. Very endearing. 

By the way, I said earlier that I was curious about the English edition. The stories were split into two books. 12 chapters made up the first book, the rest were compiled as the second book. The 12 original chapters were meant to be one uninterrupted continuity. This is how it was intended to be. The Indonesian edition slotted the stories from the second book in-between the main 12 chapters. The timeline sequence was correct, except for the fact that the old treasure chest where Scrooge kept his memorabilia was first seen in Chapter 12! It was only after that he started opening up the chest and reminisced! That aside, it was amusing that both editions had one story the other didn't have. The second book of English edition contained the Last Sled to Dawson whereas the Indonesian edition came with the Dutchman's Secret.

Other than those minor differences, both editions are great. They told a brilliant story of Scrooge McDuck. No, it's not about money. It's about the success and who else that is in a better position than Scrooge to define the meaning of success? To quote Mr. McDuck: "I wouldn't have missed living my life for all the money in the world. I kinda knew I was always wealthy. And will be as long as I can live the life I choose, as long as I can do what I love to do now and then, and as long as every once in a while, I can get a letter from home."

The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck.

Ulasan Buku: Kisah Hidup Paman Gober

Sebelum kita mulai, perlu saya jelaskan bahwa saya tidak asing dengan Kisah Hidup Paman Gober. Saya sudah membaca edisi Bahasa Indonesia bertahun-tahun silam dan masih sering pula membaca ulang bukunya. Kendati begitu, saya sangat menantikan edisi Bahasa Inggris. Edisi ini sempat tidak dicetak lagi dan menghilang dari peredaran, jadi bayangkan betapa gembiranya saya saat mengetahui bahwa buku ini akan dirilis lagi tahun ini. 

Ini buku yang bagus dan sangat memberikan inspirasi. Banyak orang langsung berpikir tentang bebek yang pelit saat mendengar nama Gober dan buku ini justru mengisahkan sisi lain Paman Gober yang mungkin tidak diketahui oleh banyak orang. Lewat gambar komik dan cerita yang menarik, buku ini menjelaskan asal-usul Paman Gober, dari awal yang sangat sederhana sampai menjadi bebek terkaya di dunia. 

Kisah Gober Bebek berawal di Skotlandia dan dimulai dengan keping uang pertamanya (yang kemudian dikenal sebagai Keping Keberuntungan, walau Gober sebenarnya tidak suka nama ini). Gober muda adalah seorang bocah miskin yang ingin menjadi kaya dengan jujur dan dari hasil jerih payahnya. Dia menghadapi berbagai tantangan serta dicurangi dan ditipu, namun tidak menyerah. Bahkan ketika dia mendapat jalan pintas untuk menjadi kaya, dia sempat tergoda namun mengurungkan niatnya karena hatinya menolak untuk berbuat tidak jujur. 

Gober Bebek bertualang mengelilingi dunia, ke Amerika, Indonesia, Afrika, Australia, Kanada, Panama dan masih banyak tempat lagi sebelum menetap di Kota Bebek. Dia bertemu dengan berbagai tokoh sejarah dan fiktif, mulai dari Gerombolan Siberat, Roker Bebek, Gover Bebek sampai Theodore Roosevelt, Geronimo, Buffalo Bill dan lain-lain. Semua pertemuan ini memperkaya legenda Gober yang tidak pernah kita ketahui sebelumnya. Bagian dimana Gober bertemu Elvira Bebek (yang kemudian lebih dikenal sebagai Nenek Bebek) akhirnya membawa Gober ke dunia Disney yang tidak asing lagi bagi kita.

Kisah Hidup Paman Gober.

Kendati begitu, kisah hidup Paman Gober tidak akan menarik bila dia hanyalah karakter yang tidak pernah berbuat kesalahan. Semakin kaya dirinya, semakin serakah pula jadinya. Dia begitu terobsesi untuk menjadi bebek terkaya di dunia sehingga dia melakukan hal-hal yang bertolak belakangan dengan prinsip Gober muda yang ideal. Gober berhasil mencapai apa yang ia dambakan, tapi ia akhirnya hidup dalam kesepian. Gober baru mendapat kesempatan untuk menebus kesalahannya ketika ia bertemu dengan Donal Bebek dan tiga keponakannya. Dari sinilah dia akhirnya menjadi Gober yang kita kenal selama ini. 

Hal lain yang jarang dibicarakan tentang Gober adalah kisah cintanya. Namun dinginnya musim salju di Yukon tidak membekukan hati Gober. Dia memendam rasa cinta yang tidak kesampaian karena sesuatu dan lain hal. Buku ini mengisahkan beberapa cerita tentang Glittering Goldie, wanita yang selalu dikenangnya.  

Jadi apa kisah favorit saya? Secara keseluruhan, Kisah Hidup Paman Gober adalah sebuah adikarya, tapi saya paling menyukai dua judul berikut ini: Kapten Koboi Cutty Sark dan Surat Dari Rumah. Yang pertama sangat istimewa, bukan saja karena Gober mengunjungi Indonesia, tapi juga karena kunjungannya bertepatan dengan meletusnya Gunung Krakatau. Yang kedua bercerita tentang harta karun Ksatria Templar serta hubungan Gober dan keluarganya. Sangat menyentuh. 

Oh ya, saya katakan sebelumnya bahwa saya sangat tertarik untuk membaca versi Bahasa Inggris ini. Ceritanya terbagi menjadi dua buku. Yang pertama merupakan kompilasi 12 kisah utama dan sisanya dikumpulkan menjadi buku kedua. Di versi Bahasa Indonesia, cerita-cerita yang berasal dari buku kedua ini disisipkan di antara 12 kisah utama. Meski urutannya berdasarkan kisah hidup Paman Gober, peti penuh kenangan yang selalu membuka setiap cerita tambahan itu sebenarnya baru muncul di bab terakhir kisah hidupnya. Setelah bertemu Donal dan para ponakannya, barulah dia mulai membuka peti itu dan mengenang masa lalunya, jadi seharusnya cerita-cerita tambahan itu tidak disisipkan! Di samping itu, dua versi ini masing-masing memiliki satu cerita yang tidak ditemukan di versi lainnya. The Last Sled to Dawson hanya ditemukan di buku kedua versi Bahasa Inggris, sedangkan versi Bahasa Indonesia memiliki the Dutchman's Secret.

Selain perbedaan di atas, dua-duanya menarik untuk dibaca. Perjalanan hidup Gober Bebek sangat luar biasa. Tidak, ini bukan tentang uang. Ini adalah tentang sukses, dan siapa lagi yang lebih tepat dalam berbicara tentang kesuksesan kalau bukan Gober? Dan dia berkata, "saya tidak akan menukar kehidupan yang telah saya jalani dengan semua uang di dunia. Saya senantiasa tahu bahwa saya tidak kekurangan dan akan selalu berkecukupan jika saya bisa menjalani kehidupan yang saya pilih, selama saya bisa melakukan apa yang saya cintai, dan selama saya bisa mendapat kabar dari rumah." Memang dashyat!

Sunday, December 8, 2019

The Divorce

Indonesian netizens were once again busy with a much-publicized divorce of a controversial public figure recently. It was even compared with what Ahok went through in 2018. I remember that when I heard of Ahok's case, the first thing that came to my mind was the divorce of John Lennon and Cynthia. It just happened to be that way, but as you read on, it would be clearer why. 

More often than not, divorce is viewed as so wrong, taboo and negative that it has become a norm to condemn at least one party in the broken marriage, even without hearing the facts. To make it worse, most of the time, one gets to hear only the one-sided story, not the full picture. To think that it takes at least two people to break up a marriage. 

On the other hand, we probably don't want to listen the story, too. It's kind of awkward, really. Screenshots of a wife cheating on her husband were shown to me before and, after a short glance, I couldn't bring myself to read all of them. It was a very uncomfortable experience. It's like I was very much aware this was a private matter that I shouldn't get involved with. 

The more important thing is, yes, divorce is awful, but should a person be judged by it? Does it mean that, because of it, all the good a person had done were wiped off and suddenly he or she became a lesser person than they used to be? These questions were exactly why I immediately remembered John Lennon when I heard of Ahok's case.

By any definition, John was a flawed character. He was anything but a saint. But his divorce happened so long ago, it became a chapter I read about his life. What I remember about him the most are the songs he wrote and that's what counts. He was primarily a musician and that's how he's supposed to be remembered. 

Same goes for Ahok, though unlike John, his divorce was still fresh in mind. It actually hit me hard when I read about it on the news. Those who admired him were understandably disappointed. Those who hated him were having a field day. They got busy condemning him as a failure, some even went as far as saying, "he couldn't even take care of his family, how are we going to trust him to govern Jakarta?" 

Remembering John gave me a perspective to survive the bad news about my hero. Regardless what the reason behind it was, the divorce was something personal and it should stay that way. To me, the memories about Ahok would always be about what he had done for Jakarta. The positive changes he made and his exemplary leadership, those are his legacies. That's how he's supposed to be remembered, too.

Nobody in a right mind would have wanted a divorce, but when it happened, we just had to suck it up and live with it. Life is not a Disney Princess movie and it doesn't always end happily ever after. But it's not right when a divorce blinds us from the truth. Remember the person at his best, not what he failed to do. Divorce is never a problem and shouldn't stop us from appreciating what's good in others...

With "John Lennon" nearby the Cavern, Liverpool.
Photo by Evelyn Nuryani. 

Tentang Perceraian

Baru-baru ini netizen Indonesia dihebohkan oleh perceraian seorang tokoh agama yang kontroversial. Kasusnya bahkan dibandingkan dengan apa yang Ahok alami di tahun 2018. Saya jadi ingat kisah setahun yang lalu, ketika saya mendengar tentang perceraian Ahok. Saat itu, yang langsung muncul di benak saya adalah perceraian John Lennon dan Cynthia. Untuk memahami kenapa begitu, teruslah membaca. 

Seringkali yang namanya perceraian itu dipandang sebagai suatu kesalahan besar yang tabu dan negatif. Kita jadi sibuk mencela setidaknya satu pihak yang bercerai, meskipun kita belum tentu tahu apa sebenarnya penyebab perceraian itu. Kalau pun tahu, biasanya kita hanya mendengar cerita sepihak, bukan keseluruhan, padahal butuh dua orang atau lebih untuk membubarkan sebuah pernikahan. 

Di sisi lain, mungkin kita pun tidak mau mendengarkan kisah di balik perceraian tersebut. Rasanya sangat canggung. Suatu ketika saya pernah disodori screenshot percakapan seorang istri yang berselingkuh dan setelah saya lihat sekilas, saya langsung berhenti karena merasa bahwa sebaiknya saya tidak tahu. Lewat pengalaman yang tidak menyenangkan ini saya sadar bahwa ini adalah masalah pribadi yang sangat sensitif dan sebisa mungkin saya tidak ingin terlibat. 

Ya, perceraian adalah perkara yang emosional dan tidak mengenakkan, tapi yang lebih penting lagi, apakah seseorang lantas dihakimi karena bercerai? Karena seseorang bercerai, lantas kebaikan dan jasanya sirna begitu saja dan dia pun dicap sebagai orang yang buruk? Pertanyaan-pertanyaan inilah yang mengingatkan saya kembali pada John Lennon saat saya mendengar tentang kasus Ahok.

Dilihat dari sudut pandang mana pun, John adalah karakter yang tidak luput dari banyak kesalahan. Dia jelas bukan orang suci, tapi dia sangat manusiawi. Akan tetapi perceraiannya telah lama terjadi dan menjadi bagian dari kisah hidupnya yang saya baca. Apa yang senantiasa saya ingat tentang John adalah lagu-lagu yang ditulisnya dan inilah yang paling penting. John adalah seorang musisi dan dari karya-karyanyalah dia sepatutnya dikenang. 

Sama halnya dengan Ahok pula, meskipun perceraiannya baru terjadi setahun yang lalu. Jujur saya katakan bahwa berita tersebut membuat saya gundah. Semua yang mengaguminya pastilah merasa tidak percaya bahwa hal ini bisa terjadi. Mereka yang membencinya pun bagaikan mendapat kesempatan untuk menghujatnya. Mereka sibuk mencela, bahkan sampai mengatakan, "dia bahkan tidak bisa mengurus keluarga, bagaimana mungkin bisa mengurus Jakarta?"

Mengenang apa yang dialami John memberikan saya perspektif untuk menyikapi berita buruk tentang Ahok. Apa pun alasan di balik perceraiannya, itu adalah sesuatu yang bersifat pribadi dan kita harus membiarkannya untuk tetap seperti itu. Bagi saya, jasa Ahok adalah apa yang telah dia lakukan untuk Jakarta. Perubahan positif dan teladan yang ia berikan adalah peninggalannya bagi kita. Sepak-terjang inilah yang seharusnya kita kenang. 

Tidak ada orang waras yang ingin bercerai setelah menikah bilamana bukan dikarenakan oleh hal-hal tertentu yang tidak terelakkan lagi, jadi kalau perceraian terjadi, kita sebagai orang luar hanya bisa menerima. Ini adalah kehidupan nyata, bukan film kartun Disney, jadi tidak selalu berakhir dengan kebahagiaan selama-lamanya. Kendati begitu, tidaklah tepat bila perceraian tersebut lantas membuat kita menilai rendah seseorang. Kenanglah orang pada saat ia berjasa, bukan saat ia gagal melakukan sesuatu dalam hidupnya...

Friday, December 6, 2019


I'm always ambivalent when it comes to Eric Clapton. He's such a legend that if we're into music, it's impossible not to know him. Yet at the same time, most of his stuff are very bluesy that I find them too heavy for my liking. Still I listened to him, watched him on TV, attended his concert and, recently, I was drawn into Eric again through a song called My Father's Eyes

I first knew Eric from my late uncle. It was in the 90s and the song was Tears in Heaven (I heard of Wonderful Tonight many times before because it was a popular karaoke song, but I didn't know it was written by Eric). I acknowledged it was a good song, but that was all. I only learnt about who Eric really was much later on, when I knew that he played lead guitar in While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

George Harrison (left) and Eric Clapton at the Carl Perkins show.
Photo: Dave Hogan/Getty Images. 

His relationship with George Harrison from the Beatles triggered my interest. I started reading about Eric Clapton. With graffiti from the 60s saying, "Clapton is God," there is no doubt about how good Eric is. But what's more mind-blowing is the fact that both guitarists once loved and married the same woman (George called him husband-in-law). After what they went through, they still stayed friends. Pattie herself eventually became the muse for three memorable hits: Something by George, Layla and Wonderful Tonight by Eric.

That bizarre relationship aside, I admire the friendship between them. Eric took the back seat and supported George with his band when the latter did his concert in Japan. To hear them guitar-duelling was a privilege of a lifetime! Then, when George died, Eric celebrated his life and music by organising Concert for George. Everybody, from Ravi Shankar to Paul and Ringo, was there. Thanks to Eric for making it happen.

Cream: Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton.

Eric himself was, of course, a great artist in his own right. He had a long and remarkable career. He was the guitarist of Cream, the first super group ever (because each of them was an outstanding musician at that time, the cream of the crop). Jack Bruce played bass and Ginger Baker was the drummer. Yes, I watched the band on YouTube and listened to the music before, but I'm afraid I can't appreciate it, haha. 

In short, his early stuff are neither pop-oriented nor a straight rock and roll, but if you enjoyed blues, you would probably like them. That's why I was feeling lost when I attended his concert in Singapore. I didn't recognise most of the songs he was playing. It also didn't help that, unlike Paul McCartney in concert, Eric wasn't very interactive. I only knew Layla that got us up on our feet (the intro was so energetic that the audience couldn't help it) and Wonderful Tonight that made lovely couples dance.

Eric Clapton - Singapore, 13 Jan 2007
Image Credit: 

As a guitarist, Eric's style was unique. He was not exactly a rocker that got busy on stage like Slash from Guns N' Roses. Eric was calm, often just stood there and, for the lack of better expressions, be soulful. But he was good, extremely good. Close your eyes and listen to his solo on Tears in Heaven. It was so beautiful that you could feel his pain of losing his son. 

Same goes for My Father's Eyes. I was into the song recently, probably because I subconsciously missed my father. The song is upbeat. You can sense a slight worry and pessimism when the song begins, but carry on listening and you'll feel it is going to be alright. I like the part when Eric sang, "bit by bit, I've realised that he was here with me and I looked into my father's eyes." Then of course there was the guitar solo that is preceded by a couple of strumming. When it starts, you'll understand why the graffiti said Clapton is God. It's because he plays only the right notes...

PS: just in case you are wondering why the title is Slowhand, that's his nickname. Eric is a fast guitar player. It was due to his habit of pausing and changing broken string on stage that he earned the nickname. In Clapton - The Autobiography (2007), Eric said, "on my guitar I used light-gauge guitar strings, with a very thin first string, which made it easier to bend the notes, and it was not uncommon during the most frenetic bits of playing for me to break at least one string. During the pause while I was changing my string, the frenzied audience would often break into a slow handclap, inspiring Giorgio to dream up the nickname of 'Slowhand' Clapton."[1]


My Father's Eyes.


Saya selalu merasa tidak yakin kalau berbicara tentang Eric Clapton. Dia adalah seorang legenda dan bila anda adalah pencinta musik, mustahil jika anda tidak pernah mendengar tentangnya. Akan tetapi lagu-lagunya condong berirama blues sehingga tidak terlalu cocok bagi saya. Kendati begitu, saya masih mendengarkan beberapa lagunya serta menonton pertunjukannya lewat Youtube dan juga secara langsung di konser. Belakangan ini, saya terpikat dengan lagunya yang berjudul My Father's Eyes

Saya pertama mendengar tentang Eric lewat paman saya kini yang telah meninggal. Saat itu adalah tahun 90an dan lagu Eric yang tenar pada waktu itu adalah Tears in Heaven (saya sering mendengar Wonderful Tonight karena ini adalah lagu yang populer di karaoke, tapi tidak saya ketahui bahwa lagu tersebut ditulis oleh Eric). Saya akui bahwa lagunya enak, namun hanya sebatas itu. Saya baru mengetahui siapa Eric Clapton sebenarnya saat saya menyadari bahwa pemain gitar di While My Guitar Gently Weeps adalah Eric.

Tulisan Clapton is God di London.

Hubungannya dengan George Harrison dari the Beatles memicu minat saya untuk mencari tahu. Saya pun mulai membaca tentang Eric Clapton. Ada kisah tentang tulisan di dinding pada tahun 60an yang berbunyi, "Clapton is God." Dari sejak dulu orang sudah mengakui kehebatannya, namun yang lebih mencengangkan lagi adalah fakta bahwa dua gitaris ini pernah mencintai dan menikahi wanita yang sama (karena hal ini pula George lantas berkomentar bahwa Eric adalah suami iparnya). Setelah apa yang mereka lalui, mereka masih bersahabat karib. Pattie sendiri menjadi inspirasi dari tiga lagu yang tersohor: Something yang ditulis George, Layla dan Wonderful Tonight yang merupakan karya Eric.

Di samping hubungan yang tidak lazim ini, yang lebih menarik perhatian adalah persahabatan mereka. Eric dan grupnya dengan senang hati menjadi band pengiring saat George menggelar konser di Jepang. Adalah suatu kesempatan langka bisa mendengar keduanya beradu gitar! Kemudian, tatkala George meninggal, Eric mengorganisir acara Concert for George untuk mengenang hidup dan musik George. Semua hadir di situ, mulai dari Ravi Shankar sampai Paul dan Ringo.

Eric dan Paul Mccartney di Concert for George. 

Eric sendiri adalah seorang musisi yang luar biasa. Karirnya panjang dan dashyat. Suatu ketika di zaman dulu, dia adalah gitaris Cream yang merupakan grup super karena setiap anggotanya adalah yang paling jago memainkan alat musik andalannya. Dua anggota lainnya adalah Jack Bruce yang memainkan bass dan Ginger Baker yang menabuh drum. Ya, saya menyaksikan grup ini dan mendengarkan musiknya di Youtube, tapi jujur saya katakan kalau grup ini tidak cocok untuk saya, haha.

Singkat kata, karya-karya di awal karirnya tidak bernuansa pop dan rock and roll. Jika anda menyukai blues, mungkin anda akan suka. Karena inilah saya merasa tidak mengerti saat menghadiri konsernya di Singapura. Saya tidak tahu lagu-lagu yang ia mainkan dan, berbeda dengan Paul McCartney, Eric tidak interaktif saat konser. Saya hanya mengenal Layla yang membuat semua orang berdiri karena intro lagunya yang energik dan menggugah. Lagu lainnya, Wonderful Tonight, membuat banyak pasangan menari dengan romantis.


Sebagai gitaris, Eric unik gayanya. Dia bukan roker yang sibuk berjingkrak di atas pentas seperti Slash dari Guns N' Roses. Eric berpenampilan tenang, seringkali hanya berdiri di tempat dan larut dalam permainan gitarnya sendiri. Anda bisa coba memejamkan mata sambil mendengarkan gitar solonya di Tears in Heaven. Begitu merdu dan indah, sampai-sampai anda bisa mendengarkan kepedihannya saat kehilangan putranya. 

Sama juga halnya dengan My Father's Eyes. Saya sering mendengarkan lagu ini, mungkin karena tanpa sadar teringat dengan ayah saya. Iramanya mantap. Lewat liriknya, anda bisa merasakan kegalauan penulis di bagian awal lagu, namun tetap dengarkan dan anda akan merasa bahwa semuanya membaik. Saya suka bagian, "bit by bit, I've realised that he was here with me and I looked into my father's eyes." Lalu gitar solo yang didahului oleh kocokan gitar pun melantun. Di saat itu pula anda akan mengerti kenapa dulu ada tulisan Clapton is God di dinding. Karena dia hanya memainkan not dan nada yang tepat!

NB: jika anda bingung kenapa judul tulisan ini adalah Slowhand, nama ini adalah julukannnya. Akan tetapi jangan salah paham. Eric adalah pemain gitar yang cepat. Dia mendapat julukan ini karena kebiasaannya berdiri di panggung saat mengganti senar yang putus. Di dalam buku Clapton - The Autobiography (2007), Eric berkata, "saya menggunakan senar yang tipis pada gitar saya sehingga mudah untuk dimainkan, tapi tidak jarang pula senar itu putus saat saya bermain cepat. Sewaktu saya berhenti untuk mengganti senar, penonton akan bertepuk tangan dengan perlahan sehingga Giorgio pun memberikan saya julukan 'Slowhand' Clapton."[1]

Catatan kaki:

Kompilasi lagu-lagu terbaik Eric Clapton.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

The Last Ride

It's been a while since I wrote a blog post here. I remember writing one called GRAB: My Life. I once believed the online ride hailing services could lead to a properous life and increase my daily income, haha. But come to think of it again, it was awful. I'd been a Grabber for a year and a half, then I suddenly got fired from Grab because of my carelessness.

Needless to say, in the beginning of my career, I was a diligent Grabber. After a few months at Grab, I made a decent earning that was enough to pay the daily expenses. I was happy I could continue earning. It was like a tiny little goal in life came true. That year end, I got a substantial amount of cash deposited into my Grab account. I was happy when I withdrew it. Really happy, indeed. But that didn't last long.

Taking a break and hanging out with a friend.

In early 2019, I received a SMS that IDR 300K would be rewarded to me as a bonus from Grab. I thought it was real. Then I had a call and was told that in order to obtain the reward, I had to go to the ATM to transfer money. Silly me, I did what the caller said even though everything was so weird. Somehow the caller managed to convince me.

It was horrible, man. I lost IDR 800K instead of earning IDR 300K. I was so dumb and greedy. The worse part was, after I transferred the money, he still called and asked if anybody I knew had any ATM cards. I said I had no such knowledge, but he relentlessly asked me to get another ATM cards. Feeling helpless, I went to my wife's friend to borrow the ATM card and punched in the PIN number. Then the caller, I don't know how, said the ATM card didn't have money. From that moment onwards, I realised that I had been fooled. If I transferred the money successfully, let's say around IDR 30 millions, the con man would have gotten it and the money would disappear. What was I going to do? I was going to die, that was for sure!

A happier time with Grab.

I was damned. I'll never forget that day, but I now slowly repent by going to church and praying for my mental and spiritual health. I say only what's good for positive mindset. Good thing I'm an easy going guy with an ability to forget things easily. I hope you guys also have this attitude, haha. Then life went on and I returned to the Grab routines. But bad people were still out there to hurt me. I really bit the dust this time.

One night in September 2019, I suited up as a Grab rider and waited for orders. It was a quiet night and it had been quite late when an odd delivery order with the same pick up and destination address appeared. I thought, "finally," then I took the order, but when I arrived at the pick up address, there was no one. I contacted the customer but got no response. Much to my surprise, I received a call from someone who knew my personal data and my motorcycle's plate number. The caller did some verification and I believed he was somebody from Grab, so when he said my Grab account was locked and asked me for my login credentials, I just let him know. Then he said I didn't have to work for the rest of that night. I was advised to get some rest while my account would be unlocked in the morning.

When a friend managed to get Parno!

I went home afterwards. The next morning, I saw my face on the Facebook Page of Grab community in Pontianak! Darn! What the hell, my account was never locked, but it had been used by another bad user. After finding out, I went to the local office to explain what had happened. The officer there had warned and sent notifications to my account many, many times. The officer then gave me the final chance and tried creating a new account for me. It was too late.

By the way, before I was terminated by Grab, I had another call from this bad guy. This time I was really mad and told him that he was a fake client services guy, but he convinced me that he was a staff, then started asking me my number again. I was so gullible that I gave him what he asked for. Ohh, I was so stupid! How could I be so dumb? That night, I could see around IDR 50K. I thought it was all good, but my account was actually under the control of the bad person, because every time I got an order, the cashless payment vanished as it was withdrawn by him.

People who read this experience of Parno as Grabber, please beware and be cautious. Anyway, after I was fired, I was feeling down. But I didn't stop finding new hopes and finally I joined another online ride hailing services. A new job, something with yellow colour, haha!

Proudly posing in front of Grab Singapore office.