Rethinking Religion and Its Relevance in the Now

Hope, is not something innate. At least, I don’t believe so. Not like love or fear, I don’t think that we have hope when we were born. I don’t think we are even capable of expecting something really. I mean, literally,  we can’t even see back then. Let alone to hope for something that we don’t understand yet.

We learn hope. By interacting with our surroundings, with the people around us, we learn this humane trait of hope. Be it from being introduced into this dream of being a fireman, astronaut or Richie rich. Or even from something as simple as getting a new bike, because you just got good scores in our school report. This notions of winning something that we set a target for, that created hope. We were trained to hope.

Back in 2012, I spent almost 3 weeks in Cambodia volunteering at an orphanage. It was a fairly normal experience, life changing of course, but for a voluntary mission, it was fairly regular. There, I had to paint a classroom, teach English, treat kids hairs for lice, nail bamboos to make a floor for a simple house, those sorts of things.

The kids was of course very grateful and charming. They were all really sweet and full of smiles, different from the kids here in Jakarta (you know what I mean, those little bastards have had it coming), and they were all really discipline in their way. They would always clean whatever they used, they would help each other out, they would finish their homework and they would pray.

Now, this particular orphanage is run by a christian organisation. The guy that brought me there, which was a really inspiring teacher of mine, is a christian priest.

In the end of our mission, they held a service for us and prayed not only for their own blessings, but also for ours, who volunteered there for a week or so. These orphans, who doesn’t have a family apart from each other looked really happy at that time. They played music, they danced, they joke around and most importantly they smiled. Not the kind of smile when somebody open the door for us, not even the kind of smile when you finally got that amazon package we were waiting for. But a real genuine one. A big happy face smile.

These kids, who were not born into a family. Who lived in a country, that (only just around 10 years before) was massacred, tortured and enslaved. These kids who are supposed to hate the world for the unfairness that they are facing. These kids that could never dream of having a happy meal, while on the other side of the world, that very food was being thrown away just because they already got the toys. These kids can genuinely smile.

But how can they smile with their predicament? How can they smile when I can’t even smile that way, and I have all the privileges in the world of being a normal kid.

I asked that question every day after I got home from that mission. Until one day it hit me. They had hope. Their religion gave them hope.

They don’t need money, or new bikes or anything to give them a sense of hope, because in their mind (and heart) they have their God to wait for. They have their heaven to be hoping for. And that may just be enough to keep them happy everyday, knowing that they belong to the same heaven as anyone who may have more things that they have.

I am not a religious person myself. I was quite an avid prayer because of my mom when I was a kid, but now I rarely go to church or even pray. I pray for my food because it has become an involuntary habit, but other than that, as far as your concern, I’m the devil.

tolerance

But I am always fascinated by religion and how it affects people. Be it in a large group, small group or even in an individual level.

The laws of religion has rarely changed, but the way people interact with it, is very unique. I never think of religion as a problem or a solution. I always think of it as a way of life and a guidance to help you take your steps. You don’t necessarily need it, but some people prefer to have it anyway.

And for so long, this guidance has never change whatsoever. It has never made any attempt to adjust itself to be more relevant to the age that they are living in. That’s why you can always see conflicts like the blasphemy case in Jakarta every now and then. Be it with Gus Dur, Ahok or anyone that has not follow the guidance as is really. And that’s why (partly) we have terror groups and racism.

Yet, once or twice, you see figures like the Dalai Lama or Pope Francis saying something really far from the normal things that the guidance would say and it makes you wonder.

Just recently, Pope Francis hinted that He might be okay with married Priest in the catholic church. This is huge, considering that for the past 2000 years that this religion exist, this rule has always been there and is seen as one of the most important ones. Yet, with decreasing numbers of priests and followers, and with the changing nature of our society along with the ever-moving time, these supposedly stubborn guidance has showed its willingness to adapt. I mean the pope has an Instagram, if that’s not enough proof.

Does this mean religion is cool? I still don’t think so. I think religion is a personal experience, and whether we choose to follow a certain religion or not is totally an individual call. It has shown its ugly sides, yes, but it has also shown its willingness to adapt and to be more than just an archaic novelty from the past. It is with no doubt an important part for a lot of people’s life, and a source of annoyance for many others. But I think religion serves a certain purpose in life, and while its function might not be the same along the time, I think it is wrong to disregard it entirely.

For more than 2000 years, we’ve gotten used to a certain role of religion, when I think that role is overdue for a change. Its governance was a fit for the roman empire, but its old value needs to be adapted into a more open value that our society have already attain. Otherwise, the hope that a lot of people have, will only turn into terror, hatred and fear.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind – AE

Babi, Demokrasi, Evolusi

Suatu waktu ada seekor babi berjalan sendiri di tanah lapang. Dahulu sawah, kini hanya berjengkal-jengkal tanah kering. Gerah, tak lagi lembab. Setetes airpun tak akan membantunya. Hanya akan membuat perih karena terkelupas dan keras.

Tak selamanya tanah ini kering. Dahulu tanah ini subur, dahulu tanah ini hijau. Bukan hutan, hanya kebun. Namun cukup untuk memberi makan ratusan hewan jinak. Namun cukup untuk memberi makan ratusan hewan polos.

Berbeda mereka, namun cinta mereka dengan sekitarnya. Ada yang percaya terbang itu jalan hidup. Ada yang percaya berenang itu pencarian akan kebenaran. Walau tak pernah akan mereka temui itu kebenaran. Hanya berputar di dalam empang seluas bagasi kijang kotak.

Ekosistem. Mereka sebut kebun itu, karena setiap biji dan tanah yang jatuh selalu memiliki arti dan memberi arti. Setiap sampah menjadi makanan, setiap makanan menjadi sampah, setiap sampah menjadi makanan. Begitu terus hingga subur tak nian kebun itu.

Subur nan harum nama kebun itu. Bebunga indahpun semakin banyak. Kupu-kupupun tiba dari segala ufuk. Indah rasanya setiap kepakan mereka. Haru rasanya tarian mereka bersama mahkota kembang.

Image result for trump pig cartoon

Tak lama, binatang lain datang. Kini tak seindah kupu itu. Binatang itu lapar, binatang itu garang. Paling tidak, parasnya garang. Seram memang. Kucing liar berwarna hitam. Tak banyak bicara, hanya menggeram tanpa arti. Atau setidaknya, tak ada yang paham arti yang ingin dia beri. Dia mengandung, lalu melahirkan lusa paginya. Enam anak berubah menjadi tujuh keturunan. Cepat kucing itu beranak, birahinya bagai pelacur tanpa akhlak.

Kucing itu tidak sendiri, ada juga serigala, ada juga kukang. Tidak lupa sekelompok kera liar juga sempat datang.

Mahsyurnya kebun itu seakan memanggil setiap spesies binatang di muka bumi ini untuk berkunjung. Subur memang kerap memanggil iri. Subur memang kerap memanggil birahi. Subur memang kerap memanggil ambisi.

Di kebun ini, semua tumbuh. Di kebun ini, semua jadi. Tidak hanya janji akan kerja keras. Namun hasil setimpal untuk usaha yang tuntas.

Si babi geram, si babi marah.

Bagaimana bisa tanah yang disuburkan induknya enam keturunan lalu itu, dijarah.

Bagaimana bisa orang asing mengambil hak asasinya yang hakiki.

Kata Tan Malaka, revolusi itu muncul karena keadaan.

Kata Tan Malaka, revolusi tak bisa dipimpin oleh tokoh.

Tan Malaka salah. Dia lupa seberapa kuatnya kebencian.

Dia lupa seberapa kuatnya rasa takut dan tidak kenal.

Si babi murka, si babi bergerak.

Dia himpun teman seadanya. Dia bangun pagar sebanyaknya. Dia usir binatang yang tak guna, dia kembalikan setiap jengkal lahan ke tuan tanah yang lahir disana. Tak peduli seberapa bodoh atau rentanya sang tuan. Tak peduli seberapa bodoh dan tuanya (mudanya) sang tuan.

Binatang memang sering lupa, hidup tak bisa tak bersama. Binatang memang sering lupa, berbeda bukan berarti tak bisa bercengkerama.

Satu harus mati untuk memberi hidup kepada yang terus mati.

Satu harus hidup untuk memberi mati kepada yang terus hidup.

Evolusi

Tak ada yang paham apa yang sebenarnya terjadi. Yang jelas melawan si babi tak ada nyananya. Yang jelas rumput tetangga semakin hijau.

Binatang pergi, binatang mati.

Mereka yang tak bisa bersuara, mereka yang tak bisa mendengar, pada hakekatnya akan mati tanpa arti.

Bukan raganya namun nyawanya.

Bukan raganya namun suaranya.

Binatang memang sering lupa, hidup tak bisa tak bersama. Binatang memang sering lupa, berbeda bukan berarti tak bisa bercengkerama.

Evolusi

King of Saudi, Selfie Stick and the Impotent Parliament

“I’m so sick of congress I could vomit”

Joshua Lyman, a character from West Wing said that, in an episode called “five votes down”. In short, the main conflict of the episode resolves around the president’s bill to make the sale of some gun’s harder to ultimately reduce gun violence. At first, They got enough vote from the congress, but all of a sudden, five of them withdrew the vote. Some for a good reason, other for a completely childish one. Basically this one guy just decided not to vote for the bill, that saves lives, because he wasn’t getting enough photo op with the president. And he used that momentum, to leverage himself into getting attention and asking for exactly that.

I'm so sick of Congress I could vomit. photo joshymansickofcongress.gif

I know it’s a hyperbole or a rather exaggerated fiction from a TV show. But in reality, I feel like this petty and selfish reasoning for not passing a bill couldn’t be very far from this fictitious rendition. I mean look at the whole republican party and how the acted in support of Donald Trump. Some of them, at some point really went at him during the campaign period, and now, they just somehow decided to back him up. They just want to board the train, no matter how crooked it is.

Not to forget this whole calamity regarding the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), and how members of congress insisted they will repeal the plan, even though they still do not have any feasible replacement. You know what’s funnier, their constituents actually want to keep the ACA, but they decided to try and repeal it anyway, for whatever reason they may have. In short, Congress members are (more often than not) selfish. Re-election is the only thing they worry about when it comes to their constituent, and political agenda for their party is the second in command of their lives. And if (worst come to worst) they fail to convince their constituents, they can always lie.

This is no unique to the U.S.

Photo Credit: SINDOnews/Isra Triansyah

Indonesia, the largest democratic country in the world has the same problem of dishonest and stubbornly selfish parliament. Worst, they’re impotent too.

By November 2016, two years after elected, they have passed only 10 of their 90 planned regulations. Only 10% of their annual targets are fulfilled. 10%. If you only achieved 10% of what your boss asked for in the office, you are surely screwed. Yet, nobody really hold them accountable of this impotency. Vacant chamber during a parliamentary meeting is a common sight. Yet they flooded the news cycle with their visit to some country that are (most of the time) irrelevant to their performance and actual regulations.

Okay, I may be a bit unfair here. They do flood the room at some point. Like when the King of Saudi visited the parliament this Thursday. Whilst this sounds encouraging, I think it’s important to note, that our dignity as a citizen wasn’t really kept well by our representative, as all they do is sneaking selfies and pointing selfie sticks everywhere.

And to be fair, they do sometimes push forward an emergency meeting. Like when they need to take away Basuki Tjahaja Purnama’s gubernatorial seat for an ambiguous technicality. They actually insisted really hard for this resolution to pass quickly. Of course it has nothing to do with the people they represent. But hey, as long as it benefits they party’s agenda right?

Ironically, on the same day , a group of citizen marched in front of the Saudi Embassy in Jakarta to ask for more protection towards Indonesian Worker in Saudi. With high numbers of violence and unfair criminal prosecution of Indonesian citizen in the Saudi; and with the high numbers of Indonesian workers and diaspora there, I think this is a really important issue (aside of Hajj quota) to look on to. This issue can be easily pushed by the member of the parliament into a discussion with the King himself, and yet, the people representing those protester are instead busy taking selfies and posting the moment they catch a glimpse of the Arabic King on their social media (I should mention though, Setya Novanto did mentioned this issue during his speech). One may say that the fate of our worker has been deemed redundant and unimportant by our representatives, so that they can priorities on taking some pictures that they can brag on their social media.

Congress consists of one third, more or less, scoundrels; two thirds, more or less, idiots; and three thirds, more or less, poltroons. – H.L Mencken

Rethinking Tolerance: Blasphemy and Why Minorities Should Just Give Up

In about a month, I would’ve been here in Jakarta for 2 whole year. This strange, dingy, chaotic city is now my home. I’ll have to admit, the challenges of adjusting to life here, are humongous. The piercing and yet humid afternoon sun that never seem to help your skin decide whether you’re too hot or getting a cold because of the sweats. The long, long, long queues of cars along the street, waiting for a wealthier, taller black SUV’s cutting the proletarian’s road miles ahead creating bottle necks. The smell of clove cigarettes, combined with the smoke your everyday motorbikes produce. The mysterious figure you can’t see the first time you’re trying to park your car, but is always there to pickup that leftover coins of yours somehow.

This city, it is a place worthy to be called jungle. Hell jungle is worthy to be called this city. Bottom line is, this city is a tough place to adjust to.

Yet, those inconvenience hasn’t really lived up to its dark reputation for me. In fact, I think those things has made this city become more exotic somehow. It gives it identity that separates it, even from the most livable city in the world. It has a very, very unique identity. It’s the homeless guy that always smiles, sitting besides his dog just north of Swanston street every day. He has a rather charming character isn’t he?

What I find challenging here in the city, has instead been the tolerance of its people.

Let me explain.

It is indeed very moving and beautiful, the first time you step into this city, where a majority of Muslim can live side by side by side with each other without seemingly any problem with other race or religion. Nobody have ever asked for my religion, nobody threw a spoon at me when I pray for my food in front of them, and nobody ever make a big fuss when I eat my lunch during a fasting period at the office.

Until you pay attention a little bit more to the people.

You see, maybe I live in this city during the wrong period of time. Like it or not, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama’s (Ahok) blasphemy case has had its polarizing effects toward this society. His Alleged misappropriation of Al Maidah 51 has brought a lot of unintended consequences, not only for himself but more towards the fabric of our society and how it interacts with each other. Suddenly, race and religion becomes even more important. Suddenly, common sense is abandoned.

Until I thought back to the past 23 months I’ve been living in the city. During this period, I’ve lived in two different places, both of them very near a mosque (unless you live in an apartment, I don’t think there’s such a place far from a mosque in Jakarta these days). 5 times a day, light or dark, they will sound the speaker to remind everybody (that includes me) to pray. Of course I don’t pray the same way, but that’s fine by me I thought. As long as they don’t force me to do so.

And then you see the road you usually go through everyday is closed on Friday afternoon. People are praying on the street weekly, and it is not uncommon for them to close the road so that people don’t pass and disturb their rituals. But I guess my church back in Jogja also do that every weekend, so who am I to complain?

After all, people here think it’s okay to close the road for any personal reason anyway.

But those things, those are just minor everyday routine that I find and I don’t mind.

So why am I making a fuss then? Why can’t I just adjust to this place?

Truth be told, I was about to. I started to feel comfortable living here in the city, right until the moment that blasphemy case started.

Suddenly, I see my neighbor differently. Suddenly I see my colleagues differently.

There was one moment, where I saw somebody I knew, posted the 411 movement on her social media. On it, she posted the sea of people flooding Monumen Nasional for the blasphemy case. Asking the government to prosecute Ahok, using banners with unkind words such as kill him! Kafir! And Pigs! (what they usually call Indonesian born Chinese). On it, she wrote “how beautiful it was” or something along that line. I get that She was referring to the love people have to their religion. But her failure to understand the context was the thing that worries me the most.

Since then, this movement that supposedly ‘defend’ Islam continues on and changes its form along the way to ‘defend’ ulama and finally to “choose a Muslim leader”. It has turned itself from a religious movement into a political propaganda.

All this, to be honest, wouldn’t be a problem for me if I don’t know these people. I thought having an okay job at an okay office would guarantee me a reasonably educated friends. And that is what I got really. Yet, they can still ‘double think’ and thought that whatever the 411 and other movements was, it was justified.

They are willing to get behind, or at least to not condemn somebody who’s been hiding behind religion to spread hatred and ostracize the minority. They are angry at Ahok for citing Al Maidah 51- even though he was (in my opinion) justifiably worried that people won’t accept his program to help empower them because people are using that verse to black campaign against him- yet, they are willing to march on the street and campaign against him using that very verse. Justifying his worries.

All that made me realize. That me, as a minority, I don’t belong here. At least not if I want to stand up for myself. Because If I want to live here, I have to continue respecting the mosque speaker and the roadblocks. Because if I want to live here, I have to accept that tolerance in this country, means that the minority have to stay silent and pave ways to the majority. So they can do whatever they want to.

This sadly, has become or has always been (without us realizing it) the norm here. Here, in a city where most malls accept any kind of clothes as appropriate. Yet at the same time, just minutes behind that very mall, people find it okay to blame victims of sexual abuse for wearing a “sexy” clothes. Why wear a revealing sinful clothes at the first place? They said. It’s not my fault that she made me horny! They said.

 

Why Last Night’s Debate was Irrelevant

Yesterday marks the first public debate, for the seat of Jakarta’s governor and vice governor. The debate was broadcast all over our nation, giving us a chance to take a peek of each candidate’s quality. As appetizing as the debate was, there wasn’t much that we can take away from last night’s event. Especially for somebody who’ve read the news. Last night was pretty much about each candidate outlying their own program while at the same time, passive aggressively (while still being polite and subtle) attack other candidates (or at least two of them did). The way each candidates debated, it was as if they had nothing to lose. And considering this was the hottest political seat in the nation aside from the presidency, this got me thinking, do political debates between candidates even matter in this country?

The answer is pretty much straight forward, I don’t think so.

NO CHANGE OF HEARTS

If there’s anything we can be sure about Indonesian people in general is that they’re loyal with their community. That loyalty extends to religion, race, culture and political affiliation. While changing one’s preferences from one party to another for financial or any other reason is not uncommon, the average Indonesian (we must remember that we may not be an average Indonesian from educational background point of view, because by 2014 the average primary school enrollment was still below 60%) remain loyal to their affiliated party. We must understand, that at the end, many Indonesian will only consider a specific promises that for them are more probable to alleviate them from their struggles. That, and the community development program that some party have done to their community, may have already made their mind up. So when a candidate play this “group” thing, be it their party, religious background or race, it is harder for ideas to become a head turner.

COMPREHENDING WHAT MATTERS

Comprehension of issues that matters outside personal preference I think is a key aspect that many Indonesian lacks. If we look at a more mature democratic society with a better education in general, people traditionally have a more open mind regarding the candidate they’ll choose even if it means they have to vote against their own party. That’s because they are more attracted by ideas, and that is where campaigns holds an important role in winning any political race. Of course that is also true here in Jakarta, but if we look at the nature of the campaign here, it is quite different. If in, say, U.S. candidates generally hold an open event and talk for hours about their ideas, here in Indonesia, candidates need only to walk through villages and shake everybody’s hand. And that’s only recently thanks to Jokowi; before, candidates only need to erect a stage, invite a singer and say “vote me” at the end of a concert. Of course in any democratic society, there will always be a hardcore left supporters and hardcore right supporters, and the campaigns are usually to sway a more lenient supporters. But here in Indonesia, there are no such thing as hardcore left or right, because party ideology are quite blurred. Which brings me to the next point.

IT IS ALL ABOUT THE FIGURE

From Jokowi to Prabowo, Megawati to SBY, while being loyal to party or a certain group can be a factor, the figures hold a more important role for Indonesian politics. Because there are such an abundance of political party in Indonesia, the POD’s for one party to another becomes increasingly indistinguishable. Parties has become increasingly less concerned about their ideology, basic values and fighting about what they believe to be the best for Indonesia and concentrate more on winning any political race in the name of power. So what they end up doing is choosing a candidate that are relate-able or attractive (cough candidate number one). And this becomes a good backup for my first point, hoping that if their party is not attractive enough, or their history is not convincing enough, the attractiveness of their candidate can win people over (cough candidate number one again).

(I think I’m getting the flu)

Those points are just three main things (among a lot of others that I won’t mention for the benefit of you cause I can go on for days) that I think made this debate an impotent tool to our democracy. Indonesian in general (and again, chances are we are not the average Indonesian or even Jakartans as a matter of fact) don’t elect their leaders from the ideas and what they might bring to the community. The Indonesian in general are basing their choices more on a very shallow personal or group interests rather than ideas that can develop societies, and most of them may have already made their mind up the day the candidates name was announce and has pledged, not to change their preferences whatever happens.

And that is a shame really, because some of the ideas discussed by the two candidates was really interesting. Oh there was three candidates? Lol (cough).

So there is no wonder that Anies has been seen as the winner, because his figures and his poetic tone is more attractive to the people, no matter how clearly impractical his ideas were. And you know what’s funny, he ran his campaign with this idea that he was “experienced”. As what?! An education minister who failed to lay a single useful program? Yet again, he is selling the election on education for God’s sake.

President Elect Donald J. Trump: A Time of Reflection

The United States of America, the land of free and the home of the brave has elected Donald J. Trump as their 45th president.

I’m sure the past 24 hours wasn’t enough for any of us to let that sink in. I don’t think it’ll ever sink in.

His win boggles the mind of experts, journalists and even Hillary’s campaign herself that has been very confident of her chance to be the first ever female American president since its independence. And please don’t start with the “because she is woman”speech again, because the number of women voters that choose her in this election is not as overwhelmingly high as we all thought. So maybe it’s not about gender after all.

Now what does this mean for the rest of the world? I have no idea. Nor does a lot of country leaders. And we may have to wait until January, or at least until He announces His cabinet, before we know what His policies will be.

Is it okay to be scared? Yes.

Are there a reason to be that scared? Yes. And Trump alone may not be the only reason.

donald-trump-cartoon-luckovich

In the past 12 months, we have witnessed racism (sort of) triumph in the UK after they voted yay to brexit. We’ve seen hundreds and thousands of migrants life being left undecided because countries simply “can’t take more people”. We’ve seen wars purported in the name of God and religion. We’ve seen reasoning repeatedly lost to politics, when climate change continuously  being undermined in the parliament all over the world. And now, His Excellency President Elect Trump happened.

Is He one to blame? Are those politicians, country leaders and religious fighters one to blame? I’m not sure. I’m leaning no though.

I think this is a good time to reflect. To really think about the society we live in. About our values, and how it translates to the people around us.

Because evidently, the world has kick itself back some decades or even centuries, where reasoning are overwhelmed by fears.

We may think ourselves as a freethinker, as freedom fighter, as a reasonable citizen, but have we overestimate our role? Have we, in partying our freedom, create fear among those who can’t understand our reasoning?

Because let’s face it, most of those things happened because of votes. Maybe not the war and migrant crisis, but brexit, Trump, and whatever happened in Jakarta on the night of 4th November, happened, because they have strong backers. And those backers, are our fellow citizen. People who we meet everyday, who we interact with.

Have we, instead of engaging with them in conversation and in finding understanding as well as a middle ground, undermine them and ostracize them? Treating them as an old fashion bigot. Bullying them into having this pathological fear of pluralism, change and reason?

One thing is for sure, the world will not end tonight. It will not end tomorrow night, or the day after tomorrow or anytime soon. The world will go on. And it is up to us, to decide whether we’re going to be the pedantic uncle that always lectures the society about freedom. Or are we going to be the voice of reason that sits down in the dinner table to find a common ground.

The thing about our society is that what’s right, is always relative to the people. Democracy has given as the gift of eternal tug of war between infinite numbers of ideas. And undermining it by letting the rope go just because we fell we are right will only make the rope go further and further.

We can continue campaigning what’s “right” and what’s “wrong”. We can continue posting junks in our bubble that represent what we believe. But the conversation will never start if the sides involves only shouts about their opinion without listening.

The same thing could very possibly happen to Jakarta. The very same thing could very possibly happen to Indonesia. Difference is, we have just about enough time to change it.

This moment, is not a moment of discouragement. This, is a moment of reflection.

4th November Protest: We Are the One to be Blamed

There are 6500 spoken languages in the world. I think none of them can describe how I am feeling right now. Anger, sadness, confusion, frustration, all mixed up together in response to what happened on the night of 4th November. A night that many claims to be the day to protect Islam’s dignity in Indonesia. A night many others would remember as the night, of uncontrollable mess that started by merely a scandal.

The day started just fine for me. The noise of kids around my house woke me up, together with the sound of my phone alarm. I wasn’t expecting much that day. The only thing I expected was that, that night, it’s going to be a long one.

With all the fuss about the big protest coming at the heart of the city. I wasn’t expecting much would happened around me. I lived quite far away anyway.

Just when I started opening my emails to check on some spams, a plastic ball hit my bedroom door. My computer sits just behind it, with a curtain covering it from the glass window, so I could hear it quite clearly.

I startled, but it happened before, so I just put on “Top gear” so that I can hear Jeremy Clarkson’s voice on the background instead of those noisy kids.

I had just opened my bedroom door, readying myself to cook for my breakfast, when those kids started knocking at my front door, playing pranks for their afternoon entertainment, as if their noisy little soccer game just a meter away from my bedroom was not enough.

I ignored it. I started cooking, by  taking some water to boil for the noodle. Then from behind the curtain, I saw this one kid just casually walked into my front door and started knocking. “Assalamualaikum” He yelled before he started running away for cover.

So I waited behind the curtain, to see who’s been annoying me all morning. Then I saw two different kids approaching my front door. And just before they knock, I kicked my door. They startled, and ran away.

I felt so guilty. Just then, I caved in and turned myself into a 10 year old boy.

Just before you know it, they started banging my door using a rock. I ignored it. They stopped.

Just before I open the door to leave for work, I saw them again gathering. Only to ran away when they hear my key behind the door.

They kept running away and hiding behind walls and fences as if their big plan was discovered too soon.

I stopped and hopped off my motorbike. I waved my hand to call them over. I wanted to ask what they want, but they kept hiding. So I took off.

That’s how my morning started.

ostracism

So it became no surprise for me, when the same society that raised those kids, casually burned 2 police cars and raided 2 mini markets during the night of 4th November. And that’s only small pictures of what actually happened that night.

So it became no surprise for me, when the “peaceful protest” to “defend Islam” became violent and turned into a familiar form of ostracism by the Indonesia majority.

Young kids, not even 10 years older than those kids who threw rock at my front door, were yelling death threats, flipping the finger to the media, threw rocks at the police, and burnt police cars. All in the name of defending Islam.

I however, refuses to blame the religion. Nor will I blame the people who does whatever it is that they did. Misconception, misunderstanding, arrogance and ignorance has become the main identity of this country. All blanketed upon the notion of freedom and democracy.

Without realizing the politics behind their acts. Without understanding the core of the problem. We, as a society, has assumed upon something and acted upon it without thinking about it.

We kept telling lies to ourselves that all this wasn’t what we wanted. That we don’t want to degrade ourselves to their level, that all this started because of some idiots, not us.

But seeing those idiots burning those cars felt good ain’t it? Because when I kicked that door, it felt good.

Because we know that we are indeed smarter than them. Because we’ve proven that it’s not us the problem, it’s them.

We point fingers towards this problem from weeks ago, and hided behind the walls like kids. We did not address it, we encourage it by feeding into their angers. We threw oil into the flames.

You know most of us can’t vote for him. You know most of us won’t even be affected by his reign.

We backed him because he is a minority. We backed him not because of his brilliance, but because he represent the hope of diversity. And yet, we campaigned as if his leadership will lead into the death of their arrogance. Even thought deep inside, we know it’s not going to.

You know today I have to let go of the anarchy. I was instructed not to report about the chaos. Not to report the violence because the people might not like it. I was censored. Not only by the broadcasting bureau, but also by viewers.

You know we have viewers who insisted, that whatever happened on the night of 4th November, was a noble quest to protect Islam.

We are a country that is corrupted by religion. And yet, we fed on that arrogance. We shout onto it.

We were bullied, and instead of leaving them, we fought back. Even though they are million times the size of us.

Sometimes I wanted to just run. Sometimes I gave hope to the fight.

But today. Today I tried to fight and I felt like I’m childish. Today I tried to fight, and I was instantly reminded, that it had no use.

So let’s just stop hoping. Let’s just let the Indonesian be the country that they wanted.

Let us gave up on the unity in diversity. Cause let’s face it, such things will only crumble. Such things will only forever be a slogan.