Governor Anies Baswedan: It is NOT Another Brexit

It is really hard to make sense of how Anies won the gubernatorial race last week. Not that the reasoning behind his victory is not obvious enough. Nor that his capability is way below what it should be. It is just that, for me who have known Indonesia for the past 24 years; Jakarta’s decision to choose Anies and Sandi goes against everything i’ve learned about country.

Indonesia has been (sort of) famous for being a diverse, multi-cultural yet tolerant country. For anybody who lives in it long enough as a minority, they’ll know that it is just a bunch of lies. Indonesia being tolerant is like saying that the great wall of china can be seen from outer space. It sounded plausible, but it is not when you actually try and see it yourself.

And that has never been a problem for me. I kind of get used to (with some complaining to get me through by using this blog) living a life where I have to be disrupted by prayers call five times a day, or being judged for eating during the fasting period, or the minor inconvenience of not being able to find bacon in every supermarket. That has generally been okay with me. So when Ahok is being attacked for blasphemy against muslim even if it is obviously a political maneuver, I wasn’t even raising my eyebrow, because it is sort of expected..

It is politics. It is dirty. it is corrupt. it is opportunistic. So Anies’s victory, for me, is more than comprehensible.

What I could not understand, however, is the way people reacted to it. Understandably, Ahok’s supporters are frustrated and they took it to social media and start bullying everybody they know, while Anies’s supporter just go about their usual live as if nothing has happened.

But, there is this one group of people who started bullying every Anies’s supporter and blaming them for allowing him to be voted. Basically comparing the election to Brexit and the U.S. election. Arguing, that their country has been polarised and divided because of this very election.

Thing is, our country has always been polarised. Our country has always been separated.

I remember when I was growing up, every single day my mom would drove me to school; Back then, she would made sure that I understand I could never marry anyone outside my religion (especially muslim). I remember (being in a catholic school) hating muslims together with my friends without knowing why. I remember blaming all Muslims for the Bali bombing without even knowing the differences between radicalised terrorist and my muslim neighbours.

That level of hatred has always been there. Hatred that was manufactured by fear. You see, my mom was completely scared that I would marry a muslim and found out that our religious differences would lead me to an unhappy marriage. You see me and my friend hated every muslims we met because we are scared that they would punch us in the face for not behaving properly (even if there’s no reason why they would punch us at the first place). And that relationship is reciprocal.

We acted everyday as if everything is okay. We say hi to our neighbours, wish them good things when they’re struggling and send them congratulations when they achieve something; But deep inside, we wished they would’ve been more similar to us. We wished that they do not believe in the holy trinity, or that they do not believe a woman should cover every single inch of their body, or that they could not eat a cow.

Deep inside we created assumptions about somebody we do not even know and talk to, because they believe in different Gods than us.

Please do tell me if I’m the only one, but at least that’s how I was raised.

All that change when I met my friends in Melbourne who completely share the same fear and concerns as I was and ended up being less devoted to our Gods.

But my friends here. Those people reminds me of my middle school years.

And that is how I have always seen Indonesia. And sadly, socio, economics or even educational backgrounds has nothing to do with it. One can have good degrees but understanding requires more than just learned knowledge. It requires patience and a willingness to be wrong. And religion just simply does not let us to be wrong.

So when you say Anies’s voters has created a brexit-like condition in Indonesia, I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about, because it has always been like this. We have had these polarised, racist and divided society all along, even before this country was even born, we have the innate instinct to hate on different groups. We live kingdoms by kingdoms, and we have maintain different traits for living in different parts of Indonesia, governed by different kingdoms. And that differences will always be a source of fear for us. And that source of fear will always manufacture hatred for us. We are innately trained to fear (and later hate) anybody who has a different background than us.

We are not divided because we choose Anies, we choose Anies because we are divided. And minor issues like blasphemy would only highlight something that has always been there all along.

This is a really negative and pessimistic view of it, but it is (whether I like it or not) the way I see it.

Man, I hope I’m wrong.

Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts… perhaps the fear of a loss of power. – J.S.

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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.

Tolerance

If you are not friends with the regular, middle to lower class Indonesian, or if you are completely oblivious about whatever happens in Indonesia, then the name Saeni might just be a villager’s name for you. But for an average Indonesian, that name right now, represents everything that is wrong and everything that is promising about Indonesia.

A conservative, thick, stubborn country that is slowly moving forward.

The word tolerance and Indonesia who are supposedly goes inline, has never been so far away from each other with the holy month for the biggest Muslim country in the world still on its way.

To give you a little recap, Saeni was raided by civil service police unit (Satpol PP), for opening her little shop (warung) during the day, while most of the Muslims in the country are fasting. Apparently, the regional government for her area (Serang, Banten) has issued a temporary regulation that restrict shop owners from selling food during the day, because it would distract the Muslims from fasting.

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Using tolerance as an excuse, the regional government enforces the regulation by seizing foods , stalls and other shop facilities, accusing them of not being respectful towards Muslims who are doing their religious rituals.

Whether what they’ve done is right or not, whether being the biggest Muslim country in the world is enough to justify that or not, is frankly up to your own judgement. As because religion is a very personal thing for me, and to understand its teaching and embrace it, as far as I can understand, will always differ from one person to another. Although, the word tolerance shouldn’t be different, shouldn’t it?

Anyhow, what I would like to emphasize instead is on how people react towards it.

Being viral, Saeni’s story has of course attracts a lot of sympathies. Since the story broke, about $20.000 (an amount of money that of course exceeds her needs) has been raised to help payback for the money that she used to buy ingredients for food later wasted by the civil service police unit. A reminder that some people do embrace differences, and see respects not only as acknowledgements of one’s existence, but also an acknowledgements of different values and beliefs.

On the other hand, we have bunch (and this is sadly the majority of the Indonesian people) who can relate more towards the civil service polices, who sees Saeni’s decision as disrespectful, and condones other religion that visibly eats in front of them as being intolerant.

Now I don’t think I have to explain my definition of tolerance to you. There’s a reason why I write my entries in English, and that very reason should also be relevant to the kind of reader that I am writing to (if there are any).

Anyway, like it or not, although as a country we have seen some good progress moving forwards (With new infrastructures being build inside and outside Java, with better public leaders, with increasingly educated middle class). We are still yet to see Indonesia as a country moving forward socially and intellectually.

Out education system is very outdated, poorly standardized, and underfunded, that we have a very different standards of education and basic general knowledge from one city to another. The only standard thing that most people can get almost anywhere in Indonesia is religious knowledge. And that is mainly Muslim. Of course it shouldn’t be strange, when the country have an entire ministry devoted basically just for one religion’s ritual (Haj).

Compared to other countries that has taken religion out from their curriculum, and instead put their effort on science, history, literature and culture; It is fair to say that Indonesia as a society relies more on “biased religion-based judgement” than basic humane and social value.

So it is only understandable that we have a really visible extremes that contradicts each other, living in a well juxtaposition, with bits of sparks every once and a while. Of course, if history ever teach us anything, the extremes are, more often than not, wrong, and the middle way is always the best bet for the society.

Balancing those extremes then, is (for me) the biggest task that the government should immediately tackle, through good education system and unbiased regulation that doesn’t take specific religion into account.

Yes, infrastructure and healthy economy are important for a country. But as a society that consists of hundreds if not thousands of different ethnicity, Indonesia needs to learn how to handle conflict sober-mindedly by choosing what’s best for the society, not for specific person or groups. And that might only be achievable, through a good education system.

What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other’s folly – that is the first law of nature. – Voltaire

You See Those Newspapers? Well Read ’em!  

Politics is not something that everyone can understand.

Even when somebody does, they might not like it at the first place. As important as it can be, politics then, is not an easy subject to wrap your heads around.

So it is only understandable when somebody tries to relate politics to something that they like. After all, everybody at least understands the importance of everything related to it. Hence, it is only natural that people seek for something to root for. One of the easiest things to comprehend and root for then is a public figure.

People tend to choose or side with somebody that they can relate to. It is then easy to see why people like Bernie sanders, Joko Widodo, Trudeau or even Trump, who has a lot of supporters be it on the internet or in the actual world. Their policies, their speech, their actions and (in Trudeau’s case) their look, speaks to the needs of certain groups of people who have the same values. On the other hand, people who don’t agree with them could then easily oppose them.

ahok

Because politics are so complicated, what with the whole public policy, economics, law and bureaucracy involved in it, there may be a tendency where people choose not to try and understand it. This sort of started a habit where people tend to just agree with somebody that they support no matter what. Because those figures may be very admirable and relatable while a the same time, the issues in place are so complicated that reading just one article about it is not enough; It would then be simpler to just take the figure they supported for granted.

This is when things become tricky and quite interesting. Because like it or not, there is no such thing as a perfect human being. I mean even Obama, who’s arguably done a good job as the US president admits that he made a horrible mistake with his decision on Libya. And we all know that it wasn’t the only thing that he was wrong about.

This thing on Libya though is not something that is easily understandable. So does the refugee crisis, or the Panama papers scandal, or even the artificial island project in North Jakarta.

Nevertheless, because politics, as I said before, is a very complex matter, people are less able to comprehend policies when it was made, let alone when it is being argued about. More often than not, people would either just blindly trust the decision maker or the other way around.

So when an artificial land project that was initiated back in 1995 surfaced, people who support Ahok and thought that this was Ahok’s program would support it, and people who don’t support him will say whatever.

Sadly it doesn’t just stop there because it would then be turned into a net propaganda that translates into cyber bullying. And if you thought gossip (which is simply a rumor spread through word of mouths) was bad, wait till you see how word of mouths spread on the net. All of a sudden we have people who brand themselves as Ahok lovers or Ahok haters, ranting all over your timeline, without even understanding the substances of the very problem at the first place.

One case that was really apparent and for me exemplifies this argument best is the Sumber Waras hospital case. Amir

Amir Hamzah, reported governor Ahok to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) for allegedly self-benefitting from the transaction of buying the hospital’s land using tax payer’s money, based on a report conducted by government’s supreme audit agency (BPK).

An argument later rebuffed by Ahok, Sumber Waras themselves and a report by Tempo magazine, which basically explained that BPK’s audit was based on a false data. Amir later, in a television interview, moves on and criticized the procedure of the transaction instead. A procedure regulated by the constitution, of which Ahok hasn’t been proven to violate.

Amir’s insistence of Ahok’s wrongdoings can then be seen as an act solely done against the figure, not the decision. Even when Ahok hasn’t been proven to do anything wrong, and even if he does violate a procedure, it surely doesn’t qualify as an act of corruption, Amir still stubbornly insisted that Ahok has done some sort of a crime.

Unfortunately, when Amir was asked to assess Ahok decision’s neutrally using appropriate data and theories, he (in my opinion) had rather shy away from it and persist on being stubborn by keep on insisting that Ahok is wrong (even if Amir’s argument has later turn out to be quite nonsensical).

I wouldn’t necessarily blame him, though, because he just simply represents Indonesia’s majority that isn’t able to comprehend complex aspects related to politics, and could only rely on snap judgments. Something that I myself would have done, if I don’t get paid to pay attention to this political nonsense (which is sadly still very important, and by any chances are the most relevant things to our life we can find out there).

All I can say is that those newspaper subscriptions your parents insist on keeping, even if you have no more space to store them in the attics anymore, read them. Because being adults does not only mean that you have to earn your own money and live for yourself. Being an adult these days also means that once in every few years, you get to decide the life of people around you by choosing one leader from the other. And the only way you can minimise the possibility of choosing the wrong leader, is by reading the news and being aware of what has been going on around you.

Our only real hope for democracy is that we get the money out of politics entirely and establish a system of publicly funded elections. – Noam Chomsky

Bluebird Singing in The Dead of Night

Pretty sure many of you have heard about the violence done by Jakarta’s Taxi drivers yesterday. I say Taxi drivers because, despite my title, not all of the protesters are bluebird drivers, and not all bluebird drivers are protesting.

Anyway, let’s talk about online platform induced violence.

Many of us understandably condemned the Taxi driver for the riot and for some of the violence. Many of us understandably blamed the Taxi providers for letting this to happen. Almost none of us, weirdly, didn’t mention the series of violence done by Gojek drivers these past weeks or months. Not even yesterday’s too (and don’t say it’s not on the news because it’s effing there).

All we ever did when Gojek driver made a mistake is to complain when a driver is not giving a good service or a bit creepy, give them one-star review, share it on your Path or other social media thinking it was enough and that’s about it. Some of us even gave a disclaimer “I don’t usually do this, but this is a must know experience” or something like that (yeah right).

uber.jpg

So why did we make a big deal out of yesterday’s protest? Is it the violence? Is it the simple disturbance of the traffic? Or the fact that, maybe, we feel like we don’t need conventional taxi anymore, that we started using double standards?

I am not trying to justify any of their action, because ultimately, violence and riot solve nothing. That being said, their concerns are sort of, justified. Online mode of transportation is not clearly regulated. Their tax reports are ambiguous, and its safety regulation is almost non-existent.

Let’s put aside the possibility that some taxi drivers don’t even care about that, and only want online transportation services to be banished, and let’s put ourselves in the protester’s shoes.

Most of them have been driving around for years, some maybe even decades. It is only last year that Express taxi can start to expand, and it is only last year that the most common advice I got from people, travelling to Jakarta, is to use either Bluebird or Express if I want to commute. That was only a year ago.

Now all of a sudden, their passengers decreased and their income is almost 50 percent less. Of course, we would think that they could seek other options, like moving to a more modern transportation establishment. And some of them did. But most of them are too loyal and (as much older Indonesian generation often do) are already too comfortable with what they’re doing; they don’t see the point of changing company, let alone occupation.

Given the unclear regulation for online transport services and decreasing individual revenue, their frustrations are then understandable. Not justified, understandable.

So who’s at fault then?

Well nobody really is. companies like Uber, Gojek and Grab are actually anxiously waiting for regulations to come out so that they can get it done and over with. While the government, on the other hand, is playing catch-up and is still quite unsure of what to do.

There is no question that something needs to be done here, and as the transportation minister has said that he left it all to the appropriate regional government while they’re doing their work, I’m afraid it is becoming the case of Ahok to the rescue again.

So what it means is that they don’t know what to do yet, and the governor for each region can do whatever they want to do until the federal government knows what to do.

But the last thing that we can do as an educated consumer and service user is to fuel the frustration and condemns the drivers. Because, while we can understand what’s happening, modernisation and digital economic revolution, they don’t.

All they know is that they get less and less money every single day.

And while we may know when to quit, especially when our company and field are dying, they don’t.

Sometimes we forget and take our privileges for granted, that we ignore the fact that maybe, people doesn’t have the same level of understandings, that some people are not as lucky enough to get educated, and we demand them to have the same level of understanding about virtually everything, without trying to understand the shoes that they’re standing on.

You see the sucky thing about being educated is that we must try to understand the shoes of the less educated because we now have the ability to consider their position. But they are less obliged to do so because they might not understand the different factors affecting them, let alone the modern society.

Anyhow, There is little that we can do here, because the government, as I said, is still catching up, the taxis can only wait powerlessly, and the online services have completed every single requirement made by the government, almost the moment it was announced.

The last thing that we want to do is to make this us against them. We are the educated one here aren’t we? And by educated, I do not only mean that we have a glossy laminated degree hanging on our bedroom wall somewhere. By educated, I mean we are able to think critically and consider different perspectives without judging them subjectively, and make an objective conclusion that is beneficial (or at least, can give closure) for both views.

And by the way, please don’t start embargoing conventional taxis. Not all taxi drivers participated in the riot, actually, only some of them do. And by embargoing all taxi, the only thing we may do is to add the number of frustrated taxi drivers. Unless you can somehow tell which drivers participated in the riot and which aren’t.

“Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider.” – Francis Bacon

But I’m Not The Only One


“The true role of religion is to remind us the fact that we are parts of humanity and the universe.”

It was not quite a normal morning that I woke up to. Two explosions and shootings was reported just some distance away from where I live. Naturally family calls was the thing that woke me up. Followed by a call by the office, asking me to come earlier.

Yes, the moment I stepped into the newsroom, the panic were apparent. But it was not the sort of panic that’ll make you run away. It was just all eagerness, from hundreds of dedicated newsman, trying to provide as much information that they can find.

Not stopping for even just a second, to rethink about what they’re getting themselves into. All we know is that we need to provide the scared people on the streets some certainty. Some silver linings.

I once heard that people tend to run away from danger. And of course, people will. It’s only natural and instinctual to do that. That being said, here in Indonesia, it was not quite that natural.

We run towards the explosion.

Same thing happened when our correspondent heard a (supposedly) what sounded like an explosion. He, without any hesitation, run towards the source. Funnily enough, it was just a tyre burst.

One thing is for sure, every single of us are trying our best to give the most reliable information, not only to keep people safe by being aware, but also to make people calm.

What amazed me even more, is that every person that I know are desperate to do something (even if they don’t actually have to). Even just by asking whether they should share anything on their social media or not.

And no, I am not going to condemn anybody from doing that, because it is only natural to do so. We need something to channel our need of catharsis after all. And what I want to underline is people’s intention of sharing anything. They genuinely were worried, and even during their worries, they still think about what they’re sharing before actually sharing it. Well, at least, the people that I know. Even more interesting is that after some times, the discussion has shifted from what we should know, into what we should share, into what hashtags to use. People were supposedly worried about the economy or something.

If there are  anything that we can be sure about today, is that we can never be sure. But we can also see that our people are strong. That our government are strong. And instead of pointing fingers, instead of blaming one or another, we stayed calm and leave it all to the authority. Something a bit rare nowadays, when a terror is received as a cue for people to buy guns and bring them to their nearest 7/11. “Because we can never be too safe”.

Well here today, there was no hatred as far as I can see.

People just want to know that their fellow countryman are safe.

Peace then, may seem like a very unachievable word now, and it might as well be. As for there are no peace without chaos.

But one thing is certain, we cannot be scared by anything. A-N-Y-T-H-I-NG.

Because if there are any winner from what happened today, well I think we won that war.

By not caring, by marching on, by ignoring any unreliable claims, by asking questions instead of throwing curses. By giving prayers instead of pursuing vengeance.

I witnessed the incident from the beginning till the end today, and I can tell you not even one people panic. Some people are so calmed, they even bought Satays just some stone throws away from the crime scene.

I honestly don’t know why I write this thing. It is by far my worst writing as far as I can tell. But all I want you to take away from this, is that we have handled this well. And that they will not get whatever it is that they are looking for. Because judging from how we, as a society, acted today, we are formidable.

Here, I just want to applaud every single of you for showing just that today.

For reminding me that we can respond to things instead of just reacting to it. And that us human is not that fragile after all.

As for today, we have shown that we can become light. As for today, we have shown that no matter how dark canthey be, we will never step into their side.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”  – MLK Jr.