Friday, October 23, 2009

Jakarta, Jakarta...how we have been cruel to thee...

Living in Jakarta, is like having sex with someone so ugly yet so skillful in giving you the orgasm that gets you addicted. You can’t stand the face sometimes, but you can’t get enough of her touches, her kisses, even her foul smelling breath.

How many times have we been so schizophrenic about this city?. Let’s see. How many times have we cursed Jakarta’s polluted air?. Traffic jams, especially on Friday nights?. The piles of garbage?. The flooding sewers in the rainy seasons?.


At the same time, what praises we have also uttered. The lights are beautiful from so and so building!. XYZ restaurant is so marvelous!. ABC mall is exciting!. Blabla salon has skillful hairdressers!. Naninanina has gorgeous clothes!. Sale, sale!, let’s catch them before it’s over!. And so on, and so forth. At almost every corner of the city, you reach your orgasm, your ecstasy, your cloud 9, whatever it is.


Every now and then, there is always a new place to visit. “A creative lifestyle and entertainment” I read one ad on one of the crossing bridges at Jl. Rasuna Said. And there you see, the same brands of restaurants and what have you. In my eyes there is nothing creative at all in those names, but hey, this ugly bitch called Jakarta is skillful, remember?. You will walk in every single place feeling good that you have been there. Again, there you are. Reaching your ecstasy. You have seen, and also, been seen.


So I wonder sometimes, what are we complaining about, when we are complaining about this city?.


I have been living here my whole life. I have never known what it’s like living in others. Yes, two years in Melbourne but I would not call it ‘living’. I would call it ‘stopping by and trying to blend in’.


I have to admit that I, like many of you, have uttered the same curses to the same things that you have cursed. It is hard not to see the ugly face of Jakarta.


But, today, I laughed at myself. I laughed at those of us who still curse this city, while at the same time we ask it to continue servicing us. What horrible manners!.


I drove from Menteng to my house this afternoon. Passing through Jl. Rasuna Said just about the right time it was beginning to be packed with traffic. And oh how I laughed at us.


How could we curse the traffic when we could actually make a difference?. I looked at the bikers passing by. I admire them. Up till now it is still an idea in my head – to bike from house to office. It is not a long journey either!. And yet, so many reasons not to do it. What a shame!.


Or have we thought of car sharing with neighbours?, relatives?. I think even I have to think long and hard now.


As I played with that thought, two cars in front me, I saw someone throwing away his cigarette butt to the road. What?!. And we complain about the sewers getting stuck?. Yes of course we all know those sewers and drainage systems have crooked constructions, but, what have we done to make sure they are not getting more crooked?. Don’t people know that for every single garbage they throw out of the window, it contributes to the pile of garbage in the sewers and drainage systems?. Not to mention how it then pollutes our already polluted beaches?.


It is sad to see that many citizens of Jakarta actually treat their own place of living as a garbage bin. Don’t they know that it is like saying they live IN a garbage bin?. Yuck. Forget about blaming the government for it, not everyone has to clean up after us.


As I got stuck in the middle of traffic, I looked at the office buildings. Hey, you guys, who complained about PLN (our beloved electric company), have you ever thought of switching off the lights in the office as you walk out of its door?. Yes, PLN has its fault. But, we contribute to that, too, ladies and gentlemen. Have we been responsible in using up energy?. Looks like, we have not, by the looks of how many floors with lamps on in the buildings, whenever I happen to pass Jl. Rasuna Said at 10 or 11pm.


I pity Jakarta. This city is tired. Of being exploited because it is so good in making us feeling good about ourselves. Of being cursed yet at the same time never been given a chance to ask for help from any of us. Nor have we ever cared enough to lend a hand to this tired ugly bitch.


In fact, she is not ugly at all. It has its charms, so let’s stop calling it ugly (I should stop calling it ugly….and should some people who I know have called it ugly). What are we without Jakarta?. Jobless, really. Unless you can create opportunities somewhere else, shut up. As long as we still hang on to the body of this tired old lady, why don’t we just be kind to her?. Before we curse on anything about this city, let’s stop and ask ourselves, what have we done to help it.


And hey, many of you have mistress. You call it Bandung, Yogya, Makassar, you name it. Our family calls it ‘The Cocoon’. Go to your mistress on the weekends, or whenever you want. And when you come back, stop complaining. And be kind to her.


Have a good weekend!.

(RIRI)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Menggugat, atau digugat, cinta?




Lolita.


Saya nonton film ini tahun 1998. Dibintangi oleh Jeremy Irons dan Dominique Swain. Ceritanya tentang Prof. Humbert Humbert yang jatuh cinta berat pada anak induk semangnya. Dolores Haze, atau Dolly, atau Lolita, atau Lola. Dia lalu menikahi si induk semang demi selalu dekat dengan Lolita. Ndilalah si istri kemudian menemukan buku harian sang profesor yang isinya adalah segala impian dan keinginannya sebagai laki-laki kepada perempuan, yang notabene adalah anak remajanya.


Si istri marah, merencanakan melarikan diri bersama anak perempuannya, tapi lalu ia meninggal karena tertabrak motor tidak jauh dari rumah mereka. Merdekalah si profesor, dan ia berkelana dengan Lolita, berkeliling Amerka, dan bertualang atas nama cinta.


Sejak nonton filmnya, saya tertarik untuk membaca karya asli dari Vladimir Nabokov ini, salah satu dari beberapa karya sastra yang paling berpengaruh di dunia. Beberapa minggu lalu, akhirnya saya selesai baca novel terjemahannya (oh kapan ya novel-novel berbahasa Inggris bisa lebih terjangkau harganya....mimpi dulu deh). Dan, saya jadi kasihan juga pada Prof. Humbert Humbert.


Dalam ilmu psikologi, ada label yang diberikan buat orang-orang seperti si profesor. Pedofil. Hiiii....sebagai seorang ibu yang mempunyai anak perempuan, saya selalu merinding kalau membaca berita-berita yang berkaitan dengan kelainan yang satu itu. Tapi, membaca Lolita, saya melihatnya dari kacamata yang berbeda.


Lolita ditulis dengan menggunakan sudut pandang si profesor. Betapa ia menderita karena secara tiba-tiba kehilangan pujaan hatinya saat ia remaja. Dan bayangan sang pujaan hati itu yang ia bawa sampai ia dewasa, sampai akhirnya ia merasa bertemu lagi dengan sang dewi dalam bentuk seorang Lolita. Tapi itu jadi perjalanan cinta yang berujung tragis. Sang profesor terjebak, terkungkung, tersiksa.


Sampai akhirnya ia berhasil berkelana dengan Lolita selepas kematian ibunya, Prof. Humbert tahu bahwa ia tidak pernah memiliki hati Lolita. Sementara ia mencurahkan segalanya untuk sang dewi, Lolita memperlakukannya sebagai gudang uang. Lolita ternyata juga tidak sepolos yang Prof. Humbert kira – hubungan seks sudah dikenal oleh gadis kecil itu. Dan akhirnya, yang saya terjemahkan adalah, Prof. Humbert-lah yang dimanipulasi oleh Lolita, dan bukan sebaliknya.


Ada satu masa di tengah pengelanaan mereka dimana Prof. Humbert sangat ingin Lolita juga mencintainya seperti ia mencintai Lolita. Tapi Lolita tidak pernah merasakan hal yang sama. Dan meranalah Prof. Humbert dengan perasaan curiga dan ketakutan, bahwa satu hari, Lolita akan pergi meninggalkan ia sendiri.


Akhirnya memang Lolita berhasil melarikan diri dari Prof. Humbert. Dan bertahun-tahun si profesor merana menahan perasaannya, tidak menemukan lagi sang dewi dalam anak kecil manapun yang ia lihat. Sampai kemudian ia mendapatkan surat dari Lolita yang ketika itu sudah berusia 17 tahun, sedang hamil, miskin, dan membutuhkan uang.


Prof. Humbert datang menemui Lolita, dengan masih membawa cintanya. Masih berharap Lolita akan kembali, membiarkannya mencintainya, dan berharap Lolita satu hari bisa memberikan cintanya. Tapi Prof. Humbert harus pulang dengan tangan hampa, lagi, sendiri.



Di bagian ini saya tersentak. Tiba-tiba mata saya berkaca-kaca membayangkan si profesor melangkah gontai dengan wajah tertunduk. Sekali lagi harus kehilangan cintanya.


Can you imagine feeling that way?. Watching the one you love slipping away, turning her or his back on you? Not caring for what you are feeling for her or him?.


Memang buku ini bercerita tentang seorang pedofil, yang dari kacamata kita, abnormal. Tapi, perasaan yang dipunyai Prof. Humber juga sangat normal kan?. Itu perasaan yang kita semua bisa miliki. Dan pada akhirnya, novel ini untuk saya adalah bercerita tentang cinta yang menggugat, atau digugat, oleh si perasa cinta itu. Pedofilia atau tidak.


Saya bukan akhirnya memihak pedofil dan bilang bahwa itu adalah perilaku yang bisa diterima. Tapi buku ini mudah-mudahan bisa jadi pengingat buat saya, bahwa yang kita lihat sebagai abnormal juga punya sisi-sisi yang normal. Dan pada akhirnya abnormalitas atau normalitas itu selalu relatif.




(Note saja. Waktu saya cari informasi tentang Lolita, dan saya ketik di google, saya jadi nyengir sendiri melihat hasilnya: beratus-ratus pornographic site. Setelah membaca novelnya, saya agak sedih juga. Karena Lolita, sebetulnya cerita yang menyentuh tentang cinta dan kesendirian. Hanya karena bungkusnya tentang pedofilia, lalu terkesan sangat seksual. Padahal di novelnya, penggambaran hubungan seks antara Humbert dan Lolita itu sangat halus dan tidak vulgar. Ah manusia, memang punya daya interpretasi yang menarik :))



(RIRI)


Monday, October 5, 2009

An invitation

You were with me last nite, all nite long
You were with me, visiting all those batik workshops when dusk hit
You were there when this morning I strolled along the narrow lanes of Laweyan
and prayed in a 500 years old mosque

This is an invitation Riri…next time …




At 9:43 - a text message from Ciptadi who was in Solo till this morning.

Such a great way to start my day in the office….thinking of our possible next trip together!. And it’s made me dreamed of the days when we can just grab our backpacks and go exploring this God given wonderful world…before it quits on us.

Sometimes, when there are natural disasters, I can only pray for that. That we are still given some days, or months, or years, to see what we have not seen. To explore what we have not explored. Because those, can bring us even closer to feeling that God is good, and if there is anything bad, we bring it to ourselves.

Many times, I feel that we are racing with time just to see the places near to us.

In Kompas today, the headline was ‘Everyone Has to be Prepared’ (Semua Harus Siap Siaga). The news talked about earthquakes that will still happen. Of course, why shouldn’t they keep happening?. This earth is not getting any younger, yet its burden is not getting any lighter, either. And we keep on digging and scrounging what we can from it. So how can it stand still?.

Oh well. Cip’s message this morning did make me very happy. For the thought that we will explore some places again. Again showing and sharing with Tara what made us fell in love with some places. Hoping that she will keep those memories as we keep ours, that when those places are no longer there, at least the images stay in her mind.

Just like the way Sitinjau Lauik stays in my mind. One of the most beautiful sunsets that I have ever seen in my life, in one tranquil afternoon, sitting far from the beach on that very road. The way all the winding roads from Padang to Payakumbuh have made me dizzy, as well as made me awe for its thick vegetation, and stunning views.


An invitation. That was all I needed, to remind me how much I have not seen nor remembered well. And so, I must answer that.

Cip, let’s go. Before they are all gone, before they are all taken from us. Let’s go.

(RIRI)

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