4th 22nd

If my memory is the frame,

Then happiness is the painting.

What painted on it, is you.


Happy 4th 22nd, Solanum lycopersicum.


The Extremist Soft Power

Struggling with my thesis, I can get one important thing that can relate to current event, but somewhat unrelated to my current research. It’s about soft power and extremism (what you called terrorism, but I prefer call the actor as extremist, as terrorism refer to their methods). Joseph Nye said that soft power can be utilized if the environment accepts the soft power itself. If you draw the soft power into extremist belief, you can relate it to how extremism spread like a virus. Soft power’s selling point is to influence people without being coercive. I think that is what happened to the extremist.

The high ranker don’t put them under then gun to make them do what they want; sacrificing themselves for the idea they believe in, killing people,trying to overthrow the government, etc. They influence them with values and ideas. Most of them are utopist of course. To be fair, I will not only talk about the ‘religious’ extremists, but also the ‘nationalist’ extremists.

In the ‘religious’ case, they offer you heaven as the ultimate price, not only that, they offer you an ideal state over regions that guarantee you a good, ‘religious’ regime that will lead you into wealth and in the end, again, heaven.

In the ‘nationalist’ case, they offer you pride for your identities. They guarantee you wealth and justice in the name of whatever nation they are fighting for.

Heaven, pride, and wealth, those are things that -for me- can be classified as the “value” from soft power. It attracts people. It is what made the people join them. I read a recent FP (http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/11/18/the-draw-of-the-death-cult/?utm_content=bufferc3123&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer) article, in which saying that there is machoism in the recent terror event. You know, handsome man in a combat gear, smiling with automated weapon on his arm, ready to kill. This is the JKT48 from my thesis to their machoism in their belief.

In the other hand, soft power won’t work in an unsuitable environment. That is why extremism tend to grow up in the area where people are unhappy, they are either opressed, poor, or feeling discriminated. Unhappy people are leading themselves to despair. And desperate people are the easiest ones to be influenced by the extremist soft power. Why ? Because it guarantee them better life. It is what the desperate people want: better life.

I always think that terror by the extremist is an act of despair, either in a small individual case, or in a big organizational case (in the big organizational case, it is their way to get attention. Because small crackers wouldn’t make the media come and report it, therefore, no publicity of what you are, who you are, what do you want, and why are you such a twat). In an individual case, people who are in despair are easy to be influenced. You can’t eat well, you don’t have a place to stay, people see you in despise, then suddenly, someone come with a solution: come with me, I’ll show you a better life. They give you food and shelter. They give you a proper military training. They give you doctrine. Then you are ready to die for their cause. If you are happy, and can eat well, you wouldn’t do that would you ?

Same things with people who got discriminated. “You speak with funny accent.” You get sad, because people are mocking you because of who you are and where you are from. But then your messiah come. “Come with me. Let’s build a country where people speak in our language.” Then boom. You joined them and get a free military training.

Oh, and you know what ? Even when you have a stable job, a place to stay, and people around you speak EXACTLY as you are, you can still be desperate and went banana. Read Haruki Murakami’s Underground, it’s about Tokyo’s Sarin Gas Attack in 1995, and you will see how despair destroy even the (what we thought should be) happiest people.

So, what is the problem ? Extremism can grow up nicely in a place where people aren’t satisfied with their lifes. Bigger problem is, as a human, you can never be satisfied.

The solution ? Well, if the entire human race can eradicate poverty, promoting tolerance (IN MY DEFINITION, which is basically “you can get bothered” with other people beliefs/way of life/action, as long as it doesn’t cross your right, you should just stay there, and keep your dislike to yourself), and being thankful for what they have after being able to eat and sleep well, I think extremism can be cut off. The real life solution would be education. Read a lot of book. Then you’ll see how the world works, it will give you ideas, and in the end, it will destroy the environment suitable for extremist’ soft power to breed.

Last but not least, violence won’t work against then. Bullets kill extremist, rockets destroy terrorist. But they don’t destroy their ideas, the most important thing to fight against. Bullet. Won’t. Kill. Ideas. And when you can’t kill an idea, at least stop them from breeding. Would be cool.

The 6 Words Game: Space Oddity

“We are ready to launch, Houston”

“Have a nice journey, you guys”

“Roger that Houston, see you later”

Fire sparks, fuel burned, spaceship flies.

The hand clap sends them goodbye.

The black sky give warm welcome.

The Planet Earth is getting smaller.

“World is huge” is an illusion.

It is just a blue dot.

Overriding gravity, through the atmosphere, floating.

Chicken. Potato. Carrot. Flash frozen.

“The foods are definitely bad. Sucks”

“Spacemen do what spacemen do, mate”

“Say goodbye to spoon and fork.”

“Eat. The only way to survive”

“I know. I am not a kid.”

“You sure act like one, mate”

“Shut up, Tom. I am eating”

“Good. Just stay in silence there”

“Beep.” Time to explore the space.

Opening the door now. Push it.

The crimson red button says ‘open’.

Psshh. The door is now open.

Space suit on. Helmet locked tightly.

“Are you ready to float around ?”

“2 years of training. Of course”

“Then let’s go. Let’s float around”

“aye, sir. I mean, aye, captain.”

Sudden explosion. The door is gone.

Emergency sequence. Red alert. Red alert.

“God damnit, what happened now, Tom ?”

“I don’t know Jerry, OH GOD !”

Another explosion. The computer gone blank.

Houston is calling. Panic all over.

Far away from earth, no hope.

Will die in space. Machine fault.

Houston is still trying. Nothing works.

Transmitting live message from the space.

“This would be our last words.”

“Elena ! I love you very much !”

She stunned. She cried. She ruined.

“Mommy look, it’s daddy on tv !”

5 years old. Knows almost nothing.

“Joe, please take care of Brutus”

“Feed him well. Wash him everyday”

Brother. 2 years difference. Grown together.

Devastated. Empty. No words come out.

Here we go. The final moment.

“Goodbye Houston, Thank you for trying.”

Blown up in the space. Died.

What is So Special About You

Ceritanya abis makan di Margo City. Terus entah kenapa tiba-tiba saya keingetan sama cover bukunya the Martian di Kinokuniya yang kita datengin beberapa hari sebelumnya. Tiba-tiba kecetus bikin gombalan yang rada sophisticated.

“Mbak, ada gombalan baru nih. Mau denger gak ?” saya nanya ke dia.

“Sok.” sambil pasang muka agak sebel dan agak nantangin.

“I can see a vast galaxy full of mystery in your big, beautiful eyes. And I’m just a little spaceman who get lost inside it.”

“Naah.. gitu dong gombalnya. Keren” gitu katanya, sambil agak nahan senyum.

Tapi lalu dilanjut:

“Neng, kalau Eneng jadi Pohon Kelapa, Abang jadi apa ?”

“apa ya ? Tukang es kelapa ?”

“bukan ih, jadi takut. Takut eneng ga balik lagi. Serem tau orang tiba-tiba jadi pohon kelapa”


Setelah Hujan

Protagonis tak bernama itu meletakkan kopinya di sebelah buku yang sedang ia baca. “menjadi normal adalah bentuk lain dari dominasi.” Begitu kalimat terakhir yang ia baca. Ia menutup buku bergambar bapak-bapak botak berkacamata yang sedang menghalangi mulutnya dengan jari telunjukknya, sambil tersenyum ke arah kamera hitam-putih yang menyorot wajahnya. “Hhhh.. kembali tanpa inspirasi apapun,” katanya sembari menghela nafas. Ia tahu tidak ada yang seorangpun yang memedulikan keluhannya. Ia duduk sendirian di warung kopi ala Amerika Serikat itu. Warung kopi yang mengingatkannya kepada novel yang ia baca terakhir kali, Moby Dick dari Herman Melville.

Matanya yang sudah nyaris mati kehilangan harapan itu menengok ke arah luar. “Hujan lagi…” kembali, ia bergumam sendiri. Orang ini memang orang aneh. Ia suka berbicara dengan dirinya sendiri. Ia tidak gila. Ia justru berbicara pada dirinya sendiri untuk memastikan bahwa ia tidak gila. Sekedar mengkonfirmasi keadaan di sekitarnya. Di layar laptopnya yang terbuka lebar, terpampang sebuah program komputer yang dapat digunakan untuk menulis pemikirannya. Pointer hurufnya berkedap-kedip dalam sunyi. Program lain yang menyala di komputernya hanyalah pemutar musik yang menghantarkan melodi kemarahan akan zaman melalui kabel tembaga yang ujung-ujungnya menggantung di telinganya yang lebar.

Ia harus menyelesaikan penelitiannya pada akhir Desember. Ini bulan November. Tanggal 10. Masih ada sekitar 40 halaman lagi yang harus ia tuangkan ke dalam penelitiannya. Tidak banyak, tapi tidak juga sedikit. Ia berhasil mengerjakan 50 halaman sebelumnya hanya dalam dua minggu saja. Mudah baginya, karena 50 halaman itu hasil mengutip. Ketika mengingat proses menulis 50 halaman itu, ia tertawa kecut. “lucu sih, kalau saya jiplak begitu saja dari satu buku, saya adala pelaku plagiarisme. Tapi kalau jiplak dari beberapa puluh buku, saya adalah seorang magister. Seorang magi. Penyihir.” Berbeda dengan 50 halaman yang sudah ia tulis, 40 halaman yang akan ia tulis haruslah berupa ukiran fakta yang ia tuangkan ke dalam tulisan-tulisan. Apabila diibaratkan seni pahat, maka wawancara yang sudah ia lakukan adalah segelondongan kayu besar. Buku yang sudah ia baca adalah alat ukirnya; palunya adalah teori yang pernah ia baca, sedangkan pahatnya adalah akumulasi dari ilmu-ilmu yang telah ia pelajari. Ketik demi ketik yang terus berbunyi detik demi detik mengalun hampir sama indahnya dengan pahatan seorang seniman Bali yang menyelesaikan patungnya. Niatnya pun sama, membuat sesuatu yang indah, yang pastinya tak mau membuat dirinya sendiri kecewa.

Namun itulah brengseknya membuat penelitian. Ketika inspirasi sedang menjauh, maka tak satupun kata bisa tertulis.  Yang tertulis malah curhatan panjang ini. Yang dibuat di sebuah warung kopi Amerika di Depok, di pinggir danau, di tengah cuaca panas. Sebenarnya tidak enak, tapi ya sudahlah, setidaknya kali ini tidak ada sosok yang mengambang di danau itu.

Si protagonis lalu kembali menatap hujan yang turun di luar warung kopi itu. Kopi yang berukuran paling besar itupun tak mampu membangkitkan pikirannya. Ia tersandung pada hal yang sama. “bagaimana jika kayu yang saya ambil tidak memenuhi standar yang diinginkan para pelanggan ? Bagaimana jika pahatnya salah ?” Dua itu saja. Ia tak pernah ragu dengan palu dan kemampuan memahatnya. Malah ia yakin dengan itu. Palunya berat. Sangat berat. Bahannya dibuat dari baja terbaik di alam semesta. Ia penggemar film superhero, ia bahkan berpikir palunya itu lebih sakti daripada palu Mjolnr milik Thor, atau perisai Vibranium milik Captain America, atau bahkan lebih sakti daripada tulang Adamanitum Wolverine.

Yang jadi masalah adalah pahat dan kayunya. Ia memang selalu kebingungan dalam memilih pahatnya, apalagi kali ini. Mentornya menyuruhnya untuk memilih pahat sesuai dengan hati, dan harus sesuai dengan kayu yang ia pilih. Nah ! Ini masalah lagi, karena ia tidak pernah memilih kayu sebelumnya ! Ia sama sekali tak pernah mendapatkan ilmu untuk memilih kayu yang baik dan benar. Sederhana saja alasannya: karena selama ini, ia membuat patung dari bahan sintetis yang ia buat sendiri. Bahan sintetis memang praktis. Bisa dibuat sendiri, semaunya. Tapi hasil akhirnya tidak berkelas, walaupun bentuknya keren, tetap saja itu sintetis. Tidak alami. Yang alami konon katanya lebih baik. Begitulah. Hujan yang baik pun yang datang semaunya alam bukan ? Bukan yang dipaksakan oleh manusia. Ketika manusia memaksakan hujan, berarti mereka sudah sebegitu putus asanya dengan alam. Tak baik.

Sambil merenungi kembali penelitiannya, telepon genggam si protagonis berbunyi. Ternyata ada pesan masuk. Dari kawannya yang sedang berada di Bali. Tugas kantor sebenarnya. Tapi tentunya diselingin dengan jalan-jalan. Kawannya itu menawarkan suvenir khas Bali apa kiranya yang diinginkan. “Patung leak yang sebesar manusia,” begitu jawabnya kepada sang kawan. Kawan lainnya yang ditanyakan menjawab “mutiara” dan “kostum leak.” Tiga lagi tidak menjawab. Mungkin menghilang. Kawannya hanya membalas “minta oleh-olehnya absurd semua. Coba yang minta kostum leak jadi batu pas jadi leak. Dua permintaan langsung terpenuhi.” Disambut gelak tawa samar yang dipamerkan si protagonis di warung kopi khas Amerika Serikat. Tentu samar, kalau ia tertawa lepas, ia akan disangka gila benaran. Setelah itu telepon genggamnya kembali hening. Semua kembali sibuk dengan kehidupannya masing-masing. Ada yang bekerja, ada yang kuliah, ada yang sedang di Bali, ada yang sedang berkonsentrasi dengan karyanya, tentunya ada juga si protagonis yang kembali menatap hujan.

Ia melihat ke seberang jalan. Ada orang yang mau menyeberang jalan. Namun ia ragu. Jalanan itu cukup luas, tapi tidak ada lampu merah di setopannya. Jadi jika memang mau menyeberang, ya harus menyeberang denga nekat. Di tengah hujan, siapa sih yang tidak ragu mengambil keputusan ? Apalagi ketika tidak membawa payung seperti orang yang mau menyeberang itu. Ia ragu. Menyeberang jalan tanpa lampu merah itu membutuhkan keberanian ! Pikirannya dipenuhi oleh berbagai macam hal. Hutangnya yang masih menumpuk di tubuh para lintah darat bermulut bau, istrinya yang selingkuh, anaknya yang tertangkap polisi ketika sedang mengisap ganja, perusahaannya yang di ambang kebangkrutan, tetes hujan yang mengeroyok kepalanya, sertaketidakyakinannya terhadap akan atau tidaknya para mobil yang melewat berhenti. Semua ngebut karena hujan ! Bodoh sih, karena sebenarnya yang di dalam mobil tidak kena hujan. Ini malah ngebut. “Kenapa ? Malas mencuci ?” pikir si protagonis. Pada akhirnya, orang itu berhasil menyeberang. Hanya untuk menyadari, bahwa sepedanya tertinggal, tak ia bawa menyeberang. Itupun setelah orang lain menunjuk-nunjuk sepeda itu. “Kenapa tidak dari tadi sih, kasih tahunya ?” Si protagonis hanya bisa berdoa untuk orang itu. “semoga anda sehat selalu Pak, tidak flu habis terkena hujan ini.”

Ia menyadari sesuatu. Ragu. Ragu lah yang mengganjal pikirannya. Karena ragu, maka ia tidak maju-maju. Karena ragu, ia tetap di situ. ‘TRING !’ Inspirasi muncul. “kerjakan saja dulu lah. Benar atau salah yang tahu hanya Tuhan. Dosen penguji mah hanya perantara doang ! Benar kan !?” Begitu kiranya pikiran yang muncul di kepalanya. Tapi ia juga lupa kalau dalam hidup ini, dirnya juga hanyalah perantara. Dirinya hanyalah kisah yang dituliskan oleh Tuhan dalam kitab rencana besarnya. Ia tidak punya kuasa akan akhir kisahnya. Bahkan ia menjadi protagonis pun, itu kuasa mutlak saya sebagai penulis cerita ini. Inspirasi menulisnya muncul dari kejadian sehari-hari, kejadian-kejadian yang dituliskan Tuhan untuk saya sendiri. Saya juga hanya perantara untuk si protagonis.

Ketika ia baru akan kembali menulis. Hujanpun berhenti. Rasa ragu itu muncul kembali. Inspirasi memang datang. Tapi, “pulang sekarang, apa nanti ? Karena jika hujan lagi, saya harus menunggu dan merenung kembali. Hari ini tidak bisa pulang jika hujan. Karena saya tidak bawa payung, dan kunci mobil saya hilang.” Ah, malang nian nasibmu Nak !

Tapi tak lama, telepon genggamnya kembali berbunyi. “Jangan lupa makan siang.” Begitu katanya. Dari kekasih si protagonis. Ia tersenyum kembali. “Ah, Tuhan memang epic. Selalu ada yang bisa disyukuri setiap harinya.”

Geng Sepedah

You know how everyone should have close friend by their side ? Just in case everyhting left them behind, they will be there to stay. Do you have such friend ? I do. I do have such friendS. Yep. Not only one, but 6. 6 of them. That makes us 7 of us. We go by the name of Geng Sepedah. The Bicycle Gang. No we’re not criminal, no we’re not bikers. We’re just girls and boys who love to hang out together at first, but ended up having chats everyday. And this is the story of how I meet them.

The first one is Geza…


I met him in Junior High. A nerd. Just like me. If you ever need anything related to computer, just ask him. He’ll have every answer for your every question. A very nice guy, also a quite talented musician. Been through a lot with this guy. Crying in the middle of a hectic foodcourt due to a painful story ? Done. Roaming around Japan like an idiot ? Done. Sleeping during a big concert while sitting on the multimedia center ? Done.

Then there’s Cakra…


Met him on the first day at the university. First thing I asked to everyone who speak Sundanese at that time was “what highschool did you go to ?” his answer: “Oh ! SMAN 1”; “oh cool ! then you know xxxx”, “nope, SMAN 1 Jayapura.” Oh shit, that’s a long way. But that’s the first time I know the guy, and we’re being good friend since. A very kind, level headed, and extremely mature. The most, among us. Pretty sure that nobody can hate this guy. Also, one of the most talented musician –plays almost everything, and sing like a boss- in Hubungan Internasional UNPAD 2007.

And then, I met Reza…


First thing that we got in common is: we have the same headmaster in the highschool, an obnoxious one, so we talked about it, making jokes, and burn him on our early conversations. The clumsy one in the group. Always smiling though. His smile generates those giggles elementary school does when they do something bad. Nevertheless, he’s one with brilliant mind. I always stunned everytime I talk to him. He reads a lot of books. Ask him anything about famous fictions, he can always answer to most of them. You can talk about most things with him, but certainly not football. Also, there’s a gossip going on that he’s actually 1.000 years old or so.

On one morning, I met Feby…


Feby, or we call her Meok. She was sitting in the canopy near the classroom the first time I saw her. She was smoking. Well, I don’t usually talk with smoker, but this girl is wearing a Burgerkill T-shirt. Which is pretty awesome. I really love Burgerkill at the time, so I think it’d be nice to have someone to talk to about Burgerkill. Turned out, Meok is an avid local metal fans. That’s the first thing that bind our friendship. Yeah, we talked about music scenes a lot. It was fun. Meok is the artist in this gang. She can draw pretty well, and have her own style. I think that’s what make an artist, artist. You gotta have your own style. Meok style heavily plays on soft color, and expressions. I like it. It is soothing. And she’s almost always make an art for my birthday, and I always love them.

One day at the campus, I met Aya…


The first time I saw her, well, there’s NO FUCKING WAY, I can get to know this girl. She’s like one of the most popular girl in the class, have a cool boyfriend, doing cool stuffs, always being cool, there’s no way a nerd like me can talk to her. But then… on one faithful day……………………….. we talked…………. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnndddddddddddddddddddddddd TURNED OUT SHE’S ALSO A GODDAMN NERD. LOL. We talked about Evangelion, anime, and stuffs. Turned out she really is a major anime fan. What a surprise. Then we trade movies a lot, definitely the moment that binds this gang together. Then when the talk is getting more private, I can talk a lot about my lovelife at that time, which is sucky, and she always answer with an enlighting answers. Awesome. Aya is the mother hen of the gang. She’s the Monica to our FRIENDS gang.

The other day at the campus, I met Natalie…


She’s just like Aya. The cool one in the class, no way to talk to her. But as soon as I get close to Aya and Meok –which are Natalie’s closest friends, I can get to talk to her too. Turned out, she’s a very kind person, with a dangerous –but you need it- mouth. She always talk about things that you need to hear. You know when you have to focus in a middle of a heavy blizzard, in which you shouldn’t fall asleep, and you need a slap on the face ? Natalie is the slap. She’s the one to talk too when you aren’t sure about yourself, and what you’re going to do. Especially in the lovelife. She always have tons of answer to keep you calm, and focused.

That’s the story of the members of our gang. Oh, and the story of the gang’s name ? Simple. Meok can’t ride bicycle, and one day, Geza, Cakra, and Aya decided to teach her how to. And BOOM. Meok can ride the bicycle. And that’s another bonding moment for us. Bicycle. Sepedah. Geng Sepedah. As simple as that. Simple really. But I always feel blessed to have you guys around. You’re the best friends one can ever ask.