Sunday, January 25, 2009

How Old Are You?

Sunday, 25 January 2009
Murdoch Student Village, Perth

The difference between conversing with an Indonesian and/or South East Asian and an Australian and/or someone of 'Western' origin when talking about my school:

Event #1
Stranger: So you're studying for your Masters degree?
Inaya: No, a PhD.
Stranger: What? How old are you?

Event #2
Stranger: So you're studying for your Masters or PhD?
Inaya: PhD.
Stranger: Oh, so you must be in the academic field.
*Karena tidak lazim orang dari industri 'buang2 waktu' utk S3*

PhD, in my most humble opinion, has nothing to do with intelligence or that it's reserved for the above 40s. It has to do with profession and opportunity. If I had decided to work in the industry, then I wouldn't want to waste my time getting another research degree. For an academic, getting your PhD is comparable to a manager taking a training course on business development, for example. It's a way to excel and develop ourselves for further career progress.

As simple as that.

*Of course there's always passion which was the motivation in the first place, but this is me pragmatically speaking*

The association that professors should be white headed men with glasses and a bow tie is no longer relevant. The more compressed and segmented the work field is nowadays, the more the need for everyone to rethink their profession and stay consistent in it.

Again, in my most humble opinion. So really. No big deal.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Random Thoughts

Friday, 23 January 2009
Murdoch Student Village, Perth

Ticking things off the list. It's funny how when you concentrate hard enough, you can get so many things done in the same time. Lagi di tengah menulis untuk Ethics Board. Painful process, bearable and a must (sampai malas cerita).

I do realise one thing though. That this is going to be my life for 4 years to come. And that it will affect Arya and Malik in various ways. I just hope that I'm smart enough to know when to prioritise which. An art I'm pretty sure no one can ever master completely.

I guess I'm boring you...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Finally, finally

Monday, 19 January 2009
Murdoch Student Village, Perth

Finally have begun my studies, in the broadest sense of the word. Finally laying down 3 (theoretically) to 4 (realistically) year research plan ahead. Finally.

Mulai lega.

Malik has adjusted to life here. He is a remarkable human being. Bahkan adaptasi sebelum orangtuanya. It's true, never underestimate the prowess of a child. They will always exceed our expectation.

Friday, January 16, 2009

(Jangan) Kalah Sebelum Berjuang

Friday, 16 January 2009
Murdoch Student Village, Perth

Finally have time to write. Arrived at Perth last Sunday... Adjustment yet again. But things are a bit harder this time around with Malik.

And by all means, it is harder.

It's one thing to go through the suffering of adjustment since its our own sounds decision. But it's another seeing our little one having to struggle, over something not even of their direct interest.

I feel selfish. Yes, okay, there's always the validation that this will benefit him in the long run. Exposing him to different cultures and languages, learning to adjust at such a young age makes him a stronger person.

But really...

Being a 5 month old infant, aren't your concerns mainly related to comfort? And I've taken him away from his comfort zone not once (with moving to new house) but twice AND to another country.

I think this is the mother in me talking. I just need to focus on what I need to do here or else him coming will indeed be a waste. I need to focus on breastfeeding and attending to his needs. That's all I can do.

I know, though hard at the moment, like any other trial I had to go through in life - this too shall pass. And that all of us, Malik, Arya and I, will come out stronger individuals.

I hope.

PS: Kata Arya jangan ngeluh nanti bapaknya ikut stres hehe...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Thing About Parenting

Thursday, 8 January 2009
Pejaten Elok, Jakarta

Early parenting I suppose is the time for parents to be selfish. The (almost) full dependency of an infant to his parents flourishes this feeling. Much too often do I hear the unnecessary comparing of baby weight, daily milk intake, monthly milestones, etc. It seems that most parents have treated their children as an achievement.

A discussion I had with my sister made me resort to the answer that this happens for a lack of a better thing to do. Too much free time and not enough activity may have created us into parents in a race for the ‘best’ child (good, better, best). Since we are temporarily restrained from self-actualising ourselves professionally, we self-actualise ourselves through our children.

The premise of self-actualisation through our children suggests that our children are ours to improve.

That they are property instead of individuals.

Even throughout infancy, I see how my son has gained more skills to gradually become more independent from his parents. I think to myself, is this not the purpose of parenting? To equip our children with the best of skills and tools to live and learn as independent human beings, no longer attached to their caregivers.

Conscience human beings able to rationalise and make sound, consequent decisions – amidst the grey area of this place we call ‘world’.

It is perhaps difficult to realise on a daily basis that all the hard work, all the effort, all the energy – will not bring harvest for our reaping. It is our children’s. Everything we do for them, is not for us. It’s for them.

And as a parent myself, this selfless notion, although sensible, is very hard to apply consistently.

It’s one thing to work hard on our career and education and receive all the (societal) praise we deserve. But it’s another thing to work very hard for our children and realise that none of this is for us.

That our children are not ours. They are their own.

I think it should be in all parents’ minds that when we have children, we do not have children. We are trusted with them for a certain amount of time, for them to be able to live on their own. We are trusted to equip them with the necessary survival skills and tools to face life and its challenges.

Although probably still very far in the future, again, it will come faster than any parent’s taste. I know it in my head and that one day I too must let go. I just hope when that day comes, I am able to let go of the selfish feeling of wanting something back.

But getting the best of examples from my parents, two people who have cooperated with each other and worked very hard to provide my sister, my brother and I with the best of upbringing (on all levels, materially, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually), not asking anything back for themselves but to ‘pay it forward’ to our children – I am certain that when the day comes, it will happen naturally.

As it did with them.

I love you dearly Mom and Dad. Happy 32nd anniversary.

Hello, home!

Thursday, 8 January 2009
Pejaten Elok, Jakarta

Finally. Internet connection.

Happy (belated) new year, people. First post from new home. Albeit we’re leaving for Perth this Sunday, it’s still going to be the place we come home to after everything is done.

It’s a nice feeling.