Thursday, September 30, 2010

Err Moment: Equally Sad or Equally Pleasant?

I rarely talk about random moments, so here's one.

I was sitting with several students at the library for a research meeting. I was telling them about arriving at the campus trying to find a place to park, and the security told me students can't park in the space for lecturers.

I: Antara tersinggung atau tersanjung.
V: Tapi emang Mbak ngga kaya dosen muda sih, tapi kaya mahasiswa tua.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Fostering a dialogue or 'the exchange of ideas'
can only be successful if all parties would listen.
The louder we speak, the quieter other people become.
Perhaps even making them find other ways to be heard -
in some cases, with their hands.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Knowing That Much

We should learn more of the things we dislike.
With knowledge, we might not dislike it so much.
Or, we'd have a stronger argument for it.

Virtual Travelling Begins with a Click

Prejudism and bigotry are traits
of the socially immobile.


If not physically, virtually.

Exposing ourselves to difference
pushes us to realise
that the world is too complex
for us to fully understand.

And thus making us accept the fact that
it is impossible to claim
that our understanding of it
is the rightest.


Even more than logical thinking and knowledge,
I think the main prerequisite to a civil human being
is empathy.

If you can understand someone else's pain
you wouldn't inflict any more.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

God is in the Detail

When I say and do things, I almost never think of how it should influence people or how it would leave an impression. I say and do things because I mean it. And most of the time, I (try to) mean well.

It's in how I lecture, in what I read, what I think, say and how I say it, in my choice of past time, and eventually, overflows in what I write.

The 'sporadic' and 'nonstrategic'-ness of what I do is why the fact that people, who are otherwise strangers to me, randomly say hello over the internet astound me. Say to me, openly, that they share my views. And that these arbitrary thoughts of mine touched someone in some way.

It renders me speechless.

I feel humbled. For want of a better word.

You make me feel like life is not a solitary journey.

Thank you.

Friday, September 03, 2010

The Invisible Umbilical Chord

During Malik's first year, I went through the conflict of being a working mother. The guilt trips, the missed meetings, the inability to bring myself to the present task at hand because my sense of motherhood overpowered anything else.

In his second year, I learned to juggle. When it's time to write my thesis, I write my thesis. When it's time to read Malik a book before bed, I do just that. I wake up 3 times during the night and lecture the next day. I accepted the consequence of both roles with a serious attempt at not pining over the cons of the choice I made consciously.

And now, entering his third year - where he's learning to become more independent - I realise just like the years before that I am learning right along with him. I learned that parenting is not (only) a role, but part of who I am. I take with me the skills of listening, of deciphering his needs and the limited amount of words he has to communicate them, of squatting and keeping my face level to his so that he could talk to me with equal height (figuratively and literally speaking).

I slowly realise that I take that trait with me when I'm talking to students. I don't see them as people I 'tutor', I see them as people finding their way in life - just like I am - and that my role is to 'listen to their needs'.

As a teacher, I am a parent. And as a parent, I am a teacher.

I no longer 'juggle', my identity expands to accommodate the roles I am responsible for.

It's a unique process, which I do with all my heart. And once in a blue moon, when he needs me the most (he recently had a non stop high fever), an imaginary umbilical chord appears. My whole body responds to his needs. And after he's recovered and back on his own two feet, the chord disappears - only returning when he needs it the most. Quite a fascinating and illogical response, which I embrace as part of who I am. Or the period Malik and I are going through at the moment. I'm certain that things will change throughout the years, and I enjoy every period of this journey.

I am a 'mother' anywhere I am. A role that teaches us the will to give the best of nurture, only to let them go when time comes. That nothing in this world is actually 'mine'.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.