random thoughts

Getting Rid of Implicit Bias

I stumbled upon this video, which triggered me to read and write about implicit bias. I have never heard about this term before, but I know a little bit about “sub-conscious prejudice”. Actually these two terms are quite similar. I like the content of that video, except the part on international conferences. In my opinion, people who call themselves as scholars (including Indonesian scholars) are not that shallow by only prefer to discuss with international delegates in a conference just because they are whites. Therefore, I disagree with her opinion in this case.

According to an article in Scientific American, implicit bias is a sign that your brain is still working properly. You’re not being racist by showing an implicit bias. Let me give you some examples and perhaps you can relate with your situations.

Most of Asians adore Caucasian people too much

I am not only talking about Indonesians. Let’s get real, most of Asian people feel proud if they know at least one Caucasian people, personally, in their lives. This is not only a situation that tends to happen in low-mid income Indonesian society who love taking selfies with the whites. What is the reason behind this? Post-colonialism mentality, I would say. Most Asians think that Caucasian people have higher hierarchy than them and therefore they must serve them, as a form of being respective. This is an inherited mentality from their predecessors.

Not all Caucasian people are better than Asian people. Living in a European country for a while, I notice that actually they pay more respect towards us because of our strong mentality and good attitudes. For me, I never feel inferior and I don’t adore them that much now.

English and other European languages are cool

Being able to communicate in English is cool. When you intend to explain about something and you do it in English, somehow people will give you more respect rather than when you do it in Indonesian language, for example. I agree that in order to  become citizens of the world, we must be able to communicate in English. However, it does not mean that it is okay if we cannot speak Indonesian properly.

I consider people in my generation (Y generation a.k.a Millenials) are still lucky. When we grew up there were not so many international schools available in Indonesia. We only had choices to go to public or private schools, which of course offer Indonesian language as a compulsory subject. We started to learn English at fourth grade. So, we can speak both languages properly.

I am afraid that Indonesian Z generation will lose their identity as Indonesians by not being able to speak Indonesian properly. Being able to communicate in foreign languages (not only English) is important and certainly will bring benefits and open more opportunities for us. However, we must remember that being able to communicate, orally and verbally,  in proper Indonesian is no less important.

We need to look on German and French people in terms of nation-pride. Young people in these two countries speak their languages properly and they really don’t care if they still have their accents while trying to communicate in English.

Indonesian people who earn degrees from abroad are smarter than those who earn degrees from local universities

Funny thing, most of the times this assumption does not come from people in Indonesia, but from the graduates themselves. They expect to get higher starting salaries compared to local graduates, just for the sake of having international degree.

That’s totally wrong, guys! In terms of intellectuality, there are not much differences between local and international graduates. Perhaps if we talk about mentality and adaptibility, I can say there are differences.

Chinese-Indonesian people are rich, greedy, and arrogant

This is a stereotype that have been existing among native Indonesian people for a long time. I also experienced this kind of situation when I was a kid. I went to one of the Catholic schools in Jakarta and most of the students there have Chinese-Indonesian ethnicity background. Yes, some of them are rich and arrogant. Some of them not. But most of them are smart. So, my motivation at that time was to beat those Chinese guys, in terms of getting the highest rank in the class in each semester. That was so silly and funny at the same time.

Growing up, some of my friends have Chinese-Indonesian background and they are some of those nicest people I have ever known in my life.

Be aware of black people

Many of us associate black people with drug dealers and criminals. Therefore, whenever we interact with them in our lives, we stay alert automatically.

When I studied in UK, I got to know some friends from Nigeria. And they are good people.

People, other than Germans, are dangerous

I see elderly people here in Germany are somehow become suspicious when they interact with non-German people (including me). This is the reason why I never offer any assistance to elderly German people if they do not ask me to do that. Just to avoid misunderstandings. 🙂

Of course there are many others implicit bias that we usually experience in our daily lives.

Implicit bias is normal. It is people’s way to “protect” themselves. However, this implicit bias can be reduced by exposing yourself to more varied situations. Traveling to new places and getting to know new cultures can be one of the ways to reduce implicit bias, I think.

In the end, we cannot judge people only by their education, cultural, and religious backgrounds. Human beings have their strength and weakness, in spite of their backgrounds.

Membudayakan Budaya Tepat Waktu

Bagi teman-teman yang kenal cukup dekat dengan saya, pasti paham benar bahwa saya itu orangnya sangat disiplin, dalam hal apapun. Saya sangat keras pada diri sendiri. Contohnya, setiap hari Senin sampai Jumat saya tidak boleh bangun lebih dari jam 6. Mostly alarm yang membangunkan saya. Tapi, karena sepertinya tubuh saya sudah terbiasa dengan pola seperti itu, suatu hari alarm hp saya mati, tetapi saya bisa terbangun di waktu tersebut.

Saya juga selalu mencatat jadwal saya di beberapa tempat -seperti di hp, laptop, dan agenda-karena saya termasuk orang yang pelupa. Ketika masih tinggal di Indonesia, teman-teman saya sering merasa kesal karena saya tidak pernah bisa untuk diajak sudden meet-up. Entah kenapa jadwal saya selalu padat, sehingga untuk sekedar ngopi bareng teman saja, saya harus mengatur jadwal setidaknya dari dua minggu sebelumnya. Akhirnya saya dicap sok sibuk.

Tetapi, saya selalu menepati setiap janji yang saya buat. Kalian bisa tanya ke orang-orang terdekat saya, berapa kali saya pernah membatalkan janji tiba-tiba. Tidak pernah. Kalaupun saya harus cancel suatu appointment, saya akan lakukan itu paling telat 24 jam sebelumnya. Waktu adalah sesuatu yang sangat berharga. Ketika seseorang sudah menyediakan waktunya untuk kita, walau hanya semenit, kita harus menghargainya dengan cara tidak datang terlambat. Oleh karena itu, saya tidak habis pikir ada beberapa jenis manusia yang menganggap bahwa datang terlambat di suatu acara adalah wajar, membatalkan janji tiba-tiba (dengan alasan sibuk) adalah hal yang lumrah. Jenis yang terakhir inilah yang paling menyebalkan dan sebaiknya dimusnahkan dari seluruh muka bumi. Hey, kamu bukan satu-satunya orang yang sibuk di dunia ini. It’s all about priority.

Parahnya, kebiasaan “jam karet” itu masih terbawa ketika orang Indonesia pindah ke luar negeri. Suatu hari saya berencana datang ke acara yang melibatkan orang-orang Indonesia di sini. Di hari yang sama, tapi di waktu yang berselang sekitar 2 jam, saya ada acara juga. Saya mengutarakan rencana saya ke teman saya dan dia memberi saran “kamu datang ke acara yang satu dulu aja, karena acara ini mulainya pasti ngaret. Paling jam 2 atau jam 3 baru mulai” What? Padahal di undangannya tertera acara dimulai jam 11. Budaya jam karet? Kalau saya sih malu ya, ketika orang mengasosiasikan Indonesia dengan hal tersebut.

Bagaimana dengan orang Jerman? Harus diakui bahwa mereka sangat menghargai waktu. Dari yang sepele saja, misalkan jadwal transportasi. Ketika ada keterlambatan, walau hanya 5 menit, pasti ada pemberitahuan. Bandingkan dengan di Indonesia. Jangan bilang : “ya, Jerman kan negara maju. Sistemnya sudah bagus. Beda”. Ini perkara kecil lho, bukan masalah sistem whatever. Dalam hal jam kerja, orang Jerman juga sangat efisien. Mereka berpegang pada kontrak kerja yang sudah disepakati. Kalau jam kerja dimulai pukul 7 pagi, mau ada hujan badai, mereka akan berusaha sudah ada di kantor pada waktu tersebut. Di sini tidak dikenal yang namanya overtime atau lembur. Di Indonesia, kita berlomba-lomba untuk kerja overtime karena semakin malam kita pulang dari kantor, pundi-pundi kita akan semakin tebal di akhir bulan. Di sini, orang berlomba-lomba untuk pulang tepat waktu supaya bisa cepat sampai rumah berkumpul dengan keluarga, atau melakukan hal-hal lain. Di Indonesia, membalas email kantor di kala weekend adalah hal yang keren karena menunjukkan dedikasi yang besar terhadap pekerjaan. Di sini, orang akan bilang kamu gila dan “tidak punya kehidupan”, ketika kamu masih menyentuh those work-related stuffs di akhir minggu.

Menjadi orang yang tepat waktu dan menghargai waktu orang lain itu adalah investasi yang baik buat kehidupan. Jadi tidak ada salahnya untuk berubah menjadi lebih baik. Jangan terus berkedok di balik kata-kata “ah biasa lah orang Indonesia suka terlambat”

Salam dari Essen yang selalu hujan akhir-akhir ini 🙂

24 November 2017

Memandang Indonesia dari Jauh

Selamat Ulang Tahun, Indonesia!

Tahun ini saya kembali “merayakan” kemerdekaan tanah air dari benua Eropa. Tapi tak apa. Walaupun raga saya sering berpindah-pindah, tetapi jiwa saya tetap ada untuk Indonesia.

Apa arti “merdeka” bagi saya? Memiliki kebebasan untuk menentukan mau jadi apa saya di masa yang akan datang. Memiliki kesempatan untuk mendalami ilmu yang saya tekuni hingga jenjang yang setinggi mungkin.

Indonesia sendiri, secara resmi sudah merdeka pada tanggal 17 Agustus 1945. Tapi, apakah bangsa kita yang telah berusia 72 tahun ini benar-benar merdeka? Kita memang telah merdeka dari penjajah. Namun, rakyat kita sayangnya sepertinya belum mau merdeka. Lihat saja berbagai konflik yang terjadi di Indonesia, yang sebagian besar mengatasnamakan agama demi kepentingan politik. Lihat saja rakyat kita yang masih sangat mudah untuk diadu-domba dan diprovokasi oleh berbagai pihak yang tidak bertanggung jawab.

Saat saya masih tinggal di Indonesia, setiap hari saya selalu dicekoki oleh berita-berita negatif tentang tanah air. Rasanya hampir tidak pernah saya dengar berita yang bagus tentang Indonesia. Sebagai orang Indonesia, saya pernah apatis terhadap masa depan negara ini. Walau sekarang sedikit demi sedikit saya mulai optimis dengan Indonesia.

Kita harus pergi menjauh, supaya bisa memandang tanah air dari sudut pandang yang lebih netral.

Saya pernah membaca kalimat itu. Memang benar, ketika saya berada jauh dari tanah air, sense of belonging terhadap Indonesia semakin kuat. Rasanya saat teman yang berasal dari negara lain bercerita tentang betapa hebat negaranya, saya juga tidak mau kalah berkata “di negara saya juga begitu”. Di sini juga saya seringkali merasa bangga dengan negara Indonesia yang terdiri dari berbagai pulau. Teman-teman dari negara lain iri lho dengan keindahan dan kekayaan negara kita.

Saya juga bangga ketika orang bule melabeli orang Indonesia sebagai pekerja keras. Orang-orang Indonesia selalu berprestasi di luar negeri. Oleh karena itu, banyak yang ditawari untuk bekerja di negeri orang. Dulu waktu saya sekolah di Inggris, ada seorang opa yang sampai membawa selembar peta dunia. Dia hanya ingin menunjukkan betapa jauhnya kami, pelajar-pelajar dari Indonesia, menempuh perjalanan berbelas-belas jam untuk belajar di negerinya Ratu Elizabeth itu. Kenapa mereka begitu kagum? Karena orang Inggris (dan sebagian besar orang Eropa) itu malas untuk jauh-jauh merantau.

Sekarang di Jerman, teman-teman saya juga banyak yang penasaran dengan Indonesia. Mereka ingin mengunjungi Bali, Labuan Bajo, Pulau Komodo, Wakatobi, Raja Ampat, dan berbagai tempat indah lainnya di Indonesia. Saya merasa malu sekali ketika saya hanya bisa menunjukkan gambar-gambar dari Google Images, karena dari semua tempat itu saya baru pernah ke Bali saja. Malu karena saya sudah menjelajahi berbagai negara di dunia, tapi saya belum banyak menjelajahi negara saya sendiri.

Beberapa waktu lalu tersebar tulisan di media sosial yang mengkritik pelajar-pelajar Indonesia di luar negeri yang kebanyakan plesiran. Tapi, apakah mereka tahu bahwa kami di sini tak henti-hentinya mempromosikan budaya Indonesia? Orang-orang Indonesia (yang kurang piknik) memang bisanya hanya mengkritik.

Adakah hal buruk yang saya alami di sini terkait kewarganegaraan saya? Untuk hal-hal yang berhubungan dengan birokrasi, iya saya memang agak sedikit “dicurigai” karena memegang paspor Indonesia. Tapi sejauh ini sih semua urusan sudah berakhir lancar. Oleh karena itu, saya di sini selalu berharap agar situasi di Indonesia selalu aman terkendali. Supaya saya dan teman-teman lain dari Indonesia bisa belajar dengan tenang.

Seenak-enaknya tinggal di negara orang, lebih enak tinggal di negara sendiri. Di sini banyak aturan. Peraturan di Indonesia lebih fleksibel. Di Indonesia, ketika keluar rumah, kita selalu disapa ramah oleh tetangga. Kadangkala kita merasa mereka lebay. Cobalah tinggal di Jerman. Kita mencoba menyapa tetangga, mereka malah pasang muka bingung. Indonesia adalah surganya makanan enak. Di sini? Jangan harap. Sebagian besar makanan di sini hambar tidak ada rasanya. Haha.

Pergilah merantau, maka kamu akan menyadari betapa berharganya tanah airmu

Untuk Indonesia tanah airku, Dirgahayu! Suatu saat saya akan kembali dan membangun tanah air dengan ilmu yang saya miliki. Doakan kami yang sedang berjuang ini.

Walaupun banyak negeri kujalani

Yang mashyur permai dikata orang

Tetapi kampung dan rumahku

Disanalah kurasa senang

Tanahku tak kulupakan

Engkau kubanggakan 

Selamat upacara. Selamat lomba makan kerupuk, balap karung, bakiak, panjat pinang, balap kelereng, dan sebagainya. Di sini 17 Agustus tetap kami lalui layaknya hari biasa. Untuk teman-teman Indonesia di Jerman, ada acara di KBRI Berlin, KJRI Frankfurt, dan KJRI Hamburg. Tapi geng Köln tidak bisa join. 😀

Dealing With My Introversion

According to Myers-Briggs personality test that I took last year, I have an INTJ (Introvert, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging) personality. This is a rare personality and only 0.8 % of women population in the world possess this type of personality (16personalities.com). Yeay! 😀

Is it hard for me, as an introvert, to fit in the society? The answers are yes and no. I grew up as a bookworm. Other people may feel insulted with that stereotype, but I don’t. I’m proud to be called a “bookworm”. Just so you know, I read the Indonesian translated version of “Chicken Soup for the Kid’s Soul”, as well as Enid Blyton’s “St. Clare’s” series when I was in 4th grade. I started reading those Indonesian literatures (such as Pram’s “Bumi Manusia”,Ayu Utami’s “Larung”, Fira Basuki’s “Atap” series)  when I was 6th grade. I read Dee’s “Supernova : Ksatria, Putri, dan Bintang Jatuh”, when I was 7th grade. I read Mitch Albom’s “Tuesdays with Morrie” when I was in 8th grade. Yes I still perfectly remember everything.

During my teenage-hood when I experienced my puberty ups and downs moments,  it seemed so important to be exist in the peer-society. As an introvert I always feel like an outsider. When I was in middle school, the situation was still easy because my best friend is also a fellow introvert. But the situation was harder for me when I entered high school as I moved from a Catholic school to a public high school. Frankly speaking, the beginning of high school was a disaster. I didn’t made so many friends during high school. People say high school is the best moment of anyone’s life. Well, it didn’t applied to me. It wasn’t my best moment, but it wasn’t the worst either. I enjoyed my high school moment in my way. I prefer to spend my time during the second break periods in the library, rather than going to the canteen. The craziest moment was when I didn’t invited for prom. It wasn’t a big deal for me though, as that prom was a little bit “illegal” because the students didn’t get any formal permissions from school. But, still I felt sad. Years later (a.k.a one day in early August 2017) I found an article in Pinterest, saying that “an Introvert likes to receive invitations, although at the end they prefer not to go”. Haha. That’s so relatable.

I started to be an outgoing person when I entered college. I enjoyed made friends with quite a lot of people. I involved in some organizations while still maintaining my academic performance. I was happy that finally people know about my talent. I was happy because finally my opinions are heard and counted. But honestly, during that times, I often thought that I was living other people’s life. I wore masks just to fit in the society. Even I wrote an article in this blog back then in 2010. If you read that article, it was so clear that I tried so hard to be a little bit more extrovert.

But then as I entered my adulthood and went to the UK to do my masters, I didn’t really care about what people think of me. I was so lucky that Europeans are unlike Indonesians. I could live my life as comfortable as I wanted to. Thankfully in early 2013 I went back to Indonesia with a different mindset. Yes, I am an introvert. So what?

Right after I found out that I am an INTJ, I started researching about that topic. I read countless articles about introversion. I read this book about INTJ written by Dan Johnson. This book made me even more confident with myself and grateful that I choose to follow a career path which is in-line with my personality. Not everyone can have a life as enjoyable as I am. Then I also read this book by Susan Cain, who started a “quiet” revolution-which I am currently re-reading it). Reading this book, I feel that I’m not alone in this world. Being an introvert doesn’t mean that I can’t be a leader. Being an introvert doesn’t mean that I am a nerd. Currently our world needs more listeners, as there are now so many people who love to talk without even thinking. This world also needs more followers. If everyone wants to be leaders, then who will be followers?

I’m proud to be an INTJ and also a Piscean (which means that I’m an introvert-melancholic person). Not many people can enjoy their solitudes. I have many friends but I choose to whom I speak to. I like my small inner-circle of friends. I feel awkward whenever I am trapped in the new crowds, but once I find someone who have similar interests and with whom I feel comfortable, believe me, I will be a very nice companion. Introvert can be crazy, as well. You can ask my friend! Yes I feel pissed off sometimes  when I have to interact with people who don’t have similar levels of understanding about certain topics. Haha.

For all of those fellow INTJs out there, just believe that we’re specials. To sum up this article, I want you to watch this Ted talk delivered by Susan Cain.

This article is inspired by a short discussion last Saturday, with an INFJ. 😀

Let’s join Polyglot Indonesia

It is too exaggerating if I call myself a polyglot because based on Wikipedia, the definition of polyglot is a person who is able to speak multiple languages. Currently I can speak two foreign languages, excluding English. It’s up to you then, whether you will call me a polyglot or not. 🙂

Maybe some of you are wondering why I have a special interest in languages. It was all began when I learned French a couple years back. It was a disaster at first, since French language is hard. However, finally I could “master” this language and I even got a certification. Done with French, I started to find another language to learn. I ended up choosing German. Just for your information, I used to underestimate German language and thought that I didn’t need to take a formal course to master this language. Why did I think like that? Because in German language,  there are only slight differences between spoken and written language. But then I decided to take a formal course and found out that German is harder than French. lol. I’ve learned German since last year.

I wrote an article in this blog 4 years ago about the beauty of learning different languages. Maybe you can take a look at that post to read my detailed argumentation of why we should learn as many languages as possible. One important thing that I want to tell you, being able to speak is different language will surely boost up your self confidence. I guarantee this!

So last year I found a community, called Polyglot Indonesia. This is a place for language enthusiasts to meet each other and discuss various issues. They hold a meet-up in every 2 weeks. For me, personally, I find  it really useful to practice my language skills with the fellow language enthusiasts. In every meet up I have attended so far, I always met new people. The event was never disappointing, as well. Honestly, being a part of this community for these past few months and meeting those people with really amazing language skills (some of them are hyperpolyglots!), motivates me to learn more foreign languages. Currently, Polyglot Indonesia has quite a lot of Chapters, other than Jakarta, in various cities in Indonesia, such as Aceh, Bandung, Yogyakarta, Semarang, etc. It’s very nice knowing that there are more and more Indonesian people who are open-minded nowadays.

You can always join Polyglot Indonesia. All of the events are always free of charge. As long as you can speak at least 2 foreign languages and want to practice them with others, do not hesitate to register to their events by filling the registration form that you can find on their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/polyglotindonesia). Don’t forget to follow their Twitter (@PolyglotIndo), too! 😀

To sum up this post,  I just want to share some of my good experiences related to my foreign languages ability with you guys here. When I was in Paris, I got a discounted metro ticket price just like those Parisians because I talked to the officer in French. They thought I was a student in Paris. While I was not. Haha. When I was in Germany ( I forgot in which city), I didn’t know that I waited for a train at the wrong platform. Then I heard an announcement. In German language, without any English translation. At that time, all I knew about German language was only numbers and very basic conversation. I tried to understand the announcement and finally realized that I was waiting at the wrong platform and rushed to the right platform. Thankfully I didn’t miss the train. It was fun, though.

Yes, learning foreign languages can be suffering at first. But think about what you’ll get when you’re already mastering those languages. You can definitely expand your network by being able to speak in various languages.

20 Things

Two days ago while I was blog-hopping, I found someone who blog a post titled “20 Things” which basically tell random things about her. Somehow, I got inspired and decided to blog a kind of similar stuffs. So, here we go. 20 things about me, in random order.

1. I’m the eldest kid in the family. I got 2 younger brothers.

2. I’ve been dealing with science for these past 7 years. And I love it

3. I got so many passions in my life. I was facing a quite hard time when I had to decide which subject I’m gonna take after finishing high school. I ended up in science, though.

4. I’m so grateful to be given an opportunity to study in the UK last year. It changed me a lot

5. I adore chubby and smart guys

6. I speak 3 foreign languages. And I’m thinking to learn some others.

7. When I listen to the music, I pay attention more on the lyrics

8. One of my dreams that won’t ever be come true is, to watch the live concert of The Beatles. Too bad I was born long after the band split up.

9. I’m into indie musics and films

10. I’m a coffee and tea addict

11. I’ve been taking piano course since I was in the 4th grade

12. I’m currently learning not to be too idealist, as a human being.

13. I can remember every single moment that have happened in my life. Should I consider this as a gift or something? I wish I could just forget all of the unimportant stuffs in the past, anyway.

14. I’m a proud Indonesian. Yes, I am. Though I rarely said it in public.

15. I’m a bookworm. Leave me in a bookshop and I won’t complain at all

16. I can’t enjoy reading comic books. Don’t know why but I guess I love words more than graphics.

17. People often seek me for some advices about their relationships. Haha! I found this funny, though.

18. I don’t believe in ‘love at the first sight’

19. I think if one day I end up with a guy who love traveling as much as I do, it’s gonna be beyond fun!

20. Don’t expect me to get married in my twenties. I still want to have fun and pursue my dreams. Wait until I reach thirty, and I’m gonna be ready to settle down. I guess.

I’m Back!

I’m back from the summer holiday. Well, although there is no summer here in Newcastle. But, never mind, let’s call it “summer holiday”. The saddest thing I got from this holiday is : my skin is getting darker. Western people got tanned after sunbathing. I got BURNT. Imagine, walking around in the city of Rome under 40 degree Celcius temperature! The best thing was I made some new friends from that summer trip. Yes, that was a very memorable trip. Moreover, that was the first time I went for a Eurotrip with my friends. Hopefully, someday we can explore other parts of the world together.

Few days after I’ve done with that Eurotrip, my family came visit me here. And there was another trip, UK Trip. This time, I was the one who “guide” them. Dare to give me a responsibility to be a guide means “let’s get lost together” because, as my friend told me, I am a kind of person who has no sense of direction. lol. My family went back to Jakarta this morning.

And here I am now. Sitting in front of my laptop in this lovely dormitory room, which I’m going to leave soon. I’m back in Newcastle, after a very long journey. I’m exhausted. I’m lonely. My closest friends have gone back for good to Indonesia. I’m still gonna be here until the day after my graduation. That will be on the early December.

Next week, I need to attend a conference in Glasgow. And I’ve just known that my supervisor is currently taking his annual leave. And my co-spv hasn’t yet replied my email. I need to discuss my poster!!!! Ah, I’m confused now. I’m trying to calm myself, that everything’s gonna be alright in the end.

Okay, then. More stories, later. Especially my summer trip stories. Still compiling the pictures currently. Apart from all of those troubles that I’m  facing currently, I’m back now!!!

Take care 🙂