Category: Deep Thought

Prasangka Terhadap Pasangan Beda Ras

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan. Picture is taken from here.

Sengaja saya tulis dalam Bahasa Indonesia, supaya bisa menjadi pembuka pikiran bagi orang-orang Indonesia yang sering berprasangka buruk terhadap pasangan yang berbeda ras dan warna kulit. Walaupun agak ga mungkin orang-orang bodoh itu mampir ke sini dan baca blog saya, tapi berharap boleh dong ya :p. Saya menulis berdasarkan pengalaman saya sendiri, jadi lingkupnya terbatas untuk wanita WNI yang punya pasangan WNA alias bule.

Sudah sering sih saya membaca postingan blog senada dengan topik yang sama. Cukup googling dengan kata kunci ‘pasangan bule’, dan anda pun akan menemukan berjibun curahan hati para wanita yang teraniaya, tsahhh :D. Jadi, sebelum traveling dengan sang Beruang di Asia, khususnya di Indonesia, saya sudah menyiapkan hati dan mental, tak lupa poker face, supaya tetap tabah dengan hinaan yang mungkin terdengar.

Kasus #1: “Kira-kira ketemu ayam di mana ya?”

Di perjalanan ferry kembali ke Bali setelah mendaki Ijen, ada segerombolan anak SMP/SMA yang mungkin sedang study tour ke Bali (soalnya saya sempet nguping mereka ngomongin tugas tentang budaya di Bali). Dari mereka yang sibuk curi-curi foto selfie dengan sang Beruang, tiba-tiba terdengar pertanyaan itu, “Kira-kira ketemu ayam di mana ya?”

Kalau dipikir-pikir Bahasa Indonesia itu tinggi sekali ya level ambiguitas-nya. Kalau dikonfontrasi langsung, yang ngomong bisa saja ngeles dengan alasan, “Oh, kita lagi ngomongin ayam KFC kok, kira-kira ada di mana ya di Bali” :D. Fakta bahwa mereka bergerombol di sebelah kami, dan kemudian yang diajak bicara oleh orang tersebut memotong dengan, “Hush!”, lalu berbisik-bisik, membuat saya yakin bahwa saya lah yang dimaksud dengan ‘ayam’. Dan seperti yang kita semua tahu, perempuan yang diasosiasikan dengan ayam berarti pelacur (kasihan ya ayam, jadi negatif gitu). See, that’s the power of context for interpreting the meaning of a language 😉

Kasus #2: “Untuk memperbaiki keturunan ya, Mbak.”

Setelah puas snorkeling, canoeing dan hiking selama seminggu di Pulau Tioman, Malaysia, di hari terakhir kami memutuskan untuk relaksasi di spa yang disediakan oleh resort tempat kami tinggal. Ketika para terapisnya tahu bahwa saya orang Indonesia, mereka langsung heboh, “Owalah, lha kami ini juga orang Indonesia!” :D. Selama sesi pijat kami pun tanpa hentinya mengobrol dalam Bahasa Indonesia, karena terapis saya juga sama-sama punya tahi lalat di ‘atas bibir minggir kanan’ seperti saya :). Agak menjelaskan kenapa beliau ceriwis sekali, hahaha.

Obrolan berlangsung tanpa ada prasangka buruk (setidaknya menurut perasaan saya), mereka cuma penasaran bagaimana kami bertemu. “Karena sama-sama belajar di Italia,” saya jelaskan. “Wah, hebat, mahal ya Mbak?” “Beasiswa kok…” “Waaah, berarti pinter banget Mbaknya” :). Cuma ada satu statement yang bikin saya mangkel dikit. “Untuk memperbaiki keturunan” itu memang sudah jadi komentar standar yang sering sekali terdengar ya. Cuma kok seakan-akan kalau ga sama mas bule keturunan saya bakalan jelek dan butuh diperbaiki ya, hiks ;(.

About Saying Sorry

This morning, my peaceful shower time was disrupted by a neighbor child’s loud cries, and a woman’s –most probably the child’s mother– yells. At first the woman’s shouts were in Chinese, which I don’t understand at all. I assume that she expressed why she was angry. But then, the woman starts yelling repeatedly, “Say sorry!” Instead of saying sorry, the child’s cries grow louder and louder. The woman was so persistent to get to hear that ‘sorry’ word from the child, she repeated the “Say sorry!” shouts probably more than 30 times.

I’m not a parent yet, but I think demanding a ‘sorry’ like that from my child is not the right thing to do. First of all, being (and saying) sorry should come from either feeling regret, or from feeling sad out of sympathy. Now, will shouts and yells like that help my child to understand that he/she should feel regret or sad after whatever he/she has done? Surely not.

If in the end the child finally says ‘sorry’, I’m quite sure that the reason is that he just wants the mother to stop yelling, instead of being regretful of making mistakes or hurting anyone. The child may grow up to be someone who misuses the word ‘sorry’ lacking regret or sympathy, won’t he?

Another lesson taken for my future parenthood :).

By the way, just recently Muslims all around the world celebrated the Eid al-Fitr festival. I’m lucky that this year I can finally celebrated it with my family, after being absent twice in the previous years. In Indonesia, on that particular day, there is a tradition to greet each other –friends-neighbors-family– with “mohon maaf lahir dan batin” which literally means “forgive me body and soul”. This is, in my opinion, also a misuse of ‘sorry’ :p. Why would I say sorry to people I am (almost) never in contact with? And why would I say sorry only on this day without any reason?

It is not a bad idea to use the occasion to ask for forgiveness from others about any mistake one might have done, but… I found that this is more appropriate:

It’s time to forget and also forgive others’ mistakes, to be able to move on happily in life without any grudge and burden :). Happy Eid Mubarak! Sorry it’s a bit late 😉

Hi there, 2015!

Picture is taken from here

I was trying to find my ‘new-year-blog-post’ for 2014, to reflect on my last year resolutions. It turns out that… I have none! 😀 Hmmm… well, I will revive the tradition again this year.

Welcome, 2015! I hope you’ll be wonderful like last year… or even better 😉

At the end of 2012, I started two ‘big projects’ of my life. The first one is supposed to be a three-year project, so I hope I can finish it this year. The second one.. ehem.. is supposed to be a lifetime project :”>, so I hope it will never be finished.

Of A Very Shiny Crystal Ball Called Google

Imagine this feeling. You have this very shiny crystal ball on your hands, and you can’t wait to put it safely on a shelf, so you can show it off to everyone. However, it’s reaaally heavy, and it took a lot of effort and carefulness to place it safely on the shelf. Just when you think you’re really close, you somehow let it go. You stumbled, or your hands just gave up because it’s too heavy. It then fell and broke into pieces.

That’s exactly what I felt last weekend.

When someone from Google contacted me, asking whether I will be interested to do a summer internship there, working with him, I was ecstatic. I met this guy in a conference, and luckily he was quite interested with my research. I’ve been trying to get an internship position there *well, actually anywhere, big companies are preferable though ;)* since last year, but without knowing anyone that could recommend me, it’s hardly possible to even get an interview.

Reading the email, I was jumping around like crazy. It was my boyfriend who brought me back to the ground, saying this doesn’t mean that I will go for an internship there. He’s right. The guy confirmed it, I still have to go through the regular protocol, including passing the dreadful technical interview. So this is like my ticket, not for the internship itself, but for a chance to get one.

I got two phone interviews scheduled three weeks after that, 45 minutes each. The first one was purely technical, live coding on Google Docs. The second one was more focused on the research I am doing. The first interview was more terrifying than the second one. Talking about my own research was easier than solving a random coding problem, no matter how basic it is :p. Before the interviews I was studying like crazy, recalling all the basics about data structures and algorithms, practicing on Topcoder, reading all the tips and tricks. On the day of the first interview, I thought I was ready, or maybe more like I was trying to convince myself that I was ready. It turned out no, I was certainly not.

Tentang 'bising'-nya media sosial


picture is taken from here

Seru rasanya mengamati para pengguna media sosial di Indonesia, yang ramai-ramai beropini dan berdebat pada masa pemilihan caleg dan presiden, yang mengomentari hal-hal sepele macam cara mengalikan bilangan bulat, dan yang terakhir… masalah pilkada langsung dan tak langsung. Lalu ada yang berkomentar: “Males liat timeline isinya ricuh politik”, atau “Ah, timeline isinya tentang perkalian semua”, termasuk saya ;). Padahal sebenarnya sih yang salah ya yang mantengin timeline hampir setiap saat :D.

Saya jadi berpikir, ini sebenarnya sebuah kemajuan lho, bahwa kita mampu beropini dan berpikir kritis, walaupun mungkin kadang medianya atau cara penyampaiannya kurang tepat. Kenapa saya bilang kemajuan? Setidaknya untuk saya lho ya. Karena berkaca dari pengalaman saya, sistem pendidikan di Indonesia tidak melatih para siswanya untuk beropini, berpikir kritis, memiliki pendirian atas suatu masalah dan tahu cara berdebat secara elegan.

Lalu saya pun mengingat-ingat, apa saja yang saya pelajari di masa SMP dan SMA dulu? Saya belajar banyak! Tapi masalahnya, otak saya hanya dicekoki pengetahuan terus-menerus tanpa sempat mencerna: “Untuk apakah ini?”, “Mengapa begitu, mengapa bukan begini?”, atau “Saya tidak setuju dengan Pak/Ibu guru!” Untuk yang terakhir, saya jadi ingat beberapa cerita siswa yang dimusuhi oleh gurunya (dan diperlakukan tidak adil), cuma karena berani berdebat dengan sang guru.

Untuk pelajaran ilmu pasti macam matematika, fisika, kimia, dan biologi, saya rasa metode pengajaran yang saya dapatkan dulu sudah cukup baik. Cukup banyak jam praktek di laboratorium supaya siswa lebih paham lewat eksperimen. Tapi untuk ilmu sosial macam sejarah, agama, dan ilmu kenegaraan (dulu namanya PPKn ya)? Saya rasa siswa hanya dididik untuk tahu. Walaupun mungkin masing-masing siswa mengembangkan pendapat masing-masing di otak mereka, sayangnya tidak ada kesempatan untuk menyampaikan itu, dan untuk tahu opini siswa lain, untuk kemudian berdebat tentang itu dan kemudian memperluas pandangan masing-masing.

Bahasa Ibu, Bahasa Indonesia

gambar diambil dari sini

Baru-baru ini saya membaca artikel yang ditulis dengan sangat apik, tentang kecenderungan masyarakat Indonesia masa kini yang mencampur-adukkan bahasa Indonesia dengan bahasa Inggris, supaya terdengar lebih cerdas dan modern. Jangan salah, walaupun saya jauh di sini, masih kok memantau berita gosip di Indonesia, dan rasanya miris banget mendengar gaya bicara si Vicky Prasetyo.

Lalu entah mengapa saya pun tertantang untuk menulis sepenuhnya dalam bahasa Indonesia, yang ternyata… susah ya bok ^^. Apalagi akhir-akhir ini saya lebih sering menggunakan bahasa Inggris, terutama dalam kegiatan akademik dan interaksi sosial, plus sedikit bahasa Italia *dikiiit… banget! :D* di kehidupan sehari-hari. Jujur saja, untuk beberapa kata saya hampir menggunakan bahasa Inggris, dan terpaksa membuka Google translate untuk mencari padanannya dalan bahasa Indonesia, sebut saja: trend, intellect, fully, dsb. Beberapa kata dalam bahasa Inggris memang sudah terasimilasi dalam bahasa Indonesia jadi rasanya wajar saja ketika kita menggunakan kata tersebut, contohnya modern.

Women in Computer Science

picture is taken from here

It all started when someone sent me a link for the chance of travelling to the States for free :). The occasion is to attend the 2013 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference, in Minneapolis.

When I excitedly started filling the form, I found that there is one requirement to write an essay about “Women in Computer Science”. I started Googling for references, and came across this cool video.

Dilemma and Decision

picture is taken from here

After a series of vacations *got me into dreamy and browse-for-cheap-ticket mode*, unhealthiness *sprained knee from the last skiing, and feverish bear*, and papers… I finally get to write again! Not that I don’t have enough free time to write, it’s just that the laziness, and sleeping and watching (movies, series) moods, attacked me in the last few days (or weeks? :p).

Just recently a friend faced a great dilemma and had to make a big decision *past tense since the decision has been made ^^*.