Category Archives: 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 ‘suka duka punya 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 ;(.

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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.

At the end of 2013, I passed the qualifying exam for the three-year project mentioned above, which includes presenting my plans for the project. Thankfully, in terms of publications, I was quite productive last year, all are almost according to the plans :). Hopefully, this year I can be as productive as last year.

Also at the end of 2013, I started learning German with Duolingo. The progress was not as I expected ^^;. I hope this year it will be different, and I can finally master the language.

At the end of 2014, I failed at the early stage of establishing another ‘project’ *or you can call it a dream* of my life. But believe it or not, one day after I posted the story here, I got contacted again. Now, I’m still waiting for the result, so let’s hope for the best.

Also at the end of 2014, I learned that family should also be in my priority lists. I hope I can dedicate more time to my family this year. It’s been a while since we’re traveling together somewhere. The idea has been around for quite some time now. I know that this is difficult given the time and circumstances, but I’ll try my best to make it happen.

I want to reconnect with old friends. Sometimes I think I don’t put enough effort on maintaining a friendship.

I really want to spend less time on social media. I installed StayFocusd in my browser. For now it’s working when I’m in front of my laptop. However… when my 15 minutes quota per day is finished, sometimes I still turn to my smartphone to browse there. Let’s hope I can cure my addiction :p.

“Getting a driver license.” This item has been in my list of new year resolutions since forever. I don’t know if I will ever cross this out, since I never urgently need one. So instead, I hope… the public transportation system of the world will get better and better, or I will never have to travel alone by car :”>, so that I don’t need a driver license, hahaha.

Scuba diving is checked. So now, only bungee jumping, skydiving/paragliding, and via ferrata left. But someone *my personal trainer a.k.a the Bear* said that I cannot do via ferrata with my current state of stamina. So yeah… this year, will do more sport and more hikes!

Travel destinations: Bali *I’m ashamed when I said I’m from Indonesia but have never been to Bali -.-* or Lombok, Lake Toba, Bromo-Tengger-Semeru volcanic complex, Mexico and around, Kenya *visiting Kithaka* and around, Southeastern Europe, Australia or New Zealand. I hope this year I can go to at least one of them ;).

Those are my wishes for 2015… What’s yours? 😉

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 next year, 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 a Google Doc. 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.

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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 juga sih ;). 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.

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Myself: redefined

People change over time, so once in a while I feel the need to redefine myself,  asking myself “Who am I?”, to be able to go forward.

  • I love cats. Not only because they’re cute, but also because they give me some comfort human cannot give. Only applies if the cat is friendly with me.
  • I hate waiting. Sometimes the impatient is manageable, sometimes it’s not.
  • I love water, and sun. A beach, by the river, a lake or a waterfall on a sunny day is the perfect combination of place and time.
  • I hate loud places where we have to shout to each other to communicate. Except when we don’t have to communicate, just enjoy the music and/or drinks and sing along.
  • I cannot express myself well, verbally. But this skill, I’m sure, can be learned and practiced.
  • I don’t need a crowd of friends surrounding me, few but very close ones are more than enough. But only one special person is not enough, especially if that one starts drifting away, I’ll drown.
  • I did bad things, at least from my point of view. But I shouldn’t let myself feel miserable about those bad decisions in the past, nor should I let other people make me feel bad.
  • I hold grudge. For at least 5 years.
  • I still cannot manage my time and my priorities efficiently. I hope this can change.
  • I can never trust a man 100% that he will commit to one woman for the rest of his life, in particular those who are adventurous and/or sociable. I’ve had some examples. So for now, for me ‘marriage’ is under a big question mark.
  • A woman’s jealousy is destructive, especially to herself. Taken from Blue Jasmine. That’s why the previous point is an important presumption.
  • My attitude towards ‘love’ is unpredictable, sometimes it can be very irrational, sometimes I analyze everything logically.
  • My view on religion is depicted in The Invention of Lying.
  • I’m in a way self-centered, since I put more time into intra-personal thinking than inter-personal.

Now, why do I make this public?  I could just save it to myself to be read, let’s say, 5 years later, and see how much I’ll change in terms of thoughts and opinions. It’s just that, I feel that because of the fifth point, other people misunderstand me for a sweet-shy-quiet-little girl, or sometimes the opposite: an arrogant-quiet girl, while in fact, I’m much more than that. I can even sometimes be very bitter and resentful. Oh well, I’m only human.

Note that I’m not in my healthiest emotional state while writing this. If I’m happy and content with myself and my life, this self-reflecting thing would have never crossed my mind.

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.

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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.

she++: The Documentary from Ellora Israni on Vimeo.

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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 ^^*. She had to choose between buying one way or return way ticket to go home *as buying return way ticket is much cheaper than buying one way ticket twice ;p*. She has been given a great opportunity to stay and continue developing her skill, but unfortunately while being so far away from the family. Whereas her family wants her to come home, for some reasons. She’s the one that has to make the decision, so we as friends could only give our thoughts, cheer her up, and give our supports whatever her decision is.

And that… motivates me to write ^^. Read more »

Welcoming 2013

I’m back! ^^

Dari sejak akhir tahun lalu sebenarnya saya sudah berniat menulis di sini. Tapi apa daya, si blog tiba-tiba berulah, ga bisa publish, ga bisa save draft juga. Ternyata oh ternyata, karena spam comment-nya sudah kebanyakan, sampai menuh-menuhin database dan melebihi quota memory -_-. Maklum… saking lamanya tak dibuka dan diurus :p.

picture is taken from here

Walaupun bulan Januari sudah hampir berakhir, dan euphoria pergantian tahun juga mulai berkurang, rasanya kurang lengkap kalau tak posting sesuatu tentang pergantian tahun di blog. Sekalian curcol deh. Malam pergantian tahun kemarin… saya lewatkan di rumah saja, di depan laptop, sibuk menulis baris-baris code demi mengejar deadline tugas *dosen kejam!*. Setelah beberapa hari tidur seadanya, badan pun tumbang. Jadilah sisa liburan dihabiskan dengan proses penyembuhan diri, demi supaya ketika waktunya harus naik pesawat badan sudah fit kembali.

Waktu membeli tiket pulang, niat saya sih pengennya liburan di rumah, menikmati tempat-tempat wisata di Indonesia. Masa sih, sudah hampir keliling Eropa tapi ke Bali atau Danau Toba saja belum pernah T__T. Tapi apa daya, ternyata liburan harus terganggu dengan deadline-deadline tugas *bahkan saya terpaksa bolos beberapa kuliah*, dan daftar panjang hal-hal yang harus saya lakukan seperti: memperpanjang KTP, rekam data e-KTP, mengunjungi dokter gigi, konsultasi pasca operasi tulang belakang, dan… tak lupa memanjakan tubuh dengan pijat, nyalon, facial, dll *di sini muahaal bok! ;p*.

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