Religiofragilisticexpiaridiculous

I remember a time when I was in high school. It was a state-owned school, one of the best in town (people said). But sadly, I never thought that my high school period was the high moment in my life. Of course, I was that shy, ugly teenage girl, then :), but what bothered me most was how some people – friends and teachers – acted and said something foolishly in the name of religion. How could you ever think of finding a date when the first thing they’d ask you was your religious belief, especially when you happen to belong to the minority? Some even thought the greeting card you sent them in their religious occasion was tainted with some dark ideas behind it, just because you don’t share their belief. What a sweet moment, indeed…

Good if you can understand this, because I can’t. It’s all too familiar to me, I can feel it in my stomach.

Peminum teh

Ini tulisan lama yang dulu pernah aku publish di Friendster – before a psycho hacked my account.

Minum teh dulu salah satu kegiatan rutinku sewaktu masih kuliah di KU (Uni. of Kansas). Setiap kamis, mulai jam 4 sore, di lobby Kansas Union disediakan teh, limun (hehehe… dah lama nggak denger kata ini), cookies dan brownies. Kami antre dengan tertib, dan kalau datang awal, kami bisa mendapatkan teh dengan cangkir porselen putih, dan bukannya gelas plastik. Kalau beruntung, kami dapet dua macem makanan kecil yang penampilannya mengundang selera. Tapi nggak jarang mbak-mbak yang jaga stand jutek banget dan nggak melayani pertanyaan, apalagi permintaan nambah kue kering. So, just forget it.

Tentu saja bagian paling asyik dari acara minum tersebut adalah ngumpul-ngumpulnya. Biasanya sehari sebelumnya aku dan beberapa temen, seperti Jeng Wied, Eta, Khady dan Maiko telfon-telfonan, atau nulis di wall Facebook masing-masing. “Aku mau menikmati teh besok, kakangmbok mau bergabung?” Ya jelas, kami biasanya nggak melewatkan kesempatan ketemuan dan update berita-berita terhangat, karena mahasiswa grads kaya kami susah nyari waktu luang. Dari acara ini pula aku mengenal kata-kata ajaib seperti chof, sai sai, sof, chuchu guy, fugujay, sekaligus bareng Jeng Wied mempopulerkan kata-kata seperti “melarat”, “pelit”, dan “matre”. Mostly to describe guys. Hihihi…

Dengan makanan dan minuman nikmat di tangan, kami duduk manis dan memulai ritual updating news alias menggosip. Biar nggak terlalu berasa “ibu-ibu tua Inggris dengan acara minum teh di sore hari,” sesekali kami tebar pesona sesama penikmat teh. Sebelnya kalau ternyata yang nyamperin si bapak-bapak tua, salah seorang pengunjung reguler acara tersebut. Dia akan nanya dari mana asalmu, dan dengan asalnya akan menyebut sederet nama binatang dan katakunci template yang dia pikir bakalan membuatmu kagum “Oh… Java, ya? Orangutans? Komodo dragons? Batik? Bali?” Udahlah, Om… Udah sore, ntar masuk angin…

Sesekali bernostalgi boleh kan? Iya, tehnya memang gratisan. But the tea was also warm. The folks we hung out with, loveably bittersweet. The topics we talked about were things we did there – our life in brackets. Sebagian nggak mungkin kami ulang dan ceritakan lagi.

rain

rain. again.
the young man is talking to his buddy
in a flooded hallway
too polite to sit on the white plastic chair
too pointless
the botanist and the weatherman
finger-counting what grows
and what collapses in the rain

here, where water comes from every direction,
the piece of ceiling that keeps you dry
is your darling friend. the cry over the phone
of your brokenhearted sister is a dream
you once dreamed.
the man to whom she’s betrothed is
an unfounded myth – soon will be
washed away

fear is time-constrained
the water, the earth, the marriage
the demolition under the mud,
what’s put to sleep – or who –
the history of love/life,
quietly decoded

Red alert: be merry!

img_9496.jpg

Selamat hari Natal! Sugeng Natal! Mugi wilujeng sadayanipun… (phew!)

Merry Christmas, champs and chimps!!! … and a happy, happy year 2008!

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended:
That you have but slumbered here,
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend.
If you pardon, we will mend.
And as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck,
Now to ‘scape the serpent’s tongue,
We will make amends ere long-
Else the Puck a liar call.
So good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.

(Robin Goodfellow, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” ~ Shakespeare)

Don’t forget to dream!

Aunt Lettuce, I want to peek under…

Charles Simic is one of my favorite poets. The reason is so obvious: his poetry is simple, yet unpredictable; it tends to use everyday words – very efficient and unromantic – but at the same time, what it reveals is unprecedented. Here’s an example:

Hotel Insomnia

I liked my little hole,
Its window facing a brick wall.
Next door there was a piano.
A few evenings a month
a crippled old man came to play
“My Blue Heaven.”
Mostly, though, it was quiet.
Each room with its spider in heavy overcoat
Catching his fly with a web
Of cigarette smoke and revery.

So dark,
I could not see my face in the shaving mirror.
At 5 A.M. the sound of bare feet upstairs.
The “Gypsy” fortuneteller,
Whose storefront is on the corner,
Going to pee after a night of love.
Once, too, the sound of a child sobbing.
So near it was, I thought
For a moment, I was sobbing myself.

Yesterday, my colleagues and I made a joke using one of Simic’s poems Aunt Lettuce, I want to peek under your skirt. Mr. O managed to recreate something out of it: “Aunt Lettuce, I make the girls lift their skirts for me to peek…” I said to him, in that case, I would remember wearing a skirt next time. Aunt Lettuce, I want to peek under my own skirt. Ha!

One fine day yesterday, … and today!


I’m having a cold, so the horoscope today made a huge mistake about my health condition. But it was right about other things: my sense of humor and spirit were soaring in their highest level today. I went to campus – it was already in its holiday mood. I kept sneezing and having a runny nose, but it didn’t stop me from poking fun of some unlucky students and colleagues of mine. As long as everyone’s happy, why not? Not to mention the extra money I got for teaching at the pharmacy dept. Hurray! I was thinking of Bali for a vacation next January. And some bapak-bapak genit in the PBI common room made a request if they could come along to see me in bikini. Why not? I’m generous, am I not? Yeah, like they can afford going to Bali! And I’m not talking finance-wise. Their break will end on January 2 next year, while mine… 2 weeks after that. Cantik!!!

But, as a matter a fact, it’s hard to keep up your gaiety when you’re sick. And hungry. Because that’s what happened next at home. I was so ready to swear at everybody when, miraculously enough, my little girl saved me. She brought me food with a smile on her face… that little angel of mine!

Olga and mom

Another surprise that I should add here: Olga gave me a pretty drawing of her and me this morning. Sooo… it’s a mother’s day today! Selamat hari ibu!!!

Jurusan Pendidikan Bahasa dan *meeeep!!!*

Ini kegelisahan saya terbesar belakangan ini. Rasanya kita yang ada di bawah bendera Jurusan Pendidikan Bahasa dan Seni harus mulai mengkaji ulang kenapa “bahasa” berada dalam satu kamar dengan “seni.” Dan kemudian, kenapa “seni” cenderung di-euthanasia, setidaknya itu yang saya rasakan 3 tahun terakhir terjadi di prodi di tempat saya mengajar. Program-program seperti drama dan sastra sudah tidak lagi menjadi kebanggaan di jurusan ini, kalah sama bidang-bidang lain seperti linguistik, kependidikan, dan teknologi. Kepedulian akan kesenian, apalagi kebanggaan, sudah pudar, to almost zero!

Sepandai-pandainya manusia, saya tetap percaya seseorang menjadi besar karena minat yang luas dan ketertarikan terhadap dunia yang mendalam. Sayangnya, di departemen semakin sedikit saja manusia semacam ini. Jago-jago kandang berkacamata kuda? Banyak.

A woman is always in the wrong

Last night I watched the football match between Liverpool and Man. U. I was pretty excited by the fact that somebody will buy me a lunch today because I won the bet: MU beat Liverpool!

I know there are millions of women like me out there, but not in this small circle of friends and relatives that I have here. I was 100% sure that all of my female colleagues (all 9 of them) were already in bed while I was passionately cheering for Tevez and his teammates. Yesterday a male colleague expressed his surprise knowing that I cared for making a bet over a football match. It’s perfectly understood – his incredulity – as much as I refuse to believe that a man who doesn’t dig football is a real man. Psh! 😀

The football case is just one small example among many other deviations that I seem to excel at. When I was being logical and tactical, they called me a snake. When I showed that I knew what I wanted, they called me a bitch. A man said to me, not long ago, that he still believed that I could be a good mother to my daughter, no matter what. I refused to accept this shady sympathy. What does he know how my daughter and I relate to each other? To me I am as good as I get, period.

I am not Beth in Shepard’s A Lie of the Mind, though we both do some acting stuff and we had troubled marriages. My head was not literally knocked out. And, unlike her, I will not end up loo loo (I hope!) Perhaps I’m just lucky. 😉