Notes of an Indonesian Feminist Blogger
If there’s a topic which is classic and everlasting it’s feminism. Feminism becomes a talking point since time immemorial because feminism does not only connote to a name of a gender, the opposite of male, the offsprings of Eve and the spouse of Adam. It also means mother of humanity without whom we, boys and girls, will never exist. Feminism can also mean struggle of women to achieve what they call “men discriminatory behaviour against women.”
The struggle towards freedom from men’s oppression; towards equality in terms of life, education, rights to choose whatever path they want to take, rights to be treated with respects by men, and many other things. You name it.Men with strong common sense will certainly agree with what women have been campaigning for all along in regard to feminism. Yet, like many other struggles and discourses, the purpose and meaning of feminism could be interpreted in many different ways including by women themselves. Different background and upbringing, level of education, diversity in geography and culture would ensure and shouldn’t suprise anyone to see the diverse opinion and school of thought on how far the feminism can and would go.
Nana Podungge’s– as a self-proclaimed feminist–opinions in her blog, therefore, should be read in this context.
For her, like any feminist, in fact as interpreted by many men as well, the paradigm of feminism is crystal clear that “… women are created equal to men, in all facets of life.”
When discussing and interpreting the nitty-gritty, however, the different interpretation start to surface even among the feminists themselves. In other words, if you, male or female, do not agree with a feminist on a particular issue, for example, it does not mean that you are not a feminist yourself or against the feminism.
What feminists ara trying to achieve in the long term? She has no doubt responding
…patriarchy has dominated this world since time immemorial, of course, we need a very long time to create a more equal community, not just in one decade, two decades, or even a century. It needs a daring and tireless effort from people who are concerned with that.
As far as Indonesia is concerned, she thinks feminism goes too slowly, because
Many men still are not ready to accept the fact that women are created equally with them, and they are supposed to work hand in hand to create that happiness for the two parties.
She’s also disappointed that Indonesian women themselves contribute in one way or another to that assumption in which she says
Even, many women still think that they are created to be inferior, that men were created to be leader while women follower; men the decision maker while women do the decision made; men the strong while women the weak; that men protector while women protected, etc.
Many interesting stuff she wrote in her blog, not only she’s so candid in telling stories and opinions but also is very frank from an Indonesian women standard. Agree or disagree aside, we have to acknowledge her honesty in expressing what she like to talk and her bravity in showing her true identity which, in my opinion, adds to her credibility.
Indonesia Political-Economy Blog
Indonesia blogs are growing. And grow fast. One thing that doesn’t grow, or grows so slowly is ’serious’ content, especially when we talk about English-speaking Indonesian blogger. When I talk about serious topic, it means politics and economy. Two most important components as far as a country or a nation goes, apart from culture.
There are of course many Indonesia blogs which discuss those two serious topics all of which unfortunately in Bahasa Indonesia a language that can be understood only by limited audience in a few neighboring countries like Malaysia, Brunei, southern part of Thailand and small part of Malay-Singaporean.There are at least two reasons behind the reluctant tendency on the part of our economist and political scientist to blog in their expertise and in English. First, the lack of appreciation or support from their Indonesian (blogger) counterparts. Second, the Indonesian bloggers’ reluctance to visit and/or make a comment to their posting.
Or, should I say we, Indonesians, are not so interested to read a serious yet very important topics like economics and politics and tend to read blog just for fun or for a kind of faithfulness within a particular community? Or should the economist and political scientist blogger be blamed for not making their content easily digested and understood by the common people? Should they learn the art from Stephen Hawking’s bestseller A Brief History of Time to make their posting easily and enjoyably read? However slow the growth of such quality blogs, we should be grateful to those who want to blog in such aforementioned topics such as Martin Manurung. We need many more bloggers like him who has concern on Indonesia’s development in socio-cultural as well as in political-economy to blog in English and blog actively. Lack of interest on the part of readerships, if any, should never bother him or anyone else with similar topics. Intellectual duty is to educate people’s mindset and set the trend. And let history appreciate what we are doing and trying to achieve.
In the meantime, common bloggers are better off trying to be more ’serious’ by reading those kind of blogs that will benefit our horizon of thinking which is not necessarily of our liking. Coming in flock to yellow-page blogs are humane. But, spending most of our precious online time for reading those junky blogs are certainly not a smart and progressive move to say the least.
The Wanderer of a True Life and Happiness
Human is the only God creatures who keeps wondering and, therefore, seeking after the true meaning of life. It happens because of unsatisfying nature of human in looking at the existing life and condition he/she is currently in or has been through. Because human is equipped with “soul,” as opposed to animal, that make them always tend to evolve and ever needs an additional kind of comfortability or happiness if you will.
Strangely, human never feels satisfied and happy with what they’ve already had; rather they always think that they will reach happiness if they reach some kind of achievements that yet to be achieved and being attained by others. From that anxiety, human develops, grows and progress for the better or the worse.There are two ways for a serious seeker of the truth to satisfy their thirst of meaningful life: (1) Turning into philosophical books; and (2) learning from the mozaic of the world by travelling around the globe for those who can afford to do it.
Eva Muchtar seems to choose both alternatives. As she put it:
I share my impressions on my journeys. A physical journey to exotic places or my neighborhood. A mind travel through reading books and breathing the environment. A chat with friends or strangers. A search within self. Journeys that have helped me make more sense of life, if at all possible. And certainly journeys that make me feel blessed with the life and love that surround me. My own personal pilgrimage. For life.
Her journey to Spain seems to inspire her much spiritually,
I am a lot more in peace with myself. I have learned to accept myself more. I have traced-back my life. I have learned to accept, to forgive and to learn what I need to learn from my personality and my life.
As a Muslim, she thinks that Islam is not only a plethora of religious rituals. True, rituals/prayers are important, but
…there is more to Islam than just prayers, fasting and whispering the name of Lord with our lips. Religion is just a guideline along with some examples to reach a higher purpose. We need to know the story behind it, need to read between the lines and feel it with our hearts. We need to go beyond believing, to even go beyond knowing, and to actually experience it.
Eva Muchtar, a Public Relation officer in Jakarta based company, seems to be in love with Al
Ghazali, the most celebrated Islamic figure of sufism. A school of thought within Islam that emphasizes more on esoteric (haqiqat) or inner-self way of life.
And she is not alone. Many Indonesian middle class professionals getting bored or distressful with so much ever mounting pressures at works turn into sufism or spiritualism to attain peace and happiness humanity is and has been longing for.
As mentioned above, as far as I am concerned, eternal happiness and peace will never be attained, temporary happiness is, because it’s against the human nature. At the same time, that’s the beauty of mankind: always desperately wants more to evolve, develop and progress. That’s humane and it’s good. But there’s a time where we gotta know our own limit crossing of which will result in a disaster for our own soul.
And at the cross-road between ambition and desperation; between never-give-up in achieving our earthly life and limitation of thinking mentality, lies spirituality to make us still stand firm on our own legs. To maintain equilibrium between eartly dynamic life driven by our brain and heavenly peace of mind which comes from our hearts and spread calmly within our nerves system. It calls peace. Temporary peace and happiness.