Rima Fauzi blogger of the week # 82World is beautiful, every normal and spirited being thinks so. The most salient feature of its beauty lies in the heterogeneity of its populace called human. The differences of our physical appearance,colors of our skin, our eyes and hairs. And on top of it all: the differences of our mindset, preference, leaning and way of thinking we attach to or led or want others to believe. Thus emerges various religions brought about by many prophets, school of thoughts introduced by many great philosophers. It’s natural therefore if every single religion and philosophical thoughts for or against any religion have their own followers. It also means that we have choices to choose to lead our life. Afterall, life is about choice and world gives us freedom to choose. Whatever you wanna be, just be it.
For example, Rima Fauzi, an Indonesian blogger who’s been enjoying life in Brussels, Belgium; a “used to be” religious, has her own reason when she made up her mind to be an agnostic and feel comfortable with it. In one of her interesting post he wrote:
I was once upon a time a religious person. I am now a spiritual-romantic-intellectual agnostic.
I am the daughter of a fanatic intellect who taught me to be critical. Because of the way my father raised me, I grew up into a critical young woman, one who eventually broke his heart. He paid a dear price for letting me be my own person and become extremely critical (compared to other people from my country and generation).
When I was 25, I was at a turning point in my life where I could no longer believe in the religion I was born into and decided to convert to another religion that was closer to the values I believe in. When my father found out, he disowned me. This was 7 years ago and I am still an outcast in my own family.
My first religion was a very strict one that rendered me a fanatic. When I converted to my second (and somewhat present) religion, I could not shake off the need to be a fanatic. I was still the same fundamentalist, just with a different outfit and set of beliefs.
In the past 4 years, I have experienced so many new and interesting things that have turned me into an even more critical person than I ever was. However, critical as I maybe, these turns of events have also made me much less religious and fanatical. I have found that being a spiritual agnostic agrees with me much more than whatever it is I was once before ever did. I was finally happy and doing good things in life.
Of course I still believe in God/Higher Power/Deity but I have relinquished all organized religions because I personally think that they just cause complete chaos, segregation, hatred towards other groups, suspicious mindset and limit my thinking ability and willingness (not to mention how both my religions used to force me into believing certain things without the possibility or permission to break the mold, and to think and ask questions out of the box).
Even though I know that my kind are most likely condemned by most people from my own country (daddy included), I now choose to live life with love (to the best of my ability) and I try to be as kind possible to anyone without the guidelines of a specific religion. I strongly believe that as humans, we were all born with a moral compass, we are all familiar with the primordial morality – do not do to others what you don’t want done upon you.
Yes, I am a spiritual-romantic-intellectual agnostic. Does this make me a child of a lesser God? Does this make me a bad person? I dont think so. But one thing I know for sure, I am no longer scared of the abstract, of death and of the unexplained. Instead I am now blessed with the ability to feel God’s love for me. Two words to describe it: absolutely awesome!
Interesting to note that turns of event have made her heart and mindset upside down. On why people tend to be agnostic or religious I wrote similar topic somewhere that
The more independent a person, the less dependent one becomes towards God and religion …
The basic character of human is that they will make priorities based on their immediate needs. People in the West (Western Europe particularly) who are relatively more independent than that in the East, financially as well as emotionally, find religion as a non-immediate priorities. And hence atheism or agnosticism finds a fertile breed out there…
There are moments, however, where money and anything it can buy, cannot resolve problems. And there are times when logic reaches its limit. Here human will need something else. Something beyond human capability to do and to think. It’s at this point of time when you have only two choices: turn to religion, or spiritualism…
Life is packed with turns of events, including the turns of hearts. So far as seeking for solace goes, those who are agnostic today could be religious tomorrow and vice versa, a religious person now could be an agnostic or even an atheist later. That’s another beauty of human life: everychanging, ever-evolving, ever growing, for the better or the worse.
As far as Rima Fauzi’s blog is concerned, however, one thing is clear: she always makes her points crystal clear even when the points she makes very unpopular like the post I quoted above. I commend her gut to speak out. Not many Indonesian, especially the ladies, are able to do so. And for that alone she deserves our honest appreciation. Her willingness to show her identity–not being anonymous blogger–deserves her even more appreciation from all of us.
I hardly review a blog owned by a PNS (Pegawai Negeri Sipil) – an Indonesian civil servant. Most of the times I wrote very disgenerous articles–both in my English or in Bahasa Indonesia blogs– to them, the bureaucrats as a people or as an institution. See for example this post:
… corruption practices and corrupt mindset are actually born the time you apply to be a PNS. When your monthly salary are just around $100/month, how will you pay the debt back with your hand still clean? Just a case in point, see special report from the Jakarta Post here [more …]
I wrote a lot more critical writings in Bahasa Indonesia blogs, here some of them: Korupsi KBRI dan alasan gaji kecil PNS, Semua Pejabat Korup Sampai Terbukti Sebaliknya, Korupsi itu Halal, Bung! , SBY, TRANSPARANSI dan KKN-isme, Mental Kuli. See the list here.
Taking all those into account, one may wonder why I choose Muhyiddin, A Bureaucrat and Planner at National Development Planning Agency/ Badan Perencanaan Pembangunan Nasional (BAPPENAS)
, as Blogger Indonesia of the Week.
If you’re a regular visitor of his blog both in English and Bahasa Indonesia you’d know why. Udin is among the “rare breed” outthere who are willing to be self-critical against his own corp, the KORPRI (Indonesia’s civil servant corp). See for example here and especially here in which he wrote:
In Indonesia, a problem of corruption is very gravely. I am sorry that fighting against corruption is not the number one priority in either Mid Term National Development Planning (Rencana Pembangunan Nasional Jangka Menengah) 2004-2009 or Government Work Plan (Rencana Kerja Pemerintah) 2007 and 2008.
When I was studying economics I wrote a thesis showing that fighting corruption is very benefecial for developing countries such as Indonesia because there is a big portion of government expenditure in funding development.
Corruption is surely the most hazardous stumbling block of a country and nation’s development. And the biggest problem of all says Paolo Mauro of IMF
once a corrupt system is in place, and a majority of people operate within that system, individuals have no incentive to try to change it or to refrain from taking part in it, even if everybody would be better off if corruption were to be eliminated.
But I’m not as pessimistic as Paolo Mauro. I believe corrupt practices can still be cured here in Indonesia sooner or later as long as (1) there is a strong willingness among the top level of policy makers and legislatures to change the course by making more uncompromised punshment & higher rewards and no-more-block-hole regulation and (2) PNS tries to change their extravagant lifestyle into a more humble one. Lavish lifestyle is exactly what change a saint into a greedy robber.
I have a hope to someone like Muhyiddin or Udin along with other like-minded bureaucrats to change that course.
I wrote somewhere about English teaching in Indonesia thus:
Despite English language teaching starts from the junior high school (Class VII) in Indonesia educational system, and is supposed to be the second language after Bahasa Indonesia, instead of Dutch, the students are hardly conversant to this language unless they join a special Englsih course or having experience to study or stay abroad. The methodology of teaching and the quality of English teachers are probably two main reasons if we want to fingerpoint the major culprit.
After joining an three-month-long English course my nephew, who were just a fresher in a state university in Surabaya, once asked me how to improve his English. My suggestions were these: (a) make a blog; (b) write frequently and in English; (c) read English blogs & books of your interests quite often, particularly those which are written by native speakers.
The advice given are specifically for him as I know he has had enough grammatical skill in his pocket. What he needs just to practice and add plethora of English glossaries and their usages.
For Indonesian young students in general though there’s one more advice had they asked me: learning English grammar is no less important.
With the advantage of internet technology, and blogging, we now can achieve all aforementioned just by clicking websites or blogs which would give you ‘services’ you are looking for and for free. The blog of Hendro Darsono is one of blogs with educational purposes in mind. Here you can develop your English grammar skill. The explanation is even more understandable for English-newbie as it’s written in Bahasa Indonesia.
If you want to blog in English, or you already have, and you feel the grammar still your weakness point, try visiting Hendro Darsono’s blog frequently. Don’t forget the other advices mentioned above as well.
When I was looking for a blog post on Hari Raya Idul Fitri 2008/1429, I found an interesting article on mudik tradition written by Agni Amorita aka Mbak Rita thus:
If I were a linguist, I will put mudik (going home) as the newest entry for the encarta dictionary. I mean, mudik is going to be a hot new international term.. Because the mudik phenomenon here is so powerful, and big and heartbreaking… this term, mudik, will be suitably needed to explain as a nationally special exodus from big cities once a year, no matter how hard the obstacle is.
The above quote on one article among many pieces written in her blog should be enough to symbolise her “eagle-eyed” observation on a particular phenomenon and her ability to describe it in a passionate way.
Her passion, mind you, is not only on telling story and making a sort of analysis on something. She has the passion on photography as well. Her regular trips to many parts of the country should motivate her passion on photography even further.
Agni Amorita likes to call herself as Mbak Rita. Mbak in Javanese stands for Sister as Mbak Rita explains:
Mbak is a javanese word for “Sis”. It is a common thing in Indonesia to address a woman with it before her firstname/nickname to show a more friendly gesture.
Aside from blogging activities, she is actually a professional script-writer and a seasoned reporter.
Blogging passionately like what Mbak Rita seems to enjoy doing is what will make blogging activities survive the biggest obstacle: boredomity and lack of passion.