Monday, February 23, 2015


Apa yang menarik dari sebuah pintu? I'm not that smart to know the answer, however I found that every door tells a story of what's behind it and where it is! So here we are, doors that we encountered... (the photos also told a story that the eyes behind the lens are belong to a shopaholic :)

Arte Murano

(Gran) Roques

Posada Natura Vida

Puerta Alcala

The Hague


Casco Viejo




Le Marais


St Rosa de Lima

Grande Mosquée 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

No soul deserves to die because of our ignorance

Not in France, nor in Palestine.
Not in Ferguson, nor in Bangui.

Time to educate ourselves and our community.
Learn our faith thoroughly and properly.
Practice the teaching correctly, be a human who leaves a good legacy in the world.

Lately, Twitter has drawn my attention to Dan Cohen and his story.
One of few men who still have a heart and bravery to show us the injustice that is happening on one side of the world, while the other part is promoting freedom of speech and equality.

Wish him to be guided and protected by the God.
Follow him on Twitter @dancohen3000

Monday, January 5, 2015

Banyak Baca Banyak Menulis

Sempat bingung kenapa anak-anak "dipaksa" baca di sekolahnya. Kadang sampai dibuatkan log book dan ditetapkan waktu minimal untuk membaca setiap hari. Waktu lihat jadwal mereka pun, sempat terpana karena setiap hari paling tidak mereka habiskan 3 jam pelajaran untuk literacy. 

Belakangan dan pelan-pelan mengertilah saya tentang beberapa hal. Yang pertama, kemampuan menulis itu penting dalam kehidupan nyata. Ibu saya selalu menekankan hal tsb, dan sebisa mungkin saya terapkan. Tetapi baru belakangan saya sadar kenapa itu penting. Salah satunya adalah fakta bahwa buku-buku mengenai ajaran agama yang saya anut dan sejarahnya sangat terbatas tersedia. Yang banyak menulis buku semacam itu adalah ilmuwan2 Iran yang memang terkenal pintar. Buku-buku tsb bagus untuk dibaca, tetapi sebaiknya diimbangi dengan buku-buku yang ditulis dari sudut pandang yang lain. Sementara itu buku yang bisa menunjukkan ajaran Islam sejati, yang penuh kedamaian, tanpa disalahartikan dengan budaya Arab, atau budaya lain yang cenderung mengambil keuntungan dari ajaran tsb tanpa menelaah lebih dalam konteks dan prasyaratnya belum banyak saya temukan. 

Buku A Thousand of Splendid Suns dari Khaled Hosseini yang sempat menjadi NYT best seller, misalnya, hanya menggambarkan satu faset dari ribuan faset umat Islam di dunia. Tapi karena populer, maka gambaran Islam yang seperti disajikan dalam buku itulah yang akan mengendap di benak pembacanya. Adakah penulis lainnya yang bisa menunjukkan bahwa ajaran Islam bukan hanya mengenai poligami, keterbatasan pendidikan untuk wanita, dsb? Karenanya penting bagi kita semua untuk bisa menulis, menyampaikan pendapat dan keberanan serta fakta yang mungkin banyak orang perlu tahu.

Selain itu di dunia nyata, di dunia kerja, menulis adalah bagian sehari-hari dalam kehidupan. Laporan, email, resume, dll, semuanya dianggap formal bila disajikan dalam bentuk tertulis dan dikerjakan setiap hari.

Ternyata bisa menulis tidak sama dengan pandai menulis setelah kita banyak membaca. Karenanya literacy di sekolah macam anak2 saya selalu berarti membaca dan menulis. Kenapa? Ya karena dengan banyak membaca kita jadi punya banyak kosa kata, mengerti grammar dengan baik, memahami gaya penulisan, dll. Malahan anak2 saya dibiasakan membaca dengan lebih dalam, mencari arti di balik kata-kata penulis, membayangkan situasi dan kondisi si tokoh, dan sebagainya. Saya sendiri sadar kalau saya perlu banyak membaca sebelum bisa menulis dengan baik waktu memulai mencoba menulis esay dalam bahasa Inggris. Nah kalau buku dalam bahasa Inggris yang dibaca hanya sedikit, kosa kata dan idiom yang dipakai sangat terbatas dan cenderung datar, kan. Itu sebabnya sampai sekarang esay tsb belum juga selesai. 

Anyway, ya saya sedang berusaha memaksa diri untuk membaca lebih banyak. Adalah benar kata Allah SWT dalam surat Al Alaq yang disampaikanNya sebagai ayat yang pertama untuk Rasulullah, yang sekaligus menunjukkan pentingnya iqra bagi manusia.

Al Alaq: QS 96: 1-8
Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists),
Has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood).
Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous,
Who has taught (the writing) by the pen [the first person to write was Prophet Idrees (Enoch)],
Has taught man that which he knew not.
Nay! Verily, man does transgress all bounds (in disbelief and evil deed, etc.).
Because he considers himself self-sufficient.
Surely! Unto your Lord is the return.

Baca, bacalah ilmu yang Allah SWT telah berikan di dunia ini. Bacalah semua yang tersurat dan tersirat di alam. Baca dan jadilah manusia yang berakal.
Yang terpenting baca dan pelajari kitabmu (self reminder)

Foto: Arif dengan segala posisi membacanya. 

Ndhodhok di kereta

nunggu pesanan


gaya bapak-bapak

hampir tidur

posisi gaya

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

One Thing I Learned from History

That it's ok to be different.
In fact, we are all different and created differently. That's natural.

If we understand that we are different and understand the difference, we can just try to respect one another. Learning how to live together without compromising our values and beliefs, in a safe and nurturing community. It's called unity in diversity. Coexisting while making sure that everyone should be able to maintain their own identity.

Understand that we are different and understand the difference.
How hard it can be?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Apparently, We Don't Need Much

Usually on the weekends we have water rationing in our neighbourhood. Means we won't have water during the day on Saturday and Sunday.

So far I feel lucky that at least we have water for the rest of the week. Many people on the other side of the city will not have water for two weeks, or even more, without knowing when it will be available. Moreover the apartment itself has its own water tank, huge one, that can supply the twelve families who live here for the weekend. As long as we use it cautiously *I think there's another word for this, but I can't remember it for now.

Anyway, since 12 am last night, officially it's Saturday 00.00, we don't have water at all. Nothing, none! I suppose somehow the pump stopped working since yesterday, so the tank was not filled as usual. Yesterday night we had Eid dinner for several friends from the office, so yes I had a big pile of dishes and utensils that could have done something bad for my temper this morning. Luckily we have finished clean it up right on time, which is 00.30 am, so I could wake up feeling relieved.

With no water, the four of us have all the reason for being chillax the whole morning. After time passed 12 pm, it just didn't feel right anymore. So the boys went to school to swim and take a shower, and I stay home trying to take care some dishes from the breakfast and figure out how to take a bath myself.

The dishes were done, with half bucket of water (we do have couple of big bucket of water and some refill bottles, so it works for now). Take a bath? That can be a problem, since I loooove taking shower. After working around it for a while, I found out that I just need 5 scoops of water to clean up myself. Plus 3 scoops of water to do the ablution (wudhu'). That's all!

Thinking about that, I was reminded on how little actually we need. I've done it before, I mean 5 scoops of water para bañar, when we were in Semarang and needed to go to the water company (PT PAM) every once in a while after school to collect water and bring it home. But doing it again after all this time and after got through many thing in life (I mean: old...) is just refreshing (?, again not sure if this is the right word). I just realized that after all, we only need a little of everything. We don't necessary need many things that we collect or buy or have right now.

Unintentionally we have been trying to minimize things. The fact that we have to move every now and then make me realize that the less the better. You don't want to spent the last months of your stay in a country sorting things out, which ones should be sold, which one should be donated, etc etc.  Last time I moved to this place, I remember that we only needed some clothes, documents and a rice cooker. And around six months we lived with that (plus some plates and utensils that I bought later on).

I also bought the bed sheet that we use for the master bed four years ago. Since then we just wash it whenever it needs to be cleaned and right away we use it again. One bed sheet for the whole four years! And that's apparently enough ... When we are travelling we also try to minimize our luggage and bring only a carry-on for each of us. Less fuss, less stress and it works well! I even wrote a piece about travelling light on

How little we actually need. So why waste on things, materialistic things?
This is me asking myself.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Learn from South Korea

I spent time to have coffee with a friend from Seoul, South Korea this morning.
Over cookies and coffee cake, we talked about many things. From our children, our summer to our professions (that sometimes ago we had).

What I love from our conversation was that I learned so much from her.
Once she told me a story of Japanese occupation that changed Korea a lot. Something that I 've never heard before. On another time she told me a story about how people of South Korea has worked so hard to be able to be like they are today. The lesson learned from every story never fails to impress me.

Today when we talked about our job before our decision to be a full-time mum, I realized on how people of South Korea understand the importance of education to develop their country. Basically, they realized that education is the only way to make South Korea categorized as first world country.

A teacher in South Korea has a very good salary that they can live with dignity. (OOT, even in France a teacher should come from middle to upper class society, so they are also well-respected). It's not what knowledge or skill of the teacher anymore that they concern about. It's the fact that a teacher, the most important person in educating our children in order to advance the nation, should be treated well and respected by the community and the government, so the children can learn from a very well-respected and well-educated people.

Meanwhile, the government and/or an education council themselves determine the ideal condition that the nation wants to achieve (big mission/vision?), set the goals and objectives, what competences that need to be taught in order to achieve the goals and objectives, design a curriculum all the way to an action plan to be executed by the teachers. But again, because the frontliners here will be the teachers, it's crucial to attract the best, brightest and passionate people to become teachers, and make sure that if they choose that profession they can live with dignity too.

In South Korea, teachers face a strict law on how they should treat students. On the other hand, they are also working under a good law that make them can have peace of mind about what they are doing as government almost like "guarantee" that they will have their job. Of course unless they do something terribly horribly bad. Also, to attract more bright people to become a teacher, they fully support those who decides to study to be a teacher, financially.

All in all, what the country does to make sure that they have enough teachers for the whole nation and that teachers can live properly so they can focus on their job, shows that they consider education is very very important.

Shall we do the same?