Monday, January 23, 2012

Imlek 2012: I turned 1/8 Chinese!

Pak Hartono, My Javanized Chinese (?) - Maros Grandfather

I am a big fan of diversity. I’m also a hater of racism. I proud of my heritage, of my dark complexion, of my hair and eye colors, and of my genetics. I always believe that I am 100% native to the Jewels of Equator: my father is pure Mandarese (however, according to his uncle’s wife lontaraq our extended family was actually coming from Luwu. One of his great grandmothers was called We Datu ri Larompong, Sovereign of Larompong) and my mother is half Java and half Bugis (Makassar?).  Not like others who are so proud of their mixed blood with foreign elements (such as Chinese, Arabian, Pakistani, India, or Dutch), I embraces my nativity and I’m totally fine with that.

I always refer myself to either Javanese or Sulawesi culture on determining my own identity. But this morning, I might add some new “ingredient” on the bowl of my family’s DNA.

I started this morning and realized that today is the Chinese New Year. Of course, as a tolerant sympathizer in Bhinneka Tungga Ika Archipelago, I updated my facebook’s status saying happy new year for my fellow Chinese friends. Not so long after I posted it, one of my cousin (from mother’s side) who live in Makassar replied and said that our family actually has a Chinese heritage from Pak Hartono (my mom’s dad). It was followed by posts from Nanda & Rani (my biological sisters), they protested that because we never heard such story from our mother. My cousin resisted, she said that the story is true, being confirmed by Opa Yono (his late grandfather, which is my mom’s uncle) that every Imlek morning Opa Yono always tell her the same story about Pak Hartono’s past.

Here’s the preview of my “Chinese-heritage” family post:
(click on the pic for bigger preview)

I’m so speechless! Seriously, me, with this dark-skin has Chinese ancestry? Well, I know its only 1/8 but somehow it does explain why my bude and uncles are all white (but my mom and his youngest brother). One question: why my mom’s family cover this story? Is it because during Soeharto’s reign people with Chinese blood were unfairly discriminated? I don’t know. She doesn’t want to talk about it either when I phoned her. She laughed when I tried to confirm this story, then answered: “halah... yo wis tho.”

I don’t hate Chinese people, but receiving this fact on Imlek is just... shocking, you know. Is that why my cousin in Kediri being called as ‘Singkek’ by his bully-friends? And is that why many my other cousins have slanted eyes and light complexion when they were little? Some Chinese teenagers in Makassar didn’t catch my symphaty at all because they acted like they owned the city, dress better, rich, more cultured, and blah blah blah. I’m not generalizing them, but somehow I found irony on their petition to be treated equally; they still makes special school and special housing which is separated from the local community. At least I could be proud that my great great grandfather was married to a native woman named Daeng Keboq (and possibly the member of Gowa’s court due to her “Padaengan” title) and mingled with the society in Maros, South Sulawesi.

The Chinese traders started to come to Makassar when the city arouse. Its becoming important port amidst Indonesian archipelago post Malay colonization by the Portuguese. Began in 17th until 19th Century, many Chinese immigrants live in surrounding area, including Maros. Probably my Chinese ancestors were one of these traders that settled down in the Island. Another theory, the Chinese already made relationship with Bugis people hundred of years ago, if we interpret Princess We Cudai of Ale Cina as real royal from mainland China, not Cina in Pammana.

Regardless where am I truly come from or what my heritage is, I respect my forefathers that bravely sailed into unknown land and made a step to build intercultural relations. Thank God I’m here, the fruit of their successful journey, I conclude.

Friday, January 20, 2012

NOT BY CHOICE --> a story of prostitute (with her three children)

Okay, maybe it’s too late for me to talk about this 2009’s documentary, but there is no thing such “too late to share”. Agreed?

Nia Dinata, the director of “Arisan!” produced a beautiful yet so inspiring documentary about Indonesian Female. In collaboration with Kalyana, NGO which support women’s rights in this country, they composes four short stories telling about the reality that women must face nowadays. The stories are diversed; from lesbians couple of migrant labours in Hong Kong to Pap Smears’ check crisis among sexually active females in big cities. One which caught my attention the most is about a mother of three that works as stone-cracker in the morning and prostitute at night.

On East Javanese small village, live a woman with three cute little children. She got divorced, and she must work hard in order to sustaining the life of her kids. Her ex-husband only sent her Rp 4.000,00 per week, in which couldn’t even get her daughter a popsicle (if you bought it in capitalistic common mall and convenient store). She work all day to crack ‘batu kali’, but due to the share-benefits procedure with her co-workers, she only get Rp 340.000,00 per month (for three children?! Geez... thats sad!). In addition to fulfill the daily needs, she work again at night, as a prostitue in Chinese Cemetary well known as Bolo. Wait, what?!
Yeah, she has no choice. A lot of low-class Indonesian people in small villages are unequipped with talent or creativity. Their education is below standard, can’t get them to work on Bank as clerk. She married a wrong person, fights every night, and then being cheated. Living with parents after marriage in Javanese tradition is counted as shameful thing amidst society. But living alone with three kids to raised in a small shrack is even harder. She said that end up as prostitute every night is beyond her control. Its not because she want it, not because she’s lustful or disgracefully needs man’s pelvic thrust. No, its different case. She would do anything to feed her children, and since ‘clean-job’ (like cracking stones) can’t make enough money for her, she must do something that every women which has no modest education but has unstirring guts will do: throwing the wee-wee. The saddest part is when she told us that her tariff is Rp 10.000,00 per sexual partner. Every night, she gets Rp 40.000,00 from four customers (she's getting old, can't handle to much people), still she has to pay for 'ojek' which is Rp 12.000,00. Sweet Lord...   

No, I wasnt trying to make fun of her or her condition. Swear to God, I was crying while watching the documentary. Its just, I told this story in the most ironic way. A mother of three, end up in prostitution to fulfill her children needs due to poverty is a serious topic. It opens my mind, it shows a different perspective toward seeing whores and hookers. They, who’ve been judged with damnation and certified as Hell-Club members have stories, just like us. It must be a big deal in their life to end up throwing wee-wee for dirty and sweaty bald-headed nasty men. Some of them maybe longing to be a diplomat, restaurant manager, or happy wife with a cute Brad Pitt-ish smiled husband. Should we blame God for this situation? For His plan toward these people? No. Blaming God is the lamest way to excuse life. I would rather blaming our f*cking governments rather than the capital H-I-M.

These rats (read: corrupt people in national government and stinky capitalist company) runs this country. They took our money and let low-class people suffered the most. Where the heck is Pasal 34 Undang-Undang Dasar 1945 gone? Are they ammended the word “fakir miskin” and “anak-anak terlantar” to “keluarga anggota pemerintahan” and “swasta pemilik modal” already? Already?! If the government is honest and we are not fighting corruption nowadays, we’ll enjoy at least a fitting standard of living condition. United States is ranked 1 level higher than us on total of population. Despite the fact that they’re facing financial and morality crisis right now, the government could still manage to give people free access to health, education, and even financial supports. This country, that has uncountable richness from its natural resources and amazing amount of population is dying. The greediness of those rats lead us to poverty which covered with G20 meetings and Piramida Garut.

Im so pissed and sad. To whom shall we protest for that woman and her three children condition? There are alot of inhumanic stories in this country. Above the whole, all that our president can do is whining and writing lyrics. The last one, for those FPI who has such a magnificent desire to beat non-Muslims, you guys better becoming polygamist and married those unfortunate widows. Thats better for them, rather than end up in hopelessness as prostitutes. Thats also better for you guys, our prophet has set it as one of his greatest example. A way to resolve social problem, rather than carrying sticks to spread horror to the Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, Ahmadiyas, Shiites and your other fellow Muslims.   

January 20, 2012

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Jebakan Sengkuni

Duryudana : Paman, ini ada satu lagi, yaitu Kikis Tunggarana
Sengkuni : hmmm.. itu begini anak Prabu. Anak prabu tahu kikis itu jadi rebutan Gatotkaca dan Boma? Ini kesempatan untuk kita adu
Duryudana : caranya bagaimana Paman?
Sengkuni :kita buat isu pencaplokan wilayah, mereka itu terkenal cinta tanah air. kedua, mereka itu mewakili trah Pandawa dan Dwarawati, kalau mereka sudah berperang, artinya lawan kita sudah hancur. ketiga, mereka itu satu agama, tapi beda aliran, ini potensi konflik yang mudah disulut.
Durmagati : Oooo Paman Cengkuni itu kalo yang berbeda, perbedaan, ulayat, khilafiyah, itu kok paham cekali.
Sengkuni : Loh .. itu kan bekal gelar Doktorku, aku ini belajar pluralisme. Ok.. kembali ke masalah, kalau kikis Tunggarana yang kaya minyak itu sudah tidak bertuan, nah baru kita memanfaatkan mendirikan tambang, kita klaim bahwa kita yang menyelamatkan bumi Tunggarana.
Duryudana : Enggeh Paman, saya menurut kata Paman Sengkuni saja.

(cuplikan status dari akun fesbuk Wayang Nusantara (Indonesian Shadow Puppet)

What do you guys think? Sampai kapan kita yang katanya berasal dari trah yang sama ini dipecah-pecah oleh perbedaan? Bukankah Tuhan telah menentukan kita diciptakan bersuku-suku dan berbangsa-bangsa untuk saling mengenal (Al-Hujuraat: 13)? Jika kita menganggap perbedaan sebagai musibah, bukannya anugerah, berarti kita rela untuk dibodoh-bodohi tokoh hina seperti Sengkuni. Atau bahkan, kita memang secara naluriah memiliki mind-set seperti Sengkuni? 

Masihkah engkau ber-Bhinneka Tunggal Ika?

Friday, January 6, 2012

about lontaraproject...

Dear readers,
If you happened to stop at or follow @lontaraproject, you’ll notice that this movement is from youth and for youth. The main focus of what these four youngsters doing is described beautifully on About Us:

“Promoting La Galigo, as the largest written oral tradition in the world, to youth outside of Sulawesi Island. Also to increase information and understanding of people in Indonesia toward heritage, culture and local wisdom in South Sulawesi.”

So... As I’ve promised before... Kali ini saya akan cerita sedikit tentang “behind the scene”-nya Lontara Project J

Awalnya, saya mengajak saudari Sri Maharani (Ran) untuk membuat sebuah gerakan yang bertujuan untuk memperkenalkan La Galigo kepada publik Indonesia. Kira-kira kejadiannya di pertengahan tahun 2010, ketika saya baru saja kembali dari Amerika Serikat untuk kedua kalinya. Melalui Whatsapp, kami saling bertukar ide, diskusi, dan saling gontok-gontokan memikirkan konsep proyeknya. Akhirnya kami sepakat untuk mengumpulkan data tentang La Galigo sebanyak-banyaknya, mengajak beberapa orang lainnya sebagai “nahkoda” utama proyek ini, serta berencana untuk menciptakan sebuah web ramah-pemuda sebagai main media kami.

Saya lalu approach kepada dua orang lainnya: Setianegara (Ega) dan Fitria (Fit). Kenapa Ega? Well, pada waktu itu saya yakin si pemalas yang berkuliah di ITB ini punya otak yang encer, punya semangat untuk mengangkat harkat-derajat-martabat nenek moyangnya (dia aktif di UKSS lho), serta bisa diandalkan klo masalah web-weban. Saya akui dia memang orang yang pintar, tapi sifatnya yang nyebelin itu loh... Ampuuun Karaeng... >_<. Lanjut, liburan puasa 2010 kemarin kebetulan Fit sering main ke rumah. Posisinya sebagai junior saya di SMP dan AFS membuat kami sudah lumayan akrab. Saya pun percaya kemampuannya. Dengan latarbelakang subyektif tapi profesional inilah kemudian saya menggaet dia untuk memperkuat team kami.

Singkat cerita, dalam waktu yang relatif cepat (karena memanfaatkan momentum liburan semester + puasa) kami berempat berkumpul di rumah saya di Makassar. Dengan segera kami bagi tugas: Ran menghubungi ibu Nurhayati Rahman (dosen Sastra Daerah Unhas yang terkenal sebagai kaliber di dunia peneliti La Galigo dan telah banyak menerbitkan buku) serta saya dan Ega ke Laboratorium Sastra Unhas untuk mengumpulkan informasi. Ternyata Ran tidak berhasil menyerap banyak data dari sang maestro karena beliau terburu-buru hendak ke Malaysia sebagai dosen tamu (namun kami amat berterima kasih atas pemberiannya berupa dua buah buku gratis tentang La Galigo). Kami pun hampir patah semangat karena informasi di Laboratorium Sastra Unhas tidak sebanyak seperti yang kami harapkan sebelumnya (bisa dibaca di web).

Tapi alhamdulillah, puja dan puji hanya milik Allah... Dengan penuh cucuran darah, komunikasi jarak jauh via YM (kami berempat terpencar di Jogja, Jakarta, dan Bandung) serta kata-kata pedas via grup facebook, kami dapat melahirkan proyek ini. Tanggal 31 Desember 2011 menjadi momentum besar: lahirnya LONTARA (LA GALIGO FOR NUSANTARA) PROJECT! Yaaay!!!

Hari ini tepat satu minggu sejak launching web kami. Pengunjungnya so far sudah menyentuh angka hampir 1.000 visitors. Twitter kami pun sudah punya 187 followers. Kami optimis jumlah ini masih akan terus bertambah. Animo masyarakat Sulawesi Selatan ternyata amat besar. Banyak teman-teman saya di Makassar yang amat supportif terhadap gerakan kami ini. Demikian pula dengan ibu Nurhayati yang memberikan restunya kepada kami lewat email. Rekan-rekan saya di Indonesian Future Leaders, AFS, BPPM Mahkamah pun amat sangat positif. Sebagian bahkan ada yang membantu menyebarluaskan informasi mengenai La Galigo melalui jaringan mereka. Sebagian ada yang sudah tidak sabar ingin terjun ke aktifitas nyata untuk menyelamatkan Memory of The World dari UNESCO ini.

Dibalik segala euforia LONTARA PROJECT tadi, tentunya ada pula tantangan-tantangan besar yang harus kami hadapi. Tantangan pertama ialah sinisme dari kalangan yang merasa memiliki La Galigo atau bahkan merasa sebagai pemilik budaya Sulawesi Selatan. respon yang muncul seperti “berani-beraninya kalian bikin web dengan informasi cuma seuprit kayak begini! Saya yang tahu lebih banyak aja nggak sampai bikin gerakan macam kalian”, atau “La Galigo itu udah populer kok. Saya ikutan ngepopulerin lho, lewat seminar-seminar dan tulisan akademik. Jadi sebenarnya nggak usah pakai gerakan ini juga La Galigo fine-fine aja”.

Yang pertama itu muncul dari golongan tua. Dengan segala kerendahan hati, saya mengakui kadar keilmuan serta pengalaman hidup beliau. Saya tidak meragukan, beliau pasti telah melanglang buana mencari tahu, membaca, serta berdiskusi tentang La Galigo dari pakar-pakar handal. Tapi saya kurang setuju jika kami disalahkan karena tampilan kami yang memang “terlalu sederhana” dalam menyajikan informasi tentang La Galigo. Pasalnya, selain karena kondisi kami di rantau yang serba terbatas dari akses langsung ke data-data mengenai La Galigo (kebanyakan di Sulawesi Selatan, tentunya) jika kami tidak dengan “nekat” meremajakan La Galigo kepada generasi muda non-Sulawesi, lantas siapa dan kapan lagi? Apakah kami harus menunggu tangki terisi penuh sementara generasi tuanya tidak tahu bagaimana cara berhadapan dengan anak muda di zaman revolusioner seperti abad 21 ini? Terus terang saya sedikit kecewa.

Fungsi kami di LONTARA PROJECT ini sebenarnya hanya untuk “mengantarkan” pemuda-pemudi Indonesia, baik yang berasal dari Sulawesi Selatan maupun bukan, untuk mengenal La Galigo. Selanjutnya, jika mereka tertarik, adalah perjalanan yang harus mereka rintis sendiri. Kami tidak akan mengisi web dengan ribuan baris kata mengenai La Galigo, hell no! Jadi jangan mengharapkan web kami ini berisi informasi seperti kamus atau ensiklopedianya La Galigo. Generasi pemuda yang hidup di era globalisasi ini adalah generasi yang minimalis. Tampilan kami adalah kesederhanaan berbalut teknologi yang menampilkan kualitas tinggi dari kearifan lokal bangsa Indonesia. Jika ingin tahu detail-detail epos terpanjang di dunia atau tradisi budaya Sulsel lainnya, silakan akses buku-buku atau berdiskusi dengan maestronya langsung. We are here to show, not to tell...

Yang kedua, datang dari mahasiswa yang menekuni bidang sastra daerah. Well, jika memang sudah ada begitu banyak telaah akademis maupun seminar mengenai La Galigo, kenapa masyarakat masih buta? Apakah dengan mengadakan seminar di sebuah hotel di Makassar lantas khalayak di Pulau Jawa atau Irian bakal sadar akan keberadaan La Galigo sebagai kekayaan nasional. Saya mengamini pendapat Ran yang mengatakan bahwa “La Galigo itu kan bukan punya Unhas atau Sulawesi Selatan saja”. Informasi mengenai epos ini hanya berputar di kalangan akademis yang itu-itu saja. Lantas, kapan bangsa ini sadar kalau kita punya La Galigo? Saya besar di luar Sulawesi Selatan dan saya amat sangat memahami bagaimana butanya pandangan masyarakat terhadap daerah leluhur saya tersebut. Somehow saya merenungi ini semua mungkin salah satu contoh dari efek negatif otonomi daerah...

Kritik-kritik di atas tidak melemahkan kami, tapi justru membuat kami semakin kuat dan maju. Saya sendiri sadar, proyek kami ini tidak main-main. Apa yang kami lakukan ini akan memiliki efek besar terhadap bangsa ini dalam memandang dirinya sendiri dari dalam. PR terbesar kami sebenarnya adalah bagaimana membuat pemuda Sulawesi Selatan yang di-cap anarkis oleh orang Indonesia lainnya untuk tampil dengan La Galigo sebagai trophy kebudayaan adiluhung mereka. Proyek ini juga merupakan somasi kepada seluruh pemuda nusantara yang “international oriented” tapi tidak “local genious oriented”. Mereka baru akan protes dan marah-marah lewat media sosial ketika batik atau karya warisan bangsa lainnya diklaim negara orang. Melalui proyek ini, kami harap agar mata bangsa Indonesia terbuka bahwa di pelosok-pelosok daerahnya ada banyak mutiara kearifan lokal yang menuntut untuk dibudidayakan.

Yup, sekian dulu lah tulisan saya ini. Niatnya mau nulis “the making of LONTARA PROJECT” eh... malah kepanjangan jadi curcol :D

Semoga my dear readers sehat selalu dan punya waktu untuk mengunjungi web serta ikut berpartisipasi dalam program-program kami di masa mendatang.


6 Januari 2012

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Hello 2012 :)

Yesterday was the best way to end 2011 and to welcome 2012 in Yogyakarta.

Three years in a row I've been having New Year's Eve celebration with the AFSers. Will talk about the details as soon as I get the chance to upload some pictures (keywords: Lontara Project Soft Launching, Kasongan Art Festival, and "Flames on Mt. Sinai" a.k.a. Monjali's Fireworks).

Dare to save the longest epic in the world? Show us your youth spirit on preserving ancient tradition in a very modern-creative way! Visit and follow our twitter @lontaraproject. Say it out loud: "I UPS! (Uncover-Preserve-Speak) LA GALIGO".

Assalamu'alaikum, 2012 :)