well that was the initial plan, but apparently this become a scattered space of my inconsistent ramble and incoherent mumble. I write my heart out, I throw my anger and frustation, I jotted my hopes and dreams, I record my random thoughts here

December 20, 2011

a title too heavy to wear

Yesterday on the train to uni I asked my supervisor: "If everything goes according to plan, what sorts of timeline am I looking at? When do I actually start?"
He answer: "You are a PhD candidate now. What you are doing now already part of the process"

a PhD candidate
I let the thought sinks in a little bit

few years ago I wouldnt dreamed of this, I could easily recall the struggle just to finish my bachelor degree. I could easily recall the doubt if I would ever make it. I could easily recall the mockery comes my way when I tell people about my dreams.
Who cares? I am here now. Ticking things I want to achieve, one by one.

There was this quote I read the other day
"Imagine your childhood self, would she be ashamed of you today or would she be proud?"
I think she would be proud
I dont regret the decision I made in my life so far,
all the decision that has take me to all sorts of places, literally, figuratively. In real dimension or imaginary world, all the places within the world map or within my subconscious realm. maybe my childhood self wouldnt be so proud of my-few-years-ago-self, but I think my childhood self would understand that I need to experience that darkness and find my way out of that gloomy vortex of.. of.. of.. sigh.. enough

my thoughts drifted.. away..

This title, this PhD candidate at times appear a little heavy to wear.
with such titles there is a degree of expectations, there is a degree of wisdom and knowledge one is expected to deliver. It is strange to wear such thing, yet unable to rise to the expectation.

I learn, that in social interaction it is so often not the title of the person that define the intelligence, or the wisdom. Its the words that choose to interact with you, its the behavior they portrayed towards you, and people.

incoherent rumble derived from incomprehensible thoughts..

I come from a place where titles are still idolized, over idealized. The idea of wearing certain title to boost social status is still in the mind of most people. If someone is educated (reflected by the title they are wearing) therefore that person would have higher social status. This framework at times could appear logical (surely higher education and university title reflect someone capability to grasp certain information, process it and re-present it in coherent manner as well as producing original idea that could move society, civilization, forward. NO?) but in other times serve as utter nonsense to represent someone's intellectual capability (oh, if someone doesnt have a degree it means s/he is less capable in leading or performing less good in social and professional construct compared with someone with a degree <-- rubbish)

When I see a wedding invitation which doesnt only bear the names of the brides and groom, but also their titles, I bear this level of repugnance towards society. Was it craving for approval from two thousand guest you hardly care about or was it the social pressure to show off that you have been able to obtain a fuckin degree?

Not that I think a education title is not something one should not be proud of. I think one still should be proud of it, its an achievement on its own right. Earning a degree is not all so easy, one is required to perform to a certain level until one can wear an education title.
but its not everything.

Education is a lifelong journey. It doesnt stop at BSc, BA, Msc, MA or PhD.
It doesnt stop at the letters Dr, Assoc. Prof, or Prof. in front of your names.
Wisdom is not the monopoly of those who wear those titles.
Intelligence is not by default owned by people wearing those titles.
it is not.

winter walk

Typical European building; old and narrow - Leiden

Typical dutch winter landscape - Leiden

The Kanaal and bridges in Lombok, the neighborhood where I currently live - Utrecht

November 30, 2011

take me home

take me home
to his bedside
take me home
to his heart
take me home,
my darling
for I am tired of wondering
please you take me home
and we shall unfold history

take me home baby
as your finger traces those fine hairs on my face,
we shall unweave the rainbow

take me home sweetheart,
bring me back to you

October 19, 2011


Remember me when i am gone away

Gone away to a memory land

When you can no more hold me by the hand

Nor I half turn to get yet turning stay

Remember me when no more day by day

You tell me of our future that you planned

Only remember me, please try to understand

It will be late then to counsel then or pray

Yet if you should forget me for a while

And after the words remember do not grieve

For if the darkness and so my love leave

A vestige of the thought that i once had

Better by far you forget me and smile

Than that you should REMEMBER and be sad

re-entry taken from circa high school
it was on the wall of the english class

October 12, 2011

I dont like feeling jealous. Almost as much as I dont like feeling trapped. I avoid feeling jealous as much as I can, sometimes avoiding relationship altogether.

I find myself feeling jealous today.

I dont like this. really.

I dont like not-knowing whats going on. I dont like guessing whats happening. I dont like this tingle in my chest. When I feel jealous I physically felt it. Its painful. Its heavy. Its something I cant conquer.

Sigh. I dont even know how to explain my feeling and my thoughts. I am not too happy about this.

September 21, 2011

Trouble in Paradise: The Sumatran Sea Turtle Saga

Once upon a time, sea turtles thrive in our ocean
They nested and breed in tropical islands spread across the equators
They're old, they're ancient, they are the great A'Tuin, the Master Sifu, the wise teacher.
Naturally they are always facing struggle and hardship from the moment they hatch until the last breath they exhaled
Yet they managed to survived.
Sadly, the are now facing unprecedented threat from us, human
We hammer their habitats,
We feast on their eggs
We hunted them for their meat and for souvenirs
We have been heartless, ruthless predators
We always take more than we need

September 14, 2011

treesome (not threesome)

I love trees, I love drawing and painting trees, coconut trees, ficus trees, ambiguous shape abstractly defines as trees. Trees, trees, trees. Forest. Rich diversity of old, majestic trees. Home to amazing arrays of so many living creatures; shrubs, tree dwellers, mighty flying creature who rested, nested and devour the fruits of these massive old trees, elusive cats roaming the ground underneath these trees. I love trees, I love forest. The lush, old standing forest. So old, trees so big you need more than ten grown man holding their hands to hug the tree. Living trees, dead trees, decaying trees. Trees with roots systems so strong and complex, waved and twisted into network of support, holding the soil together when rush of water force it to crumble. Trees continue to provide as it age, still providing as it meets its dying days, when it fell and lay on the forest floor. It become home for little critters and insects and moist fungi. Gets recycled back into the system, giving rooms for new plants to grow under the sudden flood of sunlight.

that tree grow above my bed, sheltering me from hardship in life

September 12, 2011

Its raining outside..

Perhaps it was this day, 3 years back.

I was in a hospital in Singapore, standing by your bed. It was raining like this, the sky was plain grey. Not a patch of blue in sight. It was raining the whole day.
We both stare outside the glass windows of the ICU, I occasionally check the numbers on the screen, being very worried. Its a machine I dont know the name, but I know tells me how bad your lungs depends on this pumps and this technology. At this moment it tells me only 20% of your lungs functioning. You look so skinny and fragile yet you are still so young and so beautiful. It breaks my heart to learn that you wont be by my side for too long.
It was a self-deception, it was my delusion, hoping you would survive this. Hoping you would get back on your feet and we could run around on the rain again.
You look back at me, and you faintly smile. You write on the small white-board on your lap "Its raining, I like" I remember that faint smile well, for I dont get too see it enough since then. Yes, we used to love rain, rainy days means running around outside being completely soak and throughly happy. We sing, we dance, we laugh, we dont care what the world think. We are the world.
It wasnt too long ago, when the three of us dressed up and hit the club. Only with little money we had. We drink it all.
It wasnt too long ago, when we have no money at all and we spend the day at home playing uno. When we dig into our sofa and scratch for whatever coins we have, to buy a pack of cigarettes and stay hungry for the rest of the day.
It wasnt too long ago, when we claim we are the most beautiful people. We will take over the world one day. When we are rich, famous and fabulous.
It wasnt too long ago, when you tested the guy I was dating. Well baby, let me give you a small update. That man, he was the right man for me. I was just too young and too naive to realize it then. You know how things fall apart between me and that man, and I fall into the vortex of keep seeing the wrong guy ever since. To keep getting hurt and to get back on my feet again. To lost faith in love and regaining it, and loosing it again. I went through it all baby. What you missed was, we are back together now. He was the same man he was back then, and he always managed to comfort me everytime it rains and I start thinking of you. He understand.
Darjeling, you are in my thought. Between the three of us, YOU are the butterfly. The way you carry yourself, the way you always stand out, the way you deal with all the attention you get.
When it rains like this, I recall that moment in the hospital. You cant even talk for all those hoses that runs through your mouth throat into your lungs. For all those machine that keeps you with us a little longer. Just a little bit more. This small hopes we have of seeing you surviving this, this miniscule chance you would actually walk out of this hospital alive had made me drop everything to be by your side. I recall it was Ramadhan, and you were embracing your brand new faith, you were embracing your new religion, you asked me to read you passage from the Quran!
None of us ever thought we would arrive here. at this day, at this moment. None of us prepared for the possibility that one of us would leave this world so young. None of us thought we would watch as your life ticks away from you.
I miss you honey. I miss you dearly. I Remember our promises about the day when we are rich and famous. Baby I am not rich nor famous, but I am no longer broke! I would be able to support you now, I would be able to help you out! I would be able to.. but you're not here anymore, nothing I can do, NOTHING baby other than painting a corner in my thought with your picture, with our memories.
Run free Bakla, no more beaten from your loved ones, no more addictive drugs he used to keep you by his side, no more days of selling your soul to the devil so the three of us could buy something to eat. Those days are gone baby, far gone. What was left is the beautiful memories, woven into the path I am taking, lessons I share with others that I love too. I love you baby, I always do. You know when I look at the stars, I imagine you were one of them.

They say every atom on our bodies was once part of a stars, I know you are not leaving, you're just coming home.

I fell lost in thought, its an unfamiliar territory

August 19, 2011

When you fall in love, it is a temporary madness.
It erupts like an earthquake, and then it subsides.
And when it subsides, you have to make a decision.
You have to work out whether your roots are become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part.
Because this is what love is.

Love is not breathlessness,
it is not excitement,
it is not the desire to mate every
second of the day.
It is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every part of your body.

No... don't blush.
I am telling you some truths.
For that is just being in love; which any of us can convince ourselves we are.

Love itself is what is left over,
when being in love has burned away.
Doesn't sound very exciting, does it? But it is!

July 21, 2011

fear of love

I am scared yet hopeful
the notion of being in love is something so beautiful, yet frightening
giving in, surrender to the possibility of getting hurt
while holding my breath and claim confidence
its gonna be ok
you gonna be ok

I have found a man so wonderful
someone who compliment me so well
together we are like enzyme and its substrate
everything seems so perfect and i feel at peace when i am by his side
i am deeply terrified to move forward
yet i want it so bad

July 11, 2011

succulent wild woman


full of juice; juicy.
rich in desirable qualities.
affording mental nourishment.

June 14, 2011

suncatcher ~ my life in Aceh: part 2

I am not a morning person, but some morning are worth getting up as the sun arise above the horizon

June 7, 2011

my first writing on the local paper

Singkil-Trumon Road Development; Gift for the People or Beginning of Future Disaster?

This article is intended to respond to Sadri Ondang Jaya article published in Serambi Indonesia (27 April 2011). Aforementioned author has accused conservationist and environmentalist who try to stop the Singkil-Trumon road that will cut through sensitive peat-swamp forest as “preventingcommunities to benefit from their very ow n natural resources”

Previous article had discussed the importance of road development to encourage economic growth in the remote area of Singkil and Trumon, However, such argument about economic development were measured in a very narrow and subjective analysis. The author has indeed acknowledge the importance of Singkil peat-swamp forest in the global scale, however he has failed to take into account the possible destruction that will inevitably happen if a conventional road were to be developed on the area.

The development of Singkil-Trumon road, if not carefully managed could become the dawn of disasters for the communities living in the area. Here are the reasons why and how it will unrolled;

First, the road will be placed along the coast of peat swamp forest, and the topography of the area will require road design that demand a good degree of creativity and modern technology. The concern here will be the distance of the road from the coastline, if the road were placed closer to the coast, erosion and high tide will inevitably abrade the brand-new road and it wont take long before the piece of infrastructure scrambled away. On the other hand, if the road placed further inland, the factor that needs to be considered is the wet, soft structure of peat swamp forest. Peat swamp forest stores large amount of water within its soil, making it unstable foundation for conventional road. If such roads have to be developed in this fragile ecosystem, an unusual high-tech road design might be necessary. In both scenarios, the road were predicted to have short lifespan due to abrasion, erosion, or collapsed into the swamp.

Second, in development phase of a conventional road (that cut through a forest), one inescapable thing that will happen is land-clearing activities that will take place along the route. Just as a friendly reminder, Aceh Singkil and South Aceh district is highly susceptible to flood. As recent as February 2011, dozens of family in Bulusema affected by flash flood that cost millions rupiah in compensation. Aceh Singkil district head Makmursyah Putra pledge the communities to stop forest clearing to prevent further flood occurrence, given financial loss that arise from such incidence. Ecosystem function consists of complex interaction that is not yet fully understood by human, but as our knowledge continue to expand we know that forest clearing in one area could affect water flow, rain, drought and flood in adjacent areas. Often enough, calculations that were used to discuss the importance of road development on economic growth doesn’t take into account the risk of natural disaster (floods, landslides, drought) that will hamper development; neither does it represent the value of forest in supporting development through various ecosystem services such as water and air purification as well as pollination and pest control. The economic growth offered by road development within protected areas of Singkil swamp forest is artificial growth; the area might seems developed while in fact become extremely vulnerable to disaster (which will cause great financial loss). Flash flood is one of the natural disaster that occur in increasing frequency in Aceh Singkil and South Aceh district, with greater forest loss its only predictable that in the future the government will have to substantially expand its budget to mitigate these disasters, a rather unnecessary step given preventable nature of the disaster (on condition no further forest loss take place in this region).

Third, New road development will certainly open up access to illegal loggers. One wouldn’t argue about the local wisdom of Singkil’s communities, who have lived in adjacent to the forest and sustainably managed the area for generations, it’s the capacity of the local people to resist and fight against the mega-power of big companies that is highlighted in this point. Imagine, if the new road provide free access for powerful loggers from outside Singkil and South Aceh to come in and clear forest in massive scale, causing unprecedented disaster in the long run, which one of us will have to take the financial burden that arise from such catastrophes? Do you think the big companies will pay for the loss caused by these disasters? No. It’s the communities, and the government of Aceh Singkil and Aceh Selatan that will have to deal with it. Can we afford such predicted consequences? Is it fair for the people if the new road give free access for outsiders to rape Aceh forest and reap profits while the locals left to watch while waiting for the disaster to happen? It is undeniable that access to a new area often invites investors to come in, but without a strict regulation its destruction that will flood in not development.

Fourth, on prior article the author suggested “limited” road development. The suggestions include the width of the road, only 4.5 – 6m wide (instead of 12m highway style) lines with protected barriers to prevent communities from penetrating into the forest and harvest wood. Unfortunately, the author failed to recognize increasing intensity of human-wildlife conflict in Aceh Singkil area. The protective barrier will directly interfere with wildlife migration route and will inevitably increase human-wildlife conflict in the area. Often conservationist and environmentalist were accused “to have bigger concern on wildlife welfare than human” -- a blatant fallacious claim that comes from lack of throughout understanding or plain greed to win the so called development project – while in fact what these conservationist and environmentalist trying to do is preventing further human encroachment into wildlife habitat that will unquestionably result in greater conflict intensity. Taking into example the interaction between the farmer and population of wild boar in Aceh; back in the day farmers could have sound evening rest without having to worry about their crops, these days such things would hardly be possible given the increasing magnitude of wild-boar disturbance towards their crops. The missing link in this story is the tiger, which historically has been the natural predator and therefore keeping boar population under control. With escalating human-tiger conflict and habitat encroachment, the number of tiger has dropped low and with it has allow number of wild boar to rise. A conflict that lead to another conflict. Eventually, although conservationist and environmentalist might appear to stand against development, what they are trying to do is encouraging development by preventing these future disasters and conflict prior to its occurrence.

Fifth, One would like to remind the communities about the history of Jeuram-Takengon road, a relatively new route that receive strong resistance throughout its development phase. WALHI have filed lawsuit against development of the road through Banda Aceh district court, which later rejected in mid-2004. WALHI then appealed to Supreme Court and loses the case in August 2008. Opposition to the road development materialized due to the potential impact that could occur, nevertheless the road development still take place. Within the last few month, the news about landslides on aforementioned road starts to pop-up in news media, covering the stories on people getting trapped on landslide point and major interruption on commodity transport. Such “disaster” were predictable and preventable, it’s a pity if there’s nothing we can learn from this.

Sixth, Development of the road on this area would be a blatant violation of the current law. The area is located within protected areas, holding the prestigious status of wildlife reserve. Law no.5/1990 on natural resource and ecosystem conservation clearly prohibit any activities that modify the natural landscape of protected areas and potentially interrupt the livelihood of both plants and wildlife’s. This status were enforced through establishment of Leuser Ecosystem as National Strategic Area in Law no.27/2007 and Government Regulation no.26/2008 on National Spatial Planning. Conventional road development will conspicuously alter the natural landscape and violate current legislation. In Government Regulation no.27/1999 on Environmental Impact Assessment stated the precautionary principal on the potential impact of an activities that will take place in the area based on the benefits versus likely destruction that could arise. If the negative impact from the activities have higher tendency to happen compared to the benefits it might bring, then the activities are considered environmentally improper.

Every stakeholder might need to consider another solution for the allegedly poverty issue of the “isolated” communities in the area. Road development is clearly not a panacea, neither does plantations and land clearing. Referring to the ancient Acehnese wisdom, “if a man fallen into a river and under the threat of drowning, do we drain the refer or we simply pull him out?” Maybe it would be wise to consider relocation potential within the frame of long-term solution, for safety and well being of the communities itself. Although it seems controversial and sensitive issue, this is not an absurd idea. Leuser Development Program (LDP) and Leuser International Foundation (LIF) had a success story negotiating with the government and local communities to willingly moved from Naca (Which is part of wildlife corridor between singkil swamp and bengkung basin), given appropriate compensation. It is not ludicrous if one imagines similar resolution could be offered to the communities living within the planned road route.

Soma says the individuals and organization opposing road development in protected areas have the intention to prevent local communities accessing what is to be their right, prohibiting the population from becoming wealthy. This kind of opinion is actually underestimating the capability of the Acehnese to become developed without sacrificing their forest. Aceh have the potential to advance like Japan, a country with real commitment to protect their forest. Due to early realization on the value of the forest for their economy (cheapest water filtration technology, air purification, and a livelihood on its own right) the Japanese put down a real commitment to protect their forest, and once the commitment put in place the population were forced to get creative in developing their economy by other means than chopping down their forest. Aceh still have relatively large forest cover and have a good potential to become one healthy developed country like Japan. Now we have the decision in our hands, would we like to be prosper like Japan or exploited like Papua?

originally posted here: http://m.serambinews.com/news/view/55502/singkil-trumon-bencana-masa-depan

Pulau Banyak

The endless pursuit of tropical paradise, islands i never been, home i claimed yet i never seen

May 10, 2011

a room to breath

Looking up.
looking forward.
seeing what could be the path.
where am i going?

Memegang erat janji pada diri.
I know where I wanted to be.
This is not hard. not difficult.
I just have to take the small little steps that will take me there.
These PhD plans, These job, These forest, These people.
and the loved ones.

Feeling inspired and thoughtful, yet melancholic and lugubrious.
looking up. I'll be alright.
I know you're by my side. I know.
I just need some space. some anonymity. a solitude.
a room to breath