Jakarta Madness

The drums roll, signifying something is going on outside the Wayang Museum in Old Jakarta. I get up from a stall where I am eating ketroprak – a popular rice noodle dish served with chips, peanut sauces and sweet soy bean ketchup – and take a look.

A monkey zooms by on a toy motorbike. The trainer tugs hard on a long chain to give the dare devil monkey some momentum, and the crowd quickly disperse. It seems the puppeteer is the one terrorizing everyone along its path, as the crowd again quickly disperses.  The monkey crashes into a cart, and the crowd gives nervous smiles.

Monkey troubadours are quite popular fair in Jakarta, and usually are brought in from the poorer suburbs of the city, where tips are guaranteed.
Old Jakarta is not only a National Heritage site but it’s the playground of the Indonesians, “the heart and soul,” says social critic, Ali Syarief: “ Old Jakarta is a place that we learn from the past and learn to criticize what has been happening in current situation. “

The shows are less than politically correct.  Nearby in the main courtyard, a human circus is underway. A young girl is sealed and stitched up in a hemp bag like a mummy. She  stands frightened as a man who makes Indiana Jones look tame, is wielding his large whip and making deafening cracking sounds.

She is carried like a bag of spuds and put underneath a red tent. The sadist wields his whip again. Crack!!!  And the tent is uncovered and the young Houdini is out of her straight jacket. A man walks around with a hat, and spectators drop donations. Not to be outdone, the duo, father and daughter, are now blowing fire. Flames cut across the courtyard and petrol fumes and mingle with the smells of clove cigarettes and deep-fried Indonesian snacks that pervade the air.

The young girl plays up to the crowd and runs her flame stick between her legs, all smiles. And I’m thinking, is this some kind of Salvador Dali painting I’m inhabiting. 

Nope, says and inner voice. This seems very normal for Jakarta. And it’s confirmed when I visit the Wayang Museum. After seeing a great selection of Wayang puppets, I go to the show to buy a few souvenirs. The retail assistant asks me if I am Russel Crowe. “You look so big!” Then he goes on about his male assistant who is in the corner, telling me he’s an exotic dancer. “See these puppets? “ – he’s holding up two lead figures of the Ramayana, “They are Romeo and Juliet.” I buy them and head out of the museum.

A quick rest at a street stall, then some Indonesian mariachis come up to the table and play a Mexican song.  Be prepared to be surprised in Old Jakarta, and have your senses rattled. It’s a sensory overload,  or as Hemingway might say, “A veritable feast!”

Ayat-ayat Toleran

Ada dua statemen yang diartikan sebagai sesembahan manusia didalam al-qur’an; Pertama kata “Rab” dan yang kedua kata “Allah”. Dua-duanya adalah bisa kita sejeniskan sebagai “Tuhan”. Coba kita simak ayat  berikut: “ya ayuhannas  ittakurobbakum”, yang artinya “hei manusia, bertaqwalah kepada Tuhanmu”.  Lalu ayat lain adalah : “ya ayuhaladzina amanu ittakullah”, yang artinya “hey orang-orang yang beriman bertaqwallah kepada Allah”.

Dua ayat tersebut adalah amar atau perintah didalam al-qur’an, yaitu kepada seluruh manusia untuk bertaqwa kepada Tuhannya, dan perintah yang kedua kepada yang beriman untuk bertaqwa kepada Allah. Jadi disini tampak  jelas, al-qur’an memerintahkan untuk bertaqwa kepada Tuhan dan kepada Allah. Jadi  artinya siapapun sesembahan manusia tidak di pedulikan disini.

Dalam terminologi yang sederhana, taqwa artinya melaksanakan perintahnya dan mejauhi larangannya.

Inilah ayat tolerasnsi. Ayat yang harus di fahami sebagai tidak saling menyalahkan antar umat beragama. Ayat yang harus menjadi sikap respek dan apresiasi kepada keyakinan yang berbeda-beda itu. Inilah ayat yang menjelaskan bahwa manusia tidak  berkeyakinan sama. Inilah ayat yang harus menjadi mindset, khusus nya kepada umat Islam, untuk melihat bahwa Tuhan di luar Allah adalah  sama saja. Inilah ayat yang harus menjadi sumber untuk merumuskan berbagai kebijaksanaan Negara.

Benar ngga yah?

The Crazy Bule

Suka Suka Suka, Do you have Facebook?

I met an Indonesian blogger and journalist, Mr. Ali Syarief. He suggested I write a blog post on Facebook and “Like” and said he would post it on his blog to help promote my story and get me more likes. I said I’d write up 500 words so here it is:

I am a travel writer for Trip Atlas. Recently the editor of this travel hub that gets over a million hits a day sent out an email to all contributors announcing a competition.  I rose to the occasion and wrote a travel feature on sky diving in Perth.

Over the weeks I had asked people on the street to click the Facebook ‘Like’ button on my story. Most of the people I asked were fellow travellers who were staying at the same back packers.

I had booked a ticket to Bali. I arrived on the 20th of October. My like count was around 230 but fell far short of the 500  I needed to actually win an Ipad 2. The leader was a female writer from Canada who wrote a story on dog sledding.
It seemed she had the backing of the whole Canadian Tourism Industry while I was doing it alone. To get my like counts, I had physically ask people to log into their Facebook on my computer and click the like button on my story which was then posted onto their wall. It has worked so far.

While in Bali last week, I managed to get another 200 likes, which really put me close to the lead. But Sarah Sekula’s ‘likes’ were still way ahead of me.

I really don’t need an Ipad 2. I have met wonderful Indonesians while asking them to click like. I was hanging outside a Circle K on the beach; place only locals went to. I would go around from table to table and begin with: “Excuse me, can you please help the crazy bule?” As I found, Indonesians are always helpful and found this bule to be a bit bold and funny. Every ‘suka” I got, I would ask their names and we’d have a nice little chat. .  Most time they’d put a Bintang in front of me. One night some local Balinese came up to me with a bottle of Tequila. A few ‘likes’ and shots later, I was almost under the table. But that didn’t stop me asking fresh Indonesian customers who stopped off at Circle K for one last drink. One Indonesian man was so impressed with me; he had his wife take a picture of me with him, saying, “He’s the sky diver!”

Another night I as offered arak. The next day I had a horrible hangover so decided to get a flight to Jakarta. At this point, I had 400 likes, and need another 100 to win an Ipad. I knew if I went to the capital city I would get a few more likes. And only yesterday, while spending my Sunday in Old Jakarta, I met Ali at the Bavaria. The first thing I asked him was if he had Facebook, then I went through the ritual of getting my ‘suka’. I was surprised to find that he was a journalist himself, and our friendship began from there. So if you are bored and need to spice up your life, just ask a stranger on the street, “Do you have Facebook?” It works all the time!

Tiramakasi Indonesia and a big thanks to Ali for hosting this piece.I currently have 558 like and would like more!


Iman a’la Softex

Saya percaya anda membaca tulisan ini karena judul tulisan ada softexnya, hehehehe. Tapi ada kata imannya!?. Ada nyerepet-nyerepet ke porno sich. Baca!, Porno sebagai buka-bukaan. Sebernarnya ini persoalan semantic. Fenomena pembentukan Opini Umum. Contohnya orang menyebut Pompa Air dengan Sanyo. Apapun mereknya, orang mengatakan tetap Sanyo. TransJakarta, disebut Bus Way. Tapi hemat saya memilih kata Softex lebih pas  dengan judul uraian ini. Mengapa? Karena begitu juga pada umumnya orang menyebut Pembalut Wanita sebagai “Softex”. Nah sekarang saya tinggal menjelaskan apa yang dimaksud dengan judul diatas tersebut.

Yu..kita urut kebelakang. Dari siapa anda tahu bahwa Al-qur’an itu firman Allah? Anda kan tidak pernah mengadakan penelitian. Anda tidak pernah bahkan mengerti juga isinya, kecuali katanya!. Menurut da’wah Ustadz Jeffry. Bahkan ada banyak orang malah, membacapun tidak bisa, apalagi menafsirkannya. Tetapi semua tentu mengatakan bahwa Taurat, Zabur, injil dan Al’qur’an adalah firman Allah. Alkitab adalah wahyu Tuhan Jesus. Kitab Purana adalah tutur Sangyang widiwase, dst.

Allah juga tidak pernah kita dengar mengatakan, bahwa aku telah berfirman kepada Muhammad SAW, kecuali kata beliau sendiri :”tadi malam aku kedatangan Jibril, kemudian mewahyukan ini, dst…”. Kira-kira gitulah.

Nah..jadi karena ada lebih dari Satu Milyar orang mengatakan Al-qur’an itu firman Allah, kata orang Islam. Ak-Kitab itu Firman Tuhan Jesus, kata orang Kristen. Purana itu ucapan Sang Yang Widi Wase, kata orang hindu, dst. Maka Jadilah semua itu firman Tuhan

Sekarang anda uji, berani ngga mengatakan : “ Al-qur’an itu karangan Muhammad?”. Atau Injil itu, rekayasa Matius, Markus, Lukas dan Yohanes? Saya sich Nggak berani, takut di babat sama FPI.

Inilah yang ingin saya katakan “Iman a’la Softex isme”.