Never Kiss You Anymore

How didn’t I want you?

It was so attractive of you, being apple of my eye..

Especially when I drew my lips on your mouth, then I blew my breath away, then you made that sound, I thought my heart was flying high.

I nagged to my dad, I wanted you.

But my dad said, stay away!

I begged to my mom, please let me have you.

But my mom said, you were just gonna make me ill.

I cried so hard, I wanted you so bad.

Everyone had you, why shouldn’t I?

I’d been a good girl for years, so why shouldn’t I get any gift?

Finaly my dad gave up.

Coz his daughter’s smile worthed much more than anything.

OK, he said.

Then I picked you up.

My dad should pay much coz your seller only released you costly.

I smiled in cheers, by hugging you.

I kissed you.

You made that sound.

I was so happy.

Then my mom told me, “D’ya know how to create it?”

I didn’t know. I thought you just happened it all.

Then my mother said, the man who sold you to my father, created you from a rolling paper.

To make it sounds, that man kissed you first, to make sure that you’d make sound when you’re kissed.

Then the man, seen by the way he dressed up, he might have pulmonary disease or something like that.

So, the rest of the disease might be still on the site you were kissed.

I wrinkled.

Then I looked at you.

Disgust.

Photo from http://photobucket.com

The night had come.

I sat down and hummed.

I ignored you at the corner.

My dad asked, “Vicky, why don’t you blow up your trumpet? This is new year.”

I said, “Uh..” I shat up. I grabbed you in doubt. “Should I?”

My mom laughed.

I was five and I’d learnt my lesson well.

Then said my mom, “OK. We don’t need to buy it more next time, do we?”

It was a deal for me.

I don’t want you anymore. Instead than kiss a trumpet, I would rather kiss a real man.

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Mr Santa, Assalamu’alaikum!

I knew the concept that Santa Claus loves giving gifts. But nobody ever told me that for the concept, terms and conditions were applied. And considering this, I didn’t know why Santa Claus was never demanded with act of customer protection.

At X-mas ’06, I took my cousin and three of her kids to a fashion shop in Bandung. The place was full of shoppaholics, and to rave the party, the shop had one of its staff to pretend being Santa Claus. The man wore Santa Claus costume, complete with the thick beard, and he gave free snacks to children.

Santa Claus and wife takes photo with children. Photo from http://storyconnection.net

My niece, Bill, 6, looked desiring, then I said to her, “Look at that, Bill! The Santa is giving away his gifts! D’ya want that? Go get it, now!”

My cousin pulled my shirt in panic face, and her mouth whispered to me, “Vicky, don’t, Vicky!”

I looked at her, wondering. I meant it so Bill learnt to be a brave girl, coz my niece was shy to strangers.

And then my reckless behavior dragged us to a difficult situation. Suddenly, Bill’s brother, O’a, was 4, asked by pointing at Santa Claus, “Who is that?”

That was when I found out my cousin’s mean: never parents lie to children. But she didn’t know, either, how to say the truth. Bill and O’a had learnt to read al-Fatihah since they were toddlers, and now how should we teach them about concept of Santa Claus?

Sometimes Santa wants a compensation from kids' parents , too. Photo from http://donklephant.com

Then I remembered when I was six, Santa Claus always came up near X-mas. Like any other children, I read magazine and watched TV, so it was unevitable to my curiosity about Santa. I asked my Dad, did Santa really love giving away to children who had wrote him letters? What was the address if I wanted to write Santa a letter?

Those days I loved writing my Grandma letters, so I thought that writing to Santa was supposed to be easy. Beside, I thought my Dad was clever. Imagine, my Dad knew the Kompas’ factory, thought he didn’t know people who wrote at the newspaper. So I thought my Dad should be able to give me Santa’s address though he didn’t know Santa.

My Dad laughed out loud to hear my plain question, then he said, “Oh, I don’t know where Santa lives in. Absolutely, he doesn’t live in Indonesia.”

At that moment I got disappointed coz I lived in Indonesia. “So, the kids who got the gift were only foreigners’ kids?”
(My parents taught me that Caucasians were called “foreigners”.)
“Ok, why don’t we move to another country, so I can get gift from Santa?”

*This answer only taught Indonesian kid to be mentally inlander.*

Santa Claus has been aged much and he's got near-sighted. Photo from http://cartoonstock.com

Now, the answer has been irrelevant to be taught to such kids like Bill and O’a, coz Santa Claus comes up anywhere in Indonesia. You walk to any malls this week, then you’ll find Santa waves to children. (Why does Santa never wave to adults? Doesn’t Santa like adults?)

O’a kept asking me who the fat man in red costume was, so his parent and me got confused to explain it. We’d like to say that Santa was an old man who loved giving away to kids. But the kids who get the gifts were the kids who acted nice at home and school, and..they should go to Sunday school each week. My cousin was afraid that O’a wanted to go to Sunday school for getting gifts from Santa. Though each week his parents told him to learn Koran review, hahahah.. May a kid enter a Sunday school by bringing Iqro book?

I didn’t forbid a toddler to change religion. I just disagreed if a kid believed in a religion only coz he wanted a gift.

“Well, Aunty, who’s that?” O’a was still asking me by pointing at Santa.

Finally, that moment I said to O’a, “Oh, I don’t know him.” I didn’t lie. Santa Claus never invited me at Friendster.

“Why don’t you ask Njeng? Njeng, who is that?” I wished my other niece, Njeng, 7, could give a concept which was more children-understandable.

Unexpectedly, Njeng answered like this, “That? Ooh.. that’s a clown!”

Me and my cousin laughed out loud instead. O’a looked satisfied, then he neared the fat clown in red costume and thick beard, then Santa gave O’a the snack away. Santa wasn’t a picky person. All children got gifts. Both Christian kids and non-Christian ones.

***

Oh, finally we have gifts from Santa Claus, too, though our family never goes to Sunday school. Each time I wake up at morning in my birthday, my dad always has put a gift to me on my piano. He does it to my sister, too. If Santa Claus’ concept is only limited in giving a surprise gift for good kids, then my family adopts the concept well.

Merry X-mas, fellas. Wish the X-mas makes you happy. 

Sing Out Loud

If someone said that it’s easy to teach a kid singing, then he must’ve been never singing when he was a kid. It’s hard for teaching a kid how to sing, coz we pushed a kid to reveal his voice in certain tones and rhythm, and it only can be done by a brave kid. No wonder that lotta parents send their kids to vocal course only to teach their kids how to be brave and discipline.

Better ones, dancing allowed. The Santa hats coloured the plain costume. But it’s necessary to teach kids about stage art, instead just bunching on the corner. Those mics prohibited them for exploring the space. Photo by Vicky Laurentina.

Better ones, dancing allowed. The Santa hats coloured the plain costume. But it’s necessary to teach kids about stage art, instead just bunching on the corner. Those mics prohibited them for exploring the space. Photo by Vicky Laurentina.

Two days ago, I watched a children choir competition in a mall. The singers were students of elementary schools who were trained to sing X-mas songs. I used to think that I was just gonna watch a show of kids who sang due to their teachers’ instructions. But then I saw that competing in such a mall-classified competition could be huge problem for the kids.

The festival hadn’t begun, but the intimidative competition has been felt in backstage. A school sent a team in a very glamorous shading satin costume, very counter to another school team who just wearing shirts uniform and jeans. A school team sang with each kid brought gold star wand, and another school team didn’t bother to wear costume uniform but they wore batik.

As the other teams wore uniform, this one didn’t. Just prepared batik of their own. Less effort, but unique. Singing and standing on the stage look still a huge problem for them. Photo by Vicky Laurentina.

As the other teams wore uniform, this one didn’t. Just prepared batik of their own. Less effort, but unique. Singing and standing on the stage look still a huge problem for them. Photo by Vicky Laurentina.

As each school teams began to sing, it was began to be seen, which team was solid each other, and which team which was just united by its teacher for formality. A school team could march in neat rows as they stood on the stage, but another team only could make awkward row and stood really close each other as looked like riding a city bus.

Some kids seemed to know that during their stage performance, they should view the audience. But some other are still concerned with their own humming, looked from their wandering sight. Photo by Vicky Laurentina.

Some kids seemed to know that during their stage performance, they should view the audience. But some other are still concerned with their own humming, looked from their wandering sight. Photo by Vicky Laurentina.

I also could see which performance was awesome and which one was a crap. I found a school team sang by standing stiffly as if they’re gonna be shocked. Though they sang a cheerful song. It was too bad, coz the costumes were already sportive casual for dancing.

A few verse of a song will sound more beautiful if it’s not sung massal. This school team use two singers at the center for singing duet, while their friends become the background. Photo by Vicky Laurentina.

A few verse of a song will sound more beautiful if it’s not sung massal. This school team use two singers at the center for singing duet, while their friends become the background. Photo by Vicky Laurentina.

Then, sometimes kids couldn’t listen to the music arrangement easily, to adjust which moment for singing and which moment when they should shut up. There was a moment when the music had stopped, but the kids still remained singing the refrain. Probably they just remembered to sing refrains three times and they didn’t use music arrangement when they were in exercises. And at the competition, they sang with music arrangement from a record which only contained refrain twice. No wonder they got confused.

Foto 4: Singing cheerfully by dancing. One row sang on the bottom of the stage, gave chance for the row behind to look performing. Every singers deserved for the audience’s attention. Photo by Vicky Laurentina.

Foto 4: Singing cheerfully by dancing. One row sang on the bottom of the stage, gave chance for the row behind to look performing. Every singers deserved for the audience’s attention. Photo by Vicky Laurentina.

Singing in choir pushed kids to learn to be led and also teach them how to lead. Some school teams used conductor, and the choir could sing in order coz the conductor determined how fast the rhythm was. The conductor also determined when they must take a bow to audiences, and when the first row should leave the stage. So the singers weren’t confused about timing manouver coz they must do it together.

In other way, I also saw that the competition bet about prestiges of each schools. A school could really prepared well, hired a private pianist and even an instructor and also a choreographer. Some choreographer only designed simple dance for kids, but another ones could make it all out. Some school even looked experienced in competitions, coz they knew how to use the space of the stage for locating the singers diffusely, even they didn’t hesitate to put some kids on the bottom of the stage for creating stairs effect.

Good costume, good performance art. They looked like singing in a concert hall. Even if they didn’t win, they could bring the wands as a beautiful memory. Photo by Vicky Laurentina.

Good costume, good performance art. They looked like singing in a concert hall. Even if they didn’t win, they could bring the wands as a beautiful memory. Photo by Vicky Laurentina.

I saw that the competition choir could be an event for pleasanting the parents. Audience seats were full of parents who watched their kids singing, they recorded their kids’ school observantly as if their kids were superstars. And each time a school finished their songs, there was always a parent who applauded proudly, though the team sang like singing on savannah.

I was so glad coz there wasn’t more than ten school teams in the competition, so I wasn’t tired to watch from upstairs. I thought, managing a children choir was much harder than managing the adult one. But that day, I learned my lessons that from a choir, there were lotta lessons that children and parents could take. I guessed now I wanna go back to my schools, when I joined choir each year. Later if I have kids, I’ll get them into school choir, too.

Unsuitable for Some People

I dunno actually why the movie was banned to play at Indonesian cinemas. Lotta people told that Indonesian government raised objection to the movie, coz the movie impressed that Indonesia was a sadistic country for East Timorese who actually was its own ones.

Last week Indonesia’s Film Censor Bureau was criticized coz it banned Balibo movie played at Indonesian cinemas. Balibo is a film made by Australia which exposed five of Australian journalists who died while they were covering the battle at East Timor (today: Timor Leste). According to the movie, those journalists died coz Indonesian soldiers shot them.

In the setting of the movie, East Timor was anxious coz some of its people wanted to be Portuguese colony as it used to be, some other wanted to be part of Indonesia, while some other rebelled to build their own country, and then things were messed up. Indonesia wanted East Timor became its part, too, so it sent its soldiers to manage orderliness in East Timor. But the soldiers’ existency just created a new conflict right there, so there were often clashes among some East Timorese and Indonesian soldiers. Probably in the middle of the battle, those Aussie war journalists became victims. This event was famous as Balibo Five, coz those journalists died at some place called Balibo.

There are different kinda versions about the deaths. Some people said that soldiers shot them purposedly. But some other said that these journalists became victim in wrong time and at wrong place. Definitely, their death had inspired to create a movie.

I can get what would happen if the movie was watched by people who didn’t understand history, especially about East Timor. A misunderstood person who just watches this movie in contemplationless, will say that Indonesian soldiers were that cruel to East Timorese. I’ve talked to a citizen of Timor Leste, and he said that even though Indonesia and Timor Leste were brotherhood, but he couldn’t forget how Indonesian government never really treated East Timorese as its people. Indonesian government didn’t develop East Timor well, and just let the province ignored. And when East Timor tried to protest, Indonesia just replied it with guns.

But I’ve also got another interesting testimony. A nurse from Timor Leste who worked in my town today, said that the situation got messed ever since they separated from Indonesia. Lotta foreign countries mixed to instigate East Timorese for separating from Indonesia, just for using East Timor for the foreigners’ stuffs. Thousands East Timoreses had to be refugees and preferred being citizens of Indonesia, coz though Indonesia didn’t manage its economy appropriately, it’s still easier to find a better job in Indonesia, rather than in Timor Leste.

Those testimonies make me aware that history of Timor Leste is such a complex stuff, involving Indonesia’s relationship not only with Timor Leste itself, but also with the other countries which ever been involved in conflict right there, such as Portugal, States, and Australia. We need to understand completely why conflict happened there, including why Timor Leste insisted to declare its own country, and why Indonesia insisted to keep East Timor as a part of Indonesia. And those answers, can’t be learned from just watching Balibo.

Briefly, Balibo is only appropriate to be watched by people who understand history and like to get it completely. Instead of just being assumed as a commercial show in cinema which can be entered by audience who hasn’t been mature enough for understanding a history scene.

I hope DVD of Balibo will be released soon. Coz more stricted a movie is forbidden to play, then it’ll be more enthusiastic people wanna watch it, and much bigger that people’s interest is for selling the pirated movie.

Mallrats Need A Break

Definitely, this is not a picture of butts exhibition.

Down on knees, together, in a basement of Bandung Supermal. Photo by Vicky Laurentina.

Once upon a time in States, a store was shocked coz a bunch of their customer which looked like Arabic suddenly did an odd ritual at the corner of the place’s storage. That year “9/11” event has just been happened, and ever since that shitty day, all “weird” behavior of Muslims was made into stories excessively. When police came to check those Arabics, they found out that instead of going to mess up, those customers were just going to pray Maghrib. Those Americans were shocked coz they never saw a person did “shalat”.

***

I think, Indonesia is a unique country coz most of its citizens still admit that they pray, though sometimes they skip from church, temple, or mosque. There’s a good reason why Friday becomes a leeway among working days in Indonesia. The hectic 9-5 rush hours suddenly must be diminished in midday, to spare time for men for doing Friday praying. It doesn’t matter if the male employee really goes for Friday praying, or he just runs away for corrupting extra lunch time. And oddly, how hard feminists make pressure for women’s emancipation in Indonesia, women still don’t complain if their job burden raise higher at Friday, just because their male colleagues go away for Friday praying.

I was at this mall last Friday, when I went to the parking basement and saw this view. Looking at the costumes they wore, I found out that some of them were waiters, buyer assistants, managers, and even customers. The mall was crowded of people each days, but I saw they break of being mallrats at mid Friday, only for sitting together in “mushalla” by listening to preach and pray for two rounds of scene.

All people need a praying place at their work. Including malls. Malls can’t build mosque at their complex, coz their secularism budget don’t accomodate it. So they make compensation by making a small space in parking basement to become a mushalla. The mushalla may be enough for daily prays, but it doesn’t suit to contain the mall visitors who wanna do Friday praying. So they close some of basement area at Friday until midday, so they can use the area for massal Friday praying. When the Friday praying is over, they re-use the area for parking. This is a strategy to keep the visitors who’s already hung out in the mall since morning, instead let them leave the mall at afternoon for Friday praying and then they’re lazy to return.

Once a foreigner asked me, why male muslims must do Friday praying together, instead doing it alone in each of their homes. I answered, as you’re praying with somebody else, you’ll find out that actually you have a brother who must pray like you, as a reply coz God has created both of you. Praying together keeps you from being snob, coz you’ll realize, that probably, you don’t pray better than anybody else as you thought before.

Mall may be a product of capitalist. But, religion stuff doesn’t need to be separated from the capitalism thing.