Sunday, October 30, 2011

Motherhood : a Woman's Exclusive Right

Rima Fauzi ( is one of the few Indonesian bloggers that I continuously followed since I started blogging in 2007.

Rima (36) is a singer/songwriter living in Brussels, Belgium since 2001, where she and her friends set up a band called The House Painters.

Based on the consent that I have got from her via Twitter@mbakrimaH, I would like to share with you one of her interesting blog post (below) about Motherhood, which may sound controversial for some of you.
I shall be very grateful to receive your comment. Happy reading.

By Rima Fauzi

When I was younger, I welcomed the idea that as human beings it is our fate to couple up, get married and have children. I thought it was normal for me to think that our sole-purpose is indeed to serve God by way of non-stop praying, getting married and procreating. As I got older and more exposed to the evil ways of the west (and by this I mean the frowned upon atheistic western “logics” and “common sense”) I started to think differently.

The first thing that changed was my perception of God. I used to think God was this really grumpy old guy who just loves to smite people and take his wrath upon us, eerily leering from above, waiting for us to do something wrong and then when you think you are safe, “WHAM!” He smites us to a thousand pieces. When he is feeling lazy, he would send down his angels to make a list of all the things we do wrong then keep it in his grudge cabinet so that when we die he will happily drown us in a pool of boiling hot lava-like liquid for as long as he likes or until he has something better to do or new people to torture.

Now, I strongly feel that if there really is a God (I say “IF” because no one really knows, it’s all down to personal faith) he would most likely be a deity-like entity who is loving, understanding and kind, who emanates eternal peace and is made up of all things good, like sugar and spice.

People who say things like “That tsunami is a warning/curse from God” or, “The heretics who were murdered were asking for it, if those people didn’t take their lives, God would’ve done the job himself sooner or later” irritate the hell out of me. I know they have a right to their opinions, they do and I am fine with that don’t get me wrong, but they are just irritatingly ignorant. Yet there is nothing 

I can do to change the way they think as I used to be one of these people and I understand their way of thinking although I surely do not condone it. Nobody changed my way of thinking, it just happened gradually on its own through natural selection, personal experiences, education, social interaction and a myriad of other factors that may or may not have the same effect on other people on a similar boat.

Thank goodness I have become this common-sense worshiping, moral loving, reasoning addicted infidel that I am today. I don’t mind not going to “heaven” as from what I was told heaven is going to be nothing but a huge, non-stop orgy full of men drinking wine from the rivers and having sex with virgin angels anyway. It’s not like I haven’t been in one before and if only the men are going to have fun in this so-called heavenly orgy, I wouldn’t want to be one sitting there watching all the fun, how boring would that be, right

But, I digress.
The same thing happened with my idea of motherhood. While I know that it is indeed a natural part of life and I don’t oppose of it, I don’t think it’s for everyone. My friends told me that I will hear my biological clock ticking and I will know when it’s time. Well, I am almost 36 and either my biological clock needs a new battery or it just isn’t happening for me.

I actually don’t mind not having kids. Nope, let me rephrase that, I actually don’t want any kids.
*Gasps* “How can she say that? It’s blasphemy!!” some people may think.
Well a few years ago, I feel guilty whenever I even think about this and I certainly never say it out loud. Whenever people ask me, “So Rima, when will you have a baby?” or “Don’t you want to hear the pitter-patter of ‘tiny feet in your house??” I answer, “Not now, maybe in a few years.” (Although 
I constantly have the urge to answer the second question with, “If I want to hear the pitter-patter of tiny feet in my house I’d buy a Chihuahua and have it wear small dog boots around the house. Problem solved”)

But who am I kidding? I didn’t want a baby then, and I sure as hell don’t want one now.
Now I have become more assertive in my life decisions and I no longer feel guilty telling people that, “Kids are just not for me.” because “I think my life is perfect the way it is.”

The thing is, I know parents who don’t really want children but were forced into having them by society and their families. I have seen what that does to their children and it’s not pretty. I am fulfilled by my life, I have my routines, my job, my side job, my hobbies, my friends and my family. I am content with my life and I think I’m blessed with so many good things in life that there is nothing more I could possibly want. So why ruin a good thing?

I don’t want to have kids just for the sake of having them, “cos everybody else has them.” As if kids are a pair of Gucci loafers or a Plasma TV. No, if I ever have kids it will be because I really, and I mean REALLY want them.

If I give in to the pressure and norms of the society, I could end up resenting my kids and feel like I have given up many things I enjoy to have them. I know this sounds selfish, but it is more selfish to have kids so that people will accept you and think you are “normal”. Let me tell you something, there is nothing normal about having unwanted kids because it will screw up that kid and scar them emotionally for life, not to mention turning you into an asshole.
Now I should know, I was one of these kids. And again I tell you, it’s not pretty for both the parties involved as it is sad and unfair for an adult to have to do something they  don’t really want but feel like they “must” do while it’s especially unjust and unfair for a child to be born to parents who don’t really want them.

So the next time I hear somebody asking me that dreadful question again or making a snide remark about who will take care of me in my old age if I don’t have kids, that is when I will say “If I ever decide to have kids, I will do so because I really want to. And I will love that child and educate them so that they have free will, an open mind and a loving heart. Not so that I have a guaranteed spot in a homey retirement home.” I won’t even care if a person insinuates that women who never bear children are not real women. Yes, there are people like that out there, total bitches. 

Because at the end of the day, having children (or not) is your personal choice and nobody should be able to pressure you into doing it or talk you out of it when you want to do so. It’s your right, your prerogative and no one else.

Friday, October 28, 2011

United we'll stand, Separated we'll fall

The Indonesian national motto of "Unity in Diversity" points to one of the greatest attractions of Indonesia.

There are around 300 ethnic groups, a result of Indonesia's unique geographical make-up consisting of more than 17,000 islands, and history.

Many Indonesians see themselves first by their ethnic, religion and cultural group, and secondly as Indonesians.

The glue that binds the people together is the usage of the Indonesian language and adoption of Pancasila as national philosophy which stressed the doctrine of Religious pluralism, Humanism, Unity, Democracy and Social Justice.

Considering the above mentioned facts, I felt that Indonesia could only exist as a country if its people keep on believing on what have been pledged by our founding fathers on 28 October 1928, as follow :
-  We are one Nation : Indonesia
-  We have one Language : Indonesia
-  We have one Country : Indonesia

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bloggers' contribution for Indonesia

I just just read on the blog of fellow blogger Unspun that today is the National Blogger's Day.

He explained that this event was declared four years ago i.e 27 October 2007, by the then Communication and Information Minister Muhammad Nuh when he opened the first annual gathering of Indonesian Bloggers a.k.a Pesta Blogger at the Blitz Megaplex in downtown Jakarta.

At a time when most news media in Indonesia are owned or controlled by people who have money, Bloggers provide the public with more independent and non-biased information.

Bloggers have made some contributions  to the implementation of justice. The most noticeable being the case of Prita Mulyasari i.e a mother of two very young children who was jailed for sending e-mails to her friends about the sub-standard treatment she received from the OMNI Hospital, and fined Rp 200 million but released after strongly protested by Bloggers who also collected money to pay for the fine.

Then there was the case of Vice Chairmen of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) i.e. Chandra Hamzah and Slamet Bibit Rianto who were jailed on charges that are not clear, therefore released after strongly protested by Bloggers.

In this connection I hope that Indonesian Bloggers would use their freedom wisely in accordance with the laws and regulations.

Happy National Blogger's Day.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Restless Papua

The Indonesian part of the Island of Papua has the world's largest Gold and Copper mining operated by PT. Freeport Indonesia as a subsidiary of the multinational company Freeport-McMoran, USA.

The mining operation that began in 1967 has made PT Freeport Indonesia, Freeport-McMoran and some high ranking Indonesian officials very rich.

Unfortunately not many people of Papua enjoyed the Gold and Copper money, many of them are still living in very poor condition, and the infrastructure on the territory are still in poor condition.

The company only thinks about getting as much money as possible, they do not care about the well being of their employees, and do not care about the great destruction that their mining operations have caused to nature.

Due to this facts, on 15 September 2011, the workers of PT. Freeport Indonesia has stop working, and until now they are still negotiating with the company's management for better salary and working conditions.  

Further,  on 19 October days, some groups of people held the third Papua People's Congress in the town of Abepura. Unlike the first two congresses which ended peacefully, this congress was disbanded by the Police because the participants have violated the conditions for holding such congress i.e. they have declared the independence of West Papua, raised the flag of Free Papua Organization, named its President and Prime Minister. Three men died in the clash between the Police and the participants, 600 hundreds others, including university and school students, were arrested, but many of them released soon afterwards.

On 21 October, three men working with the contractor of PT. Freeport Indonesia were shot to death by unknown gunmen.  One week earlier, three workers of PT Freeport Indonesia were shot to death by mysterious group of men.

Yesterday, a chief of Police in the sub-district of Mulia, namely Adjunct Comm. Domingus Awes, was shot to death at the local airport by two unknown men who grabbed his gun and used it to kill him, took the gun and runaway to nearby forest. This was the second killing a Police officer at the same airport this year. On 24 June First Brig. Yazin was shot to death and his firearm was taken away.

The ambush at PT. Freeport's mine is part of a recent string, the first in April left two workers dead and  two others wounded.

In reaction to the above mentioned violence, the central government in Jakarta has deployed extra Police and Military troops to join existing force of 14,000 troops in Papua to maintain security and order.

In my opinion, the never ending violence in Papua is caused by lack of social, economic and legal justice as I have mentioned above. Therefore such violence cannot be calmed merely by sending more Police and Military, but should also be followed by giving a lot much better attention to the people of Papua.

For example by persuading PT Freeport Indonesia to provide salary and working conditions as demanded by its workers, to develop free schools and health facilities, to expedite the developments of infrastructure.

Moreover, the central government, the House of Representatives and law enforcement agencies should do their utmost to show that Indonesia is lead by clean, uncorrupt, unselfish, wise and fair leaders who will properly take care of money collected from all provinces in Indonesia, especially Papua. That way the people of Papua would not felt cheated and therefore willing to be part of Indonesia.

Last but not least, if possible perhaps the central government could start to have talks with the separatist movement in Papua to find a peaceful solution like we have done in Aceh.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Dahlan Iskan - From Reporter to Minister

One of the new Ministers that has been appointed by President SBY last Tuesday is the Minister of State Owned Enterprises i.e. Dahlan Iskan (60).

Dahlan Iskan is a professional, not a politician, who started his carrier as a Reporter of a local newspaper in Samarinda, East Kalimantan in 1975. After that, he moved to the Tempo Magazine in 1976.  From 1982 until now he leads the Jawa Pos Group. And on 23 December 2009 he was appointed as President Director of the state electricity company PT. PLN. 

One extraordinary thing that differentiate Dahlan Iskan from all the government officials is that he refused use all the facilities that the state provide for President Director of PT. PLN. i.e. housing, car, etc.  He preferred to live on his own home, used his own car, etc.

And after he was appointed as Minister he told reporters that if possible he would like to live on his own personal home, use his own car etc., and not use state facilities. WOW!

On the day of his inauguration as Minister, Dahlan Iskan wore sneakers instead of official shoes!

I only hope that the President would fully support Dahlan Iskan in doing his job as the Minister of State Owned Enterprises, a very vital position handling lots of state money dreamed by politicians and political parties, therefore very vulnerable to " disturbances " .

Photo: Wikipedia.