High School Nostalgic

Taking pictures of school kids is like a curse for me. I am a university student; so anything below 10.a.m is early, and 4.30 is 5.5 hours before early! But the two school kids that I was going to meet were more than eager to reach their school early, so lazily I turned off my alarm clock, tidied up my face a bit, and hailed a cab.

It was 6.30 when I finally reached their flat, at the suburb of Singapore. And these two black kids had already waited for me right in front of their door, fully dressed with their rucksacks on their backs. Once they saw me, they wasted no time rushing to leave.

“For Godness sake! They will only be seated at 7.30 and school is just 10 minutes walk from home! What’s the point of rushing now?” I thought, while trying to catch my breath following them. Unlike in Jakarta, my surroundings were still bleaking dark at 6.30, giving me a sense of walking in the heat of the night. But just like any other Singaporeans, the spirit of Kancheong-ness, the fear of losing from others, had overwhelmed them. They walked briskly in silence.

While I sleepily tried to set the correct exposure and hoped that I get the focus right, I let my thought slip, to those good old days. I used to study at a neighbourhood school too, but never in my mind had I ever come earlier than a minute before school starts. My school was at a ‘bicycle –distance’, but I was too spoiled to learn riding it. A friend of mine had a chauffeur driving him to school and me, being a true blue parasite since young, got him pick me up every morning. The only problem was he wasn’t the most efficient person at that time, taking his time in everything he did. So we could only reach school just nice for the first lesson.

I was too rushing to class just like my two little objects in front of me. But that habit was also scrapped, once I was stopped by a friend, in our way to class. She came and hissed, “Sshh..no hurry…relax…” We were both late and were punished to water little plantation at our school. And once I realised that our little flowers were right in front of my handsome senior’s class, we decided that it was more of a grace than a punishment. Besides, the coolest of my junior high school was always late! So routinely we planned to be late, till we stopped talking to each other for ‘personal reason’
I smiled reminiscing those moments while hurriedly catching my two friends, who were way in front of me. We passed a local secondary school, and the boy pointed at it and said, “I wanted to go to this secondary school,” That school was apparently a top secondary school in Singapore and a guarantee for a better future.

Once again I remembered my elementary time, when I could not make it into a good junior high. Nonetheless, I had fun in my junior high time, and still managed to get into a good senior high school. And although I had never taken English seriously during high school, I still made it to a journalism school overseas right after my graduation because the dean of the school thinks that ‘perhaps I could improve somehow, some day’.

Based on my experience, I tried to look wise in front of them, “That’s good, I’m sure you can make it. But even if you don’t, there’s nothing to worry. You just need to work hard and you will gain a place at a good Junior College and a good Uni too!” They looked at me as if I were a moron. Oops! I forgot something; Singapore is not at all a forgiving society. Once you fail, you are doomed to fail for the rest of your life…SO if you’re not a good student now, there is now way you’ll be a good student later. In the next life, perhaps.

We passed a local Junior College later. Full with girls in long skirts and guys with similar hairstyle, I almost screamed. “How ugly students are!” I was right away reminded of how I looked when I was in high school. Unlike ‘normal’ schools where their students can wear nice-fitted uniform, mine was a girls’ convent school where our uniform was always the most out-fashioned-out-of-mode. I almost cried the first day I had to wear a skirt 5 cm under my knees, with a football-player-style socks and the nun’s black-plain-shoes. What worse was my 5kg backpack, together with two little pins to neaten my short hair, and glasses, for I could not wear coloured contact lens then. And looking at hundreds of them thinking they were cool with that outfit for everyone’s dressing the same, I could not stop my nostalgic mood.

I drew closer to their school gate, watching them joking happily before school and gossiping about the guy next to them. Guys weren’t my topic, for our school is a girls-only school. But I could remember that I had fun too, giggling, squeezed in twenty-something people busy copying other’s homework.

Finally I reached their school. I bid them farewell, “Hei, cya again! Have fun in school!” they replied with a cynical smile, waved goodbye and moved towards the school long corridor. I watched them from outside. As they slowly gaining new knowledge in school, they slowly start to grasp the notion of cultures in their society. What matters most, what can make others smile, what is funny and what is scary.

Just like the two kids I had followed the whole morning. They are black kids, born from Tanzanian parents, but having born and studied in Singapore, they learnt to conform to the culture here. They reached school 45 minutes before the school starts just because they were too afraid of getting late, the way Singaporeans are. They attend three extra classes after school (Chinese, English and Math) because they want to secure a place in the best secondary, because if they don’t, they’ll be doomed to be an unskilled worker. And they take those things seriously despite their young age, because those are serious matters for every Singaporean parent.

When I was in Laos and taking pictures of a top school, I could clearly see how this school shapes the new Laotians the way the old Laotians are. Their school is from 7 to 5, but they’ll have break in between, two hours, so that they could return back to their home, having lunch with the whole family, and after that return back to school. Just the way the society always appreciate communality and not so much on efficiency…And just how Laos tries to highlight the importance in relationship with China, those kids start to see how important Chinese is, through daily rigorous Chinese lessons.

High School Nostalgic

Taking pictures of school kids is like a curse for me. I am a university student; so anything below 10.a.m is early, and 4.30 is 5.5 hours before early! But the two school kids that I was going to meet were more than eager to reach their school early, so lazily I turned off my alarm clock, tidied up my face a bit, and hailed a cab.

It was 6.30 when I finally reached their flat, at the suburb of Singapore. And these two black kids had already waited for me right in front of their door, fully dressed with their rucksacks on their backs. Once they saw me, they wasted no time rushing to leave.

“For Godness sake! They will only be seated at 7.30 and school is just 10 minutes walk from home! What’s the point of rushing now?” I thought, while trying to catch my breath following them. Unlike in Jakarta, my surroundings were still bleaking dark at 6.30, giving me a sense of walking in the heat of the night. But just like any other Singaporeans, the spirit of Kancheong-ness, the fear of losing from others, had overwhelmed them. They walked briskly in silence.

While I sleepily tried to set the correct exposure and hoped that I get the focus right, I let my thought slip, to those good old days. I used to study at a neighbourhood school too, but never in my mind had I ever come earlier than a minute before school starts. My school was at a ‘bicycle –distance’, but I was too spoiled to learn riding it. A friend of mine had a chauffeur driving him to school and me, being a true blue parasite since young, got him pick me up every morning. The only problem was he wasn’t the most efficient person at that time, taking his time in everything he did. So we could only reach school just nice for the first lesson.

I was too rushing to class just like my two little objects in front of me. But that habit was also scrapped, once I was stopped by a friend, in our way to class. She came and hissed, “Sshh..no hurry…relax…” We were both late and were punished to water little plantation at our school. And once I realised that our little flowers were right in front of my handsome senior’s class, we decided that it was more of a grace than a punishment. Besides, the coolest of my junior high school was always late! So routinely we planned to be late, till we stopped talking to each other for ‘personal reason’
I smiled reminiscing those moments while hurriedly catching my two friends, who were way in front of me. We passed a local secondary school, and the boy pointed at it and said, “I wanted to go to this secondary school,” That school was apparently a top secondary school in Singapore and a guarantee for a better future.

Once again I remembered my elementary time, when I could not make it into a good junior high. Nonetheless, I had fun in my junior high time, and still managed to get into a good senior high school. And although I had never taken English seriously during high school, I still made it to a journalism school overseas right after my graduation because the dean of the school thinks that ‘perhaps I could improve somehow, some day’.

Based on my experience, I tried to look wise in front of them, “That’s good, I’m sure you can make it. But even if you don’t, there’s nothing to worry. You just need to work hard and you will gain a place at a good Junior College and a good Uni too!” They looked at me as if I were a moron. Oops! I forgot something; Singapore is not at all a forgiving society. Once you fail, you are doomed to fail for the rest of your life…SO if you’re not a good student now, there is now way you’ll be a good student later. In the next life, perhaps.

We passed a local Junior College later. Full with girls in long skirts and guys with similar hairstyle, I almost screamed. “How ugly students are!” I was right away reminded of how I looked when I was in high school. Unlike ‘normal’ schools where their students can wear nice-fitted uniform, mine was a girls’ convent school where our uniform was always the most out-fashioned-out-of-mode. I almost cried the first day I had to wear a skirt 5 cm under my knees, with a football-player-style socks and the nun’s black-plain-shoes. What worse was my 5kg backpack, together with two little pins to neaten my short hair, and glasses, for I could not wear coloured contact lens then. And looking at hundreds of them thinking they were cool with that outfit for everyone’s dressing the same, I could not stop my nostalgic mood.

I drew closer to their school gate, watching them joking happily before school and gossiping about the guy next to them. Guys weren’t my topic, for our school is a girls-only school. But I could remember that I had fun too, giggling, squeezed in twenty-something people busy copying other’s homework.

Finally I reached their school. I bid them farewell, “Hei, cya again! Have fun in school!” they replied with a cynical smile, waved goodbye and moved towards the school long corridor. I watched them from outside. As they slowly gaining new knowledge in school, they slowly start to grasp the notion of cultures in their society. What matters most, what can make others smile, what is funny and what is scary.

Just like the two kids I had followed the whole morning. They are black kids, born from Tanzanian parents, but having born and studied in Singapore, they learnt to conform to the culture here. They reached school 45 minutes before the school starts just because they were too afraid of getting late, the way Singaporeans are. They attend three extra classes after school (Chinese, English and Math) because they want to secure a place in the best secondary, because if they don’t, they’ll be doomed to be an unskilled worker. And they take those things seriously despite their young age, because those are serious matters for every Singaporean parent.

When I was in Laos and taking pictures of a top school, I could clearly see how this school shapes the new Laotians the way the old Laotians are. Their school is from 7 to 5, but they’ll have break in between, two hours, so that they could return back to their home, having lunch with the whole family, and after that return back to school. Just the way the society always appreciate communality and not so much on efficiency…And just how Laos tries to highlight the importance in relationship with China, those kids start to see how important Chinese is, through daily rigorous Chinese lessons.

And when I looked back to my school time, thinking about those nasty pinch on my legs during my elementary time because I think it’s better for young girls to wear short skirts…escaped from Jesus’ cross trail, which was a punishment for get caught switching room during my junior high 3-days retreat…And catching a 25 minutes sleep inside a shuttle bus that picked me up at 5.25 a.m. to my high school, despite having my math teacher on the front seat warned me of the coming math test, in a few minutes time…

I had to say I learnt to grasp the hard time and trouble most Jakarta citizens do. But just like them, I’ve learnt to find enjoyment in each and every bit of it.

I looked back at that row of schools. I would not wish to turn back the clock for those early mornings I had to endure. But when I think about it, I had to say, schooling in Jakarta ain’t that bad….

*Few samples of early morning pictures are in the Morning Glory photo folder*

Chincya Lawra

Gue mau ngikut2 infotainment ahh..biasanya klo suaranya Cinta kedengeran di tv gue, sontak satu kluarga, termasuk bapak gue langsung menyimak dengan serius semua remark2nya. Fake accentnya dan kata-katanya yang kontroversial itu lantas jadi inspirasi kami di hari-hari mendatang, seperti « Seshudah lulhus dhari NThU nanthi mharghie maw ambhil masther dhi UKhey or dhi State. Khalaw dhi UKhe mhaunya di Oxford… » Nahh..dengan ngebahas chincya, gue berharap blog gue pun jadi laku ibarat Cek & Ricek lantaran semua penggemar dan pembenci chincya tertarik membaca… Lagian kaeknya ringan aja dibahas, ga pake mikir..hihihi…

Shemuya Orhang thau chinchya ithyu tidhak bishya bhahashya indhoneshia dhengan bhenar. Shemuya jugha thau bhahwha chincya shyering munchul denghan comment yhang tidhak tephat, spherti mhau bhelajar bhahasha indonesya dhi austhralia, jhelas-jhelas di austhralia pemhakhai bhahasha indhonnya tidhak sebhyak di jakhartha.

Dan cara ngomongnya yang seperti diatas itu telah memicu berbagai cacian, kutukan dan sumpahan, yg makin lama semakin kejam dan keji. Coba aja cek forum2 youtube, komentar berbau sex, bahkan sampe bawa-bawa alat kelamin ditujukan kepada cinta laura. Semakin dicaci semakin dihujat, popularitas cinta malah makin naik, buktinya dia masuk nominasi panasonic award sebagai artis TERFAVORIT !!, membuat gue semakin meragukan kredibiltas award yg satu ini.

Ada konspirasi, justru dengan rajam batu kata2 itu si cinta makin populer. Maklum, bangsa ini suka membela yan lemah. Contohnya aja temen gue, si oknum R. Dari pertama-tamanya ngikutin cara ngomong cinta sampai gue eneg sendiri, beliau tiba2 protes, « Mar, kenapa sih orang2 tuh pada tega banget ngata2in cinta laura ? Kayaknya kasar gitu…kan kasian anaknya… » dengan tatapan menuduh penuh protes lansung gue serang, « Loe nge-fans beneran ya sama Cinta Laura ? »

“Ahh..enggak…maksud gue, emang sih nyebelin, tapi masa ampe segitunya, kaek ga ada masalah yang lebih penting aja…masalah kaya gini lah diurusin…” ujarnya malu2.

Tanpa mengurangi rasa setuju gue terhadap oknum R (Emang kadang-kadang comment orang2 itu rada ngeri juga sih…kesannya ga intelek gitu…), somehow gue bisa ngerti kenapa khalayak banyak bangsa Indonesia itu bisa segitu sewotnya sama Cinta Laura…kaeknya emang lebih dari masalah anak ABG dengan American accent super kental yg mengganggu bangsa ini…
Hampir 63 tahun setelah Indonesia merdeka, kenyataannya warga Indonesia masi aja dilanda penjajahan, baik dalam bentuk budaya maupun ekonomi. Coba aja bolak balik majalah Indo, hampir semua model, pemain sinetron, pembawa acara dari gossip sampai berita adalah makluk campuran bangsa barat, minimal Middle East. Tampang Puteri Indonesia kita aja ga beda sama Putri Jerman. Seinget gue, artis asli indo yang bener2 ngetop itu Desy Ratnasari sama Nike Ardila, itupun entah kemana sekarang… Cantiknya bangsa barat jadi yang paling cantik; kulit putih susu, mata besar biru dan tinggi badan 170 keatas. Padahal kagak ada akarnya di gen orang Indo untuk punya kulit warnanya putih pink gitu, paling banter kuning langsat!

Di luar itu, hampir di semua bidang apapun yg dari barat itu jadi yang Wah dan Waw. barang made-in-luar negeri Jelas lebih berkualitas…klo liat turis bule uda pikirannya tajirrrrr aja, ga peduli klo ternyata die nginepnya di jalan jaksa aja. Oom dan tante gue yang ada turunan Belandanya kagak pernah disuruh bayar duluan kalau makan bakmi gajah mada. Mereka bakal mesen dulu…makan kenyang…ngobrol2…terus setelah puas manggil masnya buat minta bon, dapet bon, bayar, dan cabut! Jangan harap orang seperti gue yang kulitnya kuning coklat bisa dapet perlakuan seperti itu. Layaknya rakyat jelata, gue harus bayar dimuka, jauh sebelum pangsit gue dateng. Padahal gue mampu bayar tak kurang se-sen-pun dari tante gue yang rambutnya pirang.

Rupanya 350 tahun dijajah Belanda bener2 bikin kita semua terpatri dengan sistem strata sosial mereka, 1. Belanda, 2. Asia yang lainnya, 3. Bumiputra. Dan kita bakal selalu jadi warga Negara kelas tiga, bahkan di bumi sendiri, bahkan setelah merdeka.

Apa hubungannya sama Cinchya?

Pas pertama gue ngeliat en ngedener CIncha, gue langsung terkenang nostalgia film2 tempo doeloe tentang si Pitung melawan Kumpeni. Ngedenegr gaya ngomong cinhya yang arogan en bahasa indonya ancur bgt ini, ibarat ngedenger kumpeni ngomong, “Khamu orhang thau dhimana si phitung?”

Cinta hadir sebagai penjajah era reformasi. Anak ABG blasteran yang sekolah di sekolah internasional dan mengalahkan bahasa Indonesia demi bahasa inggris yg flawless. Anak umur 13 tahun yang menurut banyak orang ga tau apa2, yang menganggap bahasa Indonesia segitu ga kerennya sehingga tidak perlu dipelajari secara mendalam. Seseorang yang dengan frontalnya menyatakan bahwa KAMU yang harus ngerti saya, bukan SAYA yang harus belajar supaya bisa dimengerti.

Mengapa bukannya ngomong Bahasa inggris dengan aksen Indo, malah aksen indonya yang dikalahin? Kenapa setelah bertaun-taun di Indo, cinta tetep ga sudi ngomong indo dengan benar? Apa pembantunya, abang tukang bakso, mbak2 supermarket bisa ngerti dia ngomong apa? Apa bahasa kita kurang layak dipelajari dan digunakan dengan benar seperti bahasa inggris junjungannya?

Dan di dalam hati semua penonton infotainment…sadar ga sadar, muncul rasa kesel dan benci, sebuah perasaaan yang sama seperti perasaan rakyat terjajah…”Budaya kita kelas 2! BUdaya kita ga penting!” dan lebih parah lagi ketika melihat Cinta makin laris, sama seperti perasaan rakyat jaman Ki Hajar Dewantara melihat Belanda bisa pesta pora dengan hasil tanam paksa tanah jajahan. “Kamu nyari duit di Indo, kamu kaya karena sinetron indo! Tapi sombongnya setengah mati ! “

Agak mirip dengan kejadian di Singapur sini beberapa bulan yang lalu. Sebuah video tentang penarik rickshaw tua yang dibully 3 turis bule dipost di youtube. Sontak banyak orang yang mengutuk kejadian itu. Tapi dari pertama2nya cuma protes akan perlakuan tidak manusiawi si turis mabok itu, comment pun berkembang jadi mencela2 bangsa bule seluruhnya. Usut punya usut, bangsa Singapura ini uda blenek banget sama tindakan seenak2nya bangsa kulit putih, dan perlakuan serba istimewa yang mereka dapatkan. Gosipnya orang bule itu gajinya jauh lebi gede dari orang local, meski kualifikasinya sama, plus dapet condo mewah dan langganan country club. Gayanya juga paling petentengan, mabok seenak2nya, tereak2 seenak2nya, memperlakukan orang asia, juga seenaknya. Gregetan..tapi ga tau bisa protes dimana.,..begitu video ini kluar, langsunglah segala uneg2 dikeluarkan!

Orang bilang Negara itu bentukan manusia. Lebih parahnya lagi, Indonesia itu baru tersebut Indonesia setelah dijajah Belanda. Sebelumnya ya Majapahit..Sriwijaya… Tetapi sama seperti agama juga tradisinya bentukan manusia tapi bisa bikin orang gontok2an, identitas bangsa itu uda nempel sama kita2 juga, seberapa modernnya kita. Dan ketika bahasa, bagian dari identitas bangsa itu dianggep ga penting sama cinta laura, alat kelamin pun dibawa.

Gue sih cuma seneng aja ngomong ala dia, untuk menghibur anak2 NTU yang uda jarang nonton gosip. Tapi gue juga ga nge-fans at all sama Cinta Laura, simply karena gue ga ngliat nilai lebihnya ni anak. Diluar tampang yang menurut gue juga Cuma menang bule aja, aktingnya standard, bisa bahasa juga Cuma 1, inggris doang. Ngomong bahasa indo kaek gitu mah itungannya ga Bilingual…

Seandainya Cinta mau diterima dan disayang dia harus ikut aturan; kalau ngomong pake bahasa orang, ngomonglah dengan benar. Sama kalau di Amrik kita terpaksa pake American slang, hargailah bahasa Indonesia. Bicaralah dengan aksen Indo yang benar. Tapi Cinta toh ga ambil pusing. Klo kumpeni menghargai jajahan, bisa expire masa kejayaannya. Sama mungkin Cinta ga bakal terkenal kalau ga bego gitu bahasa indonya.