“Dedicated to everyone who wonders if I’m writing about them. I am.”

I feel called out by this anonymous quote I found one day on Pinterest. It is the truth, after all, I am constantly writing about them.

About the kids that I grew up with whose presence in my life now is nothing but a few Instagram notifications from time to time.

About the girl that I low-key looked up to in middle school.

About the old friends and the almost-friends and the ex-friends that I wished I talked more with.

About the strangers that I only met a couple of times whose life stories are still etched in my memory.

And about so many others who I have met in my short 16 years of living.

Real-life mundane, often overlooked, stories always fascinate me. I believe that there is always beauty in every small interaction and conversation. In the way that our eyes lit up when hearing our friend’s stories. In the faint smile and subtle signs of contentment. Even in the knowledge that hundreds of people we meet every day each have their own lives to live, their own stories to tell.

Small moments always hold the most value, even if we don’t realize it at first.

And I always love to capture these stories and moments in my writings. I enjoy remembering overheard whispers and conversations while trying to guess or make up my version of what happened there. I like interpreting faces and gestures, attempting to figure out what kind of person they are. And I especially love to imagine alternative endings to real-life situations I experienced or heard of. This is why I started the Conversation series so that I could have a space where I could share these –hopefully somewhat relatable– semi-fictional stories. 

The first –and currently the only one I have published (Conversation #1: A Girl in Her Shadow)– is about several different girls that I have compared myself with ever since I started becoming a teenager. Some of them I have never even talked with, and one of them I’d consider as an almost-friend who I had an “I don’t like you” and “I want to be just like you” complicated relationship with. It might sound silly, especially because I don’t communicate with any of them at all these days. But in this story, I combined them all into a character referred to as her, and I imagined myself being honest with her while also coming to terms with all the self-comparison I did to myself.

So, I guess, consider this post as an introduction to what kind of writing I’m going to publish more in this blog. Of course, there would still be book reviews here and there and occasional stories about some of my experiences. But also expect more of these semi-fiction pieces and personal reflections, where I will be writing stories inspired by people I know in real life (and yes, it might be about you :D). 

It’s Okay Not to Be Okay

A feature article (Year 10 English Acquisition assignment) for Sekolah Cikal Surabaya Student Council‘s Bilik Ekspresi Program.

It was 11 pm when Sarah, who was already half-asleep, nearly jolted awake due to what she guessed were the 10th intrusive thoughts she had that night. From school-related anxiety to an existential crisis. The number of things her mind can worry about is endless. Yet she doesn’t know how to stop it either. Hence, sleep deprivation has somehow become a habit for her lately.

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To Grow Up is To Embrace Uncertainties

As I got older, birthdays that were once full of hope and dreams turned into a day full of anxieties that only reminded me more and more of the uncertainties of life. The hope and dreams were still there. But there were also lingering feelings of disappointment whenever I realized that my childhood birthday dreams would continue to be just that. A dream. A past expectation stuck in my memory. A reminder of how I wish everything could have been.

So for the past week, I have been asking myself. Am I going to let this disappointment wash over me on every future birthday I’m going to have? Am I going to let my future birthdays be ruined because of the anxieties I have about my uncertain future?

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“Malu Bertanya Sesat di Jalan”, Cukupkah Pepatah Ini?

Sejak kecil, satu kalimat yang selalu muncul dalam kertas ujian, dalam buku pelajaran bahasa, dan terus digaungkan oleh guru di masa TK dan SD adalah:

“Malu bertanya, sesat di jalan.”

Pepatah ini tentu baik artinya. Mengajarkan kita untuk tidak segan bertanya atau mencari bantuan orang lain ketika sedang menghadapi persoalan.

Tapi pepatah ini seharusnya tidak menyebabkan misinterpretasi yang akan berdampak tidak diinginkan pada murid, atau siapapun yang menggunakannya. Sebagai contoh, apakah melontarkan pertanyaan itu harus selalu didahulukan? Ataukah ada hal lain yang seharusnya bisa lebih dulu diupayakan untuk mendapat informasi?

Continue reading ““Malu Bertanya Sesat di Jalan”, Cukupkah Pepatah Ini?”

StudyTube Culture: Discouraging or Motivating?

study hour 1 | Free stock photos - Rgbstock - Free stock images | lusi |  January - 29 - 2010 (273)

As much as YouTube is usually used for entertainment purposes, there has been a new subgenre in the YouTube community that defies from that stereotype, called StudyTube. Just like the name suggested, these StudyTubers exclusively make content related to studying and education.

Within this genre, you may expect an abundance of study tips and methods videos, alongside ‘study with me’ videos, which is a long video (some reach 4 / 5 hours or more) of people studying, and stationary hauls, ‘journal with me’ videos, and many more. These are basically the types of video StudyTubers makes over and over again, or perhaps with some variation of vlogs and routines videos. Whatever it is, videos they make not only attempt to encourage productivity, they also romanticize and make studying as a part of their identity.

Continue reading “StudyTube Culture: Discouraging or Motivating?”

Passion vs. Expectation | Dead Poets Society (1989)

The movie; “Dead Poets Society”, is a must watch classic. The story is about Mr. Keating, a literature teacher, who taught his students about how important it is to ‘seize the day’ and think for themselves. Although they’re in a conservative highschool that defy those kinds of mindset.

Screenshot 2020-07-05 at 12.50.36 PM

Personally I discovered this movie several months ago. And I was immediately attracted to the fact that the story feels very relatable and honest in portraying the truth behind our education system. Even when I’m watching this years after its release.

Before I continue, I will warn you that there will be major spoilers of the movie. So unless you’re fine with it, I think it is better for you to watch it first.

Continue reading “Passion vs. Expectation | Dead Poets Society (1989)”

Coronavirus and Our Mindfulness Towards Others

Even if you don’t get sick, the choices you make about where you go could be the difference between life and death for someone else.

– Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,
Director-General of the World Health Organization

During these uncertain times, it’s not a rare sight for us to see tons of news about the Coronavirus pandemic regularly. We see hundreds of people getting infected. We see countries that are forced to do a lockdown. Added with the large amount of schools, offices, and other public spaces that are continuously shutting down.

These significant changes everyone is facing can feel somewhat surreal. In result, almost everyone began to panic over the pandemic. Which I don’t necessarily blame by itself. But sometimes, these uncontrolled panic may cause a whole new set of problems.

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A Reflection of “Bhineka Tunggal Ika”

The sayings “Bhineka Tunggal Ika” has been Indonesia’s motto for years, they say. Implying how despite all of the differences in terms of religion, tribe, and race in this country, it will always last as one. A unity in diversity.

But the status quo is clearly different. With the discrimination happened over these past years, isn’t it just showing how people in Indonesia could not fully understand the motto our ancestors has passed to us?

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