[Video] The Paradox of Our Time

I watched this amazing closing video from AIESEC several months ago, and yesterday when I looked around my collections, I found it again. I think this video is one that has a really good message and fact (paradox & irony) of life that we often forget, or for more accurate, ignore. I think this video represent the aim and nature of AIESEC, as well as most of us should be. Oya, after I googled it, I found the famous complete version (which some said written by Dr. Bob Moorehead not George Carlin) and here I present you both the video and the words:

VIDEO

In Paradox of Our Time In History

is that we have taller buildings,

but shorter tempers;

wider freeways,

but narrower viewpoints;

we spend more, but have less;

we buy more, but enjoy it less.

We have bigger houses,

with smaller families;

more conveniences, but less time;

we have more experts, but more problems;

more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, 

laugh too little, drive too fast, get angry too quickly, 

stay up too late, get up too tired, read too seldom, 

watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions,

but reduced our values.

We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We have learn how how to make a living,

but not a life;

We have added years to life,

but not life to our years;

We have been all the way to the moon and back,

but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor.

We have conquered outer space, 

but not inner space;

we have down larger things, 

but not better things.

We have cleaned up the air,

but polluted the soul;

We have split the atom,

but not our prejudice.

We write more, but learn less;

we plan more but accomplish less.

We have learned to rush, but not to wait;

we have higher incomes, but lower morals;

we have more food, but less appeasement

we build more computers to hold more information to produce more copies than ever,

but have less communication;

we have become long on quantity,

but short on quality.

These are times of fast foods and slow digestion;

tall men and short character;

steep profits and shallow relationships.

These are times of world peace

but domestic warfare;

more leisure, but less fun;

more kinds of food, but less nutrition;

These are the times of two incomes,

but more divorce;

of fancier houses, but broken homes.

These are days of quick trips,

disposable diapers, throw away morality,

one-night stands, overweight bodies,

and pills that do everything from cheer to quiet to kill.

It is a time when there is much in the show window

and nothing in the stockroom;

a time when technology has brought this letter to you,

and a time when you can choose either to make a difference,

or to just hit delete…

AIESEC’s ending version:

This is a time when technology can bring this story to you;

and you can choose whether to make a difference or ignore it.

By being here you have already made the first step

You’re not ignoring the world around you

but engaging with it.

You want to learn

and expand your view of the world.

So that’s why you’re here,

Investing in your future.

All of us united under this desire to learn about how we can make a difference.

So welcome, one and all to…

AIESEC

Often we heard and know the fact about that even the smallest act sometimes can change a lot. But do we really understand and engage in it. Sometimes doing all of these alone is not enough, but knowing there’re thousands of people out there that has this kind of awareness really help me to actually act upon the quote. What about you?

[Photo] [AIESEC] Exchange Fair 2012

Yesterday I went to ITB to visit one of AIESEC main event this term, which was exchange fair. There were lots of booths from various countries which not only displayed unique goods, but also traditional foods. I don’t remember all the countries that participated, but I think I visited Poland, Thailand, Turkey, and China’s booths (I’m sure there’re other though). Beside that, TBI (english course) also open a booth while offering special discount for registration fee. There were also several talkshows, though I only managed to attend one (my mom want to go somewhere else.. haha). And… these are the photos of the event:

 

[Photo] Photo Journalism – Pasar Induk Caringin @Ramadan

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These are the photos that I took about several months ago for one of my final project at basic photography class. The assignment required me to do journalism photography for an event which happened on those 2 weeks. The event was happened at Pasar Induk Caringin, Bandung, Indonesia.

The Price of Oppressing Your Woman

Just reading an article about the price of oppressing woman in one country. In her writing, Naomi Wolf (a political activist and social critic whose most recent book is Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries), wrote about how a recent Newsweek arcticle listed the best and worst places to be a woman, and explained the disadvantages of the oppression. First we are showed that there seems to be two different world in woman’s world. The first is the “Best Places to be a Woman”, which is Iceland and the Scandinavian countries, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Canada. And in those countries; plus several other like US (women are out-earning men in college degrees), Turkey (domestic abusers are being banned from their homes and tracked with electronic monitors), Denmark and Australia (female prime ministers are being elected); woman can life comfortably, or at least not have to fear too much about their life and thus they can develop themselves. This means, they can give something to their family and also their country, resulting in economic and education growth.

On the other hand, there are still “The Worst Places in the World to be Woman“. In Chad, the worst of the worst, women have “almost no legal rights”, and girls as young as ten are legally married off, which is also true in Niger, the seventh worst place for a woman. Most women in Mali – the fifth worst – have been traumatised by female genital mutilation. In Democratic Republic of Congo, 1,100 women are raped every day. In Yemen, you are free to beat your wife whenever you like.

I have to say that this is not something new to most of us. Many people and organizations already working on the issue. But one thing that have to make us think is this:

But the data in the Newsweek list show that we need to frame this issue in stronger, more sweeping terms: When poor countries choose to oppress their own women, they are to some extent choosing their own continued poverty. Female oppression is a moral issue; but it also must be seen as a choice that countries make for short-term “cultural” comfort, at the expense of long-term economic and social progress.

It is not politically correct to attribute any share of very poor countries’ suffering to their own decisions. But it is condescending to refuse to hold many of them partly responsible for their own plight. Obviously, the legacy of colonialism – widespread hunger, illiteracy, lack of property or legal recourse, and vulnerability to state violence – is a major factor in their current poverty. But how can we blame that legacy while turning a blind eye to a kind of colonialism against women in these same countries’ private homes and public institutions?

Even though I’m a huge fan of culture (especially since I live in Indonesia where there is so many amazing culture that are wasted), I couldn’t really say this is what culture is. My love to culture is based on my greediness (or some call it stinginess, haha) that I feel poking me when seeing something so beautiful and have no substitute began to decease. But, this thing, this is not only ugly, but also very stupid. As Hilary Clinton, US secretary of state said, “The world needs to think more strategically and creatively about tapping into women’s potential for growth. Studies show that helping woman access trade and grow businesses helps create jobs and boost incomes.

After all, like Naomi Wolf said:

If you are not innumerate, you can start a business. If you are not living in mortal fear of rape and beatings at home, you can organise your community to dig a new well. If you are not subjecting your daughter to traumatic genital injury at three and marrying her off at ten, she can go to school. And, when she does marry and has children of her own, they will benefit from two educated, employed parents, which means twice as much literate conversation in the home, twice the contacts, and twice the encouragement to succeed. Educated, pushy mothers make all the difference

The “surprise” on Newsweek list confirm that educating woman costs economic prosperity. Many countries with histories of colonialism and other forms of tyranny, as well as countries without abundant natural resources, have chosen to educate women and grant them legal rights. Some continue to struggle economically, but none is abjectly poor – and some are booming. Think of China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brazil, South Korea, and Turkey.

The low status of women on Planet Worst cannot be blamed on cultural stasis: Many of the “surprise” countries – Romania, Portugal, the Philippines, and India – treated women far more unequally a mere 50-100 years ago. In Pakistan, marital rape is not illegal today, and there are 800 honor killings a year. What kind of economic boom might stagnating Pakistan enjoy if patriarchy relaxed its grip?

But on Planet Worst, forcing terrified, uneducated women to remain at home is more socially acceptable than facing the fact that this means choosing to drag down incomes for everyone. It is time to stop tiptoeing around the poorest countries’ responsibility to do something essential about their own plight: Emancipate their women.

Note: In the article, Naomi Wolf and several commentators make comment about Islam and veil, but I won’t go there because I do not see religion as culture. Though I have to agree if someone told me that sometimes religion “forced” the native culture fading away. Something that happened a lot in Indonesia and I have to cry upon that.

Here is the Naomi Wolf’s article: http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/10/2011102133713539233.html

Discussion of National Insight

Last saturday, 27 November 2010, I went to Gedung Balai Pengelolaan Taman Budaya Jabar to watch “Dialog Wawasan Kebangsaan”. It was quite surprised that the seats were almost full (despite the fact that it was free). Glad to know that Indonesian people had the appreciation to this kind of things. The even was opened by some performances. The first one was from CCLB which sang 3 songs (2 of them,Braga Stone & Lawan, wrote by Iman Soleh). Honestly, I didn’t really like their songs, especially the first one, since they were similar to light rock (well, maybe it’s about taste). Not to mention that the pronunciations were very unclear, that’s why I didn’t really caught what they said (or sang). But what I got from the Lawan was it’s a song to encourage the small people (farmers, fishers, teachers, and drivers) to fight the unfair situations. However, I have to admit that the voice was quite good.

After that, there was an introduction of the sources & the guests. They were Tarman Azzam, Dicky Chandra, Rani Permata, Pa Happy from IPENSI, Rudi Robotika from UNIKOM, and also some representation from PSB (Paguyuban Sapedah Baheula), woman polices, and many more. The host himself was Kang Deden, who made this even together with social ministers.
The second performance was from Karinding Sasaka from Lembang, who brought us 2 songs, the opening song, and Beren or Lamping. Beren talked about the changing of the environments. I actually prefer this one than the first. It’s really amazing that here, in Indonesia, what seems to be simple music instruments, can be so beautiful. And it also very “original”.
Two ex-street singers of “88 kilometers”, also gave their performances. They made the audiences amused by guitar and violin. The first song was western one, and the other one was Indonesia Raya. Here, I released how the music performances really effect their audiences. For every performance, with their own uniqueness, different responses were given. For CCLB, the audiences felt more energy and they could song along with the band and sometime even make little screams. When Karinding Sasaka’s performance, the audience were enjoy the music quietly. And in the third performance, the responses were between CCLB and Karinding Sasaka. Quite calm but with more energy.
After these 3 performances, the audiences were asked to stand up and sang Indonesia Raya with Indonesia’s Flag in front of us. Thus the welcome speeches were given by Nur Soleh and Mr. Suyoto. Mr. Nur Soleh from social minister, mentioned about the disappearance of national identity in Indonesia, especially after reform era. This, he said, was really dangerous because Indonesia has many potentials to fall apart. The territory which is archipelago, the diversity or variety of religions, ethnicities, and cultures, and also the number of regions which are bordering with other countries. Especially for the provinces that were closer to other countries than Indonesia’s central government, lots of them know other’s flag and national songs, than ours. This, he said, because we always treated them as “backyard” not “frontyard” and paid almost no attention to them. And when he went there and asked them whether they want to be other country citizen, they spontaneity and fluently said yes. They saw hope and welfare there. So his conclusion was the one who made Indonesia territory become smaller and smaller was our own government, not other country’s. As for Mr. Suyoto’s speech, it was almost the same as Mr. Nur’s.
Bilik Kreatif Bandung, gave us performance after that. They brought lot’s of “drums” and “sticks”. Their performance was quite unique, since though it seems disorganized and disheveled, in the truth it had its own order, and could amuse audience through that.
A video about the responses of Indonesian people to some questions was played. The first question was “Are you proud to be Indonesian? Why?”. Most of them said they were proud with their own reasons (But none of them said it was because they are Indonesian they can become what they are). For the unproud, one of the reason was because they didn’t feel free, though Indonesia already independent.
The second question was “What do you remember about Indonesia?”. The funny thing is even though most of them said they were proud of Indonesia, but what they remembered about it was desultory, corruptions, disasters (both natural and human made), poverty, lack of accomplishment, debt, and unfairness. Almost none of them mention any good thing.
Then, when the questions “What is nationality for you?” and “What is national insight?”, almost all of them couldn’t answer. What I got from them was they care more about their income than that question (Of course most of the people like that, not just the “small” people). And this also related to the last question, which was “What is your hope for Indonesia?”. Out of crisis, independence, many job opportunities, safeness, prosperous, and the changing in the nation even though there should be a cuts in generation, were their answers.
When the video was finished, then the discussion was started, with Tarman Azzam, Dicky Chandra, Rani Permata, Pa Happy from IPENSI, Rudi Robotika from UNIKOM as sources. Unfortunately, I didn’t watch it until the end, because I had to go home at 9.30pm (the even was until almost 11pm).
The sources were gave their own opinion of what national insight was. The first answer was from Tarman Azzam. He said that it was an understanding of how to live as a nation. As for Nusantara’s insight, it was how to live in one territory (which was Nusantara). He chose America as the example of unity in identity. American people came from many nations, but they just “know” 1 word, which was “America”. Then he mentioned the different of Indonesia’s government and PBB’s point of view. For our government, people can be called as poor, when their income was below 1 dollar a day, but for PBB, wherever you live, when your income was below 2 dollars a day, you were poor. Accordingly, for PBB, there were about 109 millions people who were poor in Indonesia.
The second answer was from Dicky Chandra. He said that the more you know someone, the more love you would fell. This also stand for nation. Thus, he called Indonesia as Ibu Pertiwi and said that no matter how bad our “mother” was, we still had to be proud and love her (he forgot to mention that especially we had “mother” which was far from bad).
Then his wife, Rani Permata, was expected to be the third person answer the question. But before she answered, the host asked her about the experience as the wife of vice regent (bupati?). Then she talk about a woman, named Raden Ayu Lasminingrat who she though should have to be national heroine. She was the one who wrote Carita Erman, Warna Sari I, & Warna Sari II. She also the founder of Kautamaan Istri school. She lived for 105 years. Then some other sources also mentioned that they were trying to make the appropriate person to be national heros, and this year from 10 persons that they suggested, 2 was approved (both from East of Indonesia).
After that, the representation of PSB got his turn. He said that he was disappointed by the people in video who said they were not proud of Indonesia. And he also mentioned how every 10 November, the one who go on a pilgrimage was (or it looked like that) only them (people from PSB). And he also said that it’s better if we didn’t think that sea was separate Indonesia, but unity it.
The fifth answer was came from Mr. Happy, as the representation of IPENSI. He said that we had to have positive thinking through our nation, not just criticizes it. Build a society that has no power with culture.
As for Rudi from UNIKOM, hard work was his start point. And for him, every dream can be reach trough it.

I’m a Special Woman

Several days ago, I read an article titles ‘Helen Castor on Queens and Power’. It’s an interview about powerful woman historical role in politic, especially in Britain. There, she chose several books as the topic of discussion. The first one is a biography of the 12th-century Empress Matilda by Marjorie Chibnall which is (as she said) a wonderful piece of authoritative medieval history. Here she stated, “we often imagine that historical developments are more linear than they really are”. And I have to agree. For me history is always like curve, there had to be time when one civilization reached their golden era where art, beauty, literature, and other knowledge were well known by the people. Then at that time, they were no barbarian anymore and started to leave their military power. Consequently, when people from other civilization that still in the barbaric mind-seat attacked, it was conquered easily. So then the high civilization fall apart, and they have to start again from the bottom. However, the ‘attack’ doesn’t always has to be physical, it could also be concept, particularly religion.

The second book she chose was John Guy’s My Heart Is My Own. This is about an even better known queen, Mary, Queen of Scots. And the third one is the queen of historical biographers, Antonia Fraser, with The Weaker Vessel. Here she told us why she chose this instead of The Warrior Queen, which is much more obviously about queens and power, and is a great book as well. Also then the question lead us to two powerful British women, Margaret Thatcher and Elizabeth I. And I found a beautiful statement that made me have to rethink what I always believe:

People often say, “Well, these problems can be overcome – look at Elizabeth I or Margaret Thatcher.” But what those two women both did was not say, “Women can rule, women can hold power.” They both said, “Yes, OK, most women are pretty feeble, but I am a special woman.”

See what I mean? That sentence really hit me right as a feminist. And here I also adding the interview about a soon-to-be-released book titled Erotic Capital: The Power of Attraction in the Boardroom and the Bedroom by Catherine Hakim. It’s about why women should be using their sex appeal to get ahead. (http://www.slate.com/id/2302762/pagenum/1).

The forth book is Monuments and Maidens by Marina Warner, which is more about the symbolism of women than actual historical figures. Here she was asked about how does this feed into her idea of power. This is her fabulous answer:

What’s so interesting is the way in which, in our culture, female figures become a vessel for abstract ideas. It’s interesting, too, that Antonia Fraser’s book has that word in its title. So the figures of justice, victory and liberty, for example, are all female. And Marina Warner comments in her conclusion that, “Meanings of all kinds flow through the figures of women, and they often do not include who she herself is.” In other words, the difficulty for women is agency; it’s doing something and being an actor in the narrative. Being an abstract embodiment is what women can do much more easily in our culture, which is why I think having queens now works quite well – because monarchs are required to be, rather than to do. But if you go back to the 16th century, monarchs had to rule – and that was where it became much more difficult for women to take that role.

Last book is Ernst Kantorowicz’s The King’s Two Bodies, which is all about medieval political theory and explores the idea of the divine right of kings. This time she said about the different between the impression we get from female and male body. “The male body is politically neutral, but the female body is sexualised, whether as sinful Eve or the Virgin Mary. It’s very difficult for a queen, as a woman – who’s constructed after all in biblical terms as the lesser being – to find neutral political ground to stand on.”  Which lead the question to how Elizabeth I dismiss her body as this weak and feeble thing but sometimes she would also harness it in ways that going to bolster her.

Of course at the end we arrived at the question about her latest book, She-Wolves, that tells the stories of the medieval and Tudor queens who ruled England before Elizabeth I. It was selected as one of the books of the year for 2010 in The Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Times, The Independent, The Financial Times and BBC History Magazine.

I think you can read the rest of the interview by yourself at (http://thebrowser.com/interviews/helen-castor-on-queens-and-power?page=1)