Depression is like the wave

hitting hard

along the shores

of my heavy skull


Episode 2: Learning Anthropology–Multiculturalism


Abstraktes Bild  by Gerhard Richter



Anthropology is intensely political, and the anthropological project is always about difference: a different worldview or dealing in some form with difference. In addition, we’re always aware of having to be extra reflexive about our own cultural baggage and worldview with which we see the world. Thus, we love to debate about how these differences are experienced in everyday life, in politics, in religious practice, in the home, at work, et cetera.

This episode, I learned how difference is experienced in a society we share with others…and talked about cultural difference and how it becomes political through migration of peoples, their ideas, cultures, and ways of life from one place to another.

We talked about how to live together peacefully in a diverse society. How can people with different beliefs, backgrounds, looks, and ideas live together without conflict or at least with as little conflict as possible?

Australia was used as a case study to learn about migration. Prof. Ghassan Hage, a prominent anthropologist of migration and racism, stated:

1- One of the things that always struck me is that there was not much an analysis of the experience of multiculturalism. There was a kind of like what you call an objectivist gaze, in the sense of the analysts think of themselves as sitting from way above the foray and looking at multiculturalism as if it was existing. Anthropology, on the whole, had a lot of work on migrant experiences, taking a specific migrant culture and looking at that experience, but multiculturalism as such very rarely was done from the perspective of: how do people actually experience multiculturalism?

2-The rise of nationalism initially was the rise of optimism and involved benevolence, tolerance, et cetera, with all the negative parts on the side of the nation, but the resurgence of nationalism is the resurgence of this sense of power, a sense of decline, and therefore we find more and more cruelty, viciousness, whether towards migrants or towards refugees or towards working class or towards all kinds of categories.

3-the aim of any progressive multiculturalism is the removal of this residual power. It’s the capacity of just living among each other without power over…

Multiculturalism has become a buzzword to describe the cultural and ethnic diversity we now inhabit. However, as Ghassan Hage has made clear, we cannot just tolerate others, as this retains power structures of us and them and a mainstream that has to be assimilated towards. It’s important to navigate or negotiate the muddy waters of difference to come up with better ways of living with each, rather than merely tolerating one another. As more and more diverse people belong to the remnant from centuries past—that’s the nation—and it’s modern form—the nation state—we have to reevaluate what it means to belong together and how we can all fit into the nation state as equal citizens with such a diversity of opinion, worldview, cultural, and ethnic background.

Nationalism actually started out as an emancipatory concept to bring about self-determination for people who self-identified as one group, one nation that shared a myth of origin, a common language, a culture—in short, an identity—and wanted to rule themselves—for instance, in opposition to an empire or the centralization of power.

Multiculturalism here is simply a description of a variety, of difference of peoples and their cultures. However, for policy makers, multiculturalism has been a public policy tool to maintain peace, create a more equal playing field for different immigrants, peoples, and ethno-cultural voting blocks, and to socially engineer a new national identity. Usually, recognition of multiculturalism as public policy involves some recognition of internal others, their organizations, their religions, cultures, and languages.


Learning: Anthropology of Current World Issues

Screenshot_20170203-121647.jpgA personal note on Anthropology

About a week ago, I decided to hit and enroll in one of their courses. Initially I was looking for a course on ideology and politics, but I stumbled upon “Anthropology of Current World Issues” by The University of Queensland Australia taught by Gerhard Hoffstaedter with Amelia Radke and Fern Thompsett as moderator.

Why am I taking this course?

In my teenage years, I first discover the word “Anthropology” and also the prominent Anthropologist, Margaret Mead. I read her biography and learned that Mead along with her partner, Bateson, did field work in Bali after their marriage in Singapore. Her work was pioneering in visual anthropology, they used a variety of methods to explore the role of culture in personality formation. In my college years, I read not so much about Anthropology as Visual Arts. My last encounter was when I read and eventually posted a screenshot of this article in brainpickings.

Screen Shot 2018-01-15 at 1.05.49 PM.png

Besides Margaret Mead, the legendary anthropologist, Clifford Geertz, through fragmented studies of his essays, challenges my perspective on the dominant culture of Balinese. As a Balinese, for me, it is important to understand the culture I am given, with its context from an alternative point of view and how it shapes my personal identity.

Do read: Person, Time, and Conduct in Bali: The Social Nature of Thought by Clifford Geertz

To summarize, why am I taking this course? To learn and therefore understand more of the world around me. To learn about ways in which anthropology as a discipline can shed new perspectives on current world issues and/or issues in my own country, ranging from marginalized groups, material culture, indigeneity. 


-Develop critical thinking ability

-Able to see the world from a wide range of perspectives

-Understand key anthropological concepts and methods

Screen Shot 2018-01-14 at 3.13.10 PM.png


Defining Anthropology

After the first meeting, we were asked to define our own interpretation of Anthropology. From my understanding, social or cultural anthropology is all about people: their environment, traditions, beliefs. It is a restless field, constantly exploring the paradox of human plurality. How we are all the same species, with millions of years of evolution, yet the period of our cultural evolution is relatively small by contrast. The period in which we have become different culturally, ethnically in appearance is only a small part of our evolutionary history. We are both, as it were, the same, as with all other human beings, and every individual is absolutely different genetically and in character. ‘I think anthropology is possibly the most alluring and edifying way of exploring plurality’,stated Professor Michael Jackson (Harvard Divinity School).

I also personally think that the obligation of Anthropologist in 21st century is not to produce academic knowledge and treat communities as laboratories, but to engage and do activist work, help people in the margins of society, often poor, vulnerable, right-less, indigenous, or in various ways oppressed or subordinated within larger social structures. It should be, in some way, positively impact the conditions that it is studying.

“Open your being to experience—as challenging and frightful as that may be—and let that experience guide you in a direction that makes you feel comfortable in your skin. In that state you are much more likely to communicate stories that will remain open to the world, stories, lessons and themes that your successors will dote upon and use in a way that fits their time. As my teacher Adamu Jenitngo liked to remind me: remember the past, live well in the present and think about the future…” –Paul Stroller (West Chester University)



Bagi cerita: pelecehan seksual


Senin, 5 Juni 2017

Pukul 10.40 malam, Jalan Raya Kengetan, depan Majapahit Gym.


Motor Supra, DK 5084 xx:

Gek, halo, kenalan dong.. Hai Gek, minta nomerne dadi?



What the fuck is this guy doing, keep calm, just keep calm.


Motor Supra, DK 5084 xx:

Gek…Halo Gek..sombongne..


Sebelum aku sempat melaju lebih kencang atau menoleh kesamping dan mengucap kata, tangan busuk itu sudah meremas payudara kananku dan lalu pergi melaju kencang. 

Aku menarik gas dan tanpa pikir panjang mengejar bajingan itu. Amarah menjadi bahan bakar lakuku. Tak pernah aku semarah itu! Sekitar tujuh ratus meter kemudian, setelah tikungan depan Warung Nyoman Tebongkang, dia sudah jauh di depan dan aku merasa lemas, gemetar, tak berdaya untuk lanjut mengejar…

Bangsaaaaaaaaat ciii!!!” , teriakku ke bajingan itu. Pekatnya malam dan jarak melahap kata-kataku itu.

Lampu sein kunyalakan ke arah kiri. Apa yang baru saja terjadi? Posisi motorku agak miring, kuingat dengan tenaga yang seadanya, aku minggirkan lagi agar tak mengganggu lalu lintas. Apa kejadian itu benar benar terjadi? Seorang bajingan memeras payudaraku seakan mainan milik dia?

Aku lemas…handphone kupegang, satu persatu kuperhatikan lentik jari jemari bergetar.

Kuberhasil membuka lock-screen dan membuka aplikasi kontak. Kutelfon pacarku. Tak diangkat. Berkali-kali kutelfon dengan tangan yang gemetar. Mungkin dia ada di jalan atau handphonenya sedang disunyikan, jadi aku kirim beberapa pesan pertanda bahaya dan takut. Empat atau lima pesan.

Tanganku tak berfungsi dengan baik, otakku seperti kaset kusut, pandangan buram…

Aku berteriak, ingin sekali menangis tapi air mataku kering teruap emosi (kesal, amarah, sedih, campur-aduk). Merasa dihinakan, merasa bekas tangannya masih tertempel di dada kanan. Jijik sekali.

Aku tertunduk lemas, tak bisa melanjutkan perlajanan…Kutundukan kepala, kusilangkan tangan istirahat di atas spedometer motor. Tak tenang dengan situasi, kutengok depan belakang, kosong. Ada rasa takut muncul. Ingin melanjutkan perjalanan pulang yang tinggal 10 menit saja (sepuluh menit terpanjang menuju banjar Penestanan Kaja). Namun berat sekali, seluruh kekuatan gravitasi bumi seperti menekan di satu tempat itu.

Selang beberapa saat, seorang perempuan (yang ternyata dari Russia) memanggil, “Hi, please can you help me!” dari seberang jalan, sekitar 10 meter dibelakang. Aku menoleh kebelakang, apalagi ini kupikir… Ya karena hanya dia yang ada di jalan itu, dan karena aku ketakutan serta ada unsur merasa selamat menemukan perempuan lain yang sendirian, aku menghampirinya.

Sorry, I have been lost for more than 2 hours, I went around and around, please help me.

I am sorry…” aku menarik nafas panjang, lalu melanjutkan dengan keputusasaan,

Someone just sexually assaulted me!!! He touched my breasts and just ran off I tried to catch him but I can’t!

Oh god. Wait, your breast or bag?


Oh sorry, hmm, you know it’s lucky he didn’t take your bag”, Responnya sangat membuatku kesal. Bahkan aku rela tasku yang diambil bukan tubuhku, kehormatanku.

“Yes I know, but still he assaulted me!” Malas sekali berdebat dan tak ada energi juga tersisa untuk bercakap dengan perempuan Russia yang hanya memikirkan kepentingannya sendiri.

Please, I don’t know where to go, please, please can you show me the way to Mawang or share your internet please, I need to open the map

Aku masih ada tempat untuk merasa kasihan dengan dia. Pada akhirnya membagi sedikit data internet untuk dia mencari jalan pulang melalui peta. Dia lalu pergi dan aku bisa bergumul dengan keadaanku sendiri. Ternyata tidak selamanya ditemani dalam situasi setelah pelecehan itu menjadi lebih baik, jika orangnya tak bisa berempati. Pacarku lalu menelfon dan aku bisa sedikit ditenangkan. Aku lalu segera pulang, memilih melalui jalan Katiklantang-Penestanan bukan jalan raya Sayan.

Di perjalanan pulang, sempat ada beberapa laki-laki berkumpul dan cat-calling. Ya, seakan-akan aku disamakan dengan kucing yang lewat.

Aku kecewa!!! Susah sekali hidup jadi perempuan di pulau yang katanya surga dewata ini. Pulang saja merasa tak aman. 

Aku lebih takut pada manusia bejat daripada makhluk-makhluk lain yang tak kasat mata. Menyeramkan sekali bagaimana seorang manusia bisa menjadi setan dan melukai manusia lain (seringkali, dengan luka yang abadi).


Bahkan menulis ini rasanya aku ingin muntah.

Sampai kapan kecap tangannya akan terasa di dada kanan ini.


Siapapun dapat mengalami pelecehan: tua, muda, perempuan, laki-laki, jangan bungkam. Jangan pernah merasa itu salah mu (yang salah otak pelaku pelecehan).

Jika disentuh kemaluan (penis/vagina), payudara tanpa ijinmu, dicium tanpa inginmu, apalagi diperkosa, tolong jangan bungkam.

Itu bukan salahmu.

Aku tahu banyak sekali cerita teman-teman yang dilecehkan sewaktu di sekolah, dan lebih memilih bungkam. Tolong, cerita, ke ibumu, bapakmu, pacarmu, sahabatmu dan alangkah baiknya gunakan keberanianmu untuk menulis di sosial media.

Tak seorangpun menghendaki pelecehan, apalagi pelecehan seksual. Tak ada alasan apapun yang dapat disebut mengundang pelecehan, apalagi melegitimasi pelecehan seksual.

Bukan salahmu.


Pidato di Kubur Orang

Ia terlalu baik buat dunia ini.
Ketika gerombolan mendobrak pintu
Dan menjarah miliknya
Ia tinggal diam dan tidak mengadakan perlawanan.
Ketika gerombolan memukul muka
Dan mendopak dadanya
Ia tinggal diam dan tidak menanti pembalasan.
Ketika gerombolan menculik istri
Dan memperkosa anak gadisnya
Ia tinggal diam dan tidak memendam kebencian.
Ketika gerombolan membakar rumahnya
Dan menembak kepalanya
Ia tinggal diam dan tidak mengucapkan penyesalan.
Ia terlalu baik buat dunia ini.

Subagio Sastrowardoyo

Book Review: Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

This review is part of book swap project. Thanks IndraTania for the book.


  • Country of origin: Japan
  • Author Haruki Murakami
  • Originally published: 2002
  • Author: Haruki Murakami
  • Cover design: Left: John Gall, Right: Chip Kidd
  • Characters: Kafka Tamura, Miss Saeki, Satoru Nakata, Oshima, Hoshino
  • Genres: Novel, Fiction, Speculative fiction, Magical Realism

General Summary:

Kafka on the Shore, a chef d’oeuvre of magic realism, is charged by two exceptional characters: a 15 year old teenager, Kafka Tamura (we never know his real name), who runs away from home trying to escape a gruesome oedipal prophecy or to fill his emptiness and search for his long-missing mother and sister; and an aging simpleton called Satoru Nakata (simply called Nakata), who never recovered from an accident that happened during his childhood.

Along the story, Nakata is drawn towards Kafka, for reasons he cannot comprehend. Kafka and Nakata’s journey, a mystery to them and to the readers, enriched by supernatural mesmerizing events. Cats and people carry on conversations, a ghostlike pimp employs a Henri Bergson-quoting prostitute (“The pure present is an ungraspable advance of the past devouring in the future. In truth, all sensation is already a memory”), a forest harbors soldiers apparently unaged since World War II, and rainstorms of fish fall from the sky. Apparently, the story also consist of a brutal murder, the identity of the victim and perpetrator shrouded in obscurity. In the end, we are left with answers which for me , like every good story-telling, leaves the reader with blank pages to fill with after we read. The destiny of Kafka and Nakata are gradually revealed, though they never meet each other physically.


Murakami is special in a way that he creates this web of feelings tied to the environment of each character. We don’t always have answers of full understanding of his metaphors. But there is a sense of contemplativeness you get with the events he constructs. Sometimes it leaves you flowing in the space between his story, the sense is strong. Opening a Murakami is always like diving into the deep sea, when you emerge to the surface, you felt like you just had a magical experience, as if into a trance…often not sure yourself of everything you’ve just read. A master of story-telling, a rare artist who paints with words, who leaves us dreaming and spell-bounded.

Relatable Quotes:

  • “Even chance meetings are the result of karma.” …. “That things in life are fated by our previous lives. That even in the smallest events there’s no such thing as coincidence.”


  • “You’re really smart, aren’t you, Mimi?” Nakata said, impressed by the Siamese’s eloquence. “No, not really,” Mimi replied, narrowing her eyes in embarrassment. “I just spend too much time lying in front of the TV and this is what happens–my head gets full of worthless facts. Do you ever watch TV, Mr. Nakata?”


  • “There’s a void inside me, a blank that’s slowly expanding. I’m totally lost, my identity dying. There’s no direction where I am, no sky, no ground. I think of Miss Saeki, of Sakura, of Oshima. But I’m light years away from them. It’s like I’m looking through the wrong end of a pair of binoculars, and no matter how far I stretch out my hand, I can’t touch them. I’m all alone in the middle of a dim maze. Listen to the wind, Oshima told me. I listen, but no wind’s blowing. Even the boy named Crow has vanished.”


  • “Anyone who falls in love is searching for the missing pieces of themselves. So anyone who’s in love gets sad when they think of their lover. It’s like stepping back inside a room you have fond memories of, one you haven’t seen in a long time. It’s just a natural feeling.”


  • “Speaking of contradictions,” Oshima suddenly said, “when I first met you I felt a kind of contradiction in you. You’re seeking something, but at the same time running away for all you’re worth.” …. ‘What is it I’m seeking?”


  • Hoshino was drawn back to his childhood. He used to go to the river everyday to catch fish. Nothing to worry about back then, he reminisced. Just live each day as it came. As long as I was alive, I was something. That was just how it was. But somewhere along the line it all changed. Living turned me into nothing. Weird. . . . People are born in order to live, right? But the longer I’ve lived, the more I’ve lost what’s inside me–and ended up empty. And I bet the longer I live, the emptier, the more worthless, I’ll become. Something;’s wrong with this picture. Life isn’t supposed to turn out like this! Isn’t it possible to shift direction, to change where I’m headed?


  • Miss Saeki to Kafka: “If the flow is there, I figured I’d just let it carry me along where it wanted” Kafka to Miss Saeki: “I think you’re trying to make up for lost time.” She thinks about it for a while. “You may be right,” she says. “But how do you know that?” ….. “A lot of things were stolen from my childhood. Lots of important things. And now I have to get them back.” “In order to keep living” I nod. “I have to. People need a place they can go back to. There’s still time to make it, I think. For me, and for you.”


  • “Lift the burden from my shoulders and live–not caught up in someone else’s schemes, but as me. That’s what I really want.”

the cross-section (come what may)


  • standing barefoot in the cross-section
    left foot swollen purplish blue skin
    it was seven days after the motorbike accident
    right foot soaking wet skin wrinkling
    nine minutes ago tears rain down heavy
    from the heart to the eyes
    pouring down kissing dirt on the hot asphalt
  • i am
    at the cross-section
    the in betweens
    the what maybes
    colliding through this fragile physical body
    meeting in the center
    of this hardcore heart
    filling up the void
  • bahala-na
    come what may

constant reminder to the cautious lover

Walk on my dear, hold his hands tightly

Love as if there’s no tomorrow

Do not take time for granted (if you take it for granted, there will be no moments)

For when the wind blows, it just flows 

(Hard, flock of birds flapping flight on the ripples of your breath

Soft, tickling the bamboo leaves, giggling)

Just be, my dear.

The cause and effects, all is taken care of.



Sometimes fear creeps in, what is this does not work out?

“Who cares.”, Bear said bluntly.

“I care! I will be hurt, drowned, buried in the deepest trenches, broken to pieces and…”

“You have fought, you have loved, you have lived.” Bear whispers to my ears.



A dream inside a dream

giant stone
••I lived inside the trunk of the old-wise Seqouia, I hugged giant stones for comfort.

The animals are friends and changing of seasons taught me that continuous cycle is a law of life.

Every move in time, every growth, there is this chain, continously latching me to everything else.

I was never free anyway••