Depression is like the wave
along the shores
of my heavy skull
Depression is like the wave
along the shores
of my heavy skull
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.
A personal note on Anthropology
About a week ago, I decided to hit edx.org 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.
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.
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
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)
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:
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.
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.
Some photos from a photography project 2011 (IndraTania, Celia Tjahjadi, and Genkina) and main background from personal archives.
“The pure present is an ungraspable advance of the past devouring the future. In truth, all sensation is already memory.” -Henri Bergson, Matter and Memory
Big thanks to the man, Merio Falindra, for sacrificing these exquisite photographs he took in Lembata, Nusa Tenggara Timur to the use of this collage.
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.
••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••
afraid of showing up to disappoint
cultivating and never harvesting
until the seasons come to an end
when the last drop of water kisses the ground
the sun sets and
never comes back
i died inside the ground i grew me in
i died because there was nothing more
to live for
wake me up
_______hold my hands
_____________my last breath where my hope flew to the sky
the sky, it was gone now, i should’ve done better.
what could i do?
the roots was pulling me way stronger
beneath the ground
i buried myself
___Saturday, October 8th 2016.