Don’t go abroad?

noThere is a saying that our nations children are not supposed to be sent out of their homeland for studies because they will no longer care for it. They will not care about its state, its issues and will forget about their families. In turn, they will try whatever it takes to live in the country that offered him/her higher education. I on the other hand, want to prove them wrong. I don’t believe in that statement and I too believe that studying in the United States will help people realize this. Many politicians in Indonesia studied their higher education in Indonesia and many of them do not care for their country in the sense that they relentlessly steal state budget and tax payers money to either fund their political party or fund their new business venture which, unfortunately, has been the popular trend this past decade.

I am in no way commenting on the competence of our nations universities but merely stating that where one educates oneself matters little, what matters is the reason why one wants to educate him or herself in a certain place. Contrary to popular belief, the political science major in many universities allows us to study the politics of eastern nations as well. This provides the student with a more holistic perspective.

To think that if a student wished to study abroad means that they do not care about Indonesia is very narrow minded. To think that a large percentage of the younger generation cares about the economic and political state of the country is naïve. To think that if students study within Indonesia is a guarantee and a sign that he or she cares about the homeland is plain confused. There is nothing wrong about the Indonesian higher education system, in fact, I believe it has improved significantly through the years but let me pose a question.

How is a country so rich in raw materials and resources so poor. How is a country that has the 10th largest economy in the world have so much poverty. The answer? Nobody knows, or at least the government doesn’t because if they do, all our problems will be solved and Indonesia would be a utopia. There are countries out there who deal with these problems better than us so why is it a crime to learn from them?

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Je Suis Charlie

647931520There seems to be so much hate for Charlie Hebdo at the moment but at the same time, so much love. This issue has become very controversial. At one point people are claiming that Charlie Hebdo is a racist, islamophobic, antisemistic, satirical institution whose people walk around and mock religions. Some even have compared it to Hitler. This misunderstanding should be cleared up as I believe people are just filled with so much hate they are somewhat blinded.

Charlie Hebdo takes the mickey out of current affairs. It is incredibally french in the sense that its comedic attributes are hard to perceive if you were not induced into the French lifestyle and comedy. Charlie Hebdo is no different than The Simpsons, American Dad or SouthPark. Their cartoons are based on current affairs and are meant to be offensive but only to a certain degree. It is identical to Charlie Brooker and David Mitchell making fun of Labour leader Ed Miliband in 10 o’clock live.

I am not condoning the act of offending people and it is true that religion is a sensitive matter and that Charlie Hebdo should not make fun of an issue such as that. It is demeaning and senseless but this phenomenon for them is not isolated to Islam. They make fun of many other religions including Christianity and Judaism. There should be a clear distinction between freedom of speech and having respect.

Some people have said that the cartoons are very racist as well. For example, the Prophet Muhammad, by muslim law, is not supposed to be depicted in any way (illustrated) and since the prophet was depicted to be Arabian, people seem to think that it is demeaning to Arabians. This makes very little sense because in order for Charlie Hebdo to portray the prophet, they have to think how to do it accurately and therefore they portray him as a middle eastern man which was the source of the Islam religion. The reason was not to be racist ut a rather practical one.

Although they offend, Charlie Hebdo is highly political and address many important issues such as gay rights (pro gay rights) and racism (anti racism). Some of the staff of Charlie Hebdo are even in gay rights movements (like a person known as Chab who illustrated a piece of anti racism illustration for Charlie Hebdo). So comparing them to Hitler is a very ill informed thing to do.

Note: The Je Suis Charlie movement is a movement to honour those who died in the Charlie Hebdo attack and to show unity and solidarity within the community. It could have been construed as a movement against terrorism as well. It is perfectly alright for someone to refuse the saying for whatever reason but please, have some respect for those who have passed away. Among them is the illustrator of the piece that was contrued to be slander and I have heard people say things like “good ridance” or “could have been shot sooner” and that is just plainly disgusting.

Charlie Hebdo attack

charlie-hebdo-shooting-19The attack on Charlie Hebdo was an unprecendented showcase of hatred. It is however a very controversial matter. Some people are opposed to it and condemn the attackers (and the religion that they claim they believe in) to great extents but on the other hand some say that Charlie Hebdo had it coming to them.

The media of course called this an act of terrorism and as always, the masses agree and call it that as well. A friend of my mothers however raised a very interesting argument. Since no terrorist groups have claimed to be responsible for the attack and it seems that the attack was somewhat isolated, should it not be called a hate crime? Well of course not! Whenever anyone does anything bad and happen to be muslim its terrorism. Why do they do that? I believe there are several reasons.

Reason 1: This reason is speculative and many people would disagree but I believe that by labelling muslims as terrorists now, it would make attacking the middle east so much easier in the future. The west will attack the middle east for oil, that is a given (maybe China as well). Oil is by far the most important resource we currently have and one day we will run out. Think back to the Bashar al-Assad incident 2 years back. David Cameron was not able to launch a military intervention in Syria because the majority of the House of Commons were against it and they are representatives of the people. By labelling muslims as terrorists, they hope (by they I dont mean the UK) that the next time that option, for whatever ludacris reason they come up with, comes up they could sieze the moment.

Reason 2: This reason is far less speculative and far more possible. People cringe at the word terrorism and once they see that word, in bold, across a newspaper, they would be intrigued and buy the newspaper. The newspaper companies are using the peoples fears to make more profit. The marxist approach would say that the newspaper companies are using fear not to make more sales but to control the masses, an equally plausible theory (applicable to other media as well such as television news and radio broadcasts) The connotation between terrorism and Islam is stronger than ever but doesnt seem right.

The Charlie Hebdo attack resulted in 12 dead bodies. The Sandy Hook shooting resulted in 26 lost, irretrievable souls yet the Sandy Hook incident was labelled nothing more of a mishap that ‘should not be repeated’.

The transgender option makes no sense

transgender-sign-620x349-1Gender is of course a very touchy subject and so people want to be as politically correct as possible but I think because people are so uptight in trying to be politically correct, they become quite the opposite. I was doing my college applications recently and I saw that in some of them they have around four options: Male, female, transgender or other. Why is transgender a separate gender?

Why do people become transgender? The obvious answer is to change their gender and be regarded as their new gender. For example, A man, throughout his whole life does not feel like a man wants to change his gender so that he could assimilate into a women’s life because he wants to be regarded as one. When he changes his gender from a man to a women, he should then be regarded as a women by everyone (if she was then to marry however, the potential husband deserves to know that she is a transgender). So I actually think its quite insensitive to call a someone whose changed their gender a transgender because that term alone already has bad connotations.

Since transgender should not be an option the ‘other’ option in my opinion compensates for it. Perhaps if you are a man stuck in a women’s body or the other way around, you can specify it but I feel like labelling someone as a transgender defeats the purpose of being a transgender in the first place thus making the change redundant.

P.S. As for the colleges, why do they want to know if their applicants are transgender? Do they have a student housing separate for them? Has sexism and gender segregation gotten to this point now?

P.S.S I am not referring to the transgender community as a whole (assuming there is one) but I just find it hard to understand why they have that option in the college applications.

Tipping VS Service Charge

Tip-Your-Server-at-a-Restaurant-Step-6I don’t know which one is better, tipping or the service charge. In America I know that they tip the waiters/waitresses according to their performance in the sense that if they smile a lot and if they don’t mess up the orders but some people are just lousy tippers which sometimes, not all the time, lead me to believe that the service charge is actually more beneficial for the waiters/waitresses.

Tipping I think is very performance related. You would tip them a high amount if they do a good job but its very unstable. At one point you might get much lower than 10% of the meal ordered but perhaps at another occasion you might get so much as $100 (there is a viral youtube video of a group of people going around and tipping waitresses $200). I once went to the United States with my baseball team and we went home in a limousine. We were a big crowd so ordering 2 limos and a van was actually cheaper than ordering 6-7 taxi cabs (mainly due to oversized luggages). In the limo there were wine, beer and the biggest collection of soft drinks and I asked the driver “excuse me sir, the drinks back here, we’re allowed to drink it right?” and he answered “only for my good tippers my friend, I’m sure you’re a good tipper yourself” in a jocular manner. Me and my friends laughed and took a coke each (some took more than two, I wish I did). We ended up, collectively, tipping him something like $30-$50 because he was a nice man and helped us with our luggages.

I cannot speak for all waiters/waitresses in Indonesia but the ones I have seen are nice, even though the service charge is fixed and the customers have to pay it by law. Although 10% of our meal is quite the sum, I somehow have the feeling that not all the money go to the waiters/waitresses. I feel like the restaurant gets a cut of it. I am sure that not all restaurants do this but I am also sure there are restaurants who do this indefinitely and they can get away with it because the workers do not know about it. Perhaps they were told that the service tax was part of the bill, that the workers only get their wages and nothing more.

P.S. I think I prefer tipping more because in America they have these tipping jars with funny quotes on them and they are just enjoyable to read.tip-jar-foodist

Why is opening doors so under appreciated?

polls_opening_door_0304_lg_17083115_5522_859931_poll_xlargeI was raised in a household that believed that doing nice things for strangers was a normal thing to do and so I tend to like to keep the door open for people but in Indonesia, I feel like people don’t appreciate it. They never even bother to say thank you. Even if that person did not need the door to be opened, I think thanking people is just common courtesy.

A women recently got angry at me for opening the door at the mall entrance. She was Indonesian and said “Kamu itu ya bikin tante harus lari, nga usah buka buka pintu orang dasar” which translates to a harsher version of “Why did you open the door? you made me run you know? You really shouldn’t open doors for people”. The translation is of course not perfect and google translate could not help the slightest (I have learned that my English is better than Google Translate’s in terms of translating day to day conversation. A lesson I learned the hard way) but I was shocked to hear this. I was proud to have opened the door for the women and she did not need to run to the door, she was literally less than 10 feet away. She also didn’t need to be rude, why is it so hard to just say thank you and be on your marry way.

This is of course not true for every Indonesian out there but it is a trend I find weird. I have been to America a few times and have held doors open for people and they were thankful for it. I mean sure a few people did not say say thank you because they were busy on their phones (it happens everywhere around the world). This is also untrue at school. They would say thank you followed by an insult and a cheeky smile. So is this weird phenomenon only valid for Indonesian mall goers or does this happen elsewhere?

Campaign could lead to a solution

US-POLITICS-CONGRESS-GUN VIOLENCEI read an article in The Telegraph (English, UK) about the parents of the children who died in the Sandy Hook incident suing Bushmaster for selling a riffle in the civilian market. The gun Lanza (culprit of the shooting0 used was  an AR-15 and he managed to kill 27 in 5 short minutes. Many people will probably say “yeah good on them” or “that sounds right, why is Bushmaster selling riffles in the civilian market” but I think they could have taken a step further.

Don’t get me wrong, Im not playing devils advocate and I do believe that it was a good thing they sued Bushmaster because I too believe that a way to solve America’s gun violence issue is through stricter gun control regulations. However, at the end of the day, guns don’t kill people, bullets don’t kill people, but people kill people.

In my opinion, the parents of the victims of Sandy Hook should start a campaign of sorts to ensure incidents like this never happen again (although there has been an estimated total of 93 shooting incidents from elementary school to college/university) which may lead to a more permanent solution. This campaign should be centred on stricter gun control because guns dispose of people very quickly, does not give enough time for the police to arrive and intervene furthermore, the man with the gun has all the power in the room and if he/she is mentally unstable or is furious, he/she would not care who dies and the consequences that lead up to it.

Gun control is not the only issue. There needs to be some form of mental reform that needs to take place in the minds of the young American because it seems that whenever we open the news and flip to the America side (or click the little button that says ‘America’ is you’re doing it on the web) it seems that all the crimes that are done, are done with the aid of weapons. When did fighting hand to hand fall out of style?

I am not an American so I don’t know what it is like to live there but I do have friends there and one of them told me that she had to leave her schools carnival because her friends were preparing to jump on a group of kids form a different high school because they were about to crash the carnival. The number for the police is not hard to remember, its literally 3 numbers short.