Aturan Aritmatika di Pantai Monrovia

Monrovia – Liberia, 24 Oktober 2015 [09:12am]

Pagi-pagi sekali saya merapikan diri dan bergegas ke teras belakang penginapan. Jalan pagi itu sedang lengang-lengangnya dan pokok bunga kamboja yang ditanam pemilik hotel masih basah oleh hujan semalam.

Sudah dua bulan saya menetap di Liberia tapi belum sekali pun pernah menginjakkan kaki di daerah pesisirnya. Sebagai anak yang besar di pantai, saya seakan menjadi pecundang dan ingin menutup muka karena malu layaknya seorang kemenakan kualat yang saban kali bertandang ke kota tak pernah singgah di rumah tantenya.

Tiap kali ke Monrovia, saya meniatkan diri untuk berziarah ke pantai, tetapi tiap kali pula pekerjaan membuat saya alpa – alasan ini pun terdengar pengecut – . Kesempatan itu akhirnya datang saat rekan saya Emmanuel menawarkan diri untuk menunjukkan saya pesisir Monrovia, keberuntungan kuadrat saat kantor menempatkan saya di salah satu hotel yang bertetangga dengan batas laut.

Pantai-pantai yang memagar barat Afrika cukup melegenda, ombaknya yang ganas dan cekungan teluk yang curam kala air pasang datang menjadikannya objek wisata yang diminati banyak peselancar. Dikala perang sipil berhenti, gelombang peselancar mulai sering terlihat di sepanjang pantai ELWA, Roberton dan Silver. Bisnis penginapan, bar dan rumah makan di sepanjang pesisir pun tumbuh satu persatu. Lantunan reggae dan pop Nigeria terdengar tiap malam, bersahut-sahutan seakan meneriaki lautan.

Pesisir pantai di Monrovia
Pesisir pantai di Monrovia

Semua itu berubah sejak setahun terakhir, wabah Ebola seakan menyapu bersih ekonomi negeri ini, membalik banyak kursi dan menutup pintu-pintu rejeki.

*** Continue reading

The Science of Smile [ Ebola; Past and Present]

Phebe – Liberia, 15th October 2015 [05:09PM]

Back in the 19th century, the great American psychologist William James proposed that our facial expression and other bodily changes are not the consequence of our emotional feelings, but the cause. There is also evidence that our facial expressions change the way we perceive the world. More theory, hypothesis and reseacrh have been published in the following years.

Unanimously, science has debunked the face of happiness.

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ROHINGYA: In a State of The Stateless

“We need you to go to Aceh ASAP?”

It takes just one phone call before I found myself ready for my next assignment. Since I started working in the humanitarian field, there is always a dream of  going back to Indonesia and serve the nation, little did I know that the dream hasn’t been too far away?

I never been to Aceh before, but it is always on the list of province that I would love to visit since my trip to Sumatra back in 2008. I’ve heard fascinating stories about Aceh – The Mecca Solarium (Negeri Serambi Mekah) – where the nation’s heroines born and lived as a legend. When one dig deeper surpasses the Syariah Law, at the tipping point of Indonesia, you can indulge into mile after mile of white sand beach of Weh Island, a world famous dive site and Indonesia’s gem of marine biodiversity.

This special region talks turkey of politique et intric. Most of the adult still solidly remembers the dark and twisted story of the insurgence of Aceh Freedom Movement (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka) that was spread across the region, along with the fall and rise of Aceh during 2004 Tsunami.

Maybe it was the fond memory of sheer kindness of humanity experienced by people in Aceh during Tsunami that moves a group fisherman on the morning of 15 May 2015, that despite being prohibited by the sea police,bravely rescued the boats crammed with Rohingya Refugees and Bangladeshi that have been stranded in Strait of Malacca for weeks.

That was the first arrival of Rohingya refugee in Indonesia.

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Finding Sincerity in Khaosan Road

How many bottles of beer left alone after 5AM in Khaosan Road?

***

I asked myself that silly question as I was passing by different type of people equated by bottle or more of Singha beer on their hands. Every few meters, I saw a young Thais stood between clothes markets’ stall holding giant cooler of ice crammed with beer. Some of them kept waving giant board with raggedly written “Laughing Gas” or “Low Price” bucket whisky, made me wonder whoever wrote that potentially under whatever it was they’d written on it.

I had only been to Khaosan Road once before and while I didn’t remember it fondly; I could recall that it certainly was not jammed with people as this time. It was 10 minutes past 12AM and I was restlessly waiting my friends at the corner of Dang Derm Hotel. The street wasn’t change much and every minute it kept pulsating mass of humanity. Continue reading

Kepada Rumi, Saya Patah Hati

Konya – Turkey, 28 Desember 2014 [07:40am]

 Hujan rintik-rintik menyisakan embun di kacamata saya.

Jujur saja saya paling tidak suka saat tak mampu melihat dengan sempurna. Kacamata yang berembun membuat saya pincang, buram jalan dan manusia melebur layaknya santan putih yang dituang di semangkok bubur ketan hitam. Insting pun seketika menjadi pelakon utama yang menuntun saya berjalan. Samar-samar saya melihat rupa menara hijau tinggi di seberang jalan, satu-satunya warna cerah yang mencuat di balik berundak-undak awan di atas kota Konya.

Subuh tadi seorang karib mengirimi saya sebuah surel panjang berisi refleksi dirinya setahun terakhir. Natal yang baru saja berlalu menjadi kuil untuknya berkontemplasi tentang hidup, kepercayaan, mati dan cinta. Sayang 2014 bukanlah tahun terbaiknya, karib saya ini baru saja ditinggal pergi kekasihnya. Bukan dia saja yang patah hati, saya pun dibuatnya ikut patah hati. Bagi saya keduanya adalah pasangan sempurna, layaknya lonceng kecil dan leher domba. Dalam perbedaan mereka saling melengkapi, bahkan ketika saling membenci mereka berjanji untuk tetap saling mencintai.

Surelnya adalah ungkapan patah hati, tulisannya mengingatkan saya pada hari dimana mereka berpisah dan percakapan lintas benua kami yang berlangsung hingga dini hari kebanyakan berisi hening dan seguk tangisnya di seberang sana.

The wound is the place where light enters you

Ia mengutip sajak favorit kami, disela-sela baris surelnya. Continue reading

Anjing!

Saya tidak pernah menyukai hewan ini. Setidaknya dulu, hingga beberapa waktu yang lalu. Merunut ke belakang, semuanya bermula ketika saya masih kecil. Mungkin saya memiliki fobia atau mungkin juga sekadar rasa takut yang berkepanjangan saja.

Saya yang tumbuh besar di daerah pasar di barat kota Makassar, tinggal di rumah yang terletak di gang lebar berbatas tembok belakang rumah sakit serta sebuah gudang milik saudagar Tionghoa yang tak sekalipun pernah saya temui rupanya. Ia memiliki empat ekor anjing berukuran besar dan bertampang garang. Dua diantaranya berwarna hitam beledu dengan mata kuning keemasan, telinga mereka runcing dengan monjong panjang, bulunya yang pendek tampak menyerupai kulit telanjang dari kejauhan.

Setiap hari mereka rutin berpatroli di gang kami, menggonggongi siapa saja yang melintas dalam radius kerja mereka. Satu dari mereka galaknya minta ampun, si betina berwarna cokelat – yang kala melonglong di malam hari membuat saya seketika meminta izin tidur di bawah ranjang Ayah – tak jarang mengejar siapa saja yang diendusnya mengeluarkan aura ketakutan. Continue reading

An Abundant of White

“People change for two reason; either their mind has been enlightened or their heart has been broken”

***

Seemingly I saw that phrase written at the corner of a magazine page. The old guy that sits next to me has been reading it for quite sometimes before he falls asleep soundly. It was one hour to go before the train arrives at Denizli, from the window morsel with light rain I could see the bright orange sky was slowly turning to dark violet. Swirling sound of steel hitting the bottom of rail creates a humdrum music.

There was nothing such interesting with the scenery. An abundant of orange field crisscrossing towns that looked similar one to another, every half an hour or forty-five minutes the train will stop for a while at a designated station. Beside the old man that sleeping next to me the wagon was dared empty. I counted there was a total of seven people including me and nobody seemed knowing each other. No conversation, no sound of chit chatting neither a ring of a phone. The emptiness and constant humming of the train machine felt excruciating. Continue reading

Manusia, Tuhan, Cinta dan Meja Makan yang Dibagi Dua

Selçuk – Turkey, 24 December 2014[07:12pm]

“Can I sit here? tanya dia.

Sesaat saya memandang pria itu sebelum menjawabnya dengan anggukan kepala.

“Have you ordered?” Tanyanya lagi.

“Not yet, it seems there’s only  one waiter and he’s pretty busy” jawab saya sekadarnya.

Beberapa saat kami berdua kembali sibuk dengan layar kecil ponsel kami sebelum pelayan bertubuh tambun dengan serpihan uban keperakan menyapa. Disodorkannya sebuah menu bergambar ke tengah-tengah meja, kemudian perhatiannya kembali terarah pada layar televisi yang tergantung di tengah-tengah ruangan. Continue reading

The Cycle of Everything

Selçuk – Turkey, 24 December 2014 [06:06pm]

“There are two roads, most distant from each other: the one leading to the honorable house of freedom, theother the house of slavery, which mortals must shun. It is possible to travel the one through manliness and lovely accord; so lead your people to this path.” ~ The Oracle of Apollo

***

Matahari tengah menggantung tinggi saat saya tiba di Ephesus siang tadi. Silaunya memberi bayang-bayang lebar yang menutupi setengah Amphiteater-nya yang megah. Pengukur suhu digital di telepon genggam saya menunjukkan angka tujuh, angka yang cukup nyaman di pertengahan musim dingin seperti ini. Saya merapatkan jaket tipis berwarna hitam yang tengah saya kenakan, sembari melayangkan pandang ke sekeliling, Mencoba menikmati momen sekejap.

Sedari kecil saya menyenangi mitologi Yunani dan peradaban Roma. Bagi saya, kisah mereka jauh lebih menarik dibanding komik tebal rekaan penulis-penulis Jepang. Para dewa-dewi Olimpus layaknya superhero yang hidup dalam imajinasi saya. Meskipun kisah mereka jauh dari sempurna -bergelimang intrik, perang, cinta dan kecemburuan- tapi peradaban yang mengagungkan mereka berkembang jauh melintas ruang dan masa. Nama-nama mereka menghiasi langit dalam rupa gugusan bintang, planet hingga bulan-bulan yang mengorbit pelan. Mereka seakan hidup dalam jagad raya yang manusia temukan. Dari peradaban Yunani dan Roma, para filsuf-filsuf yang saya kagumi berasal, ilmu pengetahuan pun berkembang dan lahir layaknya Athena yang lahir dari kepala Zeus yang terbelah.

Mereka membangun kota-kota besar, kuil-kuil pemujaan dan perpustakaan raksasa ribuan tahun sebelum manusia mengenal alat berat dan kendaraan bermesin!

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Sip of Morning and Tale of Politic

Karachi-Pakistan, 13th of February 2015 [09:36am]

I decided to start my day by visiting Machar Colony through Liyari Expressway. A highway that currently in a status of dormant from construction is located along Liyari River. It is designed to relieve the traffic of this giant city. The peaceful ambiance creates when I drive for couple of minutes is seldom to find in a city with robust noise echoing from each vein of the small alley.
When we talk about Lyari we talk about a history!
It was a hotbed of radical politics and intellectuals who settled in the aftermath of bloody partition India-Pakistan and still an area where political parties are made or broken. During the era of Zia ul Haq, Lyari sustained the liberal resistance; it becomes the defense base of political activist who risked their lives to fight the oppression of fundamentalist military regime.
A dense populated area locates at the tip of the city. The town is a hub for Pakistan People Party and home for Sheedi community. Gang  war, violent, football and targeted killing makes the town that was known as the oldest part of Karachi now become the epicenter of the most dangerous city in the world.
But for me Lyari is fascinating in many ways, I have visited the town several time. My journey to Liyari began couple of months with a first step to Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre. I had the picture of violent area at the back of my mind, being ready to rob or attacked, horrendous event was nothing but certainty. But 10 minutes drives crossing small road, passed a series of old British-era buildings in pale yellow and blue color embroidered by street vendor guarded by arm-man in Shalwaar Kameez and thick mustache depicting the old-school hindi actor, slowly ease my worry. It’s an area as other town of Karachi.

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