Monthly Archives: November 2016

Review: One Night In Winter – Simon Sebag Montefiore

Standar

Seperti remaja lainnya, tujuh berkawan – Nikholasha, Serafima, Minka, Rosa, George, Vlad, dan Andrei, mereka punya gagasan-gagasan liar dan ingin mencoba segala hal. Sayangnya mereka lahir dari keluarga Bolhshevik, Rusia, di bahwa Stalin pasca kemenangan atas Nazi, yang bapak ibu mereka adalah pejabat tinggi di lingkaran terdalam Stalin. Mereka bertemu di sekolah elit School 801, sekolah Svletlana dan Visily Stalin juga menimba ilmu di sana. Tujuh berkawan ini kemudian membentuk perkumpulan rahasia yang dilandasi oleh kecintaan mereka pada literasi dan puisi-puisi Pushkin, Fatal Romantic Club. Tentu saja nama ini jadi cocok, karena fatal bagi orang Rusia untuk melemah karena cinta. Anak-anak ini tahu persis kegiatan mereka sebenarnya melanggar kebiasaan Rusia yang keras, dingin, selalu penuh ketegangan.

Drama dimulai ketika dua di antara anggota kelompok ini mati di tengah parade perayaan kemenangan Stalin atas Nazi. Penyelidikan kasus ini bahkan melibatkan campur tangan Stalin langsung. Dari yang tadinya berpusat pada motiv kematian Nikholasha dan Rosa lalu melebar pada teori konspirasi menjatuhkan pemerintahan Stalin. Enam anak remaja ini ditahan, disiksa, dipaksa mengakui konspirasi itu. Tak Cuma mereka, anggota keluarga Senka berusia 10 tahun dan Mariko yang baru enam tahun ikutan ditahan, diinterogasi apakah orang tua mereka terlibat dalam rencana menggulingkan pemerintahan.

Novel ini seperti bawang yang mengelupaskan kulitnya pelan dan perih untuk pembacanya. Rahasia dan kemunafikan orang-orang Rusia dibongkar. Mereka tentu saja manusia yang punya hati. Stalin sangat membenci perceraian, dan keluarga adalah hal utama. Meski dia sendiri sangat membenci putrinya yang menikah dengan Yahudi dan pindah ke Paris, lalu Vasily jatuh cinta pada Serafima yang juga Yahudi. Lambat laun, dia mempercayai Hitler bahwa Yahudi perlahan juga akan menggerogoti negara dan pemerintahannya.

Balik ke soal cinta, novel ini menggambarkan cinta rahasia antara Satinov orang tua Mariko dan George, dengan Dr. Dashka, ibu dari Minka dan Senka. Tentang guru sekolah SMA yang menginspirasi anak-anak yang kehidupannya seperti juga pecinta Pushkin, Benya Golden. Yang bikin saya patah hati, Benya mengorbankan dirinya dengan mengakui bahwa anak-anak itu di bawah pengaruhnya untuk menggulingkan Stalin. Anak-anak dibebaskan, dia dihukum tembak 9mm di kepala.

Kemunafikan lainnya yang diungkap bahwa Stalin adalah kutu buku yang selalu dikelilingi novel dari novelis dunia salah satunya ernest hemingway dan pushkin tentu saja. Bagaimana bisa pecinta cerita fiksi bisa hidup tanpa sentiment di dadanya? Stalin bisa!

Bahwa komunisme menuntut mereka untuk menolak kepemilikan pribadi, ternyata masing-masing pejabat negara hidup  bermewah-mewah dengan Rolls Royce untuk mengantar anak mereka sekolah. Mereka berpakaian ala coutour dan parfum dari Perancis.

Ini adalah fiksi kedua dari Simon Sebag Montefiore yang saya baca setelah Shashenka. Seperti juga non fiksi yang ditulisnya Stalin dan Jerussalem, Simon Sebag menuturkannya dengan lancar dan mudah diikuti meski dengan rentetan nama Rusia yang ajaib itu. Sejarah, iya sejarah yang detail disajikan Simon, tentu saja, dia sejarahwan. Di belakang novelnya dia berikan informasi mana fiksi, mana fakta.

Jadi konspirasi itu ada? Baca lah sendiri kawan 😉

Novel Rusia berikutnya atas rekomendasi Simon Sebag sendiri adalah Haji Murad dari Loe Tolstoy.

on-night-in-winter

My five weeks in Bali

Standar

‘How are you in Bali? Never mind, you don’t have to answer. I have seen your pictures, and it does not seems work to me. Are you in reality show or something?’

*I looked around in case there is a video camera following me

I am doing okay and enjoying my life here in Bali. It has been five weeks so far and I have so many things to tell you. For your record, this is not my first time in Bali. But I was here as a tourist and not working. My friend Andrew once asked, can you not enjoy your work as a holiday? And I answered, as long as I have to put it as an article, nope! Cannot mix work and pleasure…

I have to take back my word!

I do enjoy my work like a holiday with ‘a bit pressure’ sometimes a lot when it comes to the deadline. But yes Bali and Berau slightly change my perspective of my own work. Here are some stories of my life in Bali so far.

Those who is not Balinese must be Javanese

My motorbike driver told me that for Balinese, those who are not Balinese must be Javanese. It is like all white people are America for Indonesian and we call them Bule and those who has small eyes must be Chinese, regardless your nation. It is okay with me, until everyone starts talking in Javanese with me!! Oh my God!

My late father was Javanese but he never talked to me in Javanese, at all! I was born and grew up in Jakarta and we talk in Bahasa. My generation, in general, does not speak in local languages anymore and stupidly my generation talks to their children in English. My generation is more proud with foreign language than our own mother tongue and less care of our local language. So within few years, we are going to lose more local languages and maybe even our Bahasa Indonesia!… hey, even I write this in English. Nei, I have my own justification that my readers are my friends whom I met in London. This is how I promote my beloved country 😉

 

My Wisma Ayu flat and its drama!

I like my flat. It has a big bed, furnished, small kitchen with fridge, air con, and tv. I only have a problem with the noisy flatmates, room number 3! It is he, always talk loudly with his friends, live or on the phone! I think he is craving for an attention! Then there are people who work at night shift. Absolutely not my problem until they come home around 1 – 2 AM in the morning and again, chit chat with loud voice until dawn… aarrgh!

I could have moved upstairs. My friends told me that it is quieter. But it is like giving up the battle!  I am waiting for any sweet revenge one day! Maybe by having a big party while they are sleeping! Uye

 

Surrounded by foods!

From London to Bali. I had not had any time for culture reverse from a place that puts sanitation and health above the taste aka tasteless, to the place where taste is about everything! I have stomach issues since I got back from London. Seriously! But my friend doctor said it is just a matter of time to adapt, carry on until my tummy used to it again, especially the spicy food.

I never thought Balinese food are all about spicy until I really live here. So you better watch your food if you visit me in Bali.

By the way, although I am surrounded by food, I always am craving for one thing, MIE AYAM! Woohooo, the noodle. Yeah… so simple

 

Being spoiled with Gojek

Bali does not have public transportation like other places in Indonesia. Some say it’s a conspiracy if there are a public transportation, who is going to use the very expensive taxi and ojek? And who’s going to rent the motorbike?!

So here I am, cannot ride a bike! And on my second week in Bali, I decided not ever want to ride a motorbike here. They are all crazy! They ride very fast! So I lean my life on the Gojek driver. It is a motorbike taxi, a legal one with the app. I used the app every day, at least twice a day! I feel rich hahaha…. Well it actually means that I spent my money too much on gojek!

 

No more walking

I did promise myself to carry on walking after London. I did try once in Bali, from my flat to the office and I failed! Too hot, too dusty and the vehicle horned me all the time! After 45 minutes, I called an ojek to the office L

 

Surrounded by ‘Bule’

My fiancée Iwan was a bit jealous when he found out that I am going to work in Bali. ‘Baby, there are lots of Bule there in Bali.’ I answer the question with laughing out loud… ‘Baby, I just got back from LONDON and there are BULE’s stranded everywhere’

Of course, there are foreigners here, some of them choose Bali as their home, most of them are just tourists. And because this is a very touristic place, I feel like I can be who I really am. To be honest, I feel safer to live in than in my hometown, Jakarta. Neighbors and friends talk about you behind your back, they will judge you for whatever you do, say and look. Once again, I am just a stranger here, a minority Muslim and I feel much better as one!

 

Beaches!!!

Here comes the great thing about my life in Bali. I am surrounded by beaches! Woohooo…. It’s only 10 kilometers to Sanur, and around 5 to 6 kilometers to Kuta and Double 6 Seminyak! Oh yeah, I am living a good life in this point of view. I am blessed by vitamin SEA!

I can just call gojek and drive me to one of these beaches. So far, Double 6 is my favorite! I need to explore more.

Another beach that went in my five weeks was Lovina. I was too lazy to wake up early in the morning to see the dolphin.

 

Waterfalls!

I went to two waterfalls in Bali. To Munduk Waterfall and Tegunungan Waterfall. It was fun and amazingly beautiful.

 

Photo was taken by me at Double 6 and to see more photos of my life in Bali and Berau go to my Instagram @nitaroshita

 

img_20161120_181635

Gempa dan BeHa

Standar

Dua malam lalu, baru aja tertidur sekitar sepuluh menit, tempat tidur bergoyang, isi lemari pakaian yang lebih banyak barang pritilan itu bunyi kelontangan, belum lagi wind chime dari lonteng kecil itu bunyi. Saya terbangun, kaget, lalu sadar itu adalah gempa.  Sepersekian detik berniat keluar kamar, sampai kemudian ingat… saya engga pake beha. Iyalah, kan situasinya lagi tidur… lalu saya berdiri sambil pegang gagang pintu, tidak juga bergerak, sampai gempa beneran berhenti… lumayan panjang dan kuat.

Setelah itu kembali ke tempat tidur sambil meluk jaket, kalau ada gempa susulan, saya akan siap kabur… dengan jaket… masih ga kepikiran soal BeHa…. Sampai paginya kepikiran… apa yang terjadi kalau beneran gempa merusak seisi kamar, seluruh bangunan kos… masih sibuk sama BeHa?

Saya belum mencoba cari tahu apakah relasi perempuan korban bencana baik alam maupun manusia dengan urusan BeHa dan celana dalam kalau peristiwa terjadi di tengah malam. Kemarin malam itu saya beneran ragu apakah harus keluar kamar, tanpa BeHa?

Kawan saya bilang, ‘udah pasti gue sih ga keluar, wong kalau tidur lepas semua pakaian dalam’

Dalam situasi normal, kita memang dianjurkan untuk tidur telanjang, tanpa beha dan celana dalam, biarkan tubuh bernapas sebebasnya, lebih sehat. Memang begitu yang dilakukan banyak perempuan. Tapi dalam situasi darurat, apa yang mesti dilakukan?

Bahkan dalam tips menghadapi bencana, mereka lupa memasukkan barang kebutuhan penting buat perempuan yang satu ini, BeHa dan celana dalam. Bahkan di pengungsian, dua kebutuhan utama ditambah pembalut jadi barang langka yang disumbangkan orang… seolah-olah lupa pada mahkluk perempuan yang perabotnya memang ribet bet!

Sebagai anak lapangan yang di sebelah tempat tidur sudah siap tas darurat yang isinya lebih mirip tas kerja +botol minum dan pisau lipat, bukan kosmetik haha.. saya baru sadar, jangan-jangan saya memang harus siap dengan beha dan celana dalam. Ini soal darurat! Kalau ada bencana alam lagi seperti kemarin malam gimana? Pasrah sudah pasti tapi antisipasi itu kan penting. Kalau mayat saya ditemukan tanpa beha dan celana dalam lalu menimbulkan syahwat gimana? Sudah jadi jenazah apa masih akan dicambuk juga? *nyinyirterus

midsummer-artybra-sketch

Why people still vote for Trump? (part of my essay)

Standar

I can’t focus on my work since Trump and Clinton is on the highlight. This is US, whatever happen there, will somehow affect our world… I wrote an essay for my Promotional Culture module last April 2016 to analyze how Trump mediated his campaign and here it is:

 

It is true that Trump does not need much of an infrastructure for professional marketing in his campaign. Trump being a controversial figure is one of the advantages for news coverage. Nevertheless, the Trump phenomenon has brought fear to Noam Chomsky, along with the breakdown of society during the neoliberal period. Chomsky notes that ‘people feel isolated, helpless, victim of powerful forces that they do not understand and cannot influence…. There was a sense of hope that is lacking now, in large part because of the growth of a militant labor movement and also the existence of political organizations outside the mainstream’ (Chomsky, N. 2016).

While the positivist scholar claimed the role political marketing or mediatization is to reshape the democracy, Chomsky believes the opposite to be true. Democracy simply persuades people to trust a certain party/individual to vote for them in an election, simply to be controlled by them. The power drifted to the business community, the specialized class, to analyze, execute, make decisions, and run things in political, economic, and ideological system. Then they are massification the policies, the propaganda with help from public relation. The art of democracy for Chomsky is the manufacture of consent where public relations work hard to instill the values (meaning political party and politician’s values) and it will works with help of media. In Chomsky words, “the people who are able to engineer consent are the ones who have the resources and the power to do it – the business community and that’s who you work for’ (Chomsky, N. 2002: 29).

However, if we put the citizen as the customer in case of Trump, we might want also to ask why people are still voting for him, given that he presents himself as racist and controversial. The citizen, as the audiences of the media that covered so much of Trump, is not a passive audience as they can decode the message that the media encoded. As Stuart Hall argues that we do not passively receive the meaning – we have to create it ourselves… processing the signs, sounds and images as meaningful text before the audience embrace or reject the message (Davis, H. 2004: 62) and how the audience processes the messages depends on their habitus, in Bourdieu’s terms, a process of active self-creation that influence by their social and cultural background, which is also reluctant to be played by the political actor as social upbringing can be restructured. Once the social is restructured, the individual might feel anxiety and bring to affection, although a critic of Bourdieu works may mention that Bourdieu blurs distinctions between cognition and affect (knowledge and feeling) (Wetherell, M. 2012: 106-107). Natalie Fenton, in a speech (18 March 2016) mentioned that politics is always involve passion, desire, antagonism, contestation and conflict and being political often operates under severe constraints that are multiple – time, money and cultural capital are unequally distributed. Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again,” seems like nostalgia, restructuring the notion that America needs “help” to bring back the glorious days of America in the days of old, touching the citizen and often playing with the politics of fear, frequently using the terms “terrorism” and “immigrant”.

Trump’s massification messages on the media, using Gramsci’s term of ‘common-sense,’ is seen when Trump’s idea become internalize by people and come to understand it as shared concerns (Davis, H. 2004: 65). People decode Trump’s words as it was intended, by voting for him, despite all his controversial statements, somehow accepting his so-called ‘facts’ as ‘truth’. People are being political by giving vote for him because they feel passionate, moved by Trump’s presentation.

…….

trump-vs-clinton