to teenage and young adult girls: be independent

Growing up and living in Indonesia for 28+ years have opened my eyes to 2 things: 1. The older generation, especially from some culture groups, still puts women in lower level than men; 2. On the other side, the younger generation (now the late 30s – early 40s) has been more open minded and supports feminism/emancipation. However, living in eastern/Asian culture where we are taught to always respect the elder has somehow brought the younger generation to finally agree to put men in higher class than women (even though in practice, I see that more young families treat women as equal to men – which is good).

There’s a saying: you are who you think you are, which is true. With the paradigm that women are on lower level than men, some people, especially from the lower education background, really put women as the lower group with less access to higher education and career. Thank God my parents are within the group of people who think of men and women as equals. They put me and my sister in good schools, teach us to be independent (with very less chance of getting spoiled), and support us to get decent career.

Dear Lovely Girls,

I know that most of you are feeling insecure about your physical appearance and love life a lot at the moment – I’ve been there, but it shouldn’t prevent you from preparing yourself for the future, to be independent. Most people (especially guys) misinterpret ‘independent women’ as the kind of women who can stand for themselves and don’t need men. This is not entirely wrong; we need to be able to stand for ourselves, regardless of whether we have men by our sides.

The best advice I can give you to be independent:

  • You can do anything if you believe you can.Image result for independent woman
  • Nobody can tell you that you can’t do something. (Just like the quote from ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’)Image result for the pursuit of happiness quotes
  • Never wait for others – when you want to do something, do it.
  • Study hard for what you want. Until today, I still believe that education is the most important and priceless thing someone can get. You can buy certificates, but you cannot buy the education experiences and the values you get from it.
  • Speak up and be bold.
  • Do things that you want to do, but listen to your parents. They might not know what you want, but they can tell you what you need if you open up to them. Anyway, they’ve lived longer than you.
  • Stand up for the things you believe in.
  • The best revenge (to the people who hurt you) is by being the best version of you. When you’re at your best, you will be happier than ever. When you’re happy, those who hate or hurt you will hate you even more, but you won’t have time to care.

If any of you ever worry that being an independent woman is going to push guys away, then don’t. When you’re independent, a guy that is meant for you will not run away – instead, he will stand by your side proudly.

Be independent.

XOXO

Self-claimed independent woman

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on platonic friendship

Platonic describes a relationship that is purely spiritual and not physical. If a guy and a girl hang out all the time but aren’t boyfriend and girlfriend, they’d describe their friendship as platonic.

(Quoted from: https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/platonic)

Having spent most of my early teenage years being friends with only girls, it was really shocking for me when I first befriended some guys and actually enjoyed it. Some big reasons of why I enjoyed being friends with guys in the first place are:

  • I can care less about what I wear and how I look. As long as I feel comfortable with what I’m in, then I’ll be good to go. (The downside of this is I tended to dress up the way I wanted to; this is a bit improved today.)
  • I can speak what I want to without having to worry too much. Guys are not as sensitive as girls, so as long as you don’t say things that might hurt their ego, you’re good to go. (The downside of this is when you do too much heart-to-heart conversation with them, they don’t know that the topic is sensitive for them not to talk about it to others.)
  • They are my voices of reasons. I don’t have older brothers and my dad just sometimes can’t understand the problems I’m facing. It was not so pleasant at first (especially during their early 20s, remembering that guys mature up later than girls), but soon in their 25s, they finally become more mature and logical about stuff.

I now have several guy friends with whom I have no physical nor sexual desire, and we meet up regularly. Not as much as when I was single, but we still hang out and chat at times. I don’t know if these friendships will still be there after I’m married and busy with my own life, but I hope things will work out well for us all. 🙂

on ‘who I am’

I have been so much unconfident for the past 2 years – I feel like I’m stuck with my career that every time someone asks me about my job, I would be flustered and speechless. This is proof that I’ve let my job define who I am, which is not supposed to happen.

When I was younger, I would be so proud telling everyone who I was – I focused more on the personal traits rather than what my class ranking was or what I had created for school expos.

Now that I meet more people from professional relations than those of personal, our conversations will automatically be focused on careers and jobs. Where you work and what you do matter. Hence, when you’re not satisfied with them, you will feel embarrassed.

Some time ago (can’t exactly remember when), I joined a short course themed ‘personal leadership’, where we were told to lead ourselves before we lead others. The most important thing in leading ourselves is to know ourselves – that is, to be able to define ‘who I am’ as a person instead of as whatever role you have in your job.

iamwhoiam

After the course, I have just realized that who I am matters. Not everyone you meet cares about what you do for a living and how much you earn, but s/he cares a lot about what you do and how you make them feel. So, the next time I need to introduce myself, I will confidently reply:

I’m Inez, a unique woman who would normally feel insecure at times but always try to see the positive sides of things. … (Other things are not going to be shared here.)

daddy’s little princess (another post for girls)

Dear Ladies,

I’m writing to let you know that every woman will always be her daddy’s little princess, no matter how old she is.

I am now 30, still live with my parents (in Indonesia, a child would normally live with his/her parents until s/he’s married unless there are special conditions, e.g. working in different city or having bad relationship with parents), hence have curfew. It was a big problem at first (read: when I first moved back in to my parents’ house), having most of my colleagues coming from outside Jakarta (they don’t live with their parents), but as I’m getting older, I instead use it as an excuse to run away from office’s ‘social events’. It is almost always, by the time I’m first invited to those ‘social events’, people would look at me strangely, wondering my parents’ curfew. They would sometimes ask me how old I am that I still live by the curfew. (To which I would just smile and replied: their house, their rules.)

The frequently asked questions are then:

Q: Does the same rule (curfew) apply to your sister?

A: Yes, and even worse sometimes. There are times when my parents would have looked for my sister when she’s not home at 7 PM. (They would start looking for me when they don’t listen from me until 8 PM.)

Q: Aren’t you disturbed by the rule, given the fact that it disables you from joining events?

A: The fact that the rule exists will of course disturb me the most, but I always try to see things from my parents’ views. They just want to make sure their girls don’t fall into false ‘friendships’ (in their world, the word means: Jakarta’s night life).

Q: If you are that much disturbed, then why didn’t you do something?

A: I tried asking my parents if they would allow me to stay over at a friend’s house so they won’t need to be worried with me coming home late, but their answer was also big NO. Instead, they make the curfew flexible at times (with notes: I go out with friends they know, to certain events e.g. music concert/friend’s birthday celebration/company event, and will arrive home in the safe hands, i.e. either dropped by a friend or by a trustworthy taxi) to make sure I come home afterwards.

The turning point for me was when a friend’s daughter was just born. After a year or so, he told me that as his daughter grows older, he naturally becomes more possessive of her that he’s thinking of sending someone out to tail her by the time she asks his permission for dates. LOL. Of course, he hasn’t gone through what my father and I have, but for sure that’s what my dad would have thought when he just had me. And my sister, of course. I’d then realized that whatever my dad does, he’d always think of me as the little princess I once was, and I will always be one for him.

All in all, my dad’s sure become a role model for me – he’d successfully been the kind of guy I want to marry (with some improvements here and there), and I wish my future husband can also be the kind of guy my future daughter(s) would want to marry. He cares about me more than any guy in this world ever does, and will still be. Your father might not say his feelings out loud, but his actions scream it in the greatest way.

Love you, dad.

XOXO

 

what I wish I knew when I was 20

True, I lived alone in a lodging when I was 20 years old. I was in my 3rd year of undergrad and felt like I knew a lot of things. Truth is, I knew nothing back then. Now I wish I knew these things:

  1. A relationship can either be toxic or healthy. Yes, I was never in a relationship when I was 20. And I’ve been in 3 in the past 10 years. And yes, I have been in both the toxic and healthy ones. To put it simply, healthy relationship will make you a better individual, while the healthy one the opposite.
  2. Your career is determined by your first job. Well, how could I have known it? I was just a 3rd year student, still more than one year away from having to think about working. I didn’t even think much about graduating. LOL. Thank God I have my mom who guided me well during the job offer selection. (Otherwise I might have been trapped into working a job I will regret later.)
  3. Your family will be the part of your life that you appreciate most. Everything in your life starts with your family. Now that there are many sad stories about broken home families I heard, I’m feeling even more grateful for the family I was born into. It is true that you cannot choose which family you’re born into, but in most cases, they are the persons who will love you unconditionally.
  4. Who your family is or where you went to school doesn’t matter in life – who you are does. During school years, most students are dependent to their parents. That’s why most children will feel that family and school are important. The opposite will happen after you’re becoming an adult – who you are matters.
  5. Getting a job that pays you decently is hard, but managing to collect money is even harder. I was a fresh graduate when I worked for my first job, with lower salary than most of my male college friends. I’d then continued to Master’s, where after graduating, my first job also paid me lower than most of my male friends. According to research, women tend to get lower pay due to lower self esteem and easier to be negotiated. This is because women have the duty of taking care of their families more than guys do, making them less productive and work less hours. I think I should just live with the fact and stop living a fancy lifestyle, no? ‘No’ would be my answer then, still tempted to eat at fancy restaurants, have coffee at fancy cafes and go on holidays now and then. 😀 Those, for me, are money well spent – an even better investment than bank deposits.
  6. Your friends are not gonna be with you forever – they get lost with time. Research proved that friendships that last more than 7 years are going to last forever. From my experience, only a few high school and college friends are still in contact with me. And even fewer that I still regularly meet. Sometimes I think my parents are right – no friendship lasts forever.

(for girls) types of guys and how to deal with them

**Disclaimer: I’m not a real pro when it comes to dealing with guys; I’m just sharing my experience here.**

As I’ve told you in my previous post, I was single for 3 years before I finally decided to settle down with my boyfriend. During those 3 years, I had met some guys from different background and hence different ways of approach.

  1. The geek. Working in an engineering company, by default I meet this type the most. Say it the guys who are ‘trapped’ in engineering world that they will sporadically approach any girls around them, to the ones who are so consumed in their own worlds. Basically, the geeks are nice guys, regardless of whether they have weird sense of humor or simply weird habits. Most geek guys are shy, so it is highly likely that they will just be your secret admirers and help you in any way they could. Some girls might find geeks beneficial in the way and even ‘use’ their kindness.
  2. The nervous. I separate this category with no 1 because geeks are not necessarily nervous when facing girls. Sometimes the nervous are just them who are not used to be friends with girls. The most noticeable sign of the nervous is the stumbling they make when they speak or act.
  3. The stalker. You might not realize this type exists, but they might know everything about you. They know when and where you came to school/work everyday, where you have lunch, where you hang out after work, etc. etc. Sound creepy? It’s a yes for me. Most stalkers are nice guys, though. They will not hesitate to send you flowers if they find out you like them, or give you things you need most in time. Be careful with the aggressive ones, still.
  4. The initiator. Or the aggressive, I can say. This type initiates most of the things you’ve been through together. They will be the ones introducing themselves to the girls they like, asking us out on dates, and contacting us frequently to make sure they are within our radar. (P.S: I was mostly attracted to the initiator – only after then I realize that I need constant attention.)
  5. The humorist. They are the type of guys who will cast out jokes or do stupid things to make the girls laugh. Consequently, they will highly likely become the guys girls closest to and feel comfortable with. The downside of the humorist is they’re often trapped in the friend zone.

Whichever type of guys you’re facing, the most important thing to remember is to instantly make a distance and tell them when you’re not interested as to not give them false hope. Never take their kindness for granted.

[in Bahasa Indonesia] Penerapan Sekolah 5 Hari

Setelah ditelusuri, ternyata opini untuk menerapkan sekolah 5 hari dengan durasi belajar 40 jam seminggu/8 jam sehari mulai tahun ajaran 2017-2018 sudah lumayan lama juga ya keluar, dan saya baru dengar beritanya tadi pagi di radio saat perjalanan ke kantor. Memang keterlaluan anak satu ini, mentang-mentang sudah lulus dari sekolah jadi tidak care lagi dengan perkembangan dunia pendidikan. *lebay*

Mau ga mau saya jadi bernostalgia soal jam sekolah saya jaman dulu. Kebetulan di Indonesia ini tiap ganti menteri pendidikan (tiap kabinet namanya ganti-ganti, mulai dari mendikbud, mendiknas, sampe balik lagi mendikbud), kurikulum sekolah juga pasti ganti. Otomatis, kebijakan soal cara penilaian siswa sampe buku pelajaran yang dipake pasti ganti (dan sayangnya lagi, jarak umur antara saya dan adik saya pas 5 tahun, jadi orangtua kami ga bisa berhemat secara buku yang saya pake ga bisa dipake lagi sama adik saya).

Masa sekolah paling bahagia itu tentunya TK. Sekolahnya sih memang Senin-Sabtu, tapi sistemnya pagi-siang (tiap bulan ganti), sekolah Senin-Jumat 2 jam 15 menit sehari dan Sabtu 1 jam 30 menit saja. Lanjut SD (yang menurut saya kelamaan, sampe-sampe pas kelas 5 saya udah mulai nanya ke nyokap: kapan lulus ya, lama amat sekolahnya?), kelas 1-2 masih sistem pagi-siang dengan durasi yang lebih lama, Senin-Sabtu 2 jam 30 menit sehari, dan kelas 3-6 sekolah seharian (awal-awal kelas 3 rasanya sekolah itu lamaaaaa banget), Senin-Jumat jam 7.00-12.10 dan Sabtu jam 7.00-11.00. Lulus SD, saya sebenernya pengen lanjut ke SMP di negeri sebelah (alias SMP lain, karena TK-SD saya di sekolah yang sama, jadi bosen ketemu lingkungan dan teman-teman yang itu-itu aja), tapi apa daya kepentok ijin. Waktu itu bokap merasa saya masih terlalu kecil untuk dilepas ke sekolah yang jauh, jadi terpaksa saya lanjut lagi di SMP yang sama. Jam sekolahnya Senin-Jumat jam 7.00-13.30 dan Sabtu jam 7.00-11.00, dengan tambahan ekskul dan bimbingan 1-2 kali seminggu jadi pulang jam 4 sore (saya ga pernah ikut ekskul yang ga wajib karena males pulang sore). Tidak ada kendala yang berarti selama SMP, selain masalah psikologis masa puber yang bikin saya dan teman-teman galau ganjen norak nakal (kalau dilihat dari kacamata saat ini).

Lulus SMP, akhirnya saya diijinkan masuk ke SMA yang saya mau, dengan pertimbangan SMA yang bagus menentukan universitas yang bisa ditembus. Jam sekolah masih sama seperti waktu SMP, juga dengan komposisi ekskul dan bimbingan yang sama. Yang paling berkesan dari masa SMA adalah ternyata SMA saya termasuk SMA unggulan, ga cuma di Jakarta tapi di Indonesia, sampe-sampe kepilih jadi SMA percontohan si kurikulum baru (saat itu, tahun 2002), Kurikulum Berbasis Kompetensi (KBK). Yang paling berubah dari KBK ini adalah sistem penilaian (dan libur) yang tadinya per caturwulan (cawu)/4 bulanan, jadi kaya anak-anak kuliahan, per semester/6 bulanan, dan nilai di raport tidak boleh dibawah 7,5 (saat kelas 1-2) dan 8 (kelas 12). Ya, sistem kelas pun berubah saat naik dari kelas 2 ke kelas 3, karena saat saya kelas 3, KBK mulai diterapkan di semua sekolah lain di Indonesia (atau baru Jakarta ya?), dan sistem penomoran kelas yang tadinya 1-6 SD – 1-3 SMP – 1-3 SMA, diubah jadi kelas 1-12.

Saya inget banget, saat saya SMA itu, saya tiap hari Senin-Jumat pulang jam 13.30 (KBK ini emang sekolahnya cuma 5 hari seminggu) dan hari Sabtu diisi ekskul, sementara temen-temen di sekolah lain rata-rata pulangnya jam 15.30 dan sebagian hari Sabtu masih belajar juga, dan sebagian besar mereka bilang saya enak banget bisa pulang cepet. Saya sih cuma ketawa aja waktu itu, sambil dalam hati setengah menggerutu: apa enaknya?! Loe enak pulang sekolah sore masih sempet main-main, sementara gue begitu sampe rumah harus buru-buru buka PR dan belajar untuk ulangan. Yes, sekolah saya se-nggak santai itu. Disiplinnya amit-amit, pelajarannya intens banget sampe-sampe mau ijin sakit aja mikir 1000 kali (ga masuk 1 hari = ketinggalan pelajaran jauh banget), jadwal ulangan umumnya selalu lebih cepet seminggu dari sekolah lain dan saat anak sekolah lain sibuk ulangan umum, kami pun sibuk dengan pelatihan-pelatihan yang dirancang sama sekolah buat siswinya (mulai dari pelatihan jurnalistik sampe narkoba udah pernah dijabanin deh), dan pelit banget buat ngasih libur (trust me, even jaman-jaman force majeure macam banjir ato demo gede-gedean pun teteeeepp guru-guru rajin kasih tugas buat dikerjain di rumah.. baru saat itu saya ngerasain ‘belajar di rumah’ as in bener-bener belajar dan ga libur).

Jadi menurut saya, diterapkan atau tidaknya aturan sekolah 5 hari seminggu ini betul-betul tergantung dari sekolah masing-masing. Tujuan utamanya kan katanya biar baik guru maupun murid bisa benar-benar memanfaatkan waktu libur akhir pekan untuk keluarga, tapi ya semua tergantung kebijakan sekolah juga. Kalau sudah ditetapkan 5 hari seminggu 8 jam sehari sekolah, harus dipikirkan juga gimana biar anak-anak ga tertekan, apalagi kalau guru-guru masih membebani dengan PR dan ulangan. Yang ada nanti kualitas pendidikan ga membaik, waktu kualitas dengan orangtua juga ga tercapai, ditambah lagi muridnya stress.

*Semoga kualitas pendidikan Indonesia bisa semakin ditingkatkan lagi, terutama dalam era globalisasi ini, agar para pendidik juga bisa memberikan pandangan yang luas kepada para murid sambil mendorong agar murid mau ikut berpartisipasi aktif dalam mengemukakan pendapat di depan umum.

*Bersyukurlah anak-anak jaman sekarang karena populasi guru killer sudah menurun drastis dibanding jaman saya sekolah dulu.

*Setelah hampir 3 tahun ga nge-blog pake bahasa Indonesia, ternyata kangen juga dan lumayan bisa mengalir lancar tulisannya.