April 17, 2013

A flower, a smile and an endearing touch

Some friends asked me why I loved to travel so much.
I answered,"Travel reinforces my faith in humanity."

During my recent Japan trip, I went to a little suburb town to watch a local taiko performance (Japanese traditional drummers). I am kinda sure that I was the only foreigner present there, thanks to my Japanese friend who found this performance for me.

Long story short, after the performance I got a huge beautiful flower bouquet from the drummers. Since I was carrying my backpack, still having to find my way around the subway jungle and having a zero sense of aesthetic appreciation anyway, I gave the flowers to a beautiful passing by grandma wearing a kimono and her grandson with down syndrome.

The grandma smiled so sweetly and started talking to me in Japanese, and there I was frantically waving my hand saying "Nihhonjin janai." (I am not a Japanese). Then she smiled and said "Thank you."
The grandson, seeing his grandma's smile, looked at me very intensely and started talking incoherently to me. I smiled at him, understanding nothing. Suddenly he took my hand in his and held it for some time.

Pure cuteness :)

Little kindness, beautiful strangers. Those things that matter :)

April 16, 2013

March 21, 2013

Falling in love

I forgot how beautiful my country is..

Krakatau, Pelabuhan Ratu, Situ Patengan Lake, Kawah Putih, Bali
Photos stolen from John and Tony

March 19, 2013

Just another unimportant thought

I just came back from visiting my best cousin and her one year old daughter, Clara.

This little angel lives in a very nice house in a nice neighborhood with several cars and a golden retriever. She is showered with love by her warmhearted parents, having imported german baby food and nutrition, attending the best multilingual school, simply said having the best education her parents can provide. She will probably inherit her dad's property and assets as well. In short, you can say she's a lucky girl whose future looks bright. As some cynical friends would say,"An upper class princess" :)

On the same day, I was having a late dinner with friends at a street side stall around 11 pm and there came a beggar lady carrying her child who was fast asleep. I couldn't help but think,"Why is this kid still out at this hour, on the street? He should be asleep at home." I thought of little Clara I just hugged 12 hours ago, who must be asleep in her cozy fluffy bed, hugging her favorite pink furry blanket.

The other kid will probably grow up on the street, lacking of education, maybe even the bare necessities, unable to have the privilege Clara will have in her life. The chance of the street kid being able to escape the poverty is not that big. What choice does he have? He has a mother who begs for a living, will grow up in a poor environment, where education is not a necessity. Who can we blame if staying alive is difficult enough? It's a vicious circle, poverty, lack of education, no good job. It's really sad, how Clara probably won't know what poverty is, being equipped with the proper education her parents can provide, whereas the beggar kid probably won't know either what it's like to be chauffeured around to school or to play with a golden retriever in his own backyard.

Their fate is sealed at birth. And you still wonder why I don't believe in a fair and just god?

Apropos religious faith, a christian friend once snapped at me,"Why aren't you grateful to God? You're so lucky and yet here you are, an atheist!"
"Well, I'm not claiming that there's no god. That's the definition of an atheist. I'm more of an agnostic: I do not know. And if you call me an atheist, you are one as well. There are so many gods in the history of human civilization, you are atheistic towards Ra and Zeus, aren't you? Why can't I be atheistic towards your Yahwe? And yes I'm lucky, but about others who aren't as lucky as me?"

She: "God has his own justice we will never understand."

Me: "You say so because you're high and mighty, we are international students in Germany. What about those children in war who can't go to school? Or maybe died in a bombing? Or those child soldiers who are forced to leave school, to kill and to rape?"

She: "They have a choice. Those child soldiers have the choice to say no and just let the warlords kill them. If they choose to be alive and kill others then it's their own risk and ignorance. And how do you know that those children who die in the bombings aren't happy? Maybe it's better for them to be in heaven."

I stared at her unbelievingly. WE can say some sh*t about choices, standing on a high pedestal, having choices ourselves. We are the privileged, who do indeed have choices. And other people are ignorant because they choose the only way they know?

I used to call this christian girl 'an ignorant git' which I'm not proud of.. She didn't know any better, she's a privileged girl who has it easy in life. Not her fault. And I'm not right either. In a way, maybe she's somewhat right. Let me explain.

There are always people who have it better and worse than us in life.
I had beautiful rich people stroking me, saying,"Aww, poor you.. You have to go through so many surgeries? You have constant back pain? You can't wear high heels?"
The "aww" goes on and I don't mind :)

Whereas there are also many people telling me how lucky I am, having the chance to have a better education, travel all around, having many people who love me, etc.

It really depends from which perspectives you're looking from.
As for me, I see myself as a very lucky girl. I can't really relate to those people who are saying "poor Wi". Of course I can understand where they're coming from. But I never see myself as a 'poor' girl.
I used to complain about the surgeries I had to go through until one day when I was around 13 years old, my dad just drove me home from the hospital and I was pouting in the car, and he suddenly pointed out at a beggar on the street, unable to walk, and said,"That was you." It turned out he has the same medical condition as I do, and there he was out on the street and there I was, sitting comfortably in a car, having my medical conditions surgically corrected and expensive medical bills paid by my hardworking dad. From that day on, I stopped complaining, and somewhat stopped believing in the god I was raised to believe in. From my point of view, he's not just nor good. Why can I afford expensive surgery costs and why can't the beggar on the street? Don't get me wrong. This is not bitterness. I've stopped asking a long time ago and embraced the fact that it's not mine to know.

Anyway, maybe, just maybe, my friend was right in some way.. Maybe those children don't really see themselves as pitiable. Maybe it's just me wearing my pink lenses who pity and deem them as less fortunate than I am. Just as some people see me as less fortunate than they are.

I think it all boils down to one thing. Maybe if we all can think of ourselves as lucky enough, then we all can still smile in spite of poverty, illness, etc.

Ah, but what do I know? Just as the great Socrates once said,"Scio me nihil scire". I don't know. I really do not know.

March 13, 2013

We're fools whether we dance or not

so we might as well dance !