rootless child in refuge

two days ago i spent almost half day with my colleague. first we went to the gym together. it’s time for me to start working out again, it was already my commitment. i want to stay healthy and i need to put on some muscles and lose some weight (for side-effect). i joined this club and paid in advance the fee for 6-month membership. the first time wasn’t very successful, though. i could only run for about 12 minutes. usually i can stand 15 to 20 minutes. then i hop into the bodyjam class. i was awful in the session, as always–as a newcomer should be. anyway, there’s so sweat either. 

then i took my friend to grab some coffee or something (since she doesn’t drink coffee) at starbucks. we both ordered mango frappucinno, which was suck–tasted like ordinary mango juice that you can make by yourself at home. but actually i couldn’t wait to hear her story, since she just got back from her holiday in sri lanka. 

now, sri lanka? isn’t the country still in uproar due to that tamil tiger rebellion thing? i am aware that sri lanka has a very close relation to india. i thought she had a relative there. but actually she was just on vacation. the exciting thing is the city colombo’s situation was really war-like. many barbwires i suppose. she went to a temple, to the zoo. in the airport she avoid speaking tamil, even claimed that she didn’t understand the language (anyway she holds an indonesian passport).

she was very talk active. so i didn’t need to ask too many questions.  but i wondered about her hometown, medan. i know that there are many, too many, indian=descendants there. but she added that there are even more chinese. speaking chinese there is a matter of survival. her younger (yet already married) sister can even speak hokyan.

she spoke much about the gong si fat choi tradition there, when she received 200 kue keranjang (basket cake?) from her neighbors. but on the other hand, on diwali day, her family should prepare mutton for the whole surroundings. and they are quite informed about the situation nearing the holiday as they can catch Malaysian television.

she told about barongsai, lion, which should jump as high as they can to catch lettuce that is hung with bamboo at every house. the barongsai, in the old days, should go into the house until the kitchen. the player could even be possessed. the cap go me (15 days after chinese new year) celebration was not less interesting. she also explained that most of the chinese people have good education.

 i wonder… what can i see and enjoy as a chinese descendant. last imlek i didn’t even join my family for visiting relatives. i was too arrogant. too ashamed. too reluctant. lost in identity crisis too far.


education is power

i accompanied my boss again to JIS again. this time to JIS pattimura. elementary school campus. i went to see mr. paul buckley. his accent was australian. he has beard. the other principal that i saw in JIS cilandak taragong was … gosh i trully forgot his name.

now this meeting was addressed to smoothen the way for embassy diplomat’s children’s enrollment in both JIS high school (or middle school) and elementary school. why? don’t they already have GANDHI memorial school? the fact is, it was a regulation that diplomat’s children must go to schools that are enlisted, acknowledged by the government of india. the only school, international school absolutely, that is in the panel is JIS. not australian, not british. the american-oriented JIS. this is so that when the children have to move and change school, the gov can help, and there won’t be too much trouble.

so paul asked my boss’ daughter’s name. Chinnayi, if im not mistaken, Rajaram. it was touching when he told a story about her. because he and his wife are both diplomats, first secretary even, they don’t have enough time for this girl.
then there was the climate issue. when he returned to india, the girl was always sick. the doctor identified that the problem was the climate change. in india the weather, at its peak, could reach 30 degrees or more,while in moscow (she was born there) at the lowest peak, could reach minus 20 degrees.

now about sri lanka. when he was in india, i know that he dealt with sri lanka. the fact is he went there so often, around one week a month. or every other month. paul mentioned about how this country loves cricket so much.
then about his next position. he mentioned that its gonna be geneva. isnt that awesome?

in the car on our way to office, he said that–when i asked whether the location was already decided for him–the only other option besides geneva was brussel. this is because the husband and wife should work in the same place (not like the policy in our foreign ministry, which only one of them can be a diplomat).