Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ken Dedes

The first time I saw her statue depicted as Prajnaparamita, the goddess of Wisdom, was in Amsterdam more than 3 years ago. Earlier this year I saw it again in Museum Nasional Jakarta, as beautiful as the first time I saw her. It is said that its beauty is comparable to that of Monalisa.

Ken Dedes was the first queen of Singhasari, a kingdom in East Java, who was considered as the origin of the lineage of kings in Java, from Singhasari, Majapahit, to Mataram.

I've been having synchronicity about her lately, it all started with seeing the really bad replica of the statue Prajnaparamita at the Trowulan museum. That replica didnt do justice to the real thing. So I was explaining about the statue a bit, how it was found in Singhasari where we were passing by the day before, and was brought to Holland for some years before brought back to Jakarta since 1978.

Then the other day, I was reading Kompas, and stumbled upon this short story based on her life. I'd never read Kompas' short story before. I thought it was an article about dance, when I read the title.

Yesterday an aunt called for hours to ask me about Ken Dedes and history of Java. Apparently our mutual acquaintance is writing a book and has difficulty explaining about Ken Dedes.

Some coincidences, huh?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

On Communication

Once upon a time in a place far, far, away, one of my close friends told me his view about his future wife. He said at the end of the day what matter most is not how sexy she is, how nice she is, or how rich she is, but the ability to talk to each other. I agree with him. Communication can make or break a relationship. The thing is, there are numerous kind of communication, and I dont only mean: in person, or using cellphone, IMs, etc.

Take the Javanese way of communicating, it's all subtle and indirect. Someone could be angry but he didnt look or sound like it. If you are used to this kind of communication, from what is being said you know he is angry. But if his audience is not used to this kind of communication they would think everything is normal, even great.

My father used to ask why I wanted to do something when he didnt like the idea of it but didnt have the heart to say no to me. I knew he didnt want me to, so, most of the time I didnt follow through with my plan after such question. Of course when I bailed out, outsiders would asked me why I did since they didnt think my father minded. Let's just say we had our own way of communication. I understood his 'metamessage', the implication of his spoken words.

After years living in lowland, I now need to adapt to Indonesian way of communicating. I was used to people very directly telling like it is - sometimes to the point of pretty brutal. Now I have to relearn how to read between the lines, hold things back and add loads of sugar coating, and how each ethnic has their own way of communicating. It's more intricate to navigate.

Then there's the technology factor. Some people loves to talk on the phone, some doesnt. The same goes with the internet. I opened up more when I chat or on the phone, because the way the other person reacting toward me in person could clamp me down. While some would find chatting or talking on the phone gives not enough information, so they prefer talking in person.

Men and women also communicating differently. I think when women tell you their problems, sometimes they just want someone to listen and give emotional support, and not giving them any solution. While men would react to such conversation by giving out solutions, because that how men are. They tackle problems.

A close guy friend of mine said that he knows that women talk about every things with each other. The first time I heard it I was surprised, because my girl friends and I dont do that. I do not share every things with my BFF, she knows what matters tho. She knew that secret of mine at Postsecret, for example. Then I saw that Friends episodes where Rachel said sharing every things creates bond. Well, I dont know about that.

I guess what I am saying is, yes, communication is the key. But not only the words are important, we also need to understand how people communicates their thought. It can happened that a person just asked an innocent question but you take it as an insult, and it all goes down the hill afterward just because of the different way of communicating.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Next Year!

I used to hate when people asked me when my turn is at weddings. So when I have to accompany my mom to weddings, I avoid her friends as much I could by searching for food or other people who I know wont ask me that question.

To my relief, at the only wedding I couldnt get out of I wasnt asked that question. No. Not once.

Apparently people changed their tactic. After telling me to get some of the bathing water from Siraman ritual which I did to humor them, and steal the bride's flower which I didnt do, (both supposed to speed up my chance of getting married) now they just said to me, 'Next year!', or 'You are next'. And they still said the same thing a week after the wedding eventho I told them I am single. They said I have plenty of time, more than 400 days to go till the new year of 2011.


Sometimes I wonder why does people do that? Do they think it's helping by saying that? Seriously. Stop it!

Friday, October 23, 2009

On Breasts and doctors

It's October, it means breast cancer awareness month. There are lots of Pink Ribbon products in stores to raise money for breast cancer research. I dont know if kids these days learn how to examine their own breast, but back in the day, I didnt learn it at school/sex ed. I learned it from books/leaflet and from my doctor.

I really do think it's important to learn how to do it properly from a young age. I dont know about other people, especially other women, but I remember how scared I was when I thought there was a possibility that things were worse than it was.

Until then, I never thought much about how important my breasts to my being female. I mean I was, and still am, happy with mine, but that's just about it. However, facing the possibility of something really wrong with it, I couldnt help but to wonder about living without it. Would I still feel feminine without (part of) it? How would others, particularly men, perceived a woman with scarred torso. I didnt even think about losing hair due to chemo, or even death. All I could think of was lopsided chest! Yeah, I am that shallow.

This year I had another little scare. I guess that's part of the territory of having HMS, we, 'mutants', are more prone of having cysts. After waiting for ages and became angry for their service at the cancer hospital, and logging my complaint, I got to see an oncologist, who just said that I need to get pregnant to balance out my hormones. Thanks for your advice, doctor!

Being in that hospital and seeing that doctor made me miss my old oncologist and how she talked me through it and assured me 3 years ago. Not only this doctor didnt address my problem, instead of acknowledging that he's not in capacity to advice me about hormones, he was very condescending.

Maybe I met the wrong doctor, the one who just interested in cutting his patients up and not really communicating with his patients. I do, however, think, no matter how good you are at cutting people up, if your bedside manners and communication skills let you down, you are more prone to have dissatisfied patient. I wouldnt be surprised that one day someone would sued you.

Therefore, I was quite pleased to see this consultant Medical Oncologist at the other hospital. This handsome professor was so down to earth, took his time to explained things to me, and gracefully enough to refer me to another consultant endocrinologist who he thought could help me much better with my problem. And, did I mention he waived his fee because we went to the same med school? No, I didnt say he's good because of that, I've heard good things about him from my other friends too. I bet, if he did something wrong, his patients were more reluctant to sue him because of his bedside manner and communication.

I understand that seeing cancer patients day-in-day-out could get you. But treating them as human, not just as an object is a must. My father always told me that as a doctor you are also there to help them cope with their illness. I used to complaint to my father as he spent too much time with his patients and their families. Now, I wish I have such doctor of my own.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Thank You!

For (one of) the best gifts I've ever received,
For taking your time listening to my rambling,
For keeping me company and endured the 'abuse',
For every wise word of encouragement you've shared,
But most of all,
For every time you've been there for me.

You are awesome!

And I am so grateful to have you in my life.