Friday, April 30, 2010

Are You Sure You Want to 'Deponering' Your Case?

There has been plenty of times you hear about 'deponering' in Indonesian media lately. Usually some big shot lawyers use the word to mean 'dropping the case'.

I cringed. And I bet Colson too.

It is no secret that our law is based on Dutch law from the colonial era, so there are plenty of Dutch words in Indonesian Law related language. At Indonesian Law Schools, it is acquired to take (CMIIW) one semester Dutch language. Some says one semester is not enough, but I can a sure you, I only took three months of Dutch course to pass NT2, a Dutch language test. Sure, I still speak with an accent, I still make grammar mistake. However, I do know that I need to consult a dictionary for a correct usage of words. Unlike those big shots.

To the best of my knowledge, and without my Van Dale dictionary near by, in Dutch Law one uses 'deponeren' in conjunction with branding, as in 'merken deponeren', registering brand names. If one wants to stop the law process, one 'seponeren' the case.

You might thought that perhaps like 'beleid' that is in KBBI, Indonesian equivalent of OED or Van Dale, 'deponering' is a word of Indonesian language by now. However, it is not part of KBBI. I heard Indonesia doesnt have the equivalent of Black Law Dictionary, let alone an Indonesian-English Law dictionary. Some Law Firms and Institutions have their own glossaries. In one of such glossaries, I found this translation of 'deponir':
Termination of an investigation because the incident being investigated is considered to to constitute a crime.
That's the closest I got to 'deponering' in Indonesian Law glossaries that I have, with no exact translation to English.

I wonder if the word changes its mean in Indonesian language, or it's a collective misinformation; just like people thought bagpipe was invented in Scotland, even though it was actually invented somewhere in Asia.

Now, who should I contact for some clarification? Hmm...

PS: Come to think of it, perhaps they use 'deponeren' as in 'iets in de prullenbak deponeren', throwing something to trash. Interesting take...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Who do you think you are?

It's the title of a BBC’s programme where one celebrity each week is trying to find out about their ancestors. After all, your ancestors made you the way you are. They follow paper trails left behind by their ancestors around the world, well mostly around what was part of the British Empire. Was there anyone famous, any inventor, any explorer? Or was there any skeleton in the closet: any murder, any slavery, or affair in the family? Anything.

I guess it's easier for Britons to trace back in time, since they have such a great tradition of keeping everything in writing, while for Indonesian it was never our strongest point. To make the searching worst, not everyone, including yours truly, is using their last name in Indonesia.

Interesting enough, in Indonesia, you know who is who, who is related to whom even without a last name! For instance, I know more of less about the connections between a friend's family and mine... all the way back to the days of our parents and grandparents. It's like seeing six degrees of separation in working. In fact the other day, I was lectured by a Professor who happened to be my grandfather's cousin.

Thinking about that question, who do you think you are? I wonder what I would found in my family closet. I've never been that close to my father's side of family, so I know little about them aside from my grandfather used to be a Lurah in Jakarta and was involved in the cabinets in the dawn of the Republic. However, I know quite a bit about my mother's side. My grandmother... blessed her soul... who we lovingly called Uty, used to 'torture' me for hours by telling me stories about my ancestors. Now, that she's gone, sadly enough, I can't recall everything she said. To my defence, I've never been good remembering names by hearing. Some of the stories were amusing, some were heartbreaking, and others were encouraging. It is good to know where you are coming from.

Back in 2003, in preparation what would have been Uty's 89th birthday, her grand- and great-grandchildren from all over the world were working together to create a wonderful birthday present for her in the form of documentary of her life titled 'Roos van Lembang' in both book and film. After months of meetings, writing, interviewing, and shooting, we were going to presented it at her birthday party on March 27th, 2003. However, one hour after her interview on camera, she had a stroke and died the next day, only three days shy from her 89th birthday.

From that project we learnt how emancipated, modern, insightful and caring our grandmother was. Not only she affected our lives, her descendents, but also others who got to know her all through her life. Some people in the deep of Tasikmalaya area, where she and her 7 children took refuge during the Bersiap period, still remember her and things she taught them to survive the period.

My grandfather's life was similar to a soap opera plot. At the age of two, he was kidnapped by his father's first wife and taken to Java from Bima, Sumbawa. He grew up thinking that person was his own mother, until he met his biological mother when my mom was already a teenager. During the independence period, he quitted his job as a teacher and joined the army to become a spy, as he spoke perfect Dutch. As a man who didnt speak much, we only knew his role in the Army after he passed away. After the Bersiap period he took his wife and eight girls to Sumatra to open schools and later on helped setting up a university. It was only when I was in the elementary school that he returned to his birth place and met some of his relatives that he had never known. I think it broke his heart that no one from Bima had ever searched for him when he needed help, but as soon as they found out he was not poor, they started to search for him only for his money. Eventhough I heard his mother's father was a king in that area back in the day and his father was a noble Javanese, my grandfather always say he was a Javanese who refused using his noble title because we are living in a republic. Noble titles are from bygone era.

It is interesting that eventhough both my grandparents taught in Dutch, none of their children speaks it now. In the early days, they used Dutch at home, but since the Japanese occupation grandfather forbade anyone using Dutch, until I have to learn it before leaving for Holland. My first Dutch teacher was my Uty. Later on we used to talk in Dutch until my grandfather gave up because he forgot his vocabs and resorted to Javanese.

I could really see the Dutch influence mixed with Javanese culture in my grandparents' lives. They were strict, honest to a fault, rule abiding (grandfather almost died because he went to a Puskesmas instead of to a specialist and was given a wrong meds), open minded, and yet also romantic.

When I just got back, I tried learning more about the rest of the family, but most people I asked, have only fragmented information. It would've been great if I could find out more about the Bugis, Banten, Arab and Chinese branches of the family. So far, we only have the Javanese family tree. See, with such ancestry, I am a world citizen.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Bureaucratic Jungle

Indonesia is famous of it's red tape. I experience it first hand, both in and out of this country. It might be 21st century, but I swear, those bureaucrats never heard of LAN, let alone a WAN.

I was waiting for this lady searching for a copy of my dad's confirmation letter today, when I heard another lady explained to these people things that they have to submit for getting their pension. The list is on and on, and at one point I heard they need to submit 15 3x4 pictures along with one of the forms. Fifteen. What is this place? Indonesian Idol's HQ?? They need to submit at least 4 different forms plus 10 folds of its copies and several documents that needed to be legalized by the Lurah for each forms, head of the area. All them mean more money to spend.

Really why do you need 20+ pictures of one person?

What a waste of money, what a waste of papers.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Zonde noem ik alle daden, die een medemensch lijden doen
RA Kartini 1899

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I am Happy

I am happy
feeling that you are no longer consumed by that anger

I am happy
feeling that you finally move on

I am happy
seeing that you are finally smiling a genuine happy smile

Friday, April 16, 2010

Force Majeure

The European sky is lockdown due to the eruption of Icelandic Eyjaffjalljokull. It is thought that the stranded people might not be able to claim their travel insurance, as the insurance companies are using 'the Act of God' exclusion in their insurance policies to avoid paying $20 million of compensation.

If it is so, does that mean the (Icelandic) church is liable now?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Henri Cartier-Bresson at MOMA

Back in 2006, I went to see Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibition of his days in far east at FOAM, I love his work (then again, who doesnt?). HCB has this knack of capturing one frame saturated with so much essence, yet it's honest and beautiful. So, if you happen to be in New York between now and June, it's a good idea to visit MOMA, as they have 300 pictures from all era at the moment.

I found out the other day that his first wife was a Javanese dancer, Ratna Mohini, nee Carolina Jeanne de Souza-Ijke. From what I've read so far, she's a Eurasian, claiming she had ancestry from the House of Banten, West Java. It was through his wife connection that HCB was introduced to Gandhi, less than an hour before Gandhi assassination. Gandhi's funeral picture gave HCB his international recognition. Ratna married HCB for 30 years before their divorce in 1967. HCB then married Martine Franck a Belgian photographer in 1970. Martine is also a Magnum photographer in her own right.

As he married women from two completely different cultural backgrounds, I wonder, looking at all of his pictures if the influence of both women were visible. After all they say our environment influenced us.


I know companies are training their sales people to do canvassing. Most of the time they train them well. This morning one of them called my dad's number and gave me a reason to rant.

It started well, a friendly greeting by someone named Evi from Standard Chartered Bank. Her first mistake was not knowing that my dad was a male instead of female. She thought I was dad. Fine, honest mistake. But if I was dad, I wouldve liked it she knew that I were a guy when she called me selling her products.

Then I told her that he already passed away. Normally, other sales would apologized for the misunderstanding, then, depending on how aggressive they are, one could then selling whatever they are selling to me, or just promised to take dad's information from the list. But this woman has a different approach all together. She hung up on me!!!

Good luck to you with your canvassing. I hope you bring lots of new costumers. NOT.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Black Book and Censor

Finally I watched Black Book or Zwarte Boek a Dutch movie about WW II. The surprise part was I watched it on the telly, Indonesian telly, and the subtitle was pretty good. I have to mention about the subtitle, because even for English movie or TV series, sometimes the subtitles are below par.

The bad part was they censored it rather too much for my liking. Some sensual parts that explain why someone did something were cut. Weirdly enough, the part of killings were not cut. They even cut the ending (but not the beginning at the same place) that took place in Israel in the start of Suez crisis. Indonesian censor, go figure. Lucky I still have a copy of uncensored one, so I might watch it again.

I dont get why days in days out Indonesian TVs show lots of gruesome pictures and some of them were not even censored even though they aired it before 8PM. However, when it comes to kissing and sex, aired after 9PM, they censored them! I dont have kids, but I'd rather my kids see people kissing, than some gruesome murdered victims.

Another thing that bugs me, Why did they need to cut the ending just because it showed a kibbutz? What was the censorship agency trying to do, protecting Moslem from seeing an imaginary-funded-using-recovered-money-stolen-from-Jews-killed-in- the-war-kibbutz? Grow up!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Going Native

I've been reading some blogs by Americans teaching English all over Indonesia. The ups and downs. The weird part for me was I learned about Indonesian cultures in other islands that I've never been to by reading their experiences.

However, there were moments when I thought, were they really talking about Indonesia? Because it was also foreign to my experience. Like the one about funeral clothes in Gorontalo, they are apparently white and blue. All my life, I was taught to wear something dark, preferably black. The story about moslems are not supposed to use contraception before having any kids, is also new to me. What strike me most is the number for their students or friends that wear jilbab. Even in my stint in Lampung I didnt see that many women with jilbab. The fact that some of them lives in a small town plays role in experiencing different kind of Indonesia.

Reading about these people, reminds me of my own (culture shock) experiences both abroad and when I got back. It also made me wonder if my view of Dutch is also very fragmented, after all unless you hang out with different circles of people, you practically only catch a glimpse of a certain group.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Visa o Visa

The joy of having Indonesian passport is each time we want to travel abroad outside ASEAN countries, we need to apply for their visa and pay a significant amount of money for it. It is especially true when we want to travel to developed countries. Bear in mind the money you paid wont be refunded if they rejected your visa application. Coupled that to the lost of time in getting it process. Joy, joy, joy. Therefore it is pretty normal to hear us, Indonesians, complaining about obtaining a visa.

The other day, however, was a different story. My friend just came back from a meeting at the Dutch embassy, he was told he needs a KITAS, Indonesian Limited Stay Permit, so he could start his business over here. One way to do get a KITAS is to marry an Indonesian. He was joking how marrying me will not only getting him a KITAS, but also making his mom happy.

Most of the time I hear how some Indonesian marries or living together with a foreigner to get a visa abroad. Even my ex Dutch flatmate, M suggested we did that on paper that so I could easily stay in NL. It was very nice of him to suggest it, but I felt it wasnt the right thing to do.

But seriously, I wish obtaining a visa is not such a pain.

Friday, April 02, 2010

It Takes a Brave Woman

to stand up on telly and criticised Muslim clerics' fatwas like that in the Middle East. I ♥ Hissa Hilal. You Go Girl!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

April Fool Scrapbook

gw mo nyoba scraping book
scrapping book digital apa ngga?
pengen yg digital tau gak?
fisik juga pengen
google aja
trus tadi liat kayak ada prikboard gtiu loh
bagus dhe
yg fisik ke pipoos aja
mading gitu deh
iyah ngerti
yg online mading gitu apa ya
ngga tau
search aja
bahasa inggrisnya apa?
i should blog this convo
too stupid too be real:)