How in the world is this month September already? Definitely have not kept up with my resolution on blogging. Or going to the gym. Or writing in a journal. Oh crap. Well at least I’m taking a break from decluttering right now, including my digital files. Found some gems from my old DSLR that I thought would be nice to share here (since I recently got billed for this domain and realized I haven’t posted anything in months!)
I am a beginning junkie. I always look forward to Mondays, first-day-of-the-months, and new years. I love the idea of restarting, actually doing what I needed to do to reach my goals. But I suppose that just means I am a chronic procrastinator. I love the idea that I will do something better someday.
It’s been one month since 2018 started. I’d say I didn’t do all that bad. I started writing into a diary everyday – something I had never succeeded in doing since I was a kid. I committed to live more – 2017 was wonderful for my career, but not for everything else. And made myself learn new things everyday – I listened to a lot of podcasts last month, and I love it.
But I haven’t started going to the gym everyday, nor have I written in this blog! So here I am, reviewing what happened so far this year and what’s in store for the rest of the year.
My 2018 Bucket List
- 4 months of going to the gym every morning
- Volunteer for a cause
- Visit 3 countries I have never been before
- Visit 3 cities in Indonesia I have never been before
- Write 4 blog posts in a month (ha!)
- Read 10 books
- Started the new year right with my closest ones: Henrik, Mom, Dad, sissy at the fanciest of all the fancies, Mandarin Oriental Jakarta.
- Finished all three Kevin Kwan novels (Crazy Rich Asian series) – although I started this in 2017, but still counts lah.
- Registered myself to a diving lesson with Henrik and two of my colleagues, did 4 dives in Pulau Sepa (Kepulauan Seribu), and got my SSI Open Water Diver certification!
- Spent a weekend with Ory and her friends in Koziyu villas to celebrate her birthday.
- Spent quality time with my family (again!) in Lodges Ekologika at Portibi Farm, Sukabumi, where we ate good food and met new people. Also, I started reading Bumi Manusia by Pramoedya Ananta Toer.
- Met Noran from Lumah Momot, played with 32 CATS! and four dogs.
- Sold my unused clothes in Xbata Garage Sale, got pocket money and new friends!
Not that bad, eh? I had a pretty eventful month behind me. So here’s what I’m looking forward to this year:
- Henrik and I finally got a reservation at Burnt Ends Singapore! The last time we got a reservation, my grandfather passed away. We’re very much looking forward to this.
- A trip to Pakistan. Henrik and I are going to be attending our friend Sara’s wedding in Lahore. Isn’t that exciting? Of course that also means reunions with my undergrad friends Saba and Maheen. So excited for this!
- More travels – so far we are planning: Seattle, Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City, Tioman Island, and maybe Raja Ampat? We’ll see…
- Finally going to the gym everyday. I did it before for a month last year, how come it’s so hard to start again?
- Be happy 🙂
How’s your 2018 so far? Regardless, here’s a toast to February – a new start.
I started blogging when I was 13. I think then it was mostly me fangirling on Daniel Radcliffe and acting like nobody but the internet understood me. I had a travel blog for several years, and may I say it gained quite a following. I even wrote a feature in a magazine once because of my travel blog. I also got emails from people who wanted to put up ads. But of course, I deleted it.
During one shortsighted night in 2015, after I sent my tenth job application letter, I decided I needed an online identity cleanse. Gone were my Twitter, Tumblr, and Blogger accounts. When you googled my name, all you found were my academic achievements and a desperate-fresh-grad version of my LinkedIn profile.
Yes, I deleted all my blogs. And with it came with years and years of thoughts and dreams. Drama and heartaches. Oh, and there were about a gazzillion posts about Harry Potter.
I regret it now, but hey life goes on. Little that I know that the 25-year old version of me would still have the same preteen range of emotions with all the drama and roller coasters, just with a better CV.
I have been thinking about blogging again for some time now. It was literally in my 2017 new year’s resolution. Funny enough I even started writing a blog post on 1 January 2017 (I had wanted to publish one post per day), but never got to finish it. A couple of months ago I even joined a writing workshop (see my previous post) to get the muscles working again.
Yet, I don’t know why I never started again. I guess I have just been so distracted by social media and the instant gratification that comes with it? Or maybe I was too busy planning about my blog in my head that I never got the chance to actually sit down and let my fingers type this post.
Regardless, here I am. Hello!
What to look forward to? Well I’m thinking some essays, similar to the one below. But also reviews, lists, some photos? I have some ideas, but to be honest, I don’t know what will happen. I do really hope though, that I start blogging regularly again. The thing is, I love writing, but I don’t write journals (I tried, but I could never follow through). So I guess blogging is a way to keep me writing, but with some kind of self-imposed public accountability?
I suppose you can expect nothing other than getting to know me. Me meaning my thoughts, my experiences, my journey, my city. I am a 25-year old professional living in Jakarta. So that’s that. We’ll see how this goes…
“Oi,” Ory said while nudging me, “ wake up, it’s seven thirty.”
I opened my eyes and saw that she had showered. Ory had spent the night in my apartment. I grabbed my phone, scrolled through some group messages.
“Oh, Brian is on Metro TV,” I said while looking for the TV remote.
Our former colleague Brian was on TV along with a former diplomat and a professor, being interviewed about the ongoing US election. I took several photos of the screen and noticed the live count on the left corner of the screen. Huh. Trump’s leading. Well, they must’ve just counted the Republican states first.
I got ready and took a motorbike taxi to work. That day started like any other. Another deadline, another conference call. But around noon, the mood in the office started to dampen. Trump was clearly winning. During lunch, we were all on our phones, trying to figure out what was happening and how the American electoral system works. We were trying to find justifications, or at least an explanation, on how in the world Donald Trump was winning.
I work in a political risk consulting firm, so it was only normal that everybody was following the US election closely. However, that day something was different. In one way or another this election had affected us personally. Some of my colleagues had lived in the US, be it during college or even during childhood, so I could understand why Trump’s win would affect them personally. Whereas for me, I wasn’t so sure. I have never been to the US, nor do I have a strong connection to the country. Just like many children around the world, I grew up consuming American entertainment, reading American books, developing an American accent I picked up from the movies (which I completely butchered by living in Singapore). But I never thought the US election result would effect me the way it did.
That afternoon, Donald Trump was officially elected as the 45th President of the United States of America. One of my colleagues had the live coverage of Trump’s speech on her laptop. We all stood around her desk and watched in disbelief. We just couldn’t fathom that the so-called beacon of democracy just elected a perverted orange reality TV star as their president.
After watching the speech, I went back to my desk. I texted my boyfriend, Henrik. He is American and had voted for this election. He was (and still is) a staunch Bernie Sanders supporter (influenced by his Swedish upbringing) and this election had upset him more than I could imagine.
“Hey, how are you holding up?” I wrote.
“Yeah,” he replied, “I stopped following the news a couple hours ago.”
“I’m sorry,” I said, not knowing how to console him.
“I’m just going to go sleep now,” he said.
The rest of the day came and went. I tried to finish up some documents. My boss came to my desk and asked me whether we should update our clients about the Trans Pacific Partnership’s demise just yet. “Nah, too early,” I said. At seven I packed up my things and headed to the gym. I blasted my favourite album to numb my mind. And then I showered and went back to my apartment.
I entered my room, dropped all my bags onto the floor and laid down on my bed. I took my phone and started to mindlessly scroll my social media feeds. As I was scrolling Facebook, I saw Hilary Clinton’s concession speech video. I hesitated whether I wanted to watch it. I went on scrolling for a couple minutes before deciding that I was ready to watch it.
Thirty seconds into the speech, I was already in tears. As I continued watching, I had to pause several times to calm down. I didn’t know why I cried, but I did.
“And to the young people in particular,” Hilary said, “I hope you will hear this. I have been spending my entire adult life fighting for what I believe in. I had successes and I had setbacks, sometimes really painful ones. Many of you are in the beginning of your professional public and political careers. You will have successes and setbacks too. This loss hurts, but please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.”
I paused the video, stood up, grabbed some tissues and a glass of water. I ungracefully blew my nose, settled back onto my bed, and hit play.
“And to all the women, and especially the young women, who put their faith in this campaign and in me,” she continued, “I want you to know that nothing has made me prouder than to be your champion. Now, I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but someday someone will, and hopefully sooner than one might think right now.”
I lost it. I sobbed like a baby.
She continued, “And to all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of any chance, of any opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”
At that moment, I realised why this election had affected me as much as it did. For that election showed me that it doesn’t matter how hard we try, women will not be able to shatter the proverbial glass ceiling. We’ve always been told to try twice, triple as hard as the men to get what we want, and that Hilary did. But it wasn’t enough. It would never have been enough.
And what’s worse: it was such an easy choice. Would you pick an experienced public servant and politician or a businessman with a questionable moral code as your leader? Would you rather deal with a woman who cannot handle technology or a man who couldn’t control his mouth? This was an obvious choice from the get go, but I guess her lack of penis got the best of her.
I tried to pull myself together and got ready for bed. Have I been living in a bubble, I thought to myself. How come I believed that a woman can be elected as the President of America? Silly me. Maybe I need a reality check.
A week had passed by. I was in a taxi heading to a meeting with a mid-level bureaucrat to discuss an upcoming mining regulation, crushing virtual candies left and right (I had replaced the CNN app on my phone with Candy Crush Saga). As we closed in to the lobby, I started getting my thoughts in order. Okay, I was ready.
I shook hands with the Bapak, thanked him for his time and introduced myself. It was quick for me to notice that this man didn’t think I was capable of understanding the complexity of the mining industry. He kept saying, “ah that’s too complicated for a woman like you.”
No, try me.
I tried to navigate the conversation, but he kept talking on and on – mansplaining me to oblivion. Thirty minutes in, after getting a few good glimpse of my mining sector knowledge, he started to take me seriously and answered my questions the way I wanted him to. After about an hour, I shook his hand and hopped on to another taxi to go to my next meeting.
The fight continues, I said to myself. Let’s break that fucking ceiling.
Originally written as an assignment for The Jakarta Post Writing Center’s Narrative Essay class.