We Are All Just Bees

Am I a secretary to my husband, or am I a boss to him?

In this era where gender equality is still being fought-for, I would understand when people think that a husband is the boss and a wife is the secretary.

It’s untrue. I know…! Right?

Nevertheless, when I deal with people, and they get exasperated with me, the first thing they would say is: “Can I speak to your husband…?”

As if saying: “Can I speak to the restaurant manager? I don’t want to speak to a low-life-waitress like you!”

Nothing…

I mean…

NOTHING... would anger me more than that… as if I am just a daft bimbo…?  (As if I have big enough breasts to be a bimbo anyway?)

  1. One time (and still on-going) I got into a difficult conflict with the visa center in Ghana of the UK Border Agency. After a long tiring discussion, the officer said, “Perhaps you can come again with your husband, tomorrow?” (!!@#$$%^%$$#@#!!) Ha…! As if my husband would know what to say and what has happened… I single handedly dealt with everything!
  2. Once, a Ghanaian plumber came to our house to fix the washing machine tap. Apparently he refused to take order from me because I was only a woman. He demanded to speak to my husband and so he started to talk shit to me. Needless to say, I called the building management and had that ‘God-forsaken-plumber’ fired at point blank. He shouldn’t have messed with me.
  3. Well, many other examples but I won’t waste time on them.

I am the brain of the family. Yes, that sounds arrogant, and… trashy, but I am. 😀 (I can feel my husband is rolling his eyes behind my back, but let him be)

My husband always comes to me when something needs deciding or when something needs considering or when something needs taking into action.

But why?

It’s not because he’s telling me to do those things, as in: “Oi! Secretary! Come here! I need 4 copies of these documents!”

Everything is more like “Excuse me boss… do you think I need to make 4 copies of these documents?”

😀 😀 😀 😀

He appreciates my opinions. He needs my approvals. -Oh bless his heart… 😀

Once, my husband told me that he is just like an old faithful dog. He only needs a little love to keep him going. -Oh let’s bless his heart even more…! 😀

But nobody is the faithful dog, nobody is the master. Nobody is the boss, nobody is the secretary. We are all just bees in the end. We carry around some little mud with us, we then build a bee hive where there are flowers nearby, and we live happily ever after in that little hive.

My husband happens to be the worker bee.

And I am the Queen bee.


With our little son as a wanna bee.

“bzz….. bzz…. bzz….”

Dian Retno Wulandari. Gender equality, ah… taste the sweetness!

PS: Later that evening, the plumber called my husband and had some man-to-man conversation. The plumber told him that his wife is a bitch. *LOL*

PPS: Do I really look like a daft bimbo? Or does this happen to every housewife??

Death by Stoning in Islam

( = Hukum Rajam Dalam Islam)


There is no such a thing in Islam.

Sorry to disappoint y’all. Whoever says that in the sharia it is ruled that adulterer should be stone to death is telling a big fat horse shit (pardon my latin).

Today I came across the synopsis of The Stoning of Soraya M, such a sad thing to read. The gloominess that engulfed my mind made me think, “Why don’t I remember anything about stoning when I read the Qur’an that so many times?

So I put my laptop down and started looking for the Quran. Quickly I flicked my fingers between the Index Pages looking for ‘stoning’ or ‘rajam’.

None.

Then I put down the one Quran and went on to the next one, hoping that the other Quran would have a better Index list. But stil, nil, nada, zip, mum, zero, nol besar.

I didn’t have time to read the Quran from cover to cover, so I decided to consult master Google instead. Still, my search for stoning in Quran came back with nothing.

So that’s it…!! If it is not in the Quran, then it is not part of Sharia.

The Quran does mention some forms of punishment for adulterer, but never by stoning.

But another question arises: “Where did this whole death-by-stoning-for-adulterer in Islam come from?”

After another further research, I found out that the ‘law and custom’ of stoning adulterer to death was long embedded in the Arabic culture by the time the Islamic teaching arrived (Islam arrived around year 600). Such stoning custom had/has been there as early as the time of Abraham –about 2500 years before Islam.

The Muslims in those days, were stuck in their old custom ways… went on stoning people for committing adultery. Many hundred years down the stream, this death by stoning rite is made identical with the Sharia laws. But it is not!

There is no evidence that death by stoning is part of the Sharia. If anyone of you disagrees please quote something from the Qur’an that states otherwise.

I am thinking about writing a letter to the Iranian President,  Ahmadinejad, regarding the matter. He can have stoning as his law but must not declare it as Sharia law. Better still, he can’t have stoning as any law.

Do you think it is safe for me to do so? Or will he just send a nuke down to Ghana as a reply to my letter?

Dian Retno Wulandari.

PS: Forms of punishment for adulterer mentioned in the Qur’an include: 50 lashes, 100 lashes, or 200 lashes (if the offender is a wife of a prophet than she gets 200 lashes –Ouch…!). Other forms of punishment is exile, or nothing at all –if it was forced upon them or if the offender did so out of ignorance or if they repent straight afterward.

PPS: To justify the application of any kind of punishment, 4 witnesses must testify against the offender and made an oath before a Judge that they indeed witnessed the lewd act performed.

Finally…! A crop circle in Indonesia…!

Read the news here.

Do you believe in Alien? Well, being a dormant scientist that  I am, I would say that anything is possible until proven otherwise. 🙂

We have heard about crop circles phenomena around the world. But never before in Indonesia. Well, it has finally happened at a paddy field in Sleman, Jogjakarta.

Am I proud? My country has been chosen by ‘the thingies’ as a perfect location for their beautiful geometric form of art. I don’t think I am proud, but it certainly is amusing. 🙂

The owner of the paddy field did not believe that the circle was man made, because of it’s sheer perfection, and not a single stalk was broken. The head of the local police department, second that opinion.

Look up to the sky, fellow Indonesians…! Someone might be waving down at us and says:

“Apa kabar? Indonesia adalah bagaian dari saya. Saya suka makan bakso, dan sate enak.”

translation =How are you? Indonesia is part of me. I like to eat delicious meatball and meat skewers.

*lol*

So what do you think…? Someone or something, in Indonesia, was doing that. Pretty neat huh?

Dian Retno Wulandari. Howdy Alien? Did you like mount Bromo or Kuta beach?

PS: For you who missed the joke, that sentence I quoted above was what President Obama said in his speech during his state visit to Indonesia. (He lived in Indonesia as a child, and thus speaks the language a little bit)

PPS: Come down to Ghana, Aliens! Make a crop circle at the cocoa plantation!

What a Ghanaian Schoolboy Showed Me: The Ogling Business

My husband has long told me that many Ghanaian men would stare at me in an obvious-creepy-manner. Almost shamelessly… or better: proudly. To put it shortly, my husband often tells me that some man is ogling me (since we’re in Ghana, that is).

Isn’t he sweet… –my husband? I always thought that he would say things like that to help me feel beautiful or sexy or interesting. But I knew better. Such thing is impossible. Not because Ghanaian men don’t ogle, oh they do. The Ghanaian men would ogle the Ghanaian ladies in their super tight clothings, and the Ghanaian ladies would know that they are being ogled, and play along by smiling flirtatiously, or fiddling with their stylish hairs, or moving around in the most interesting manners. I have watched such behaviours between Ghanaian men and women happened in the mall, restaurants, clubs, alliance francaise, etc.

Anyway, despite my being familiar to the Ghanaian ogling business, I couldn’t believe it when my husband said that I am being ogled quite frequently. As I said before, such a thing is impossible. Why is it impossible, you ask…? Oh, don’t make me explain.

See, people ogle Angelina Jolie’s smoldering look.

Or people ogle Meriah Carey’s voluptuous boobs.

But surely people won’t ogle me.

That photo of me above, was taken last Sunday, yes… only 2 days ago, taking my son for a little trip around our compound. That is how I look these days: a very comfy t-shirt, shorts or jeans, and a pair of flip flops. My dress code for most occasions.

Now tell me, who would ogle me…? You wouldn’t, would you? I can imagine I could get some well-deserved-disgusted-stares from fashionistas out there, but definitely not an ogle. 🙂

Having said all that, little did I know what was about to happen a few days ago.

— A Few Days Ago —

So off my husband and I went to Accra Mall –to do our weekly grocery shopping. He parked our car near Gate 1. We walked from our car to the gate, holding hands as usual, complaining about the dust as usual, and having our little conversation as usual (about quantum physics, numeric trigonometry, DNA mutations, bla bla bla mundane stuff).

Just before we reached that God-blessed-gate, my husband jolted my hand and abruptly stopped. I was stunned for a few seconds, but before I knew what was happening I heard my husband was talking to a schoolboy who stood –strangely– very near to me with a big grin on his face.

He must be about 12 yo, or 14 max. Perhaps about 5 cm shorter than me (and I am not tall, mind you). He was wearing his school uniform, a white shirt, and a pair of dark shorts.

I vaguely noticed that a group of schoolboys were walking in the opposite direction, but I didn’t pay attention to any of them. But my husband obviously did. He said to the boy, “Do you know her??” pointing a finger at me. I stood silently, flat faced, bewildered.

The boy, with a big grin on his face shook his head and said, “No”

My husband turned to me and asked, “Do you know him??” to which I answered “No”.

This is weird, I thought.

All that time the boy managed to keep the grin on his face. He looked somehow amazed at what he was looking at (that’s me, fyi). The look on his face was priceless.

Trying to be polite, I took my sunglasses off, and calmly said, “How are you?”

At the very sight of my-uncovered-eyes, his own eyes were widened, and his big grin got bigger, and he just stood there marveling at me (or so it seemed). He nodded as a response to my small talk. Not the right answer for a ‘how are you’ but he was probably off somewhere else in his head. 🙂

Never will I say that I have pretty eyes, but they are the best feature of my face (I think), and to make things clear, let me describe how I looked that day we met the boy. I was wearing a loose comfy t-shirt. A pair of tatty jeans. A pair of worn out flip flops. No make-up none whatsoever. I didn’t even brush my hair, it was simply tied back to a simple pony tail. Suffice to say that I was not dressed to impress.

To break the awkwardness, my husband suddenly said in a light-hearted tone, “Isn’t she the most beautiful woman in the world?” (I kicked him –furtively– for saying that) 🙂

The boy, still oddly grinning, raised both hands and gave us 2 thumbs up! He said, “Yes!” promptly and nodded vigorously (still grinning, mind you).

I got shivers down my back, and cued my husband to move on to the gate and leave the poor thing alone. I put my sunglasses back down on my face, and casually walked away from the boy taking with me my sometime-hard-to-believe husband.

At the gate, I curiously turned my back to see if he was still there. Lo and behold, there he was. Standing still, facing towards me (still grinning!), not caring that all of his friends were already along way ahead of him.

So my husband was right. I do get ogled sometimes. 🙂 But the whole experience lit a light bulb inside my head. All the things about how the Ghanaians would be so generous with their expression to the beauty in the world.

The morals of the story are:

  1. Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. 🙂
  2. If something is beautiful, don’t be afraid to marvel at it. If something is attracting you, let the world know it.

I remembered how many times I have been stopped by strangers at the market (in Makola) just so that they could tell me that they think my bracelet is pretty. I remembered how many times my maid told me that she thinks some of my shirts are nice. I remembered how many times the nurse at my chiropractic stroked my hair and said it’s beautiful.

Yes, marveling the beauty of God’s creation is not a sin, and the Ghanaians know this since a very young age. God bless the Ghanaians. 🙂

Dian Retno Wulandari. Lessons learned.

A Quick Apologetic Note

Yes, no new post after a week now. As I have expressed earlier in this blog, I don’t feel like I deserve to be blogging.

People are starving in Sudan. Kids are orphaned in China. Gabrielle Gifford was shot in Tucson. Alix starts having nightmares. So on…. so forth…

There are many other important things in the world rather than sitting in front of my PC and indulge in blogging aimlessly.

Having said that, I had been blogging quite regularly for a few weeks now. But I am beginning to wonder if I should keep going. (I know it’s too early to say anything like that, but it doesn’t stop me from wondering anyway)

Few days ago I decided that I should not be blogging in the evening when my husband is at home. Wouldn’t it be better to just chill and chat with one’s spouse rather than babbling endlessly on the internet? Well, which ever way, I don’t think it’s fair to make him a blog widower.

I have also decided that I should not be blogging in the day when my son is at his busiest. Wouldn’t it be better to just play and sing and read and feed and deal with poop and puke? (well, may be not the poop and puke part. *lol*)

We all travel through time only one way. All the time that has slipped though our hands is not going to come back. My son, my husband, and I are growing, I surely don’t want to miss anything in the process.

To sum everything up, I won’t blog in the evening, nor in the day. So the only time I can do it, is when everybody is asleep: at night. Perfect!

Wait, only one problem… when everybody is asleep…

Yeah right, I am one of the everybody, so I will be asleep as well. 🙂

Oh isn’t life full of dilemmas and dead-ends? How should I deal with this predicament? (I have waited my whole life to have the opportunity to use the word ‘predicament’. :D)

Anyway… I am sorry (not sure to whom) I haven’t been doing anything with my blog lately. I hope I can get my self out of this predicament (ha! that word again!) one way or another.

Don’t give up on me just yet, will you?

Dian Retno Wulandari. Dealing with a particular predicament. 😀

How to Prove God Is There

Well, we can’t prove it. Period.

But we can feel it, if we allow ourselves to. It’s rather like when someone loves you. How do you prove it to other people that you’re being loved by someone? By telling the world that you get nice diamonds, and some nice flowers every weekend? Or by telling the world that the someone sends you text every 5 minutes?

No, only you can tell that someone loves you. But how? To put it simply, it’s because you feel it. It is of course a whole combination of things, the kind that only you and your lover will understand. Your gardener won’t understand it, your maid won’t understand it, and even your psychologist won’t understand it.

The same applies to one’s faith of God’s existence. Because one feels it. It is not much more complicated than that, really… And no guys…, we believe in the existence of God NOT because we are dumb or delusional or can’t cope with science. Please don’t reduce it down to stupidity.

I happen to belong to a religion that does encourage science, and God knows I truly believe in science, I was so good at it I wanted to be an astrophysicist (I ended up as an industrial statistician instead, since it’s economically more viable).

While I am a true believer of God, I don’t believe in creationism. I am, therefore, a huge fan of the Big Bang Theory and Darwin’s evolutions. I also seriously doubt that babies fall from the sky -even if they’re brought down by storks. 🙂

(I consider myself lucky as my religion taught us that everything in the world happens after following some kind of processes, therefore I don’t need to go through the hassles of separating science from faith, or naturalism from creationism.)

But how do I quantify the existence of God? (Putting aside the baffling question: what/who holds the universe in place) my easiest answer is classic: God answers my prayers -even though I get a “No!” quite frequently. 🙂

Certain things have happen in my life that strikingly relate to what I have prayed for. Things that can’t be just coincidences after coincidences. Strange things that only happens if I’ve prayed for it.

You’re dying for me to give examples, right? 😀 Ok, here are two for you:

  1. Many years ago, I prayed to God: “Lord, please let me know if my boyfriend is messing around with another girl.” — Two hours later my boy friend accidentally sent a text to me that was supposed to be sent to his other girl. (sad example, I know)
  2. I am totally useless at all things music, thus I am blind to musical notes. I don’t even know why there’s a sign that looks like a G at the beginning of all musical notes. So when I was 15, the night before Art&Music exam I prayed: “Lord, please let me answer those notes thingy correctly. Let me get an A for Art&Music Lord… I need it so that I can be the best in class this term” — During exam the next day, I scribbled through the blank paper for musical note pretending that it was just some easy quadratic equation, sweating my head off nevertheless.  Two weeks later my exam result came in. Lo and behold, I got an excellent A for Music. I magically put every single note at the right grid with the right punctuation with the right interval… everything! I fell down on my knee holding the result paper. 🙂 Anyway, regardless the miracle, I only came second in my class that term.

Now then, enough examples, it’s not as if it’s going to change anything for you, right? Having said that, answered-prayers is just one way of quantifying God’s existence for me. My relationship with God is a lot more complex than just asking and giving, but I’ll keep the rest to myself for now.

If you’re an atheist and say: “So why does God never answer my prayers?!”

Well, back at you: “Did you pray at all?” or “Did you really believe that Someone is listening?”

Don’t get me wrong here, I don’t mind atheists, not at all… Atheists could be some of the most fun people I’ve met. And if you choose not to believe in God, and you are happier like that, well then good for you.

But here I make a plea to those atheists who keep condescend the believer of God by having verbal diarrhoea about how believers do so only because we are stupid, or backward, or ancient, or brainwashed, or delusional, or dense, etc… to please stop condescending. It is just… uhm… not very nice.

There…, my 2 cents (or should I say 2 pesewas..?) 🙂

Dian Retno Wulandari.

PS: Whichever way God manifests for you (Allah, Jehovah, Brahman, Achaman, whatever…) please be at peace with it, we all know that –in any case- believing is harder than not believing.

PPS:

In Islam: God exists without a place. God is not limited to time and space, nor is God composed of particles and atoms. God is unique. God is an invisible omnipotent presence.

“God is closer to a man than his jugular vein.” [Al-Quran 50:16]

In Christianity: God is immanent. God is with and within all things. God is transcendent, God is outside time and space, therefore eternal and unchangeable by forces within the universe.

“You cannot see God, and live” [Exodus 33:20]

Kissing Vodafone-Ghana Good Bye

Let’s write about something light-hearted for once in a while, OK?

Vodafone Ghana Transmission Staff

My throat is sore, and I can’t stop sneezing. When I looked out of the window this morning, everything looked hazy, and visibility was impaired. Sahara is in the air.

It’s the peak of the Harmattan season where the wind blows to the south and brings the Saharan sand with it. Some of that sand got stuck in my throat and won’t ever make it to the Atlantic Ocean. Poor little sand… 😦

Alix in African SuitSo I thought today was going to be a bad day, but as the day unraveled itself I found it as one of the most memorable days in my life. My husband’s contract with Vodafone-Ghana is coming to an end tomorrow, so my son and I were invited by his staff to a little farewell party.

It is always heartbreaking to leave a country you’ve called home for many months. Sometimes it is not the country per se, but more of the people we’re leaving behind (having said that -I do miss the Brussels metro). Oh the pain of packing a home into boxes… Hmm… … …

But let’s stick to the sunny side of the road for now… 🙂

The Vodafone bunch who arranged this parting-get-together are some of the best bunch we’ve ever met. Typical Ghanaian, they are always so welcoming, and having fun, and happy, and oh… did I say that they have the most generous laughter? Well, they sure do. 😀

Great African foods were laid out on the table, moving emotional speeches were made, jokes were laughed at, and reminiscences were cherished. But most importantly, they got a present for me 🙂 Oh yes! Some African fabric, beautiful and colourful, and on top of that, they also got my husband an African shirt, and some cute African suite for our toddler. (Have I said the word ‘African’ too many times?)

Isn’t it a happy thing… to be happy with people around you even though you don’t know them that well or at all? Like when you dance in concert with others, or like when children play in a sand pit. It was hard to decide though on whether I was happy or sad to be at the farewell little party. But I guess it doesn’t matter.

Every time we leave an old place to a new territory, I always feel like I bring some of that old place away with me, and I hope our presence can make as much as an impact to the place we leave behind. At least we knew that after we brought Cecilia to London, she suddenly applied to study at a Nursing Academy as soon as we got back to Ghana. She said she wants to be a nurse, and that she doesn’t want to be a maid forever.

Well, I’m proud of her. I’m sure as hell, my husband is also proud of his staff. These people are going to go a long way… even after we’re gone.

Geraint & Ulan in African Cloth

Dian Retno Wulandari.

PS: Thanks to: Afuah, Armstrong, Emmanuel, Henry, Iris, Jerry, Martina, Kumi, and everyone else that made this happen.

PPS: Cecilia is our current maid-turned-nanny. She’s not the one who pissed in our car. Just so you know… 🙂

PPS: My husband was technically asleep when we took that last photo above. Poor man… tortured by his wife for blogging sake. 🙂