Jakarta: The Metropolitan City of Indonesia (via Amalia Suryani)

I have always thought of writing about Jakarta for a long time, but I couldn’t find a way to sum up such a big city into a single post. Luckily my friend already did it. So please read away… It’s Jakarta, baby…!!!
(I also dedicate this reblog to my husband -who always insists on saying that Bangkok is a bigger (and better (probably true)) city than Jakarta) 🙂

Jakarta: The Metropolitan City of Indonesia I was a bit surprised when a friend asked me: “Do you think you can live in Bangkok? It is such a big city and dangerous for a girl to be alone, isn’t it?” My jaw dropped and at that very moment I promised myself to post something about my beloved capital city of Indonesia :-). Here it is. First of all, Jakart … Read More

via Amalia Suryani

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Attending A Japanese Tea Ceremony 101

The Master

I have been quite lucky, and I will tell you why…  🙂

Because I have been to a Japanese Tea Ceremony. Yay…!

If any of you think that a British Tea Party is some serious business, you might want to rethink that, once you’ve been to a Japanese Tea Ceremony.

The British one is a party to begin with, on the other hand… the Japanese one is a ceremony… as in… ceremony. 🙂

Apparently, there’s no special occasion for having a tea ceremony.  Such ceremony is more of a hobby thing. Meaning: some Japanese-traditions-&-heritage-aficionados will get together and carry out the tea ceremony. Sadly not many Japanese youngsters are interested in continuing the traditions but the elderly would normally do so.

To give y’all a rough picture on how serious this is… The personnel who were to serve (and attend) a proper Japanese tea ceremony should take a full course/study on how to do it right.

Yup…! A course about drinking tea… (so stop whining about your French or tennis course! *Lol) 😀

Now let me begin describing… I won’t get too detail. No worries here… 🙂

  1. Before it all started, the guests will be provided with some Japanese traditional little snacks –to be had before drinking the tea.                           Gyuhi
  2. Once started, the master of the tea ceremony must prepare the powdered green tea in a cup –that looks like a small bowl (no handle on the cup). A pinch of this powder is mixed with some hot water and then whisked gently (with a delicate bamboo whisk) until it forms some froth (no sugar at all! Eeeek….) 🙂            
  3. The master will hand the prepared tea cup to the guest, and the guest must receive it with both hands (using only 1 hand is out of the question, and you’ll be out of the window :D). Both hands must hold the cup in a particular way with left hand at the bottom of the cup, and right hand at the side of the cup.

    Reese Witherspoon & Japanese Tea Cup

  4. The guest will then turn the tea cup twice –clockwise, and look at the master.
  5. The master will say “Please”.
  6. The guest can drink the tea. Strictly speaking, the entire tea in the cup must be gobbled down within 3 sips (or 3 gulps depending on how full the cup is :D), and at the last sip (or gulp) the guest must make a ‘slurping’ noise –to be polite… as in showing the master that the tea is delicious! 🙂
  7. Once finished, the guest will wipe the rim of the cup (where the lips have touched) with their right thumb. Then, the guest should turn the empty cup twice –still clockwise, and then return the cup back to the master.

That is how it’s done in a nutshell. *bloody hell* would be the right expression if you’re amazed by it. 🙂

But it is a lot more complicated in real life… I know I make it sound too simple here (I hope my Japanese friends won’t start flattening my car tyres for my clumsy explanation of their custom. :-))

The point is… it is not just about drinking tea. It is about how socially accomplished you are. It is about relishing the entire activity. It is about enjoying the serving of the tea. It is about connecting with the cup (yes, it is… :-)). It is about respecting one another.

Now compare this with the Indonesian way of making tea… 😀

The Indonesians will put a whole lot of tea leaves into some boiling water in a big pan, and then add some monstrous amount of sugar into it. Stir well. Then add big blocks of ice. Stir well.  Then put some of the tea into 1 litre plastic bags, drop a piece of plastic straw in each bag, and then tie the opening of the plastic bags with rubber-bans.

There you have it…! Best served chilled and drunken while walking down by some hot busy road in Jakarta. *Lol. 😀

I am blessed to ever experience such a thing like a Japanese tea ceremony. It was lots of fun… lots of it…! Such a day couldn’t have been better… It just couldn’t… 🙂

 

Dian Retno Wulandari. Life is sweet, even without sugar sometimes…

PS: Happy birthday to Inoh Chung Ryu. Thanks to Mika Hattori, Fumi Shigetta, and Keiko Mapperley for the experience. Thanks to the host Michelle Potin, and other attendees: Dorcas, Erie, Darunee, Rubaba, Farina, Grace.

PS: Happy Chinese new year… Gong Xi Fa Cai…!

 

Diskusi Lanjutan Tentang Rajam (Harus Dibaca Ya!)

{To my English speaking subscribers, please  skip this one, it will be in my National language : Indonesia…}

Saya memuat posting “Death by Stoning in Islam” beberapa waktu lalu. Hari ini postingan tersebut mendapat perhatian dari salah satu pengguna facebook, yang (dengan nyamannya) tidak memakai nama aslinya, dan tidak memasang foto dirinya.

Diskusi yang tadinya sedikit bermutu berubah menjadi diskusi yang tidak bermutu sama sekali, dimana banyak pihak hanya mengeyel tanpa mengutip dalil-dalil baru dari Al-Quran.

Sebagian besar hanya meng-kopi-paste dari artikel-artikel yang ditemukan di tempat yang bermacam-macam.

Saya dikatai memiliki “otak rusak” akibat postingan saya tersebut. Astaghfirullah… sungguh penilaian yang pedas, apa lagi datang dari orang yang semestinya tau lebih baik tentang Islam (dari pada saya lo… hehe)

Berikut saya lampirkan print screen dari hasil diskusi tersebut.

Peringatan: Diskusi yang sangat… sangat… sangat… panjang. 😀

Bapak-bapak, ibu-ibu, silakan membuat secangkir teh hangat, sebaskom popcorn asin, dan silakan dibaca… (take your time!)

Eits… tunggu dulu…! ternyata diskusi belum bisa berhenti. Ini lanjutannya: (ayo tarik nafas panjang….) 🙂

Sudah… diskusi yang berlangsung dalam profile saya alhamdulillah berhenti di situ… Tapi ternyata, diskusi terus berlanjut di profil Ummu Hafizh. Berikut dokumentasinya:

Aduh, panjang ya…? Hehehe… siapa yang mengira kalo diskusi ini bisa jadi sedemikian panjangnya padahal yang dibahas cuma itu-itu saja… 🙂 Sayang sekali, ini belum berakhir… masih ada lanjutannya: (ayo tarik nafas panjang lagi!)

Apa bapak-bapak dan ibu-ibu sudah mulai capek? Tolong sabar ya… tinggal satu screen capture lagi kok… 🙂

Sampai saat saya menulis posting yang ini, diskusi di profile Ummu Hafizh berhenti di situ. Mungkin nanti ada kelanjutannya, tapi saya belum tahu. 🙂

Ya… ya… ya… semua argumen yang dipersembahkan pada saya bisa dianggap valid.

Fiuh…. *mengelap keringat di dahi dan di ketiak*

Saya harus mulai dari mana ya? Tidak pernah saya membayangkan akan dihakimi dan dikata-katai oleh orang-orang yang tidak saya kenal di facebook. Mungkin saya kenal, tapi namanya tidak ada yang pakai nama asli, dan semua tidak ada fotonya. (Apa ini kebetulan?)

Kalau pembaca sekalian sudah membaca komentar-komentar tersebut di atas, terlihat jelas kalau mereka semua… sekali lagi… SEMUA… menganggap saya ini orang yang bodoh. Yang tidak pernah baca Al-Quran, tidak pernah baca tafsir, tidak pernah baca kitab-kitab hadist, dan lain-lain…

Bahkan ada yang mengatakan bahwa saya tidak bisa mengerti bahasa Indonesia, boro-boro bahasa arab. Hehehehe…

Diskusinya jadi ngalor ngidul. Tapi biarlah, saya punya pemahaman sendiri mengenai agama saya ini… saya punya metode pembelajaran sendiri yang orang-orang di atas pasti sulit mengerti.

Mereka mau menganggap saya buta, dan berotak rusak, kan hak asasi mereka. Mau menganggap saya sulit berbahasa, juga terserah mereka. Untuk saya, cukuplah fakta bahwa Tuhan Maha Mengetahui.

Tuhan yang bisa menghakimi saya dengan adil. Betul tidak?

Saya sudah sering berdiskusi dengan ustadz-ustadz mesir lulusan Al-Azhar, dengan muslim-muslim dari Iran, Lebanon, Moroko, etc…

Saya bangga menjadi muslim yang berpendidikan dan mau berpikir. Mau berusaha dan mencari kebenaran sendiri. Bukan yang sekedar datang ke pengajian dan selalu mantuk-mantuk pada apa yang dikatakan pak imam sambil membuat catatan-catatan kecil di dalam buku tulis saya.

Saya tanya semua orang, saya pernah mengirimkan surat ke Quraish Shihab, dan sekarang sedang menulis surat ke Presiden Ahmadinejad di Iran.

Saya melaksanakan pesan yang terkandung dalam ayat pertama yang diturunkan pada Muhammad: “Iqra”. Saya belajar, dengan pemikiran terbuka, dan saya tidak akan berhenti sampai nyawa saya dicabut oleh Tuhan.

Saya berpikir sendiri, dengan bekal kitab-kitab yang saya percaya, kemudian saya menanyakannya pada orang-orang yang berpengetahuan lebih.

Saya nggak sekedar menuliskan di facebook saya: “Hei… tolong bantuin aku dong… aku gak bisa beragumentasi sama orang ini…” dan kemudian mendapatkan segerombolan kawan-kawan saya yang siap mencerca siapapun yang berpikiran berbeda.

Kapan dan di mana “lakum dinukum waliyadin” bisa dilaksanakan?

Dian Retno Wulandari. Tuhan Maha Mengetahui.

PS: Apparently, kalau mau termasuk golongan muslim yang baik, kita harus lebih sering menggunakan kata-kata arab. Seperti : ummi, abi, ikhwan, akhwat, ana, anta, etc…

PPS: “Siap pak polisi…!! Saya juga mengaku bersalah atas ketidakbermutuan thread facebook di atas!” 😀

My Giving-birth Story. Part 1

29 January 2009; around 4 o’clock in the morning. 2 weeks before our expected due date.


A normal winter morning, and most people must’ve been fast asleep, but I was sitting on a chair at a small dining-table-turned-office-desk in our little studio-flat in Belgium.

Surfing through my facebook news-feed page, the blue-pregnant-lingerie I was wearing was wet from waist down, so were my panties, so was the chair I was sitting on…, and there’s a puddle of water on the floor –around my left foot.

Yes, my water broke about ½ hour earlier and it gushed down my left leg and formed the afore-mentioned puddle on the floor, wetting my lingerie, my panties, and my dining chair on its way down.

When we were pregnant

While it might seem odd to check one’s facebook while one is in labour… at that precise moment, I couldn’t think of anything better to do whilst waiting for my husband getting ready for the hospital run (it was winter, so getting ready means thermal undershirt, sweater, boots, shawl, gloves, etc)

My peaceful facebook surfing was disturbed by my husband irritated voice. “Are we giving birth or not…?!” He was all togged-up in his winter jacket and sweater, tapping his fingers against the kitchen sink with an ‘are you kidding me…!?’ look on his face.

So then…, ladies and gentlemen, I got myself ready for the hospital. (I was not efficient. I know, but let’s move on… :D)

— o —

I thought it was going to be all fast, and hectic, and frantic, and busy when my water breaks. (Just like in those Hollywood movies we’ve seen around.) But that was not the case for me. When my water actually broke, I strangely felt calm and content… perhaps because I had been through 2 miscarriages before.

Calm was not how I’d describe my husband though. He was nervous and highly strung. He was worried that we might get stuck in a traffic jam. (Yeah right… a traffic jam in Brussels at 5 am?)

So he hurled his pregnant wife in a VW Passat –company car. He drove so fast through the empty roads of Brussels, leaving skid-marks on every turn, checking his watch every 5 minutes. 🙂

We didn’t talk to each other at all on our way to the hospital. It was too intense… at least for him. 😀 Poor thing…

The first contraction was when we were at the parking basement of the Hospital. This is it, I thought. Standing still, and bracing myself to cope with the pain, my husband didn’t understand why I should stop to do that.

“Shouldn’t we just run up quickly and see a doctor or a midwife to check on you?” He said.

Oh men… ! They don’t know anything about labour pain do they? 😀

It was all very, very, sweet though…, being a Mr.Cool-At-All-Time that he is, I enjoyed looking at my husband’s worried face and hearing his snappy impatient tone. It was endearing to see how worried he was and how frustrated he seemed.

What was happening was beyond his control. There was not much he could do to help me. It was just me, myself and my uterus at that point, and I think he hated the thought of not being able to help much.

— o —

Greeted by a midwife who spoke only French, I started feeling anxious. My husband squeezed my hand firmly. The midwife put her fingers into my birth canal, and then… smiled.

She asked my husband to pass her a stainless-steel bowl (all said in French). She put the bowl under my… uhm… crotch… and pulled her fingers out slowly, and with it came gushing down what seemed like tons of water –filling the bowl in no time.

“3 cm cervical dilation. She is in labour, we’ll check you in.” She gave me a hospital robe and there began the adventure.

It was still very early in the morning, if everything was going to go textbook-like, we were informed,  we should have ‘our new bundle’ by noon, or afternoon.

We were so excited…. But as it turned out, things were not straight forward. My labour had to be induced –twice, and a whole set of doctors (head of OBGYN, anaesthetist, neurologist, and some resident-doctors) came in and out of the delivery room.

I will tell you the rest later. To be continued… 🙂

Dian Retno Wulandari. Reminiscing away…

PS: It was my son’s 2nd birthday a few days ago, and I spent the last few days feeling nostalgic, thus my writing this post. 🙂

PPS: The pregnancy was conceived in Indonesia, but I spent most of my 1st trimester in Canada, most of my 2nd trimester back in Indonesia again, and most of my 3rd trimester in Belgium. My son is a world traveller even before he was born. 🙂

PPPS: Our pregnancy was not categorised as high risk, but a normal delivery (non-caesarian) for someone with a spinal condition like me could be categorised as high risk. Luckily we were handled by some of the best doctors and midwives in Belgium.