Selasa, 24 Juni 2008

Si Parasit Lajang

SI PARASIT LAJANG by Ayu Utami, a feminist writer of Indonesia is one of my favorite books. I bought it in one book fair held in Yogyakarta on October 12, 2003. FYI, I always write the date and the place where I buy my books on the last page so that it is easy for me to check it next time. :) So, it is not coz I have a very great memory. LOL. How can I remember the time and the place where I buy all my books that until now comprise more than 700 titles? LOL.
I was still shaping myself to be a feminist at that time, after I bought a book entitled STUDI ALQURAN KONTEMPORER some months before that. This is the first book that opened my mind that there will always be new things in anything, including in interpreting Alquran, moreover in any other thing. When something is socially constructed, there will always be changes in re-viewing it. Naïve Nana was still very naïve at that time, and oftentimes saw social constructions as something created, as a “destiny”. A new Nana was born in 2003. LOL. “Do you feel happier with the new you?” a workmate asked me such a question some time ago. “Everything has risk and responsibility in this life. In one side, probably I am happier with the new me. However, in another side, I also easily become hurt when seeing the unfairness done to women, something that probably didn’t bother me in the past; such as a woman will always be the second in the family after the husband, sometimes even the third after the husband and the children. Aquarini illustrated in her book KAJIAN BUDAYA FEMINIS, “an ordinary woman is a woman who is willing to lose her old self, who always gives the first priority to the husband first, the children second, and herself the last, if she still has time to take care of herself.”
Many provoking ideas I got when reading Ayu Utami’s book. Therefore, I often promote the book to my workmates and friends. LOL. I also bought the book to two male friends of mine to show my gratitude to them. Well, two reasons behind it: I wanted to thank them for spending their special time for me, and making me very special. LOL. The second reason was that I wanted to provoke them too in viewing man-woman relationship when reading the book. Tricky of me, huh? LOL.
The book consists of 33 articles, not all about gender things. Some are about Ayu’s witty criticism on life (such as, why writers in Indonesia seldom include animals in the stories, does it show that Indonesian people don’t love animals? About urine therapy, etc), also her criticism on the national politics of Indonesia (e.g. why until now PKI (Indonesia Communist Party) is still considered as latent danger. After Soeharto diminished the party in 1966, the offspring of the party is still considered as danger, to enliven this Communist Party again so that they don’t get appropriate treatment from the nation. Indonesian people easily get provoked with this PKI term until now.
I also take two articles from the book to discuss in my SPEAKING class. I didn’t bother myself to translate the articles into English. I let my students read the articles in Bahasa Indonesia. However, of course, the discussion in the class was conducted in English.
Until now, I have read some articles in SI PARASIT LAJANG many times. I never find it a bore. :) Perhaps next time I will give an interpretation of one article and post it in my blog. :)
PT56 13.19 020806


ARGENTEUIL, Hidup Memisahkan Diri merupakan salah satu seri “Cerita Kenangan” Nh. Dini, yang menceritakan tentang episode hidupnya mulai pertengahan tahun 1970-an. Mengapa Dini memakai istilah “Cerita Kenangan” untuk buku otobiografinya, Dini menjelaskannya pada bagian kelima buku ini.

“Kukenal perkataan-perkataan memoir, recit, narration, biographie, autobiographie, dan souvernirs. Pada dasarnya semua itu berarti tulisan berisi cerita yang bersangkutan dengan riwayat atau kisah hidup, kebanakan dihasilkan oleh orang yang menjadi tokoh utama atau si ‘aku”. (halaman 82)”

Terilhami oleh Marcel Pagnol yang menggunakan istilah ‘souvernirs’ yang berarti kenang-kenangan tatkala menuliskan kisah hidupnya, Dini pun menyebut serial otobiografinya “Seri Cerita Kenangan”. Dengan sengaja dia membagi kisah hidupnya dalam beberapa periode, sehingga juga terbagi menjadi beberapa buku, sehingga untuk menyebutnya, kita perlu menggunakan kata “seri”.
ARGENTEUIL merupakan kisah lanjutan yang berjudul LA GRANDE BORNE. Kata ARGENTEUIL sendiri adalah nama sebuah kota kecil di tepian sungai Seine, kira-kira 10 km barat laut Paris. Setelah memutuskan untuk mengubah hidupnya secara drastis, untuk ‘menyembuhkan diri’ dari luka lama, ke sanalah Dini pindah, dan tidak mengikuti suaminya yang mendapatkan tugas sebagai Konsul Jenderal Prancis di Detroit, Amerika Serikat. Pada saat yang sama pula Dini dengan berani memutuskan untuk mengajukan gugatan cerai kepada suaminya. Meskipun berat pada awalnya, Dini menjadi mantap hatinya tatkala kedua buah hatinya, Lintang dan Padang, mendukungnya. Padang, si bungsu yang waktu itu masih berusia 8 tahun, berkata:

“Tidak apa-apa, Maman,” ... “Dia mungkin papa yang baik; tapi sebagai laki-laki, sebagai suami, hemmmm, menyebalkan ya...”

Sedangkan Lintang yang berusia 15 tahun bahkan sudah bisa memberi usul yang sangat dewasa:

“Hati-hati, Maman, kalau kamu yang meninggalkan rumah tangga, jangan-jangan kelak kamu disalahkan oleh Pengadilan. Papa itu lelaki yang pintar menggunakan suasana demi kepentingannya...”

Untuk menghidupi hidupnya sendiri, Dini bekerja sebagai ‘dame de compagnie’ atau wanita pendamping bagi Monsieur Willm, kakak Alice Willm, salah satu sahabat Dini. Monsieur Willm lah yang tinggal di ARGENTEUIL, di sebuah rumah berlantai empat yang pernah ditinggali oleh Karl Marx. Tugas seorang ‘dame de compagnie’ – yang dalam English disebut ‘governess’ adalah mengurus, merawat, dan menjadi teman berbincang.
Di awal-awal hidupnya di ARGENTEUIL inilah Dini mempersiapkan otobiografinya yang dia bagi menjadi beberapa episode. Setelah sang suami dan si bungsu Padang pindah ke Detroit, Dini memiliki banyak waktu luang yang bisa dia gunakan untuk menekuni kegemarannya menulis. Lintang sendiri tinggal di asrama, dan hanya ‘pulang’ setiap akhir pekan.
Di episode ARGENTEUIL inilah Dini mendengar kabar kematian kekasihnya, Maurice, alias Bagus., dari Angele, kakaknya. Di episode ini pula Dini berkesempatan untuk mengunjungi rumah pertanian tempat kekasihnya itu dilahirkan dan melihat dengan jelas ‘jejak-jejak’ yang ditinggalkan oleh Maurice sebagai bukti cintanya kepada Dini.
Bagaimanakah perasaan Dini tatkala pertama kali mendengar kabar kematian kekasihnya itu? Bagaimana pula perasaan Dini tatkala menginjakkan kakinya ke tanah kelahiran Cinta sejatinya?
PT56 14.25 220608

A Room of One's Own

A ROOM OF ONE’S OWN (1929) is one title of a popular book written by Virginia Woolf, a feminist writer from Britain. A talented woman will be as creative as man to produce literary work as long as she has her own room, her own privacy to expose her talent.
Room here can mean a real physical place, can be a bedroom or study room that exclusively belongs to a woman. In it, she can satisfy her greed to create or produce anything. No other person is allowed to enter it when the owner of the room, a woman, is busy doing something.
However, room here can also mean an abstract thing, such as special time where she can enjoy herself, either to write, to paint, or to do any other creative things. She can do it anywhere as long as nobody disturbs her, perhaps a park, a garden, a kitchen, the living room, or any other place. The most important thing is that she is respected by everybody to be herself.
Virginia Woolf who was born into a very communicative, literate, letter writing, visiting, articulate, late-nineteenth-century world was quite lucky. She could dig out her potential to her heart’s content so that she could produce many masterpieces, such as her novels, Mrs Dalloway, To The Lighthouse, until A Room of One’s Own. Charlotte Perkins Gilman had to undergo nervous breakdown to pursue her work as a writer because her first husband, Charles Walter Stetson did not support her effort to “get a name by her own name” and not as a Mrs. Charles Walter Stetson. Alice James—the sister of Henry James, and Edith Wharton were two other examples of women writers who were diagnosed as to suffer from nervous breakdown. Was it because they did not have their own room? Their own privacy to do what they want to do to express themselves?
Anna Wickham in her poem “Dedication of the Cook” criticized the condition a woman had to face when she wanted to do.

If any ask why there’s no great She-Poet,
Let him come live with me, and he will know it:
If I’d indite an ode or mend a sonnet,
I must go choose a dish or a bonnet.
For she who serves in forced virginity
Since I am wedded will not have me free;
And those new flowers my garden is so rich in
Must die for clammy odors of my kitchen.

One century will have passed since Virginia Woolf wrote A Room of One’s Own. In my country, Indonesia, lotsa women still do not enjoy their own private room, their own privacy, moreover after they get married. A married woman is still obliged to give the first priority to her husband, and then children, and themselves as the least important.
PT56 13.45 150507

Jurnal Perempuan

JURNAL PEREMPUAN (JP) adalah bacaan favoritku.
Pertama kali ‘berkenalan’ dengan JP sekitar tahun 2003 (better late than never, as always!!!), tahun yang sering kuanggap menjadi batas perubahan dari seorang Nana yang konvensional menjadi Nana yang feminis dan sekular. Buku pertama sebagai penanda bahwa aku telah mendapatkan ‘enlightenment’ adalah buku STUDI AL-QURAN KONTEMPORER terbitan IAIN Sunan Kalijaga, yang berisi artikel-artikel ilmiah tulisan-tulisan dosen IAIN SuKa, terutama yang berjudul “Metodologi Tafsir Perspektif Gender (Studi Kritis Pemikiran Riffat Hassan)”, tulisan Abdul Mustaqim.
Namun yang kemudian menjadi acuanku untuk menempa diri menjadi seorang feminis adalah JURNAL PEREMPUAN. Slogan yang tertulis di bawah judul “untuk pencerahan dan kesetaraan” benar-benar mewakili artikel-artikel yang ada. Tak pernah satu kali pun aku menemukan “fallacy” dalam JP, satu hal yang masih sering kutemukan dalam kolom-kolom “perempuan” dalam surat kabar-surat kabar yang pernah kubaca. Misal: dalam kolom “perempuan” sebuah surat kabar lokal, masih sering kutemukan artikel yang tetap saja membelenggu perempuan menjadi makhluk super bentukan rezim Orde Baru. Contoh tertulis: “Di era emansipasi ini sudah selayaknya lah perempuan mendapatkan hak-hak yang memang mereka miliki, misal berkarir di luar rumah. Namun satu hal yang tak boleh dilupakan adalah bahwa mereka adalah makhluk yang bertanggung jawab atas segala apa yang terjadi dalam lingkungan rumah tangga.” Tidak pernah ada ‘fallacy’ semacam itu dalam artikel-artikel JP. Benar-benar untuk pencerahan dan kesetaraan. Tentu hal ini tak lepas dari visi dan misi yang diemban oleh mereka yang membidani kelahiran jurnal ini maupun mereka yang berada di balik meja redaksi JP, sehingga mereka hanya meloloskan tulisan-tulisan yang tidak bersifat ambigu.
Motto lain yang tercetak di halaman belakang luar adalah “Jurnal Perempuan adalah satu-satunya jurnal yang menggali secara serius persoalan perempuan serta isu-isu gender di Indonesia dan dunia. Provokatif, analitis, politis, serta membangkitkan kesadaran”. Menyadari bahwa pengekalan stereotyping-stereotyping—misal stereotyping bahwa perempuan adalah makhluk domestik yang lemah—sering dilakukan oleh media, JP pun melakukan ‘pelurusan’ bahwa stereotyping tersebut tidak memiliki akar yang kuat melalui media, dengan tanpa lelah menuliskan hal-hal yang membangkitkan rasa kesetaraan dalam diri pembaca perempuan khususnya, dan pembaca laki-laki pada umumnya.
Beberapa blurb yang ditulis di halaman belakang luar, misalnya:

“Jurnal Perempuan adalah contoh jurnalisme yang teguh menjaga independensinya. Penerbitan seperti ini sangat dibutuhkan oleh masyarakat yang berada dalam proses transisi menuju demokrasi” ( (dalam Jurnal Perempuan nomor 19)

“Melihat pada gelagat magma yang ada pada terbitan-terbitan YJP, tak salah kalau kami katakan bahwa yayasan Jurnal Perempuan lewat karya penerbitanya menjadi ujung tombak buku-buku bertemakan isu perempuan di Indonesia kini dan (kelak) nanti.” Oleh T. Jacob Koekerits (misal tercetak pada Jurnal Perempuan nomor 39)

“Jurnal Perempuan is a prestigious feminist publication in Indonesia.” Oleh A. Junaidi dari The Jakarta Post (misal tertulis pada Jurnal Perempuan nomor 58).

Jurnal Perempuan adalah media yang tepat untuk mencari tahu bagaimana perempuan memandang dirinya sendiri.
PT56 16.26 220608

blue jean

blue jean edisi berbahasa Indonesia pertama kali diterbitkan oleh PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama pada tahun 2003. Versi berbahasa Inggris memiliki judul “blue jean; What Young Women Are Thinking, Saying, and Doing” terbit di Amerika pada tahun 2001.
Semua artikel yang dimuat dalam buku ini telah diterbitkan dalam versi majalah (blue jean magazine) yang pertama kali didirikan oleh Sherry Handel pada tahun 1995. Ide utama yang melatar belakangi terbitnya blue jean magazine adalah untuk menyediakan media bagi para remaja untuk menyuarakan apa yang mereka pikirkan, katakan, dan lakukan, lepas dari cara berpikir orang-orang dewasa yang mendoktrin mereka berdasarkan apa yang dibutuhkan oleh para kaum kapitalis, lewat iklan, advertorial, maupun tulisan-tulisan. Itu sebabnya blue jean magazine bebas iklan dari produk-produk kecantikan dan glamor yang terbukti banyak ‘menyiksa’ para remaja.
Meskipun dengan cepat mendapatkan tempat di hati para remaja di seluruh dunia, blue jean magazine kesulitan keuangan karena tidak menerima iklan-iklan yang menyesatkan. Sherry Handel menyatakan diri bangkrut dan menutup blue jean magazine pada tahun 1999. Namun dengan semangat dan keyakinan bahwa “para gadis dan perempuan muda harus menciptakan media mereka sendiri” blue jean magazine kembali dalam bentuk digital yang bisa diakses di Penerbitan buku blue jean merupakan salah satu bentuk lain kembalinya media yang memberdayakan gadis-gadis remaja dan perempuan-perempuan muda untuk menulis dan menyunting majalah mereka sendiri.
blue jean yang kumiliki terdiri dari delapan bab, dimana masing-masing bab berisi lima artikel. Satu artikel yang paling menarik perhatianku ada di bab enam yang diberi judul CITRA TUBUH. Sedangkan artikel tersebut berjudul “Terpecah Belah Akibat Bias Gender” ditulis oleh Sarabeth Matilsky, 16 tahun, dari Highland Park, New Jersey. Dalam menulis artikel ini, Sarabeth terinspirasi oleh buku Mary Pipher yang berjudul “Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls”. Orang tua Sarabeth membesarkannya dan saudara kandungnya tanpa stereotipe peran gender. Namun lingkungan yang masih memelihara stereotipe peran gender dengan kuat tentu saja tanpa sengaja mempengaruhi Sarabeth dan mulai bertanya-tanya. Misal: tatkala memberi hadiah, mobil-mobilan adalah pilihan untuk adik laki-lakinya, sedangkan untuk Sarabeth dan kakak perempuannya, boneka dan jepit rambut.
Ketika berusia belasan tahun, Sarabeth mulai melihat teman-teman sekolahnya yang meributkan penampilan mereka dengan mencemaskan tatanan rambut, riasan, perhiasan, dan berat tubuh mereka. Memperhatikan penampilan menjadi jauh lebih penting—padahal bagi Sarabeth hal tersebut jauh lebih dangkal dan tak berarti—jika dibandingkan dengan berpikir tentang perdamaian dunia atau lingkungan.
Meskipun berusaha keras untuk tidak ‘mengikuti arus’, tekanan-tekanan dari iklan-iklan di televisi, majalah, maupun billboard di jalanan terus menerus membombardirnya, sehingga tak pelak Sarabeth pun kadang-kadang berdiri di depan cermin, memandang refleksi tubuhnya di sana semberi bertanya pada diri sendiri, “Apakah aku terlalu gemuk?” Sedetik kemudian dia pun menjawab pertanyaannya sendiri, “Terlalu gemuk menurut standar siapa? Dan memangnya itu penting?”
Sarabeth mengakhiri tulisannya dengan pengakuan bahwa dirinya tetap saja terpecah belah atas bias gender yang ada dalam masyarakatnya. Sehingga tak salah jika dia berharap anak-anak perempuannya nanti akan menghadapi masyarakat yang tak lagi membebani perempuan-perempuan dengan hal-hal yang tidak penting itu.
PT56 20.36 230608

Ayu Utami

Senin 17 Desember 2007 aku menghadiri acara ‘talk show’ dengan pembicara utama Ayu Utami dengan moderator Triyanto Triwikromo dari Suara Merdeka. ‘Talk show’ diselenggarakan di sebuah event yang diberi tajuk KAMPOENG WEDANGAN bertempat di kampus BLPT Jalan Brotojoyo Pondok Indraprasta Semarang.
Menurut info yang kubaca di Suara Merdeka, acara dimulai pukul 19.00, sedangkan aku baru sampai ke tempat sekitar pukul 19.30. Untuk memberi alasan mengapa aku datang terlambat (coz I always insist I belong to the punctual type :) ) aku selesai mengajar pukul 19.00. I needed some time untuk berjalan dari classroom ke teachers’ room, mengembalikan attendance list ke tempatnya, minum, dll. Setelah itu, aku harus mengantar Angie pulang ke rumah dulu, karena dia harus belajar untuk mempersiapkan diri menghadapi final semester di sekolah, sehingga dia ga bisa ngikut aku nongkrongin Ayu Utami. :) Sesampai di rumah, aku sempatin mengganti “baju kebesaranku” mengajar (rok panjang hitam, blus, plus blazer hitam), dengan celana jeans plus sweater (hawa di Semarang sedang cukup dingin karena hujan yang sedang “rajin” turun membasahi bumi yang memiliki landmark Tugumuda ini).
Meskipun datang terlambat, dengan pedenya aku langsung menempatkan diri duduk di salah satu kursi yang terletak di deretan paling depan. Aku tengarai karena hujan yang mengguyur sejak siang hari, sehingga tidak banyak masyarakat Semarang yang mengunjungi KAMPOENG WEDANGAN; tidak banyak juga orang yang menempati kursi yang disediakan oleh panitia untuk “menikmati” Ayu Utami. LOL. Begitu duduk, Triyanto bertanya kepada hadirin, “Ada pertanyaan?” Waduh ... jelas I had no question karena aku belum tahu sampai mana perbincangan antara Ayu dan Triyanto, dan aku juga lumayan kaget karena aku yakin acara belum lama dimulai (mengingat ‘budaya’ buruk jam karet yang nampaknya telah mendarah daging di orang-orang Jawa; sorry, bukan bermaksud menghakimi nih: AKU YAKIN TIDAK SEMUA ORANG JAWA MEMPRAKTEKKAN BUDAYA—if we can call it BUDAYA—JAM KARET.) kok tahu-tahu Triyanto sudah ‘menyeruduk’ hadirin dengan “Ada pertanyaan?”
Berhubung tidak, atau belum ada satu pun pengunjung yang mengacungkan tangan sebagai tanda ingin mengajukan pertanyaan, Triyanto turun dari panggung, menghampiri seorang pengunjung yang duduk di sebelah kananku, dan bertanya,
“Apa yang membuat anda menghadiri acara ini?”
Berhubung jawabannya terlalu berbelit-belit, atau memang aku yang sudah menjadi makhluk pelupa, LOL, aku pun lupa apa alasan yang dia kemukakan. Aku sudah mempersiapkan diri jika Triyanto menanyaiku pertanyaan yang sama: “I am one fan of Ayu Utami! That for sure made me come to this place.” But ternyata harapanku itu terlalu tinggi. Triyanto langsung balik ke panggung, tanpa melirikku sedetikpun. (kayaknya sih. LOL.)
Satu hal yang sangat menarik bagiku yang dikemukakan oleh Ayu adalah dia menegasikan teori Roland Barthes tentang “The author is dead” begitu seorang pengarang usai menulis buku, dan buku tersebut dipublikasikan dan disebar ke masyarakat. (You can read one post of mine, I entitled “The death of the author” or similar like that in my blog di post ini, aku pun menuliskan ketidakpedeanku untuk menggunakan teori Barthes ini, karena aku lebih condong ke teori Genetic Structuralism milik Lucien Goldmann, yang melibatkan ketiga elemen penting dalam menelaah suatu karya sastra, world view, the author’s view, plus his/her background, as well as the work itself.)
Berbeda denganku yang tidak mengimani teori Barthes karena aku bukan seorang yang pede, Ayu menjelaskan bahwa dia baru saja kembali dari Prancis, dalam rangka menghadiri launching SAMAN dalam versi Francaise. Sebelum buku SAMAN berbahasa Prancis itu diluncurkan ke masyarakat Prancis, Ayu diminta untuk menjelaskan kepada publik, “What is Saman all about?” yang bermakna Ayu tidak dimatikan oleh masyarakat sastra disana, Ayu tetap dianggap hidup sehingga suaranya perlu didengar untuk menjelaskan apa sih yang dia kemukakan, maupun yang dia kritisi, lewat novel perdananya yang dianugerahi sebagai tonggak bangkitnya Sastrawan Angkatan tahun 2000.
Seorang pengunjung bertanya tentang polemik sastra yang heboh di internet beberapa waktu lalu, antara pihak Forum Lingkar Pena—yang dimotori oleh Taufik Ismail—dengan Komunitas Utan Kayu—tempat dimana SAMAN dulu dilahirkan, meskipun sekarang Ayu tidak lagi terlibat secara aktif di KUK. Aku ingat yang ‘heboh’ di internet, adalah pelaku polemik yang menurutku mengklasifikasikan diri mereka ke dalam dua ‘kubu’ yakni ‘penghujat’ dan ‘pembela’ KUK dengan alasan masing-masing, bersaing siapa yang mampu mengemukakan alasan yang lebih intelektual. Ayu sendiri yang dihujat adem ayem saja. “Biarkan anjing menggonggong, kafilah tetap berlalu” mungkin Ayu berpikir begitu.
Dan, ternyata setelah bertemu langsung, Ayu pun tetap memilih untuk tidak ‘menceburkan’ diri ke kelompok pembela KUK, ataupun pembela diri sendiri. Dengan kata lain Ayu tetap dengan arif membiarkan para ‘anjing’ itu menggonggong, dan dia tetap berlenggang. 
Tatkala mendapatkan kesempatan, aku bertanya, “Bukankah itu berarti mbak Ayu ‘dimatikan’ oleh kelompok penghujat?”
Dari jawaban yang diberikan olehnya, aku mengambil kesimpulan bahwa dia memang memilih sikap, “I don’t give a damn.” Katanya lagi, dari sekian banyak kritik yang ditulis oleh para krittikus sastra, baik dalam maupun luar negeri, satu kritik yang dia soroti, ditulis oleh seorang feminis Australia yang mengatakan, bahwa sebenarnya SAMAN akhirnya kembali lagi ke dikotomi makhluk publik dan domestik, makhluk superior dan inferior, karena SAMAN, sang karakter laki-laki lah yang mendapatkan porsi sebagai ‘pahlawan’, makhluk publik dan superior, sedangkan karakter perempuan yang ada, tetaplah merupakan tokoh pelengkap, seperti biasa, kehadiran makhluk berpayudara dan bervagina ini hanya untuk menjadikan satu suasana, era, or whatever we call it, menjadi lebih colorful.
FYI, tujuan utama panitia KAMPOENG WEDANGAN mengundang Ayu Utami adalah untuk memberikan inspirasi kepada masyarakat Semarang, bahwa menulis bisa dijadikan salah satu cara berwirausaha, mengingat tema utama KAMPOENG WEDANGAN adalah “Expo Kewirausahaan dan Budaya”.
Berbicara tentang menulis, Ayu Utami membagi profesi menulis ini menjadi dua
1.penulis yang dalam bahasa Inggris disebut sebagai WRITER, sebagai tataran pemula
2.pengarang yang dalam bahasa Inggris disebut sebagai AUTHOR, sebagai kelas yang lebih tinggi, lebih sesuai disejajarkan dengan SENIMAN
Untuk menjadi AUTHOR, seseorang seyogyanya memulai dari tataran pemula, sebagai WRITER. Tulislah apa saja, misal tentang “How to be a millionaire”, “How to say NO to your boyfriend when he asks you to have sex” (NOTE: ini ideku, bukan yang disampaikan oleh Ayu. LOL.) Dalam menggapai ke-AUTHOR-annya, Ayu memulainya dengan profesinya sebagai wartawan dan kolumnis. Setelah merasa capable, dia baru memulai menulis proyek idealis (plus ambisius)nya, yakni menulis novel yang dia beri judul SAMAN.
Masih banyak lagi yang dikemukakan oleh Ayu, kusimpan untukku sendiri. LOL. Atau, kalau mood nulis datang (lagi), akan kutulis di post yang lain.
LL TBL 10.52 221207

Harry Potter

Several weeks ago my sister got the soft copy of so-called Harry Potter’s manuscript of the latest serial, entitled “Deathly Hallows”. Both she and Angie are great fans of Harry Potter. Therefore they loved it a lot. At first, Angie was not really sure if she would read it because she thought that her capability in English was limited. However when one of her school friends told her that he got the soft copy of it too and started reading it, Angie felt challenged. So, she started reading it too, with the help of ‘Linguist’, a program of dictionary we have in the desktop, or once in a while she looked up in the printed dictionary, or asked the one she sometimes considered as living dictionary: her mother: ME. :-D
Several days ago again my sister came up with more wonderful news: she got the soft copy of the printed edition of “Deathly Hallows”. She was excited but Angie was not really happy with that. She complained to me, “Mama, I have read the manuscript more than 50%. Now I have to start all over again from the very beginning?”
I calmed her by saying, “Well honey, I don’t think the story would be very much different. Why don’t you just go on reading the manuscript?”
“Okay then,” answered Angie.
One day after that, Angie reported to me, “Mama, the story is very much different. For example in the manuscript, Dudley was told to be a witch, but in the printed edition, he didn’t become a witch. Surely, this will make the plot of the manuscript and the printed edition very different.”
“Oh???” I didn’t understand.
As one outsider (I mean I am not a fan of HP. Although I love reading, I have never read HP yet. I have never watched the movie either) I didn’t understand the way JK Rowling thought. Why should she change the plot that far? Did she get too much energy? Or what has made her change her mind, from making the manuscript for the first time until she wrote the printed edition?
When talking about this to my sister, she told me, “You know I heard that the sixth serial of HP also got two versions. I don’t know which one was published in Indonesia.”
“I really don’t understand. Why should JK Rowling issue two versions at the same time? To fulfill what her fans wanted? While the other one she wrote it for her own satisfaction? A writer in some extent really has omnipotent power to decide what will happen to the characters, just like God. Right?” I said.
“That I don’t know.” My sister commented.
“Don’t you think it was perhaps because another person wrote the other version?” I was curious.
“Well ... maybe...” she said.
“Do you remember the children literature we enjoyed reading when we were teenagers? Famous Five by Enid Blyton? Do you remember at that time Enid Blyton decided to stop the story of Famous Five in the twenty first serial and she no longer wrote about Famous Five? Obviously that made many fans of Famous Fan disappointed. We were also disappointed because we could not read a new adventure of Famous Five. Knowing it, someone else wrote some other books of Famous Five. We read some serials too but then we decided that this new writer didn’t write as well as Enid Blyton, or well, she could not enliven the character of Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timmy as well as the original writer, we didn’t read it anymore.” I said the whole thing to my sister.
Remembering our experience during our teenage years, she smiled and said, “Yeah, and I remember the new writer wrote more about George and Timmy as the central characters while Enid Blyton gave the same portions to those five characters. Sometimes Julian was the hero in one serial, in another serial, it could be Dick, Anne, or George and Timmy. I didn’t mind it because I loved George.”
“Yes, that’s right. I liked Julian better and the fact that the new writer chose George and Timmy more often as the central characters also disappointed me.”
My discussion with my sister ended there.
One day after that, my sister told me another thing. “From the internet I gathered information that many people who already got the outline of “Deathly Hallows” secretly made their own versions, to make themselves satisfied because of the rumor before that JK Rowling would kill Harry Potter in her last book. And then they exchanged their own stories with many other HP’s fans.”
Nah lo. This answered my curiosity. It was not JK Rowling who had too much energy so that she made several versions of HP. Besides, as probably you HP lovers realize that many books about HP or JK Rowling sold in bookstores where on the cover there is a writing, “This book is NOT endorsed by JK Rowling.” But still people who are crazy about HP still buy those books. It is possible that the soft copy of the manuscript my sister got was not written b JK Rowling, isn’t it?
Well, the story has ended. Many key characters died but the “three musketeers” Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley survived. As one blog friend of mine said, “No matter what, this is children literature.” :)
If JK Rowling is consistent with her words—she will not write some more serials of HP—there will be possibilities other people will continue writing the story, not only for profit, but also for fulfilling the thirst of its million fans to read HP again, again, and again, until they get bored with it eventually.
PT56 22.29 110807

Qur'an Menurut Perempuan

Recently I have been “carrying” a book entitled Quran Menurut Perempuan by Amina Wadud, the Indonesian translation of Quran and Woman: Rereading the in 1999. It is not a new book. I have known this book for some years. I’ve got the excerpt of it on the net. However, I “found” this book in a local bookstore last April 30, Sacred Text from a Woman’s Perspective published by Oxford University Press, New York 2006. It was just translated into Bahasa Indonesia and published in March 2006.
The book has been in my work bag since I bought it. As usual, I let my concentration to read this book distracted by many other things, including reading many other books at the same time. LOL. I didn’t mean to show that book to my workmates demonstratively but of course since I often “carry” the book, and once in a while I put it on a big table in the teachers’ room of my workplace, some workmates of mine have seen this book.
Yesterday a Catholic workmate of mine asked me, “What is the book about?” simply I answered, “Well, so far, Alquran has been interpreted by men so no wonder if the result is very male-dominated. And this book contains the different perspective; showing that if Alquran is interpreted by women, using women’s perspective, the result is absolutely different, even in some cases, shows contradictory interpretation.” This workmate of mine nodded, didn’t ask me further.
This afternoon, another workmate of mine said to me jokingly, related to the same book, “I told you not to read books about gender much. It is not good.”
I responded, “It is not good for you guys because women realize their rights much better so that this world will not be male-dominated any longer.” LOL.
It reminded me of the middle age before Bible was translated into many other languages. Common people couldn’t read it; moreover understand it. Only limited ministers whose way of thinking had been “shaped” by Church could read it. And since they all had been indoctrinated the same way, of course all of them resulted in the same interpretation; they taught the congregation about the same thing, only from one perspective.
After reading the article entitled “Women In Islam Versus Women In The
Judaeo-Christian Tradition: The Myth & The Reality
” by Dr. Sherif Abdel Azeem at accessed on May 18, 2003 it made me question myself. According to Sherif Abdel Azeem, the illustration about women in Judeaeo-Christian Tradition shows the very low position given to women, but why in the reality, people consider Islam as the most chauvinistic religion of all? Islam that “lets men have more than one wife” is considered to degrade women’s position much more than the other two celestial religions mentioned by Sherif Abdel Azeem?
I related it to the fact that until now, Muslim people must recite Alquran, in its original language—Arabic. For me, Arabic is much more difficult to learn than English (because I already become an English teacher? LOL) Many Muslim people recite Alquran everyday; however they don’t understand the meaning. To understand the meaning, they turn to the Tafsir (the interpretation of Alquran) produced by men. To help themselves understand Alquran and apply its teachings in their daily life, they turn to Alhadith written by men. They also turn to Fiqh which was written by men too!!! The result? You know that …
Again, I want to quote what Fatima Mernissi said:

“If the rights of Muslim women become problems for Muslim men, it is not because of Alquran or Islam itself; it is because these rights contradict with the wants of the elite Muslim men.”

If women themselves don’t struggle to reach their equality with men, for a better and equal world for both men and women, who else will do that?
PT56 21.10 100606

Rusmi Ingin Pulang

RUSMI INGIN PULANG adalah judul kumpulan cerpen tulisan penulis yang tak asing lagi di belantara sastrawan di Nusantara, Ahmad Tohari. Ada lima buah cerpen yang terpilih untuk dimasukkan ke dalam buku ini; yakni “Rusmi Ingin Pulang”, “Nyanyian Malam”, “Si Minem Beranak Bayi”, “Blokeng”, dan “Bulan Kuning Sudah Tenggelam” yang panjangnya bisa dikategorikan novela.
Seolah ingin menegaskan kepiawaiannya dalam tema yang membuatnya sebagai seorang sastrawan yang cukup disegani dengan triloginya yang berjudul RONGGENG DUKUH PARUK, LINTANG KEMUKUS DINI HARI, dan JANTERA BIANGLALA, dalam kelima cerpen ini pun Ahmad Tohari bermain-main dengan permasalahan yang biasa menimpa kaum perempuan yang hidup di pedesaan. Kelima cerpen yang termaktub dalam kumpulan cerpen ini semua bertutur tentang perempuan desa dengan segala permasalahannya, sebagai tokoh utama.
Dalam “Rusmi Ingin Pulang”, Tohari terlihat ingin menyentil keberadaan kaum agamawan dan tokoh masyarakat yang bukannya ikut tergerak untuk melindungi kaum yang termajinalkan (seorang perempuan yang menjadi janda karena ditinggal mati suaminya). Mereka hanya berdiam diri saja melihat para penduduk desa memojokkan sang janda, Rusmi, yang menjalani kehidupan yang sulit semenjak sang suami yang menjadi sandaran hidupnya meninggal dalam sebuah kecelakaan, sehingga dia harus pergi meninggalkan desa kelahirannya tersebut.
Dalam “Nyanyian Malam”, Tohari bercerita tentang seorang perempuan dengan tipe yang tak jauh beda dari cerpen yang pertama. Dengan cara “menghidupkan kembali aib lama dusun dimana dia tinggal”, Jebris, seorang janda beranak satu, meneruskan kehidupannya setelah diceraikan oleh suaminya, sebagai seorang pelacur. Sebuah surau yang dibangun tak jauh dari rumah Jebris, untuk menghapus aib lama, tak mempan memberi penerangan di hati Jebris. Siapakah yang harus bertanggung jawab terhadap hidup seorang janda yang tak memiliki pendidikan formal apa-apa, juga kemampuan menciptakan lapangan kerja?
Dalam “Si Minem Beranak Bayi”, Tohari memilih tema yang sedikit berbeda: keluguan orang-orang desa yang berpikir bahwa tugas orang tua akan berakhir setelah menikahkan anaknya, meskipun si anak masih berusia belasan tahun. Kebanggaan bahwa “anak-anaknya laris manis” lebih penting baginya daripada membekali anak-anaknya dengan pendidikan yang cukup, agar memperoleh penghidupan yang lebih layak dari orang tuanya. Bahkan tatkala sang anak, dalam usia yang masih sangat muda, empat belas tahun, melahirkan bayi prematur, sehingga membuat hidupnya seperti di ujung tanduk, karena tidak mendapatkan pertolongan medis yang memadai, tidak cukup membuatnya menjadi risau.
Cerpen keempat yang berjudul “Blokeng” memiliki sentilan sosial yang amat kuat. Ketika ada seorang perempuan idiot, tak memiliki sanak keluarga, bertahan hidup dengan cara mengais sampah di pasar, tinggal di sebuah gubuk tanpa perabot, tanpa lampu, siapakah yang akan mau bertanggung jawab jika tiba-tiba perempuan ini hamil? Orang-orang yang merasa dirinya jauh lebih terhormat dibandingkan Blokeng, si perempuan idiot ini, ternyata justru jauh lebih tak bermartabat. Blokeng dengan serta merta mengatakan bahwa bukan Lurah Hadining lah yang menghamilinya, ketika sang tokoh masyarakat ini dengan bijak mengatakan kepada warganya bahwa dia akan bertanggung jawab terhadap bayi yang dilahirkan, untuk menghentikan kesaling-curigaan, saling tuduh menuduh, dan untuk menghentikan keresahan yang menimpa desa tempat tinggal mereka. Bagaimana Blokeng tahu bahwa bukan Lurah Hadining yang menghamilinya, sedangkan gubuknya dalam keadaan gelap gulita, tatkala seorang laki-laki datang malam-malam, menidurinya? Dan bagaimana pula reaksi warga mendengarkan kesaksian Blokeng?
Bulan Kuning Sudah Tenggelam” (BKST) lebih tepat disebut novela dibandingkan cerita pendek dari segi panjang cerita, sekaligus tema sentral cerita yang bercabang. Dibandingkan “Blokeng” yang pendek namun sangat kuat penokohan sang tokoh utama, “BKST” menurutku sangat kedodoran, dan terlalu bertele-tele dalam mengemukakan konflik batin sang ‘aku’, seorang perempuan bernama Yuning. Satu hal yang kurang tereksplorasi dengan utuh adalah konflik antara Yuning dengan suaminya. Di awal cerita Tohari menceritakan Yuning yang keukeuh untuk tetap memilih hidup bersama suaminya, dibandingkan dengan kedua orang tuanya yang telah renta. Sayangnya setelah sang ayah meninggal dunia, Tohari tidak mengeksplorasikan bagaimana perasaan sang suami, Koswara, setelah mertua laki-lakinya meninggal karena kepongahan Koswara. Novela ini akan menjadi ‘lengkap’ jika ada bagian percakapan antara Yuning dengan Koswara, setelah ayahnya meninggal dunia, untuk mengungkapkan bagaimana perasaan Koswara, sehingga rasa bersalah itu tidak hanya menghinggapi seorang Yuning, namun juga dibagikan kepada sang suami yang tentu juga ikut andil dalam ‘membunuh’ sang mertua. Sayangnya Tohari terlalu asyik ‘bermain-main’ dengan tokoh Yuning. Kehadiran tokoh yang bernama Sabina Salahudin di akhir cerita terasa sangat dipaksakan. Cerita sudah akan menjadi sangat menarik jika Tohari tetap berkutat di konflik utama, Yuning, sang anak angkat dari seorang tokoh masyarakat yang sangat disegani, yang memilih menikahi seorang insinyur pertenakan yang miskin.
RUSMI INGIN PULANG diterbitkan pertama kali oleh Penerbit Matahari, Jogjakarta, pada tahun 2004.
PT56 15.23 240608

Kamis, 19 Juni 2008

The Zoo Story (2)

Several weeks ago I assigned my class to read THE ZOO STORY, one-act play written by Edward Albee. This was written in 1958 in New York but its premiere performance was occurred at the Theater Werkstatt in Berlin on September28, 1959. It was performed on Broadway on January 14, 1960. The story is about two characters, Peter and Jerry, who meet accidentally in one bench in The Central Park. The main conflict is built while the two are talking to each other. What happens at the end of the play oftentimes startles the audience.
To dissect the play together in my class, I gave four questions to lead the discussion.
1.What is the main conflict of the story?
2.What kind of personality traits do the two characters have?
3.How do their family backgrounds differ from each other?
4.What is your reaction when coming to the end of the play?
At first one student complained to me, “If you categorize this play into comedy, I don’t think I find funny aspects in it. Or is it due to my low capability in English?”
When I asked her how she perceived the story of the play, she simply said, “The story is very weird.”
The play is indeed weird; that’s why literary critics categorized it into ‘absurd play’. The word ‘absurd’ itself means “plainly not true, logical, or sensible; so contrary to reason that it is laughable; foolish; ridiculous.” The story to some extent is also pathetic.
Another student then said that probably this kind of story was very much impossible to happen in Indonesia but it was absolutely possible to happen in America.
“Why is that? Which part of the story do you think is impossible to happen here?” I asked her.
I suspected that she didn’t finish reading the whole story so that she answered my question just by mentioning the fact that Peter’s family had two cats and two parakeets. “It is indeed a common thing for Indonesian people to have pets. But you know, pets in Indonesia are just pets. Animals. They don’t really mean a lot. In America, as far as I know there is always a very strong emotional relationship between people and their pets.” Meanwhile I expected that she would answer my question by appointing the weird conversation between Jerry and Peter.
Let’s take one example. After a little bit ‘small talk’ about going north, Jerry asked Peter, “Do you mind if we talk?”
In Indonesia, especially in small towns, when two people meet accidentally in a park, or anywhere else, they will just talk, without asking, “Do you mind if we talk?” They will just talk casual things though, to show hospitality. However, as some critics have said, at the very beginning of the time when Albee had this play published, they did not understand what Albee actually wanted to convey to public.
In the following discussion, we talked about different family backgrounds Peter and Jerry had. Peter was married, had two daughters, and had an established job in a publishing company. On the contrary, Jerry was single, no steady job, living in an indecent tenement with an abusive landlady who had a crazy dog that liked attacking Jerry playfully. Jerry also came from a broken unhappy family.
This contradictory family background absolutely made them have different personality traits. Peter was an established man, educated, able to control his emotion quite well. Jerry seemed somewhat insane with his almost unbelievable story about his landlady and the crazy dog. Therefore I understood when my students said that Jerry seemed to envy Peter’s seemingly happy life.
No one expected to find someone dying at the end of the story because from the very beginning, the play just showed two men talking about unimportant things in their life. My students said that Jerry was too much to provoke Peter so that Peter lost his common sense in facing him although he seemed careful.
The first question—about the main conflict of the story—was not answered in the discussion. I opined that in fact Jerry was already desperate about his unhappy life. He needed someone to “help” him commit suicide. Peter was just the right person on the wrong place. Jerry succeeded in provoking Peter so that he did what Jerry ‘planned’: to hold the knife on his hand, enabling Jerry to impale on it.
Why did Jerry need someone else’s help to commit suicide? He wanted to share his unhappiness to someone else he assumed to have a happy life—in that decade, to be married, have kids and a good job were ‘requirements’ to be lead a happy life.
Peter’s life would never be the same again as before he encountered a crazy, desperate man who involved him in his death.
What did Albee want to convey to the audience? I assume that he wanted to criticize American values that started to worship wealth and did not care of the neighborhood.
PT56 13.33 190608

Rabu, 18 Juni 2008

S U L A (2)

The following short conversation is taken from SULA (1973:124-125) written by Toni Morrison

Nel: “But what about me? What about me? Why didn’t you think about me? Didn’t I count? I never hurt you. What did you take him for if you didn’t love him and why didn’t you think about me? I was good to you, Sula, why don’t that matter?”

Sula: “It matters, Nel, but only to you. Not to anybody else. Being good to somebody is just like being mean to somebody. Risky. You don’t get nothing for it.”

Nel and Sula are two main characters in the novel. They had been good friends since they were kids because both of them were neighbors. After graduating from high school, Nel married her prince charming, while Sula went out of town to continue her study. 10 years later, Sula went back to her hometown. Nel was happily married and Sula kept single because she thought that all men would leave their wives for another woman or for any other reason.

Nel found Sula extraordinary with that kind of thinking. She tried to turn all kinds of opinions upside down. When black people thought that they got jealous toward white people coz of privileges they got only by being born as white (in America, the traces of slavery done by the white toward their fellow black citizens were still hanging over strongly during the twentieth century despite the fact that Lincoln abolished the practice of slavery in 1863.) Sula turned it upside down. She said that even those white people got jealous of the black coz the black male were popularly known as to have bigger and longer penises than the white male. Therefore, the white spread belief that “White is more beautiful than black.”

It is not something astonishing, then, if that statement said by Sula attracted Jude, to fuck her. One day it did happen. Nel saw it. Consequently, Jude left Nel and their only daughter without saying anything, or explaining anything why that happened. Sula proved to Nel that “men were created to leave women.” Meanwhile, the friendship between Nel and Sula was broken.

The conversation between Nel and Sula above happened one day after many years passed, whe Sula was seriously ill.

My contemplation is

Why should people always expect something in return when they do something (they think) good to others? It means that they do that not wholeheartedly, because they secretly wish something back. Is it that difficult nowadays to find people who are willing to do “good” things to other people without expecting something back?

What is “good” anyway? What is “bad”? Who has right to say that something is good or bad? Why must there be values like that? In reality, something “good” if viewed from one perspective, it can be “bad” if viewed from another perspective. Pangeran Diponegoro is a hero, for Indonesian people (we learned like that in our historical book/lesson, didn’t we?); while for Dutch, Diponegoro was just a rebel.

Why should we feel hurt when we think we have done something good to someone (let’s say a good friend), and then in the future we only find him/her do something on the contrary to what we expect and then it even hurts us?

Why should I feel hurt when one good friend of mine did something which I think that she was not supposed to do to me? It is my own mistake, right, to expect that she will always understand me because one time she told me that I am her soul mate?

I felt like I was in Nel’s position that expected Sula to understand her. While before this, I always thought that Sula’s opinion—though difficult to be understood—was the best thing to prevent ourselves from heartache, from feeling disappointed.

Well, just like what wise people say, “it’s easier to say, and it is difficult to do.”

Cheer up, Nana. :)

Agus Noor

Potongan Cerita di Kartu Pos adalah kumpulan cerpen ketiga karya Agus Noor yang kumiliki, setelah Selingkuh Itu Indah dan Rendezvous: Kisah Cinta yang Tak Setia. Bisa dikatakan bahwa aku suka karya-karya penulis laki-laki satu ini mengingat aku memiliki tiga buah buku hasil tulisan laki-laki yang dilahirkan di Tegal 1968 ini. Seingatku sangat jarang aku memiliki buku tulisan penulis laki-laki lebih dari satu. Eka Kurniawan dengan novelnya yang berjudul Cantik Itu Luka dan mampu menghenyakkanku tatkala membacanya dari lembar ke lembar berikutnya, dan membuatku ternganga dengan kepiawaiannya merangkai alur cerita yang sangat kompleks, maju mundur dengan indahnya, pun hanya mampu memprovokasiku untuk membeli satu bukunya yang lain, yang berjudul Lelaki Harimau. Total hanya dua buah buku karya Eka Kurniawan yang kumiliki. Aku memiliki buku Pramudya Ananta Toer hanya satu buku, dan bukan satu dari buku tetraloginya yang sangat terkenal itu. Umar Kayam aku memiliki novel klasiknya yang berjudul Para Priyayi. Penulis (Indonesia) laki-laki mana lagi ya yang kumiliki bukunya? Lupa. LOL. Kayaknya memang hanya ketiga orang ini yang bukunya berada di rak bukuku. LOL. Gosh, hampir lupa, Andrei Aksana dengan Lelaki Terindahnya. :)

Kembali ke kumpulan cerpen terbaru dari Agus Noor yang kumiliki. Harus kuakui bahwa gaya menulisnya semakin matang, cerita mengalir dengan nikmat dan indah, meskipun itu merupakan tulisan surealis (yang terus terang saja, sebenarnya tidak begitu kusukai. LOL.) Tentu saja hal ini jika kubandingkan dengan kedua kumpulan cerpennya yang sebelumnya. Ada sembilan cerpen di buku ini, dan saat ini baru lima cerpen yang kubaca, karena memang kusengaja untuk tidak segera menghabiskan membaca semua cerpen itu dalam satu kali duduk. Dari kelima cerpen yang telah kubaca—masing-masing judulnya “Komposisi untuk Sebuah Ilusi”, “Sirkus”, “Cerita Buat Bapak Presiden”, “Pagi Bening Seekor Kupu-Kupu” dan “Dongeng buat Pussy”—yang membuatku tercenung dalam waktu yang cukup lama setelah usai membacanya adalah “Sirkus”.

Dalam “Sirkus”, Agus Noor mengungkapkan kegundahan hatinya melihat masalah-masalah sosial yang ada di Indonesia, seperti harga BBM yang melambung tinggi yang menyebabkan harga-harga sembako pun melonjak, tak terjangkau masyarakat kecil, dan akhirnya menyebabkan puluhan juta balita kekurangan gizi, yang di kemudian hari tentu akan menghasilkan generasi penerus yang tidak mumpuni. Poor us!!! :(

Guess where I read this short story? Di Paradise Club sewaktu aku melakukan cycling. I did three things at the same time: cycling, listening to music from my MP, and reading.

Btw, belum tahu penulis laki-laki siapa lagi yang bakal kubeli bukunya untuk menambahi koleksiku. :) Banyak penulis lain tentu saja, hanya aku belum tergoda saja untuk membelinya. :)

PT56 20.59 151206

Penulis Perempuan

Penulis perempuan (Indonesia) yang hasil karyanya kumiliki tentu lebih banyak daripada penulis laki-laki. Maklum, I love women (coz I am a feminist, not coz I am a lesbian :-D )

Pertama, Ayu Utami dengan dwiloginya Saman dan Larung. Bukunya yang berjudul Si Parasit Lajang merupakan salah satu buku favoritku, yang tak bosan-bosannya kubaca. :) Gaya menulis khas Ayu Utami adalah menyentil masalah sosial—terutama yang berhubungan dengan perempuan—dengan gaya ringan dan bercanda yang membuatku sangat suka membacanya.

Kedua, Oka Rusmini. Aku memiliki beberapa novelnya, seperti Tarian Bumi dan Kenanga. Kumpulan cerpennya yang berjudul Sagra juga ada di antara buku-buku koleksiku. Topik khas tulisan Oka Rusmini tentu saja sentilannya tentang nasib perempuan Bali yang meskipun telah bekerja keras, masih saja direndahkan oleh masyarakatnya yang patriarki.

Ketiga, Djenar Maesa Ayu. Aku memiliki ketiga kumpulan cerpennya yang berjudul Mereka Bilang Saya Monyet, Jangan Main-main dengan Kelaminmu, dan Cerpen tentang Cerita Cinta Pendek. Aku juga memiliki novel tulisan Djenar yang berjudul Nayla. Meskipun sama-sama mengkritik tentang nasib perempuan yang kurang beruntung hidup dalam kungkungan patriarki—seperti Ayu Utami—satu hal yang jelas dan gampang terlihat adalah gaya menulis Djenar yang sangat sarkastis dan sinis. Suasana cerita lebih sering terasa gloomy.

Aku memiliki dua buah buku hasil karya Aquarini Priyatna yang bukan merupakan fiksi (baik novel maupun kumpulan cerpen). Yang pertama berjudul Becoming White: Representasi Ras, Kelas, Femininitas, dan Globalitas dalam Iklan Sabun. Yang kedua, salah satu buku favoritku, berjudul Kajian Budaya Feminis, Tubuh, Sastra, dan Budaya Pop. Aku juga memiliki terjemahan buku Feminist Thought milik Rosemary Tong, diterjemahkan oleh Aquarini.

Aku sangat suka dengan buku Filosofi Kopi hasil karya Dewi Lestari. Meskipun sangat suka, hal ini tidak berarti aku telah berhasil diprovokasi untuk membeli buku Dewi Lestari yang lain, seperti Supernova series.

Aku memiliki dua buah buku hasil karya Gadis Arivia, si pemrakarsa terbitnya Jurnal Perempuan, jurnal favoritku. Pertama, berjudul Filsafat Berperspektif Feminis, dan yang kedua Feminisme: Satu Kata Hati.

Melulu tentang perempuan, feminisme, dan gender, eh? :) Nana banget kan? LOL.

Selain buku-buku tersebut di atas, buku-buku lain yang kumiliki adalah buku berbahasa Inggris, yang membantuku dalam menulis tesis, buku-buku tentang Amerika, (maklum alumni American Studies), buku-buku sastra—baik yang teori maupun novel, kumpulan cerpen, antologi, dll, juga buku-buku terjemahan, seperti buku-buku tulisan Asghar Ali Engineer, Amina Wadud, Riffat Hassan dan Fatima Mernissi, Qasim Ali.

PT56 21.37 151206

Princess Diaries

The following short dialog happened some months ago with one ex workmate of mine.

MR: “How could such a person like you enjoy reading a teen-lit novel? I cannot stand it. It is only such a rubbish for me.”

(NOTE: I was reading Princess Diary number five, Princess in Spotlight, if I am not mistaken? LOL.)

ME: “Which teen-lit novel have you tried reading?”

MR: “Dea Lova. It is a very popular teen-lit novel, don’t you think? I am wondering why people are crazy for that while I couldn’t stand continuing reading it only after I read some pages. It is sooooo boring.”

ME: “Oh well, for adult people like us, I do agree if we find Dea Lova a very boring teen-lit novel. I experienced the same thing too. But this one teen-lit novel—Princess Diary—is different. It is written by Meg Cabot—an American writer. Oh well, I don’t mean to underestimate Indonesian writers, no. I have read some other teen-lit novels written by British authors—that I forgot the names LOL—and I thought the same. There is nothing interesting in the novel.”

I didn’t seem to successfully provoke MR to read Princess Diary. Oh well, anyway, that’s her right to choose which novels to read. J It is obviously everybody’s right to choose what kind of novel to read, just like any kind of movie to watch, or any mailing list to join. (Nah lo, how could I come to mailing list? LOL.)


The first time I happened to find this teen-lit novel—and got to know with the term TEEN-LIT NOVEL—was in the beginning of 2003. I was looking for an interesting book to read for Angie—my lovely star. At the same time, I also wanted to find a kind of reading that would prepare her to enter teenage years. I expected it to be a kind of book that would give Angie fun when reading it, also life experience, how to handle teenagers problems—especially girls, and make Angie more broadminded and open-minded about more universal issues. (So idealistic, huh? LOL.)

And I think Princess Diaries could fulfill the requirements I make for myself. Some reasons behind it:

First, Mia Thermopolis lived only with her mother. Her parents didn’t get married. This is an important issue, in my opinion, to make her think that happiness doesn’t only come from a family that consists of father, mother, and kids. When the parents live separately, it doesn’t always mean that they cannot shower their attention and care and love to their kids. (NOTE: until this twenty first century, in Indonesia many people still think that when the parents get divorced and live separately, they no longer love their children anymore. This false idea then gives the best excuse to many irresponsible people—mainly men—to ignore their children after they live separately.) Eventually it will give misleading opinion that this ‘broken family’ creates problems for the future generations because they don’t grow up with “complete parents” who give them “complete care, love, and attention”. Narrow-minded people then will point out “the broken family phenomena” as one cause of the not qualified future generations.

The fact is not always like that. That’s for sure. It is high time for people in
Indonesia to accept that living separately but each of the parents feels happy in their respective life will even make happy children. It is compared to when children live in a loveless marriage, both parents don’t feel happy anymore with the marriage; but they continue living together because they are afraid to be given “burden” by society as creating unhappy future generations when they live separately. Since not feeling happy in the marriage, and most of the time fights and quarrels are involved, they even cannot take care of their children well. It is supported by misleading teaching of religion that women must be submissive, to think of their husband and children’s welfare first, although they themselves are unhappy, abused psychologically, verbally and sometimes physically. However, they are indoctrinated to “enter heaven” as the compensation of torturing themselves to live in such a marriage.

In Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot depicted problem Mia faces with her two parents live separately, but it doesn’t mean that Mia feels very troubled or unhappy with that.

Second, being included into the ‘not popular’ group of students at school is not a big problem for Mia and her gang, such as Lilly Moscovitz and Tina Hakim Baba. When teenagers enter high school, they face this phenomenon—students are divided into the ‘popular’ group and ‘not popular’ group. Popular students are usually well-known as the good-looking, sports star, the rich, physically beautiful, etc. Their popularity at school oftentimes makes other students envy and forget their own potentials, such as good at certain subjects, like mathematics, physics, etc. Some worse things happen when they forget their potentials then just try doing anything in order that they will be included into the popular groups at school.

This phenomenon can also be found in some teenage movies, such as “Never Been Kissed”. In fact, this phenomenon happens worldwide. I want Angie in her high school not bothered by this silly dichotomy—popular and not popular groups at school. It is more important for teenagers to be able to actualize themselves, to be mature and find out their own strength, talent and potentials without being a copycat.

Third, Meg Cabot described Mia’s mother as a feminist. (Aha … no wonder, I love this novel, huh? LOL.) Where can I find feminism issues in Indonesian teen-lit novels?

Fourth, some topics Meg Cabot illustrated some of Mia’s subjects at school. It is clearly seen that the way of teaching in America emphasized on students’ understanding rather than memorizing things. The big problem in Indonesia’s education: teachers insist the students to memorize things, and test them on it.

I remember my own experience when I was in high school (also when I was in my bachelor’s degree.) I had to memorize the patterns of twelve tenses—from Simple Present Tense, Present Continuous Tense, etc—without knowing when to use each of them. As a result, although I memorized all patterns of those twelve tenses very well, I still didn’t know when to use the appropriate tense. :(

Fifth, Meg Cabot didn’t forget to mention some names of theorists plus their theories and the application. For example: Carl Jung with his self-actualization concept, Beauvoir with her existentialist feminism ideology, Freud with his psychoanalysis theory. It sounds serious, but in this novel, Cabot described them nicely so that it is easily understood. Teen-lit novels written by Indonesian writers? Of course not.

Oh well, of course it is everybody’s right to choose any novel to read, isn’t it? No one can say that he/she has right to accuse other people with different choice as less intellectual only because they choose to read “light” novels. Perhaps for many people, Princess Diary is also only rubbish, one thing that I will not care either. LOL.

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Perburuan Wirog

“Perburuan Wirog” merupakan salah satu cerpen kesukaanku dalam kumcer “Petualangan Celana Dalam”. Bukan karena aku suka berburu wirog tentunya, melainkan karena ilustrasi Nugroho Suksmanto akan daerah kelahirannya, perbatasan kawasan Pendrikan dan Kampung Magersari membuatku sibuk mengira-ira seperti apakah daerah ini di dekade 1950-1960-an? Aku menebak bahwa latar waktu yang diambil oleh Nugroho dalam cerpen ini sekitar dua dekade tersebut.
Dari cerpen ini aku tahu bahwa di zaman dulu (seberapa dulu? Yah ... dimulai dari zaman kolonial Belanda tentu saja, karena kata ‘Pendrikan’ ternyata berasal dari Fendrijk, nama seorang tuan tanah Belanda, penguasa wilayah barat daya kota Semarang) Pendrikan merupakan kawasan tempat tinggal para priyayi, sedangkan Kampung Magersari merupakan tempat tinggal para pendatang yang konon non priyayi. Kedua kawasan ini dibatasi oleh sebuah sungai yang disebut ‘Ngemplak’, bukan jalan Indraprasta seperti yang kutulis di postinganku sebelum ini yang kuberi judul “Petualangan Celana Dalam”. Apakah waktu itu daerah Pendrikan hanya melingkupi mulai dari Jalan Sugiyopranoto sampai jalan yang sekarang disebut Jalan Indraprasta? Dimanakah sungai yang disebut ‘Ngemplak’ oleh Nugroho?
Nampaknya bukan, karena di sebelah utara jalan Indraprasta seingatku daerah itu juga masih disebut daerah Pendrikan. Sekarang dibuktikan dengan keberadaan SD Pendrikan Utara 03-04 yang terletak di mulut Jalan Abimanyu; SD Pendrikan Utara 03-04 ini menghubungkan Jalan Abimanyu dengan Jalan Indraprasta. Seingatku pula waktu aku masih kecil (waktu duduk di bangku SD), kadang-kadang aku diajak shalat Jumat oleh Ibundaku di masjid milik SD/SMP/SMEA Muhammadiyah yang terletak di pinggir Jalan Indraprasta, sebelah Utara. Waktu dulu disebut-kalau aku tidak salah ingat-Muhammadiyah Pendrikan. Tahun 1950an, my dearest late Dad pernah menjadi Kepala Sekolah SD Muhammadiyah ini. Entah mengapa kemudian beliau tak lagi menjadi guru/Kepala Sekolah, dan bekerja di Bapindo (Bank Pembangunan Indonesia).
Sedangkan daerah yang disebut Kampung Magersari, setahuku sekarang ini hanya di kawasan pemukiman di antara dua jalan raya, Jalan Sugiyopranoto dan Jalan Indraprasta. Sesempit itukah kawasan yang dihuni oleh para pendatang yang non priyayi tersebut?
Nampaknya aku benar-benar terhipnotis oleh Nugroho sehingga sekarang setiap kali aku berangkat bekerja melewati Jalan Indraprasta, aku selalu celingukan mencari sungai yang disebutnya sungai ‘Ngemplak’. Saking biasanya aku melewati jalan ini, aku tidak pernah memperhatikan memang ada dua buah sungai, yang satu lebih lebar, yang lainnya lagi lebih sempit. Ini berarti Pendrikan terletak di sebelah Timur ‘sungai’ Ngemplak (kalau masih bisa disebut ‘sungai’ sih, karena sekarang ‘sungai’ ini terlalu sempit, sehingga hanya menyerupai selokan. Dengan Selokan Mataram yang membatasi daerah UGM dengan pemukiman Jalan Kaliurang saja, ‘sungai’ Ngemplak masih lebih sempit.) sedangkan Kampung Magersari terletak di sebelah Barat ‘sungai’ Ngemplak.
Dan dari hasil celingukan tatkala berangkat bekerja, menyusuri jalan Indraprasta, aku melihat sebuah gapura yang bertuliskan Jl EMPLAK INDRAPRASTA. Nah, ini diakah daerah perbatasan tersebut? Di bawah ini gambar gapura tersebut. Di sebelah kiri ada sebuah sungai.

Hal ini juga membuatku benar-benar ingin kembali ke dekade aku lahir-mungkin di tahun-tahun tersebut setting time yang dipilih oleh Nugroho-untuk melihat what that area looked like; memandangnya dengan menggunakan kacamata seorang Nana saat sekarang ini; kalau bisa mengabadikannya dalam bentuk jepretan foto. Apakah ‘sungai’ ini sejak dulu hanya selebar itu? Ataukah karena perubahan alam-yang sering disebabkan oleh manusia-sungai Ngemplak sekarang ini menjadi begitu sempit. Juga aku ingin tahu dimanakah letak ‘papringan’ yang konon sering terdengar tangis seorang bocah perempuan mungil?
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Dewi Lestari

Sunday May 28, 2006 I attended a book discussion in one big bookstore in my hometown. The speaker, Dewi Lestari (Dee), is one new writer in Indonesia. In the same occasion, she promoted her newest book entitled Filosofi Kopi (The Philosophy of Coffee). FYI, this is the first time for me to attend such an occasion. Not clear either why I was attracted to attend it. :)
Dee had been a renowned singer in Indonesia when she published her first novel entitled Supernova in 2001. I was not interested in it at all at that time. I thought she just wanted to make use of her popularity as a singer to sell her book.  Until now, she has published three novels of hers, series of Supernova. Frankly speaking, I haven’t read one of those books. :(
What made me interested in her fourth book Filosofi Kopi?
First, perhaps coz she used the word Kopi (coffee) here. I have consumed coffee daily regularly since I resumed my study in 2002. I needed stimulant to make me awake (sometimes all night when the time was due the following morning to submit assignments I got from my lecturers), and I thought coffee was the best choice. And I know recently more and more coffee shops opened in big cities in Indonesia where people can hang around with their friends, to chit chat, or even to have business meeting. .
Second, this book has been promoted by a mailing list where I joined as one member. At first, I didn’t give a damn on it. Many people have appreciated Dee’s novels but it didn’t really move my heart yet to read them. LOL.
Before attending the occasion to have a chat together with Dee also to promote her newest book, I had bought the book and had read some writings in it. In fact, I like them.  Two outstanding things I keep in my mind from the discussion in that occasion.
First, the way Dee answered a visitor’s question about her spiritualism journey. Recently, she said that she has converted to be a Buddhist. She gave us a very impressive illustration. When someone sinks in a deep sea, the islands around him/her will seem the same, a refuge for him/her to survive. Someone cannot go on living in the deep sea. He/she must go to the nearest island to save him/herself. No island will seem better/more comfortable/promising to give heavenly sanctuary. All islands are similar.
This is very beautifully said by Dee in the middle of violent dispute among religions in Indonesia nowadays. Some irresponsible people who consider themselves as the most right start to force people from other religion to convert. Some irresponsible people from violent Islamic groups start to force their intention to the government to legalize Pornography Bill in Indonesia soon. They also have forced to close a Non Governmental Organization that uses Islamic name but this NGO rejects Pornography Bill. Many feminists are worried if the same violent Islamic groups later will randomly arrest women and force police to put them into jail only coz they wear something they consider improper while in fact the indecent thought is inside the members’ mind of those groups, and not in women’s clothes. 
Can’t we just live peacefully hand in hand, side by side, without forcing what we believe to other people? Can’t we appreciate and respect one another?
Second, Dee explained that she started writing coz she felt anxious of something in her life and wanted to share her anxiety to other people.
That really makes the two of us. At first, I just discussed things that made me anxious or restless with my close friends. Sometimes I discussed them with my students. I never got satisfying feedback though, both from friends and students of mine. Then, I wrote my restlessness in emails and sent them to my loved ones. I know some of them understand my restlessness but they cannot give me feedback either. My knowing blog technology really comforted me. I started to share my writings—including my anxiety and restlessness—to wider audience, my blog readers.
Going back to Dee, I really enjoyed the time when attending her book campaigning although until now I only have one book of hers. I am not sure either yet if I will buy her other books—series of Supernova—later. Since I claimed myself as a feminist in 2003, mostly I have read books written from feministic perspective. I am of opinion that Dee doesn’t write her book from feministic perspective though not misogynist either. Misogynist books? COUNT ME OUT!!!
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Nh Dini

Several weeks ago I attended a sort-of promotion book of ARGENTEUIL by one senior writer in Indonesia, NH Dini at RUMAH SENI Semarang located at Kampung Jambe number 280. NH Dini herself as the main speaker, with Adhyanggono from Unika Soegijapranata as the moderator. NH Dini called ARGENTEUIL her autobiography which she wrote in the form of novel.

The first thing attracted my attention was when Dini said she has made herself accustomed to writing anything daily since she was very young in one special book she labeled ‘a red book’—because the cover of the book is red. The way she wrote in the red book was not like writing in diary—at least my way in writing diary --because she often used kinds of symbols recognized by herself only. From this ‘red book’ she improved her notes into many novels.

I asked whether she continued writing in her ‘red book’ after getting married. The background of my question was in the patriarchal culture—at least what I learned when I was a teenager from articles I read in magazines/books/newspapers—people believed that after getting married man and woman became one, each was the soul mate for the other. Therefore, women were not supposed to ‘confide in’ anybody else—including in their dead diary, the reflection of their own self—but to their husbands (I call ‘living diary’) that could be considered as the substitute of the dead diary. Husband and wife were supposed to be open to each other, no secrets between them. Dini said she continued writing in her diary—still using her secret symbols. Her husband let her do that and she was not ‘beaten’ by the so-called culture that I illustrated previously so that she didn’t teach her husband how to read the symbols. In other words it can be said that Dini kept doing her hobby and her husband let her have secrets. One moral lesson I was supposed to learn when I was in teenager—it was not sinful to keep something secretly from your husband—so that I wouldn’t have been beaten by the culture. Consequently, I would have had one most loyal friend, my ‘dead’ diary, when I was ‘buried’ under my sorrow because I couldn’t tell a human being. As a result, I wouldn’t have needed to be so depressed.

This is one thing I admire from NH Dini: as a Javanese woman who was born in the patriarchal Javanese culture, she already had a very progressive way of thinking. I believe this had happened before she moved to western countries to follow her husband where of course she was somewhat westernized.

The second thing I noted down from the discussion was when Dini said her two novels—PADA SEBUAH KAPAL and LA BARKA—were forbidden to be in the library of some schools in Jakarta in 1970s. The reason was because the two novels illustrated many inappropriate scenes. Surprisingly when she went to Indonesia to visit her mother in that decade, she was invited by Pondok Pabelan to give a talk about her writing career, and she found the two novels in the library there. She was questioning if some public schools in Jakarta—usually considered more receptive to anything since it was the metropolis city—forbade the students to read the novels, why Pabelan, the Islamic school, provided the novels in the library. It means Pabelan let the students read them.

When Dini asked one teacher there, the teacher explained, “We tell the students that these ‘inappropriate scenes’ are a part of western culture. We as eastern people are not to imitate what they are doing.”

This reminded me of what Ayu Utami said about her novel SAMAN. Ayu wanted to offer a new way of thinking to view women’s bodies. Women must listen to their own bodies, and not just listen to what patriarchal society demands from women. I also remember what Dewi Lestari said when she promoted FILOSOFI KOPI in Semarang around two years ago. When someone asked her converting to Buddhist, Dee explained “For someone who is going to sink in a wide sea, she/he will consider islands she/he sees the same. In Indonesia, the government (un)fortunately only gives six choices: Islam, Christian, Catholic, Hindu, Buddhism, and Confucianism. Luckily, the ‘island’ closest to where Dee was about to sink was Buddhism.” In her SUPERNOVA series, Dee illustrated her spiritual experience, to share with her readers. I could draw one similar conclusion between Ayu and Dee; that was to give a new paradigm.

This inspired me to ask Dini about her motivation to write her novels, especially the two novels I mentioned above. To my surprise (or disappointment), she said, “I didn’t have such a motivation when writing the two novels. I just wrote my experience.”

“What kind of moral lesson did you expect to convey to your readers?” I continued asking.

“Well, I just wanted people to know that this kind of experience happened, especially in an intermarriage involving one Indonesian and a westerner.”

Furthermore, when someone asked her why she wrote, Dini gave four reasons:

First, she realized that she had a talent in writing, so she improved that gift.

Second, her mother knowing that she had a talent in writing asked her to write books. It means Dini wanted to make her mother happy.

Third, she could earn her own money by doing her hobby.

Fourth, she got satisfaction when knowing that other people enjoyed reading her books.

And I was not supposed to expect ‘deeper’ and more critical reasons just like the contemporary writers.

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Lysistrata, written by Aristophanes in 411 B.C, is considered as one of the best comedies in respect to dramatic structure. At the moment of its publication, Athens’ fortunes were at their lowest point: the disaster of the Sicilian Expedition in 413 had stripped the city of a large part of its manpower, many of the strongest allies had revolted, the Spartans were striving for control of the Aegean Sea with Persian support, and internally the city was on the verge of a revolution. In the midst of this situation Aristophanes produced Lysistrata as his last ad best plea for peace. The plot of this comedy is simple: the women of Greece, led by the Athenian Lysistrata, unite and agree on a sex-strike to force their husbands to make a just and reasonable peace.
When discussing how Lysistrata convinced her folks—both from Athens and Spartans—to refuse their horny husbands to have sex, my students laughed. One female student said, “Nowadays, if a woman refuses to have sex with her husband, it will not frighten him. I think the husband will easily say, “What? You don’t want me to make love to you? Fine! There are many other girls out there. I don’t need to worry about that.” LOL.
What can we conclude from this? People in modern times no longer consider sex as a sacred action that is supposed to be done only with the spouse.
When the first time Lysistrata proposed her idea of sex-strike to end the war between Athens and Spartans, all women showed their open disagreement, without feeling shy. Below are some responses of Lysistrata’s idea:

MYRRHINE: I won’t do it. Let the war go on.
CALONICE: Nor I! Let the war go on. Anything else you like. I am willing, even if I have to walk through fire. Anything rather than sex. There’s nothing like it, my dear.
LAMPITO: ‘Tis cruel hard, by my faith, for a woman to sleep alone without her nooky; but for all that, we certainly do need peace.

When I asked my students whether the idea of sex-strike is proposed in the modern times like now (especially in Indonesia) to end something villainous, will women react like those women in LYSISTRATA in that ancient time, or will they easily approve the idea; meaning they don’t mind at all, no need a complicated argument or debate. My students answered that Indonesian women (perhaps also in some other areas) possibly choose the latter.
“Do you know why?” I asked them.
No one came up with satisfying answer. Well, at least satisfying for my common sense. LOL.
“It is because we have been ‘taught’ that sex only belongs to men. Women just serve their husbands in bed, for their husbands’ satisfaction, and not for themselves. Besides, sex has been considered as personal affair. It is taboo to talk about sex publicly. Like what Michel Foucault stated in his book THE HISTORY OF SEXUALITY volume 1:

At the beginning of the seventeenth century a certain frankness was still common, it would seem. Sexual practices had little need of secrecy; words were said without undue reticence, and things were done without too much concealment; one had a tolerant familiarity with the illicit. Codes regulating the carce, the obscene, and the indecent were quite lax compared to those of the nineteenth century. … it was a period when bodies “made a display of themselves.” …
But twilight soon fell upon this bright day, followed by the monotonous rights of the Victorian bourgeoisie. Sexuality was carefully confined; it moved into the home. The conjugal family took custody of it and absorbed it into the serious function of reproduction. On the subject of sex, silence became the rule.” (1990:3)

“Women are also worried if they are categorized as bitches if they are open about sex. They had better choose to appease their passion very strongly rather than to be called as bitches. For Indonesian people who most of them claim as religious, being very sexual can be considered sinful because it means they just follow Satan’s desire. And they do believe that women were created with low passion. Therefore, they would rather become hypocrite about sex.”
Being more open about sex for both men and women, does it mean that people in ancient Greece are not misogynist?
The answer can be seen in the following utterances in the drama:

LEADER OF MEN: No poet is more clever than Euripides: “There is no beast so shameless as a woman.”

MAGISTRATE: Oh, damn it all! I’ve run out of policemen. But women must never defeat us.

LYSISTRATA; … Now, if you’re willing to listen to our excellent proposals and keep silence for us in your turn, we still may save you.
MAGISTRATE: We men keep silence for you? That’s terrible; I won’t endure it!
MAGISTRATE: Silence for you, you wench, when you’re wearing a snood? I’d rather die!

Referring to what Rosemary Ruether wrote in her book NEW WOMAN NEW EARTH, that the root of the misogynist was firstly moulded in the early first millennium B.C. in Hebrew and Greek cultures (1995:13) certainly misogynist culture already existed when Aristophanes wrote LYSISTRATA. Nevertheless, I must admit that I give him two thumbs up with his idea in LYSISTRATA: women held a very important role in reconciling two opposing countries. Lysistrata even gave command to men involved in the war to make truce and find a way out for both countries’ satisfaction.
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Jadilah Orang Cina

“Jadilah orang Cina!” (Be a Chinaman!) is a title of one short story in PETUALANGAN CELANA DALAM. As in my previous post, the story has setting place Semarang, especially Pendrikan and Magersari, where in the boundary of those two areas the writer of the book, Nugroho Suksmanto, was born. Let me quote the special stanza printed as an opening of the story.
Aku ingat betul pesan bapakku. Kalau ingin jadi pengusaha aku harus jadi orang “Cina”. Maksudnya tidak hanya bergaul dan memahami perilakunya, tetapi juga mendalami budayanya agar bisa sukses seperti mereka.
(I remember my father’s advice very well. If I want to be a businessperson, I have to be “a Chinaman”. He meant not only to socialize with Chinese and understand their behavior, but I also have to comprehend their culture and apply it in my daily life so that I can become successful as they are.)
In this story, Nugroho narrated a teenage boy’s experience before Ramadhan month came. Several weeks before Ramadhan, the dwellers of Magersari area were busy to do many activities to collect money to welcome Lebaran day, the biggest Holiday for Muslim. It had been a tradition to celebrate Lebaran, people wore new clothes, went sightseeing around the town, ate and drink to their heart’s content. To do all of those things, people needed much money.
What kind of activities did people in Magersari do to collect money? Such as making toys of ‘warak ngendog’ and piggy bank, making cookies, sewing clothes, and then they sold them in DUG-DER. Meanwhile for some naughty children, they tried their luck to collect money by gambling! Some games mentioned by Nugroho are ‘dadu kopyok’, ‘udar-bangkol’, ‘cap-sa’.
Talking about ‘dadu kopyok’ I remember I saw it done too in my dwelling place in 1970s, Bulu Setalan, on the south of Magersari. It was done by a group of people, adults, close to my house. (FYI, Bulu Setalan is a very crowded area where many small houses are built very close to each other, leaving no space for yard. In that era, my parents were one of two people in our alley who had televisions. No wonder in the evening, my house was always crowded by neighbors who wanted to watch television. This made me able to sneak out of the house to watch people gambling.) Curiously, I came close to it and watched those people playing. I thought it was just a kind of game. When I saw someone win, he could get much more money than the money he put on one number, I was amazed. Was it that easy to get much money with only a little capital? This made me think of taking some money from my piggy bank to join the game. Unfortunately, I didn’t see any other children around my age joining it. This made me doubtful. However, I was really tempted by the easy way to get much money. As a little child, I didn’t have any access to get much money in a short time besides asking for it to my parents. My relatives lived in one town in North Sulawesi, Gorontalo. This hampered me to enjoy one thing that other children did on Lebaran holiday: getting some pocket money from their grandparents, uncles, aunties, cousins, etc.
Thinking of the much money I would get led me to one thing: I had to take some money from my piggy bank! After I won, I could put my money back to my piggy bank, right? Among many neighbors watching television in the living room of my house, I sneaked into a special place where I hid my piggy bank, in one cupboard located in the kitchen. I did it in the dark so that I would not attract anybody’s attention. When making a small hole at the bottom my piggy bank carefully, but nervously (I felt like I had done a very big sin  stealing my own saving in my own piggy bank), I was shocked by someone’s voice, “What are you doing in the dark Na? Why didn’t you turn on the lamp?”
I almost fainted. Huh, it was my brother!!! Feeling shy because he caught me in the act, but also feeling sure of what I was doing, I told him my plan. (In fact, he had watched me secretly for some time while I watched those adult people gambling.) Unfortunately he didn’t agree with me. He said, “That is called JUDI (Gambling). It is not just a common game! And you know that JUDI is HARAM in our religion. Don’t do this! No one is rich only because of gambling, our religion teacher said that, right? Our parents will be angry too to know this.”
Uh … I was very disappointed. However, as someone raised in a very strictly religious family, of course I was afraid of making sin, especially making my parents angry!
So? I never joined it even though I was very tempted. I still watched people playing it around my house until my dad found out and he forbade me to go out in the night to see those people.
P.S.: What is the relationship between the title of the short story with gambling? Read the story by yourself, will ya? :)
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1 Warak ngendog is a special creature that is believed to represent three different ethnic groups in Semarang: Javanese, Chinese and Arabian. Its head is like a dragon (Chinese), its body is the combination of buraq (a special animal believed to take Prophet Muhammad to Sidratil Muntaha => Arabian) and goat (Javanese).
2 Dug-der is a special event held some days before Ramadhan month. This is like a fair done in the evening. In the event, people sell many things, from children toys, clothes, various kinds of food—especially dates are sold because Muslim people believe that to break their fast during Ramadhan month, their fasting will be blessed more if they eat dates

Kajian Budaya Feminis

Aku sedang membaca buku yang berjudul KAJIAN BUDAYA FEMINIS, tulisan Aquarini Priyatna Prabasmoro. Topik yang akan kubahas kali ini adalah pengaruh budaya Jawa—terutama Bahasa Jawa dalam pengukuhan budaya patriarki.
Aquarini adalah seorang perempuan Sunda yang menikahi seorang lelaki Jawa. Di awal pernikahan mereka, suaminya kadang-kadang berbicara dengan menggunakan bahasa Jawa, dan menyebutnya “kowe”. Ketika Aquarini ikut-ikutan menyebut suaminya dengan sebutan “kowe”, saudara suaminya yang mendengarnya, tergopoh-gopoh mendekati Aquarini dan melarangnya menggunakan istilah yang sama. Sang suami boleh menggunakan istilah tersebut, namun sang istri tidak boleh karena itu berarti Aquarini tidak menghormati suaminya yang dalam budaya Jawa memiliki posisi lebih tinggi daripada sang istri yang seorang perempuan.
Sebagai seorang feminis, tentu saja Aquarini tidak menyukai hal tersebut karena berbicara dalam bahasa Jawa membuat Aquarini harus memposisikan dirinya lebih rendah dari pada sang suami. Akhirnya Aquarini membuat kesepakatan dengan sang suami untuk tidak lagi berkomunikasi menggunakan bahasa Jawa.
Membaca hal ini mengingatkanku pada pengalamanku sendiri, terutama dalam pernikahanku yang pertama dengan ayah anakku, Angie.
Meskipun aku tidak memiliki darah Jawa karena kedua orang tuaku berasal dari Gorontalo, aku tidak bisa memungkiri bahwa aku dibesarkan dalam lingkungan orang Jawa, dengan budaya Jawa. Hal tersebut membentukku untuk memposisikan diri lebih rendah dari suami without reserve. Misalnya aku memanggilnya dengan sebutan ‘mas’ untuk menghormatinya, juga tidak pernah aku menyebutnya ‘kowe’ (sebagai ganti, aku selalu menyebut namanya, dan aku menyebut namaku dan tidak menggunakan istilah ‘aku’); sementara dia bebas saja memanggilku hanya namaku dan menggunakan istilah ‘kowe’ kepadaku.
Setelah bercerai di tahun 2000, dan terluka karena akhirnya harus kuakhiri semua ‘perjuanganku’ untuk bertahan dalam perkawinan itu, aku tak lagi memanggilnya ‘mas’ ketika berinteraksi. Aku juga menyebutnya ‘kowe’ dan aku masih ingat betapa kaget ekspresi wajahnya ketika pertama kali aku melakukannya. Aku ‘belum’ menjadi seorang feminis waktu itu, namun aku ‘telah mengenali’ suatu keinginan dalam hati bahwa aku menginginkan kesetaraan antara laki-laki dan perempuan. Mungkin bagi banyak orang ini adalah hal sepele, namun bagiku (dan juga bagi Aquarini) merupakan salah satu bentuk arogansi budaya patriarki kepada kaum perempuan.
Ah, hal ini mengingatkanku akan salah satu pertanyaan yang disebutkan Aquarini dalam bukunya. “mengapa kaum feminis meributkan hal-hal yang sudah established dari sononya, dimana sebagian besar dari hal tersebut hanyalah merupakan masalah sepele?” aku pun sering mendapatkan pertanyaan yang sama dari orang-orang di sekitarku, juga dari komentar-komentar yang masuk ke blogku (terutama dari para komentator yang berasal dari Indonesia maupun Malaysia dan Singapore.) Pertanyaan yang sering melukaiku karena betapa banyak orang-orang yang hanya take it for granted atas segala hal yang terjadi sehingga menganggap orang-orang feminis sebagai kumpulan orang-orang yang aneh.
“Can’t you just be an ordinary wife because I am just an ordinary husband?” (hal. 30)
Pertanyaan ini terlontar dari mulut suami Aquarini tatkala dia lelah berdiskusi tentang segala hal dengan Aquarini. Pertanyaan yang membuat Aquarini melongo. Dan aku pun melongo tatkala membaca pertanyaan tersebut keluar dalam buku KAJIAN BUDAYA FEMINIS ini karena pertanyaan yang sama persis pernah ditanyakan oleh ayah Angie setelah aku membentuk diri menjadi seorang feminis. Ketika kita menikah lagi di tahun 2002, aku masih seorang konvensional yang percaya bahwa aku bisa menjadi seorang superwoman (hasil bentukan orde barunya Soeharto!), berhasil dalam karier namun juga merupakan seorang istri dan ibu yang baik, yang tak pernah sekalipun melupakan tugas-tugas rumah tangga, dan jangan lupa, TETAP MEMPOSISIKAN DIRI LEBIH RENDAH DARI SUAMI (meskipun aku tidak lagi menyebutnya ‘mas’, dan juga menyebutnya ‘kowe’).
Ayah Angie tak lagi mengenaliku dengan identitas baruku—seorang feminis—dengan cara berpikir yang kontradiktif dari aku yang dulu (ditambah lagi seorang sekuler!). Atau mungkin dia masih memimpikan aku untuk kembali menjadi seorang istri yang dia kenali dalam perkawinan kita yang pertama.
Kamu percaya kah kalau kita terbentuk menjadi kita sekarang ini dikarenakan our upbringing, juga pengalaman-pengalaman yang telah kita lalui dalam hidup ini, sehingga merupakan suatu kemustahilan jika kita akan kembali menjadi kita di masa lalu?
Aku baru membaca buku KAJIAN BUDAYA FEMINIS ini sampai hal 34 dari keseluruhan buku yang terdiri dari 461. buku ini kubeli hari Kamis 6 Juli 2006. aku selalu membutuhkan waktu lama untuk menyelesaikan membaca sebuah buku. Bukan karena kesibukanku, namun lebih karena kadang aku terlalu begitu hanyut kedalamnya, sehingga, kadang baru membaca satu paragraf atau kadang satu halaman, hal ini bisa membuatku merenung sampai berjam-jam setelahnya, yang tentu saja membuatku berhenti membaca paragraf/ halaman berikutnya.
PT56 00.27 100706