Sunday Reflection

I'm actually not planning to write today but there are many things that swirled into my head this weekend. Yesterday in french class, we talked about how foreigners perceived the french and that got me thinking of how foreigners perceived Indonesians and then it led me to think what makes an Indonesian and if I am an Indonesian or why do I keep on emphasizing on the fact that I am an Indonesian when perhaps I'm not so Indonesian anymore. Then today, I finally had a small talk with Chloe. She and Maxime have been spending some time here. Jenny was asking them to speak french to me. I actually just woke up from my nap so the brain was not receptive to listening and speaking french. As usual, I deflected and started answering in english. Chloe was surprisingly open about her life. At one point, I was telling her something like this, I hope you didn't do X because of Y, because that would be so stupid. I was thinking that it was actually really really rude. That got me thinking further that I really really have to stop doing all this saying things without filtering them. It's not amusing anymore, it's just plain annoying and hurtful sometime. So talking to Chloe, who's 10 years younger than me made me think about more stuff, about how I feel so like an adult. I wish I can talk longer to her because she seemed interested in talking to me too but Jenny was around and I have a feeling that Jenny may not like her being so open to me. I don't know, just a feeling. Anyway, with that many topics going around in my head, there are many things to talk about, no? Let's try.

Do I want to pose that question of what foreigners think of Indonesian? I think that there will be a lot of negative answers which I will respond with, but Indonesian are very nice! Are we? Are we very nice? I do think Indonesian are very nice. I have to admit, I'm not a very nice Indonesian though. I think they are very patient. They are easy going which some may take it as being lazy and ignorant about the proper ways of doing thing. For me going back home is always important because it's going back to the Indonesian roots. Things like speaking Indonesian. It's getting harder for me to say full sentences in Indonesian without breaking in English. On the few trips home, I even had moments when I pointed something to mom and asked how to say that in Indonesian. I knew how to say it in English but I actually forgot how to say it in Indonesian :( It's very important for me to be able to speak Indonesian well and even when I do speak it, I realize I don't really speak it the way my friends speak it. I try my best though. Why going home is very important for me is also because you go back to your place or position in a family and it puts a different perspective about your life. Being here alone it's all about me and surviving but when you are back in the family, it's about how you are part of an entity or a group. Meeting my aunts, uncles, and cousins and seeing their lives is important in a way of telling me how my life could be when God is kind enough to give me a family of my own. That's another thing I think Indonesians are, that they move in a group. I don't think Indonesians are very individualistic, it's always about their place in a group or a community and actions are made with regards of the group. There are just things about Indonesia and how things go about there that can teach you a lot, at least if you are an Indonesian. Everytime I'm there, I always feel that I am at least being taught to slow down, relax, take it easy, and have more patience. Things will not run the way you want it, in an efficiency and standard that Singapore has, but it's all good, people there have put up with it and they're happy in life, perhaps they are even happier than the average Singaporean though they have less, so be happy, be thankful. Being thankful is also another thing that going back to Indonesia teaches me. I do feel I am not thankful enough in life.

So anyways, there have been a few people who told me that I'm westernized simply because I could be very direct in saying my opinion. As mentioned above, my conversation with Chloe did make me feel like I have to tone it down a bit and also perhaps use the F word less. Actually I do not know if being direct is a western thing. If my characters do change in a way that people think of it as being westernized, I think it's not because of the western influence, it's more because I've been in Singapore for a long time and all the experience of just trying to survive on my own. Things become like a problem - solution kinda thing. You have a problem, you face it and find a solution to it and often time it involves saying how you feel or say it as it is to the people who contribute to the problem or who can help you with it. So that's just how I feel. Another thing, I wrote about how Indonesians move in a group. I see that in the Indonesian "friends" back in NUS days. I put friends in "" because I don't think we are actually good friends if we don't stay in touch now. Maybe it's just me. Anyway back in NUS, we did things together and in a group and now that I see it, I feel it suppressed certain interesting and unique qualities of my friends. Now that many of us have kinda made it in the real world on our own and be the wonderful individual that we are outside that group, some of them are great. Like who knows that Oshie actually can tweet about someone being a dick. Back in NUS days, he's like the calm innocent kind but he's pretty spunky and witty and I love this fact :) and I don't know if it's a sign of being westernized, but people with their opinions and uniqueness interest me more than people who don't have any opinions or who are more comfortable being with the crowd or following them.

On that note, it kinda relates to the conversation I had with Chloe today. Apparently the girl quit her psychology studies and turn to movie making. I was stunned that Jenny was okay with that. She said she was failing as she wasn't making any effort at all and she decided to change course. I asked her how long movie making school will take. She said 5 years and I almost fell to the floor. She talked about spending her first year in the hostel and then feeling lonely because she didn't make any friends. She talked about how her friends are just as relaxed in life like her and she even used the word 'hippie' on them, basically to signify that they just bum around. I seriously didn't expect this from a western culture. I thought parents are ready to kick them out when they're 18 or something. But she is European instead of American. I was stunned to hear this girl who just doesn't seem to be quite mature yet. I expected more from her considering her family history. I was thinking that I was more mature than her when I was her age. I told her that I moved to Singapore when I was 18. She was telling me how her friends are the real french kind who like France and don't even think about leaving it. Even when asked why she didn't try to study in Paris, she said why? since the weather in Montpellier is great. That got me thinking if having lived in such a beautiful place does make someone to not want to explore the world more and it's all the people who are living in a developing country and are experiencing a lot of hardship who are eager to see the most of the world. Anyways, hearing her, I was thinking if I had been too hard on her. I mean Jenny who's pretty strict could accept her and be patient with her though she did say that by 21, she better gets her act together because that's the deadline before she gets cut off. I wonder why I was so taken by her and felt a tiny bit of disappointment hearing her. I was thinking if it's because of my strict parents. My dad was disappointed when my cousin wanted to quit orientation before it even started. It just seemed that quitting is not something which is tolerated by my dad. However, after all that have happened to my family, extended family I mean since there are only 4 of us in my core family, I do think that my parents have become perhaps more lenient, tolerant, and acceptant on certain things. I mean we have cousins not being able to move up in their classes, cousin who decided to stop studying or working, and teen pregnancy. My aunts and uncles are living with that and so again patience is something which perhaps grows as our parents grow older. So perhaps my parents are not strict anymore as well with our lives. It seems the consensus among my parents, aunts, and uncles are as long as the kids are happy and healthy, it's all good :) They are so nice, I don't know if they're doing us good with this. As for me, it seems that I'm so gonna be a tiger mom :P Anyway, another thought came to me. Talking to a girl 10 years younger than me, I felt so much older than her and I wonder what a person 10 years older than me can tell me about life. If they are feeling I'm not mature as well, if I still have a lot of growing up to do. Hmm, it's been a long writing there without much deep substance I fear so I guess I will just stop this rambling now. Hope we all will have a great week ahead :)

:) eKa @ 9:41:00 PM •

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