Maybe I'm Too Idealistic

Hello guys, how is it going? I shouldn't be blogging right now, but here I am doing it. There were many thoughts swirling in my head these past few weeks that I really wanted to put it down, but as usual laziness took over. Of course it's always a good thing to have a delay before saying everything that pops into your head. We'll see if those thoughts make it to this post. Let's begin.

Finished my 5-book a year goal last week. I am currently reading The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen, which will be the first Vietnamese descent writer whose work I read. Chose this to keep the tradition going of reading the year Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction. Though if I don't finish it by this year end, I guess I'm not keeping with tradition. We'll see if I make it. Anyways, here are the list of books read this year:
  1. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. Started this late last year and completed it this year. I never intend it to, but many times I ended up reading books with very strong female characters. A Thousand Splendid Suns are centered on these 2 females who bonded under male oppression and Taliban rule. It ends on a hopeful tone, but there's just so many tragedies that I left still feeling really sad.
  2. The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham. I watched the movie too, starring Kate Winslet and Liam Hemsworth. As usual, the book is much better than the movie. Overall this is not a thought-provoking book. I don't find myself highly entertained as well because there's one tragedy that just closes out all hope of a happy ending. It also ends in a hopeful tone, but by that time I didn't care much anymore.
  3. Rain by Barney Campbell. Gosh, another sad book. I love it but it was also sad. I definitely shed tears in this. It tells the story of a UK soldier fighting wars in Afghanistan. It's another book set in Afghanistan that I read this year.
  4. The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro. This is a weird one for me. I don't really get all the symbolism and such. I've never been in a book club and I don't know if I'll be able to keep up with the pace, but this book might be a good one to discuss with people. It also has a sad ending. I don't know why I end up reading many sad things this year.
  5. Jejak Langkah by Pramoedya Ananta Toer. This and the next book completes my wish of reading The Buru Quartet by Pramoedya Ananta Toer. It has been lauded as an exceptional collection of work internationally, but I'm sure not many Indonesians have read this. It is not an easy one to read because it has a lot of nation building thoughts being put into it. It's not done in a lecture kinda way. In fact I think it's trying to make the readers think about these issues too. The story took place long before Indonesian's Independence. In this book the people of Indonesians were learning to organize, but they were also fractioned by things that differentiate them instead of uniting themselves to fight the greater injustice. The quartet is really interesting and I would like to see a TV series on this, but Indonesians film makers tend to ruin things by making them unnecessarily sentimental. I think it's also quite hard to adapt this because though you could just condense the story about the characters, I really think the most important things about these books are the thought-provoking issues and these would be very hard to convey in films without being boring.
  6. Rumah Kaca by Pramoedya Ananta Toer. This book is the last in The Buru Quartet. It took a different approach by telling the story from another person's point of view. One interesting part about the story is that we could see the destruction of a man as he struggled to do things he knew was not the right thing to do. Many times you would want to say to the character, just stop and leave as what your family did, but he stayed on and be miserable throughout the book. There's also a tragic sad ending for the main character. It's one of those thing you know, sad things need to be told as well. Pramoedya Ananta Toer also wrote a strong female character in this book and when other perished, this lady stayed on until the end of the book and regardless of what life threw at her, she just kept on flourishing.
I am fascinated by men who wrote strong female characters. My favorite is of course Ursula from One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. Why did these men choose to write about these strong women, did they do it subconsciously? Maybe they're just acknowledging that women can just take on some much more. Unfortunately that's not what's happening in America. Last week when the election result was out, it was so depressing that I seriously felt like crying and I'm not even an American. It's not that I'm a big fan of Hillary Clinton, though you gotta admit that she is so admirable. She's taken so many shits in life and she doesn't give up and keeps going. As one of my french teachers would say, elle est formidable (she is formidable). What's sad about the whole thing is that I see those people voting for Donald Trump to have no qualm whatsoever to all the things he said or didn't say and that makes me think they're not good people. I was very sad finding out the Duck Dynasty family endorse him. As the title said, it made me wonder if I was being too idealistic. In the last Indonesian presidential election, my decision was made easy when the presidential candidate, Prabowo, was supported by FPI (The Islamic Defender Front), an organization I viewed as intolerant and should not have existed in Indonesia, but they exist because like in America, we do have freedom of speech in Indonesia. At that time, Prabowo happily took the support and that made it easier for me. Whichever side the FPI supports, I will sure be on the opposite side. So when Ku Klux Klan supports Donald Trump, shouldn't the choice be clear to Americans? Whichever side racist groups stand on, go to the opposite side.

Right now in Indonesia, Jakarta to be exact, we're waiting on the investigation result of whether our current governor (an Indonesian Chinese non-muslim) is guilty of insulting the Quran. Now I have watched the video in question, both the long complete one and the short one. From my point of view, he's saying don't be fooled by people using the Quran verse that says they cannot vote for a non-muslim leader. He didn't say that the Quran verse is foolish. However this was taken by many of his detractors as insults. They rallied the people and so many of these easily flamed out people staged a big protest in Jakarta around 2 weeks ago. Seeing the tweets about this protest is very depressing for me. People are saying things like, we may not pray regularly but when our religion is being attacked, we need to stand up. Seriously? What the fuck are you talking about? If you think Islam is being insulted, you should protest every time a terror group carries out a terrorist attack in the name of Islam, but where are you guys then? Yes, perhaps this is not about the religion, as we know it's all politics. That makes it even more depressing, these power hungry people galvanizing the mass on a weak argument which is bound to destabilize the country. Perhaps people may fault me for using syntax to defend the governor especially since I am also Indonesian Chinese non-muslim, but seriously you should see if there's any ill intent from the governor's side and I would argue there isn't and his actions so far have shown he's unbiased to muslims.

I find what happens in Indonesia currently is similar to what happens in America right now. Many people say it's the white Americans who brought the victory to Donald Trump. White Americans and Indonesians muslims are the majority in America and Indonesia. They already have the most representation everywhere. They don't get hassled as much as the minority. They never experience being targeted simply for being the minority. So why on earth these people still feel like they're being victimized, that they haven't been treated fairly? What's with the anger and all the aggression? Are they just plain selfish, mean, and bad at the core? Yes not all white Americans or Indonesian muslims are bad and intolerant, but right now seeing all these people be open and proud in their intolerant thoughts and actions just give me despair. I think it would make the world a better place if these 2 hate groups could just meet in a field and battle it out. That'll be perfect, they truly hate each other and what each other represents. They can fight it out and leave the rest of us in peace.

Let's change topic. I haven't been going to the cinema much. The last few movies I watched was The Accountant and Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk. I truly enjoyed The Accountant though the movie has one big flaw, don't tell me the brother took an assignment to kill a person without having a photograph of said person. It's silly, but I guess they needed this lack of information to build the climax. Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk was so so for me. What's weird for me and this is a big question I have, do the US military really allow their soldiers to participate in a Halftime show in a way that seems really silly? Love Garrett Hedlund in this movie though, he looks really handsome. The next movie I'm really looking forward to is Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I'm glad Eddie Redmayne is in it and he looks great in all the trailers or posters I've seen. He's a really good actor.

I've been feeling rather down these past few ... well years if I want to be honest. Maybe decade if we want to get to it. Seriously though something is wrong with my body internally and this makes me more despondent. I tried to change my diet a bit. It was showing some improvement for a few days, but right now it's going back to being bad. So I'm quite down these days :( I should start plotting on what I want to do next year, but I just don't have the mood to do so. I haven't even planned my Chinese New Year trip back home. I think it would be good for me to spend some time with the family even though they would drive me crazy, but I am thinking of just running away and go somewhere else and be alone. Being alone again after being alone for most of my days do not sound healthy to me, but right now I would like that very much. Yes, mentally I think right now I am spiraling even deeper into that depression hole. I hope you guys are having better days. Take care.

:) eKa @ 7:17:00 PM • 0 comments

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