“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
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1. Are you of Arabian or Indian descent?
I don’t know. Both my parents are Javanese. My mother’s father–my grandfather–was of Malaysian descent, in which I believe his blood line had been mixed: Arabian, Indian, Bengali and that it had given me this unique long nose shape. But, I always perceive myself as [a non-typical] Indonesian and I am proud to be one and I am trying hard to be whenever I travel overseas.
2. Do you have any siblings?
Yes, I have one elder brother by 5 years. So, I am the second and the last son in the family but again, I am an untypical youngest son: I am not spoiled, as much as I concerned. My parents used to treat us equally–that’s what I can remember. It’s just because I was more curious than my brother to learn many things. And now we have two totally different life paths, so I can tell different stories to my family and friends whenever we are together on holidays.
3. Are you playing any musical instruments?
I did and I always miss to play music. Since I was in the kindergarten I joined the school’s marching band and we used to participate in the city’s parade or festival. My parents also encouraged me to go to a music school every Saturday. I learned how to play organ, piano when I was about 5 or 6, I can’t really remember. I did very well. The school assigned me to play in some concerts and I participated in some music competitions. I even had the opportunity to play for an Indonesian singer who came to town, Puput Novel, I think so. I remember I had the picture but I don’t know where that is now. In the elementary school, I again joined the school’s marching band; I played trumpet, cymbals, snare drum and we performed at the City Hall, Governor’s Office and as far as the Presidential Palace in Jakarta in 1993 (that was my first time in Jakarta and I thought I would never come back again, I hated the traffic and the air pollution). About 8 years ago, I was inspired by a movie so I started taking a private violin course and I did very well. My teacher was very happy with my progress. I took the classes briefly but I was able to perform in my ex girlfriend’s little sister’s birthday party: she loved it! And I always miss to play piano and violin again. I hope the time would come anytime soon.
4. How many languages do you speak?
Three languages now: Javanese, Indonesian and English. But I rarely use my Javanese and I start losing some words whereas this is, I believe, the first language I learned! I still use my Indonesian and most of the time I communicate in English. I also do good in learning languages. When I was at elementary school age, my parents sent me to two kinds of schooling. First, public schooling where I learned general subjects in the morning and secondly Islamic schooling in the afternoon where I learned about Islam in general: how to read Koran, how to write Arabic but I never really learned to understand it, how to make Arabic calligraphy and learn the history of Islam. My uncle inspired my to learn German and I did it since I was in junior high school until I took real German class during high school. I did very well and once I won a National Essay Writing Competition in German, and that opened the door to the world–I was selected to take part in a kind of student exchange program to Japan, it was organized by the Ministry of National Education of Indonesia, AEON 1 % Club Japan and was supported by APRINDO (Indonesian Retail Merchants Association) and for this I took an intensive Japanese course. I am still able to speak and understand German not as fluent as I used to though; and I already have hard times to read Japanese script but I still am sort of familiar to the language. I also took an intensive French course before I moved to Jakarta and I did very well too but it’s lost already. In general, I have passion to learn foreign languages.
5. Where have you been traveling?
I traveled to some parts of Indonesia; been to some major islands: Java, Bali, Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi. I have done some overseas travels too; I have landed, as far as I can remember, my feet in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, China, Japan, Kuwait, Italy, France, Belgium, Germany and Denmark. And I plan to go to some more countries in the next years, apart from domestic travels within Indonesia.
6. How do you spend your spare time or weekends?
Well, I thought I have built a so-called spare time activity patterns. Three things that I love most to do during the weekends or spare time: listening to music–any kind of songs, watching movies–I love movies that tell me about social problems or conflicts, but I love action, comedy, drama or thriller and I am reading books too–mostly by Paulo Coelho but I also love other fictions and non-fictions. Not only that, I also like following the visitor hits of my blog. When I am done with those for the day, I usually go to malls and spend sometime there window shopping and even buying some stuff I need (and I don’t really need) like groceries or little nicknacks for my room. I love food and sometimes I find myself end up in a nice or not so nice restaurants for a fine dining, to my definition after or before movies in the cinema. I don’t really go to clubs or bars, only once a year or so but I love to party.
7. What are you doing these days?
I think I am always destined to multitask. I am a full time staff at an international institution and during the days and a full time student of American Studies at the University of Indonesia pursuing my Masters degree during the evenings. So, I am doing a 200 % duties as a staff and student at the same time. Up to now, I am happy to do these both, although sometime it fells hard to manage the time, I know I’m going to get trough this soon. Only one semester left to write my thesis. This is part of my Personal Development Goals (PDGs) to improve my education level. And I am very glad that everything is within my reach. Everything is pretty much in the city center: work, study and leisure. I love what I am doing now and I love my life.
8. Do you have passion for anything?
Uhm, this is a one-million dollar question. I am a very open person to anything and I do have passion for some things in life. I love writing (as you know it here) and this is just one of my thousand dreams to be a writer one day. I love cooking, and all of a sudden I have desire to cook my dinner tonight. I also have a passion for painting; I love paintings and I love to paint. When I was a kid, my mom sent me to a painting class, I did very well and I gave out some of my paintings to friends and relatives. There was this girl friend of mine who came to me few years later and brought a nicely-framed painting and told me, “do you remember this painting?” Not to my deepest memory, it was me who painted that! It looks beautiful that I shocked myself that I could project an interfaith harmony on my painting: there was a mosque, a church, a Buddhist temple and a Hindus temple with their worshipers. Frankly, the painting looked colorfully fabulous but unfortunately she didn’t allow me to have it back. One day, I’d love to paint again and have small art gallery to display all of my paintings.