words, worldly wisdoms & wanna-be photography

Posts tagged “culture

In Rape Tragedies, the Shame Is Ours | The Nation

No BEDA post written by myself today but instead an article recommendation; I really liked the points made in this article about rape victims and the (non)existent consequences for the people involved.

In Rape Tragedies, the Shame Is Ours | The Nation.

If you want to share your thoughts about this, leave your comment down below! I’d love to hear what you have to say. (I wish I could have written a comment on this but I’m running short on time, I have to pack for holidays.)

being a big sister is confusing

What is a big sister? These days, I’m asking myself this question quite a lot. You see, I just can’t remember what’s included in being a big sister. What I’m supposed to do, what’ expected of me and so on.
It’s just been today that I had a quarrel with my sister. It was totally stupid and a complete waste of time, yet we were both quite raged. Especially my younger sister. In the end she handed me the thing we were arguing about and throw an insult in my face. Considering the wide range of slang words nowadays, the insult meant nothing as it was common to most young people our age. And I’m sure she didn’t mean it literally and I’m not the person to take insults seriously. I usually just shrug them off.
But from the other side, considering that swearing and insulting each other using those common slang insults are inappropriate in our household (our mum’s absolutely against it) and also us being a traditional Asian family, the insult meant so much more. Not in its actual meaning, but further in the way it was total inappropriate behaviour from my sister’s side.
After dinner I told her that she ought to apologize to me. First she didn’t know what it was about then she began to defend herself by denying it. I told her that respecting the elder ones is a principle wide known in Asia, something everyone does and accepts and follows. I’ve been brought up that way and she should have been too, but with being the baby princess in the family, I don’t think the message got through to her properly. So I really emphasized on that and afterwards she wouldn’t talk to me for some time. Nice.

Just afterwards, as always after scolding her, I got my bad conscience. Maybe I was too harsh? I mean, who am I anyway to scold her? She asked me “Are you my mother?” and I responded saying that I’m not but that I’m her big sister, implying that I was allowed to tell her off too.
Now I’m not so sure anymore. She’s insulted me many times before, always in the manner that wouldn’t please our parents. That’s why I probably never told them about this scenarios. Because I know that they will scold her (or at least my mum) and, you know, she’s my baby sister and I just don’t like the picture of her getting scolded by someone else. I realized at some point that I just can’t do that to her.
And ever since then I took over the job of telling her off whenever she’d insulted me (It may seem to you that she’s a mean girl, but you know how it is with siblings – we needle each other on a daily basis.).
But is this even right?
I mean I don’t have a problem with her yelling at me all sorts of things – I’m quite easy with that – but I just don’t want her to get in trouble or embarrass my parents because of her unique ability to not think before speaking. Seeing that I’m supposed to be her role model, I really try not to swear too much around her (which is of no use, in the end: considering that her friends and their habits are a great  influence on her behaviour) and always being nice to my parents (Very hard at this age, but I try.) and other elder people.
But hey, who am I to tell all those things? I’m only her sister after all. I’m not even an adult. I’ve been disrespectful so many times in my life and I still am a few times and I bet I’ll still be a few times in the future. It’s not like I’m the politeness goddess or any of the like. No, I really am not, but I pretend to be one in front of my sister.
Sometimes I just have enough of all this and I know, it’s not something I have to do – being all motherly – but as I said before I don’t want her to get scold by my parents for some bad behaviour. I mean I don’t want to leave this impression on her, that I’m being all over-protective or a moraliser or a politeness guide. I want to be the big sister to her. The one she can go to if she’s got a problem or the one she can laugh with for hours or the one she’s being crazy with on good days. It’s not like I’m not all these things to her right now, but lately I just got the impression as if the other part of our sisterhood is tainted with me telling her off. She’s in the beginning of her teen years right now, I know, and that she doesn’t mean half of the mean things she says but still… I feel as if I have to teach her otherwise, constantly.
I’m so confused right now. Am I right or wrong? What’s a big sister? Is it included that I’m not only there for fun for my younger siblings?
What do you think?




PS: I haven’t been able to comment for about a week now. I don’t know why but my comments on other blogs just wont appear… so forgive me if I always “like” your posts but never write something underneath it!

Berlin, Berlin

When people ask me what my favourite city is, my answer’s most likely to be Berlin, nowadays. I’ve only been there once, last summer, but this one time was enough to make me fall in love with this gorgeous city. I went there with my family and we didn’t expect too much, we thought “Berlin’s surely cool, but of course it’d be much more exciting to go to Vienna or something like that.” We were wrong. The moment we arrived there and stepped out of the train, we were amazed – just by the sight of the train station; with its great class constructions and how they arranged the escalators (I can’t describe it to you, the architecture’s just too cool.) this train station reminded me a bit of Bern’s but it’s just a lot, a whole lot, bigger.

To get to our hotel we had to take the urban railway, which I consider as one of the best I’ve got to know so far. It’s modern, clean and well-arranged and I also especially like the old stations (as you saw in the WeeklyPhotoChallenge post). But the new ones are also not bad:

I like Berlin’s traffic very much anyway. Although I don’t like cars that much (because they’re not eco-friendly), I was quite impressed at the 10-lane streets I found in front of our hotel. And although Berlin’s really a big city, most of the people there still ride bikes, which I think is very cool. Everywhere I went there would be people with their bikes, and there are also city-trips for tourists by bike.

There are 2 places I liked best; the first one is the Tiergarten, Berlin’s city park, which is located in the center of the city (actually like the Central Park in NY) and became one of my favourite parks ever. It’s huge and you could just wander (literally wander) in there for hours and still won’t get enough; there are so many ways you can choose and little paths you’d discover by accident. Because my father and me once got on such a path, we discovered these cute little bunnies, which just live there on their own (at least, that’s what it seems like):

The second place I like best is the Berliner Trödelmarkt. I’ve already made a remark about it in my post about my owl-collection because it was on these market that I bought my owl-chain. I love this market over all. There would be accessories and clothes of course, but also antique sofas and doorknobs (weird!) and buttons and food. But Berlin has not only this flea market, but so many more; we went to the arts market as well (near the DHM museum, the German History Museum).

Generally speaking, shopping in Berlin’s pretty great. Next to the flea markets, there are also the shopping areas – the most famous of course around the Kurfürstendamm (also Ku’damm). But there are also other areas, for example around Hackeschermarkt, which is the place for young indie labels and rather smaller shops; or also around Friedrichstrasse (more luxurious stuff).

near Ku’damm; the left building’s called lipstick, the right one called powder box among citizens

Now, what’s left? I’m sure you all have heard of Berlin’s sightseeing, so there’s no need to tell you what belongs to it. Instead, a few photos:

The famous Brandenburger Tor by night; it’s hard to get a good shot with all the tourist around you (there was even a group of tourist singing loudly “Hey, Soul Sister”)

Also famous: Berlin’s television tower at Alexanderplatz. As you see it wasn’t very good weather; that’s the reason why we weren’t on top and why I can’t show you stunning top view photos of Berlin. Instead photos of the fountain on Alexanderplatz:

Checkpoint Charlie; maybe it’s because I know what happened there, but the place seems a bit cold (in spite of the many tourists posing with “fake” officers) and the old buildings show that in spite of the length of time that has passed since WWII the history of this place will never be forgotten…
Within spitting distance a very cool and modern museum… the Currywurst Museum!

First I was skeptical because of the very red, spicy sauce but Berlin’s most famous dish is really delicious!

One day we also took a boat trip on Berlin’s river, the Spree; definitely something you should try out as well. We took a route that took us mostly to the government district; we see a mix of old and new buildings. The best example for that is probably the Reichstag itself with the main building in neorenaissance style but with a modern dome.

The boat trip started at the Museum’s Island (Berlin has actually an island in the city). A reason why Berlin reminds me of Venice and Amsterdam as well, is the amount of bridges it has – Berlin’s got 2100 bridges, actually.

a bit of “Swissness”!

the Bundeskanzleramt (Federal Chancellery) in Berlin

All in all, as you see in the photos, it’s the variety of Berlin, that makes me like this city so much. Wherever you go, you’ll see past or present of future – it’s all there in this city, all mixed up in a very artistic, inspiring, unique way – Berlin’s way.

Songs about Berlin I found on my iPod:

Kreuzberg – Bloc Party
In Berlin – Sugarplum Fairy
Berlin – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

ps: I’m sorry for the delay! I had a better, original draft of this post, but somewhere in the middle I got a writer’s block and gave up. This version is, I know, not a very good one, but I promised you one and I don’t like to break promises (in this case, actually I already broke it, grr…). Unless I’m not being caught between ironing clothes and taking care of a visa the next few weeks I’m going to correct this one for you, ok?

pps: These photos are not all of my own. My father did most of them.

a musical journey

“What kind of music do you listen to?”
“Er… indie. Mostly.”
“Excuse me? I… what?”
“Indie. Independent music.”
“You mean Indian music?”
“Gosh, no, indie! It’s a style of (mostly) rock and pop – but in an independent or alternative style.”
“Ah. Well, I’ve never heard of that before.”

After conversations like this, I usually don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Mostly after having them with people bragging about their musical knowledge (which often means rattling off the newest charts). I don’t consider myself as a musical specialist, but I think that indie’s now so popular (and not so indie anymore, sadly) that everyone somehow’s got to know this term if he considers himself being very much into music.
For you, I found a definition on Wikipedia:

In music, independent music, often shortened to indie music or “indie”, is a term used to describe independence from major commercial record labels and an autonomous, Do-It-Yourself approach to recording and publishing.

And here also a link with a very well-written and original definition: http://www.bob-baker.com/buzz/indiedefine.html

So this is the music I mostly listen to. It took me a long time to get there; first I was, as any other ten-year old girl, into the mainstream pop scene (Madonna and such). Then through my cousins I got to Linkin Park. I was a pretty long time fan of them, listening to their songs non-stop. It wasn’t until some months after their release of Minutes to Midnight that I realized that they’ve turned a bit too mainstream for my taste and so I, very disappointed, stopped listening to them.
During that time I was very on the punk-rock line, listening to Evanescence, Nickelback, Die Ärzte, Incubus, Kaiser Chiefs and such. (It just sounds so pure – actually I was also listening to the radio, so there still was some mainstream music in my life.) The reason for listening to this stuff was (somehow pathetic) that I so desperately wanted to be different from other people, especially from other girls. I wanted to be the one listening to the “cool” music and head-banging to every song, purchasing cds every week (which I never did, actually) and listing, when asked what my favourite music was, all the band names that none of them knew of. (Just sad, that this method only functioned in my school (because, come on, everyone knew Linkin Park, for example. Or Nickelback. Or Greenday.)

My music style only got really “mine”, after visiting some acquaintances of ours. Their eldest daughter, who then was 18, was out, and I explored her room – which includes looking at her cds and getting inspired because she was much older and so automatically had a good taste concerning music. (Why I knew that she wasn’t listening to mainstream? Because I saw her Chucks (something I considered only cool chicks would do) and stupidly and full of prejudices, I came to the conclusion that she must be listening to rock music. Brilliant. As if shoes would indicate your music style. Well, maybe it does – a bit – but it shouldn’t.)
Anyway, I went through her cds and found – tataa… The Kooks, my first all-time favourite band. After that, I was constantly searching for new The-bands or such with names I’ve never heard of – the main matter was that they were indie rock.
In second grade, that means about 2 years ago, I read Sarah Dessen‘s book Just Listen – and much like the main guy, I wanted to become independent and listening to weird things, giving everything a chance, no matter how strange it sounds. I was searching for some “musical enlightenment” (I tell you, here in Switzerland, you won’t get it easily (or at all) with no friends of yours listening to that kind of music). (Remember my boring life? I needed a hobby.) That was why I promised, or better swore to myself, that I would never ever listen to the radio for longer than an hour if it’s avoidable. Why? So I won’t get into mainstream music.
Maybe you’re asking yourself if I managed this task and well, I did. With a little bit cheating: I checked out the charts on iTunes once a week, so I’d know what the newest music was. (This whole no-radio thing is a bit stupid, I think, but it’s lasted til now, so why stop?)

After this restriction I’ve really begun to develop my music; I’d read music magazines and see which bands were considered “good” or “cool” so I could start with them. Then I tried to listen to each of them without allowing myself to throw my headphones away and later forming an opinion about each one of them so I’d have the overview of what I liked and what I didn’t like. (confusing, yes.) This whole categorizing was, as I later noticed, good for two things: First, that I’ve finally found my all-time favourite bands The Kooks, Mando Diao and The Strokes; somehow I never get tired of listening to their songs, of which I’m glad because now I know that they’re music’s now something that kind of defines me, will always be part of me and my life. I mean I’m a teenager and I’m questioning so many things and myself, and I’m glad whenever I figured out something new about myself.
Second, this listening to so many kinds of music and forming opinions about them, I think, was a kind of journey for me. It was about finding my interest and eventually, myself. Music expresses your attitude, your mood, what you like and what inspires you; music can be the most effective thing when you present yourself to someone because it says a lot about you.
That’s why I also think, that music’s one of the most personnel parts of us, because there’s so much of us reflected in our music, because we identify with our music.
Sometimes I get asked for a few musical references and you know, I like to give them, share my likings with other. But you know what? I also think that first, before you ask someone about musical recommendations, you should know your likings first, the thing you would recommend. You have to be sure about them, think of them as part of yourself, because otherwise you might just accept these recommendations without really knowing if that kind of music really belongs to you; you might just take them for “good” or “cool” because the person you got these references from also thinks high of them. (This is all really psychological, it’s so difficult to write down.)
And if you don’t then better go on your own musical journey first; because I think, that searching the domain of your future likings, that’s what you’ve got to do all alone, all by yourself.

And to conclude:
“And you? What do you listen to?”
“Me? Oh, at the moment I’m totally, absolutely the biggest fan of Eminem!”
“Oh yeah? Which song do you like best?”
“Love the Way You Lie!!!!!”
“Yeah! It’s so awesome! Just gonna stand there and… trallallalla…”
“Well, yeah, it’s not soooo much Eminem. It’s Rihanna actually.”
“And? Because I like the way…trallalallalla…”
“You just said, you like Eminem, not Rihanna.”
“Who cares? This part’s the best of the whole song!”
(Well, I care, because Rihanna’s clearly not Eminem.)

PS: This was my longest post so far, yay! Sorry I haven’t written for a while – I definitely got too much exams right now.

getting inspired

On cold, rainy days like these I like to sit at home, reading a magazine. Currently the Kinki magazine. In their editorial they asked us, the readers, what keeps us going on dark days like these. What gives us motivation, inspiration, imagination. For me it’s definitely not my school books (which are waiting to be read). Also not a rain dance. Or my bed – it rather temps me to stay in there forever.

What keeps me going on (or even just waking up) are photos, good music, exciting articles… all these cultural stuff.

My list (yes, a list again) of inspiring things on cold, rainy, dark winter days:

But you know what’s best? What gives me motivation, each day and each week (not that there are already many of them): You. It’s really, really nice to have actual people reading my blog and commenting it as well. It supports me, because after almost 2 weeks, I’ve already posted all of my ideas and it’s getting hard to find topics to write. So sorry for my posts recently, they weren’t very interesting or well-written. But I’m trying to improve my posts. Promise.
So, a great, great thanks to all of you! You’re the greatest support these days.

the musing about home by an indecisive soul

It’s 00:57 am and I’m still up, annoyed that I didn’t write yesterday. But I am pretty tired (I just can’t sleep) and a quote hasn’t left my mind since sunday: It’s a quote I read on Fidel Hart’s Blog:

“…travel can become a compulsion. It keeps us away from friends and loved ones – even when we’re back. When I’m away, I often yearn for home. When I’m home, I’m listless. I seem no longer to fit. History and literature are filled with characters who see Asia, or Venice, and can never go back to the way they were.” -Anthony Bourdain

I commented, that I don’t travel as much as other people do, but because of moving from Indonesia to Switzerland at a very young age, I sometimes doubt my belonging. Or actually, I sometimes don’t know where to belong. I think, if I left Indonesia when I was a baby, I surely think of Switzerland as my homeland. And if I left Switzerland in my teenager years, Indonesia would be my homeland. It’s just too bad that I left at an age somewhere in the middle between the two options above; it has the effect on me that I’ve spent too little time in Indonesia to have the complete feeling of belonging there; but also have not experienced my whole childhood in Switzerland, so that I missed the little, but somehow important things, that you traditionally do in your country during your childhood. I mean kindergarten is in every country different. And these things connect people; in primary school they would once in a while talk about their kindergarten times and share all these memories and traditions they’ve learned together, while I somehow felt a bit left out.

So during the past day I’ve been wondering, once again, where I truly belong too. There are many people asking me whether I like Switzerland or Indonesia more. I’ve got to say, that’s a tricky question and my answer depends on my mood; after visiting my relatives in Indonesia, I’d definitely say Indonesia; but after recently having some amazing experiences with Swiss friends, I surely say Switzerland. Anyway I don’t think that’s the point to really come to an answer about my musings. The belonging to a country, a state, a nation, does it really depend on how much you like it? I guess that now, that Switzerland has a rather conservative attitude obverse (?) (criminal) foreigners, which doesn’t please a few people I know, they still think of themselves belonging to Switzerland: First, because it just the country in which they were born and second there are of course, other, better sides of Switzerland!
And if I’d compared the traits of my two homelands, I don’t think that I’ll know the answer; because everything has its good and its bad sides.

After a long time thinking (I’m so tired, I’ll might write down all my thoughts some time later for you) I came to the conclusion that maybe I belong to neither of these two nations. Why? I think that with me being dragged from my birthplace at a young age, but still not being long enough in another country, I define the word “home” for me not basing on which country I like more to live in,or in which country I’ve got more friends, or on my actual situation (living in Switzerland) in contrary to my birthplace (Indonesia); no, I simply adjusted my heart on where my family momentarily is, I think. (Or, at least that’s what I think at the moment, this may change tomorrow morning.) I think, that home is where I’m surrounded by my family, because that’s when I feel most at ease, and so home to me could also be Germany, French, Italy or Austria; it doesn’t really matter as long as my family’s around me.
What’s home for you?

And you know it’s now 01:32 am and I’m really, really tired and can’t concentrate. I’m sorry that this post didn’t focus so much on the quote at the beginning, if you expected a spectacular analysis or so. And I’d like to write more, but am plainly tired, maybe I’m writing some part 2 tomorrow (I’ve got ideas referring to the movie Up In The Air).

As for now, goodnight world!

some small observations

Just short for today: I just want to quickly write down my observations at a lunch I had to attend today. It’s actually  a launch of my family and some other Indonesian families & friends of us.

Observations on a New Year’s Lunch of Indonesian families

  • Most essential point: We like to eat Asian, especially Chinese food. Don’t ask me why, but on every great occasion there would be Chinese food. It’s true many of us have Chinese roots, because many centuries ago, many Chinese people came to Indonesia (and brought their traditions, and that means food too, with them), but still… I mean, I’m bored and annoyed of eating so many times Chinese food. But this whole thing could probably just be, because there are Chinese restaurants everywhere around the world. 😉
  • We like to share our food with others. Like every typical Asian (? Or probably just Indonesian?) family we order the main course for everyone. That means that there are several dishes on the table and everybody just takes a bit of what he likes best, which is possible to order in Chinese/Asian restaurants. That’s in fact a really good idea; if I go eat Chinese with my Swiss friends, I always order a menu for myself and afterwards I’m always full up. So, I just eat as much as I can (without having a bad conscience for not finishing my meal) and in the end there’d be always someone eating up the rest. 😉
  • There are always photos taken (Eh, actually not only of the people, but of the food as well.). Which can be very annoying, but also somehow funny, because it has somehow developed to an Asian trait (just watch the behaviour of Asian tourist, which is also very cute and funny) over the years.
  • Indonesian are known for their love for food; I think that of all nations I’ve got to know, Indonesians really love food most. Whereas European tourist would particularly recommend to each other  good hotels, museums and shops, Asian tourists look for the best restaurants! It’s so typical; when my cousin was once visiting us here in Switzerland, we didn’t get to make a full sight-seeing tour because of their importance of having a culinary tour. 😀
  • The passion for food is also shown in their conversation topics. When I listened to my mum and her friends, they mostly talk about food! But not only food of all kinds, but also the cooking, and of course, good restaurants you just have to visit once in your life.

Well, that was it for now. Seeing, observing, hearing this has just made me so happy; I think it’s cute (Go ahead. Just think I’m weird.) to see people getting so happy just by enjoying and eating food, talking about food.
And last, I’ve finished reading Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins today; and I just found the perfect quote of the main character, Katniss Everdeen for this post:

“… All around the dining hall, you can feel the rejuvenating effect that a good meal can bring on. The way it can make people kinder, funnier, more optimistic, and remind them it’s not a mistake to go on living. …”