January 9, 2012 § 9 Comments
Have you ever just reached a moment of truth that is most completely and privately just yours?
She was thinking about an episode with this man. A person whom she allowed some time to get to know but never quite gotten anywhere with.
Love is indeed subjective.
A desire of love that is unfulfilled can instantly turn into hysteria and rage. A longing so chronic and yet acutely felt can imitate love, or the subjective interpretation of love.
What was so mistakenly interpreted by the man as love that night, her surrender to her emotions?
She thought about it for a bit before coming to her conclusion. The problem was that she had never surrendered her story to the man. She had never addressed her soul to the man. She was simply addressing her soul to herself, to her superficial self. That night, she was allowing herself an honest confession, she was letting her body meet her soul and utter its truth. It could have been any man sitting with her that night, but the moment of truth was hers alone. She had failed to share it with anyone, even when she was with another person who happened to be that man that night, and therefore, the victory of this truth belongs to her alone.
He, of course to his disappointment with further rage, had nothing to do with it. As she stated what she wanted to say, she was looking far away. He was there, but she was not with him, she was with herself, with the present moment.
What was trivial and amusing was the fact that her friendliness, not even friendship, was hysterically being read as love by the man.
But how could you ever feel deeply connected, when you’ve never invested anything in the first place? Let’s not get overwhelmingly dramatic, but when one is not responding, one is simply uninterested, so she thought.
She hates drama, she has enough of it on most days. She does not add complications to her lives, her energy was better spent elsewhere. The days go on with passion, or with tedium; regardless they’re still hers. She has people inside of her life, and she has some outside. And at the end of the day, it’s her decisions, her truths. Love is indeed subjective, and the victory of this truth is hers alone.
*Quiet evening, never ending torrent download, and the discovery of Milan Kundera.
December 29, 2011 § Leave a comment
“…neither a pure and merciful heavenly being, nor a wise justice who watches over the interests of society and the State, neither a saint nor a righteous man -but a miserable, dirty sinner who has been crushed by Fascism, who has himself experienced the terrible power of the State, who has himself bowed down, fallen, shrunk into timidity and submissiveness. And this judge will say: ‘Guilty! Yes, there are men in this terrible world who are guilty.'”
December 27, 2011 § Leave a comment
“But here in the desert people were simply apathetic and lethargic. It was as though the officers were convinced there was nothing for them to do, nothing for them to be concerned about – after all, these sands would be exactly the same tomorrow, the following day, in a year’s time”
– Life and Fate, Vasily Grossman
Lethargy, is worse than death itself.. it only shows the lack of life, purpose, effort. It is laziness dragged through time. When a group of people experience this disease chronically, stay away!
December 16, 2011 § Leave a comment
I’m just a little rush of high for you
I make you feel better
I make you think the world is better
When you wake up I’ll be long gone
I get that you live in the ditch
Because that’s where you belong
So shoot me up in your vein babe
I’ll take you to the pedestal
I’ll give you that pink cloud baby
I’m just using your flesh babe
I’ll run fast in your blood
You’ll fly before I slam you back down
So I’ll run inside you
I’ll run, I run fast and hard
I’ll fly you deep into the ground
I’m just a little rush of high for you
Don’t forgive me
I’m just your delusion
I made you like yourself for a while
I’m just your false glory
What do they call this
When you’re addicted to me
I’m your little rush of high
But I’m the one abusing you
Remember me when I’m gone babe
All your pain and suffering, anger and hate
You always thought you could own me
I’m just using you for fun babe
I’m sure you’ll hate yourself
Cause how can you hate me
I’m just your little rush of high
you’re just the broken you that you’ve always been
*in the name of heroin, cocaine, and anything self-disguising as pleasure: some people deserve what they get.
*art is “Love Addiction” from http://www.504whatstyle.com/art.html
November 21, 2011 § Leave a comment
“Kalau Tuan segan menerima banyak angin, jangan jadi pohon tinggi”
Anak semua bangsa – Pramoedya Ananta Toer
November 20, 2011 § Leave a comment
“Dan begitulah aku pun mulai belajar merasai panasnya dendam.”
Bumi Manusia – Pramoedya Ananta Toer
November 19, 2011 § 3 Comments
I first heard about the book from my high school teacher more than 10 years ago. Only last year I started reading more world literature in the Netherlands and thought that I would start reading Indonesian literature. From the first few pages I already realized how shocking it must be for Indonesians in the 80’s to read this book. It’s one of the most important Indonesian book to read in my opinion.
The way I see it, this book portrays clearly how women (and young girls) are exploited and objectified by authority figures around them. If you look under the layers a little bit, perhaps you will also be disturbed by how Tohari in the end clearly showed that the female ronggeng is the victim, but how the male soldier Rasus is clearly the male hero and rescuing the female victim (albeit too late). Maleness and femaleness is only explained in the context of sexual (and hierarchical) relationship.
I don’t think I can ever write a proper book review, but here are some things jotted down in my book journal when I read this book:
Narrated in combination of 3rd person and 1st person as Rasus, the male protagonist, the book is somewhat imbalanced in its views.
Sexuality and eroticism is the only empowering essence and identity of Srintil because it’s the only thing she’s ever known. She had been convinced by others that she’s meant to live the life of a ronggeng, an entertainer who dances and prostitute herself to some extent (to the extent that certain men with certain wealth could afford her), when she was only 11. In my opinion, the character of Srintil in the book is still a female character portrayed by a male writer in the Indonesian 80’s.
Up to page 230, Tohari did not explain how the stupidity and poverty of the villagers were due to the fact that they’re uneducated. Repeatedly, also in 3rd person, they described their belief and attitude without adequate portrayal of their uneducated state. This all-knowing and insightful narrator seems to think that everything is the result of their valid belief system. Later in the book, at the end in fact, that the uneducated state of the villagers was acknowledged by our tragic hero Rasus.
Repeatedly there are words like “anak kandung keluguan alam”. What I’m confused about is that this is the way he wrote it in 3rd person. If he insisted continuously being sentimental and portraying the nature of the villagers and their ignorance as innocent and all good, nothing can be criticized about it.
I am disturbed by some sentences, for example in page 231, “ronggeng adalah keperempuanan yang menari, menyanyi, serta kerelaan melayani kelelakian”. So many things can be criticized in the sentence:
1. Which femaleness? Keperempuanan yang mana? The one that is repeatedly enforced to be taken upon by receiving threats, violence and abuse? The one that is not based on free will due to the lack of knowledge on it?
2. Kerelaan? Free-willingness? It wasn’t free will, it’s forced and imposed upon with violence by her own family and support system.
3. Kelelakian? Maleness? even here maleness is only explicitly depicted as sexual maleness.
To throw in this sentence as if it represent femaleness is wrong.
The question of what is femaleness, what it’s supposed to be, was never explored in the book besides that it only involves weakness, state of being exploited, servitude of the sexual needs of men (described as maleness), and only by this sexual services that one (femaleness) affirms the other (maleness), vice versa.
Perhaps this is femaleness as understood and seen by the writer.
– RN, Semarang, 19 November 2011