A Story I Have Never Told Anyone

WhatsApp Image 2016-11-11 at 00.13.14

Today I celebrated a major life-milestone in conquering one of my biggest fear: I am done with my surgery exam. Not many people know this, but I’ve got to admit that I have a deep phobia towards surgery. So I guess, a little celebration through this post, is justified.

Here is the story

I was in middle school. My mom suffered for abdominal pain for several days which turned out to be appendicitis. Hence, the physician suggest appendectomy. On the day of the surgery, we were all there to support her. This was the only day I feel anxious for leaving school. We were al nervous.

The surgery lasted for a pretty long time, due to abnormal anatomical position of her appendix. It made us even more nervous.

I could never forget the moment where we were allowed to finally see her after the surgery: her cold hand, her expression, her tears, my tears, our tears. I wiped mine and tried my best to smile, in hope that it would give her power to smile as well. But I failed.

Fast forward. She was okay for a couple of weeks. She was recovering pretty well, because she was just that tough. Until the moment when the abdominal pain returned. That time, it was more painful than before. We rushed to the nearest hospital. This was the moment I felt very disappointed with our healthcare, because for a USG procedure, we need to wait until the weekend pass. Still, my mother was in constant pain.

We move to a better hospital. She was diagnosed with abdominal colic potentially due to obstruction, another surgery is suggested. So within less than six months, my mother had two abdominal surgeries.

This is where it got worse.

Pre-operation procedure includes induction of anesthesia. The procedures can only be conducted when the patient is fully sedated. But not with my mom.

She still felt the incision. She still felt the blade cutting through her skin. It was exceptionally painful, she said. Yet she couldn’t even utter a word, let alone scream. You may say that anesthesia awareness is a myth, you can debate me with all your medical logic and knowledge. My mother is many things, but liar is not one of them.

When she told me about this, I decided that I will never be a physician. I do not want to hold the ability to hurt another person the way my mother was hurt. I am not saying that physician hurt people, they help save lives. I am saying that, I, personally, will never go down a way where there is a channel for me to do whatever was done to my mother.  I would rather eliminate it at all by not picking the way. I may not do it to my own mother, but there is a potential where I could to it to someone’s mother or father or brother through whatever way possible. I am afraid, and there is never a logical explanation to fears.

One of the reason why I choose vet science because I hope that I will have less of above-mentioned-ability. Turns out, I was wrong. So wrong. Since such ability does equally exist.

This is why passing surgery exam is a major milestone. I have been anxious for the past week, because I was extremely paranoid of doing the surgery and hurting my patient. For most people my patient is a mere stray cat, but for me, its a breathing sentient creature with the ability to feel pain. I am afraid to hurt it. I remember my mom’s pain when I incised my patient. I remember her cold hand, when I begin to cut its organ. I remember her tears, as I stitched it’s wound. But I faced it all and it was truly momentous.

I called my mom earlier this morning, I asked her to wish me good luck for the exam. She said that I didn’t need to ask, she would always pray for my best. A few minutes after the surgery, she called me and said: “I am at your place and I bring your favorite fried banana”

Nothing beat my mom’s fried banana, it’s the best medicine to everything.

On Why Trump Should Win

whatsapp-image-2016-11-08-at-22-42-15

This government sucks, you know. Obama has destroyed everything. Why do you want to learn about us?

Those words came out effortlessly from the driver who picked us up at Atlanta International Airport, exactly on our first night in The States. As I embarked on a journey to one of the Southern Red State, I have prepared myself not only to adjust with the accent, but also to the fact that I am going to meet individuals like him. But this soon? Gosh! due to accumulated fatigue, We could only sat in silence and nod like a moron despite all the counter-arguments I had in mind (I despise jet lag and long haul flight).

I could only assume that this man will now cast his ballot to vote for Trump and he reserves all the rights to do so. The way Trump brands himself reminded me of Pedro Castillo’s Our Brand is Crisis. As Castillo’s polls went on a free fall, the campaign manager (played by Sandra Bullock, if it matters for you) rebrand himself as a tough and firm leader who will overcome any threat faced by Bolivia. What threat? Actually, NONE! Hence the campaign team create the illusion of existing threat by glorifying various issues from economy to terrorism. Seems familiar? Yeah, we’ve got to admit that Trump and fictional Castillo share a common trait when it comes to branding. Trump is a branding master.

He understands -given the media overexposure- the current conservative society, particularly the middle-lower one, had (in a sense) paranoia of illegal immigrants, terrorism, job issue, China and what not. He is genius enough to feed on their fear and insecurity, hence appear tough and firm! (ya kaya cabe2an kebelet hits dan gahul, trus awkarin feed them with way of life yg kelihatan gahul dan kece abis, she is Donald-Trump-genius!)

Feeding on what society needs has become a new branding strategy for current politician. When Indonesian direly need a political figure who cares about the society, Jokowi brand himself as one. When our Filipinos brothers and sisters fight so hard against drug lords, Duterte brand himself as a superman who will defeat all evil. But they have previously proven their leadership capability, at least in municipal level. In this case, Trump is an anomaly. He has never proven himself as political leader, yet his branding mastery has hypnotized the supporters in a way I have never seen before in politic.

I personally support Hillary, but (somehow) I hope Trump will win. Because there is no better way for human to learn except from pain and disappointment. Because pain and disappointment lingers (I know you can relate to this, dear broken-hearted women and men) When he is elected as president, maybe only then we will understand how fake he actually is. Maybe only then we can understand that election is not a matter of gamble, but a matter of entrusting millions of lives to the right women.

But naah, just Kidding. Hillary will win for sure!

*Just a piece of thought based on personal analysis of a Final Year Veterinary Student who (knows nothing about US Politics) currently undergoes his clinical year, in between his piles of papers, case report, sleep deprivation and potential brain damage!

Orang Hebat di Negeri Tiba-Tiba

Orang Hebat di Negeri Tiba-Tiba

Seorang teman pernah bercerita:

“Kalau di Jerman semua serba teratur, serba terstruktur dan terukur. Disana banyak precatious measure jadi agak boring hidupnya karena jarang ada ‘kejutan’ tiba-tiba. Beda dengan di Indonesia tiba-tiba ada kebakaran, tiba-tiba banjir, tiba-tiba bom bunuh diri, tiba-tiba ada yang dihukum mati. Kejutannya lebih colorful

Jika anda percaya bahwa Tuhan adalah sutradara alam semesta, maka Ia memainkan aktor-aktor terbaiknya di Indonesia. Percayalah, satu klimaks drama belum selesai sudah muncul klimaks yang lain, Indonesia adalah negara anti antiklimaks. Kejutan dramatis yang paling colorful ya itu, drama KPK – POLRI yang entah masuk babak keberapa. Semua serba penuh ketiba-tibaan.Tiba-tiba calon Kapolri jadi tersangka, tiba-tiba wakil KPK ditangkap, tiba-tiba pimpinan KPK diserang satu persatu, tiba-tiba Presiden Jokowi dinilai lembek dan setir-able, entah kapan tiba-tiba cinta datang kepadaku (maaf kalau garing).

Saya mengagumi cara wakil ketua KPK, Bambang Widjojanto, dalam menghadapi permasalahan ini. Dia tampak tenang dan memutuskan untuk mundur dari jabatan (sesuai dengan konstitusi), meskipun pada dasarnya kasus ini masih simpang siur. Entah drama ini dilatarbelakangi fakta yang terpampang nyata atau sekedar rekayasa. It is not my expertise to analyze and for now, it is none of my business karena tulisan ini bukan tentang itu. Tulisan ini tentang sebuah drama yang pernah menyambangi keluarga saya, agak mirip dengan kisah Om Bambang. Kisah yang benar adanya bukan fiktif atau rekayasa.

Kali ini tokoh utama drama keluarga saya bernama Bapak. Suatu ketika tanpa dinyana-nyana, Bapak di fitnah pegawainya sebut saja Agus (anggap saja bukan nama sebenarnya). Agus melontarkan fitnah kacangan bertajuk maha dahsyat: Korupsi (yang tak pernah terbukti). Fitnah bergulir disambut inspeksi Inspektorat yang menyita waktu pikiran dan hati, berakhir dengan penggulingan Bapak dari instansi yang ia kepalai hanya gara-gara fitnah kacangan (yang lagi-lagi tak pernah terbukti). Banyak tetangga kami yang mencaci maki namun tak sedikit pula yang membesarkan hati. Detail cerita 5W+1H nya tidak penting, karena akan berkutat pada kisah membosankan politik dan birokrasi. Namun ini yang penting.

Bapak bisa saja menggugat balik agar mendapatkan kembali jabatannya, bukti sudah ada dan kemenangan sudah di depan mata. Namun Subhanallahnya, Bapak membiarkan Agus bangga dengan kemenangan semu nya. Beliau menerima kekalahannya dan memilih turun dari jabatannya dengan lapang dada. Kenapa?

Bapak bilang:

Hidup ini bukan tentang jabatan atau kekayaan. Tapi tentang kebahagiaan. Bapak lebih bahagia menjadi pegawai biasa, punya waktu lebih untuk keluarga. Hidup ini memang penuh sandiwara, kita akan dicaci dibenci difitnah, sebaiknya kita maafkan saja. Biarlah manusia melihat kita dengan rendah, asalkan kita tinggi di hadapan-Nya. Diterima dengan legowo nak, ikhlaskan ya!

Bapak memang salah satu aktor terbaik Tuhan, saya beruntung tinggal serumah dengan dia. Bapak dan Om Bambang memang sosok yang berbeda, namun saya rasa cara mereka menghadapi sandiwara kehidupan relatif sama. Mereka adalah aktor-aktor terbaik dalam pertunjukan kehidupan, orang-orang luar biasa yang membuat saya percaya bahwa paling tidak ada 3 ciri orang hebat yang hidup dengan kebahagiaaan :

Jika difitnah, ia tabah

Jika disakiti, ia tidak membenci

Ia hidup dengan sederhana, tak pernah menepuk dada dan bilang

Inilah Saya!

Senior year is not my favourite, but ….

Senior year is not my favourite, but ….

If only i had a “diary of a soon to be graduate” it would most likely be like this:

Dear diary, today i spent my whole day waiting for my Professor. She did not show up!

Dear diary, i have texted my Professor yesterday and she said that she will meet me today. Maybe she just forgot

Dear diary, my Professor went abroad for a month. I am screwed

In case you don’t know, here is how senior year work in Indonesia’s traditional-varsity-system prior to the commencement. You are given 4 up to 7 years to finish your bachelor study. Commonly, in your 8th semester you ought to take a minor thesis as your final work to obtain the degree.  The faculty will then appoint 2 lecturers to be your advisor and another 2 to test you during the thesis defence. You cannot choose your favourite lecturer; the faculty will randomly pick it for you. The lecturer appointment was more thrilling than a million dollar lottery announcement, where the nice Professor could be won by the lucky few. While most other will be paired with The One Who Must Not Be Named.

From here on, your life will depend on this 2 advisor of yours. Their major role are to guide you in thesis writing (scrutinize you, to be precise), recommending which books to read and whatnot, ultimately they decide whether or not you are ready to face the thesis defence. Sadly, as your life getting more and more dependant to them, they will get busier and busier.

That is why, at some point, senior year is not my favourite time. I spent most of my day in a way which is less productive and more boring than ever. Most of my days can be concisely describe in one word: waiting. Apart from that, you will need to learn deeper. You have to understand your thesis comprehensively, this fact alone force you to master almost every subject from the freshman year up to now. Your days will grow darker, as you realize how unknowledgeable you are, as you realize that the more you read the more you are confused, as you realize that finding an answer is like finding a needle in a haystack. But bear with me my friend, those days will pass!

Now, look at the bright side!

At the end, all of this won’t matter!

We used to grumble a lot about the assignment and piles of paperwork. We used to complain about boring lecturer and our lack of sleep. We thought that fate is too cruel for giving us such burden. Yet now we realize that those burdens were merely a small dot in a big picture of life. Now as a senior, we lived in a slightly different world, where growth is the main course. Senior year is an inseparable phase in or journey. This phase will guide us with the best wisdom mother earth always tells her son: patience is the best virtue. Senior year is the moment where our future dream is getting closer yet seems so far away. But trust me, as we go on this journey of growth, that dream will be within our grasp. Senior year is the time where we know:

As the day grows darker, the sun will shine brighter!

That Old Train

That Old Train

I do remember when economy class train was the most dreadful transportation full of sweaty strangers and filthy toilet.  Never asked about the seating because when you tried to get one, it was always every man for himself. But it’s okay if you didn’t get one, the corridor and the train rooftop was still available.

Praise the Lord i got one seat that day. As i fanned myself with a newspaper, i saw her. An old lady standing there by herself. I was not the only male who got seat. There were others who seemed to be ignoring her. It puzzled me how could no one give the old lady a seat? I decide to give her my seat and approached her.

Ibuk, duduk di situ saja. Kosong!”  I said courteously.

Oh makasih mas, tapi saya mau ngamen kok!” She replied.

Feeling shocked and partially ashamed, i turned back to my seat.

Sometimes our intention doesn’t work the way we plan it. It’s okay tho, as Hafiz of Shiraz said: “Even after all this time the sun never says to the earth, ‘you owe me’.”