Museum Nasional Jakarta Brings Up The Past

 

“Look back over the past, with its changing empires that rose and fell, and you can foresee the future, too.” Marcus Aurelius

A friend told me that he would volunteer as a tour guide at Museum Nasional Jakarta. I was puzzled inspite of the fact that my friend is a a foreigner who has been in Indonesia since 1970’s, a decade before I was born. I was impressed and believed that his general knowledge about Indonesia history must be deeper and wider than mine. When I told a couple of friends about this fact, they told me that they even never came to this museum. I feel relieved and sad at the same time. Relieved because I had visited the museum once and they haven’t. It means that I’m not really bad compared to my foreign friends and to my local friends. Sad, because I assume there are still many Indonesians don’t know that thstellycious-museumnasionaljakarta2is museum is existing.

Last year, in June, I visited this museum. It was on Saturday and I bumped into a group of elementary students, Korean couples and groups, and some local visitors. When I went there, the place was not really crowded, not really deserted as well. Perhaps, it was because it’s in school holiday season or because it was so close with Monas, the landmark of Jakarta. The entrance ticket was very cheap. It was 5.000 IDR for local adult.

(See the official websites for more information http://www.museumnasional.or.id/ )

The collections were amazing. On the first floor, I noted it varies from Buddhism/Hinduism statues, miniature of traditional houses from one tribe to another, a display of traditional musical instruments from one ethnic group to another, historical maps of Indonesia, antique porcelains from all over the world, and a large enough green fields in the middle. I didn’t pay for the tour. I read the stories written on the board or overheard what a guide said to the group. Looking back to my visit, I found that this museum was very resourceful to learn more about Indonesia history.

Not only the collection, they often hold a special event or exhibition there. For example, when I came, they have photography competition at the other hall.

I didn’t check the second floor since it was a bit creepy, for me. There was no people when I was about to going up. But, I learnt that there are 4 floors in that building. The second provides Science and Technology, third provides Social Organization in Indonesia from one era to another, the fourth provides Gold Objects and Ceramics.

Yes, I’d really love to go to that museum again someday to get a complete observation on all floors.

Going to Museum Nasional Jakarta can be a new alternative to spend a weekend in this town. It’s far much cheaper than going to the malls or hitting the cinema. It could be a good activity to kill the time. It hopefully can give you more knowledge and fun to know about how far a country, often referred as the world’s largest archipelago, has been going up to now.

FYI, they provide tour in English, French, Korean, and Japanese language. Tour in other languages can be provided upon request. Interested? Who knows you’ll enjoy the tour? Who knows you’ll volunteer yourself as a tour guide, as well? Who knows what “future” will bring from the “past”?

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“Study the past, if you would divine the future.” Confucius

Restarting Jakarta Museum Series

So, these days it seems that I’ve got a natural call to write again about my visit to the museums in Jakarta. It’s been a year since I blew my intention away to write a review about each museum in Jakarta. Why? Because I couldn’t take pictures inside… No pictures, no stories.

And, I wonder if I could sneak a snap inside the museum and broadcast it so the people know what they can learn, see, and do in the museum. I have a good will, right? But, it’s against the law and it will set a bad example to the readers. So, can’t I share the beautiful things I saw inside on my blog?

But…..

I’s an era when people generously share things easily.

It’s an era when you hardly can stop people taking pictures

It’s an era when people come to a certain place because the reference they get from the others coming first.

While wondering, Google, as always, helped me to find out why people can’t take photos in the museums. I found it’s related with copyright issue, security issue (that maybe potentially rob), or a real experience to really spend the time in the museum. Well, some of the reasons are indeed arguable. Luckily, I found this interesting and educating blog randomly and I can say that I agree with the writer. 

So, coming from the statement mentioned in that link, “If it doesn’t spread, it’s dead”, I think I need continue to write my Jakarta museums’ tour though it will be a bit tricky when I want to mention the beautiful things I saw during my visit without any pictures. Hopefully, it can be published soon enough and reach people to come to appreciate what museums can offer.

The Power of Vulnerability

I am still wondering why my favorite comedian, Robin Williams, died suicide. Depression, they said. And, after reading many articles about him, I kind of understand his feeling. It’s easy to judge people but I learnt that he’s not happy. He worked so hard to help others and to be appeared as a funny entertainer……

“Robin spent so much of his life helping others. Whether he was entertaining millions on stage, film or television, our troops on the frontlines or comforting a sick child — Robin wanted us to laugh and to feel less afraid…..Robin`s sobriety was intact and he was brave as he struggled with his own battles of depression, anxiety as well as early stages of Parkinson`s disease, which he was not yet ready to share publicly. -Susan Schneider (Robin’s wife)”

And, it’s pathetic he held himself back to let others he’s having Parkinson’s disease until the end of his life. He was hiding behind his pleasant personality and fake his loneliness, his weakness, his shame. Rest in Peace, Mrs. Doubtfire.

Yeah, sometimes, I get myself in this trouble. It’s easier to please others than to please myself. I don’t validate that I agree with what Robin chose,- killing himself. I don’t know what he was facing, but I believe there’s always something to be grateful for. Many motivational quotes told us to surround ourselves with true and positive people, but hey, sometimes our true people are not always positive, and our positive people are not always true. Soooo how?

At my first weeks coming a prayer and counseling community, I was shock seeing people telling each other his/her insecurities. I also joined a public speaking club when people can easily share his/her moments of shame, make a joke from that, and give the listeners something to learn from his past mistakes.

They all are telling themselves without much consideration whether people care or people will judge them negatively. They show people their silly things without shame and doubt with all their heart, they let themselves to be seen, and they are happy with that.

So, I asked Sir Google the answer. After a whole day stumbling upon the internet world to learn about the correlation of happiness and showing weakness, I came across an inspiring video by Brene Brown in TED talk that was so insightful. It based on her research and the title were “The Power of Vulnerability”.

She said that after studying the data of very happy people, she found out that those people fully embraced her vulnerability. They believed that what made them vulnerable made them beautiful. They take a chance to show people who they really are. She mentioned that when people numb vulnerability, they numb joy, creativity, and everything. We don’t have to keep ourselves perfect from time to time. Just be authentic and real and tell people your stories. There is always a reason to feel not good enough. They know they are imperfect but worthy of love.

So, learning from Robin Williams’ sad story, there is always tendency to hide our shame, avoid showing weakness, and deny our need to ask for help. But, we cannot choose the emotions, just let it out, in a good way. People should embrace who they really are and believe that they are awesome. Hopefully they will find others to appreciate that and people would resolve insecurities issues that holding them back. The world needs more compassion.

Once again, may Robin Williams rest in peace. :)

Yayasan Sosial Lumba-lumba: Indiscriminatively Helping People

God has its own way to direct us to “Yayasan Lumba-lumba”, a foundation supported by Catholic Church to give free pre-school education to fishermen’s children.

Again, my mom was asked to help people donate their decent clothes to those in need. Well, it’s not easy to find the suitable recipient. It’s far much easier if you donate money and let your trusted foundation to manage your donation properly.

But, with decent clothes?

I myself find it too hard to select the target.

Why?

First, because there is no formal standard about what is decent to donate. The cloth may still be good but the color has been faded, or one of the buttons is lost.

Second, because the clothes are too varied like from men’s wear to women’, kids’ to teenagers’ to adults’, or t-shirt, school uniform, formal blouse.

My mom used to drop them all to church or disaster management foundation, but this time there seems no place to get rid of all the things. And, after doing some household, my family also found some decent clothes that we no longer wore. The slump got higher in my little house.

With some help from Google, I found this article, Yayasan Sosial Lumba-lumba, written by a blogger who visited the site in 2012. He told everything I needed to know, such as the situation when he visited, contact person, and how to get there. After short discussion with my mom, I called the contact person and asked if we could donate some decent clothes. The madam said we did not need to worry. They would be glad to accept them and distribute it to the needy. So, we arranged a visit to drop the things there.

Here is the picture of the classroom that I took when I was there (2 August 2014) .

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This is the street road to the location.

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The school was located at the very back of the road, very close to the quayside. The madam said there was a scheme to move the school to the more proper location, but it stands still there same as the name given “Lumba-lumba” (in English: Dolphin). The school needs to stay close to the sea.

There are 3 classes now with 3 permanent teachers. The teacher are not paid. They are just given transport fee and some lunch money to come to teach. One of the teachers was an ex-student of this school who sincerely gives herself/himself back for the sustainability/development of this community. The students are 117 children (before the age of primary school). Once a month, they called doctors and nurses to check the health of people there. They also gave free meal for nutrition (soybean) twice a week. This organization was founded in 1970’s and it has been blended with the society. And over thirty years, they had grown together with the society to have decent life. Madam said that many other organizations attempted to enter the society with many various purposes and objectives, but people refused. The most interesting about this organization is the fact that the main supporter for this organization is a Catholic church, but during my visit, I observed that there was no sign or statue related to Catholic. This organization has no specific mission, except to help marginal people around there to be equal with major people.

No more talking about religion thing since it was a very sensitive issue now.

However, in my humble opinion, learning from the story told by the madam, we can learn to indiscriminately help people, regardless their religion.

We should not help others in order to convert people. Religion is not goods to be sold.

We all are human. You have your God, I have my God. We don’t know which one is true. But, all we know now, we breathe the same air, we step on the same world.

In the name of humanity, let’s make a better place to live, for you and me.

Relaxing Getaway in Sukabumi

There could be new options for getaways in West Java, Indonesia, which are Situgunung Lake and Sawer Waterfall. These two are located in Sukabumi. The air is so fresh since it is under the mountain slopes. The fog can be so thick that you may not be able to see the view clearly. It looks wild, but it is safe enough for exploration.

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Information

How to get there.. (Driving a car from Jakarta)

Take route via Jagorawi Toll Road heading to Kota Sukabumi. After you take exit from the toll road, you will pass some local market. Expect the traffic jam when you pass through the market. Just after Cisaat Local Market, turn left to Situgunung. Just follow the main road and you’ll find the entrance gate.

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The view I saw when passing the road

The view I saw when passing the road

Where to stay if you plan to visit overnight

You may find some homestay during your way up, but if you are lucky you can get the room in the villa cemara in front of the gate. The price is so cheap and affordable for backpackers. Or, you can camp around the forest.

Villa Cemara Situgunung

Villa Cemara Situgunung where I stayed overnight

The view from my room. The owner take care all the  plants by herself.

The view from my room. The owner take care all the plants by herself.

Best time to enjoy the view

People said it was best to enjoy the lake in the morning while watching the sunrise. But, please note the trekking road is rocky and could be very slippery after the rains. Bring your flashlight to make it happen.

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It's the sunset while I came

It’s the sunset while I came

On the other hand, it’s better to go to the Sawer waterfall around midday, not too early and not too late since the temperature could be cold up there. However, one of the bikers said that mass of people come during the midnight at specific dates to take a bath. There is a myth that the water can help cure the disease. That is why the name of the waterfall is Sawer which means Grace. You can walk or rent the bike to reach the waterfall.

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Taken using pocket camera Canon IXUS 115 HS.

JAKARNAVAL 2014

Jakarta just celebrated its birthday last week on 22 June 2014. The local government always hold a parade party along Sudirman Road annually to celebrate it. Despite the huge numbers of people who attended, this event was relatively secure and fun. The theme for this year was “KEAJAIBAN TOPENG NUSANTARA”. Why mask? Indonesian is rich in traditional clothes, food, songs, or dances. But, mask? I don’t remember I learned about traditional masks back in school.

According to Wikipedia about Mask ,

In Indonesia the mask dance predates Hindu-Buddhist influences. It is believed that the use of masks is related to the cult of the ancestors, which considered dancers the interpreters of the gods. Native Indonesian tribes such as Dayak have masked Hudoq dance that represents nature spirits. In Java and Bali masked dance is commonly called topeng and demonstrated Hindu influences as it often feature epics such as Ramayana and Mahabharata. The native story of Panji also popular in topeng masked dance. Indonesian topeng dance styles are widely distributed, such as topeng Bali, Cirebon, Betawi, Malang, Yogyakarta and Solo.

So, traditional masks cannot be separated with traditional dances and stories. It is also part of the appearances, pairing with the clothes.

Nowadays, there are masks that we wear and we see.. Like Andre Berthiaume said “We all wear masks, and the time comes when we cannot remove them without removing some of our own skin.” We socialize and put our best image on. We set our role models and reflect ourselves from the masks of others. Is it bad to wear a mask? Well, it depends. Sometimes people need to mask hate, pain, or disagreements to avoid quarrels or fights. People behave and talk in a positive manner when trying to give constructive feedback or when delivering bad news.

And how about the mask of Jakarta recently? Well, people know Jakarta is a very strategic central business. The traffic jam is getting worse, the flood is unavoidable during rainy season, the beggar is everywhere. But, this city is progressing better. Our new local government, Jokowi-Ahok, is working for monorail train, better waste management, free/cheap medical and education expense, etc. And, this is what to do, which is helping the local government to repair the broken mask and color the mask so that all people living or working in Jakarta can get the benefit from the city.

 

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