Two organizations which shaped the way I am today: AIESEC and Yahoo!
AIESEC is where I can find passionate and optimistic individuals, in every part of the world. Working with full of passion; passion to make a change, passion of changing the world, passion to strive for excellence.
In every conferences I went to, in every part of the world I visit, when I met an AIESECer, it seems like we talk in the same language. No matter which country they are from.
Well of course we communicate in English =P
In Yahoo!, I was surprised that I found some similarities with AIESEC. The culture, the working style and the FUN stuffs within the company. Moreover, I met some people who are AIESEC Alumni (from around the world) in Yahoo!, they are all agreed.
And wow, I missed doing roll dances before and after the conferences:
What is your dream?
Aside from parents, Who inspires you?
Tell us a book/movie that changed your life?
What are you most afraid of?
Tell us the last time you feel really happy.
Those are the questions which were thrown by Dr. Racelle when we were celebrating her 52nd birthday in Bali last 12.12.12
Simple questions, but surprisingly, it took us quite a while to think about each answers.
“Tell us the last time you feel really happy”
The question which hit me the most was the last question. It made me think, deeply, when was the last time that I felt really really happy? happy like a child. happy to the bone. It was quite sad actually to think that it took me that long to think of a “happy” moment. Have I been living unhappily? Nah, that’s not it. I have quite a lot of laugh. But I realized that laugh doesn’t equal happiness. Same like tears which doesn’t equal sadness.
The last happy moment I could think of? Yes It has something to do with snow.
It was in January 2011. When we were in NYC. The snow storm was claimed to be the heaviest storm in January. We didn’t know that. All that we knew at that time was only “We have free time from our program because of the snow storm”. So where to go? I wanted to go to Serendipity, since on my last time in NYC I experienced a Serendipity. Some other friends wanted to go to Times Square, so we split up into several groups.
Map is printed, to the East 60th Street we go! :D
On our way to the Hotel from Serendipity, the streets were nearly empty. Then we realized that it was because of the snow storm. We were the only ones who were laughing and chatting along the way. And we were really happy to see the snow! We walked to the Hotel like it was our streets! Nobody was there. The people were all inside the building and we were the only crazy people on the streets in the middle of snow storm =.=”
That was the first memory that pop up to my head when they ask me the question.It wasn’t because of the snow. It was because of the feelings of carefree, no burden and yeah.. Happy.
So, when was the last time you feel really really happy? Happy like a child? Happy to the bone?
Old Guy from the Museum: You are Temple student right? You must be very smart. I have a question for you.
Elaine: What is it?
Old Guy from the Museum: You see that statue on the top of the dome? (pointing to the Capitol Hill miniature) Her name is Miss Freedom. She is always facing the East. Now my question is, why?
Elaine: Oh wow, her name is Miss Freedom? Interesting. But I don’t know why she’s facing to the East. Why is that?
Old Guy from the Museum: Because the Sun never sets on Freedom. :)
—January 2011, Museum of Independence, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
“What we did in the past includes setting up camps for Israeli and Palestinian youths. These kids had been taught by their environment that they’re enemies ever since they were very young. So we brought them together, put them as room-mates, and see what would happen” -Juliet S I think this initiative is very good indeed. Bringing the youths from two nations in war where they had been taught that the other party is dangerous is not an easy task to do. There must be this awkward moment at the beginning. A lot of prejudice. Thinking that the other party would bring harm to them. But as the time goes by, they learned about each other, they found the similarities, and realize that they could build a friendship and understanding among them. —Elaine, 11th Jan 2011, Philadelphia.
“What we did in the past includes setting up camps for Israeli and Palestinian youths. These kids had been taught by their environment that they’re enemies ever since they were very young. So we brought them together, put them as room-mates, and see what would happen” -Juliet S
I think this initiative is very good indeed. Bringing the youths from two nations in war where they had been taught that the other party is dangerous is not an easy task to do. There must be this awkward moment at the beginning. A lot of prejudice. Thinking that the other party would bring harm to them. But as the time goes by, they learned about each other, they found the similarities, and realize that they could build a friendship and understanding among them.
—Elaine, 11th Jan 2011, Philadelphia.
Have you ever heard about Amish? If you’re Indonesian, you probably do not know or never heard about Amish before.
“The Amish, sometimes referred to as Amish Mennonites, are a group of Christian church fellowships that form a subgroup of the Mennonite churches. The Amish are known for simple living, plain dress, and reluctance to adopt many conveniences of modern technology.” —Wikipedia
Last February, I visited Amish Mennonites Church in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. What do I learn about Amish from my trip to Lancaster County? They practice Bible teachings in their daily life and live by the rules of Church:
• They wear modest clothing. For woman, they cover their hair.
• They don’t use electricity, telephone and car. They value their family relationships very much. Family is everything for them. They even have a big size of a family: parents with 4 or more kids.
Di hari minggu yang dingin itu, saya mengikuti kebaktian umat di Weavertown Amish Mennonites Church bersama 19 teman-teman saya dari Indonesia dan beberapa Staff SUSI. Ketika kebaktian dimulai, umat menyanyikan lagu pembuka. Pertama-tama, saya kira ada paduan suara yang bertugas menyanyikan lagu dalam 4 suara. Tetapi sungguh tidak saya kira, semua umat bernyanyi dan suara mereka terbagi atas 4 jenis suara. Ya, Sopran, Tenor, Alto dan Bass. Kebaktian berlangsung dengan hikmat. Ketika pendeta sedang membahas mengenai firman Tuhan, atau “Bible Readings” beliau menyampaikan selamat datang kepada kami, pengunjung dari Indonesia dengan latar belakang 3 agama berbeda: Kristen, Islam dan Buddha.
Setelah kebaktian selesai, kami mulai berbincang-bincang dengan mereka. Saya berkenalan dengan beberapa orang perempuan yang duduk di barisan saya. FYI, tempat duduk perempuan dan lakil-laki terpisah dalam gereja ini. Saya bertanya tentang mengapa mereka menggunakan penutup rambut? Apakah sama dengan ajaran Islam dimana Allah menganjurkan umatnya untuk menutup aurat? Kenapa dalam tradisi Amish tidak boleh menggunakan listrik, telepon dan mobil sebagai moda transportasi dan telekomunikasi? Dan berbagai pertanyaan lainnya. Lalu, perempuan yang duduk di depan saya menjawab, sebenarnya yang tidak menggunakan telepon dan listrik itu adalah Traditional Amish, lalu ia menjelaskan bahwa ada beberapa jenis komunitas Amish, nah, komunitas yang saya kunjungi ini adalah Amish Mennonites.
Dulu, terdapat peraturan-peraturan yang sangat strict dari gereja Amish. Jika para umat tidak mematuhi peraturan-peraturan tersebut, maka mereka mendapatkan hukuman dikeluarkan/dikucilkan dari komunitas. Nah ada beberapa kalangan yang menganggap bahwa hukuman ini terlalu jahat. Seseorang tidak akan mendapat bantuan apapun dari umat Amish yang lain jika mereka terkena hukuman ini. Misalnya nih, kita lagi butuh air untuk menyirami tanaman kita, kebetulan air dirumah kita lagi macet, lalu kita minta bantuan tetangga. Jika kita masih masuk dalam komunitas Amish, maka tetangga itu akan dengan senang hati menolong kita. Namun, jika kita termasuk dalam daftar orang yang dikucilkan dari gereja, tidak akan ada seorang pun yang menolong kita. Lalu, orang-orang yang tidak setuju dengan hal ini akhirnya keluar dari gereja dan membentuk komunitas baru, yaitu Mennonites. Komunitas Amish Mennonites ini tetap menggunakan pakaian yang sederhana, mereka juga mengadopsi pemakaian listrik dan telepon.
Mengenai edukasi, ternyata kebanyakan dari mereka berhenti sekolah setelah kelas 8. A small amount of Amish youth continue their studies until University. Lantas, apa yang mereka lakukan setelah selesai kelas 8? Mereka membantu orang tua mereka di peternakan dan sawah. Setelah beberapa tahun, mereka menikah dan mempunyai anak. Sepenglihatan saya, tidak ada keluarga yang hanya memiliki 1 anak. Semuanya memiliki banyak anak. Ketika saya tanya, seorang Ibu muda menjawab, “Ya, anak dan keluarga adalah hal yang paling penting dalam hidup kami. Bahkan, saking pentingnya, ketika musim dingin datang, ada keluarga yang sengaja mematikan pemanas ruangan di lantai 2 agar keluarga mereka selalu berkumpul di lantai 1 rumahnya.”
Setelah kebaktian selesai, kami diundang untuk makan siang bersama. Ketika kami menuju ruang makan, saya sangat senang. Hehehe. Kenapa ya? Tentu saja karena makanannya kelihatannya sangat enak. =P Makanan dibuat oleh Ibu-Ibu Weavertown Amish Mennonites Church.
Ketika makan siang, saya berbincang-bincang dengan beberapa orang yang duduk satu meja dengan saya. Saya pun mengetahui bahwa salah satu keluarga yang ada di sana pernah ke Indonesia. Ya, mereka menjadi sukarelawan selama 1 tahun ketika terjadi tsunami di Aceh.
Sehabis makan siang, ada sesi dialog yang dibuka oleh Reverend (credits to Rizky):
On keeping the tradition vs. modernity
Television, film, fashion, music and all other worldly products are inevitable parts of the human life. However, the Amish Mennonite community I visited is able to limit themselves from exposing themselves to those worldly products. Unlike the older Amish community which rejects the modernity icons (electricity, television, film and etc), the Weavertown Amish Mennonite uses some part of it. Jacob, the young congregation member I talked to, had internet in his house although he had no television. He told me that internet is allowed to have because parents can restrict and control the amount of information that can be accessed. In a lunch conversation with one of the Reverend of the church, I asked how the Weavertown Amish Mennonite community retained its own distinctive culture while at the same they live in Western American culture. The Reverend said that it was never easy to keep their tradition because the influence of outside world was really strong. But still, I could feel the optimism within his tone to the young generation of the Weavertown Amish Mennonite community. And I thought that his optimism was very much true. The young generation of the Weavertown Amish Mennonite community might be exposed to the outside world more than their parents. However, they still felt comfortable with who they are. In fact, there was this young computer expert in the community. It shows that actually modernity and Weavertown Amish Mennonite tradition can walk hand in hand. What I observed there is that the community members were somehow able to know each own limitation and try not to crossover it. It might be stemming back from the teaching of Amish Mennonite about humility during the life in the world, and it is literally followed by the community.
Another issue was brought up to my lunch table and it was about gender. From what I observed, the Weavertown Amish Mennonite community, as in other places, is a patriarchal society. The role of women are restricted to domestic area, while men play role in public area. However, the Weavertown Amish Mennonite women feel that they have no problem with this concept. They do not feel like there is a gender inequality in their community. They believe that women and men are equal but they occupy different sphere of equality. Thus, in this community, there is no woman leader. To this issue, I deeply appreciate how the Weavertown Amish Mennonite community views the concept of gender. They disagree with the concept of feminism which plays a great role in shaping the current American culture and society. It is amazing to see that these women are perfectly fine and demand no other recognition by society. They once even said that the Weavertown Amish Mennonite women are leaders in terms of being educator for their sons and daughters at home, being the moral patron of the family and this makes them equal with men who lead the society in public sphere.
As the other minority group, the Amish community in general got prejudice and discrimination from the larger member of society. A prejudice toward them is that they are less patriotic. It stems from Amish’s teaching about passivism. Amish do not go to war. Nor do they involve in violence. Thus, they are often being prejudiced for not being patriotic. However, it is less known that they never go to war, they often participate in humanitarian activities. There were at least three Amish members I met who were involved in helping Tsunami victims in Aceh, Indonesia in 2004. They also said that when it came to war, they did not go to the front line but they tended the wounded and cared for them. However, these humanitarian facts are covered by all prejudice.
Living in this century, in a highly computerized society with all of worldly temptation is surely not easy for the Weavertown Amish Mennonite Community. But they have proven that they still can retain their tradition for hundred of years, and there are still more years to come. Meeting with them was really inspiring because they were so open. They welcomed visitors who wanted to learn about their tradition and culture. They knew that what they did would be a bridge to let others know about the real Amish Mennonite community. Their openness would help to dispell and untie prejudice attached on them gradually.
(visit Risqi’s blog here: http://rizqiarifuddin.blogspot.com/2011/02/weavertown-amish-mennonite-experience.html)
Pada perjalanan pulang, kami singgah ke tempat Traditional Amish. Benar saja, tidak ada kabel-kabel listrik ataupun telepon yang berjejer dari rumah ke rumah. Namun, the scenery is BREATHTAKING!