Authentic Book Discussions? Not in My Classroom.

Crawling Out of the Classroom

Every so often, I am struck by the fact that I have been making a huge mistake as a teacher and I suddenly wish that I could run around and gather up all my former students to apologize.

Well this morning, while on a family walk, I had one such realization. My wife and I had taken our daughter and our dog out for a Sunday morning walk.  My wife and I were chuckling as we watched my almost-two year old struggle to hold the leash of my rather unruly lab-mix. And I was struck at the “conversation” that was occurring amongst the three of us.  I say “conversation” in the loosest sense of the word because my daughter has a whole lot to say, but only about 10% of it is understandable to any other human.

Anyway, I realized that all of these words that we had been trying…

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An ordinary woman…, a wise woman; my mother.

sungai I  was born in a small village not far from the notorious Aburizal Bakrie’s legacy, Lumpur Lapindo – Porong, Sidoarjo. I was very fortunate that I was born from a couple of honourable parent. Compare to my friends in my village, I feel grateful.  It is me who could survive to proceed my education  until college.

It wouldn’t have happened without  my parent, of course. A fact that I could never ever deny. My father was an ordinary man with a future mindset. He always wanted his children to be successful  In their future. And he believed that the only way to reach that was by sending his children to good schools.

My father was just a farmer and was a chief of the village.  He ruled the village since Indonesia had not been an independent country.  He was appointed by the people that put a big hope on him. As one of the young people soldier, my father actively engaged in pursuing independence from Japan. He was a brave guy once he became the most  WANTED man by the enemy.

And my mother, a humble and the most simplest  woman i’ve ever known on earth.  She always obeyed my father in whatever he said. If my father said No on something, she would do her best to say NO too to her children as not to raise our disappointment.

My parents raised nine children in that old and ” growing” house. I said growing as the house grew bigger as one by one my siblings came to the world. It was funny. My father added room by room, could be every two year, as our age differences mostly two years, except I and my young sister, the youngest. We have seven years difference.

My father had passed away on 2012. A heavy year for me, as I felt missing him so much. But thinking that I and my siblings had done the best we can to take care of him, made us feel ease. And we still have one parent, my beloved Emak, that’s how we call her.

Since my father left, my mother felt lonely. So, I pick her up every holiday so she can stay with me in Jakarta. But when she was in Jakarta, she always begs to be taken home again for some reasons. 

Then,  I am taking her back to my hometown after staying with me, and with my sister in Jakarta for about one month.

I really love and adore my mother. She is kind of the product of colonialism education . She was used to obey whatever my father said even without thinking, as she really believed and loved him. When you love someone, you will believe him or her, won’t you?

My  father was a very dominant figure for his family and people. But, I believed that he did that for many reasons. He did not want to see his children grew and became jobless or live their lives by relying on our land and fields at the village, like many children there. Almost all of them. They stopped going to school after graduating from Elementary or secondary. Then they got married, have children and go to the field for their living. My father just wanted the other way around. Once he said that it was hard living as a farmer as weather sometimes so unpredictable.  So he did not not want his children have those heavy and hard life as his. And his dreams came true. He got the fruit of his perseverance. Most of us live a better lives, of course compare to his and people in my village.

Now, what we have is  my mother. The only parent left. She is everything to me. Her simplicity inspires me to live simply and wisely. Her love and care towards my father and her nine children teaches me a lot about compassion. She always hides herself behind, she is every thing to all of her children’ lives. She genuinely offers herself to be always available tirelessly. She offers whether her sons or daughters want this or that whenever they are home for visiting.

Yes, she is my mother. The simplest and wisest women, for me.

Jakarta, Dec 17, 2014

The Sweetest Thing

Pish's Blog of Loveliness

Although it seems like eons ago, I remember being pregnant with my daughter. I remember those months of waiting, anticipating, worrying, and wondering. What would she look like? What would she be like? Would she have my laugh and her father’s head for math and directions? No, seriously … It seems like a silly thing, but a good sense of direction is important in life. I have been known to get completely turned around in the city in which I lived for a number of years. My father always told me I could get lost in a wet paper bag.

We all want the best of everything for our children. We probably wouldn’t ever admit this out loud, but we want them to be more beautiful than we ever were. We want then to be smarter. We want them to feel they can dangle the world at the end of…

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Days in, days out….(For my two innocent colleagues) #NeilandFerdi

I start counting again,

You start counting again,


Neil and Ferdi, do you count it too?


It began from day one, two, three….with tears

Then four, five, six….turned  to sick of anger and fears

Days in, days out moving like gears

Then ten, twenty, thirty, forty….seem to be like years


I start counting again,

You start counting again,


Neil and Ferdi, do you count it too?


The candle lights do…

The dragon troops do…

More people around the globe do…

Even…our pets do it too..


When it comes to forty….,

We never thought that it would be this long…

We never realised that we could be this strong…

Forty days unwavering in our sanity…


Then it comes to forty one…..STOP! Please STOP!

We do not want this injustice keep going on…

Fill our souls with indignation…

Stop the number at forty one, STOP! Please STOP!


When the truth dies, very bad things happen…

But we will never give up on you…

The longer they hold you, the stronger we will fight for you…

The strength of your innocence will never be beaten..


Let the days in and out,

Each day is a day of welcoming you home…

Living and Loving as an Introvert

Nice note:)


good advice

*stands up*

*shuffles nervously*

*clears throat*

Hello. My name’s Ruth and I am an introvert.

Would you believe that it has taken me 31 years to say that?

Most of those years have been taken up with saying other things. No, I’m not anti-social. No, I’m not shy. No, it’s not that I hate people, or that I hate you, or that I’m a badly brought up Awkward Annie.

I’m just an introvert.

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Baduy Tribe ; The Strength that unites with Nature

Just a week  ago, for the second time I visited  Baduy  land. It is a village  located not far from  Rangkasbitung, Banten, West Java – Indonesia.  Baduy tribe splits in two, namely inner part and outer part of  Baduy.  The names itself represent how  these tribe   open up to the outside world.

      Outer (part) Baduy. The location is adjacent to Kampung Ciboleger (the closest entrance to the Baduy village Gajebo- outer Part of Baduy). The outer part of Baduy (let’s call Baduy luar), often interact with people from  surrounding communities outside Baduy. Even the majority have been using mobile phones as their communication tool. While the inner part of Baduy (let’s call Baduy Dalam) , is very exclusive, shut themselves  down and seldom have interaction with the outside world.

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     However, in spite of the above differences, what fundamentally similar between both that give unique characteristics of this tribe is the way they live. They strongly hold their customs  and traditions. They  only use wood and other natural resources for their home, they do not allow any electricity, and do not send their children to school. Any formal education outside is prohibited. 

My first visit was about six years ago. At that time, I was immediately impressed with the silence that I felt when I was down the walkway that connects  village to village. 

     Along the way….lined trees, plants and shrubs around the  fields.  Everywhere is green. The sky is blue and clear. The air is fresh and relaxing. The rustle of the wind in the dense foliage creates beautiful orchestra. The creaking crickets, the chirping birds and the crawling insects shout to each other accompanied by  ants swarming among the dry leaves that fall all over  the ground. Peaceful. That’s how I felt.

     Not much has changed in Baduy. And it would never change. Their houses  and Leuit (traditional paddy rice storages) is made of bamboo and the roof is from kirai leaves (similar to coconut tree leaves). The men are dressed in


black and wearing a blue headband – while the women dress in blue  batik sarong with the black top (Baduy Luar costume)). While  Baduy Dalam tribe are dressed in a white long-sleeved shirt or also called Jamang Sangsang. The women, not much different from women in Baduy Luar costume. When they are traveling, either to the field or to the market, they bring their stuff  with a long scarf (selendang) that tied to their body.

   Night life in Baduy both luar and dalam is a perfect silence and darkness. Although many residents of Baduy luar  use flashlight to do their evening errands, but the only light shares to the whole village is the light that illuminates from the moon. Baduy people are so accustomed to the dark. There are almost no  activities at night. They use the time to fully rest after exhausting working all day long in the fields. But sometimes, in the middle of the silence, we can hear some Baduy young men practicing the xylophone  (gambang kromong) –  Sundanese traditional musical instrument. They gather at Jaroh Daina’s home (the chief of the village). 

    The  uniqueness and  the peacefulness are what Baduy offer to its visitors. When the life in the outside world are hustle and bustle with football world cup fever, Baduy people embrace the night soundly within its darkness. When people outside  are busy meeting their never-ending wants and needs, Baduy people mingle in their house porches talking about  tidbits  or away in their fields where the crops always wait for the touch of his hands. 

      In those complete silence and darkness, Baduy is a symbol of strength. Strength to stick to the traditional values ​ that ​they believe within and  have been passed from generation to generation by their ancestors. A strength that reach out the visitors to its peaceful that unite with nature.

Jakarta – Indonesia

July 5, 2014