Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Beijing Diary: Kroaaaakkkk... cuh.

"I'm going to Beijing."


I was frowned upon by basically everyone whom I told I was going to Beijing for holiday. China is not a popular destination, Triggered by (mostly) bad stereotypes, I am determined to see this country by myself. So here's my thought on few things:

you have to see this yourself

You can't go anywhere in Beijing without the government knowing. Boasting 5000 years of culture, as well as the fact that every corner in Beijing is monitored. The country is not shy about stalking its people. You'll encounter many things like this:

everytime before entering subway

Note that you cannot enter many museums or tourist places without scanning your ID (this applies to everyone including locals), so bring your passport everywhere. Welcome to China, welcome to 1984.

Chinese people was rude, they say. The volume of people expectorating doesn't help the image. But after I went there, I sincerely think Beijingers don't deserve the notoriety. You just have to speak their language. And yes, please prepare yourself some basic Chinese because nearly zero people speak English.

Of course I've encountered many rude Chinese but I'm pretty sure they're from somewhere else but Beijing (mostly they came with a tour guide). I went to many tourist places alone, so I ask some locals to help me taking picture of myself. Every time I said 'thank you', all of them have this attitude of "NO, you don't have to thank me for that." They also complete it with a very polite body language. So yeah, they're far better than my expectation.

yours truly in Forbidden City

They are just like people in a big city, glued to their phone. You will see many people watching movies on their phone in the subway.

What makes me happiest is I didn't encounter any harasser or catcaller of all nine days I was there. I took public transport everywhere and trapped with rush hour crowd in subways. Never feel threatened once. Good job CPC.

Ordering a chow mein in Beijing is like ordering flat white in Italy, it is nonexistent. Forget about everything you think you know about Chinese food. Have you heard anybody likes Chinese food after they went back to their country? Neither do I.

Except the Peking Duck, it's extraordinary. The same feeling of eating sushi in Japan, or so I guess. Please go to BeiPingLou (北平樓) around Mudanyuan station to enjoy it. I was surprised when they give out many complimentary food along the way. We ordered one whole duck but they gave us soup, sesame bun and stuffing and longans like this:

good stuff
The service was also exceptional. Look how well I praised this place. While in Indonesia, "complimentary" stuffs are mostly traps. Never touch them.

China is a breeding machine. I think it's safe to say that 95% of tourist in Beijing are Chinese. On my first day, I thought it was going to be easy finding foreigners who speak English. I finally managed to do so after 100 tries. Most western looking people I met on the street speaks Chinese. Haha ha.

I came in spring just before peak season, so it wasn't too cold or hot. Flowers are starting to bloom so yeah, really nice.

Cherry blossoms

What I was really scarred of before I went there is the infamous toilet. But to be honest, I've encountered many worse toilets around Southeast Asia. Compared to them, Chinese toilets are:
yea right

And below is one of my favorite place in Beijing, make sure to visit here by day because they turn to pole dancing galore by afternoon.

ShiChaHai - walk in the park
I thought China was this:

But actually China is this:

cash me ousside howbow da

And this:
medium size pizza. more like monstrous size.
Expect grandness in China. They do it huge, or they do nothing.

China is a country from the future. The fact that they rarely use cash is not surprising, but how they do it is amazing. From H&M to nameless fried chicken stall on the street, you can pay them through one of the biggest app in the country, WeChat. The said app is very powerful in terms of user base and connectivity. I don't think anybody is abstain from using WeChat in Beijing. They connect everything in WeChat: social media, communication system, dictionary, transportation on-demand, fintech, and God-knows-what.

You can also easily spot uprising start-ups like Mobike, Ofo, Bluegogo on the street. The bike renting stuff is very popular among locals. I guess the reason is because it is very convenient to subscribe to one. The bikes are very stylish as well. Pay deposit, get any bike you see on the street, scan the QR code, pay per hour, scan when you're done and leave it wherever you want.

Another thing that really stands out for me (because I don't know who else is doing it) is the digital advertising on subway. They project it from the moving train to the wall like this:

the blue thing outside of the window

Some apps that will do you great in China are: Pleco, Baidu Maps, Beijing Subway and at least 2 VPNs. A good VPN is a VPN that nobody talks about. Government is watching so do your research and paying small money for your FOMO wouldn't hurt, really.

Now sitting in my room listening to Sway by cehryl, throws me back to those nights i roamed Wudaokou with a mojito in my hand. Feeling the cold dry air that smells like luncheon meat goes down shivering in my spine. Never I thought I'd miss Beijing.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Was 2016 So Bad?

Trump is elected president.

The rights are on the rise.

King Bhumibol is dead. Fidel Castro is dead.

So is a lot of celebrities, writers, journalist, and huge guys in 2016. My favorites weren't as significant as Prince, Muhammad Ali or Christina Grimmie. It was Harper Lee and Umberto Eco. When the time comes, we feel like it's never enough.

But some people are luckier and still have time in their pockets, they are the dearest of my hearts.
I'm fortunate because they're alive. My parents and brother are fine, my grandparents are okay, my friends are confused (but alive), and I am doing well.

I'm grateful I still have time to help people around me, making my parents happy, taking care of my boyfriend when he needs me. Those things matter. And I'm blessed to have opportunities left before they're gone forever.

Being drunk and not getting hangover, impulsive holidays, weekend getaway, getting job done before deadline, a cup of morning coffee, comfort foods delivery, technology that keeps pampering us, living in Thamrin, romanticizing Jakarta past midnight drive, enjoying bus ride on a rainy day with my earphone on, John Mayer, having someone to cuddle, payday, Hamilton, they're all great.

I'm thankful, so thankful. So, was 2016 that bad? No, not so. But may next year will be better.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Gagal LPDP Dua Kali

"Zi lo bisa ikut LPDP lagi tahun depan, satu kali lagi."

Begitu bunyi pesan pendek yang gue terima tadi malam, dan gue cuma punya satu tanggapan dalam pikiran, "Ain't nobody got time fo dat."

Jadi gue sempat mengajukan beasiswa untuk kuliah magister luar negeri LPDP dua kali dan gagal dua-duanya di tahap wawancara. Pertama di bulan Mei 2015, kedua di bulan Agustus 2015. Gue menyiapkan dokumen sejak setahun sebelumnya, baik surat rekomendasi, essai, IELTS, SKCK, tes kesehatan (untuk bulan Agustus 2015), surat ini, surat itu, surat blablabla dan tentu saja dan Letter of Acceptance dari universitas. Gue mengantongi 2 unconditional LoA dari University of Leeds dan University of Southamptons. Ahey.

Kenapa gue gagal? Wallahualam. LPDP tidak memberitahu alasan mengapa masing-masing calon awardee gagal. Jadi semua yang akan gue tulis kemudian adalah konspirasi dan asumsi gue semata, oke.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Meragukan Kesaktian Tuhan

Semua temen gue tau kalo gue males ngomong tentang keimanan gue. Bukan soal agama gue loh, keimanan merupakan sesuatu yang terlalu pribadi untuk dibagi ke sembarang orang. Gue masih yakin kalo Yesus itu Tuhan, tapi yang mau gue omongin bukan itu. 

Di abad 21 ini gue jarang nemu orang beragama yang tersinggung karena agamanya diomongin. Karena gue emang ga berteman dengan mereka. Yang sering gue temukan adalah kami yang saling menghina, atau karena gue adalah pihak penyinggung, dan yang tersinggung bergeming tak mengurusi urusan duniawi layaknya martir syurga.

Sudah menjadi pandangan umum bahwa agama itu urusan masing-masing pribadi sama Tuhannya. Mau muja Yesus kek, Leonardo di Caprio kek, pohon kek, sama aja. Apapun kata gue mereka akan tetap menjadi Tuhan setidaknya buat lo, dan gue yakin kesaktian mereka ga bakal berubah karena perbuatan siapa-siapa. Mereka akan tetap sakti, apapun yang isi bumi katakan tentang mereka.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Nota di Tempelan Kulkas

kita berbagi hanya satu-dua kecup
hangat yang sementara itu cukup
patah hati masih bisa hidup
jangan sampai usia juga menutup

dan kukira,
tak akan ada esok lagi untuk kita
tapi semua akan baik-baik saja
yang itu tak kuterka

kata orang mati satu tumbuh seribu bukan?
tapi ya begitu
harus mati dulu.